Monthly Archives: May 2005

Becky’s thoughts and my comments on Shrek 2 reminded me of something that I’d actually intending to post ever since the Good Boys & Girls post from a while back.

As with most kids, I think, the junior high years for me were the worst of my life. A combination of deflated expectations, puberty, waist-bloat, and… well… everything else that comes with being in junior high. My junior high experience cast a pretty long shadow and though I don’t think about it much now, it influenced the things that influenced the things that influenced the things that influence who I am today.

Things had started to improve by my 8th grade year (Delosa schools have middle school from 6-8 and high school from 9-12) through, among other things, bribery. And in high school I discovered an online bulletin board system (BBS) that would change my life. It’s interesting to note that only once I started getting better did I realize how bad things had previously been.

I remember a girl in my sophomore year that I took a bit of a liking to. She and I would talk every day before and after our mutual English class. I, of course, was trying to figure out if she liked me by every possible means except direct inquiry. I remember at one point I was watching her intently interact with people that were my social equal or lessers in the high school caste system. I remember quite explicitly thinking that she might be interested in them in a way that she probably wasn’t with me because they were “real guys”… humans… and I was an ogre.

But progress was nonetheless being made. I may have been an ogre, but somewhere along the way I’d become a dignified one. I was actually talking to this girl. I had actual, bona fide female friends. This, of course, blew my ogre friends away. As some of them started sliding deeper and deeper in to ogredom, I was getting out.

But I wasn’t out at that point because, among other things, I was still hanging out with ogres and I was still one among them. However, I was really at the head of the pack. I look back at that experience as being the Ogre King. Not quite human, but the ogre that all the rest of the ogres looked up to.

It took my losing about sixty pounds, breaking a couple of hearts, and keeping and maintaining a human girlfriend for a couple of years before I finally really broke out of that mindset. Well, broke out of it to the extent that I ever will. At some point, I think, your experience diverge far enough from the typical path that I don’t think your perspective will ever be able to merge with everyone else’s. But luckily, as you grow older, medieval fantasy race stops mattering quite so much.

Category: School

I got a traffic ticket on my way to work this morning. The Mocum cop caught me fair and square. As is usually the case when I’m pulled over, I was speeding on cruise control rather than being in a hurry (I was at least half-an-hour early for work). It was probably the nicest cop I’ve ever had. I have a temporary insurance card that had expired by two days and he didn’t seem to sweat it. I was hoping to get off, but he’s got a job to do and what’s really surprising is that the ticket was for a measly $53. Going 13-over in Colosse (most of Delosa, I’d actually say) would get you closer to $200.

But that’s neither here nor there. The biggest even of this ticket is that I don’t care. Part of me really wants to worry about it, but the biggest reason that I’ve always worried is no longer an issue. Let me explain.

The last time I got a ticket was a few years ago. I was caught in a speed trap on a rural highway. When you see a “reduced speed limit ahead” sign and see the speed limit go down ten miles an hour you feel pretty safe until you reach the top of the hill and are heading down when the speed limit decreases another 10 mph for no more than a 50 feet. I was on my way to Smyrna to visit my friend and it really ruined my weekend. Not because of the $200 fine or because of the inevitable insurance hike, but because my parents were going to find out about it.

Unfortunately, about two weeks before I had moved in with the folks for a few months while I worked and saved up for our trip out here. I also viewed it as an opportunity for Mom and I to mend our sometimes spotty relationship. With the ticket, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Sure enough, despite having taken care of myself financially for a few years and being many moons past eighteen, I was grounded. Mom and I did not speak for a couple of days and within a week I decided I didn’t need to save up that bad and made alternate living arrangements. That’s how bad it got.

Before getting married and moving out here, I’d lived my whole life in the greater Colosse area. It was very convenient in a number of ways. My folks’ house in Mayne was my permanent address so that I didn’t need to keep changing my drivers licenses, billing addresses, and all that every time that I moved. It all went to her. My bank account also had Mom’s name on it because it got me a better interest rate. So while I was paying for everything myself, my parents (Mom specifically) had access to more information than was probably appropriate. I’m not a particularly private person so it never bothered me… except when it did.

When I got my drivers license, nothing was more serious than the prospect of getting a ticket. I lived in regular fear of it. My folks would take my car away for a whole month and I’d have to ride the big yella to school. Uncool. But it worked: I didn’t get my first ticket until I was in college. And outside the city of Phillippe (long story), I never got more than a ticket a year and up until this morning’s ticket, I was eligable for the good-driver discount. They also taught me early and often the value of money. I was taught to live below my means and save up. This was very effective, too.

But in neither case do I worry about it quite as much as my parents. When working I try to put away 25% of my salary and more often than not that leaves me with a little spending room. Computers are my think and that’s where most of my money went. Courting Evangeline was also my thing, so a lot of money went there, too. But Mom would see my Discover bill and I’d hear about it. And Mom would certainly see whether I sent $200 to the Podunk County Sheriff’s Office. But for my part, one of the reasons I save money is so that I don’t have to freak out when some extra expense comes my way.

Mom and Dad were both raised poor and up until recently buying things that weren’t important were more than bad money management, it was a moral bad. They liked to spend money on trips and I liked to spend it on computer stuff (and didn’t mind spending it on eating out or high-speed Internet). Dad and I eventually came to terms with that (one of the most heart-melting things he ever said to me was that I am pretty good with money), but Mom and I never did.

Since getting married and moving away, I’ve had to take more responsibility for things. We have everything we can on autopayments. It kills Mom that we spend $10 a month on what she considers an unnecessary service, but I actually prefer it to the situation when I lived back there. I always figured that while doing all these things myself would not be hard, it would be somewhat stressful. But with the all-important exception of the credit card, I was actually paying most of my bills there (water, electricity, phone go straight to the apartment that’s getting it). And really, until Clancy pointed out how unnecessary some of these head-buttings between Mom and I were, I never thought a whole lot of it.

And until today, when I have no one to answer for my ticket but me, I never quite realized that it was taking a bigger toll on my life than taking ownership of the rest of my bills was.

Category: Coffeehouse, Road

Since Clancy is out of town, I was thinking about renting the Star Wars part 1 & 2 and then watching the third this weekend at the theater. But, realistically, what are the odds that at least five people around here haven’t thought of the same thing and cleared out those particular items?

The only times I’ve not been behind on my movie watching are when I worked in a movie theater and when I was dating someone new. Beyond that, I’ve hated to go out and spend the money. More than that, I hate the idea of going to the movie theater alone. It’s probably the only public place I feel that way about.

Anyhow, when Lord of The Rings came out, it was no different. Though I did want to see the movie, I never actually made my way out to the theater. But Colosse had enough ultra-megaplexes that the movie stayed in theaters for almost a year. About ten months after its release, I caught a girl’s fancy and we went out to see the first film. It was pretty cool because about a month later I got to see the second one, before I forgot anything.

By the time the third one came out, I was able to see the Director’s Cut of the first two, thereby allowing dangling plots to start making sense.

I don’t think I ever planned a set of movies so well as I did that one. Except that it was unplanned. Which is probably why it worked out so well!

Category: Theater

Wednesday, a serious bug must have gone around the office. Cause yesterday, an inordinate number of people didn’t show and a number of employees that did looked tired, warn out, and delirious, as though they were sick, too.

Go figure.

I actually still haven’t seen Part II yet. The original two came out when I was too young to watch and/or remember and I wasn’t able to completely follow the third cause I’d missed the first two, but I remember thinking that the Ewoks were pretty cool. I saw all three during their re-release to the theater and then I saw Phantom Menace when it came out.

Part of my lack of enthusiasm, I guess, was that it was never larger than life to me because I was so old by the time I saw it. They were good movies, but they were good in a wow-golly-gee sort of manner about as subtle as a sledgehammer. That’s why I’ve found criticisms of the Phantom Menace to be kind of odd. It seems like a lot of fans wanted the movie to grow up with them. But not having been a huge fan, I’m not sure if I’m the most qualified person to say that.

But though I haven’t seen the Sith movie, I have heard enough tidbits to comment on one particular aspect of it. If I am coming to the table with erroneous facts, please correct me. But anyway, when it’s a six movie saga, I can’t imagine it’s that hard to keep continuity straight. In fact, I would go as far as to say that there’s really no excuse for any continuity error, story-wise.

Additional Links:
Star Wars: The Flow Chart {I love it!, found at TVT}
Star Wars: The Science of Consistency – On fictional universes and the fans who rationalize them (Todd Seavey, Metaphilm) {for the fantasy/sci-fi/superhero geek in all of us}
The Case for the Empire (Jonathan Last, Daily Standard)
No Case for the Empire (Glenn Lamont, Solo HQ) {I figured I should put up a rebuttle of the above, but the only one I could find was this Objectivist-based one. If anyone can point me to a better one, please do.}
May 21, 1980 (Barry @ Inn of the Last Home)

Category: Theater
Category: Server Room

Back in Colosse I worked for a contract-based fabrication company called Wildcatter. Contract-based companies are by their very nature chaotic. Mass hirings for a job, mass layoffs when the job is completed. Weeks of nothing to do followed by weeks of 65 hour workweeks. FalStaff is also a contract-based company, though theoretically ought to be more stable since contracts are ongoing rather than project-oriented.

But FalStaff is, by far, the most chaotic company I have ever worked for. A lot of it has to do with growth. the company has roughly doubled in size in the past two years. But part of it is a jarring lack of foresight. Not inconsequential details go unnoted.

The Sales and Marketing Departments are presently boxing up all their stuff and relocating to the company’s “corporate headquarters.” CHQ is also known as “the old building” because that’s where the company used to exist. It used to be a small office building and, as they expanded, they bought trailers from the CEO’s brother and worked out of those. Once they hit 100 employees it became increasingly infeasible to have a 2000 sqft. building and 15 trailers, so they decided to move out.

They found a place in downtown Mocum that they really liked – a bank was relocating to another part of town. For six months they told everyone that they were going to be moving there. They had actually started boxing things up when the deal fell through. Why did the deal fall through? Because the bank had already sold someone else. The missing link here is that it never occured to FalStaff that they ought to contact the bank and declare their interest in buying before the bank had completely moved out. The bank had no idea that FalStaff was interested.

So instead they move in to the second floor of the current building. Despite a 30% growth rate in the first two quarters of 2003, they opted for a place only marginally larger than the trailers. Within six months they’re putting desks in the break room. By nine months they’re trading down cubicle sizes and planning to move out. They decided that they were going to move downstairs. So for four months we hear about how we’re going to be taking over downstairs and the home for the developmentally impaired could relocate to our old building.

Once again, they never thought to ask if the company downstairs wanted to do that. Turns out they don’t. Nor did they contact the building’s manager. If they did, they would have learned that the company downstairs finishing up year one a two-year lease. So now, absent that, they’re moving marketing and sales back to the old building. and despite 100% growth over the past two years, they think that they’ll be able to shuffle us around for the next year or so until the company downstairs is booted out.

We’ll see how that goes.

Category: Office

I’m adding a few sections on the menu. I’ve copied over my bio “About Will Truman” from the old site as well as a Disclaimer explaining why I’m using fictional locations and making up details.

The latter needs a lot of work, but the short rift is that for a few reasons I have to be very careful to make sure that my anonymity remains in tact. I figured that I could just do SouthernCity and so forth, but I tend to get frustrated with sites that do that. So instead of that I have chosen to add texture to the locations by giving them distinct identities. In order to be as honest as possible, I’ve gone out of my way to make the locations and changes involved as conducive as possible to giving an accurate reflection of who I am, who the people around me are, where I am, and where I’ve been. The more fictionalized things are, the harder it can be to put what really happens in to context. It may not always be what you think, but it may be closer than you think to the real thing.

I’ll be giving more away – and making up more – as things go along. My advice is to just go with the flow, pretend that Delosa and Deseret and so on all exist as distinct identities, and play along.

Category: Server Room

As part of my new position, I get two of the coolest office supplies known to man:

The less cool of the two is a big stamp that says “PASS” for when a Report crosses my desk that meets requirements (every bit as exciting as it sounds. I’m officially a paper-pusher now). The more cool is one that says “FAIL.” I was hoping to get one with big RED letters for a little projected frustration at all the FAILs that I always got (and we all always got).

Unfortunately, the one that I thought was red was actually a combination of red and blue when one QA person was trying to make a purple stamp. It’s kinda tie-dyed in color.

I likened it to a filter in Photoshop that a geek stumbles upon and thinks is super awesome cool and therefore uses that filter on every graphic they make from that day forward until they find a new filter.

Of the two people I was telling this to, one started laughing and the other looked at me like I was a lunatic. I could tell which one has spend significant time around geeks or was once, like myself, a geekish fellow.

Category: Office