Chaos Attraction

The Birthday Weekend

2015-04-26, 9:14 p.m.

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So apparently the notifylist stopped working and nobody said anything about it to me and I can't find anything about it. Grrr.

So, the birthday weekend. It was very busy and it took me awhile to get this done, hence why the entry is out of order.

I took Friday off from work, primarily so I could avoid being stuck on the phones all day. As per usual to slightly worse than usual, apparently almost everyone else called in sick, so yeah, had I been there I really would have been stuck on the phones all day because only two customer service lackeys were left--one for the counter and one for the phone. Ugh, so glad I wasn't there.

Instead, I went to a 9 a.m. therapy session with my shrink in person, since I had the free time and so did she. (Kinda sucked having to be up that early on a day off birthday, but oh well.) She wanted to teach me a lot of pressure point techniques for dealing with stress while other people are staring at you, which was good. She also grumbled at the clearly fake smile some poor bank employee who was getting yelled at gave her the other day, and I was all, "He probably HAS to be smiling like that or else he gets in trouble."

After that, I had a bunch of Barnes and Noble book coupons and went off to use them. I was going to look for improv books but wasn't that impressed with their selection, or at least they weren't what I was looking for. I ended up getting a book on TED talks and much to my delight, I found that a series I read as a teenager has been brought back, so I bought those books. (Check the book blog in a bit for those.) I went to Safeway for sushi and cake and watched a few episodes of TV until it was time to leave for the train station--I took the train home early for a change in hopes of getting back earlier. Hah, Mom still got me an hour later...but whatever. We still made it back to town in time to go to this awesome fondue restaurant.

Seriously, this place was FANCY. Tons of options for the cheeses. Tiny finger foods. The dinner special we got had cheese fondue appetizers, chocolate fondue dessert (tons of options for that too), and in the middle they had you grill your own tiny meats on the burners on the table. I would totally go back to this restaurant again, but I'd probably just eat the fondues and skip the meats because that took awhile with all of the individual grilling. They also had pages and pages of $20 fancy drinks, which were great fun and I got drunk pretty easily off them. And I got birthday champagne on top of that.

On Saturday, Mom, Angelica, and I went to go see the musical Once, which I didn't know much about. It was interesting, though I'd probably say it's not going to be a favorite of mine because well, it doesn't quite have a happy ending like you might expect. It does take place in a bar, and they let the audience walk onstage and order booze. I did that--I should probably point out that I slept in that morning and we did NOT eat before the show--and got whoooooooo drunk just sitting in my seat. (I become a Woo Girl when drunk, apparently.) Which is fine while you're sitting, but when it's time for intermission and the bathroom...I did make it up all the stairs, but was thinking, "Hah, I probably shouldn't be doing this." And when I was in the bathroom, the roll of toilet paper bounced out of the holder and rolled down the aisle. Kind of embarrassing to have to admit that to the entire line when I got out. Ah well.

After that, we went to Amici's for lunch/dinner/whatever and afterwards dropped Angelica off, then Mom and I hit a Half Priced Books so I could look for more improv books. I actually found a few useful ones, and other things, there and that was my birthday gifts.

On Sunday, we woke up early again (ugh, but Mom insisted that she get A Nice Breakfast) and went to the Scottish Games for a few hours. We pretty much ended up hitting the shopping and not much else by the time our time ran out. Mom bought me some jewelry and I bought her some, and she also got some clothes, including her own Utilikilt! She got this silky soft red and blue model that's nice and lightweight for this area and goes on like boxers. I suspect this model won't last long, somehow, it seems like they don't use the colorful models for very long. I have a custom red kilt that when I go by the booth, people start eying and saying they don't offer it any more.

And after that, we went to the big TEDx conference for the year, Hoo boy, it was long--15 speakers/acts and went from 1 to after 6:30. I have to say that was probably a bit too long because during the intermissions (one was a half hour long and one was ten minutes--dunno why they needed a dang half hour after the first five went), the full house was emptying out to about half a house left. I felt sad for the later speakers in the day when people were walking out in presumed exhaustion. I'll try to give a rundown:

* "You Are A Museum's Most Valuable Asset" by Wendy Meluch --this lady works with museums to make sure that people engage with them and analyzes how people work with exhibits.
* "This Is Your Brain On Curiosity" by Matthias Gruber--studying how the brain lights up and engages more if you're wondering about something, like where in the world grows square trees. He waited until the end to reveal that.
* "Beyond the Blue and Pink Toy Divide" by Elizabeth Sweet: This was on how toys are more gendered than ever and how this influences girls to learn that science isn't meant for them. Sigh.
* "The Journey of a Young Entrepreneur" by Akshay Oberai --this guy was talking about how failing at starting companies taught him a lot.
* "The Afterglow:" --All-male a cappella group. Not bad.
* "Social Beyond Contacts" by Gurminder Singh: This guy made the excellent point that just because someone is in your Linked In network doesn't actually mean you KNOW them and you're not actually making contacts with people. Thanks for saying that one, dude, because I totally agree.
* "Dome Founding" by Clay Brandow: This was one of the original designers/builders of the Domes. Naturally, this went over well with all of us nerds, hearing about all of the things they screwed up while learning how to build them.
* "Life and Death in Silicon Valley" by Krishna Subramanian --This one was kind of the flip side of the first entrepreneur guy, as he talked about how his life had gone downhill when he became a workaholic, didn't have time for his fiancee and she dumped him, he got fat, etc. and how he took up running to get over the burnout. Poor dude. Made me glad I'm not smart enough for Silicon Valley.
* "World Touch Experiment." --Instrumental musicians, did a pretty dang good act. Great combination of piano and percussion.
* "The Fear Muscle" by Cathie Apple --This lady's a yoga instructor and talked about your psoas muscle and how using good posture and walking around can literally stretch it out and make you feel better, as opposed to being hunched over at a computer.
* "The Power of Public Listening" by Alisa Shubb: She's a communications professor who refuses to put her lectures online because she's a big believer in the power of the audience's reactions and interactions and figuring out whether or not people got the message. (To the eventual viewers of her talk on YouTube, she said "Wish you were here.") Good points.
* "From Recognizing a Need to Becoming Vision Vanguards" by Rose Truong: This girl is a biomedical engineering student who used an old ViewMaster to replicate that machine in the eye doctor's office that figures out your prescription.
* "Fashion and Technology: How Can Smart Fashion Change Our Lives?" by Helen Koo. This chick designs clothes for the handicapped and also talked about say, light-up clothing that transforms.
* "Baile De Fuego." --Latin dance team that was... kinda awkward, actually. If you remember watching Dirty Dancing during the teaching scenes...it was a bit like that. It was a little scary when they were doing lifts. Ah well, they're working on it.
* "Having the Other Sex Talk" by Sarah Meredith: This was a talk on how people should discuss dating violence and how to handle it.
* "A Movement to Making Life Count" by TJ Lee. My mom was all, "Why was this one the LAST one? It should have been the first one." Anyway, she basically designed the college equivalent of your last quarter's bucket list. It was a pretty cool, fun talk about not putting off doing stuff you say you're going to do and then don't do.


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