All the s#!@s you can think of (140th new thing).

August 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recently we purchased a closed captioning machine for work. Unfortunately, our show hosts so often mumble or throw out incomplete sentences during a live unscripted show. When we first tested out the captioning system”rubellite tourmaline” became “room like tuba” and “tsavorite garnet” was written up as “save right and garner.”  There may have even been a few curse words amongst the words (though I never saw any myself), which led me to Day One Hundred Forty’s new activity.

Together with my coworkers we came up with a list of all the bad words we could thing of that should not be allowed to appear on screen for the hearing impaired viewers. Mind you, no one ever swears on air (intentionally), but the captioning system could mistake one of the presenters’ accents or pronunciations as something the FCC would greatly frown upon, and maybe even issue a fine.

It was kind of of fun, and very funny, as we sat around trying to think of all the horrible things you could say. We started with George Carlin’s seven dirty words and became infinitely more creative from there. We came up with over 200 words and phrases and continued to add on throughout the day. I used my right brain well, but couldn’t say I was at my most productive. But it was damn fun!


Charity Gala (137th new thing).

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Apparently I did a lot of work related new activities this week. Day One Hundred Thirty-Seven was no exception, as I attended a gala dinner and auction as a guest of Gem Shopping Network to benefit the Children’s Restoration Network.

Preparing for the "heads or tails" game. My strategy eliminated me pretty quickly.

Gem Shopping donated several pieces of jewelry to be auctioned during the dinner and in return received a table with places for twelve people. I was lucky enough to be one of those invited. I worked until six that evening, and the event started at about 7, so I brought a change of clothes with me when I left the house that morning to perform a Cinderella-like transformation and still make it on time. I jest. A little make-up and a dress does not actually make me a princess. More like just me in a dress and make-up.

Most of the group

I managed to make it to the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton with plenty of time to spare. I met up with other people from work and looked around at all the items being auctioned. Most of the silent auction items were above anything I could afford. I couldn’t even imagine how much the jewelry that would be live-auctioned during the meal would fetch.

Kurt as a Ham.

The auctioning by GSN hosts carried through the meal, with Kurt, Tracey, and Wes wandering amongst the tables letting all the ladies and gents check out the merchandise. Kurt was in his element, flirting with the women and soliciting bids from their dates. Tracey shared a heart-warming story about growing up adopted. Wes handled the back-end of things, watching out for any additional bidders clamoring to see the jewelry Tracey modeled.

And the food was pretty good. We started with an asparagus appetizer followed by filet mignon and salmon and finished with a peach dessert. Like I said, pretty good but not necessarily memorable.

Conga Line!

After dinner there was dancing. I took to the floor with a couple of co-workers for the Electric Slide, and stayed for another song with lyrics about a “line.” So I started a conga line.  Then, I  jumped on stage to take a picture of my work until one of the singers from the suburban cover band made me get down.

Sensing my best work was now behind me, I said my goodbyes and left. Or else my carriage might have turned into a pumpkin!

Becoming a real adult (135th new thing).

August 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Part of becoming a “real adult” is to have a full-time, possibly salaried job, maybe a house and mortgage, and more importantly healthcare. I’ve had the first pretty much since I graduated college, have not enough money for the second, and the third I struck off the list on Day One Hundred Thirty-Five.

To be fair, I did at one point have health insurance all by myself (as in not covered by my parents), but it was actually included in the salaried job. I naively thought that was the rule, as opposed to the exception. And Gem Shopping has health insurance options, but they were so incredibly expensive compared to what coverage I would ever actually use that I opted out. Until now.

On the day I received a lovely plaque marking ten years with the shopping network, we also found out some cost details of our new health insurance policy, and they were extremely affordable. So affordable in fact that on Day One Three Five I opted in, and am now proud to say insured, for the first time in awhile.

Hooray for adulthood.

Ten Years (134th new thing).

August 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

On Day One Hundred Thirty-Four I received a plaque for working ten years at Gem Shopping Network. I’m not entirely sure it was deserved considering I left a few times to study abroad, work a job in the PR industry (while still occasionally filling in), and to go to Grad school in Newcastle. For consistency, I’ve probably worked seven or eight consecutive years. Still. The fact remains that my first day at the TV network was in September ’01, and I am currently working there full time.

The fact that I started working near enough the same job as I do now when I was a sophomore in college is hard on me at times. Shouldn’t I be advancing, moving upwards, making more money? And then I think about the side things I have accomplished. Like an MFA, although that hasn’t actually garnered me any additional wages, just a student loan debt whose monthly payments will gradually increase until I have paid it off at the tender age of forty-four. I’ve spent a couple years in England, traveled through Europe alone, worked in the promotions/publicity industry of movies, and generally had a pleasant time of it all.

So ten years is a certainly an achievement with a single company, especially at 29 years of age. But the real achievement is the living I did away from work, including this blog. That is what I am really proud of.

Day Twenty-Three. Gem Cutter.

April 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

I work in the production department of a TV shopping channel. It’s called Gem Shopping Network. They sell gemstones and jewelry. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although I have worked third shift in the past, I am usually a daytime person, typing up the graphics, running camera, and working on additional projects and commercials for the channel.

One of the unique aspects of GSN compared to other networks is the in-house lapidarists, or gemstone cutters. Sean is the original and has been since before I started working there about nine and a half years ago. His most popular cuts are portuguese rounds. It’s a round stone with extra facets cut into the pavilion (or base) of the stone for extra sparkle. After so many years of working around brightly colored stones and jewelry I have become somewhat immune to the glitter of the merchandise, but I have to say that the portuguese round gems really are brilliant.

Recently Sean has trained a few apprentices to help him out in cutting these round stones. It seemed easy enough, so on Day Twenty-Three, Sean taught me to cut a gemstone.

He opted for me to cut a round brilliant danburite, which is the modern faceting for diamonds. I started off with a preformed stone, shaped into a general round piece of rough. I attached the rough onto a brass post which would be secured to the lapidary to create the facets. Centering it was a bit difficult. The dop wax is a resin like stick that melts when placed over a flame. It also hardens incredibly quickly. In order to center the rough onto the stick you have to keep rolling the two components over the flame and adjusting accordingly. Sean did the final tweaking.

After rolling the rough on the lap to create a perfectly round form, I moved the arm up to begin cutting facets, inspecting as I went along.

When I sanded down to what I though were all the facets, I switched to the polishing lap and repeated the process. At the end of that task, Sean inspected the stone to see where I missed a facet polish. And then I fixed it.

The process was repeated for the crown of the gemstone, and once completed, I was allowed to take the stone home with me.

All in all, the process wasn’t as intensely mathy as I though it would have been. More repetitious. My danburite isn’t perfect. I made a few mistakes on the facets and my girdle (the space between the crown and pavilion) is kind of small. But the stone itself is very cool. I don’t know whether or not I will make a piece of jewelry out of it, but just looking at the sparkly round thing makes me happy.

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