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10/30/2002: Frightful

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Today I got a chance to do the presentation for the first time (or at least the first time in front of a live audience that didn't consist only of my Benthic Creatures coworkers). Surprisingly, I wasn't the least bit nervous, except for some slight butterflies right before we started. The minute we began, however, those butterflies were gone, and by the time we got to the break, I was so wired I couldn't even stand still. Of course, once the presentation was over, nearly four hours later, I was completely exhausted. The room we're in currently for presentations is huge, and we're presenting to sometimes up to 100 people at a time….with no microphone. Trying to project my voice without actually sounding like I was yelling took a lot out of me. But I've done the first one now, so the rest is going to be cake. If I keep telling myself that, maybe it will make up for the fact that these latest groups of mollusk handlers have been more than just a wee bit surly. Ugh.

After the training we braved the traffic again, this time to go to dinner with Richard's sister (the Almost Twin) and family. It was a mid-week cat fix, since they've got three cats that we got to play with and pet. After dinner (marinated tri-tip on the grill) the Almost Twin, her daughter, Richard and I piled into our car and drove off to try to get ourselves scared at the local haunted house.

The place is called Gyro's 3-D Fear Factory, and I get the impression that they do this yearly. Not sure if this is a larger organization than just at this one location, but it was at least impressive in its size. We got in line and bought tickets to only one of the haunted sites from a dead woman with blood trickling down her neck (someone, in other words, had been having fun with stage makeup), and then rode the escalator upstairs to begin.

They passed out 3-D glasses and ushered us into a room full of smoke and florescent colors. I gave up on the 3-D glasses after only a few minutes, however, because I was getting far too disoriented and the blurred effect was making my head hurt. The machine-manufactured smoke made it dim enough as we wandered through the maze that I don't think I missed out on anything too exciting.

It wasn't all that scary, but then I really wasn't expecting it to be, since after all, people were taking their kids inside as well. Mainly, it was set up as a murky maze with a lot of creepy, bizarre paintings on the walls, odd things lurking in corners, and people in various sorts of creepy masks and costumes lurking in shadows to jump out and scream menacingly at us as we walked by. I was still completely exhausted, even after a few bursts of adrenalin as someone jumped out to surprise us, but it worked out anyway.

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