Friday, September 5, 2008

Communications Retreat

1) The temperature was just right for wearing a hooded sweatshirt and the dress code for the retreat was "SUPER casual" so I wore the Zelda sweatshirt that I had bought on a whim a while back for the first time.

2) The retreat was at Catalyst Ranch. As you can see from their website the word colorful doesn't even begin to describe the d├ęcor. I swear I’ve never seen so many colors in one room before. It was a really cool space, with lots of different comfy chairs, couches, cushions, even a hammock. (SleepyDave would have had a field day.) There were various toys and things scattered around the tables.(I found the few legos there were and turned them into a little llama.) Renee and I played Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots.

3) Then there was the food. Oh. Em. Gee. So for breakfast there was a few hot dishes (scambled eggs, various potatoes, chicken sausage etc.) a huge plate of fruit, and fresh squeezed OJ (and of course coffee and tea) set-up inside the room. Then out side the room there was a bar of cold stuff (bagels, muffins, cereal, this amazing swiss style coffee cake with cream etc.) It was incredible.

After they took the breakfast stuff away they put up a basket for of snack foods in the room, where there was also a fridge stocked full of soda. Then for lunch there was this incredible macadamia crusted mahi mahi, stuffed chicken, grilled vegetables, salad, fruit salad, straw/blue/black-berry shortcake and a chocolate frosted buttercream cake and some other stuff I don’t remember.

And then after lunch they set-up a snack bar that had everything from popcorn and nuts to mango slices and chocolate covered raisin and a dozen other things. I ate so much and so well. I didn’t even really need dinner.

4) There were a variety of team activities throughout the day. They all involved brainstorming and problem solving. The most fun one was the egg drop. We divided into four groups and each group got an egg, 12 plastic straws and about a yard of masking tape. The eggs were going to be dropped from 8 feet and we had to design something that would prevent them from breaking using the materials provided.

I ended up being the main engineer for my team, after the guy who started putting it together was having trouble. Even though I know I’m good with legos and such I don’t really think about how those 3-d dimension construction skills are one of my talents. I just assume anyone could do the same if they tried. It was nice to have a useful talent.

We worked really well as a team, as I was doing the construction, another person on the team would hold the contraption, other people would hand me pieces of tape or straws and everyone who wasn’t directly involved with the construction was offering encouragement and thinking up a name for our contraption. It ended up looking like Sputnik, a ball with attenatae sticking out in all directions and so it was named Sputnegg.

It survived the drop, but then there was a second, higher drop which only one egg survived: it wasn’t ours.

5) One of the nice things about the retreat was getting to know the people who are technically my coworkers (colleagues maybe?) but who I rarely interact with. It was nice to feel part of a larger team, but also in particular cool to meet Phyllis. Well, I ‘d met her before, but for like five seconds. But after spending some time with her it was clearly apparent that we were on the same wavelength. She went around testing the various chair for comfiness and collected a marker of every color for making notes. We had some good laughs too. Too bad our offices don’t work together more often.

6) The writing implement I chose was a four color pen. I used it to make these doodles:

Also I took some notes.

7) The walks to and from the buses to the retreat.

8) Got my Zipcard in the mail.

9) Took a nap during which I had a dream that involved everyone from communications + Jon Stewart poorly disguised working in the same office.

10) Dr. Monochrome's Monodome

11) A call from Stephanie

12) Packing to infinity

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