Monthly Archives: March 2006

There’s been a lot going on. Every now and again it is worthwhile to consider one’s life looking inward instead of with a megaphone. I will be taking a brief break from the site. It will probably be back on in April. I’ll see y’all then.

Category: Server Room

Becky asks a very interesting question:

For some reason as of late, I’ve read quite a few phrases about events being part of “God’s plan” or “God’s Will.” And if you subscribe to this theory, then I’m wondering what is the point of praying for things for a particular result?

Here was the original reply I was going to put in the comment section:
One useful thing about prayer in my mind is that it’s a form of self-reflection. It’s a way to lay-out what you want and why. If you’re embarassed to tell God why you want something, then that tells you more than any deity is likely to.

Case-and-point. About eight years ago I almost prayed to God for the first time in years to ask that she not be pregnant. But the thought occured to me that she already missed her period and if she was pregnant, it was too late to ask that. I would, in essence, be asking for a miscarriage. It made me look at my potential fatherhood in a completely different light, see that what was done was done, and that it was up to me to live up to the consequences of it all, whatever they might be. Ultimately, I prayed that if she is pregnant that it be healthy and that I have the strength to pull through and be the best father that I can.

Of course, I am projecting a personal experience on the rest of the world. So my answer is certainly not the universal one. But it is at least one thing that helped me keep things in perspective during a very timultuous time in my life.

Category: Church

When I was a freshly minted driver at the age of 16, one of the things I was sure would get me would be something like failing to turn my lights on half-an-hour before sunfall (because, I suspected, they had cops with watches that counted down and were waiting to get unsuspecting travellers such as myself.) I also worried about the hundred thousand little things, such as a busted headlight or lapsed registration or insurance.

My father, seeking to ease my concerns, told me that while I definitely need to worry about insurance, the other things can actually be a blessing as much as a curse. Often, he told me, a police officer that pulls you over for speeding will opt to give you a non-moving violation that won’t go on your record over a speeding ticket or run stop-sign that would.

I kept that in mind earlier this year when I decided not to renew the registration on my car. I figure that I’m only going to be here for a few more months so half of the registration expense would be wasted. I could keep the registration in Estacado, of course, but cops often target out-of-state plates and I wouldn’t want to leave myself vulnerable for that. And, I reasoned, if I got pulled over it might get me out of a ticket.

Clancy and I were high-tailing it for Capitol City this weekend when I happened upon a Deseret State Trooper. I was going about 15mph over, which is more than the usual 5-10mph grace space I give myself when I flout the law in the name of trying to “make up time in the air” to get somewhere on time. Clancy, who was napping, woke up to the sound of my exclaiming, “Holy cow poop!” I slowed down of course and changed lanes, but there was little doubt as to what awoke the officer from his restful spot on the emergency crossover.

Now, for all my criticisms of Deseret, one of the things I appreciate are the cops. I’ve had to call the cops a couple times and fill out a report or two and every time they’ve been what you think cops are supposed to be when you’re little. I was pulled over several months back and the cop was as nice as could be. Though I am always polite to officers when they pull me over, I was actually apologetic to this officer (and not in the way one regrets when one does not get out of a speeding ticket as hoped).

The highway patrolman that nabbed me was no different. He asked if I was from Delosa because he recognized the “Southern Tech Alumni” bumper sticker on my car. He told me that he pulled me over for my speed and asked me if I realized that I was going 87mph (note: speed limit was 75). I told him that I didn’t (I thought I was going 91 or so) but that I realized it once I saw him. I was sincerely sheepish and I think he appreciated what he thought was my honesty (and was, to an extent, I did not realize I was going over 85 until I looked down after I saw him).

He asked for my license and registration. I gave him my license and Clancy and I hunted for the registration. As expected, he noted that it was out of date and asked me if I had renewed it. I told him that I wasn’t sure, but that I probably hadn’t.

Sure enough, Dad’s plan worked. When he got back he gave me a ticket for the registration but not the speed. I was all proud of myself for this lesson that I had just learned.

Until I shared it with Willard. Willard informed me that when he was serving his mission in California, an escort of his had a car actually impounded for a lack of registration. That’s an awfully big risk to get out of a moving violation.

Then, of course, it hit me: one doesn’t have to have one’s registration expired to get a ticket for it. All one needs is to be unable to prove that the registration is current. The cop even said that if I had re-registered my car and forgotten about it. So the verdict is that I will have one outdated registration in my car to give the cops and a current one in case the cop is an prick about it.

Category: Courthouse

When I was in middle school I was a pretty big guy. Big being a euphemism for fat. I also hadn’t figured out what to do with my hair yet. And I wore slacks instead of jeans. And I didn’t know the first thing about how to talk to girls. When I had a growth spurt in the 8th grade, started combing my hair back, and got comfortable in jeans, social acceptability followed. By the time I was in high school, no one knew what an unpleasant dork I had previously been.

That lead to some interesting experiences. When people who became my friends said nasty things about fat kids, they didn’t know that I used to be fat. When girls made unfavorable comments about nerds, they didn’t know how much of one I was. Every negative thing they said about who I used to be was noted, registered, and put in the back of my mind. The more of them there were, the less likely I was to get too close to them. Some of them wondered why I always kept my distance.

The biggest contingent on the OSI Team has been the Kimball Alumni Club. Kimball is one of the bigger employers in the Mocum area, handling customer service for cell phone companies. Deseret is a dream for phone support outsourcing. You have articulate young men and women with a solid education and a good command of the English language without a whole lot of job prospects. Phone support jobs here pay $2/hr less than they do in Colosse and are twice as difficult to get.

The first Kimball alum to get hired at Falstaff was Simon. Simon got the job the way most people did at that point: he knew someone else that worked here at the time. Once Kimball saw jobs that paid $9.50 an hour doing easier and more respectable work than answering phones (codemonkey beats phonemonkey on a resume), at every opening he would call one of his friends at Kimball. First was Del, whom I wish hadn’t been promoted out of the department because we could really use him. Second was Melvin, who is the best programmer OSI has ever seen. Then came Martin, whose ability to wade through docs. Take the best and most important full-time people the department has seen in the past year, and almost all of them came from Kimball.

I am an exception. But at some point I got incorporated into that group. Not sure when it was, but I think it was when we were conspiring to get rid of Golden Boy, or maybe it was when Melvin got moved into QA, making 2/3 of QA Kimball alums. I’m not only not sure when I became part of the group, but I’m not sure when we actually became a group.

Since coming to Falstaff, Simon has quietly been building an empire.

One of the ongoing problems in the department is that everyone is enthusiastic about doing everything that isn’t their job. I was always aching to work on my database application; Melvin has Melvin’s App; Adam is always volunteering for stuff that will get him out of actual ANG programming. There is painstakingly little that is glamorous about what we do within the company. It looks good on a resume, but it generates little respect within the company. As such, there is a drive to become more than just an ANG Programmer or OSI Programmer. The good news is that a lot of people have found a lot of ways to contribute to the company. The bad news is that people sound offended when you tell them that while the project they’re proposing sounds great, our programming workload is only increasing. The problem is that as Falstaff starts hiring increasingly overqualified people for the department, everyone believes that they are worthy of more than they are presently tasked with doing.

And, for the most part, they are.

I’m not sure if anyone has a bigger claim to overqualification than Freddie Paste. Freddie graduated Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Computer Science. His first job turned out to be a drafting position, where he learned that skill as well. But despite the overqualification he brings to the position, only Simon is better at keeping his nose to the grindstone. The guy is a workhorse. His productivity is phenomenal and his accuracy is not bad. He was hired on to work on reports, so he works on reports. Works overtime when asked. Works through lunch when asked. Doesn’t get distracted when conversation strikes.

Freddie and I get along quite well. He was here for a couple months before I ever really talked to him, but once I did we were natural friends. We’re both southerners. We both have college degrees and are probably the two most overqualified people in the department. We both came to Deseret because of opportunities for our wives.

I’ve noticed in recent weeks, however, that it seems that the Kimball Alumni are unusually hostile towards Freddie. They were not particularly congratulatory when Freddie got Employee of the Month. The general consensus was that he got it because they were itching to give it to someone in our department and he was the pointleader. Freddie is never really invited to our outings, though I’m not sure if he would really go to begin with. Freddie, for his part, is not the most social person in the world.

It does make me wonder, however, the basis on which I got incorporated into their group and he did not. Was it because I got deference by Melvin and Martin because I was in QA grading their work? Did Simon and I get along because QA can be a lonely place to be? Because Paige liked me? Am I there by way of luck and if I wasn’t in their group would they think that I got the leadership position because I get along better with Willard than they do?

They’re nowhere near cruel to Freddie as my confidants in high school were about the fat kids and the nerds. But they are oddly indifferent and not nearly as friendly. It leads me to wonder about those that I am unfriendly to and how much of that is circumstancial.

It’s interesting to think about… and not particularly in a good way.

Category: Office, School