21 August 2008

Tribute to Fanny Pak

Tonight, the winning dance crew will be announced on MTV's America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC). I have to admit though, that I lost interest when my most favorite group - from day one - was eliminated a few weeks ago... Fanny Pak!

Scott and I were in Sacramento when we heard the news. Fanny Pak is a dance crew from California that dances to their own beat, you could say. They are totally '80s and genius on the floor. ABDC is only on it's second season but is seeing the same old story when it comes to new dance crews. I mean, how can you top the perfection and outstanding performances of Jabawockeez, or the tightness of Kaba Modern from season one. At the start of this season, we weren't seeing much reason to tune in for unique dance moves and stunts... until Fanny Pak entered the scene. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to every episode when Fanny Pak danced. The crew always "Turnt it up" and "...gave... 100 and 50 THOUSAND percent" as Lil' Mama would declare. In fact, Fanny Pak is the only crew to ever receive a standing ovation on the show by all judges, and the S.O. was given when Missy Elliot was judging the variations on her own tracks.

The real tragedy of Fanny Pak being dismissed from ABDC - right before the final showdown of crews - is that they were kicked-off... by the judges... on '80s challenge night... after performing possibly the most hilarious dance routine of all time. Fanny Pak was given the song Maniac from Flashdance to perform to. They turned a master-mix of the song into a storyline highlighting an ABDC dance contest, including ever infamous judge reactions. If you haven't already viewed the presentation, it is a must see. 

Go to www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/dance_crew/videos-full-episode.jhtml and search in episode eight for Fanny Pak's  MANIAC performance. It wont disappoint!

18 August 2008

Baby Blessings

'Tis the season for weddings and baby blessings. I was privileged enough to go to the baby blessing of Zachary Ryan Sant this weekend, after celebrating the graduation of his mum, Ashley (aka Twinner, for those who know her best). Zach had the greatest little white vest outfit on for the occasion. He was also so excited to be bless on Saturday morning that he woke up around 3:00 am just chatting away all happy like. So around 10:00 am when we took these pictures, he was more than ready for a nap. In fact, Daddy Sant said he has never seen the boy conk out faster.

I took some really amazing pictures of Mommy and baby underneath the church yard tree... but I used the sister-in-law's camera (a Canon Rebel.. oooh ahhh). So I don't have the proof. I'll have to steal pictures from Ashley at some point to post.

13 August 2008

Last Day at DecisionWise

Tomorrow (Thursday, August 14) I will say goodbye to my work home of the past two years. I have been in Provo since October 2006. I spent the month in temporary Kelly Services posts, meanwhile applying for many jobs and interviewing for one. I got that one job!

November 1, 2006 was my first day at DecisionWise, Inc. My job title was Assessment Project Manager, and though the title had changed with business strategy changes throughout my time at DW, I returned to the original title again to finish out my DW journey. I will be leaving DecisionWise to start a new job at the Counseling and Career Center at Brigham Young University in Provo, where my husband, Scott, is attending school.

Besides being incredibly excited about a change and new job, I am excited for the benefits that BYU offers. In the past few months I have been applying to master's programs for Public Health at BYU and U of U. My main areas of interest in public health revolve around research and social marketing. There are many health topics in society which intrigue me, like Women and Children health, population- based health, nutrition, group psychology, and epidemics. In finding the program at BYU, I discovered that the mission matched exactly what I had imagined myself doing. So I will be pursuing a career in Public Health and will start that pursuit by taking classes while working at BYU.

With my leave tomorrow, I have been reflecting over my time at DecisionWise and how working for the company has made an impact on my life. I would like to take a moment to record in blog some of my favorite DW memories:

1. My first day at work - I arrived around 9:00am to do paper work and afterward sat at my Very Own Desk. I shared an office room with Candice Blankinship, another project manager. I remember being so excited to learn new skills and absorb everything that was being taught to me. I also remember having the benefit of leaving early if all my work was done (which... I didn't have any work at that point) OR staying later if I wanted to get paid for the hours.

2. My second day at work - (Don't worry, I'm not going day by day.) I came to work on my second day all dressed-up, corporate-like, similar to my first day. However, unlike my first day, I came to the office and discovered that everyone else was in jeans and sweatshirts. I felt WAY out of place! 

3. March Madness brackets - Every year DecisionWise had prizes for those who guessed the majority of winning college basketball teams correctly during March Madness. Not only was this a fun way to route for my favorite teams, it was also the first connection that Scott and I had when we were first flirting. You could basically say that we hooked-up because of the bracket.

4. The Elevator Speech contest - During one of our many business direction meetings, it was announced that the company would have a contest to see who could best describe the new service strategy in 30 seconds. The idea behind the short description was to imagine we were describing to a friend/ random stranger what we did at our job... with only had a grocery line's or elevator trip's worth-of-time. My essay won Most Creative!

4. Dallas - It was my first ever business trip. I visited, with a DW consultant, a client of mine in Texas for which I had done some intensive work. I had my own plush room in a hotel, adjacent to the financial company headquarters, and a daily stipend. I felt extremely corporate!

Probably my most favorite memories are ones that wouldn't make for great short stories. Mostly, I enjoyed the people I worked with: our office manager, Deb, and her fun personality, stories, and amazing catering skills; the consultants, Tracy, Juan, and Paul, and their jokes and wives with catering skills; Charles, our sales guru, and marketing co-conspirator; and all of the many project managers that I have worked with during my time at DecisionWise. Good times!

07 August 2008

Our SYTYCD Winner!

No, I do not have the inside track on tonight's So You Think You Can Dance winner... merely a strong opinion. Scott and I have watched every episode of the 2008 season of this, my most favorite ever, summer show. (Surprised to know my husband loves dance shows? So was I!) We made sure to watch the first couple episodes before our wedding, we watched the show during our honeymoon week, and we've always caught up with shows online or with TiVo when we had other Wednesday/Thursday evening obligations.

I've known since the tryouts and choosing of the Top 20 that I enjoyed the male dancers this season much more than the females (a rare statement for the show). The guys have personality in their dancing, and they are enjoyable to watch. Will has genius skill! Mark has quirky personality and dance moves. I can't keep my eyes off Twitch's solos. When Joshua Allen threw a ballet move in his Vegas audition, I knew he was someone to watch.

Over the season I have grown to love the dancers more for their particularly well performed numbers, even the girls. Katee is lucky she is so good, because Scott and I were not so impressed by her Vegas stunt, but started forgiving her after the No Air routine. Chelsie and Mark had such fun personalities together and really brought each other along on the SYTYCD journey as far as they could go. My all time favorite dance of this season is still their Tabitha and Napoleon routine to Bleeding Love.

The final four dancer group is not comprised of all the dancers Scott and I would have chosen as our favorites. However, it does include the dancer we felt would win ALL ALONG. We want to state now, before results are tabulated, that we vote the So You Think You Can Dance winner to be...

Joshua Allen

Joshua Allen Top 4 Solo

Either that or crown Tabitha and Napoleon the winners of this years season, because they are a fantastic addition!

No really, we felt that Joshua's solo last night and dances were typical of his excellence and fun personality.

When he lost his shoe last night... priceless! I chuckle every time I watch it on YouTube.

4 real!

05 August 2008

Twilight Confessions

I refuse to read Twilight.

My friend, Yoko, first introduced me to the book about a year or so ago. We were having a chick flick night, watching one of my favorite movies, Under The Tuscan Sun, when she mentioned how she couldn't put the book down and was utterly obsessed with the sequel. I LOVE to read, so any time someone recommends a book I take it very seriously. But when Yoko said the book was about teenagers and vampires, I just couldn't pull myself up to reading such a plot. Granted, the synopsis sounds an awful lot like Harry Potter, and I had no moral dilemma reading all seven books in that series. After our movie night I almost forgot about the new reading epidemic, except for the fact that everyone in Utah is also fixated on the book. The mere fact that the author, Stephenie Meyer, is a graduate from BYU may have inspired this connection.

I was reminded of Utah's love for the series, however, when Scott and I were in the dollar theater (thank heavens for dollar theaters!) watching the previews before Iron Man. We had walked into the noisy theater, with a bottle of water and bag of Skittles hiding in my purse, and sat down in two middle seats in one of the center rows to enjoy the movie. We hadn't thought there would be many people at the movie, since Scott first saw the movie in the big-boy theater for his bachelor party back in May. So the movie had to have been in the dollar theater for quite some time. Also, the semester at BYU had ended, and we assumed that not many college students would be in town. Yet we didn't anticipate the striking number of middle school and high school students that would be at the late night show time.

Surrounding us were many couples with their own smuggled snacks, and around them were scores of gaggley teenagers. I could barely hear the trailer for Tropic Thunder, over the drone of tween laughter and "whispers," not that I cared to hear the trailer, but it's the principle of the matter. Only minutes later the teaser trailer for the Twilight movie flashed on the wide-screen. The theater suddenly became eerily quiet, with oohs and ahhs and real girly-toned whispers. With this sort of reaction to a trailer, I expect that like the book, the movie will do very well. I was still not convinced to take part.

At work today, one of my coworkers mentioned how she had stayed up until midnight to buy the fourth book at the late-night bookstore premier. When the next workload pause came up, my lunch break... I used my talent of internet researching to find out more about this fad. A warning: Looking up Twilight on Wikipedia will not bring up any information about the book, series, or author. However, it will give you a scientific description of the time between night and day commonly refered to as "Twilight." Discarding those facts, Google sent me in a better direction towards the author's personal site and explanation of how she started writing the series.

I admit, her writing style is one that I enjoy. In fact, not to sound boastful, but she sounds a lot like me. This particular passage sounds like something I do all the time:

All this time , Bella and Edward were, quite literally, voices in my head. They simply wouldn't shut up. I'd stay up as late as I could stand trying to get all the stuff in my mind typed out, and then crawl, exhausted, into bed (my baby still wasn't sleeping through the night, yet) only to have another conversation start in my head. I hated to lose anything by forgetting, so I'd get up and head back down to the computer. Eventually, I got a pen and notebook for beside my bed to jot notes down so I could get some freakin' sleep. It was always an exciting challenge in the morning to try to decipher the stuff I'd scrawled across the page in the dark.

I remember my mom first telling me to keep a pad of paper and pen by my bed because I would often receive some of my best ideas right before going to sleep. Then I had to figure out what I scribbled down in the morning and see if it still made sense (my pre-sleep thoughts weren't always realistic). The author also described months of editing upon editing (also something I'm proned to do, just in shorter increments) as she tried to get up the courage to send the manuscript to publishers. In the meanwhile, she continued to type out the characters' story.

Stephenie's story of writing Twilight is quite inspiring. You can even watch her tell more about the experience with an religious twist by watching a tidbit of her BYU fireside . Reading Stephenie's description of the Twilight experience and watching the sudden successes in writing and blogging around me makes me more anxious to keep writing. It also makes me think twice about not reading the book. Maybe I'll wait until the last Twlight book comes out and prices are lowered. That's what I wish I had done with Harry Potter, rather than wait years to read the next addition and then peel through massive weight-of-a-book in a matter of hours.

01 August 2008

The Network is Trying to Tell You Something

I have been sitting at my desk for several hours now with nothing to do but blog. My job at DecisionWise revolves around the computer, so when anything happens with the computer, I might as well go home.

Currently our inhouse network is crashing. (I believe it is that serious.) We have two networks, one that supports our online survey system, and one that supports our inhouse files. The technically supported survey system will work even if there is a major planet-wide catastrophe. People would still be able to go online, through earthquake and fire and tidlewave to give feedback to their managers and organization.

Our internal network has been showing signs of a "mental" breakdown for quite some time. It takes several minutes for Excel or any other Microsoft document to open. Strange noises have been coming from the nearby server room: beeps and loud bzzing and screams! Whether the issue is data overload or lack of technical management, (We have no current IT professional to manage the in house system. Our last guy went to Omniture...) I feel that the thrashing volcano is about to erupt. We have already seen the smoke, and we are now seeing flying debris.

With nothing to productivly work on and plenty of upcoming due dates, all three project managers gathered in a common area to discuss this tragedy and why someone hadn't already told us to go home. "This is because of data overload." "This is a no IT issue." "This is, 'Project managers are expected to work at 100% efficiency with few resources." The conversation reminded me a whole lot of those Yoplait commercials, but in a different Light.

So I've decided to share one of my favorites, that fits the season SO well.