September 23, 2009

Head to Toe Black Again

Day two for our intrepid powerpoint princess.

I'm opting for my head-to-toe black again today (rather than my more upscale duds) because (a) my job is to be invisible and (b) I'll be working the out and pushing crates and wrapping cables and stuff. No need to rip a pair of nice slacks or soil a blouse....there are some graphics ops and stuff who white glove it (when the show ends, closing the laptops and walking away, and letting the graphics house handle the out) but that's not me.....there are only 4 of us here (two guys from the graphics house, the director and me) so all hands on deck....

The rehearsal day went pretty well. The client showed up with 20 presentations (labeled A thru U) and I took it upon myself to merge them into two decks - one for the morning, one for the afternoon. No serious problems - PowerPoint sometimes does funky things when merging, but these all started from a common template / master file so the problems were minimal (a handful of rogue characters, some font size issues, and for one presentation, all the text lost it's BOLD) - so a few hours of work to carefully study the originals vs. the merged file to spot differences and consult with the client - all good. So now I mostly sit there and push the space bar.

We have a pretty nifty presentation timer at this gig (counts down to zero, flashes when one exceeds the time, signal light moves from green to yellow to red) so we spent the rehearsal jotting down the presenters times (they all get 15 minutes) - silently cheering on the speedsters who came in under 10 minutes and cursing those who pushed it to 14:30. Nobody exceeded 15 minutes - pretty typical for a corporation that prides itself on operational discipline.

It helps to be an engineering / former corporate hack kind of powerpoint operator _ I can sort of follow along with the presenters and figure out the slide changes myself - the presenters range from very comfortable with the slide clicker to completely unaware of it - so for some of the more awkward folks I anticipate the change for them.

Interestingly two women at the podium this year (last time I worked for this company, two days of presentations, 45 speakers, no women). Although amusingly when the VP of sales stood up and said "you may wonder why a sales person is presenting at a technical forum" I quipped to the crew "because we needed another woman up here and could not find any in the engineering management team". I don't really fault the company - the engineering this company does is decidely staid and old school, and all the women engineers (and there are many in much demand by companies seeking EEOC sanction and government contracts) get scooped up by companies offering more exciting work. "Operational discipline", whatever it's benefit to the bottom line, safety, and profitability, does not seem like the best catchphrase to woo recruits.

I'm eating poorly (or very well depending on your definition) here. Marriott Courtyard breakfast (eggs and such). Lunch (delayed until 3) was a selection from a grinder / sandwich shop (delivered) - I got a stir-friend veggie grinder (awesome, lots of brocolli, peppers, and carrots with provolone) but it's still a hunk of carbs. And dinners have been a baked whitefish (yum) and last night Italian (a pasta dish, with an arugala salad). Nothing horribly bad but just lots more food than I am used to and late lunches and dinners so I'm hungry....

I'd love to catch yoga up here but I have no car (next time, I drive) there is a local place that has a 6 pm vinyasa class, but its a bit of a hike and we've not been out in time - maybe next time.

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