Sunday, November 16, 2008

Five Things (Perhaps Interesting) About Me

I have been challenged to a duel meme by ex-lion tamer. I thought I had already done this one awhile back but after a quick search of my blog, I cannot find it. Oh wait…never mind.

But no harm in doing an update. And this one is just slightly different in that it's five interesting things about me as opposed to find things no one knows about me. Same difference here I suppose.

1. You may think you've never seen me except for my sidebar photos, but if you'd ever watched the film Biloxi Blues, you might very well have seen me. I am clearly visible in the theater scene sitting 2 or 3 rows back behind Matthew Broderick, munching on real popcorn while pretending to be amused by an unreal movie we're supposedly watching.

2. I am obsessive about Microsoft Excel. I remember the first time I ever opened the program at work about 18 years ago. I was curious to see what it did. When a big white screen appeared before me filled with empty boxes I wasn't sure what to do. I typed in a few words and thought it was ugly. I didn't really know if it was of any use to me.

While I am still not an expert user I would certainly consider myself advanced and I use it for all sorts of things like noting the square footage of each room in my house and using it to calculate the price of different types of flooring in each room. I have also created some amazing spreadsheets for use at work to make life easier. For instance, I created one which lists almost every commercial television station in the country, its network affiliation, the market, the person who is the sales rep for advertising, his or her phone, fax, an email hyperlink, and their assistant.

I have also created one for my present job which lists all the cable networks in the US and Canada along with the same info mentioned above, plus a small hyperlink to each of their websites, and a color-coding feature so I can see at a glance exactly which ad campaigns are on the air at each network.

But here's the funny thing. I absolutely hate using a spreadsheet created by anyone else unless it is user-friendly for me, especially if it has a lot of formulas. I am about to take on some additional responsibilities which require me to use a formula-heavy spreadsheet. I have tried to work with it a few times and it literally has my stomach tied in knots. Aside from it being ugly as hell, and font sizes not being all uniform, the data is scattered all over the sheet requiring lots of scrolling up and down and sideways to get at it. I spent several hours yesterday completely redesigning the thing so that I can even stand to look at it. All the summary data with formulas stays locked at the top now and as I scroll down making changes to data, I can observe the totals at the top as I go along. Way better.

The bottom line is this: if I didn't have Excel, I'd probably have to pick a different line of work. In fact, I'd probably have to be institutionalized.

3. My kindergarten teacher wrote my mother a note saying she thought I was retarded and my parents should probably look into it. My mother was very pissed off about it.

4. I really have no friends with whom I socialize on a regular basis. I could easily be a hermit. The few people in Austin I call my friends I will only see once every few months, if that often. They are all people I met through work with the exception of a blogger. After living in Los Angeles for seven years, we have one friend with whom we stay in touch. I have one friend from high school I converse with via instant messaging almost daily. This is why I love Facebook. I can do a "drive-by" every so often, drop a note and be on my way.

It's not that I dislike social scenes or that I'm too shy to get out. I usually enjoy myself when I'm in the company of my friends; it's just not something I feel compelled to do frequently. We have lived in this house more than 11 years and have never had a party with friends over. We're thinking about having one once we get the new floors installed.

5. I absolutely hate it when someone reads something to me. One sentence is about my limit and then my frustration grows exponentially with each additional word. After one paragraph I'm about ready to scratch myself to death. I once had a pen pal who sent me a few of those audio tapes by authors who were reading their books. Guess what? They NEVER got played. I still have them around here and just thinking about it makes me want to locate them and get out my hammer.

Tagged: Bob | Blueberry | Jami | Seventh Sister | Tracy

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