10:00 PM

Don't Ever Change

So here's something weird about me: I have always thought that I hated change.

It seems strange. I have no aversion to trying new types of food, going to new places, figuring out new ways of doing things more efficiently, nor learning things I've never thought about before. In fact, I love all of these things. A lot.

But I've always found a strange dilemma in the fact that, as much as I love new things, I appear to hate change. I don't wanna think about it. I just want things done when they can just be done and it's over. I hate the transition and the time involved and I'm just effing lazy about it.

As it turns out, I just prefer to avoid going through certain mental processes when I'm facing low involvement situations.

Example: I like my schedule to be very consistent. I get up at the same time every day, go to the gym, put on coffee and the exact same breakfast (Red River Cereal), get in the shower, make my lunch (usually some minor variations on the same thing every day), and go to work. Work is all crazy, all the time, and requires constant problem-solving. I finish up, drive home, make dinner, and do school stuff. This is my every day routine, and I adore it.

Example: I call the same sushi place every time we order in, and the person on the other line knows my order (and my credit card number, oops) off by heart. I prefer going to the same place every time a client suggests we have a lunch meeting. I always order the spinach dip. I love nachos -- maybe not because I love them, but because they require no thought.

So what's up with that? According to a little research on consumer memory today, I've learned that this isn't nearly as uncommon as one might suspect.

Basically, the literature suggests that we all have needs, and that we satisfy these needs by creating goals, or targeted end-states. We use both conscious and non-conscious processes to assess how we might get about achieving said goals. Conscious learning, memory retrieval, and evaluation are explicit -- we know that we have to use our cognitive resources to calculate 21*72. But 2*3? That's six. What animal barks? A dog. What's the capital of France? Gay Paree, friends.

The second set of questions (hopefully) used no conscious mental resources. They're so ingrained in our minds that we just jump there. We have a feeling, we have a conclusion, whatever.

Like the nachos.

Basically, when faced with decisions, we come up with a set of options. The set of choices that automatically enter our minds are known as the evoked set. Companies spend millions upon millions of dollars just trying to increase the accessibility of their brands in our minds. Because, hell, if we don't even think of 'em, they don't stand a chance of being our ultimate choice.

So yeah. My evoked set is ever-so-small. I'm a marketer's wet dream if they can get all up and in there in the first place, but I'm not as easy as one might think.

Note: I am not a psychologist, but a marketer with an interest in consumer behaviour. If my understanding is lacking valuable detail, please feel free to correct me!

7:32 PM

I'm It

So the clever and always interesting Ms Smarties tagged me. This apparently means that I need to share five random facts about myself and tag five others.

1. I recently did a personality test in my negotiations class. Among my type-A classmates, I scored highest in forcing behaviour and lowest in agreeable behaviour. Yes, I am incredibly stubborn.

2. As a first year music major, I took calculus as an elective. I adore numbers.

3. I see the world in black and white. I have a very, very difficult time reconciling grey areas. I suspect that this makes me difficult to deal with.

4. More than anything, I like spending time alone and just being quiet. This is something that very few people in the world believe about me. Yes, I'm hard to get to know.

5. I generally don't get along particularly well with most people for any length of time. I am incredibly fickle, finicky, and have very few (but particularly spectacular) friends.

I will now tag:

Sioux City Sue
Jen But Never Jenn
Que Sarah Sarah
Definitely Not Martha
The Feisty Finagler

No backsies, no returnsies.

6:17 PM

Another One Bites the Dust

Yes, I am official finished yet another course in my never-ending MBA program.

I was thinking the other day that it will be really exciting to be done, but also kind of sad. I am a losah who maybe just wants a break.

What do I do with all the hours that I have been devoting to classes, reading, paper-writing, and studying for the last two years? I know, I know -- there are always other classes to take, but I think I'll really miss the specific perspective I've been getting in this program.

My school is a dream -- the faculty is inspiring and interesting and really gets me feeling so engaged. I think it'll be weird to not be thinking about so many new things anymore. Don't get me wrong -- I am so looking forward to getting that degree officially under my belt and am trying to fast-track the rest of the program so that the obligation part of the education is done, but I don't want to stop learning this stuff or being around people who share these interests and goals.

Anyway. I know I'll always find something to fill any void -- where one door closes, another opens and all that stuff. But the area in which I'm studying right now? It's what I love and what I want to be doing. I love the idea of having less stress and avoiding the thousands upon thousands of tuition dollars and not going to class on the nights when I just want to watch junky TV. But I don't love the idea of learning about this stuff being a lesser part of my life.

1:28 PM

Flipping Prick

So we went across the street last night to our little convenience/grocery store to pick up some fruit, as I am fighting this god-forsaken cold/flu and I was sure it would make me feel better. Going in, there is a homeless man outside trying to get some change. We didn't have any, but told him we'd get him on the way out. He smiled.

He was an older native man, probably in his late fifties. He looked so lost and alone, it made my heart hurt. I wondered if he had a family, what had happened that he was all alone on the street, asking so quietly for a little help with his empty coffee cup. His eyes looked so tired. It made me really sad.

So we got our oranges and bananas and were leaving the little market when we walked outside to see some yuppie prick do about the cruelest thing I've seen in a long time.

The old man had clearly asked him for some change. We saw this asshole look at him smugly, grab some change out of his pocket, and flip it up into the air the way you'd toss a coin.
Obviously, the change went everywhere and the old man gasped: "Oh, oh dear, oh my..." as he tried to maneuvre his way around the street, picking up the coins.

The yuppie asshole? He laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

My jaw had completely dropped at this point. Dave called the guy a fucking prick, he just continued to laugh as he walked off, totally delighted by the way he'd treated this poor old soul like a dog, performing some ridiculous trick for his buddies.

It was completely sickening. I wanted to just cry.

I believe that people are generally good. I believe that we all have great capacity to do nice things and be kind and make others smile. I don't understand why anyone would completely ignore such an impulse and let themselves grossly dehumanize another human being. It's just not right.

6:21 PM

You Have to Check Your What?

You know that episode of Arrested Development where the Bluth kids all start mocking their mom and the ever-charming little Buster says, "Yeah. Mom's awesome. Maybe we should call her!"

That's me with school right now.

I am freaking loving this class. It's called Advanced Negotiations and Conflict Resolution. The professor is hilarious and engaging, the subject is incredibly useful, and I love all the psychological tidbits I'm figuring out about myself and those around me. Far from being encouraged to "win at all costs", we're learning how best to approach problems, extract information from our counterparts, and use the whole shebang to create solutions that works best for all involved. It's very cooperative and positive and cool. All good things.

But why do I ultimately love it so?

Mock negotiations.

That's right. In each and every class, we are given a role in a case. We have specific information about our character's feelings, interests, and positions. We are expected to take this information, get together with our counterpart(s), and resolve whatever issue is at hand. Everyone looks forward to this part of class, because we get to hone our skills, etc., etc., etc.

Me? I like playing the part.

As the advertising editor of a newspaper, I was understanding about my editor's journalistic integrity. As a union representative, I wanted to help my management to cut costs without damaging the standard of living of my membership. As a VP at a technology company, I wanted to share information about potential new CFOs to find the best fit for the whole team. As the owner of a woodworking facility, I was more than willing to pay off my client's loan to ensure payment of a questionable invoice.

But is it too much?

Here's how the situation goes, each and every time.

Me: So wonderful to see you, [counterpart role]. I'm so sorry our last discussion didn't go well. I am truly embarrassed that I resorted to hurling expletives your way!

Counterpart: Um, so I have all the papers here, I just need to check my numbers before we get started...

Me: The paperwork from your accountant? I understand, I also met with mine before we get together. The numbers can get so confusing...

Counterpart: [Confused.] Wha? No, the stuff in the case...

Me: Your briefcase? Not a problem, [counterpart role]. So how's the wife?

Counterpart: [Uncomfortable.] Um...

Or something like this!

Me: Are you kidding me? We can't accept this deal, how are we supposed to sell this to the union?

Team member: Well, it's already 12:30, and I have stuff to do this afternoon...

Me: You'd put personal commitments ahead of our union? I can't listen to that -- we were elected to protect their best interests at all costs. If you have a dentist appointment or your kid has a piano recital or whatever...

Team member: [Confused.] Wha? No, I have class...

Me: Pilates? Don't even start with that yuppie stuff. We are not here to let management walk over us because we have pilates...

Team member: Huh? I just mean, we don't have to win all of them, we're out of time...

Me: Let's get back in there and fight for our people!

You get the picture.

I don't know why, but I find the whole thing freakin' endlessly hilarious. It's so embarrassing and totally idiotic, but it really makes me laugh. Me being one person. Because nobody else is.

It's no wonder the people with whom I study think I'm a complete losah.

1:34 PM

And Roll it Down...

I went to my first spinning class today!

I was stupidly nervous before going, as the last class I took resulted in humiliation and a downward shame spiral. I am not particularly good with being pushed too hard -- rather than motivating me, it tends to fill me with ultra-anxiety and make me retreat into my little shell. I'm someone who likes to work out on her own, and the last time I worked out with a traineer I threw up and then cried and then never went back. So, yes, I was afraid. But I registered last night with a sheer determination to try new things for the new year.

I arrived 20 minutes early. The studio was hot as hell, and I began to wonder if it was a bad sign that I was sweating before my class even began. I notified the girl at the desk that I was appropriately fearful and she laughed (nicely, not like an evil jackal) and told me I had nothing to worry about.

Fine. I got ready and watched the end of the evidently professional class before me (hah?). There was sweat flying everywhere. Ew.

In any case, when it ended, the very sweet instructor led me and a few other newbies to our bikes, helped us to get set up, and the fun began. Okay. Spinning is awesome. We did first position (hands in the middle!), second position (hands at the curves!), third position (hands at the ends, ass off the seat!), standing, jumping, increasing tension, sprinting, etc., etc. It was painful and my legs and ass are feeling the burn even an hour later (and will no doubt be all the worse off tomorrow), but it ruled.

More than anything, I was amazed that I could make it through the class. I'm ashamed to admit it, but there was a time when something far less would have me utterly wiped out. I was so unhealthy and out of shape a year ago, and I feel like I'm a totally different person now. I never in a million years thought that I would ever enjoy being active (even though it hurts my ass). I prefer this edition of me.

In the meantime, my boytoy is embracing street hockey.

He's taken up with a rogue gang of aging (aged? hah) boys who like to play on Sundays. The first time he went, he was flat-out half dead upon his return and vowed to start going to the gym to build up his cardio. He was ultra-pleased to announce today that he was able to play for a full two hours, scored a few goals, was fought over as a goalie by both teams, and saved a penalty shot or something like that. Yeah, I was half listening. The main thing is, he's enjoying himself.

In any case, I'm so pleased that we both have fun new activity things going on. I feel like we're getting healthier, and that is pretty darn good for the long-term.

8:20 PM


Alrightie, I got into a class in the upcoming intensive term today. This means? I can finish up early.

This semester:
Intensive - one elective
Standard - two electives

May - one elective (if something that isn't finance is available)
Standard - three core courses (required)

Standard - two electives

Winter 2008 intensive:
One or two electives (depending on whether I get a summer one in)

And then? I'll be done. If all continues according to plan, I could be finished the MBA in mid-January 2008. And then I'll post this awesome graphic.


4:40 PM

New Year's Eve

We went for our traditional New Year's Eve route of doing an awesome little bar. No cover! Allegations of being at capacity towards lame-os! Kickass music! Cheap drinks! "Dick in a Box" played numerous times throughout the evening!

I wore someone's hat:

Dave is innocent:

Who's that guy?


I change hats:

Little Stewie Griffin:

Holiday devilhorns:

The new year definitely started with a bang.