Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Five-Thing Day

Six things, if you count going on break.

A friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook page yesterday:

Its message reminds me of the 1981 film Looker. This classic sci-fi thriller features beautiful models who have their features fine-tuned by a plastic surgeon in order to reach market-researched commercial-appeal perfection, after which the marketing firm digitally scans them, and can then project their 3-D digitized images onto studio sets, performing exactly as programmed, so that the actresses themselves become superfluous and can simply be bumped off. Haven't I always told you marketers were evil?

And way to not think outside the box, people. You have the technology to reproduce a living being in faultless holography, and program the reproduction to behave in any way you like, but the concept of photoshop is totally beyond you?

Engaging in lengthy, profound conversation about this movie with a coworker does not count as one of the five (or six) things I did today.

I did even less yesterday, but at least I provided lunch relief for our visitor center staff. This is a task I find a little intimidating, because while I like people on general principle, people who ask you questions - and expect you to know the answers, yet - those people frighten me.

"What's the coolest thing to do in Austin?" a guy asked me. A plethora of wonderful activities - exploring the Zilker Botanical Gardens and swimming in Barton Springs, two-stepping at the Broken Spoke, shopping for Halloween costumes at Electric Ladyland, cruising through downtown on the Dillo, checking out the view from Mount Bonnell, eating a spinach omelet at Magnolia, having your picture taken with Leslie, going on a coffeehouse crawl, sipping a Bellini on the patio at Romeo's, taking in an indie film at the Alamo, catching a set at Continental Club or Saxon Pub or, I don't know, anywhere in town, including the steps of City Hall on Friday afternoons - completely failed to come into my head. "Um," I said.

"Okay," he said good-naturedly (he seemed to think I was cute), "what's your favorite thing to do?"

I like to go to Robbie's, eat cheese and crackers, watch a couple Tivo'd episodes of "The Office," and drink cheap wine. But I suspected this was not what he had in mind. Besides, Robbie probably wouldn't let me invite him.

I ended up recommending either the Austin Overtures very comprehensive, informative 90-minute tour or the fun Austin Ducks amphibious tour - both of which I've done, and both of which are great - but when my visitor eventually left, I believe he was planning to do a self-guided tour of Memorial Stadium. I hope I'm not held responsible when the travelers I assist get arrested.

Today began auspiciously, because I saw a rainbow on my bike ride in to work. The weather is lovely and cool, after our long and wearying summer. I sent an email with some paperwork formalizing an agreement between a local government and my agency. I returned a phone call about a hotel contract. I sent another email with suggestions on the redesign for our tourism website. I provided a coworker with some GIS data. Four things.

Then I went walking at lunch, and saw someone in serious medical distress of some kind on the hike-and-bike trail just below the Four Seasons. Paramedics were at the scene, loading the victim onto a stretcher, so there was nothing to do but walk by quickly and not stare. But a bicyclist coming the other direction shouted "Good Lord!" as he passed me, so I assume it was pretty bad. I hope everyone was okay.

I got back to work and Robbie called, on his way downtown for a meeting, and actually running early. Could he stop by?

He could! So I brought him up to my office and introduced him to all my work peeps. Then we went on break with the remnants of the people we knew at our old job for about half an hour, in the Three-Martini Break Group spot, and it was wonderful.

Back at work I was actually called upon to do another thing before I could go home for the day, and had to write up and send out a set of guidelines for our upcoming fam tour of the Fort Worth area. Five things! Six, if you count break. Not bad for government work.

Tomorrow I'm doing lunch coverage at the visitor center again. With luck, I'll get a bit better at it, the more practice I get. Otherwise, Robbie better stock up on cheese.

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