Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Wicked Update

It happened, it was wonderful, and I haven’t gotten in anyone’s face yet to tell them they are missing out on the joys of Wicked. I think that equates success.

Much like Jesus, Wicked was a good thing that I want to share with people. But the most effective method of conversion is probably not arguing my superiority for having seen the show and implying you are insufficient for not having done so. If you get the chance, take it; you definitely won’t regret it. You’ll feel empowered by the story of humanity, beauty, and friendship; you’ll believe in happy endings, and you’ll find new reasons to enjoy The Wizard of Oz.

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Managing Expectations: Book Club

I am a firm believer that you cannot expect people to give you what you want or live up to your expectations unless you clearly communicate what you want from them. Only then can you be upset when things don’t go your way. It’s also a good idea to assess what you expect from a situation, the likelihood the outcome will meet your expectations, and whether you want too much out of something or someone and should therefore adjust your expectations accordingly.

It is within this framework I think about my first ever book club meeting tomorrow night. In an effort to continue reading with a purpose and discussing literature now that I’m a graduate and not a lit major, I organized my very own book club. I told some friends and a few coworkers what book to read and when and where the club would meet. The book is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (I’ll get to it in a future post), and the meeting is tomorrow. I’m excited, but I’m also aware I need to assess my expectations and align them with reality.

In theory, the inaugural book club meeting should be the most highly attended. After the first meeting, some will decide it’s not their thing and others will have other obligations. In terms of a graph it will probably start to descend after the first meeting and find a steady holding point. Every now and then it will spike as a new person expresses interest or someone brings a friend. I am realizing it’s likely the three people with whom I spend the majority of my time will be my only book club attendees. They’re very loyal, so their varying degrees of interest will be trumped by their desire to be at something they know is important to me. I am very grateful to them for that, and I’m looking forward to spending my evening with them if they are the only people that show up.

This all sounds very pessimistic, so let me clarify: I will be thrilled whether or not more than three people show up. And I probably won’t give up on it after just one month even if everyone who responded to my invite doesn’t come. I’m not expecting it to fail; I simply refuse to be disappointed because reality doesn’t align with some grand vision in my head. If I have an idea of what to expect, anything above my expectations will be a bonus and everything that meets my expectations will be exactly what I want! Beyond attendance, we’ll see who actually read the book. This isn’t a class, and I don’t have any dictatorial ambitions, so if everyone hasn’t read it I’ll be okay. Whatever happens, it should be fun!

Note: I am still on allergy medication and heavily sedated. It is possible I won’t remember what the book is about or remember the next day who showed up. So to those coming to book club, let me manage your expectations by giving you this knowledge up front.

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It ends tonight. This is the typical reaction when someone finds out I haven’t seen the musical Wicked:

Person: “What?! How have you not seen wicked?! It’s SO GOOD!!”

Me: “It tends to sell out quickly and tickets are usually expensive.”

Person: “It doesn’t matter! It’s Wicked!”

This conversation continues, fruitlessly, in this same manner. But not anymore. Tonight I’ll see what all the hype is about. I will know if the show is as good as these wide-eyed, crazy people say or if they are part of some larger conspiracy to sell tickets to a horrible show, Producers style.

Most importantly, no matter how much I enjoy the show I will make a conscious effort to not get up in anyone’s face who hasn’t seen it. It might be the greatest show ever, but there’s no need for causing others the discomfort I have experienced. And to you Wicked enthusiasts, remember to be gentle.

Disclaimer: I am under the influence of allergy medication and heavily sedated. I can tell this post has not met the standard of quality for which I strive. All apologies.

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Paranormal Update

Due to an unforeseen adventure of running out of gas on the way to dinner I got home later than planned Friday night to begin the Paranormal marathon. But I keep my commitments, so we started watching. Kristen and I watch a good deal of ghost-hunting tv, and while we don’t have our own paranormal experiences to speak of, I think we both think it’s possible these things are real. That being said, the first movie freaked me out. I didn’t even want to get off the couch to start the second movie because I felt exposed and vulnerable getting out from under my blanket (I recognize how ridiculous that sounds). I overcame my fears and started movie number two, but I’m such an old lady I couldn’t stay awake. After I dozed off several times Kristen suggested we pick up the marathon Saturday.

Saturday morning the weather was sunny and beautiful, and we walked to brunch before we finished the movie. A sunny morning drastically changes the movie-watching experience, so I spent less time cowering in fear.

This has been quite the extended marathon (I use the term loosely), but eventually we’ll see the new one. Maybe Saturday post-brunch when there’s still daylight as we leave the theater.

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Paranormal Evening Activities

Sometimes I have really dumb ideas. One of these was to watch every Batman movie Blockbuster (may it rest in peace) had available in a 13-hour marathon before going to see The Dark Knight. This was dumb because I don’t particularly like staying up late or sitting through one movie, much less five. So I may regret my evening plans, but I doubt it.

Tonight my roommate and I will be watching Paranormal Activity 1 and 2, and soon we will hit the theaters for number three. While this will not require the time commitment of Batman, I imagine my capacity for terror will be tested. I can only hope we will be able to sleep when it’s over. I have not seen any of these movies, but there’s no better way to catch up than in one fell swoop.

I will always say after a ridiculous marathon that it was a terrible idea, but the truth is I’ve gotten closer to some of my favorite people by watching tv well into the night. So here’s to roommate bonding and hoping our dog will be able to protect us from the ghosts!

Question: What movie/tv show marathon would you lose sleep for?

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Professional Development: A Reflection

This week at work has been full of professional development events, and it’s got me thinking. In some ways it was like I was back in classes or required seminars and workshops, but it’s been interesting to approach them from an employee rather than a student angle. The topics were broad and varied, and there was something to take away from all of them.

Tuesday I listened to two talks, one on social media and another on gadgets and gizmos. Social media is not a new thing to me, but new facets of social media are important now that I have a full-time “real” job. It was a brief overview of ways my department might use social media, how other departments in the organization are already approaching it, and how they might use it in the future. The gadgets talk was great because I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I don’t own a smart phone, and have yet to convince myself I need one. Or really even want one. In my mind there is a fine line between the usefulness of technology, the necessity, and the possibility for distraction. I don’t want my technology to detract from my real life, and I try to be very careful about controlling my use of it; however, there are some really exciting and highly useful applications and electronics I now need to look into.

The rest of the week has been more academic. I listened yesterday to a talk about the importance of being adaptable and flexible in my work environment and an exploration of authority. Today’s lesson was about higher education law, and I will admit it was much more interesting than I had anticipated.

I have spent significantly less time in my office this week, but overall I think it’s been worthwhile and productive to attend all these sessions. The relevance of the talks was varied, but ultimately there was something to take away from all of them. The things that might not apply to my current job will probably come in handy later, either in my personal or professional life. The biggest thing that struck me was how nice it is to continue learning. Like classes, some of these things I was required to attend even though I have little to no interest in the subject; however, I like having someone force me outside my comfort zone and make me learn things I wouldn’t seek out on my own volition. It diversifies my knowledge, and I’m better for it. I admit this now, but I might deny it in the future because nobody likes to be required to learn.

The best part about all of this: In school I was paying to be required to go to workshops like these. Now they pay me to go! It’s hard to complain about free learning.

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Open for Business! And Suggestions

I haven’t been out of school long enough to do much, but I’m ready now to get down to business. I’ve got some goals you’ll read about in the near future, a long list of books I want to read, and a few projects I’d like to work on, but I’m all about suggestions. What is something a recent college graduate should do/learn/make/know? It can be as educational or as mindless as you want it to be. If you’ve got a suggestion, leave a comment.