For the last three nights I’ve woken up like clockwork at 12:00, 2:00, and 4:00 AM. That’s all well and good except when you’re actually shooting to get up at 4:15. It basically leads to a complete lack of attention, sluggish reaction, and the ability to be annoyed by literally any and everything. For the record, I don’t recommend it. If I don’t manage to get some sleep tonight, there’s a very real possibility that by this time tomorrow I’ll quite simply be mad.
The holiday season is a tough one for blogging. Usually I can find more than enough people doing dumb things to keep me entertained and to keep the posts flowing. Since I’ve been making an effort to avoid the people and places that tend to send my blood pressure through the roof (read: everyone and everywhere), I can actually report that Thanksgiving was completely uneventful. I managed to whip up a tasty enough meal, I played with the dogs, and Lord knows the Xbox filled several hours of otherwise unproductive time.
After two four day weekends in three weeks, I think I’m safe to say that four days seems to be just a bit too long when you’re planning on just putzing around the house. It’s fine when you’re going somewhere, of course, but just knocking around and doing the usual, I think a three day weekend is probably about perfect. It’s different enough to feel like a departure from the routine, but not so long that I end up wandering around the house looking for odds and ends to do… for the record, those odds and ends don’t include cleaning bathrooms or the stove, apparently, so those still need to get worked into the schedule at some point.
So, yeah. This post has served only as an update because it’s been four days since my last post. Any interesting discussion was purely accidental. If nothing else, hopefully it has help keep my chops up for the time when I might have something pointed to mention. It’s hard to tell just now, but it’s possible that things are about to get interesting.
For those keeping track at home, we are now sitting at version 18 of the PowerPoint from Hell and at 67 for the total number of resumes released “to the wild.” If it seems that the number of resumes flying out the door is directly proportional to the increasing version number of the PowerPoint, you get a gold star. The more ridiculous things get, the greater my motivation to be anywhere that offers a reduced daily ration of stupid and the less I worry about small details like technical qualifications for the positions in question. In the government, big numbers are generally the ones that pay off. While it dramatically increases the chances of getting a “no,” it incrementally increases my changes of finding that golden ticket. With enough incremental increases over time… well, you can see where I’m going with this.
In this one rare case, I’m a confirmed optimist… because I have to be. The status quo is plainly unacceptable.
I get it. I’m a PowerPoint Ranger. I’ve got my 5000 hour tab. I can rock the old school black on white or jam it with 100 megs of media content. We can do those things. We *can* destroy the network with the sheer size of our files. We have the technology – Thought technically, I suppose I have the technology. I wouldn’t use my POS employer-issued Dell to build such a piece of work, but I digress.
Friends, my point is that if you’re not on your guard, PowerPoint will slip in and destroy you in the night. You’ll start off with version one and two. A few days later, you’ll find yourself at version 8. Out of nowhere, version 16 rises from the early morning mist… surely version 17 is only a day away. I can only warn you that no good ever came from double digit versions. Down that path lies only ruin. It’s too late for me, but you, you can save yourselves.
I urge all of you – just say no to multi-version PowerPoints. No good can come from them. Be proud of your tabs – but only use your skills for good. The path to PowerPoint glory will tempt you, but never, ever forget that with those tabs, comes great responsibility. Use them wisely.
On every cell phone produced in the last decade, there’s a switch, or a button, or a setting that allows you move almost effortlessly between notification modes – Silent, vibrate, or loud full blown dance party ring. If you work room full of cubicles with 20 other people and want to use your cellie while you’re there, you might want to consider trying out either the silent or vibrate options so thoughtfully build in to your phone. I can assure you in no uncertain terms that the laughing you hear on the other side of the wall every time your phone rings is me – and a combination of disbelief that you don’t see anything wrong with just letting it ring at any time and the fact that it takes you as much as 10 seconds to answer it once it starts ringing (yes, I’ve timed it).
Look, I’m the last person on earth to tell someone they shouldn’t be using a cell phone at every possible opportunity. I’m practically obsessed with mine. A little discretion, though, goes a long way and won’t take any additional effort on your part. I’m pretty sure that’s important to you. So how about doing us all a favor and checking out that vibrate function, ok? There are plenty of things to mock in the workplace without this needing to be one of them. Thanks bunches!
I know I have a temper. It’s a family trait. Fortunately I also have a surprisingly long fuse and occasionally can muster the zen-like ability to let stupid crash over me like a wave. But honest to God the hardest thing I do on a daily basis is sit and listen to absolute nonsense and say nothing at all. Not because I’m particularly afraid of what might happen, but because history has shown me that it won’t make a damned bit of difference. I don’t make a practice of going against the lessons of history. Instead, I jot down a few more notes. I fire off 100 word blog. And I wonder why they don’t offer a college class on how to get ahead in life by suspending both logic and disbelief. That would have been far more useful than Geography 101 or Cosmic Concepts. If I get through the next two days without having a stroke I’m going to proclaim it a personal victory and establish a holiday in it’s honor.
When I was teaching, I always had a red pen within arms reach. You never know when you’re going to have to decimate a book report or bleed all over an essay test. Once I left that life behind, the red pens mostly went into retirement… but they’re making a come back. My desk at the house is currently covered in red-inked post-it notes… red being the indication that it’s something that either needs to get worked into the blog or the book that I keep threatening to write. Most of them are just daily observations or one-off experiences that seemed noteworthy at the time. It’s not so much that I set out to watch people as it is that the quirks of office geography allow me the opportunity to see more than be seen. Add that to my natural tendency to observe the world around me and it’s almost impossible not to notice things as they happen. Most of these post its will probably never be more than red letters on yellow paper, but every now and then one of them pays off. In case you’re wondering, today isn’t one of those days.
Some people can sit down and write final copy off the top of their heads. I’m not one of those people, unfortunately. Generally my better posts start life as a few notes, then get a first draft, then get obliterated in the second draft, and then get a few additional tweaks before seeing the light of day. Sure, it’s been a four day weekend, and there has been plenty of theoretical time to draft up a bunch of these, but all that time was consumed by my new need to chase down Nazi riflemen through the streets of Berlin. Most of my hobbies tend towards the time consuming and I tend a little towards the obsessive… maybe that new game system wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had, but it sure is fun. Then again, it’s already paid for itself by generating its own post it notes dripping with red ink. Now if I could just find a way to quit sleeping, maybe I’d have the time to get everything written up and posted.
Usually the arrival of the holiday season leads to some of the better posts around here, but at the moment the creative juices are mostly blocked. It’s a function of distraction more than anything else. The creative juices should start flowing freely again as soon as the current untenable position gets resolved. Even in the event that no resolution is forthcoming, I’m cautiously optimistic that the sheer weight of human stupidity on display during the holidays will be enough to get me over this latest hump. Once that sweet, sweet day of resolution comes, though, I have a feeling that you’ll know it because you won’t be able to stop the flow of new posts.
For those keeping track at home, the statistics are currently: 47 resumes submitted, 15 flat rejections, 1 referral, and 0 interviews. I’m drawing in the law of large numbers and to paraphrase Grant, I intend to fight on this line if it takes all Winter.
After the British loss at Yorktown, the government led by Lord North collapsed in a Parliamentary vote of no confidence. The sitting members of Parliament communicated to King George III that they no longer had faith in the Prime Minister to effectively set policy. In representative government, the mandate to lead comes, directly or indirectly, from the led. I’ve been thinking lately that it’s a pity we don’t see the application of no confidence motions in more places. If we learned anything from the unfortunate case of Lord North (and from Braveheart), it’s that men don’t follow titles. Sure, they’ll go along for a while – as long as things are going well or as long as they don’t have options. But the moment they lose confidence or when a better opportunity presents itself, their support for your mandate to lead will fade away like a mist. You’ll look around one day and find yourself alone with your bad decisions, resented for your presumption of unearned loyalty, and ultimately made as irrelevant as the rock the water in a stream simply flows around.
As much as I say I’ve become disinterested in politics, I haven’t been able to resist the temptation to spend the night pouring over exit polling results, interviews, and now the results starting to flow in from the East Coast. With the TV running between Fox and CNN, the radio tuned into a local Memphis news channel, and the internet streaming commentary from Western Maryland I’m probably working my way into a serious overdose. Maybe it’s that last nagging hope that at its best, politics can elevate us and that I’ll hear something, anything, that gives me an indication of the country moving in the direction of discussion rather than argument. Maybe it’s wishful thinking that some of those local results from far away will be legitimately local to me in the near future. Or perhaps it’s that the results have a direct impact on one of my oldest and best friends. Regardless, it’s a old habit that’s hard to kill.
It doesn’t sound like there will be too many surprises tonight – the pendulum is swinging back to the right after it’s hard swing to the left in 2008. A first year poli sci student could have called that one. The real questions won’t be answered tonight, though. The next weeks and months will tell if any difference is going to be made, if new faces are able to come up with new ideas or are at least able to deal with one another. I’m a pessimist by nature, but in my heart of hearts I can’t quite bring myself to believe that the ship of state is too far gone to save.