April 28, 2009

Job prep work

I went into the staffing agency yesterday to fill out some paperwork. I will be their employee technically, and working for the bank as a contractor. Lots of tax forms and disclosures. In addition to the paperwork, I had to submit to a drug test and get fingerprinted.

My finger prints are already on file from my current job, but I had never had to do a drug test before. There were a list of clinics to go to, and it was pretty straight forward. Nothing to study for, just fill this cup and you either pass or fail. It sucks that this is a part of a job application, but I have nothing to worry about.

Then it was off to finger printing. The last time I did it, I went to the county office in Everett. I was hoping to avoid the drive, so I called the police department near my office to see if I could do it there. I got their voicemail. Voicemail at the police department? What the...

The message made even less sense. It said something to the effect of "this message is not monitored. Please call back during normal working hours." Then there was a beep. You just said that you don't listen to this, why do you bother to allow me to leave a message?

I drove by the police department and there was a note on the door. It explained that as a part of the city budget cuts, the police office, the courts and city hall would be closed one weekday a month. Today was that day. Not sure why they didn't put that on the voicemail. Hopefully the policemen were still on duty...

Today I went in to get my health card so I can return to the Keg. They hold a 30 minute class that goes over the critical things you can do to ensure you serve healthy food. It is pretty common sense stuff - keep things clean and keep food at the proper temperature. There is the danger zone of 41 to 140 degrees where bacteria can grow. I don't know if anyone else had the Kenny Loggins song playing in their head every time it was mentioned. Just me?

Bumper sticker wisdom

We are not human beings
having a spiritual experience,
we are spiritual beings
having a human experience.

April 25, 2009

What a difference a day makes

Things have been relatively slow for a while at my current job. With the economic outlook gloomy, things probably won't be picking up much, so I have been looking for another job for a few months now. Yesterday morning I still had that job and nothing else. By yesterday evening I had three jobs.

As I hadn't been making much progress in finding another full time day job, I applied for a evening job to supplement things. "When the job went wrong, you went back to the beginning."

I worked for the Keg Restaurants for more than ten years, made a decent living, and enjoyed my time there. I still know a few people who work there, and though they weren't really hiring, Dave said he'd try to get me an interview to see if they might fit me in for a couple nights a week. I had an interview with one of the managers last week, but still needed to interview with the GM Friday afternoon.

I had signed up with a staffing agency a few weeks ago hoping that they could assist in my job search. I found a job on Monster.com on Thursday that I thought I'd be qualified for. It was advertised by the same staffing agency, so I gave my guy a call to see if he could get my resume in for the job. He thought I'd be qualified, but he had my resume out for another position, so he had to check with his manager to see if I could apply.

Chris called later to say that he was able to send my resume in. He also mentioned that the company was anxious to get people into the advertised position, and that they weren't even interviewing. If the resume looked good, you'd be hired. He called Friday afternoon before my interview with the Keg, and I told me I had the job! The position is with a bank and from what I can tell is similar to what I am doing at my current job. It is a 5 month position and starts the second week of May.

This changed things a bit for my interview with the Keg. I didn't know how many evenings they would be able to give me, but my availability was going to be pretty open. The position with the bank is full time Monday through Friday, and until I start, I won't know when I can make it from Seattle to the restaurant. I can still work the weekends in the meantime so the GM decided to hire me and get me re-trained in the meantime.

I got three jobs, mon!

April 23, 2009

Staying sharp

One of the things I did while waiting for the lender website to come back online.

Fortunately there were no C's, Q's or U's. My trigonometry and calculus skills are toast.

I can remember my third grade teacher challenging me with calculations she would rattle off and have me do in my head. 4 plus 3 times 3 minus 6 times 4 divided by 3 minus 9 time 8.... She actually had me do it in front of another set of parents during teacher-parent conferences. Not sure if she was encouraging them to do this with their kids, showing that we don't need to depend on calculators, or just pointing out some Rain Man tendencies I have.

And yes Holly, I am a huge nerd.

April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Sorry, no big Earth Day post - too busy with work, the job search and other things.

Just a quick tip that is one of the easiest/painless changes you can make. Don't let the water run while you're brushing your teeth. This saves an average of 3,000 gallons a year. Same goes for shaving, washing dishes, etc.

If you want to go one step further - when running the water to get hot water for dishes or shaving, fill up your Brita pitcher, coffee pot, tea kettle, dog bowl, etc.

Though recycling gets all the press, the theme (in order of effectiveness) is - Reduce, Re-use and Recycle. And with money so tight these days, reducing consumption is top of mind for a lot of people. If the environment benefits as a result of cutting back, so much the better.

April 20, 2009

A good use of Twitter

I am following a few runners at Boston this year, Bob and Warren that I met through the local running store, as well as Steve from the Phidippidations podcast.

Every runner has a chip on their shoe, and when they pass over mats along the course, their split times are recorded. When I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2006, they had a system where a text message could be sent to a cell phone. My wife and friends could follow my progress as I made my way around the city. Although the last split didn't get sent out, it was a great idea and gave them idea when I might be finishing.

This year the Boston Marathon is using Twitter. I just received the message: "At 11:34 AM: Half-Marathon Athlete Alert. Bob Harrison. Time 1:32:44, Pace 7:04." Warren is about six minutes ahead of Bob.

Steve is more of a middle of the pack runner. In addition to the splits being sent out, he is also updating his personal progress on Twitter. He has a microphone clipped to his shirt and is recording his marathon for his podcast. Occassionally he uses the mic to call his son to update how he is doing. His son then types it out and posts it on Twitter and his 1,073 followers get the update.

"At 12:06 PM: 30km Athlete Alert. Warren McAndrew. Time 2:05:11, Pace 6:42"

Pretty cool.

April 19, 2009

False start and bad scheduling

I headed down to Renton to join another CATS bike ride this morning. Not until I was about to pull into the parking lot did I realize I was missing an important piece of equipment. No, not the bike.

After my ride in the rain last weekend, I spent some time washing off all the sand and mud I had picked up. That was the good part. The bad part was that I didn't put the pack back on the bike that holds the spare tubes, patch kit, tools etc. This would be the day I would get multiple flats. So I turned around and went home.

Rather than crawl back in bed (man that would have been sweet) I decided to ride around Lake Washington. Since I did this a few weeks ago with CATS, I had a cue sheet all ready to go. I just needed to ride from the house down to Lake Forest Park where I could pick up the route. It was a near perfect weather day - overcast, warm but not hot. By the time I finished the loop, I was smoked. Unfortunately I still had to climb the hill back home. This is when I started seriously questioning my running and biking plan.

Looking ahead on the calendar, what I've gotten myself into is starting to sink in. I am training for the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon on June 27th. I am also training for a 200 mile bike ride which is unfortunately scheduled two weeks later. The running and biking training miles will increase simultaneously, peaking in the middle of June.

The marathon is more of a known quantity. As long as I don't get injured, I should be able to make it to the finish line. I have never ridden 200 miles in one day before so I am less sure about that one. I also know how I can feel after a marathon - trashed. With a time goal for the marathon I will be pushing myself harder this time, and this makes the outlook for the bike ride even more fuzzy.

Training for these two things at the same time will either get me in great shape or break me. Today I was feeling a little broken.

April 18, 2009

Running friends in my head

Spring is taking a firmer hold. My long run today was a 12 miler, and short sleeves and sunscreen are now part of the routine.

Coincidentally the podcasts I listened to during the run both dealt with marathons. The Running with the Pack podcast was a recap of Jeff and Allan's Philadelphia Marathon from last November (I am still catching up). They both ran personal bests and Jeff qualified for Boston. The other podcast was the Phedippidations pre-Boston marathon (which is Monday) podcast stating his case that Boston is the best marathon in the world. It was interesting listening to Steve in the excited pre-marathon ramp up, and then Allan and Jeff in the afterglow of a marathon finish.

The marathon is kind of a party. The real work is the four or more months leading up to marathon day. The mornings you drag your butt out of bed early, or the late night runs you sneak in after work when you're already tired. The days you head out in the rain when it would be so easy to stay inside. The 20 mile runs where your only companion is your iPod.

Marathon morning is the party to celebrate your accomplishment - a graduation of sorts. And there will be plenty of people to celebrate with you. Folks who know exactly what you've been through because they've been doing what you have, just on different roads. That is what is kind of nice about the running podcasts. It is a little like you have another runner along with you on your lonely road.

Though marathon morning is a party (with 25,000 of your newest friends), it is a rough one that will leave you with a wicked hangover. And the drinking doesn't even start until the after party.

April 17, 2009

How to nail an interview

What is it that certain people say or do during a job interview that makes them stand out? Why do some people struggle to find work, while others land a job in no time?

These guys set up a temporary office in Seattle, ran an ad in Craigslist for a job opening for a marketing coordinator, and secretly filmed the interviews. 28 interviews later, they posted 22 tips for job seekers. And they posted a few of the videos to demonstrate what not to do.

The iPod killer?

An MP3 player by Lego. 2GB of memory for $39.99. Plus massive cool factor.

April 15, 2009

Tax day

In honor of tax day, the local radio station played a few songs in what they called a 'one finger salute' to the IRS. One of the songs was one I hadn't heard for a looooong time.

Randy Newman - It's Money That Matters
Uploaded by loverocket

"I got a great big house on the hill here
great big blonde wife inside it
great big pool in my backyard
another great big pool beside it."

Ah, the 80's...

April 14, 2009

The weekend

This weekend was another round of running and biking training, and the weather wasn't nearly as nice this time around. The bike ride on Saturday was a 65 miler from Kenmore north to Snohomish and Monroe, and there was rain and a whole lot of wind. Most of the riders didn't have fenders on their bikes so riding behind someone meant riding in a watery rooster tail. I rode out of the slipstream both to avoid the spray and to get the extra workout of riding in the wind. Turns out I didn't need to make it any more difficult than it already was.

Sunday was another run with the local running store group. There was a brand new face in the group - Chris had just moved here from Texas a week ago. He stopped by the local running store and found a new running community. What a great way to get acquainted to a new town. We chatted a bit before losing our breath heading up the long climb into Woodway.

I ended up running with someone new. Bob and I started chatting about running and what we're training for. He mentioned that Sunday's weather was about what he could expect at his next marathon. Of course I asked where he was running next. Boston.

It turns out there are two people in the group that have qualified and are headed to Boston next week. The only reason I could keep up with Bob on Sunday is that he is dealing with some IT band issues that are giving him some knee pain. Since I have been dealing with the same issue, I told him all I knew. Even a Boston qualifier is still learning. As I am about an hour away from qualifying myself (or 28 years too young), listening in on Bob's descriptions are about as close as I am going to get at this point.

Quote(s) of the day

Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have made. - Wayne Dyer

Most barriers to your success are man-made. And most often, you're the man who made them.- Frank Tyger

The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.- Swedish proverb

April 13, 2009

The end of Lent - or is it?

I am not a practicing Christian so I don't exactly know what the spiritual component of Lent is. I have however recognized Lent in different ways over the past ten years or so. I take this 40 day period most years to give something up as a disciplinary gut-check. In the past, typical picks have been things like sweets and liquor, things that don't generally do a body good anyway. These periods of self-denial give me a feeling that I'm not in denial when I say I could give it up whenever I want to.

I didn't intentionally observe Lent this year, but I did give up drinking for about a month. This year along with the check to see who has power over what, there was the added motivation to save money. Everybody is tightening their belts, and we are no different.

We haven't operated on a budget for quite some time, and though I plug every receipt into Microsoft Money, I had only a general sense of where our money was going. We don't buy new things very often. Both of our cars are at least 10 years old and paid for. Much of our furniture is either a hand-me-down or we have owned it from before we were married. I am definitely not a clothes horse and I don't buy the latest gadgets. So I can't really point to something physical and say, "that is where my money goes".

Our money in the past has gone more toward experiences - travel to see friends, entry fees for bike rides and runs, vacations, etc. But that doesn't capture it all. The money that disappears out of the account without much notice is the day to day stuff like trips to Starbucks or lunch at a burger joint. $5 or $10 adds up quicker than I think.

Money has different meanings for everyone. In the end it is a reflection on priorities and it isn't always easy to understand how others spend money. I've spent $85 for a five hour experience of a marathon, but I have a hard time opening my wallet to spend the same amount on clothes. Everyone makes their choices and there is nothing right or wrong in that.

It is the things we spend money on that have no lasting value, or that we don't even notice, that we need to get a hold of. I get a few minutes of enjoyment in eating out for lunch, but the feeling is fleeting and if I stopped to think about it, it isn't where I want my money going.

The plan going forward for me is to cut the spending to the bone, kind of clear the decks as it were. Money will be spent almost solely on things we can't avoid - shelter, food, gas, insurance, etc. Even the essentials will be analyzed for fat that can be trimmed. As it is, 75% of everything that makes it into the shopping cart is on sale, but there are still things that can be trimmed back. By eliminating non-essential spending, we can see where we really stand. When we start adding things back in, we can decide if it really reflects our priorities or not.

On the Clutter Diet Blog, they have paper sleeves that you can slip your debit cards into. Printed on the sleeve are these five questions:

· Who owns this already and might share it with me?
· What do I already have that is like this?
· Where will this be stored?
· When will I have time to use it and maintain it?
· Why do I want to buy this?

The first four questions go to the mission of preventing extra clutter from entering into the house. Question number five is the one I will be focusing on for the forseeable future. It isn't important that your choices make sense to others, but especially when times are lean, it has to make sense to you. Decide what is most important and focus on that. Then the self-denial of the other stuff won't seem like much of a sacrifice.

April 9, 2009

Boston Marathon Bib 1549

The No. 1549 Patrick Harten will wear on his chest for the Boston Marathon is no ordinary bib assignment: Race organizers gave it to the New York air traffic controller to honor his role in the dramatic safe landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.

Harten, 35, took up running three years ago and completed two other marathons before posting a personal best in Boston last year; he's also run the 26.2-mile distance as part of two triathlons.

He's found that running helps relieve the stress of a job that requires constant and total concentration because, as he was reminded in January, life-and-death crises can arise without warning.

Full Story. Awesome!

Spring classics

No not baseball, though that is in full swing. There are two major competitions in April that are rich in tradition. The first one, The Masters, begins today.

The Masters is the first of the four golf majors each year. Unlike the other three majors, The Masters is held at the same golf course each year - Augusta National. Created in 1934 by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones, the tournament prides itself on tradition, decorum and the most knowledgeable and respectful spectators. As difficult as it is for the players to be invited to the tournament, getting a ticket to watch the tournament is about as special.

I used to play golf more regularly, and often watched tournaments on TV most weekends. Now I play once or twice a year and The Masters is one of the few tournaments I make sure to see. The course is one of the most challenging and beautiful courses on the tour with landmarks like Raes Creek, Hogan Bridge, the Eisenhower Tree and Amen Corner. After seeing The Masters for a number of years, watching the tournament is like revisiting an old friend.

On April 20th, The Boston Marathon will be run for the 113th time. Held on Patriot's Day each April, the marathon runs from Hopkinton to Boston, and is like the championship of marathons. Beginning in 1897 with 15 runners, the Boston Marathon has turned into 25,000 field of some of the best marathoners in the world. Half a million people turn out to cheer the runners on each year, highlighted by the enthusiastic support from the women of Wellesley College near mile 13. They have turned out for 111 years, and it is said the runners can hear their screams a half mile away.

To gain entry into the Boston Marathon, runners must beat a qualifying time for their age group. The qualifying standards were originally instituted in 1970 to control the number of participants. This only gave runners something to shoot for, and though the qualifying times have become more difficult, the field continues to grow. As an amateur, qualifying for Boston is the brass ring.

At my age, I would need to cut almost an hour of my best time. If I could somehow pull that off, I could run with some of the best. How many sports let regular Joes participate with the elite professionals?

April 7, 2009

Job search

So I have been sending out resumes for a while now, and the silence is deafening. I am sure that every job listing gets bombarded with resumes in this job market, so it isn't too surprising that I haven't heard back from anyone yet. I did go in for some testing on one job, but either they are slow grading tests or I didn't end up in the top 5%.

Yesterday I met with someone at a staffing agency. I had responded to one of their job postings and they called me in to meet face to face. They act as a middleman/screener for companies looking for temporary or temp-to-hire employees. If I get placed, I would actually be working for the staffing agency and work as a contract employee for the hiring company.

It is no surprise that they have fewer job placements these days, or that the ones they have are more short term assignments. Companies in this economy are hesitant to bring on any new staff and are just plugging holes as necessary. My job history does not fit me neatly into any particular job description. It isn't that I am a job hopper - my length of employment at jobs has been 9, 11, 1.5, 7 and 3 years. The problem is that I haven't stayed in one industry or career path. Though I think I can do just about anything, with so many applicants looking for work right now, there's bound to be someone who matches each job description pretty closely. I don't get to the interview stage where they could realize how flipping awesome I am. I am hoping that having met someone in person at this staffing agency that I will have someone to vouch for me and get me over that first hurdle.

As some have suggested, the adage of "it's who you know, not what you know" is even more important today. You may be getting an e-mail from me soon pleading my case so you can plead my case.

Today I went to a career fair. Not any simple job fair, but a career fair. Of course there were hundreds of people lined up at the Holiday Inn to meet with the 9 or 10 employers. As the line wound through the lobby, the guy in front of me knocked a few times on the wood pillar. Maybe to test the quality, but probably for luck. It was an odd mix of people - most dressed very casually, some in sweats and sneakers, a few in dress clothes, and even fewer in suits. I wonder how well the guy with the "Vote for Pedro" hat did. There were a few kids running around, and more than a few dead eyes staring back at me.

The e-mail I received encouraged us all to "bring 18 resumes". There were maybe half that many booths and none were taking resumes. We were directed to their websites to search for jobs and to submit our resume. The paper resume seems all but dead these days. It is frustrating to spend your time ensuring the layout, font and paper is pleasing on your resume, only to have to cut and paste the text onto a website. I suppose it levels the field somehow by emphasizing content over form, but I imagine the folks reading hundreds of resumes would appreciate a little readability. Even the websites that allow you to upload your Word doc will invariably scramble it into a jumble of words and symbols. They need to replace their web gurus.

Interest rates are really low so there is a little bit of refinance business coming through the office. There are a few signs that the real estate market is perking up, so hopefully things will pick up there too. In the meantime though, the search goes on...

Hope springs eternal

We have enjoyed beautiful weather pushing the mercury into the low 70's the past couple of days, and today was another beaut. I had an appointment in Renton this afternoon, and I decided to stop by the University of Washington on the way.

There is a section of campus called the 'Quad'. It is an open area surrounded by four major buildings, and when winter gives way to spring you will find pale Seattleites stretched out on the grass soaking in the sun. I had a poetry class during my last quarter at the U, and I remember the teacher taking us outside to have class on the lawn on several occasions. You can't let these days slip by without drinking them in.

The Quad is also home to many cherry blossom trees and this is the week they are in full bloom. This is another one of those days of new beginnings this year, so I thought it appropriate to mark it with some photos of spring.

The first days of spring hold such promise, such hope. Heck even the Mariners are undefeated. More of my photos can be found here.

April 6, 2009

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

Most modern synthetic cleaning products are based on age-old formulas using natural ingredients that were passed down through the generations because the chemistry was right. Going back to the original naturally derived ingredients is a way to make cleaning products that work, don’t pollute and save you money. Most are found in your kitchen cupboards. Mix and match with well-chosen and environmentally friendly green cleaning products found in health food stores, and you can easily and simply transform your home into a non-toxic and healthy haven.

As an added bonus, ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart—and that includes costly, but worthwhile essential oils, and concentrated, all-purpose detergents for homemade recipes.

You can find recipes for eight different household cleaners here.

April 5, 2009

Ugly job market

In China, job seekers are resorting to plastic surgery
Just about the only thing Shanghai Time doesn't do are leg-lengthening surgeries, an expensive and painful procedure that illustrates just how far some Chinese are willing to go to boost their employment prospects.

When the hospital surveyed patients, it learned that about 50% of the cases were job-related. Of them, one group is college students about ready to graduate, Liao says. The other: "White-collar employees after being laid off are having surgery so they are more attractive for the job search," says the retired pediatrician. Most patients are women.
And I'm debating whether I should shave off my beard or not.

Weekend Adventures

I participated in another CATS bicycle ride on Saturday. They have bumped up the starting time to 9:00 as the weather improves and the mileage climbs. Yesterday's ride was 55 miles and the route started at Marymoor Park in Redmond. There were probably 25 riders in our pace group with another 25 or so in the two faster groups. The weather was beautiful for early April, especially considering we had snow only three days earlier. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and though it was cool to start, the temperatures eventually climbed into the upper 40's.

The route took us through wooded back roads and sprawling farmland as we headed north to Monroe. There was a nice down hill section with trees still bared of leaves and covered with mossy lichen. It would have been a spooky forest if not for the bright sunshine of the day. As we rode through the farmland of Duvall, Monroe and Snohomish we saw several horses and smelled many a cow.

On the road between Monroe and Snohomish, we rode by this place:

This is where my wife and I were married on another sunny day in 2001. We were forced to have the ceremony outside because of a building code issue, and we spent quite a bit of our time on weather.com hitting refresh to get the latest forecast. We ended up having perfect weather, no small gift in Seattle.

Another enjoyable ride on a new route. When I returned home afterward to inhale some lunch, I noticed my face was a little pink. I might need to start lathering up with sunscreen before I head out next time. A price I am happy to pay for such beautiful weather.

This morning I met up with the local running group again. I needed to get 10 miles in, and the group typically runs about 5 miles. I had planned on running with them and then tacking on another 5 miles near home. This morning I wasn't able to keep up with the faster runners, so I ended up in no-man's land between groups. No chatting to distract me from the difficult climbs up Olympic View Drive. I had also left behind my shuffle, so no podcasts to listen to either. So I took in more scenery than normal, and it was day filled with wooded streets, beautiful homes, and spectacular water views.

Since I ended up running alone, I decided to press on and get my running in all in one chunk. After climbing up to Perrinville I headed back down to the water front and ran out to the dog park. There were a handful of dogs romping and playing while their owners woke up with their coffee and took in the Olympic Mountains across the Sound. By that time I was pretty tapped out and I was (almost) wishing I had just headed to the dog park this morning.

It is funny that I will drag my butt out of bed on a Sunday morning to run 10 miles, but I won't do it to drink coffee and stare at the ocean. I may need to reexamine my priorities.

April 3, 2009

I was told there would be no math...

My wife passed along this great website created by someone she knows. It is called Indexed. The author's description of the site is, "This site is a little project that lets me make fun of some things and sense of others. I use it to think a little more relationally without resorting to doing actual math."

What the site has are clever Venn diagrams and relational graphs doodled on index cards. Rather than describing sets, subsets and interdependence related to science, the diagrams are about much more important topics. You know, life. A few examples from the site:

Someone even put together a great video using these cards as inspiration.

Check out her site. Finally a use for all that math you took in high school. I like to think her logo could be used to describe me as well. :)

April 1, 2009

A peek behind the curtain

I went to see Heather Armstrong at a book signing last night. She is the woman behind the apparently uber-popular blog, dooce.com. I have only recently begun reading the blog but I have enjoyed her blunt, sarcastic, somewhat crass tone. I was interested to peek behind the curtain and meet the woman behind the blog. A brief history from her site:
In a previous life I was a web designer. I lived in Los Angeles, California, for several years where I worked for drug-addicted executives and discovered what life was like as a recovering Mormon...

I started this website in February 2001. A year later I was fired from my job for this website because I had written stories that included people in my workplace. My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET. If you are the boss, however, you should be aware that when you order Prada online and then talk about it out loud that you are making it very hard for those around you to take you seriously...

This website chronicles my life from a time when I was single and making a lot of money as a web designer in Los Angeles, to when I was dating the man who would become my husband, to when I lost my job and lived life as an unemployed drunk, to when I married my husband and moved to Utah, to when I became pregnant, to when I threw up and became unbearably swollen during the pregnancy, to the birth, to the aftermath, to the postpartum depression that landed me in a mental hospital. I'm better now.
The site also features some great photography of her family, dogs and other random things. Her blog has become so popular, that she has been able sell enough advertising to support her family. I'm not sure where these money-making ads are as I don't see them on her blog.

Heather has now written a book, It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita. From what I can gather, it is largely her blog in book form. Probably a dream for a lot of bloggers to not only make money for blogging, but then to end up with a book deal.

The only other book signing I can remember going to was for The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. His first book Tuesdays with Morrie was very successful, and his new book sounded really interesting, like a book I wish I had written. The author read excerpts from the book, talked about his inspirations and life as an author. There were 20 or so people at the book signing asking questions, and it was really interesting to hear him speak.

Last night there were over 300 people at the signing.

She clearly has a large and devoted online following. She read a couple of bits from her book and an old blog post about a previous trip to Seattle. Afterward, she took questions from the crowd. There was actually a podium with a microphone that the questioners stepped up to like a town hall meeting. It was weird. Not what I expected for a book signing. This internet thing may be catching on.

I'm glad I went. She was funny and her answers during the Q & A period were an honest look into her public and private life. I'm tempted to go back to her 2001 entries and hear her story beginning. Or I could read the book.


Need some new wallpaper for your computer? Here are some good running themed ones.

April Fools?

It is snowing.

No, seriously.