Thursday, February 21, 2008

Technology woes

I work for a nonprofit organization. That means if we want to overhaul our website, someone has to fund the project. It's hard to convince a funder to pay for a new website when there's so much other necessary work to be educating children.

We have overhead of course, but there's not enough to fund major projects. Anyway, we got a $35,000 grant six months ago to fund some of our technology needs.

Our relatively new tech guy can't seem to get it through his head though that we are a NONPROFIT organization. He insisted we get Office 2007. He had all the reasons in the world why we had to have it. Then when we got it, he informed us that everything we do must be saved in 97-2003 compatibility mode because none of our partners have Office 2007.

No shit.

So every time I'm at the copier and this guy walks by he always sighs and mentions how we have to get a new copier. Well, I'm done listening to this clownshoe.

"Why?" I ask, emphasizing my annoyance.

"Because we need a color copier. And they have new ones now where you can actually send copy jobs from your desktop."

"I have been here for almost four years and never once have I heard anyone complain that they couldn't make color copies. And why do we have to copy from our desktop? It's a pretty small office and people like getting up once in a while."

"It will make us all more efficient."

"We're a NON-profit. If it's not broken, don't fix it."

You may think I sounded like a bitch just then, but let me explain. This guy would never ever get permission to do HALF the shit he says he's going to do. It's not up to him, it's up to our finance director. I'm so sick of hearing about his big plans.

Today it was that he wants to get the leadership staff using RSS feeds. I'm not going to lie. I don't know exactly what that is. But if I'm not familiar with it and never heard anyone express a need for it, then I can pretty much guarantee you that our 55+ average aged leadership staff won't see the need for it either.

I'm all about upgrading and being more efficient. We're not like that episode of the Office here where Michael thought upgrading was a nasty ploy to rub out all the older folks. We got Outlook up and running over the past two days and that's great because our e-mail system was WHACK and really quite ridiculous. We recently got Raiser's Edge because our development records were actually on real paper and in real paper folders.

We're totally growing up and it's very cool. But I just can't stand when this guy says we need to set up conference calls via web cam. Our partners are dirt, shit, poor and what the hell is the point of using webcams when none of the people we do business with on a day to day business have webcams! People in the nonprofit sector typically don't make a lot of money and typically do a lot the old fashioned way. There are about a million exceptions to what I'm saying but I'm not talking about WWF or United Way; I'm talking about your organizations who have four employees that work their asses off and do great work.

And for the love of God, someone tell me why this guy bought me a new computer last year that can burn DVD's but not CD's!? I have to go to him every time I need a CD burned. Should work computers even have the ability to watch or burn DVD's? That seems a little odd to me.

Anyway, this guy has come up with some ridiculous shit. Everything is urgent too. We're talking about a guy who walks into meetings without a pen or paper too and you actually have to say, "you may want to get a pen and paper."

But nevertheless, I am now an Office 2007 user and an Outlook user. Every time I open the 2003 version of Word at home, I get confused. It's like jumping on my brother's old hand-me-down word processor.

Friday, February 15, 2008

He went to Kay!

Last night was the best Valentine's Day of my life. Actually, it was the best Valentine's Day of my life SO FAR. Mike and I had a great time. I won't bore you with all the details but we had a nice candlelit fish dinner with some Toad the Wet Sprocket in the background. We had a drink, we chatted, and while I went to get a slice of cheesecake for us to share for dessert, Mike put a Kay Jewelers bag in my place.

This was inside

Well, not exactly that but you get the idea. Mine is 1/4 karat. My first ever diamond from Mike!

A brief history: Two years ago Mike and I were out to dinner for V-Day and he slid a jewelry box over to me. Inside were beautiful tear drop earrings! Mike immediately told me that they weren't real diamonds, but very excitedly informed me that the actual earrings were real gold! I'd like to add to this story that before we went to dinner Mike gave me a box of chocolates and a spice rack.

I'll let that sink in.

Yep, a spice rack. I didn't know what to do! I was shocked. How unromantic! Mike chimed in that he knew I needed one when we moved so really, how could I be mad? So I said thank you and that I loved it, but a spice rack! I later found out the whole spice rack was a diversion. I was supposed to think that was my gift. That Michael is a very smart man when he sets his mind to something.

Back to last night, remembering my earrings, after seeing my necklace, I looked up and asked very carefully if my necklace was real. I think he was glad I asked because he was very excited to tell me that there was a 1/4 karat of diamonds in the charm and the chain was real white gold. He was very pleased and I of course, was thrilled.

I'm wearing my necklace now and the excitement hasn't worn off. After things calmed down last night and we settled in to watch a movie, Mike gave me some of the details of his jewelry shopping experience. For starters, he informed me that he walked in and asked to see the necklace from the commercial.

Thank you, Kay Jewelers, for barraging my man with commercials and knowing that it is a very good idea to also advertise on the Speed Channel along with every other channel available. You are relentless, Kay, and I am pleased to inform you that your efforts have paid off.

I'd like to note that although I smile at those commercials all the time, especially the one where the little boy writes KAY in crayon on a box and puts a papier mache necklace in it for his 7 year old girlfriend, I never said I wanted this necklace. So again, Kay, congratulations.

All joking aside, probably the second best moment last night, opening my necklace being the first, was when Mike told me how good he felt when he bought it and walked out with the little pretty bag. I don't even know what to say to that. I can only smile.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bohemian Rhapsody......Drunk

Well, we're all famous now, but Roman is the star of this show.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Yakitori Boy

Saturday night some friends, Mike, and me headed in to Philly for cheese steaks, had a few beers at one of my favorite Philly haunts, Tattooed Mom's (the upstairs) and then made our way over to Chinatown to what all we knew was a brand new Japanese Karaoke bar. Our friend's co-worker was having a party there and he invited us so we kind of crashed the party.

Upon walking in, I was pretty damn impressed. We were whisked away escorted through a very nice looking restaurant and sushi bar to an elevator where we were brought to the second floor, out through a very large posh looking bar to a hallway with many doors on each side. Each door had a small slit window so you could see in just enough. I couldn't help but smile. One room exposed two girl friends dancing rather vivaciously in a small room amongst their friends to what I'm sure was either a Madonna or Spice Girls song. Another room revealed a bachelor-ette party doing more of the same.

Our escort opened the door to what was to be our party and there sat a handful of drunk Asians singing God only knows what.

It was a small room and hot so we hit the bar for some Sapporo. I later ventured back for a decent rendition of the duet Summer Lovin' (Grease) with a new friend. I know everyone gets a little hotter the drunker one gets, but does that work for singing? I can't help but wonder if the sake and Sapporo improved my voice or at least how it was received.

We planned to stay for fifteen minutes, stayed for five hours. At one point, I was singing in the little room thinking to myself how much it was just like the karaoke scene in the movie Lost in Translation minus Scarlett's pink wig when a waiter brought in the most beautiful and BIGGEST platter of California, salmon, and eel rolls. The ginger was formed into the shape of a flower as was the wasabi molded into a similar shape. It was the freshest and most delicious California roll I've ever had. Yes, I was drunk. But I really think it was.

Later my group ended up at the large bar and Rudy, Roman, Jay and Mike belted out the funniest and most enthusiastic version of Journey's Don't Stop Believing I think anyone ever heard. The whole bar applauded. I then took on Lisa Loeb's Stay and Mike seems to think the bartender turned off the music after my performance. I think he's just picking on me - I did fine.

Really. ;-)

Anyway, the night ended around 3 am with all of us crammed back into the little room, all of us singing at the top of our lungs to none other than Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody head banging and all. You know it. And let me tell you something, there's something pretty damn cool about being drunk, drinking Japanese red wine out of the bottle and singing Bohemian Rhapsody with a bunch of Japanese people you've never met.

I would definitely go back there. The rooms can be rented for $30/hour and vary in size. Before 11:00, the rooms are $15/hour. The bar prices are pretty ridiculous. However, I was told that the food prices are very reasonable which offsets the price of the alcohol. I think that if you rented a room, it may not hurt to bring a bottle of a little something in addition to getting your Sapporo at the bar. Overall, I really liked the place and would totally have a party there.

But I think my friends and especially Mike have had enough of my voice to last a while.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Are you Ready for some Football?

Oh, man! What an excellent game!

This was the first time in my life I sat and watched a whole Super bowl game start to finish and the commercials and the half-time show. I thought it was all fantastic!

The game was very exciting. It was anyone's game through to the last throw, but the Giants defense held Brady back that last minute. Mike's phone started blowing up with congratulatory sentiments after Burress caught that last touchdown. He just started picking up the phone and shouting, "The game's not over!" and hanging up. My mom had the audacity to call during the last minute of the game and Mike told me I better not answer it. I didn't. Then she called again.

I totally understand now why my brothers would yell at me for walking in front of the tv at a crucial moment growing up or why Mike doesn't always listen to me during a game. The adrenaline was just pumping through the room and our favorite team was a minute away from winning the Super Bowl.

Well, we won. No one predicted we would get that far and no one predicted we would win. It was a fun season - my first full football season of being a real fan and actually watching the games even if Mike was at work. I totally earned my Umenyiora jersey.

And I can name more than four players!

Still learning about him

Saturday night around 10:00 PM I was laying in bed watching a really crap movie. I heard Mike come in from working in the garage and then heard from the hall, "Jess?". It wasn't a quick loud "Jess?" like where are you? but definitely more of an I need you, Jess.

"What's wrong?"
"Can you come here?"

I got up and walked into the hall and there's Mike leaning against the wall.
"I got something in my finger."

"Ok. Do you need to go to the emergency room?"
"No, but I'm whoozy."

So I helped him to the couch and sat him down so that I could assess the situation all the while thinking he's been poisoned. He was dripping wet and very pale. Down the side of his index finger were two large scrapes/cuts and then near the tip I could tell he had a large metal splinter.

"Mike, lets go to the emergency room."
"No, just get it out, " he manages to slur out.
"When was your last Tetanus shot?"
"Last year."

So I ran some tweezers and manicure scissors under scalding water and went to work. He was so wet I thought for sure he had splashed cold water on his face while I was prepping my surgical tools. Getting out the broken jagged piece of metal was trying work partly because it wasn't on a 45 degree angle like most splinters but more like a 70 degree angle if not more. Mike's heavy breathing and inability to sit up straight were also no help.

"Mike, I'm not qualified for this. Look at you, you have to go the emergency room. I think this metal poisoned you."
"brah brate hrroodd."
"I hate blood."

That explains it. It was difficult not to laugh and say, are you serious? Aww, my tough guy hates blood.

"Just get it out."
"Ok, I'm going to cut the skin around the opening so I have a larger opening."
"Please don't tell me what you do, just do it."

So I changed my insertion point and finally got hold and slowly and carefully got this piece of scrap metal out of Mike's finger. I took it over to the pharmacist who said he should be fine since his Tetanus shot was within the past year and a half and I got some peroxide and bandages with antibiotics.

I came home and Mike was looking better but not fully there.

"Do you feel ok?"
"Yeah, I just hate blood."
"Do you want a shot of whiskey?"

After the shot, Mike was pretty much fine and back to his self which meant I could start teasing him about the whole blood thing.

"So you're covered in tattoos, but you hate blood?"
"That's not surprise blood - it's on purpose."

Makes sense.

"So, Mike, if I needed you to cut metal out of my finger, would you do it?"
"I'd have to take you to the emergency room."

Friday, February 01, 2008

Do my eyes deceive me.....

.......or did someone request a follow-up post? Woo-hoo! Thanks, Jackie!

Mike and I did go to Wegman's last Friday and picked out some new vegetables. We got an eggplant, beets, and radishes but later we actually got three more things which I'll get to in a moment.

Sunday I roasted the beets. I was a little nervous but really excited when I saw how easy it was to peel the skin off the soft deep purple inside. It was like a very fun experiment that turned out a success. I added chopped pears and julienned fennel (new vegetable picked up Sunday for this recipe). I reduced three cups of orange juice to 1/2 cup and added some fresh lemon juice and let it cool. I then added extra virgin olive oil to that to make a dressing. Voila.

I admit I didn't like the beets very much. I ended up picking the pears out of the salad and did like the purpley beet juice that coated the pears but the beet themselves, not so much. I brought some in to my colleague who loves beets and she loved the salad so I gave the rest to her and some to another colleague who said he'd like to try it. He liked it too.

I put the radishes sliced thinly into salads throughout the week. I liked those - they didn't taste like much of anything. I was waiting for this "bite" or peppery kick everyone told me radishes have but it never came.

The eggplant unfortunately had to be thrown away. We didn't get around to it and I didn't feel like eating anything pan fried (we were going to make eggplant parm) and it went bad.

But Wednesday I went to Whole Foods and got broccoli, white fingerling potatoes, zucchini (Ive had it before but never bought it), and brussel sprouts (never bought, never tried). I roasted all the vegetables starting with the potatoes and brussel sprouts in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Twenty minutes later I added the zucchini and broccoli and roasted for ten more minutes. This mixture of roasted vegetables was fantastic! I loved it. I served teh veggies with grilled chicken with some melted Havarti with dill cheese and some sweated leeks over top.

The dinner was so good, in fact, that I will be serving it again tonight since mom is sleeping over. She loves fresh vegetables.

Sunday: Deep fried turkey!