Thursday, February 18, 2010

Everything happens for a reason....

Tonight I was at the Gold Medal performance by American Evan Lysacek at the Men's Figure Skating competition. It was awesome. So incredible to be there in person and so exciting to hear the Star Spangled Banner played.... I am a figure skating nut so this was truly special.... I also saw the Men's short on Tuesday. My Olympic experience has turned back to Gold!

Photo of me and box office staff outside our little trailer in the woods!

Well, my Olympic adventure has taken quite a turn.... the work part of it ended for me last Sunday when we both mutually agreed I was in quite over my head... after working just 4 days of 4:30 am to 8pm days in a tiny trailer in the wilderness working on a ticketing program I knew nothing about, the charm of it all vanished. I can't say that any of that was fun. It didn't seem to bother the other hired staff as much as me that we had had no hands on training on the ticketing software and yet they expected us to oversee huge venues and 5 employees who themselves had had only 1 day of training. Which was 1 more day than I had! After 4 exhausting days (why I never had time to blog) and still not knowing the system (I hadn't had even a moment to look at venue maps), still not being able to master the new cell phone or new email account, no one around who knew anything about the charge card machine for Visa (no mastercard allowed and would you believe we had to do an offline Visa sale instead of feeding charge directly into the system -- even Kennedy Theatre can feed in directly!) -- like the password to do refunds, a safe with no combination, no one who could tell me where to drop the thousands of dollars in cash, no office supplies til the second day, including pens to sign charge card slips!, no place to eat and no time to eat anyway, outdoor porta potties in the winter cold, it just wasn't worth it. The rest of the box office staff who was there, didn't appear to know any more than I did once I had even a minute to ask them, but I think their experiences with much larger venues than KT and large scale events makes you hardened so that nothing bothers you and you just learn to wing it! I wanted to be assured I was doing the right thing. This was the Olympics after all! Being at the Whistler Olympic Park which was 40 minutes outside of Whistler with 3 totally separate venues each holding around 12,000 folks was way more than I was ready for.

So since I was here anyway, I took the opportunity to go see some things. I wouldn't have gotten to otherwise. (We had an event every single day from Feb 12 - 28.) And as we know there are always tickets around, aren't there? So I saw luge, downhill, and some figure skating... that part has now been fun. Finding a place to stay in Vancouver, not so fun... Luckily Julie Iezzi had thought to pass me the phone number for a student from 6 years ago, Colleen Lanki, who agreed to let me sleep at her place for two nights when I called her completely out of the blue. I leave on Friday for Denver and will post more later about my true Olympic adventure and the exciting events I did get to see!

I will eventually post a day by day accounting of the ticketing adventure but not many of you will be terribly interested. Do check back and read about the fun of GOING to the Olympics! Aloha.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 1 in Whistler

what have I gotten myself into! today we trained our staff. how do you train when you don'tknow what you are doing! most sellers have had 1 day of training.... tomorrow we have the first event of the entire Olympics! got to see 1/2 of the opening ceremonies rehearsal yesterday. it was cool so watch! wished I could have seen it all....

we walked our venue today... boy it was hard work but beautiful. 20 minute walk to one venue, a little shorter to others... beautiful, snowing... training runs for ski jump, cross country and biathlon. also cool. have to get up at 4:30am tomorrow so will sign off and post photos tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Training Day #1

Here I am in my Olympic jacket, but it says all over it and Vancouver 2010 is very small. Too bad. The official VANOC jackets are very cute.
So today was exhausting. We started at 9am and were overloaded with info, everything from trying to learn the ticketing system, to info about how to read reports, how to tell a counterfeit ticket, to what to do with money, how to get change (get friendly with the food vendors!), to how to sell wheelchair tickets, obstructed view. OMG! Can't believe I will be able to supervise a soul! Got an Olympic issued cell phone (need to learn to use) and a new email address already loaded with 81 messages! Have shared the condo with Shaela from Boise State. And in another "It's a Small World" moment, I am working with a guy from Chicago who has worked the Athlens olympics (thank god for experience) named Patrick Bannick. He knows Steve's brother, Patrick Clear, and house managed at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago when Patrick used to play Bob Cratchit! We got to walk around downtown a bit and see some of the fun and did a little souvenir shopping. Now it's time for bed. Tomorrow is another training day, and I think we get to help out with rehearsal for Opening Ceremonies and after that drive to Whistler - only 3 hour drive! Yikes!


I fly on Westjet from Honolulu direct to Vancouver, about 6 hour flight. Individual monitor screens at the seat and good leg room. Much better than United! I get in at 11:30 and airport is deserted! Like a ghost town. Get thru customs and take a cab to a very nice condo two blocks from the site of the Opening Ceremonies. Too bad I'll be gone on Thursday!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's a small small world

Quite by accident I found out that Maria Adversalo, a woman we know well from Star of the Sea (she was one of Ryan's preschool teachers), is also going to be at the Olympics as a volunteer. I tracked down her cell phone number and talked to her today. Guess what? She is a volunteer at my very same venue! And she has been in Vancouver for over a week for training so she knew way more about the venue and what is going on than I do. She is staying right up the way from me in Whistler and I'm sure we'll be boarding the same bus to the Whistler Olympic Park at 4:30am! More when I meet up with Maria in Whistler.

Information starts to arrive

Late on Friday night I got an email with a venue manual attached... 44 pages of reading material before I arrive! It is full of site specific information about the venue, procedures, uniform protocol, event schedules, emergency procedures (you know how I love these!), and more. My name is even published in the staff section. Guess I'm really going!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Whistler Olympic Park

Want to learn more about my venue? It is the site of the ski jump, biathalon, cross country skiing and nordic combined. It is a new venue and supposed to be great. Website is

3 days to go!

More details are coming but still I don't have a very clear idea of what is in store. This is truly an adventure! Been emailing with Shaela from Boise State and comparing notes on what we know. She had one piece of news that I hope is true -- she thinks we get to see the Opening ceremonies rehearsal before we head up to Whistler. That would be so awesome! We were supposed to have some materials to help us prepare before we left but haven't seen anything yet and so I guess we will have to be fast learners.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Starting to meet my co-workers!

I first heard from my friends at UH Athletics about Shaela Priaulx, who works in the ticket office at Boise State. Shaela and I will share a condo, along with a woman from Italy. I have since also made contact with Patrick Brannick, who I will be working with at Whistler Olympic Park, and Debra Duncan, from USC. Sounds like an experienced crew. Patrick worked at the Athens Olympics and the woman from Italy worked at Torino. I should learn a lot from these experienced box office people!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Work Visa Arrives

Today I got my work visa that will actually get me into Canada.