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September 13th, 2010

~Monday~  Kevin ended up getting in closer to 4AM than 3AM, but he got up at 8AM to come downstairs to bid me adieu.

At about 8:10, I said to Kevin, "I don't want to get out there too early for the bus." I went to my kitchen window and looked out saying, "I wonder how humid it is out there." And then realizing what I was doing, I added, "Of course, you can't see humidity."

At the bus stop, I checked my work inbox on my BlackBerry, and I had an e-mail about an invitation to my boss' retirement gathering we recently sent out as an e-mail (as opposed to a calendar invitation). It was from an upper-level manager in my organization saying, "[I]t would be really helpful in saving additional work if you could set these types of thing up as a [GroupWise] appointment."

Well, we've done a lot of work on this event so far, and this e-mail was from someone who would never organize this kind of event himself, and it was Monday morning, and I was cranky, so I had something to say about it as soon as I got to work. Not a great way to start off my Monday.

The lady reading Firestarter was aboard this morning, and I'm officially naming her. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Reader Lady:



At Gorman and Conifer, a bunch of people boarded, including one person who was carrying a little one. When they walked by me, the kid said, "Ut-oh!"

After I exited the bus, when I was almost to the intersection where I cross the street to get to my building, Li'l Dino hopped out of a truck that had pulled to the side of the road to let her off.



As soon as I got to work I fired of this e-mail in response to that one I read at the bus stop:

Good morning, [name],

Thanks for RSVPing, and thanks for the suggestion about a GroupWise appointment next time.

In addition to a suggestion on how we might do it better next time, did you mean to "lead by example" by also thanking us for all the work going into pulling this one together? ;-)

Happy Monday!

John



I attended the first of what's going to be a series of chancellor's forums in different venues around campus, open to students, faculty, and staff, with this agenda: "The chancellor will discuss his impressions of his first four months on the job, talk about NC State in the context of the US News college rankings and set the tone for the upcoming strategic planning process."

He was actually standing at the door when I walked in and he looked at my t-shirt:

and he said, "Grammar police! Ut-oh."

To which I gave my—by now standard—reply to such a comment: "Don't worry I'm off duty for the next hour. Speak freely."

There were enough things about this event to write a blog entry in and of itself, but since it's work-related stuff, I'm not going to go into them in this public forum. Suffice it to say, I left there underwhelmed.



On a happier note, Kim was in town for Salon XIV, and we started off with a pre-Salon dinner at Porter's Tavern, where I split their Thai Chicken Tavern Chips with Brad and Sarah (although I ate most of it), and followed that up with their Piedmont Burger, which comes with pimento cheese, a fried green tomato, and barbeque sauce on it, and which I ended up taking half home with me.

At 6:45, I said to everyone, "Oh my god! We're late for Salon!"

Shortly thereafter, we cashed out and headed a couple of doors down Hillsborough Street to Salon Headquarters, also known as Mitch's Tavern, where we proceeded with our usual antics of alternating lightening round repartee and raucous laughter that kept us high, sprinkled with intermittent dustings of serious and poignant moments that kept it real.

Tonight's agenda was as follows, with my own responses included:

Salon XIV Agenda
Monday, September 13, 2010
Mitch’s Tavern


  1. Could we handle a Salon with no agenda items? [Anna]

    Everyone agreed that an agenda is a part of the definition of a salon, so no.

  2. Share anything about your Tea Leaves reading and/or your Tarot Card reading that you thought during, right afterwards, or have since. (Kim & Etta, have you have had either done that you could share about, too?) [John]

    I shared that not being a big "believer" in things like tea leaves and Tarot card reading, what struck me was about the people doing them. In particular about, Anna, but only because I know her better, I thought, "This might be a bunch of malarkey, but this is a wicked smart woman, who is not doing this half-assed. If she's going to do it, she's going to do it right, and she's going to do it well, and in that moment I appreciated her more than usual."

  3. Worst Job / Best Job [Sarah]

    I've had two jobs that I've hated, at the opposite ends of the salary spectrum, and for different reasons. The first was a two-hour job at McDonald's that I took in college as a second job for a little extra money—the plan being to work there for breakfast, and work at my other, primary, job for lunch and dinner. The first day, I was learning how to make pancakes in the midst of the breakfast rush and one of them wasn't perfectly round (to meet McDonald's "high standards"), and the manager made a big deal about it in front of everyone, customers included. I turned to him and said, "You know what? I don't need this job! I have another job—at Burger King!" and I walked out. Snap. Snap.


    The other job I hated was the one in which I made $110,000 a year, that I mentioned in my recent posting about my salary history, and as I said in the comments of that posting, what I hated about it was that I never felt totally competent in that job.

    The job I loved the most was when I was an Executive Secretary to an IBM Director, and then became the receptionist at a brand new career center opened by IBM. What made that job so great was that I interacted with people all day long, and they were people who came there down in the dumps, but by the time they went through an assessment and had two or three appointments with career counselors they left there rejuvenated to either go back to their current jobs with a new perspective, or having found "their purpose" and ready to make big changes in their lives.

  4. Money vs. Happiness. Inspired by this article: Money can buy you happiness, to a point. [John]

    We had a good discussion around this item. We talked about the extent to which all jobs have some good elements and some elements that suck, which led to a discussion on trade-offs and lifestyle choices.

  5. Is anyone else sick of the term social media? Or am I just cranky? [Anna]

    Almost everyone's answer to this was, "Yes, and yes." My answer was, "Yes, and "You need a new narrative," which was a pingback touché.

  6. What is your writing process (academic/professional/corporate, not personal/journal/blog)? Where/how did you learn it (if you remember)? Has it evolved over time? Have you ever tried to change or improve it? [Anna] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    We jettisoned this item once and for all.

  7. In response to the TED talk Sarah linked us to, how would you answer Conley's last question? What can you count in your life as a means of measuring your happiness? John can lead off...:-) [Anna] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    I measure my happiness in (daily) affirmations and "congruence." The most interesting, and quite abundant if you look for them, affirmations are the implicit affirmations in life, and an example of living congruently is being your authentic self, which I didn't do for nearly 35 years of my life.

  8. “Where are you at?” and other annoying phrases with potentially extra, redundant, superfluous words in them. [John] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    People! On the cell phone? "Where are you?" is sufficient. Jettison the "at." (Obviously, "jettison" is today's vocabulary word.)

  9. What do you re-read? And why? Inspired by this short blog posting: Re-reading. [John] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    I rarely, rarely, rarely re-read. A Prayer for Owen Meany comes to mind as one that I have re-read, and I re-read The Turn of the Screw, because I wanted to give it away as a gift to my 515 class, and I was going to see a play of it. Others that I might have re-read were a result of being in book club, and I re-read them because I didn't remember enough of them to be able to participate in the discussions about them. Some books that I think about re-reading, but haven't yet include: The Pilgrim's Progress, Das Perfum, Crime and Punishment, and The Fountainhead.

  10. Brad’s Canada trip report. At least share your favorite and least favorite moments/things? [All] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    Brad shared his high and low points.

  11. Giving the Ning the bird. Where now? [Kim]

    We listed the problems, but didn't quite get to an action plan.



We had a very, very interesting conversation at the end of the agenda about the rhetoric of including pictures of people on the bus in my blog. Thank you, Sarah, for that. I'm still thinking about that conversation, which is great.

Brad was gracious enough to give me a ride home. Thank you, my friend.

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