Thursday, April 29, 2010

Event Anxiety Over

In my last post, I was preparing for a black tie event, the Downtown Denver Awards, which I was attending without Sandy. It happened last night and it went well! 

My final touch was to get my hair “done,” which means that I paid someone to give my an up-do.  My hair isn’t very long, so this up-do would have been a near impossibility for me and my “regular” hair is not exactly what I call polished.  I got it done at Star Salon here in Denver and they did an awesome job.  Winds were gusting up to 25 mph in Denver but my hair didn’t budge and looked fabulous. 

All of my separately purchased items (dress, shoes, wrap, necklace, etc.) came together nicely, if I do say so myself.  I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been so dressed up and hopefully I can get a lot of mileage out of these newly acquired items! So, if you see meet at a dressy event in the next few years, I’ll probably have on a similar outfit as the one below.

DD Awards 2 008

Here is a close up of my nose (I think it takes up 1/3 of the photo!).

DD awards 001

The event itself was less anxiety-filled than I imagined.  I saw both the current and past Colorado Governor as well as Denver’s Mayor (maybe the next Governor?).  I actually knew some people there and spoke with them and met some new people and managed to not spit too much while I spoke.  That’s that really. Success!

Friday, April 23, 2010

black tie

So, I’ve got a serious yuppie problem.  I’m attending my first (and maybe last) black tie event next week.  I’m fretting about two things: what to wear and what the heck to say to people.

I am getting into the event for free as a result of being in the Downtown Denver Partnership Leadership Program.  It’s meant to be a benefit and an opportunity to connect with people to whom you wouldn’t normally have access. That’s great if you have any networking skills.  I’m an amateur networker.  One of my dear co-workers has assured me that I do interesting things both professionally and personally and people will want to hear about them.  But, whatever, I’ll figure that talking part out.  The real obstacle is what to wear!

I’ve been informed that this isn’t an event so formal as to have long gowns  worn but that a cocktail dress will do the trick.  I don’t have any dresses really.  I don’t have panty hose. I don’t have dress heels.  My only watch is a Timex IronMan.  I work for a public agency for goodness sakes!  I don’t have to look great – I get away with Dansko shoes and look (comparatively) pretty good most of the time. 

To top it off, I’m not that adventurous in the way of fashion.  So far I’ve purchased a plain, sleeveless, black Ann Taylor dress, which I cannot find online, a silver necklace and a light, gauzy, pink wrap.  Now I need shoes.  I have ankle problems.  Without risk of physical and mental injury, I cannot wear tiny, tall heels

Let me close this ridiculous post by saying once again that I know I have a good life and realize these are NOT real problems.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I'm doing a rare personal post. 

Before I go on about my personal defeat, I have to preface the post.  I realize I am lucky.  I am eating a salad with Sabra hummus, robusto cheese, toasted pita, raw garlic and it's accompanied with clean water and a Stone Cali-Belgie IPA.   I have a roof over my head, my sight is intact, a warm bed to sleep in, etc.  We all have our little issues though.

About two weeks ago gave a presentation to the Transit Alliance Citizens Academy.  The Transit Alliance is an advocacy group for transit and their citizens academy is an attempt to educate "regular" people (i.e. people who don't work in the transportation field) on various aspects of planning and transit. The idea is that they may go back out into the regional community and spread their knowledge of transportation.  Well, it turns out there were at least two people in the class who do work in the transportation field and one of them actually works for my company (!).

I gave a 20-25 minute presentation on a project I have worked on for about 4 years, The Quality of Life Study. It was the first time I'd given the presentation to such a large group and it had been a while in general since I'd presented on the topic at all.  So, bottom line: I absolutely sucked.  Now, you might be thinking, "she's just being hard on herself."  Nope, I got the student evaluations today.  OVERWHELMINGLY , I was described as dry, a bad presenter and even seemed not to know the material (!!). As I mentioned, I've worked on this project as the Program Manager for 4 years.

Long story short, I've been kind of sulking about it all day and have noticed my confidence is down in general.  I never entertained the notion of being a professional presenter, but for goodness sakes, I wouldn't have described myself as downright awful. I know there is an upside to the situation but I don't care, I'm sulking.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The proposal of girlfriends past

I'm realizing now that I never did a post of my trip to Moab, Utah a few weeks ago with some girlfriends...I'll have to correct that situation in the near future.  Anyway, a few weeks ago I went on this quick weekend trip to Moab with two girlfriends, Kara and Trisha.  One of the two nights we stayed in a hotel.

We ended up  watching Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Golly, what to say.  It was ridiculous and cheezy and without many redeeming qualities but I did get a little teary in one section.  Hey, I have emotional episodes from time to time...But that aside, I recommend that you DO NOT SEE IT.  A quote from a New York Times review is all I'll offer, it's "a junky-looking romantic comedy that’s neither remotely romantic nor passably comic."

Moving on, my man was out of town for a night last week and I took the opportunity to waste time watching another pretty bad movie: The Proposal. I don't know why I selected this movie, except that it looked like junk food for the brain and I craved some junk food.

The movie is about "A pushy boss [Sandra Bullock] forces her young assistant to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada."  Although I generally disliked the film, the one part that I did enjoy was where Sandra B's character said that her first concert was Rob Base and DJ Ez Rock and went on to sing a bit of "It takes two." 

I think I liked that part because it was so out of character.  But I guess, truth be told, I do like watching movies where women, for better or worse, kick ass and take names.  I think in "real life" it doesn't happen that often.  Sandra Bullock's character wasn't a far cry from the Oscar-winning character she played in The Blind Side.  I liked that character even more. All that said, I do not recommend watching this movie either.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Fourth Kind Brother

Either movies aren't reaching me the way they used to or I'm not finding and watching the good movies.  I think it's the latter.  Last week we watched The Fourth Kind and Brothers.  Neither were especially gripping for me.  Well, Brothers was certainly better than The Fourth Kind but just wasn't as intense as I'd imagined after seeing the preview (esp. because the preview made it look a bit steamier...).

The Fourth Kind

Movie description:

"In 1972, a scale of measurement was established for alien encounters. When a UFO is sighted, it is called an encounter of the first kind. When evidence is collected, it is known as an encounter of the second kind. When contact is made with extraterrestrials, it is the third kind. The next level, abduction, is the fourth kind. This encounter has been the most difficult to document...until now."
I did a little peeking on the interwebs and didn't find much support for the validity of the "actual" research the movie put out there.  This is in the Blair Witch film genre and doesn't do it that well.


The movie descriptions I've found are long and are kind of spoilers.  So, I'll describe it this way: "Good" military brother (Tobey Maguire) with family (Natalie Portman and two little girls) dies in Afghanistan and "bad" ex-con brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) saves the day at home. 

There is some fantastic tension in the movie, both in America around dinner tables and in Afghanistan but I didn't walk away feeling blown away with the intense emotion and drama.  It felt a little two dimensional.  I am also not in a military family and don't have to go through all of the horrible stuff they go through everyday. 

So, there it is.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I work in transportation. More specifically, I work in transit. But this post really isn't about transit.

There is a lot of research going on in transportation and it encompasses everything from bikes and pedestrians to aviation and freight. I receive regular emails from various organizations doing research and getting the word out about said research. I come across some bizarre stuff, or stuff that seems bizarre to me.

Take for instance the paper I recently came across on "An Assessment of the Animal Carcass Disposal Practices of the Virginia Department of Transportation and Guidance for the Selection of Alternative Carcass Management Options."  Alternative Carcass Management Options!!!  I know these are real and serious issues related to animal vehicle collisions - especially for some person who has the title of Carcass Manager. When I'm sitting at my desk at 3 pm on a Tuesday afternoon and something like this comes into my email box, I get a little chuckley.  But when I see illustrations like the following, I, um, golly...

There are also conferences that catch my eye. For example, the National Conference on Pavement Evaluation is coming up in October. The receptions for this have got to be hot. Especially those involving the Road Profiler Users Group.

There's also the 10th Annual Conference on Low Volume Roads taking place at Walt Disney World. 

Now, given the name, I imagine the LVR conference is nothing compared to the shit that goes down at the high volume roads conference!  I see that the awards luncheon will feature the "Yoder" award and that conference attendees get to go on a field trip where they "study and observe low-volume road issues."  What might those be?

I'll keep my eye out for other interesting research.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Exploding dog

I have discovered yet another artist that dazzles me but this time I'm dazzled by the simplicity.  One problem is that I don't know the artist's name.  I do, however, have an avenue to purchase and view the art: The Exploding Dog Store!   As I've mentioned in previous art appreciation posts, I have a fancy for the whimsical.  There is something about stick figures that is so simple yet so amusing at the same time.  These are a few that I most enjoyed:

"for you"

"look at the stars"

"the city could not stop"

"where do we go"
Makes me happy just to look at them.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Peep follow up

After yesterday's post, I found myself intrigued by the Peeps company.  I went to the Peeps web site, which was not as fancy as I thought it would be - cheesy music and somewhat simple.  But who am I to judge, I just have a blog. Anyway, I wanted to share the two things I found most interesting.

1) A recipe for "Peeps blue raspberry sparkle"

First of all, the idea of Peeps on or in food is really vile.  Actually, Peeps hardly seem like food.  If you looked at the recipe, you've seen that the it calls for raspberry flavored carbonated water.  The chemistry of jello and carbonated beverage creating the "sparkle" look is a mind blower.

2) Peeps flowerpot topiary

I don't know about you, but this doesn't look that appetizing.  It doesn't really look that good visually either.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Denver's only major newspaper, the Denver Post, held its first annual "Peeps Diorama Contest."  I may be wrong here but I'm thinking it's possible they are getting money or some kind of incentive from the Peeps company.  That's not important.  What is important is that the Peeps contest had A LOT of entries.  What I went ahead and did for you was peruse all 180+ entries and pull out some representative samples.  Oh, let me tell you right now that I had no idea this contest was going on.  Otherwise I would have had a peep in the race, as it were.

As you might imagine, there were many entries from the 11 and under crowd (likely with parental help). Two examples:

This one falls in the cute category but it's special because it's transit!

"Peepatar" - there were several of these but not as many as the "lonely peeps club band" themed.

Witty, eh?


Sure, I get it, they are Peep musicians but...?

Are they supposed to be in the nest and the 2-D mother Peep is drawn on the wall??

These were very amusing to me.

Now there were some that I was surprised to find.  I'll let them speak for themselves. Brace yourselves - you may not want to look at some of these...

"Peepzilla" - notice the little corpses

It took me a second to figure out what was happening. The sun can be harsher to some more than others, and, in this case, I don't mean just red heads!


"The Peeps are coming" and they are pissed apparently.

This one was untitled but we can go ahead and call it "Peep Chainsaw Massacre"