Monday, March 31, 2008

The aforementioned "land of the living"

Two most exciting of events to report today. The first is a hockey game, the second, a lecture.

Yesterday, my parents and I took Carson to his very first Penguins game. I waas terrified. Now, I loves me some hockey, and I don't get to go to games very often, so though I love cheezy dearly, I was afraid he would watch approximately five minutes of the game and then need to be otherwise entertained for the next 2 hours and 25 minutes. I could not be more wrong. he loved the game:

he loved the jumbotron, he loved the zamboni, he loved the music, he loved Iceburgh, he especially loved the nachos:

He clapped, he danced, he wooed the ladies. It was a great game (a win), I had twizzlers, my parents got to have a good time, what more could a Chrisie ask for?

I'll tell you....

Tonight, Anthony Bourdain. Man, I love this guy. I will admit, he took some time to grow on me but I'm convinced he's a genius. He's far more introspective and intelligent than I originally gave him credit for. My bad. His lecture was great, he talked on topics from Rachel Ray to Vietnam and managed to be funny and insightful about all of them. The only thing of note, other than Tony, were the boneheads in the crowd. STOP ASKING HIM TO GET A BEER WITH YOU. The man is cooler than you and doesn't want to hang out with you. Ugh.

Good times. Good times.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hedgehog Taxonomy and Dr. Wang

I've been hiding. I didn't really even realize it until recently, but I've been doing it for weeks. Lots of reasons, I suppose, but I was feeling particularly anxious, crazy, drained, and a little beat down... not necessarily in that order.

I think at first it was a good thing, I needed the chance to... how to say this with the least amount of hippy overtones... reconnect? Find some inner strength? Remember myself? Yeah, there's no good way to say it, it was kind of a hippy thing. Sometimes I do that. Anyway, it got out of hand. I stopped doing everything: blogging, gChatting, emailing, calling, running, enjoying things, and eventually, even leaving my apartment. Whoa. Luckily, I think I'm on my way back to the land of the living.

I threw an impromptu party Friday night, and who knew, it was exactly what I needed. I invited everyone I know over (everyone in the same state, that is) and had a crazy Rock Band party. It has been so long since I have felt a part of something, felt loved. It was great. And even if we never got through "Green Grass and High Tides", and even if my snack food offerings sucked (I told you it was impromptu), a good time, much beer and many almonds were had by all.

Today, I ran. Outside. Five miles. It was beautiful. I think I needed to prove to myself that I can make my own heart beat faster. =) I feel so so strong when I run, even when I'm slow and out of breath.

So, I'm back. I'm taking Carson to his first Pens game tomorrow and will be playing the role of Godmother at his baptism next week... Updates to follow.... slightly less esoteric ones, I promise.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

... and you don't even have to cross the street

I am in Seattle this week for the Microsoft SharePoint conference. I must say that although I have not heard any Pearl Jam, didn't get to see the Space Needle, and amazingly have only had one cup of Starbucks coffee (tastes fresher here) I am enjoying myself.

The plane rides to get here were harrowing. First a flight to DC then a 2-hour layover. THEN, a 9.5 hour flight from DC to Seattle, via Phoenix (it was like a bus, we landed, people got on and off, but I didn't get to leave the plane). Ugh. I watched "Million dollar baby".. THREE TIMES!! Don't show that movie on the plane, people, there aren't enough kleenex around! I thought the movie was sad, until I started talking to a guy who lost both legs in Iraq in 2006. Amazing guy, won't get into it, but he's having a hell of a time. If nothing else, he solidified for me that opposing the war IS supporting the troops, and if one more person tells me I'm disrespecting the troops and minimizing their sacrifice by opposing the war, they can expect a deeply felt reply. You've been warned. =)

The flights were otherwise uneventful.

The conference is a conference: lots of speeches, even more sales pitches, lots of tchotchkes, schwag... call it what you will, I'm bringing home six million pens, three bottle openers, two frisbees and a dozen or so golf tees. I love vendors!! Oh, and since it's a Microsoft conference, I got to meet this guy:

The highlight of the conference, for me, was the keynote speaker: Greg LeMond. Did you know he was shot before winning the Tour de France? I did not. They're raffling off a few LeMond bikes, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Oh, the title. I was also speaking with a native about the whole Starbucks phenomenon and he assured me that in Seattle - you do not have to cross the street to get to a Starbucks. In my limited travels through the city, I have not yet been able to disprove this statement. No kidding.

So, the hotel. I'm staying at "W Seattle". This place is so hip it doesn't even have a name, just a letter. I swear Dracula is staying here. There are no lights in the lobby/registration desk/bar... only candles. Seriously:
The hallways are lit by eerie blue lights:

My room contained a $28 bottle of water, a selection of relaxation CDs and a "Whatever" button on my phone which when I pushed it a voice answered with "good evening Miss Ambrass, what can I do for you". Whoa. This certainly must mean that the dream I had was true and I am, in fact, a rock star. Now if my entourage would just show up....

I'm out on the red eye tonight (coach class, so much for the rock star), bound for a layover in Charlotte tomorrow then home. Only to leave again on Saturday for visits with friends in Boston. (there are not words to describe how excited I am for that... but that's another blog). For now, I will continue to pretend to pay attention to the breakout session on "Governance and Administration" and look forward to one more Starbucks before heading for home. I'm sad to be leaving, we simply do not have views like this in Pittsburgh: