Sunday, October 29, 2006

So Worth It

On Friday I left work before 3 pm to start my journey north to New York to visit Julipalooli, the Big Hairy Man, and my 2 favorite fairy goddaughters C and A. According to mapquest, yahoo maps, and google maps, my trip was supposed to be betwee 7 hrs and 7 hours 40 mins. With the non-stop rain, wind, and typical weekend traffic, I figured that by leaving by 3, I would probably arrive there around 11, maybe even earlier. Ha!
Originally we had a plan to meet in the middle on Saturday, both of us driving a few hours. But after several days of Googling random towns in Pennsylvania, we realized, there's just nothing there to do with 2 little girls. I needed some time and space to myself, and the idea of a long car ride appealed to me. So I volunteered to go the distance. Again, only thinking 7 hours...
I got there about 1 am. Not exactly the simple trip I had been hoping for. It rained the entire way up there. The wind was just strong enough that I had to keep both hands on the wheel, or risk slowly blowing off the road and down a mountain or ravine. So much for catching up on phone calls while I drive (no hands-free device for me).
But come Saturday morning, getting to hang out with the Caldwell Chix made it all worth it. You can see that my two favorite hairdressers went to town and made me look very lovely. (7 barrettes and one bracelet, plus "Andi's famous twist") I got to play with the girls for a while, and then Juli and I set off to do what it is we do best. SHOP! And for the first time ever, Juli spent way more than I did. I'm rather proud (and a bit shocked).

After the necessary shopping, PF Changs, and girl talk, we gathered up one Miss Hermione Granger and her pet cat Crookshanks, and went to the church Halloween party. The girls looked so cute in their costumes!

This is one of my favorite pictures of Juli. I think it shows her "juliness" quite well.

In just 48 hours I will be in Utah visiting my sister and nephews. Getting to spend this weekend with J's girls will be an interesting contrast to my nephews. My nephews do not appreciate attempts at cuddling, hugging, and heaven forbid, kisses. They are little boys and do enjoy candy, things to hit with, and heavy objects. C (Juli's 6 year old), on the other hand, put in a DVD (Harry Potter of course), brought me a blanket, and pronounced that it was now snuggling time. I put her in my lap, we snuggled up, I fell asleep, and best I can tell, she watched the movie. (A, on the other hand, walked around the room asking if it was a funny part or a scary part next.)
After the movie was over and the girls tucked in bed, Jules and I sat down in the guest room for a good old fashioned girls talk. It has been a long time since we did that! It is always a good thing when you can just sit and talk with someone who knows you inside and out like that.
I got up way early (for me) this morning. Most of the Caldwells were already up and at'em. Whatever. Freaking morning people. ;-) I still managed to get in the car and be gone before 8 am. In spite of going the wrong direction on no less than my first 6 roads, I managed to still make it home by 2:30 p.m. And I must give my car props! Obviously to make a 401 mile trip in 6.5 hours, with 4 bathroom stops (world's smalled bladder, right here) I had to be speeding a little bit. More than once as I zoomed through the amazing gold, orange, and red countryside of Pennsylvania I would look down to discover I was going over 100 mpg. And the best part was I couldn't feel it. My car really does handle well at high speeds!!
All in all, I am looking forward to the next Caldwell Chix trip, and to my Utah trip this week!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and then back to Virginia, Maryland, and then Utah

Driving to Fairport, NY to help Juli's daughter lose a tooth tonight. And then, obviously, shop with Juli. Hey, these things are important!
I'll be back Sunday night, just in time to do some quick laundry, re-fold some clothes, transfer to a suitcase, and fly to Utah for 5 days.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to pack for a trip like this?

Work day (not baggy jeans, favorite blazer, non comfy shoes)
Drive 7 hours in freezing rain (baggy jeans, sweatshirt, comfy shoes)
Pull a tooth (pajamas needed)
Shop with Jules (jeans, favorite sweater)
Trunk or Treat with J's girls (jeans, really freaking heavy coat)
Drive 7 hours again (baggy jeans, sweatshirt, comfy shoes)
Church meetings (run in house, change to a dress and boots)
Work day (slacks, sweater, etc)
Drive 4 hours to get Mom and car taken care of (who cares?)
Fly to Utah (comfy baggy pants, sweatshirt, slip off shoes for security purposes)
Trick or treat with nephews (Betty Rubble costume)
Pilates classes with sister (work out clothes)
Somewhere between 1-4 dates while there (don't ask) (having no clue what activities will be on these dates, have to pack for pretty much everything- good jeans, favorite shirt, brown boots, other favorite shirt, and something warm cause i think we're doing something outside in one case)
Dinner with girlfriend (black sweater, jeans, black boots)
Breakfast with cousins (jeans, sweater, no pressure)
Hiking with friend (hiking jeans, sweatshirt, tennis shoes)
Play with nephews clothes (jeans, tee shirts)
Shop and movies with my sister (where anything I want- it's just my sister)

So far that would be 4 pairs of shoes and 3 different pairs of jeans for a 5 day trip. I'm starting to think I prefer business trips! Tan pants, check! Black pants, check! Company polo shirts, check! Ugly and yet comfortable trade show shoes, check! And we're good to go!

Have a good weekend! I know I will!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Must Be My Electric Personality

Last week sometime- internet at home starts having problems
Sunday- laptop crashes
Monday- suddenly can't print to office printer, cable at home starts having problems
Tuesday- suddenly can't print to other office printer
Wednesday- touch radio, it suddenly surges and goes out

Is this what you call the opposite of the Midas Touch?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Gunshot Sensors Are Giving D.C. Police Jump on Suspects -

Gunshot Sensors Are Giving D.C. Police Jump on Suspects -

I am surprised I have never heard of this technology. Considering the number of police/law enforcement trade shows I attend, and the absurdly high number of police magazines I read daily, you would think I would have heard about this before. But no, I read about it in the interesting choice of Washington Post and not somewhere more trade oriented. (It is going to be high up on my list of things to do at work tomorrow to pass this article along to every editor I know in law enforcement print.)

ShotSpotter is a small device that detects gunshots and alerts the police instantly. So before anyone can reach a phone and report the gunshot, the cops have the ability to be on their way already.

I can't decide what I think of this technology and business idea. As a former 911 operator, I can see the benefits of it. I have several memories of sitting in the call center watching the traffic cameras, and witnessing an accident. But before I could punch out a unit I had to sit and wait for someone to call it in. From the law enforcement side of things, I also think it is great. The response time is considerably faster, and the chance to catch the offender is much higher- particularly in a neighborhood where people may feel threatened by a gang to not call it in.

But as a citizen I have to ask, what next? Now the cops can respond without a 911 being placed. But when they get on scene and no one is willing to talk for fear of retribution by a gang, what is the next step? Installing hidden cameras along with the ShotSpotters?

This is incredible technology. It is sensitive enough to distinguish between cars backfiring, fireworks, and a gunshot. But is too much? Is it too close to Big Brother watching? I don't know. I'm not sure how I feel about this one.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A big dose of humble pie

For several months now there has been a service project in the works. It was to be a BBQ with the wounded soldiers staying at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I had been planning to be the person in charge of this big event, but due to the 21 last days of nonstop trade shows, I had to hand off and watch from the sidelines. Steph did most of the work, with lots of help from other friends. I took several pictures of the event, but have chosen not to post them. We had a very fun time, and there are some cute pics, but it just doesn't seem right to post them.

It was a fun day. There's no question about that. But more than anything, it was a humbling day. I got the chance to sit and talk and eat with several of the soldiers. Before today there had been several jokes about me and my love of of men in uniform. And how could this not be a great day, when really, it was all about flirting with soldiers?

Today I talked to a young man from New York, complete with a thick awesome NY accent, who at first wouldn't look me in the eye. I thought maybe he was just a bit shy or uncomfortable talking to a stranger. But after a few minutes I realized he was trying to hide his amputated leg under a table so I couldn't see it. I just kept on talking, hopefully making it clear to him that his injury or loss wouldn't scare me off. After several minutes of trying to get the guy to talk to me, he asked me why we were there. I told him we just wanted to come meet them and hang out for the day. He gave me a long hard look before his eyes teared up and he just said, "that's really awesome." He still stayed a little shy with me, but I could tell he loved that a girl would sit and talk to a "guy like him."

Before long I talked to a few more guys in a small group. One had a cane, one was in a wheelchair, and the other was standing, and at first I couldn't see an injury on him. But then he turned around and his injury was painful to see. Scars lining the entire side of his face, and he had no ear. At one time he had been a good looking guy, and still was, from the right. He got a kick out of debating pistols with me for a minute. He was wrong, and I was right, but I doubt he cared much. (The M9 does NOT come in a 40 cal.) I think he just liked that I was talking to him.

We had an unexpected surprise in the middle of the day. A few of the Miss America contestants showed up to sign autographs and meet the men. Needless to say, the men were enthralled. I had to laugh when a few of the guys chose to stay and talk guns with me rather than go fawn over Miss Maryland. It will probably be the only time or place in my life where I will be more popular than a future Miss America.

As if the day's events weren't humbling enough just to meet these young men, (and I do mean young, I don't think I saw one soldier over the age of 30.) all wounded in combat, and all facing a different and difficult life ahead, I called my dad on my way home. He didn't have good news to share. A life long family friend (my dad's friend since childhood) has a terminal/malignant brain tumor. He's slowly deteriorating and dying painfully. It was very hard news to hear.

It was a humbling day. A day to realize how many blessings I have, and what a good life I enjoy. I've lost people in my life that I loved so much. I miss them. I miss them a lot. Today brought back every painful emotion of losing them. I can't wait for next week when I get to go see my little sister and nephews. I am grateful my baby sister called me just to chat so many times this week. And I love that my brother knew where he could turn for a little bit of help this week. After a day like today, you remember how much they really mean to you.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bye Bye Boston

It has been the strangest thing this week. I have worked for six months on this event. It is our biggest event of the year. We slave for this event. We kill ourselves over this event. We kill ourselves at this event. We work our butts off at this event. I stress out at this event. I go crazy under the pressure and almost always snap. And we eat amazing food at this event. But not this year. Something bizarre happened this year. Nothing happened. The first day of the show was a bit hairy for me as I had to make some crazy last minute changes. But then- poof! No problems. It has been the easiest, simplest, smoothest, and dare I say most boring, show we have ever done. Bizarre.
Boston didn't disappoint as far as food went. This week I have enjoyed lobster bisque, lamb and twice stuffed potatoes at the Stanhope Grill (absolutely divine), clam chowder and soft shell crab at Turner Fisheries, pear tart with arugala salad with pork loin, marshmallow and mango glaze, and truffle mac and cheese at 33 Restaurant, and last but not least, the clam chowder, New England Lobster Bake, oysters, clams, shrimp, and seaweed salad at Legal Seafood. I am ready to explode now!!

I did have a funny experience at 33 Restaurant though. I excused myself to "make a head call." (The sign I have been around cops and military too much is when I start using phrases such as "make a head call" without blinking.) The restaurant was very upscale and trendy. There were no directional signs to the bathrooms, but I did find 2 doors, side by side that were in a location you would expect the head to be in. But for the life of me I couldn't figure out which was mens or womens. So I just stood there hoping for a clue. No one went in or out of the doors for a good minute, and my bladder insisted I made a decision, so I chose door #2, and went in. Much to my relief, it was empty, and there were no urinals inside. I took care of business, washed my hands, and exited the bathroom. I ran smack into a woman standing in exactly the place I had while contemplating which room was which. She immediately said, "Oh thank goodness! I couldn't tell the rooms apart!" And she quickly ran into the bathroom. I was just glad to see I wasn't the only person who couldn't tell the squiggly lines on the doors apart!!

All in all, I'm exhausted and can't wait to get home again!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Boston Baby!

I have arrived in Boston for the International Assn of Chiefs of Police show. I decided to make some major changes for this trade show. In the past, I have delegated everything, and then found myself completely stressed and angry when I was either wondering if people were doing their jobs or when they failed at their jobs. This is a big and busy show for us, and everyone is a bit stressed when we are here. And I think I have had near meltdowns at each IACP show. Taking all of that into consideration, I made some major changes for this show. I'm doing it all myself. I still need some help with a few things as far as booth work goes, but for the most part, I'm doing it all myself. All the guys have to do is show up and sell. I'm doing the rest myself. So far this is working for me. I'm not mad because someone isn't pitching in and everything is getting done the way I want it! It also helps considerably that I chose to fly up here a day before the rest of the team so I could get a few things ready. For the first time, I feel a step ahead of the game, and not like I am getting blindsided or playing catch up.

For the most part everything looks great and is going smoothly. We've had 2 unexpected personnel issues, but we are prepared to work around that. And then there was the major problem we didn't see coming. I have a double decker booth with really cool graphics on the outside walls. In the past my booth has always been a peninsula or on the back aisle, so we never had to worry about the outside back wall. But today we realized we are on a walking aisle and our back wall is ugly. We weighed some options, and I had a little freaking out over it, and then at 4 pm, I made the decision to just pull the wall down. It wasn't a load bearing wall, and it eliminated my problems, so we just did it. Or rather, my fabulous and wonderful and flexible exhibit design and construction company did it. I spent a few hours a little worried about making such a major change on the fly like that, but I think it will work out for us.

In other fun events, I also am suddenly soft launching 3 products at this show. Do we have have marketing materials, advertising, pricing, availability, or test models available? No. But heaven forbid that stop us from launching!

All in all, I'm happy to be here. I'll be even happier when I wake up on Wednesday morning and this is all over. We have some fun dinners and activities planned for this week. I'm happy to be here and eating at all the great seafood places!

Gallaudet Reopens Amid Continued Protests -

Gallaudet Reopens Amid Continued Protests -

For the last few weeks the protests taking place at Gallaudet Univ. have made big news in the Washington DC area, and nationwide. I have watched quietly from the sidelines, wanting to blog on the subject, but knowing that as soon as I do I'm opening myself up to some serious negative feedback. But today as I read the reports on arrests and the continuing protests, I decided it was time to give in and say something.


At no other university would this sort of protest and disruption be allowed to go on. Stop and ask yourself if it is appropriate for students to refuse to go to class because they don't like the principal? Any other place in the world the response to students staging such a protest would be, "If you don't like the school, then don't go to this school!" No one is forcing these students to attend there. If they absolutely insist that they must have a deaf president, then choose to go to a school that offers one.

The deaf community loves to tout their mantra that "the only thing deaf people can't do is hear." They demand to be treated equally, and will even get rude with you if you attempt to treat them differently for their disability. Many are even offended if you call their hearing loss a disability. But the bottom line is, they are wrong. There are several things deaf people don't do as well as hearing people because of their disability. One of them is communicate equally with the hearing and oral world. In my experiences (and I have had several in-depth experiences) with the deaf culture the one thing I have learned is that they have a very difficult time expressing themselves fully, which leads to frustration, and angry outbursts, that quite frankly would never be considered acceptable by the hearing and oral world. If we threw such temper tantrums we would be punished and/or outcasted for such behaviors. But we apologize to the deaf community for our inability to understand them fully.

What does this have to do with Gallaudet? Everything. Students at any other university would be expelled or forced off campus for such behaviors. Students protesting an administrator would hardly make the back page of the local newspaper. It wouldn't garner national attention. So why are we paying attention to Gallaudet? Because of the novelty of it.

The resentment toward Fernandes has been building for a long time. Some former employees at the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center on Gallaudet's campus are still upset about her leadership there a decade ago, saying she created an atmosphere of distrust. Some professors are still unhappy they were not consulted about her appointment as provost six years ago.
And some black students and staff members were upset by the presidential search process, which eliminated a strong African American candidate in favor of three white people.

Above all, this gets on my nerves because it screams of reverse discrimination. Jane Fernandes is perfectly well-qualified for her position as university president from what I have read. The discrimination against her is pretty much only that she isn't deaf. Isn't that reverse discrimination? And why should a candidate ever be considered just for the color of their skin? Shouldn't it always be that we select candidates because they are the best candidate meeting all of the needed pre-requisites?

Personally I think a non-deaf president is good for the university. A univ. president is the liaison to the outside world, garnering support, funding, etc from surrounding communities. Fernandes is not deaf, but knows the deaf community better than almost all other hearing people. Doesn't that make her the best of both worlds? She knows how to be a school president, she knows the hearing world, and she knows the deaf world. In my opinion, an excellent candidate. And kudos to her for not backing down to the students' temper tantrums and protests.

Reverse discrimination helps no one. Gallaudent Students- shut up and go back to class. Get an education so you can find out you're acting like babies.

Friday, October 13, 2006

15 days down, 6 to go, and then, oh wait, it never ends!

I got back from Albuquerque last Thursday, and turned right around to attend the Assn of the US Army (AUSA) convention in Washington, DC. This has been one of the hardest weeks of my entire year. Last year we, and by "we" I mean me and the convention services company GES, really bungled the show. I sent my paperwork in late, but it got there. And then GES lost all my paperwork. All in all, last year was a complete and utter disaster, and one of the worst event planning experiences of my life. Determined to not have any disasters this year, I hired an outside contractor to build me a custom booth, and decided to personally pack the boxes to ship to the show, and not rely on the warehouse to do it for me.

The show opened on Monday, so on Sunday I had to go down and just check in, make sure everything was there, etc. I thought this would be a quick and easy procedure. Ha! I am so naive! Instead, when I arrived there was nothing. Zilch, zero, zippo. I hadn't thought to ask for a shipping or tracking number. Why would I? It was a same day shipment. How can a crate moving only 30 miles up the road get lost? That made no sense. So instead I jumped to a much more logical conclusion- that after I had packed everything and left explicit instructions on when and how to ship the crate, the warehouse just hadn't done their job. This sort of thing has been known to happen before, so I started panic calling and emailing people throughout the company who just might answer a cell phone or blackberry on a Sunday. I recruited Ann into my efforts, but we got nowhere. I had to go home after 5 hours there basically freaked out. NONE of my materials were at the show. I had more or less decided I was just going to quit my job because I can't handle not being able to rely on other people to do their jobs, and then be blamed for it myself. The company "blame" mentality is that although I wasn't the one who didn't forget to ship the package, and although I'm in a different state and can't see what they are or are not doing in the warehouse, it will be my fault that it didn't arrive because I am the one who didn't call to make sure it shipped. In the back of my head the very unlikely option that maybe the warehouse did send my stuff and somehow the trucking company just lost my same day shipment was there, but I didn't pay much attention to it, because really what were the odds?

Well, my phone started ringing at 5:45 am on Monday morning. I didn't sleep all night because I was so freaked out and trying to figure out a plan B, or C or D, or anything. As the phone calls and emails started coming in from the people I had contacted on Sunday, I realized this was not a simple mistake. That teeny tiny chance that the freight company had screwed up a direct and nonstop shipment had actually happened. Next thing you know we have the VP of the freight company on the phone, the loading dock manager is coming to my booth personally to ask questions, the expo company is bending over backwards, and at one point I had 15 union laborers scouring a loading dock searching for my crate. The crowning moment was when the head of the convention center came down to personally apologize for the situation. Fingers were being pointed everywhere!! But thankfully, not at me. Which was good, because at that point, I was ready for a complete and total meltdown. Mysteriously, my crate appeared and was delivered quickly to the building and then to my booth. And I managed to get everything set up and finished only 10 minutes after the show opened.

About that point is when I realized someone was missing. We had a new guy on his first day at work in the booth with me (lucky him getting stuck with a frantic me), and my other co-worker was AWOL. A few phone calls and emails later and I find out he's having car trouble and may not be in for a while. So we have no experts in the booth, just me and the New Guy. But New Guy knew his stuff and did quite well. And for once, a guy had no problems deferring to me when he didn't know something. Shocking I tell you! I got several supportive and kind emails and phone calls during the day Monday, and for that I must thank my friends. You know who you are. It was probably after 1 pm before I really let go of my frustrations and anger. Oh, and I didn't quit.

Tuesday rolls around, and we had a few glitches, and I lost my cool, but it ended soon enough. The hardest part of Tuesday were my feet. I could barely walk from the pain of the blisters I got running around on Monday. I had 7 nickel-sized blisters on one foot alone. I wanted to cry the pain was so bad! But I managed to survive the day again and join my dear
Anne C. for the "So You Think You Can Dance" Tour. The show was absolutely great and well-worth the exhaustion for the evening. The highlight for me was getting to see the "Tranji" dance and the group number "Rama Lama Bang Bang." And just because I am soooo nice, you can see it too!

The rest of the trade show was pretty uneventful. It was a lot of fun to see my friend Ed Walters in a work setting though. It was the first time I've ever really seen a friend in a work setting like that before.

So the show finally ended, I went back to work today, and now I'm off to Boston on Friday. Just 6 more days!!! I just have to get through my last biggest event of the year, and I can breathe again. Or not. I'm home for 13 days, preparing for 3 more major shows, and then I go off to Utah to visit my nephews for Halloween. I get back from that just in time for the next events, and then- breathe- it's Thanksgiving! Yeah!

Somehow knowing for 9 months that these 21 days of hell were coming hasn't made it any easier on me. I'm flying up to Boston early so I can have any necessary panic attacks before the rest of my team sees me. Cross your fingers for me that the freight company won't make any wrong turns, Fed Ex won't lose a plane, and no one gets food poisoning from the clam chowder. I just have to get through six more days of this... And then, yeah, maybe I won't have a nervous breakdown.

Oh, and keep the supportive emails and text messages coming! They help a lot!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Perfect Man

He has great taste in hats, knows how to travel in style, and yet affordably, loves a good stinky cheese, wasn't intimidated at all by all the men in uniform at the Army show in DC this week, and makes for great arm candy.
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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hookin' Up and Hangin' Out

If you know me at all, you know I love Toby Keith. And more than just loving his music, I love his concerts. And on Saturday night, I went to my third Toby concert. I'm becoming something of a groupie. Need proof?

Toby, whether or not you like his music, puts on one helluva show. The man can perform like no other. And last night, while far from the best show I've seen him do, was not a disappointment!
Rae and I made the trek out to Nissan Pavilion in spite of the not outdoors concert weather. Nissan is an outside venue and we had lawn seats, which we knew meant we'd be braving some serious mud and traffic to see the show. And I have to say, I'm glad we did it. We got there early enough to be in the first and a half rows of lawn seats. Now, in my personal opinion lawn chairs should be strictly verboden at such events. But alas, I still don't rule the world, and therefore, people are still rude and block the view of the more polite fans behind them. We chose to sit in such a place where the only people blocking us were a couple of teenage girls and their mothers (hereafter to be known as The Freaking Cheerleaders) that were not in chairs. We sat strategically so that we could see right over and around them, having an excellent view of the stage and massive screens.

The opening acts were Rushlow Harris (a duo that, mark my words, will make it HUGE in no time at all), and the beautiful, charming, and all together delicious Joe Nicholls. No one has ever heard of Rushlow Harris, and I don't even think they have anything out on the radio yet. Therefore, no one should be on their feet screaming for them yet, RIGHT? But no, before the duo even started singing the freaking cheerleaders were on their feet. No one else in the ENTIRE audience is standing. NO ONE. Certainly not anyone else in the first row (note, first row, not front row). But the girls are standing. I considered asking them to sit until Toby Keith took the stage, but someone beat me to it. And from what I could tell, that lady asked politely. But White Tee Shirt Cheerleader turned and gave her what was clearly not a polite response. One of the mothers quickly popped up and asked the girls what had happened. From my point of view, the girls may have dramatized the exchange just a bit in replaying the story. Next thing you know, their stupid moms are up on their feet too! Oh, and giving the girls beer to drink. They girls couldn't have been more than 15 or 16.

I say if you can't make them do what you want, mock them and make them suffer appropriately. So I took this picture. I noticed from their shirts that they go to my sister's rival high school. I have every intention of making sure this unflattering butt shot gets circulated widely on MySpace soon. Because I'm just that nice.

So, really Rushlow Harris and Joe Nichols were worth the show alone. Joe Nichols even caught a red bra thrown at him during the show and continued to finish the last song and a half with it hanging from his guitar. Not that that makes him great or anything. But it does give you an idea of how much swooning goes on in his presence.

And then it was time for Toby Keith. Yeah Baby. There is nothing quite like hearing, feeling, and seeing thousands of mostly drunk rednecks singing Toby songs. (Rae didn't quite care for the "I'll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Again" song.) Oh and during Toby's performance, everyone was on their feet singing and dancing along. But by then the cheerleaders had moved up to some other seats, leaving us with their mothers. What I like about Toby Keith songs are the originality in the lyrics, and the not-so-typical subject matters. Sure they are still country and redneck related, but it isn't the usual stuff. For instance, "Who's Your Daddy?," or "I Wanna Talk About Me," are not your standard fare, but very fun to sing and scream along to.

In the end, what is the one song that Toby Keith will always be known for? And the song that probably half the audience comes to hear? "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," otherwise known as the "Boot in Your Ass" song. I love that song, and pretty much everything about it. And I gotta tell ya, there is nothing quite like witnessing 10,000 drunk rednecks screaming in unison, with fireworks, lights, etc going on, "WE'LL PUT A BOOT IN YOUR ASS, IT'S THE AMERICAN WAY!" And that moment, right there, was worth the entire night! I may not get my hearing back for a month, but it was well worth the night!

(not taken at the concert we were at. but just so you can see how the stage lights up right at "we'll put a boot in your ass." oh, and he was on-key at our concert.)

Friday, October 06, 2006

One last picture from ABQ

Oh to be a fly on the wall... Yes, friends, that would be fly tape hanging from the ceiling of the range building I was in all week. Just one of possibly 20 fly tapes hanging from the ceiling. Except it isn't really a ceiling is it? It's just the rafters where they haven't yet put in the ceiling tiles, or activated the air system inside those ducts you see.
Ah yes, it is ever so glamorous to travel and be an important businesswoman!
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Note to Self

Note to self: when flying home remember to take all 10 of the pocket knives out of your briefcase, not just 7. Also, don't wear the same pants to the airport that you wore to the shooting range. Particularly if the airport has one of those sniffer machines that detects gun shot residue (gsr). The combo of GSR and knives at 7 am may be more than the otherwise bored TSA guys can handle.
Other note to self: Offering to just let the TSA guys keep your knives will help get you out of trouble.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Life Is Just So Dang Glamorous

If you can't handle sarcasm, you may not want to read this post.

Welcome to Life on the Road With Erin. As previously mentioned, I am hanging out on a shooting range this week at the National Police Shooting Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I'm staying in a hotel that does not deserve to be called a hotel, and learning all about dry air, nosebleeds, tumbleweed, and more.

This lovely picture may just look like dirt to you, but to me it is a picture of approximately 50 hot shooting lanes (active fire). Granted that is 50 hot lanes in the middle of miles of dirt. When I say we are out in the middle of freaking nowhere this week, I mean it!!

Usually at a trade show we are kept hopping the whole time. But due to the nature of this particular event, where all the attendees are very busy shooting, we have a lot of long extended periods of downtime. In fact, one may venture to say we are bored! When the attendees have finished competing they come and visit us, but that only happens in spurts every so often. For the most part, it is QUIET. (This is my "booth" for this particular show. And a co-worker who likes to be nameless is pictured quietly in the background.)

This is my bored face. It's not my best side.

And these are the only 2 things keeping me alive. Diet Coke and the Blackberry. Today I wrote over 100 emails on my Blackberry before the battery finally died at 2 pm. The last 1.5 hours without my Blackberry nearly killed me.

There are perks to traveling. For instance, tonight we had dinner at PF Chang's. Have I ever mentioned how much I love that place? I have a picture of the beautiful dessert I ate tonight, but blogger is refusing to post it for me. You'll just have to trust me that I ate quite well this week.


Monday, October 02, 2006

No Crazy Lady Today

Albuquerque Sunset

And the obligatory hotel room self-portrait

On Saturday night when I checked into the hotel the front desk clerk kept changing her mind about which room to give me. But the room I am in was the only one that fit my requirements (minimum queen sized bed and non-smoking). So after getting wishy washy two or three times, she finally gave me my keys, and quickly ran off. I grabbed my suitcase and took the elevator to my room. When I got up to my room the front desk clerk was trying a key on my door already! She then explained VERY quickly that there is a crazy lady who apparently likes to break into my room. "But she's been better lately." But she (the front desk clerk) just wanted to make sure my room was empty before I got in there. Conveniently? My room was empty, and it was all mine. That was Saturday night. I would have asked for a different room, but the place is sold out right now.
On Sunday evening when we got back to the hotel I walked past the front desk again and the front desk clerk quickly asked me if I had seen the crazy lady, or if she had caused me any problems. Um, no?
But now I can't shake this bad dream I had on Saturday night. It was just a dream, right? I never have bad dreams, and this one was uncomfortably real. I dreamed that someone came into my hotel room and was on top of me. Not hurting me, but just laying down on top of me trying to squish me and whispered something scary in my ear. I tried to wake myself up out of the dream and into reality, but I just couldn't do it. At the time I kept thinking it was because the linens on the bed were so tightly tucked in that I couldn't move or turn over. I sleep on my stomach so I couldn't see if someone was really on me. And now I just can't stop freaking out about it. What if it wasn't a dream? What if the crazy lady did come into my room? Could it have been real?? Either way, I am sleeping with my room booby-trapped (and by booby trapped I mean the ironing board up against the door so I'll hear it if it falls) tonight!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Apparently people actually read this stuff

So when we last left my love life, or lack thereof, there was Guy #1 and Guy #2. Guy #2 had actually finally knoced #1 out of line, but I was keeping their numbers the same. Well, today I am "happy" to report that #2 is firmly in second place again. Guy #1 is firmly ensconsed in first place, and doing a great job of eliminating his competition. Guy #2 just manages to let me down and doesn't seem to care that he does so. (Which makes it really easy to forget about him.) Guy #1 is doing a great job of freaking me out. I keep giving him perfectly good reasons to wake up and realize I'm not this little perfect girl he thinks I am. I'm not scaring him off. I don't get it! He just may be around for the long haul!

God Knew What He Was Doing...

... When he made me a Virginian.

This morning I woke up to an odd memory I had otherwise forgotten. It was of an allergist giving me the results of my prick test 13 years ago. She rattled off the expected allergies- dust, mold, etc. And then added, "And you'll want to avoid the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest since you are off the chart for tumbleweed." I had just finished a year at BYU, and that explained the incessant head cold I had for that entire year. But to be honest, up till that moment, I didn't know tumbleweed was real. I thought it was just something you saw in cartoons. Well, this morning waking up in Albuquerque (in a rat hole of a motel), I am remembering loud, and oh so painfully clear, that tumbleweed in fact is not just in cartoons, and that yes, I am horribly allergic to it.
Which basically wraps up that I was not meant for California (too laid back for my "inside the Beltway personality), clearly not Floridian, however much I loved that state (hair was too frizzy there), never going to fit in in Utah (I'm not made from a cookie cutter), far too Southern for Texas (trust me, Texan and Southern are very different things), and my corn and wheat allergies should keep me far away from the bread basket of America for life. So God must have known what he was doing when he made me a Virginian!

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