Wow, that sucked: A look back at the “naughty oughties”

31 12 2009


Unopened bag of 2004

Originally uploaded by N-Sai

This is a year-by-year look at the decade that saw me becoming a journalist and solidifying my identity, as well as blossoming from an awkward teenager into an semi-awkward adult-ish being.

There is a lot to go into here, but I will start out just going year by year. And, a look at my love of beer. It changed, you’ll see here.

I hope you enjoy this look at history through the lens of me. I mean think about all the politics, the economy, it’s all interrelated. I mean we started out with the attack, then the war, then the cycles of optimism and fear. Interesting decade.

  • 2000: Wrote for the school paper. Was the assistant fine arts editor, and then became entertainment editor. Was known as “Slim Saidi.” Dreamed about graduating from high school and hitting the big time, going all over the place, rocking the world. But first, settled on ASU.
  • 2001: Went to Office Max for Senior Ditch Day, a momentous milestone in my life (and the day I purchased Incubus’ Make Yourself at a Sam Goody-type establishment). Actually graduated from high school. Went to ASU, majored in computer science. 9/11 happened. I found out about it by overhearing conversations in the dorm restroom — about cars on fire, the world burning up, explosions everywhere, they said, and it was simply terrifying. It took a while for classes to be canceled, and I remember everything was so quiet.
  • 2002: My kitty-corner downstairs neighbor in the dorm died and it took three days to find him there — it was really sad. He had the room to himself. There was a burglary and ID theft at the family house while I was away at school, but reality didn’t hit until I was home for the summer. Had major ID theft problems for the rest of the year. Got my first real-ish job, by becoming a road service phone schlock at U-Haul HQ. Lasted a whole two months, but learned a lot and met some cool people. This experience convinced me that I was capable of holding down a job at a national company.
  • 2003: Snuck in through the back door of The State Press over winter break (figuratively speaking) and became the associate Web Devil editor. Decided I no longer wanted to be a computer scientist, and instead wanted to be a journalist, a humanities major, a geographer, a cartographer, a computer geek, maybe an engineer or scientist, really I couldn’t decide. Identity crisis a-go-go. Interned for the media office at the Desert Botanical Garden. Had my first beer this year, thankfully not around any cacti. Somehow I’d avoided it that long.
  • 2004: Became one of two “campus and administration” reporters for The State Press, and discovered I was obsessed with reporting. Worked at the City of Chandler a couple days a week, which created an insane schedule for me given everything I was doing. Turned 21 just before summer and right in the nick of time: Over the summer, traveled to Washington, D.C., and interned for Common Cause’s press office. Learned a lot, had a great time, decided that Budweiser was my Beer. (Not Bud Light) The third presidential debate was held at ASU in October of this year and I got to report on it, and even interview Triumph the Insult Comic Dog for the Web Devil.
  • 2005: The economy was still booming and ASU had ideas and new buildings practically coming out of its orifices. Got a reporting internship at the not-quite-defunct East Valley Tribune and then became Web Devil editor. Couldn’t find ONE job, so I got TWO jobs instead: Media specialist at Pan-American Initiatives at ASU, and also as a writing intern for Choice Hotels International. Drank.
  • 2006: Continued with my jobs but then at some point decided that the current situation was OK, but it was time to move forward. I somehow stumbled on CNN.com, applied on a whim, was accepted, freaked out, grabbed my father and four suitcases, flew out to Atlanta, found a lot of bad apartments, found a good apartment, said goodbye to my Dad, cried a lot, grew up and became a multimedia journalist in Atlanta! Drank a little, here and there.
  • 2007: Moved to a new user participation group that did mysterious things with “iReports” and “Exchange.” Got hired on full-time, and then became the first associate producer (full-time) for the budding User Participation group. Got my first taste of gourmet beer, in the form of a Blue Moon served at a going-away party for a colleague. A coworker explained to me that it was a “Belgian White” and I nodded and said mmm-hmmm-wow-awesome and then went home and did some research. Tried the Sweetwater Georgia Brown as well as the Hummer, and I was well on my way to beer snobbery.
  • 2008: The economy had been teetering a bit, but this is the year it really started going into the pooper. On the plus side, iReport started coming into its own, and I became a Senior Associate Producer. Moved out of my apartment in Dunwoody to a convenient place in midtown. Dealt with serious cockroach problems, moved to a less-convenient and more-expensive place and then went to Los Angeles to chill with the Murray scholars. While there, I met Kato Kaelin. He was pretty chill. Right after that, President Barack Obama was elected on a historic election night. Meanwhile, my taste in beer became increasingly snobby. Phoenix light rail launched December 27.
  • 2009: President Obama was inaugurated and the whole event was a big global Thingy that seemed unprecedented. The economy was much further into the pooper and we called it a recession. I didn’t seem to notice, as I single-handedly held up the country’s gross domestic product by traveling a ton and visiting San Francisco, Paris and London for the first time. Saw Cousin Julie get married in Wisconsin and was reunited with the family, most of whom I see maybe once every five years. Saw the World’s Largest Six-Pack in La Crosse. (Well I mean, just look at the Year in Review. You’ll see what I did in 2009.) My circle of friends practically doubled. Beer snobbery got even worse and maybe a tad pretentious, and the beers got darker and darker. Light rail celebrated its second birthday.
  • 2010: Let’s see what happens!
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All that year in review stuff

31 12 2009

Wow, wasn’t 2009 awesome? Crickets.

OK — So I’m busy getting ready for a road trip tomorrow, so I don’t have as much time as I thought I would to crank out this Year in Review thingy. Nonetheless, here’s the basics, month-by-month, followed by a roundup of the factoids and numbers that you can’t get enough of.

Month-by-month, blow-by-blow:

  • January: Inauguration madness defined the month.
  • February: I can’t remember much from this month, but I remember I went to Phoenix and we took Grams to the Desert Botanical Garden.
  • March: God only knows what I did. The economy was going down the pooper, I know that for sure.
  • April: Uh… I turned 26, on my birthday.
  • May: The weather was getting warmer…
  • June: Wisconsin to see my cousin get married. And just to dink around in Wisconsin.
  • July: San Diego Comic-Con! And my first-ever trip to San Francisco.
  • August: No clue what I did. For all I know, I might have done nothing. Well I know my parents visited and we went to Chattanooga and looked at fish and met a gnome and bought a tiny SEE ROCK CITY birdhouse for my soul.
  • September: Went to Paris and London.
  • Some time in the fall: Road tripping, river rafting, corn mazing, etc.
  • October: Wild Halloween partying!
  • November: You know that band Soul Coughing? Well yeah, that’s my band for November. For you see, Coughing was a major pastime after catching some sort of flu-like-symptom-causing illness. And then, Thanksgiving at work.
  • December: Two-week treep to Phoenix! Lots of stories written.

Yeah, so anyway, seeing as that was oh-so-insightful, here are the vitals:

  • Total flight itineraries flown: 12 (not including 2010 return flight)
  • Major car trips: 5 — Rafting, corn maze/hike, Chattanooga, Helen GA, upcoming New Year trip (excludes drive from Minneapolis to La Crosse)
  • States/countries visited: 8 — Tennessee, North Carolina, Arizona (3+jump-off to WI), California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, France, England.
  • Aquariums visited: 4 — Tennessee Aquarium, aquarium under the Mall of America, carpy aquarium at Wisconsin Dells, Georgia Aquarium (parents mostly).
  • Major offbeat tourist attractions seen: Approximately 8 — Babyland Cabbage Patch Hospital, Upside-down White House, World’s Largest Six-Pack, World’s Largest High-Wheel Bicycle, Ruby Falls, Rock City gardens, San Francisco sea lions, Coit Tower.
  • Major must-see landmarks/attractions: About 6 — Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, London Bridge, Big Ben, Golden Gate Bridge, Mall of America
  • New cities discovered: 5 — Paris FR, London EN, San Francisco CA, Chattanooga TN, Helen GA
  • Sci-fi/fantasy conventions: 3 — San Diego Comic-Con, Dragon*Con, that new ‘con that is being held at the Renaissance Hotel in midtown.
  • Electronic devices purchased: 2 — Apple iPhone, Nikon point and shoot.
  • Social/media networks joined: 7 — Foursquare, Tumblr, Plurk, 12 Seconds, last.fm, Pandora, blip.fm
  • Phrases coined: “Rubber babushka”
  • Major music performances attended: 7 — Bob Dylan, U2/Muse, Yo La Tengo, Death Cab for Cutie, NIN/Jane’s Addiction, Guster, and yes, Captured! by Robots.
  • Music download volume: Approximately 20 GB (all-time high)
  • Job positions held: 1 (first-time result)
  • On-camera appearances: About 10
  • Hair growth: Approximately 6 inches
  • Major hats accumulated: 10 — Green Knit Hat, Bison Horns, Bunny Ears, Blue San Francisco Hat, Moose Antlers, Christmas Tree, Pink Cap, Purple Cap, Varsity Hat, Atlanta Braves Hat.
  • Photos uploaded to Flickr: Approximately 3,000 (not all public)
  • Tweets on Twitter: 1174, as of 12 a.m. December 31 (not the tweets after this post) — via TweetStats
  • Total tweets: 1,976
  • Average tweets per day (all-time): 2.6
  • Former desk number: 26
  • Age: 26
  • (Withheld): 26
  • Lucky number: 26




The text I wrote from the plane

17 07 2008

I found some text I tapped out while I was bored on the plane… I had hoped to get the blog entry done up there but didn’t really succeed:

Trip to Vancouver

The trip I took to Vancouver was all about family. Now that it’s over I’m wondering if I made the best use of the time there. I’m currently somewhere around 30,000 feet. Writing to pass the time on an airplane.

So in the beginning things were calm and slowly, I found out that my grandmother is tough as nails despite being 81 years old. My cousin and her husband were both there. There were a lot of people. It was hard to get used to, being an only child, but I made it and think I am all the better for it.

Vancouver itself was really beautiful. The roughly 10 of us (give or take) stayed in a three-bedroom apartment in Richmond. The place overlooked the inlet water and the airport. You could even see planes taking of in the water. It was a spectacular view most of the time as the clouds changed and the sunlight flitted through the clouds late into the evening, as far north as we were.

The cast of characters, for review, included, and I hope I didn’t miss anybody:

* Me
* My parents (2)
* My cousin and her husband
* My cousin’s offspring (2)
* My other cousin
* My grandma
* My aunt





Travel videos

17 07 2008

Here are some videos I’d like to highlight that help tell the story of the trip:

Bears tussle on Grouse Mountain. They were in an exhibit behind a fence, thankfully. I think they’re just playing.

Walk the suspension bridge with me! Now, I realize that a large portion of the video is aimed straight at some guy’s arse, but that’s not because I was looking there. The camera was pointed there as I held it. And I’m not a butt girl anyways… so anyway, I hope you don’t get seasick watching this.

Take a spin down the Lion’s Gate Bridge and get a spectacular view of Stanley Park and the water and the bridge itself, which is cool stuff. Now that I think about it, I shouldn’t have moved the camera so much.

Oh, and get the full goods at the Flickr set. Enjoy!





Vancouverview

17 07 2008

Here’s what happened on the Vancouver trip, from which I returned a few weeks ago. Dates: June 9-22

  • Layovers in PHL going and PHX returning
  • 9-11 people in a 3BR apartment in Richmond at any given time.
  • Slept on the couch so people could keep bags in my parents’ room and I could have peace/quiet.
  • Met grandmother and aunt. I can only hope that I’ll get a chance to see them again.
  • Ate lots of Persian food, including traditional-style breakfasts of bread and cheese each a.m.
  • Grandmother (mamabazorgk) likes to get up early and do the dishes so I would awake early some days
  • Took lots and lots of pictures. Man did I take a lot of pictures.
  • Picnicked at Deep Cove with cuz’s hubby’s fam
  • Played with the kids, who are at that age where they are very apt to act like toddlers because they are.
  • Followed cuz’s hubby whenever we drove
  • Paid a lot for gas, man oh man did we pay. Good thing we didn’t drive much.
  • We could walk to the mall and some stores. Grocery shopping nearly every day, multiple times.
  • Watched Euro Cup. Man oh man.
  • Listened to Farsi conversations and tried to pick up on some words.
  • Took the tram up Grouse Mountain where we saw dueling lumberjacks, bears playing in the snow and a great view overlooking B.C.
  • Spent a lot of time bumming around downtown and counting Starbuck’s stores.
  • Went to White Rock (near the U.S.-Canada border) to spend time in the quirky beachside town
  • Shopped a little at Granville Public Market and gawked at the bridges (and got a bit lost)
  • Took the ferry to Vancouver Island and drove to Victoria, which is a must-see if you go to BC.
  • Ate at a Shanghai-style Chinese restaurant. I think I like this better than typical Mandarin fare.
  • Shanghai-style is like Dim Sum, etc. Restaurants like this are popular in BC.
  • There are a lot of Chinese people in BC and our apartment building lacked a 4th/14th floor because 4 is bad luck.
  • We visited not the Capilano Suspension Bridge but a smaller, free version at Lynn Creek. It was really nice but I get nervous about heights.
  • The bridge was very crowded and people would stop in the middle and you’d have to go around them.
  • If the bridge started to sway you could try to shift the balance back over by moving around.
  • It is a very old bridge, but they say it’s safe, so why not go. The view of the falls way down below is gorge-ous. Hahahaha, I crack myself up.
  • And I stopped at Tim Horton’s in the airport on the way back and enjoyed it. I still have some donuts with me now… they’re totally gross at this point.
  • YVR has lots of totem pole-type things in it to honor the aboriginal population.
  • Aborigines is the CA term for natives or Indians. They have an Aboriginal Achievement Awards show.
  • I heard someone say “Eh!” at the end of a sentence. Even in BC they do that.
  • I learned some words in Farsi. Such as: Yek, do, se, sohb bekheh, balley, nah, gghhubeh, and at one point I could say “lamp” and “boy” and “girl.” I think I still recall all the different types of aunts and uncles.
  • Farsi is structured like Spanish in some ways. I should go back and try to learn. It’s sad that I know more Spanish than the language of my homeland.
  • I have many personal goals… more on that later.
  • It was a good trip. Occasionally I freaked out about all the people and how hot it sometimes got in our apartment and how I couldn’t get to sleep or whatever but in the end, none of that matters. What matters is that it happened and you did what you could to make it happen.