Keep Moving

On my quest to give back more to the world, I volunteered yesterday to talk about my career path to some students from NPower’s Technology Service Corps (TSC) class.   My company supports a lot of cool organizations that I am starting to learn more about.  NPower’s TSC program trains “disconnected” high school graduates with IT skills and helps them get jobs. Yesterday, they took a field trip to visit our office and a few of us spoke to them about our careers in technology.

Remember 5 1/4 inch floppy disks? They were really floppy!

It was fun to reminisce about learning to write computer programs on the Apple IIC and to wrack my brain to remember how we actually looked for jobs before the internet.  (If my memory serves me correctly, I actually went to the library, used the yellow pages, and sent resumes in envelopes with stamps. )  I gave a shout out to my friend Scott who got me started on this career that keeps me intellectually stimulated and affords me the luxuries of owning real estate in Manhattan and looking relatively stylish when I do actually leave the house.

I think I also did a super swell job of explaining how an SAP implementation works, why it can take many years, and how it is a lot of work, but can also be a lot of fun.  Fun because you are solving problems that are like puzzles every day, and fun because of the team camaraderie you develop when you work a gazillion hours with people and share quite a few drinks with them along the way.  And I did actually use the words “happy hour” in my speech forgetting that most of them probably aren’t 21 yet.  Oh well….something to look forward to!

Beyond my trip down memory lane, what was really cool about the experience was the curiosity of the kids.  They had so many questions about my jobs, how I got them, and why I liked them.  They thought it was very cool that I knew that Gatorade contains some flammable ingredients which made our SAP implementation project more complicated.  It’s always refreshing to see the world through the eyes of younger people who are still trying to figure it all out.  I hope I gave them some new ideas about how they can use their IT skills and of course it was important to me that they meet women who thinks writing computer programs is really fun (we do exist!)  I am glad I have made room in my life to reincorporate the young people and plan to continue these adventures!

Two sales guys also spoke to the kids and their presentations contained some kind of “salesy”  life advice.  I did jot down a couple of their words of wisdom that struck a chord with me:

“Spend less time trying to be interesting and more time being interested” – as a woman who has been on a lot of match.com dates, more people need to internalize this advice. (of course the context here was making business connections, but it applies in all situations)

“It’s not how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving” – this was from clip from one of the Rocky movies that was part of a triage of You Tube videos one of the guys showed to illustrate his advice.  (It was king of corny but he was quite proud of himself.)  This one stayed with me because as a “glass half full” person, the little bumps in the road (like an infection in my head that puts me out of commission for two weeks) can get me down.   The next time I am feeling a little defeated by life, I will remember this clip, and the many amazing positive experiences I have been lucky enough to have in my life and I will  keep moving.

My First Attempt in 2010 to Save the World

I have an infection in my head (aka a sinus infection.)  For those who have never had an infection in your head,  I can assure you it is as un-fun as it sounds.  It has also derailed the many non TV-related activities I was planning to participate in and blog about this week.  (Sadness)  The only activity I did manage to make it to was horribly disappointing, but let me tell you about it.

There is a non-profit I have been stalking for about year and a half.   This organization (which will go unnamed for now) teaches teenagers basic financial literacy skills.  Although I work in the technology industry, I dabbled with the idea of becoming a financial planner a few years ago and used to teach middle school and miss teaching and working with kids.  This organization is aligned with my interests and seems like the perfect way for me to “give back” and make my world bigger while keeping my day job that satisfies my need for financial security.

I have had my eye on this non-profit’s web site for a while but nothing ever fit in my schedule.  Finally, the stars aligned and there was a volunteer opportunity that I could attend!  I had some weird email exchanges with the executive director that indicated a lack of organization and clarity, but I maintained a positive attitude.  It was decided that I could not volunteer until I was oriented/trained, which may or may not be until after this opportunity passes but there was an orientation (that might include training?) on September 30th.  It wasn’t really clear, but I maintained a positive attitude! On Thursday, I managed to get myself and my throbbing head up to midtown to attend the long awaited orientation session.

It was the worst orientation I have ever attended (and there was no training.)  She flipped through some handouts quickly.  Maybe it was the infection in my head, but I could not even follow which page she was on.  She seemed to skip the most important things.   I have no idea when the group started, how many volunteers that have, how active they are, what types of events are coming up, what volunteering would be like, and what they expectations are of the volunteers. (Crazy right?)   It turns out that this orientation was specifically for a mentoring program she wanted to start (that she had never mentioned to me and was not the opportunity we discussed.)  Not only did she not cover the basics, it was very clear that she really had not worked out the details for how this mentoring program will really work.  There was a lot of  “we will see what the group wants to do.”  Yeah, that will work well with teenagers and a group of complete strangers that walked in off the street.   I am not touching that mentoring program with a 10 foot pole (also because I have already committed to mentor a high school student for the next four years with another group that, so far, seems way more organized and I don’t want to double mentor right out of the gate.)

She ended the scheduled 2 hour orientation after 40 minutes.  I finally had to stop asking questions because I was bordering on obnoxious,  she was not getting it, and my head was really throbbing.  It was established that the next step (for people that wanted to mentor or I assume teach in other mysterious capacities that were not discussed) was training and she would let us know when that would be…”maybe around the same time next month.”  I left despondent and discouraged (I think those words mean the same thing but I really wanted to make my point!)   I don’t know what will happen next but I am not giving up on my quest to save the world. Maybe I will get trained, maybe I won’t.  Maybe I will run out of the training session and never go back or maybe I will stage a coup and take over the whole non-profit.  Regardless, I will keep you posted.

What is up with this blog again?

You might be thinking…”I thought this blog was supposed to be about your quest to watch LESS television.  All you post about is TV!”  Great observation.  I realized, as I started blogging, that I can’t write truly honest posts about people I know and things we do together!  It is exactly the same reason I can’t go on Big Brother.  I would be afraid to say anything mean in the Diary Room and then I would be just boring boring and CBS would probably try to convince the other house guests to vote me out.   I don’t want to get voted off WordPress and I love having fans.   I can say anything I want about imaginary characters and I don’t know anyone who produces, writes for, or acts in TV shows so for now, I am safe.  If this becomes a HUGE super popular blog, I might start getting in trouble (ie Perez Hilton), but that seems highly unlikely with my current traffic.  I don’t write long super insightful commentary or TV recaps.  I just write the random thoughts I have about my friends on the small screen.    Maybe after I warm up with the universally loved topic of television, and get people hooked on my unique form of commentary, I will branch out more.    It also just depends on what inspires me and formulates itself as a blog post in my mind.   Right now, it is TV, but it seems possible that I could  run out of witty things to say about the imaginary people.  Only time will tell.  I do have a unique ability to tie pretty much every life experience to television so that might be a good way to ease in to it.   I am really trying to cut back on the TV and I can tell you that blogging takes up quite a bit of time that could have otherwise been spent watching TV so this has been a fruitful pursuit already!

Mad Men vs Life Unexpected

I started formulating a post mid week called “Mad Men vs Life Unexpected” and had grand plans to do it justice on Friday, my day off. Sadly, I was derailed by computer issues. (Various unexplained errors preventing Internet Explorer and Firefox from starting up) After visiting a crazy allergist in mid town yesterday, I spent three hours in the office (on my day off!) with my IT guy trying to remedy the situation. In the end, he installed Google Chrome to help me limp along until my new super small laptop arrives. I ordered the “highly portable” laptop so I can stop lugging 6lbs around NYC with either my embarrassing back pack or my even more embarrassing rolling old lady computer bag. (sidenote: already scoping out new shoulder bags to celebrate my new work commute style makeover)

I have digressed. I am now traveling on an Amtrak train to visit my brother upstate and thought I might experiment with crafting a post from my iPhone using the WordPress app.

So what was I going to say about Mad Men and Life Unexpected? Earlier this week, I watched two episodes of Mad Men and the season premiere of Life Unexpected. The differences between the two are stunning. Every episode of Mad Men is like a movie. I don’t want to miss minute and I am fully engaged in the show. These two back to back episodes were beautiful. Watching Peggy and Don hang out at work to avoid their personal lives (boy can I relate to that) and seeing Don hit his all time low with vomit on his shirt asking for another drink. I love their relationship and am thrilled they did not even dabble in the idea of them hooking up. She is his best friend and I hope he knows it.

The following week we see Don shaping up and thank god, because I almost felt hungover myself watching the previous episode. I am sure the swimming had some symbolic association with a baptism/rebirth. He has downgraded to beer (cool refreshing bud) with minor slips to the brown stuff. He finally managed to get a real respectable date with an age appropriate smart woman who he could potentially have a real relationship with (which reminds me of the woman from an earlier season I wish he ended up with, the one who ran the department stores. She reminded me of Dagny Taggert. Why hasn’t he called her?) Betty is a mess. I feel so bad for her because no one really knows how to help her. It appears as though everyone was less self actualized in the 60’s, but this is a TV show centered around character flaws, and people are just as much of a mess today, they just wait until after work to start drinking.

I made the mistake of immediately following “Don’s rebirth” episode with the season premier of Life Unexpected. I loved this show last year, but after the first episode of this season, I have no idea why. The issues are the same. The characters seem one dimensional. Surprise! Irresponsible Bayze’s bar burned down after a one night stand! Kate’s voice is grating. I am bored with Lux’s hats (she needs a new look) and this relationship with her teacher is ridiculous. Seriously, how could you spend an entire evening with a 16 year old and have her maturity level not give her away. She is unusually mature and wise (because she has writers that are older than 16) but I am not buying it. And I am supposed to all of a sudden believe that Ryan is anything less than a perfect guy just so we can leave the door open for Bayze and Kate to get together? All very contrived. The show’s premise really had no where to go and I predict this will be the last season for Life Unexpected.

So those are my rambling thoughts less the hour of obsessive editing and searching for illustrative photos. ( Blogging is very time consuming!) please excuse any errors. There is only so much I can do from my phone.  (UPDATE: I later obsessively added photos.  )

Tomorrow, I plan to let you in on what I am most looking forward to during the big premiere week!!!

The Dippy Bird Makes an Appearance

I had a busy week at work and no time to formulate a good blog post.   Reality shows were about all I could handle after my long work days, except the one night when I found myself choosing to watch an old episode of Medium after a few glasses of wine.  The episode from last season where she dreams about the pig was fascinating with a few drinks under my belt.  Anyway, last night, I was recovering from my hangover and a random event occurred that tied my real life to television (happens to me all the time, actually).

A while back, in a meeting,  I noticed the profile of a colleague that looked kind of like this:

I thought to myself, who does he remind me of?  Woody Woodpecker came to mind, but I knew that was not quite it.  Then I remembered this toy my dad used to have on his desk.  A bird with  hat that used to teeter over and dip its beak in to a glass of water.  That was it!  This guy reminded me of the Dippy Bird!!!  This realization was too weird to share with my newish work friends and no one outside of work knows the work guy (and most are too young to remember the dippy bird),  so I have been living with this in silence, until now.  Last night, I was catching up on Mad Men and THERE IS WAS!!!  THE DIPPY BIRD ON MAD MEN!!!  I was so excited.  Here it is?  See the resemblance?

I wish I could post a picture of the real guy…

The 10 Hours of TV/Week Plan

I must admit, I am starting my “10 hours of TV a week plan” on an easy week.  SYTYCD and the Bachelorette just ended.  (Guilty pleasures that suck up a lot of TV time.)  The fall TV season has not started yet so things are pretty quiet on the TV front for my kick-off.  Here are the rules:

  1. I am allotted 10 hours of dedicated TV watching time per week. This is 10 hours in actual time which means about 13 hours of scheduled programming.  (fast forwarding through commercials of course)  Dedicated TV time is time when I am mostly focused on the TV and it is not just on in the background while I am doing something else.
  2. DVD TV shows  DO count towards the 10 hour budget. Shoes on Hulu (which I rarely use) would also count towards the budget.
  3. Weeks start on Sunday. Unlike my childhood (Love Boat, Fantasy Island, BJ and the Bear, etc) there is nothing worth watch on Saturday.  So in my world, the TV week starts on Sunday.
  4. I get bonus points for ONLY turning the TV on for my dedicated TV watching time. I did it this weekend and it really helps quiet the mind (I suck at meditating so this was as close as I have gotten..silence).  Right now the bonus is just a HUGE sense of accomplishment and a quieter mind.  Perhaps I should come up with a real reward for myself…..
  5. TV watching at the gym or in a bar does not count. These are clearly social and health related activities where TV is totally allowed.

Until I get bored of it, I will post my selected “13 hours of scheduled programming”  in the cool text widget on the sidebar.  Notice that this week I am catching up on some stuff I am behind on AND I am going to try to squeeze in Dexter Season 4 (just released on DVD) before the Fall TV season starts.  I should qualify that I don’t have Showtime (in an attempt to minimize my TV watching..hah!)  so I am behind on Dexter, Weeds, and Californication.  All great shows that I hope to catch up on eventually.

Tales of a Recovering TVaholic

I love television and I watch a lot of it. Why is this a problem, you ask? Because I am not living up to my potential as a human being and as long as I am planted on the couch watching Big Brother and Mad Men, I won’t. It would be nice to have a relationship like Tami and Coach Taylor’s instead of just watching theirs. And what am I left with when my friends on the Island flash sideways and leave me? I have a lot to give the world. The Real Housewives of New Jersey do not need my Nielsen vote.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on completely cutting television out of my life. That would be crazy.  I love it too much.  My goal is to cut back to 10 hours a week and spend more time on other things like interacting with other human beings, learning cool new stuff, and giving back to the universe. This may still seem like a lot of TV for some, but when you have watched every episode of every season of as many shows as I have, this is quite a feat. I need to keep tabs on Sookie Stackhouse and am quite curious to see how Rubicon unfolds, but I also really want to read the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and save the world.

Why am I blogging about all of this? I am hoping that if I share my television reduction plan with all of you, it might help me stick to it.  And I have this theory that if I am committed to blogging about my life, maybe it will inspire me to make my life more interesting.  I would also love to share my thoughts on the shows that stay in the rotation (because let’s not forget, I do love television), and on life in general. And of course, it wouldn’t be a blog if I was not curious to hear your thoughts on my thoughts, so bring it on….

PS: I have already achieved my goal of not turning the TV on at all today by spending my Saturday night learning how to blog. The momentum is building.  Can you feel it?