All games must end…

There are probably thousands of websites where you can get all the hot takes, spoliers, and analysis of eight seasons of Game of Thrones, especially now that it has come to an end. I had to let the series finale sit with me for a couple of days before offering up my own opinion.

I was a latecomer to the series and didn’t start watching until someone recommended it to me in 2012. After a bit of binging through seasons one, though, I had the fervor of a convert. Episode-for-episode, I think it stands up as some of the best drama ever put on television – with even its weaker episodes and seasons standing tall against most competition.

That brings us to the ending. Was it everything I had hoped for? No, it wasn’t. The compressed final two seasons made scenes out of what in early days would have been entire episodes. I would have gladly watched as many more hours as HBO would have aired. The ending wasn’t how I’d have wrapped things up – but unlike another storied HBO series, at least there was an ending that felt like a reasonable place to let the story stop.

It’s easy to raise hell and cast the producers and writers as villains. The thing is, though, I didn’t have $100 million to throw at making a television program. The decisions on what to put in and what to keep out rested with others. Although I was invested in the fandom, I’m a rational enough fan to realize those decisions belonged to someone else. They made the artistic and financial decisions and then brought the curtain down.

As Ramsay Bolton famously said, “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” Maybe that one line is the thread that really binds the entirety of the series together. No one has ever been all happy about the way the game played out.

The end is just the beginning…

One of the many perks of working from home is that it gives you a predictable block of time that’s uninterrupted by people wandering past your desk wanting to talk about their weekend or some project they’re working on. It’s the perfect time to accomplish one of two kinds of work. The first is the difficult to do items that require a lot of focus and limited interruptions. The second is the laundry list of mundane online annual training courses we’re required to click through… er… I mean “take” by echelons higher than reality. I spent some time today dutifully getting my clicks in. I was trying to actually get in the last of my clicks done for the year until I was rudely interrupted by one of Uncle’s vaunted websites that just wouldn’t open. That’s fine. I mean who really needs cyber awareness anyway. I think by now we’re all fully aware of the cyber.

The bigger problem I find is that in about 45 days the clock starts running again and all the previous year’s clicks are reset to zero. You might be tempted to think that you’d then be presented with new information or updated training requirements. You would, of course, be wrong. The preponderance of next year’s requirements will replicate this year’s classes with almost 100% fidelity. If you ever wonder why someone might be tempted to take this ration of training less than seriously, the fact that they’ve taken the same class every year for the better part of a decade could be a leading indicator.

The end really is just the beginning… and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to take the exact same class another 15 times.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Reading badly written books. One of the small manifestations of my particular flavor of alleged OCD is found in the fact that even when I find something I’m supposed to be reading for pleasure and the sheer joy of the English language tedious, I can’t seem to stop. It’s the feeling of having a personal obligation to keep on with a book I’ve started no matter how badly it sucks. It’s infuriating. I hate to imagine how many books I’ve plowed through over the years long after I’d lost interest just because finishing what you start is the right thing to do. I’m getting better at ignoring that little voice in my head the older I get (and the correspondingly less I care about the “right thing to do”). Life is too short to read badly written drivel. Except when it’s something posted here, of course. Then you should definitely read it.

2. The Fight for Fifteen people. I wonder if these people realize that the minimum wage is exactly that. It’s the minimum wage set by the government. It’s not as if the government is telling business that they can only pay someone $7.25 an hour. It’s the absolutely minimum threshold for pay (as long as you’re not working a tipped position). Businesses are free to pay employees as far above that minimum basic wage as they are willing and able to pay – or more reasonably at any amount higher than the minimum than the prevailing market rates call for. It’s why you make more flipping a McBurger in Times Square than you do in Pig Knuckle, Arkansas. Wanting to make more money is fine – noble even – but you do that by making yourself a more valuable commodity and developing skills that are more marketable in the workplace. Expecting anyone to willingly hand over more money just because you show up with a sign still just doesn’t make any bleeding sense to me at all. It seems to me that if you have time to stand around on the sidewalk holding a sign, you might just be better served by doing something income generating with that time. I know I keep coming back to this well, but every time I forget about it and then see it pop up again, the annoyance mounts afresh. It can’t be helped.

3. People who put tartar sauce on a fresh made, Maryland lump crab cake. I can probably allow it if you’re feasting on fish sticks or if you lower yourself to buy flash frozen imitation crab cakes, but when you slather it on to the culinary gem of the Chesapeake, well, you’re just a monster.

There are worse things…

Sunday is usually my lead off post for the week. It helps set the tone for what’s to come. Believe it or not I tend to put a lot of thought into what shows up on Sundays… Not that you’d know it based on what’s showing up here tonight. I’ll blame that mostly on spending a large portion of today thinking it was Saturday. You can imagine my grave annoyance when, around 4PM it occurred to me that it’s actually Sunday – and all the baggage that goes along with it.

As happy as I am that Game of Thrones is less than two hours away, I’m all too aware that it’s the big huzzah before Monday comes along and sucks all the joy out of life. It wont be as bad as all that, of course, but still I’d be more than happy to roll back the clock and have a bit of extra time. Since that’s not going to happen, I guess I’d better do my best to make the next couple of hours count.

A friend of mine sent me a text from their office this afternoon – which reminded me there are worse things than watching the end of the weekend close in… Sunday could just be one more day at the office. That’s probably good for the hard chargers among you, but as for me I’d rather be screwing around in the yard and wargaming the next home improvement project. At this stage of the game I don’t think I have it in me to give more than 40.

Come to think of it, I need to go check my Powerball numbers. This whole discussion could be purely academic.