Friday, June 19, 2009

Fridays, Father's Day and The Dread of Public Speaking...

It's Friday. Normally I'd be rejoicing about that but since it means a day of flurried activity and hyperdrive to get everything done, I'm not sure I can rejoice quite yet.

We have, as I've mentioned, an annual conference next week. It's one of those things where we're holding at a hotel and we're staying all week. There's no internet access in our rooms because it costs too much for our company. So, chances are, my blogs will be few and far between.

In the meantime, today is a day about not looking like a twit when I have to do my presentation. I haven't done one of those for ages. I have to talk about a new piece of software. I like the new piece of software but it doesn't really work quite well. At one point, I had to make up Photoshopped images to make it look like it it worked. Fortunately, since then, I've been assigned a new programmer and he's fantastic. Yet, the software still keeps...breaking. He's working hard, I'm working hard but it's always the way, isn't it?

Which means I still don't know if I can actually demonstrate the product or if I'll be doing a PowerPoint slideshow. I'd much rather do a demo so that the attendees don't wonder why we're NOT demonstrating the product since it's due to be released in a month. Yet, at the same time, I also don't want to be left standing in front of an audience and noticing that the software broke again.

Can you tell I'm excited? It doesn't help that I've just been told my session has one of the largest number of registrants. Uh, yay? This is because there's very little else going on at the time of my session and people are paying to see something so lucky, lucky me, they're coming to watch me.

Naturally, this idea does not fill me with a chair-boogie-ing sense of joy. It fills me with a teensy bit of dread.

Today is going to spent trying not to look like an imbecile when I speak to my crowd next Thursday. I'm just glad the days of pitchforks and flaming torches are over. That would fill me with a lot more dread.

Yet, it is nice to remind myself that I have two days between now and Monday, the start of the conference, to stress...uh, I mean, relax. It's Father's Day this weekend. I like giving gifts but not for my dad. That sounds mean, doesn't it? I love my dad. I just don't love buying things for him.

Like many men, he tends to have the "If I want something, I'll just buy it when I want it" trait. Which means that there isn't too much you can buy for him because chances are, if he wants it, he's already bought it. Many a Christmas, my siblings, my mother or I have planned gifts for him only to discover he's just ordered that gift online for himself. When you politely try to explain that maybe he shouldn't buy himself gifts close to occasions where others might be buying them for him, he acts confused. Sometimes, sadly, this usually also results in a bit of a lecture as to how I just ruined his holiday because I told him what someone was going to get him if I manage to stop him ordering something in the nick of time. Or he pouts and acts put out because he wants it RIGHT NOW.

He just doesn't grasp the concept of making a wish list of things he'd like but doesn't buy. For him, if he wants it, he buys it. The worst part is if he does tell you something that he wants for Christmas/his birthday/Father's Day, we'll go to the trouble of hunting it down (as was the case with the Nintendo Wii when it was at the peak of its demand a couple of Christmases ago) and he'll get excited when he opens it. Then, less than a month later, the gift has been put aside and he's moved on. He probably hasn't played his Wii in over a year. Fortunately, my nephew likes it. If he continues to ignore it, I might just be 'borrowing' that Wii for my new house. Waste not, want not. Actually, buying gifts for my dad isn't such a bad thing. I have a nifty pasta press that my sister got him a few years ago and he didn't take out the box. I hijacked it since I knew I'd use it. If he wants it back, naturally I'll return it but, in the meantime, he hasn't really noticed its absence.

This is not to say my dad is a bad man at all. I think he's just oblivious sometimes. He's also a creature of changing obsessions. He's been into maritime books for a while now which is good because aside from Louis L'amour, he never read much. Now, he's reading the high seas equivalent of Louis L'amour but at least he's reading. I've learned more about being on a ship than I ever thought I would because as well as a reader, my dad is a sharer. This means that no matter how often you try to wiggle towards the bathroom, he'll stop you on the way and share some intriguing piece of trivia with you that ends up being a full-fledged lecture. It's not a bad thing but sometimes, he does it when you really, really have to go to the bathroom and he doesn't get the hint, even when you're diving towards the bathroom door handle and he's followed you. Other times, he'll choose to share facts from his reading when you're trying to watch TV or read your own book. Again...I think it's just a bit of oblivion on his part. He can't possibly comprehend that I might not be quite so interested in the adventures of Lord Nelson as he. I let him tell me things because sometimes it is interesting.

My dad is a special creature. I suppose Father's Day is the best time to remember that. This year I got him a bottle of nice wine. I'm not worried about him reading my blog; he doesn't read what I write unless it's an email or letter for his business. I think he'll like the wine though, I tried to pick out a type I know he'll like. It was either that or a gift card but I've been doing that a bit too much lately for him and I decided to try something different.

I hope he likes it.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend.

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