Thursday, September 18, 2008

13 Things: Brain Dump

1. This is going to be long. I apologize. But that's what happens when I let things collect for a few weeks. I'll try to present it in the most skimmable format I can. I've included lots of pictures, too. :P

2. We had some torrential rains here in the Chicago area over the weekend. Something like 6.6 inches on Saturday alone, which is a new record for the area. There was a lot of flooding. You'd think I might have gone out with my camera to take photos, but I didn't. The best I got was this shot with my cameraphone of geese swimming in a flooded parking lot. Fortunately, we didn't get any water in our house, although we did have a small lake form in our back yard.

3. I've been writing and brainstorming a book proposal with friends. It's an updated version of The Hunting Lodge project I've mentioned in the past. Oh, and The Viking's Tale project is on track. I'm going to work on that more as soon as I finish this post.

4. I received the best non-job offer ever. I applied for a lateral technical writing position in my company. Instead of writing documents for internal consumption, it would have been writing for users of our software. The only problem was that it was a new position and they needed someone really strong in FrameMaker and RoboHelp and with a lot more experience writing users manuals and training manuals than I have, and those factors outweighed my strong product knowledge. But they said they loved me as a candidate and that people in the office lobbied really hard for me to get the position. Basically, it sounds like if I brush up on some skills, they'd like to groom me for a second position whenever it opens up.

5. I'm thinking about applying to enter a masters degree program in New Media Studies at DePaul University. I looks like something I would enjoy, plus if I take a technical writing course there, it would count as an elective. Not looking forward to having to take the GRE's though.

6. I'm signing up for a 3-day course in FrameMaker. My boss just gave me the go-ahead to register.

7. My husband has officially been through a tornado. The village newsletter that we received last week proves it. The tornado happened back on Aug. 4 and was part of a series of tornadoes that were recorded in the Chicago area that night. In the photo below of the newsletter, the red lines mark the path of damage and the route the tornado took.The X marks the spot where my husband was at the gym.  The little twister icon represents a touch-down point. Lucklily, it was a small tornado as tornadoes go (an EF1) and it only did major damage to five houses and one warehouse in town.

My husband said that when the tornado went through, everyone was sent to shelter in the locker rooms. There were about 100 guys crammed into the room. A couple of the big, burly guys said this is crazy and walked out, only to hurry back into the locker room when they saw how badly the plate glass windows were bowing in the wind.

8. We now officially have no phone books in our house. That's OK, since we don't use them anyway thanks to Internet search engines. My husband did his Bionic Woman impression on Saturday night and tore a phone book in two. If you've watched Mythbusters lately, you know exactly where this is coming from. If you haven't, check out this clip. We also tried interleaving the pages of two phone books, and verified that you can't pull them apart, but we no longer have the books as we sent them home with our school-teacher friend to bring to class.

9. Cousin Bob sent my husband this link for Geddy Lee of Rush giving Celebrity Winter Advice. Funny in an odd sort of way.

10. These are my favorite chocolates -- Joseph Schmidt truffles. Thank heaven I don't live in San Francisco anymore and can't get these on a regular basis.

11. Eric sent me a link to this Chicago Tribune story to share with all of you -- Cubicle toys to keep the workday fun (for when the Internet is down). My husband has the slingshot monkey in his office. It shares a bunk with Bubblegum Godzilla and Anguirus.

12. I bought this really cool wrist-band at a flea market in San Francisco last month. It's made out of latex paint. Check it out at The Land of

13. None of the products mentioned in this post have paid for placement. I mention them simply because I think they're cool, or interesting, or they were sitting in front of me on my desktop at the time of writing.

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