Monthly Archives: February 2010

BECAUSE YOU ASKED: "Tony Skratchere Edition"

The second in a short series that expounds upon some Formspring questions to me. [http://www.formspring.me/champsuperstar]

I have answered every single question posed to me on Formspring. Sometimes seriously, mostly jokingly. So, I was surprised when I got this declarative attempting to parade as an interrogative:

“i will take you ignoring my question as a yes. you do have a crush on tony s”

I responded as soon as I saw it. I had not seen a question previously about Tony S (who I automatically assumed was Tony Skratchere and not Tony’s pizza or the Tony awards) and I felt a little bit disturbed by it.  I answered immediately because I wanted whomever had asked the question to know that Tony Skratchere and I are just friends. Good friends, in fact. Such good friends that I only call him Tony Skratchere in a public forum and even then, only because that’s how people recognize him. Otherwise, I would/do just call him by his real name.

I was pretty put off right away, and a little defensive, so my answer was not the one I would have given had I not wanted to clear the air so quickly.  So, here’s the answer I should have given:

Why, yes. I do, in fact, have a crush on Tony Skratchere. It’s a HUGE geek crush. I have them all over the place.  I tend to show high levels of interest in people who continually challenge me and a lot of times they come off rather coquettish or flirtatious or even outright salacious.  I’m ok with this behavior. I don’t get to project it upon too many people.  Hell, I have a Twitter list of untouchable people I gush over all the time, but I certainly wouldn’t consider those normal I’m-trying-to-lay-you crushes.

I have a crush like I have a crush on a lot of my friends. Girls, guys, whatever.  I fawn all over and promote like hell my two best friends in the world, @lizmoney and @sheri_nola. But, I also trip all over @seangunn and @whurley and @jonahevans, with no expectations of how they are going to react. I would hope they would be flattered rather than creeped out. I crush on smarts. I crush on genius. I crush on passionate. I crush on funny and clever and self-effacing. I crush on nerds and geeks and rock stars. I crush on people who are all of those things and, fuck yes, Tony Skratchere happens to be one of those people who is quite sincerely every single one of those things. A person who appreciates any of those qualities would be risking massive self-deprivation to NOT crush on someone like that. I mean, did you even SEE his #webrapgroups hashtag? That alone…crushworthy. 

But, I guess getting down to brass tacks, what the submitter wanted to know was that by having this crush was I trying to pursue more by retweeting or pseudo-worshiping whomever the recipient (not just tony s)? Not really. Most likely not. I won’t totally say no, because who knows when in the future I’m going to find someone that I do want to worship in a hey-lets-make-out-and-get-married kinda way.  I hope I do eventually find someone who has all those Tony Skratchere-esque qualities that I adore so much.  I hope I do find someone who is some sort of dynamo combination of him and all the people that I love and adore and crush on so much. Someone to challenge my brain right out of my head. Someone who cracks me up like every 30 seconds.  And someone who, when I text him to inquire about the hateration that showed up on my Formspring will respond with “WELL THEN, THEY DON’T GET TO COME TO OUR CATALINA WINE MIXER.” 

Hellz yes. Viva la Tony Skratchere. And everyone like him. 

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BECAUSE YOU ASKED: "What do you do for work?"

So, I started the silly Formspring page [http://www.formspring.me/champsuperstar] because it looked like fun. It was. It is. Got some interesting questions, some of them legit. So, I answered them the best way I know how: with humor. ??But, a few of the questions I felt like I should expound upon. It didn’t seem Formspring was the right forum for the answers. Or, at least, not the full on, spill-my-guts answers that this blog is for. So, I thought I’d answer them here. Especially while everyone is enduring Mardi Gras. I can tell all AND fly under the radar at the same time.

??

So What do you do for work?

??
>At the time I was asked this, I had just left that crap job I had been at for 8 months. I took some time and went on tour, visiting family and friends, writing and doing a lot of drinking. I only sent out 2 resumes. ??I was offered a couple of things, but didn’t take them. I was waiting for “something”. Well, amazingly, the day after the Superbowl I got a phone call. “I need you in Memphis as soon as possible.” Wow. Ok.
??
It was my old job, the job I loved and the job I unfortunately left when I was planning on getting married. The job requires 100% travel and, for a girl like myself who can’t sit still, it’s perfect. ??So, for those of you who’ve asked, I can’t explain in 140 characters, so here’s a brief description:
??
I work for a company that does non-destructive testing in nuclear, petro, and power refineries and plants around the world. We have a highly skilled team of technicians and inspectors who are trained to use equipment such as x-ray, eddy current, ultrasonic, liquid dye penetrant, magnetic particle and tons of other cool gadgets to measure corrosion, thickness, weakness, and other structural mechanics. These guys are awesome. They measure piping, crawl up towers, into vessels, exchangers, tanks and and other enclosed spaces to do this. And they do it in blocks of 6-8 weeks, sometimes longer, working 12 hour days every day until the job is done. Sites have to completely shut down every unit every so often to do this job. I love those guys. Mike Rowe could learn a thing about dirty jobs from them.??
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I do not do any of that.
??
One, I’m afraid of heights. Two, I’m afraid of enclosed spaces. Three, it’s really freaking hard work.
??
No, no. I do what I always do: tech. ??The company I work for hired me as a tech writer (which at that time was a glorified data entry clerk) and sent me to Port Arthur. I learned a ton of valuable skills there, including some highly specialized software and all the vernacular. Soon, instead of just entering data, I was writing reports based on data the Inspection crew would give me. These reports were sometimes 10 pages long, filled with crazy numbers, strange words, acronyms and??gauge??readings. The reports end up going to OSHA, the API and any other relevant government entities. I eventually learned how to interpret them all. ??So, I moved up and up and was sent on more and more jobs. It was great. I was so excited about this line of work that I even got a TWIC card issued by the Department of Homeland Security, which put me through a rigorous background check, among other things. But, again, I left all that last year when I wanted a more regular schedule that didn’t require me to travel. So, I took the first job I was offered at way less than my normal rate…yeah, I took about a 2/3 cut in pay to be with Eric. FOOLISH. Love is blind. So much for that dumb decision. Never again.
??
So…back to Monday. I got a call to go to Memphis, which I eagerly accepted. I knew it meant missing Mardi Gras and South by and just being in NOLA for awhile, but I can’t stress enough how much I love this job. ??And this time, I get to sorta be the expert. I’ve been working with PCMS for almost 4 years now and apparently it’s a very coveted skill. They’ve already asked me to move to Memphis. I politely declined, but agreed to be there for the next few months. This will ensure we migrate all this accumulated data (some of it well over 30 years old) to the new database, get through the turnaround using the database, and then scrub and massage new data. I LOVE IT so far. ??It’s like this HUUUUUUUUGE puzzle and I get to solve it! I take this data (millions of pieces) put it all where it’s supposed to go and then calculate and present the risk rate. I get to do this 80+ hours a week, which is fun, though always taxing.??
??
If you know me, you know I’m not a sleeper, so keeping this busy is a godsend. When I get home at night after being on site for 12-14 hours, I just fall out and sleep soundly for 6 hours (better than my average!).??
??
Anyway, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this project. It’s like the holy grail of projects.??
??
Looks like I’ll be here at least through spring, but don’t worry…I’ll be back in NOLA periodically to drink, party and piss everybody off!??
??
Yay!
??
Cheers,
??
Champ
??
PS I had some pictures of my little office, but I think I left my phone in the car.??

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Today

I am glad to be part of the city always, but especially…especially today.

We make history, win or lose.??

WHO DAT! Geaux Saints!

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LOOK MOM, I’M DOING IT!

I’m in the midst of my own personal crisis. Though, you wouldn’t know it. I left the job that had housed, fed and clothed me for the past year and have been on an absolute tear since then. I’ve driven several thousand miles back and forth from NOLA to Austin and all points in between. Yeah, I say I’m taking advantage of the time I have to see my family and some old friends, but it’s more because I just can’t sit still. I live in a house that is little more than a repository for dirty clothes and disco naps. 

So, it’s been a month since I left my job and rent is due today and the $400 power bill is due tomorrow and South by is next month and I am quite honestly scared shitless of never working again. I know I will, but there’s always that tiny doubt. I’m still confident I made the right decision. And in the middle of a crisis that should have me huddled in a corner, rocking back and forth and chewing my nails into bloody oblivion, I am sitting here right this very second in one of the happiest moments of my life.  I am at the the Webtrends Engage conference, wearing my media badge and sitting in the blogger’s lounge. I am doing what I was born to do: write. 

Writing, by all my experience, is a tedious or soul-wrecking process. Writing for myself is the soul-wrecker. Writing for a professor is tedious. So, this part is new. Writing for all of you is absolutely energizing and, in the very simplest of terms, pleasing. I never knew how amazing it would feel to deliver information as opposed to just absorbing it then regurgitating it later to impress some social circle. Or some boy. 

So it is with New Orleans Tech that I find myself here at this conference, feeling fairly certain in my interviewing skills after yesterday’s successful video interview with Alex Yoder, CEO of WebTrends (the company behind the conference). Today, in about 20 minutes, I interview Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, VP of Marketing for Webtrends.  I’m forming my questions as I type this. 

Again, this is sort of new for me. I covered the CommNtelligence social media conference in Chicago last June, but in the middle of it, my uncle died and I had to fly to Tulsa. So, I feel like this is really my first media badged, full-coverage event. I’ve been to some sessions and went to Ignite on Monday and, I reiterate, I am currently the happiest I’ve been in awhile…possibly my whole life.

I’m scared to death. I’m ready to get back to work. But, I’m also not ready to let go of this feeling that I can do things through writing. That I can do this and make a living at it. I won’t ever be rich, but damn it, if I keep feeling like this money will never, ever matter (except when rent is due or Entergy is sending me late notices). 

I am a writer. And it’s a welcome soul-wreck.

I am definitely doing this now. 

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