I can go for days without anything of real interest going on, at least nothing interesting to blog about. And then I have a day where, like, 38 interesting things happen. Yesterday was one of those days!
I had a "pre-interview" of sorts over lunch with someone at a giant techie corporation in RTP (Research Triangle Park, for those of you outside NC). I was quite nervous, because I am in no way qualified for an IT job. But apparently for this one you don't need a background in IT. They expect you to learn on the job. Apparently I made a decent impression, because the guy who met with me decided to pass on my resume to his boss. So hopefully that will lead to a real interview. I feel like I did after I quit teaching...I'm at the point where I'm willing to take any job that will pay the bills...not desperate enough to apply at McDonald's, but okay with putting the search for a dream job on hold because this is a great opportunity to beef up my resume in an entirely new field, and it pays well. Well enough that I might be able to get monthly massages! Woo hoo! Oh, and buy a house and save and all that responsible stuff.
(I think I'm on a massage kick lately because I am suffering from some serious tension in my shoulders. Another sign I'm spending way too much time on the computer.)
So it was my first trip into RTP, and it is very impressive. Big expanses of trees, with little clusters of buildings here and there. They all look rather new, and none of them are tall. It's the kind of business park where occupants call their offices "campuses." It definitely felt like college at lunch. We ate in the company cafe and it was like a new-fangled dining hall. Not the kind where the lady behind the vat of mystery casserole plops a giant helping onto your plate, but the kind where it looks more like a food court and all the options are genuinely tempting. I would love eating there everyday! The most college-y part was when you put your tray into the cleaning racks after you're finished. Definitely a flashback!
After the lunch meeting I went to see where my friend Arvind works. I felt like a kid on a school field trip. He does the closed-circuit TV broadcasts for the giant techie corporation. Yes, the corporation is giant enough to have several of its own TV stations! They have little talk shows where they discuss techie stuff. And I think they do quarterly meetings that way too. Anyway, the control room was overwhelming...so much equipment, so many buttons and little screens, and all of it just a comlpete mystery to me, and like a second home to Arvind.
And you thought YOUR cord management was challenging!
Amazing. It's basically a one-man shop, too--he does the lighting, the sound, the cameras, everything. Down to brushing the suede chairs before a show so that they look better. It's all in the details. There are people who notice that kind of thing, and I'm one of them. Here's me in the studio...
On my way out, I encountered some geese, which I'm told refuse to leave the campus because they are so well fed. I think they are cute, but they are also rather dirty. Giant birds=giant bird droppings. Enough said.
As if that weren't adventure enough for our heroine, she had to rush off to Bunco night afterwards. It was our first meeting, and I didn't know what to expect. The lady who volunteered to organize it did not give us any indication of how prepared she was, but it turned out great because she had a delicious spread of munchies and had photocopied rules for everyone. It is not a hard game to learn...there is no skill involved...but it can get confusing when you don't know which table to move to, and what to do when there are "ghost" players. But we all managed to do fine. It helps when everyone is laid back about it, and just rolls with the punches. You forgot to ring the bell? Eh, who cares? We scheduled the next one for four weeks from now, and I'm already looking forward to it! Everyone there was positively delightful. I enjoyed meeting all the new faces.
News Flash: I'm French!
One incredible coincidence: when the hostess asked my last name, and I said it, one of the ladies there exclaimed, "Did you say 'Mertz'?! That was my maiden name!" I have never in my life met a Mertz I'm not related to! She was from St. Louis and said there are tons of Mertzes there. Her family got into researching their geneology, and traced the Mertz clan all the way back to the 1500's in the Alsace-Lorraine region of Europe. Now, is that part of Germany, the country I always assumed was my ancestral homeland? It sure sounds French. Hold on. Apparently it flip-flopped between German and French control, and is now vehemently bi-cultural. How cool to think that I've got French blood in me!
The other thing I wanted to write about is a couple movies I've seen. I saw Wedding Crashers the other day on DVD...I was very disappointed. It had done so well at the box office, and from the previews I'd imagined it having a lot of potential. But it was basically just crass and dumb. Granted, I did watch the unrated version, so maybe the theatrical version would not warrant "crass," but I bet it would still be "dumb." The other movie I saw was The Family Stone. It was very good. More of a drama than I'd expected, but that made it meaty, so to speak. The cast was amazing. I adore Sarah Jessica Parker, and Rachel McAdams is rising on my list. Of course Diane Keaton rules (Something's Gotta Give is in my top 10, if not my top 5). Stone is definitely one I want to watch again...I often like movies more the second time around. But Wedding Crashers? Nope, doesn't warrant a second viewing in my opinion.
You gotta check these out because they are fun and incredible, respectively. First, a time-wasting game (thanks, Arvind!): my high score is 318...anything over 250 is doing well though. And second, a fascinating concept site (thanks, Mom!): photos taken with an extremely high-resolution camera. The photos are gorgeous by themselves, but then when you see the cropping/zooming capabilities, it just wows you.