Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween from the Yip Yips!

Happy Halloween from the Yip Yips!

Yip Yip, Uh huh.

(I'm in the pink and Kate is in the blue)

We made these costumes last night and they are a hit today at work!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My New Hero

Man I was so super grouchy this morning. Anyone looking in my window would have been cracking up at the scowl on my face. At one point I was trying to get my keys out of my pocket and they got stuck a little, so I shout, "I HATE YOU!" and then I felt like it wasn't the keys fault so I amended it with," ...LIFE!".

Great, so now I hate life, I thought to myself. Real nice, Anne.

But I got in the car with Kate for the drive to work and I'm just bitching about everything. And we get to work and she tells me I'm acting like this guy:

And that made me feel a lot better. This guy is my new hero. He hates everything, for no reason. Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Please Vote On My New Signature Phrase:

What should my new signature phrase be? Keep in mind I will be saying this constantly.

How peculiar!
For what it's worth ...
You betcha!
Most certainly!
I object...
By all means...
Au contraire!

(View Results)

Create a Poll

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

PC Games: How NOT To Get Anything Done

Now that you have got that project management stuff down pat, celebrate by playing a few games. Here are a few of my favorites, some that you may have seen before, some not.

Knock the yellow balls off the table before the yellow balls knock your red balls off the table.

Trap the Cat
Click the dots to block the cat one move at a time.

Laser game where you use a strategy of mirrors, splitters, and walls to get the light bulbs lit.

Cross the River IQ Game

It's in Japanese but just click the big blue button.


1. Only 2 people on the raft at a time.

2.The father can not stay with any of the daughters without their mother's presence.

3.The mother can not stay with any of the sons without their father's presence.

4.The thief (striped shirt) can not stay with any family member if the Policeman is not there.

5.Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the raft.

Make the cakes as fast as you can. Easy, cute, kids can play.

Sally's Salon
Along the same lines as CakeMania, but unfortunately you have to download this one. If you do it from here, like I did, instead of the trial I got an unlimited version. I don't know if it was a glitch or what.

Hide the Drugs
Drag and drop to hide the drugs/paraphernalia/etc before your parents walk in. Kids can play. :-p Kidding!

Fish Tycoon
This is also a download, for your PC or for your Palm/Treo/Pocket PC/Nintendo DS. It's a game played over time where you breed fish and try to find the 7 Magic Fish.

High Delivery
This is a peaceful game with pretty graphics and soothing music to play after all of the above games have frustrated you.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Project Management: How To Stop Freaking Out and Start Getting Things Done

Being in charge of a project can be an enriching experience. Recently, my boss put confidence in me to see a project to conclusion. When I was first assigned the task it seemed daunting if not impossible and I wondered why they chose me, of all people. But when I was cc'd an email from the CEO to my contact person that said am an overachiever and he had total confidence that I would do a great job, I changed my opinion of the entire thing. I began to believe the same thing at that point!

This project has forced me to step outside of my comfort zone. Along the way I have been thinking about the things I have learned while working on this project. Here's my advice to you (and to a future me).
  1. Take time to think it through. You have just been assigned a big project. You're really not sure you can handle it, or you are really confident it's no problem. Either way, you might be wrong. That's why it's so important to stop and think. Take a day before getting going, seriously, the more you think through now, the less road blocks you will deal with later. Sit in front of your computer, open a blank word doc and start typing all your questions in. Furiously type!!! Close your eyes if you have to. Think of everything. Look at that list. You missed a ton of shit. But it's okay. Your brain is now in project mode. Activate Project Mode!!!
  2. Contact people immediately. Do not delay contacting any outside sources that you will be involved with. The sooner you establish a relationship and rapport with your collaborators, the better. This person will be your direct link to crucial information such as how it's been done by other companies. This person is someone you want to have a good relationship, because in the event that you have a gazilion questions, they will take the time to answer them.
  3. Ask for help. Many people have been in your shoes before and they too have asked for help. Do not be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for advice or extra help on your project. People in other departments may have better insight into how it will run the most smoothly when it gets through their department, or ideas as to what can be streamlined or eliminated. As always, the more minds you have in on it, the less details you will overlook. If Joe from accounting is good at flow charts, ask for his help. If Betty in customer service writes good proposals, seek out her advice. You will gain their respect because everyone likes to be good at something. Preface your request with a compliment that accentuates the very thing you need help with. "Betty, your work on the Hefner merger last month was incredible. I'm in charge of the Jones acquisition now and I would love to pick your brain for a few ideas whenever you have time." You will be glad you have an ally.
  4. Get organized. Draw a map of the building if you have to and imagine who needs to do what. Devise a flow chart. (Microsoft Visio is perfect for these tasks.) Imagine yourself in the shoes of each person who will be physically involved in the process once it's underway. Break your project down and concentrate on finishing the planning for one area at a time. Bring that area as close to completion as possible and then do the same for the next tasks You will find that completing the first process or task will help you understand the other areas and you will be able to plan those much better.
  5. Make decisions. Your boss, or whoever gave you the assignment, has given you the authority to determine processes, order supplies, etc. Do not wait to order things or delegate tasks - time will run out faster than you think. If you are in charge of this project that means that no one else is going to be making these decisions. At least ask for input from the person who knows about the ordering.
  6. Keep people informed. You will find it helpful for you and for the people you to will report to to keep a list of what has been accomplished and how. This list will also contain what still needs to be done. From this you can gather a list of questions that you can sort according to the appropriate people to ask. If you have to report to someone or many people, make a Status Report outlining what has been done and what needs to be done. It's better to have more information than not enough; when you bring this list to the meeting the recipients can decide what they need to read and what they can skim.
  7. Always have a backup. Remember to keep a plan B in mind for each part of your project. If you are presenting an idea, someone may bring up an objection as to why it cannot be done that way. Be ready with a rapidfire backup plan to blow them away.
  8. Delegate. If you are in charge, then by default, someone else is not. If you have any people at your disposal, use them for the smaller tasks that you need done, freeing you to focus on all those little details that no one but you knows about. Remember that it may be hard to get people to work 'for' you, they may have other things to do, or possibly harbor resentment that you are in charge. Tattle on them. Just kidding. Sit them down and talk to them, blame it on your boss if you have to, saying that he has you under a tight deadline and he's all over you about the deadline. If that doesn't work, then tattle.
  9. Relax. Things will go wrong. Things will go wronger if you panic about them. If a crisis occurs, think it through, gather advice and input, and then try to calm down. If you can take a day to step back and focus on another area of the project, that's great. You may need to reevaluate your entire plan at some point. The main thing to remember is that the worst thing that can happen is that you will fail miserably and get fired. And even that's not so bad in the grand scheme of things. And that probably won't even happen, so don't worry. You will be fine.
  10. Celebrate. You did it! Yay!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm All About Obama

I realized after watching Barack Obama's speech last night that I will be thoroughly heartbroken if Obama does not become our next president. I feel a twinge of despair just thinking about the fact that the AP likes to say it's a "close race".

While I was originally a covert Hillary supporter, now I will gladly place all my hopes on this man. The Obama campaign's clever marketing has a lot to do with it. Michelle's tear-inducing speech, the eloquent emails from Barack, Michelle, and Joe in my inbox every few days, the text message right to me telling me who the veep is. The CHANGE signs, the lower taxes (yeah, it's rhetoric but it's nice to hear right?), the health care promises, the reduced foreign oil dependency. The end of the war. The fact that he's NOT Bush.

I admire Barack Obama for dedicating himself to our country, for his willing commitment to be our new leader. I respect that he is willing to expose himself to the world and shatter the discriminatory practices of yesterday. And believe it or not, I have a newfound love for my country through him.

If he can win, I will gladly laugh at the late night comedians' monologue jokes poking fun at him for whatever they may. I'm ready to reach into my bank account to give money to ensure that he gets where we need him to be. The last time I supported a candidate like this was when I went door-to-door campaigning for Wisconsin Libertarian candidate for governer, Ed Thompson. And that was just because someone asked me to.

This time it's REAL. I am all about Obama.

Thursday, August 28, 2008 A Free Way to Manage Money

I have been trying to improve my credit score and pay more attention to where my money is going. And I came across the perfect site to help me do just that. is my new budgeting tool. It reads my spending information based on my credit and debit card purchases, savings accounts, checks written, bill payments, car and student loans, etc. And tells me where I fall in comparison to myself and others. It helps me set up spending limits and tells me if I've gone over budget in a certain area - Mint will even text me to let me know if my interest rate has changed, if I am charged a late fee, or if my account balances fall below a certain level. Granted, my bank will do this as well, but my bank doesn't have the rest of these awesome capabilities.

Trends: Here's what the 'Trends' category looks like. As you can see at the bottom of the page you can choose which month you'd like to look at, or look at several months at a time. Here I am looking at just this month. When you hover over each area, percentages show up. You can click on any slice of the pie to have it broken down further. For example, 'Auto' would break into: Car Payment, Gas, Insurance, and Parking.

Budget: Here is the page that shows budget. Since I just set up Mint, my budgeting isn't quite on track yet. And I get a little confused on this part, like how do I classify fees that I pay once per year (car registration, renters insurance, etc). As you can see from the empty Spa & Massage line, I am WAY overdue for my monthly pedicure. I also need a haircut but that's one of those things that isn't done monthly. You see how this part can be confusing? I like the trends section better.

Compare: There's also a feature where I can compare my spending to others in my area or any city. Since I carpool, I think I spend less than others when it comes to Gas/Fuel. This feature is neat but pretty pointless, really. I also don't think it's accurate if it's pooling data just from other Mint users. I mean, with fluctuations in the amount of users per month and those who may not categorize every purchase, this could be way off.

There are those who are skeptical about Mint because of security issues. I admit, it was quite a hurdle for me to get over. It can be kind of scary giving one website all your login information, and some may even say I'm stupid for doing so. But hey, as you can see -- I don't have enough money to matter to anyone. So in the meantime I'll let Mint help me out.