Booze, Project Management, Uncategorized

What NOT to Say if Someone Asks if You Want to Attend a Week-Long Project Management Boot Camp

"What happens in boot camp, stays in boot camp."

 

If you don’t know what this post is going to be about, please go back and read the title. In fact, please make a point of always reading my titles. I have really good titles. Most times, I won’t repeat them in the post itself, so you should go back and read the title again after you’ve read the post, so you can truly appreciate how clever I am.

Now, where were we? Ah yes, Project Management Boot Camp. Did you know there was such a thing? I didn’t either, until I decided to look for a new position at my company and then they actually hired me. During the interview process, I was told that there was this incredible opportunity to attend a Project Management Boot Camp in Pennsylvania. Not wanting to spoil the interview, I grinned and nodded enthusiastically.

“That sounds perfect!” I said.

If everything worked out, I would attend the Boot Camp during my first week on the job.

“The timing couldn’t be better!” I said.

When I got the job, I asked,

“Who do I talk to to get signed up for this Boot Camp?”

I then found out that they weren’t calling it Boot Camp to be funny. You had to leave on a Sunday night and wouldn’t return until the following Friday night. “Evening activities should conclude by 10pm” the sample agenda read.

“It will be fine!” I told myself and registered.

On Sunday, March 6th, I drove the 45 miles southwest, trying to keep an open mind about both the Boot Camp and Pennsylvania. Now that I had bought my first home in rural New Jersey (yes, such a place DOES exist), I really needed to be more welcoming of my neighbors to the west, whose country music stations were starting to invade my radio frequency.

It was pouring rain and the two-lane highway kept abruptly turning left and right. This should have been my first clue. But no.

“I’m going to learn so much!” I thought.

I checked into my nice, but not as nice as my own bedroom, hotel room and hung up all of my outfits for the week, looking to see where the iron was, just in case. “I am a professional, wrinkle-free businesswoman now,” I said to myself.

If I hadn’t eaten before I’d left, I could have had complimentary room service.

“This is going to be like an all-expenses-paid vacation,” I mused.

At 7:30am the next morning, I filled my ice bucket so that I could tuck my vodka to bed for the day, like any good vodka sitter-slash-drinker. When I went to re-enter my room, a strange man opened the door.

“Oh, sorry, wrong room!” I said, realizing I was two doors away from my own room. I briefly recalled the time I went to the wrong house for a Christmas Eve party and stayed for 20 minutes before anyone realized it. Finally they pointed me next door. Snapping back to present day, I noticed this man had a notebook and added, “Although I think we’re headed to the same place!”

He gave me a strange look, but it didn’t dawn on me until much later that someone with a bucket of ice and someone with a notebook should NOT be going to the same place.

I recovered from the momentary embarrassment and reported downstairs to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. All five days were to start promptly at 8am. A few people were milling about, grabbing bagels and coffee, including the man I had just bumped into. “Maybe now he won’t think I’m crazy,” I thought, but watched as he took a seat at the opposite end of the restaurant.

Twenty minutes later, we gathered in the large, freezing conference room that was to be our home for the next five days. I had a panicky moment where I couldn’t find my name card, but there it was, in the far left corner, next to wrong-hotel-room guy.

“Whew! Imagine if they didn’t have me registered!”

I introduced myself and looked at all of the neat trinkets in front of me.

“I am going to get the royal treatment!” I thought, amused by the blue camouflage bandana and dog tags at my work station.

There were only 17 other people in the boot camp and I didn’t recognize anyone, even though they were all from my company. We were broken into two teams, blue and green, based on the color of our bandanas, and told that we had to wear our dog tags at all times or we’d have to buy the intructors a drink.

“What fun! My team is going to win everything!” I thought, glad I didn’t trade for a green bandana as soon as I sat down, like I had wanted to.

The two instructors both had Southern accents, which seemed to enhance the Boot Camp theme. I wondered if either one would snap during the week and tell us we were worthless little maggots. I kind of hoped they would.

“What happens in boot camp stays in boot camp,” they told us, and the first sense of foreboding came over me. I wondered how many more times people would say that stupid line before I died of boredom.

As they went over a disconcertingly vague verbal agenda for the week (they wanted some things to be a “surprise”), I quickly realized that the reason for such late nights was because we would be in lectures all day and in our teams all night, working on projects. If I thought I was going to get to watch Vampire Diaries and Glee, or ever see the light of day that week, I was sorely mistaken.

By Day 3, shortly after our team had to perform a dance number, to a song of the green team’s choosing (I would tell you more, but I’m afraid the instructors know where I live. I KNOW they know where I work), I hit a low place. A very low place. The kind of place where you think of the American Idol contestants during group week, or the poor bastards on The Real World, and for the first time ever, feel a genuine kinship. If someone brought me into a confession room just then, pointing a camera in my face, I’m not sure what I would have looked like, but it wouldn’t have been pretty. You would have been sitting at home, with your sweet dog and loving husband, judging me for binge drinking and sobbing during dinner “breaks.”

Project Management Boot Camp broke me, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to look anyone in the eye when I returned to work. (I still can’t look at the CD of photos and video clips they sent us home with.) Luckily, I’m almost as good at (BIG, FAT) white lies as I am at blog titles.

“It was a fantastic learning experience!” I said to my new manager the following Monday, staring at the cracked leather on my left boot.

“I would definitely recommend it!” I wrote, when the training department sent around a survey two days later.

Written by Julie Davidoski, Certified Project Manager (CPM)

Uncategorized

Fountain of Uncouth

Let’s see. We’ve already covered the fact that I was an extra on “Dawson’s Creek,” am obsessed with Glee, Harry Potter and little miss pageants, and that I named my dog after a “Full House” character. You might be thinking this well’s about to dry up.

Nay, friends, I’ve only just begun. (It certainly helps that blogging about guilty pleasures is, in and of itself, a guilty pleasure. That shouldn’t be allowed. It’s like trying to stare at the sun.)

Here are a mere few of the things I plan to bring to your [rapt] attention over the coming weeks. (Please feel free to express your gratitude by subscribing. Or by sending pictures of animals dressed as other animals.)

1. What to expect if you see Daniel Radcliffe naked, live, as I have.

2. What NOT to say if someone asks if you want to attend a week-long Project Management Boot Camp in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

3. 9021-Oh My God.

4. Robert Pattinson SINGS! (Holy sh*t, how have I not gotten to this yet!?)

5. My Plan to Save Mankind, a.k.a. The Power of Haikus

6. MY MOST SHAMEFUL GUILTY PLEASURE OF. ALL. TIME.

See you on the flip side, Crackers (have you not tried these yet?)!

Music, Uncategorized

Modern Fart

My husband has been trying to convince me of the power of farts for quite some time now. “They’re hilarious,” he says over and over again. I always lift my delicate nose high in the air and scoff.

Yesterday, though, something disturbing happened. I arrived at my friend’s house and she escorted me to the kitchen saying, “[My husband’s] cutting the cheese.” And I had to bite my tongue to keep from giggling!

Really, Julie, I thought to myself, you’re almost 29 years old. And that’s almost 30. It’s time to put the fart jokes behind you. Then I remembered my blog, the perfect place to embrace the inherent humor of farts! Everyone wins.

Farts are universal, and while nothing new, in today’s modern age we have access to some of the finest farts around. My husband will gladly show you his Fart app, which has over 100 unique farting noises.

Because I would never deny you instant gratification or the opportunity to GOGP, I present you with my top three favorite fart moments. Don’t forget to cast your vote!

P.S. – You haven’t really lived until you’ve tagged a blog about farts.

#1 – Iguana Fart? Why, Yes, I do

#2 – Farts on the Sly – Live!

#3 – I Motion to, Well, You Know

Music, Uncategorized

Let Your GLEEk Flag Fly

Fellow guilty pleasure enthusiasts, I think you’ll be proud. I’ve just spent the last two days Googling, Wikipedia-ing and generally cyber-stalking one Mr. Darren Criss. Isn’t technology grand?

If the name Darren Criss doesn’t sound familiar, fear not, I am here to enlighten you. (You might want to jot that name down, though, because I think this kid is going places.) 24-year-old Darren Criss’s shining face and golden voice have been wooing us for the past several months on “Glee,” where Criss plays Blaine, Kurt’s very first gay friend and co-crooner of the Dalton Academy Warblers. Not only does Criss fully commit to the preppy blue blazer and campy dance routines, he does a mean version of Katy Perry’s, “Teenage Dream.”

What really got my GOGP-meter firing on all cylinders was last week’s episode, when Blaine finally grasped his feelings for Kurt. He captured the moment of realization silently, brilliantly, in one of those magic scenes that makes me want to quit my day job and crash the set, so that I can witness firsthand the next ground-breaking episode. (I know it’s FOX, but when’s the last time you saw network television romanticize a same-sex relationship between high schoolers, during primetime, no less?)

I was sure that this Darren Criss fellow had to be drawing on personal experience to deliver the aforementioned performance, but am now convinced (thanks to an enlightening Vanity Fair article) that he is straight. Impressive. He was raised in San Francisco and graduated from the University of Michigan, where he studied drama, which explains his ambigious-seeming sexual orientation. He’s got a fairly robust resume and even released an EP on iTunes last year (check out “Not Alone“).  He is featured in two music videos with Charlene Kaye, a fellow U. of Michigan alum, lest any of his vocal chops go to waste.

But here’s the real clincher – he and his U. of Michigan classmates founded Team StarKid, and in 2009 produced a play called “A Very Potter Musical,” which, to date, has nearly 5 million hits on YouTube.  Criss portrays Harry and is credited as one of the primary songwriters on this and other StarKid productions.

Darren, you go girl. I mean, good lookin’ out, bro.

Animals, PSAs, Uncategorized

King of the World, er, Jungle: My Very First Public Service Announcement #savetigersnow

Leonardo DiCaprio is the bee’s knees. I own every movie he’s ever made (this includes a tape-recorded version of “Critters 3“), but… he’s always making me feel guilty. If you follow him on Twitter or Facebook (which I TOTALLY do), you know what I mean. Somehow between kicking thespian tail, selling watches and looking super-cute, he finds time to crusade for things like coral reefs and the ozone.

This year, it’s tigers.

If, like me, you’re feeling schmucky and want to feel a little less schmucky, click on Tony and donate:

Food, Lists, Uncategorized

My Ultimate Dieting Secrets REVEALED

Diets aren’t a guilty pleasure, but cheating on them certainly is. I’ve been cheating on my diet for 723 days now, and I’d like to let you in on my secrets. You’re welcome in advance.

Pop Tarts

They put two in every sleeve, meaning it is OBVIOUSLY appropriate to eat both. Try it.

Go Big or Go Bacon.

Preferably, both.

= 1 serving.

You probably already knew this one. I should have given you more credit. I’m sorry.

Elastic-waisted pants.

But don’t worry. You’re not gaining weight, they just shrunk in the wash.

Booze

Drink early, drink often. Remember, it’s 7am somewhere.

Mantras

It’s important to have a mantra. Charlie Sheen likes to think he’s bi-winning. I prefer “Rice Cakes are Evil.” Look at this woman. I’ve named her Carolyn. Carolyn doesn’t really want to eat that rice cake. The devil is making her do it. Fight the good fight, Carolyn!

I’ll give you a minute to grab a pen, because I’m about to share THE most important secret when it comes to [cheating on] your diet:

Will Power

When you find you’re craving fruit, water, or god forbid, tennis, take a moment, sit down and think, “Is this REALLY what I need right now?”

Uncategorized, Uncle Jesse

Forever and Ever

We had our breeder picked out before the puppies were born, and it was a long waiting process until at long last Uncle Jesse, our precious Australian Labradoodle, came to live with us.

When the puppies turned 7 weeks old, we were told which one would be ours, and I thought it only fitting to make a tribute video to occupy me until we could pick him up 1 week later.

(Special thanks to Beth!)