Alumni Leaders Conference 2017

So, I survived another ALC!

Matt and I have been going to these since 2006 ... which is why the alumni association staff asked us, along with other long-time volunteers, to be a part of some roundtable discussions on topics of interest. 

I finally took Ted's advice to cash in on/otherwise leverage the whole Jeopardy! thing and used that as part of my discussion topic:

"Can I have Alumni Engagement for $1000, Alex?"
Join longtime OHIO volunteer and onetime Jeopardy! contestant Amy  for answers to common questions about planning successful events, recruiting/retaining volunteers, and what Alex Trebek is really like. Discover the many tips and tricks she's gathered from other alumni leaders and explore ways to apply these best practices to your chapter or society. 

I was even inspired to carry the Jeopardy! theme onto one of my handouts:

The session went pretty well, I think. I essentially went through all of my old files and made a note of anything still relevant/useful. I compiled some pretty thick packets of handouts, with the understanding that it was something for people to take back and review with their chapter/society board members to determine what could be applied during the planning and execution of future events.

And, of course, I did give a quick recap of my Jeopardy! experience -- not quite as detailed as the one I gave to a friend-of-a-friend at the bar later, but with enough insider info to make it interesting. The consensus seemed to be that I definitely need to get cracking on those "Getting Salty with Alex!" t-shirts.

Oh, wait: Have I not mentioned that I've been on Jeopardy! on this blog? I suppose I should rectify that at some point.

Feeling Nostalgic

I'm listening to the audio version of Word by Word * and binge-watching  Detroiters via Comedy Central On Demand** and they're making me miss my old day job.

Kory Stamper describes the quiet hush of the editorial offices at Merriam-Webster, and I'm jealous that the marketing and sales staff are sequestered on a separate floor there. I remember the major shock to the system that occurred when those departments were added to the editorial and production departments' office space after the nuns retired and a new CEO came on board. Stamper also describes the antiquated technology and odd policies, especially with regard to coffee and to the procedure of circulating a memo instead of going over to speak with someone directly.  I remember my first months with the publishing company as being very similar.

I had another hit of déjà vu when I saw the office furnishings on Detroiters. One of the main characters has taken over his dad's advertising agency, and the office decor and amenities seem stuck in the '70s.... much like things at the Center when I first arrived. I would swear that the visitor chairs opposite the main desk (shown behind the characters in this GIF) are the same style and color as the visitor chairs in the front reception area where we were expected to take our morning and afternoon breaks from precisely 10 to 10:15 a.m. and 3 to 3:15 p.m.

The credenza and some of the lamps in the background of this GIF also strike a chord.

I'm sorry that I missed Stamper on her book tour, — the closest she got to me was Columbus earlier this month. She'll be in Pittsburgh in a few days, but I've got a trivia championship game that day, so I'm probably not going to make the road trip. Instead, I'll just do some discreet online stalking and catch up with news articles/radio appearances/her Twitter feed, etc.  The TV show has been renewed for a second season, so I guess I can look forward to more "I used to have one of those in my office!" moments next year sometime.

* It's read by the author, which I love in an audiobook.
** Not simultaneously. I multi-task, but not that much.

Hoarding Pays Off

I broke down and finished my taxes early — early for me, anyway; especially since the official deadline isn't until April 18 this year — and in the course of rummaging around in my various financial records, I came across a batch of savings bonds that I received as a kid.

Turns out some of them have matured (unlike the recipient, lol)  so I may as well cash them in . . . but not before admiring the artwork  — note the Bicentennial label and the punch-card holes!

I also have the original gift envelopes.

I'm probably going to hang on to those for a while, on the off chance that I can figure out how to use them in a future papercrafting project.

This Week in Hoarding

Despite today's last gasp of winter -- Exhibit A being this photo I took on my way out to the car:

Snowy morning of April 7 2017

-- I actually got dressed and left the house before 9:30 this morning. Mostly because I had a gift card for a free breakfast at a fast-food establishment whose owner's politics I despise with all my heart but whose tasty chicken sandwiches I love with all my stomach and it was burning a hole in my pocket. Plus, the 50% off coupon for an item at Michael's in my morning e-mail reminded me that I had been thinking about getting a water brush ever since I used one at a card-making class I took the other weekend. (I mean, I usually use my Dove blender with my watercolor pencils, and I have a bunch of el cheapo paintbrushes that would be totally adequate for the rare times I use this technique, but ... a new tool! And for half off!)

Once I got there, I spent a good hour going up and down pretty much every aisle, gazing with unfettered desire at all the things I wanted but that I ultimately forced myself not to buy once I recalled the inverse relationship between the amount of crafting gear I already own and the amount of time I spend actually using said gear for its intended purpose (as opposed to, say, "gathering dust" or "taking up all the room in the closet"). Quite proud of myself for buying only what I came in there for . . . well, okay, plus five things from the dollar bin . . . I hit the office supply store in the adjacent plaza for another exercise in self-restraint.

Thus, I spent another happy hour examining all of the porous point and needle tip options on the wall of pens, then drooling over the wall of three-ring binders and divider tabs. I coveted some notebooks and organizers/calendars -- going so far as to fondle a few and carry them around the store, again looking at every aisle, before I made myself put most of it back. I did buy two notepads, a mini-clipboard, and a five-subject spiral notebook that has not only built-in color-coordinated divider tabs with pockets but also a clear pouch at the back. (Swoon!) but that all came to less than $10. Again, I reminded myself that I have all kinds of office supplies and notebooks and binders still in boxes from my move, and I should really go home and rummage through that stuff before I go crazy buying new things.

So, I picked a box at random off of the shelf in the garage and found all sorts of fun things, like this Statue of Liberty notebook from the mid-1980s.

Save the Lady!

Keep the torch lit!

It's in near-mint condition -- hardly a page is missing -- but I did write "This belongs to" and my name on the inside front cover in my ten-year-old self's crummy cursive. (I'm assuming I got this in 1985 -- I remember that the Statue of Liberty renovation was a big deal when I was in sixth grade, which was 1985-86.)

This little denim change purse is probably from about the same time. My name is written inside that, too -- but neatly printed with a Sharpie in handwriting that might not be mine.

I should probably wash this

yeah, this is pretty grubby

Of a somewhat more recent vintage are these labels for 3.5-inch floppy disks and random assortment of postage stamps.

stickers for floppy disks -- not that anybody uses those anymore

stamps for letters -- not that anybody sends those anymore

I'll probably keep those, along with the various pads of Post-it Notes and a pair of Field Notes notebooks chronicling some of the monthly Pub Quizzes from 2008 and 2009. I am willing to part with the following ticket stub and exploded batteries, however, so I suppose I do draw the line somewhere.

Not a big skating fan, but a friend had free tickets

these went in the trash

This Week in Netflix: Volume 31

Now that Everybody Loves Raymond is no longer available on Netflix — Thanks, Obama —  I've needed to branch out a little and find other things for Grandma to watch when I need her to settle down. I haven't come up with a good half-hour comedy replacement, but we did get through some wacky comedies that held her attention.

Image result for turner and hooch
Grandma was fascinated by the dog -- she couldn't stop telling me how ugly it was -- and chortled with glee at the slapsticky shenanigans. I'd never seen it before, but it was filled with familiar faces and I found it cute despite being fairly predictable.

Image result for the out of towners 1999
I actually saw this 1999 remake  in the theater with a date. This is another one with a lot of physical humor, which is right up her alley. I'm not sure if I've ever seen the original.

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I saw this in the theater with my mom and sister. It held up pretty well -- the special effects aren't overly cheesy and the jokes are still funny. Also, it has near-peak Chase and Aykroyd.

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Another remake -- I might want to see the original, just for comparison. This one has a baby Ryan Reynolds in it, though, and it's hard to beat that.