weird week

Well, readers…

All three of you

…it’s been a weird week. I was put on paid administrative leave last friday, so all week I’ve been waiting to find out what the HR department discovered in their investigation of the “complaint.”

It turns out I will not be terminated. I am slightly disappointed. At least it would be a clean end to the hell.

You know, I try to be an optimist. What would an optimist say in hell..?

“Hang in there, camper. Maybe this is just purgatory…couple of thousand years, it will all turn out…”

…which is pretty much how my thoughts went as I’ve been commuting to my golden stockades for the last several years…

I guess I am trying to be optimistic about my return to optimism. But I’m not back to optimistic YET…

the worth of truth

Reading Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done and drooling over the world they describe. Larry and Ram are going on about developing bench strength and coaching their people talent.

I did an informal poll and asked my friends if they’d ever been in a company that valued the people such that coaching and promotions were part of life. We know of this, like we know of unicorns. But do they exist? Doubtful.

But that made me think. What if we could develop partnerships with teams who could assess us effectively–a kind of support group. Perhaps a group of people doing volunteer work with the idea in mind that honest and constructive feedback about strengths but MOSTLY weaknesses would happen at the end.

Honesty is so rare and valuable.

The things everyone should be told about conferencing technology

I’m preparing a presentation about conferencing. I’ve been doing it for a dozen years now, I ought to know something about it.

“They” say that managers spend 50% of their time in meetings. And every day I see meetings that are handled so badly. I would think, if I did something repeatedly and I knew I would keep doing it, I would want to get better at it.

Interestingly, there is not a lot of information about the subject. Me and my colleagues are constantly seeing ways our users could improve their experience. But nobody asks. I don’t see any books about it.

So…once i get my thoughts organized for this presentation, I may expand the topic and make a reference book. Perhaps there are some people out there WISHING they could get better at this thing, but no one is there to teach them.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Ta dah!

Pulling up my socks

John Wooden was a great basketball coach at UCLA, and he is well known for his successful tenure. The teams he coached won a record number of championships.

 I heard him on TV, when he was talking about being in condition to win. Even little things matter; in particular he focussed on shoes and socks.

 The very real fact is, when you practice your game the way you need to to WIN your game you will sustain blisters. Blisters are such small insignificant little annoyances, right? Just the cost of doing your business.

 But the little things matter. And if you are hampered by something as small as a blister, you might not make it to your championship goal. John Wooden paid attention to all aspects of the game, and he found a way to prevent blisters. Basically, pull up your socks. Don’t let them bunch up so that you can’t be at your best.


Be careful in the little things. As I look ahead to a lot of chaos and changes in my department’s infrastructure, I am shaking in my boots a little. How are we going to manage these many many changes that haven’t happened yet?


I know how we are going to manage. I am going to pay attention to all the little things. I am going to do my best to make sure that our stuff–our game plays–are in the best condition I can make them. That way when all the changes come, our documentation and equipment will be ready.


it wasn’t worthy

So I start the day at work irritated by a request that could have been avoided if the requestor had opened up all the mega documentation that exists. And then I realized that maybe the documentation got a little skewey and might not be accurate anymore.  But I was still irritated because he didn’t even try.

Chris knows I hate to be asked obvious questions. Do NOT ask me where some kitchen item is located because YOU LIVE HERE TOO, dude, and the kitchen is not my exlusive domain just because I have two XXs and you have a Y.

My co-worker was saying “It’s easy! It’s no big deal.”  And I was stewing because what do we have these databases for anyway, and why am I the only one who seems to know they exist and UPDATE them anyway? But he was right, mostly, and the request wasn’t that big a deal. It wasn’t worth getting peeved about.

I’m still feeling tired from yesterday’s long drive. Well, yesterday’s long drive combined with the not-quite-enough sleep I’ve been getting. I’ve been excited that i don’t need a nap every day anymore. But I think I do need a nap SOME days.


I’m back in my cubicle. First time this year. In a lot of ways, it feels exactly the same.

I promised myself to take it easy. Usually I break that promise, but maybe I have learned something since I had a baby. I feel like I have.

I’m not stressing about being away from Veronica. I feel like her daddy will do a fine job. I worry a little more about him, that he will find it difficult. But then, I found it difficult at first too. So I am not uncomfortably worried. I”ll be home before too long.

I have a huge huge amount of things to write about. I will get around to it. For now, I am taking it easy and not pushing it.

First work day of 2008

so, this is it.

I’m working for the first time in 2008.

What am I doing?

I started out the day by going to executive headquarters and powering on their conference equipment and putting it in a ready state.

One room was uncabled and a TV antenna had been hooked up. I guess maybe someone wanted to watch TV badly enough to bring their own antenna. NOT permitted.

I unhooked the antenna and recabled the system for it’s intended purpose, VIDEO CONFERENCING.

Drove from Executive HQ to my actual office. Yes, I drove to work today. I would have taken the bus, and hopefully will do so tomorrow, but I had some equipment that I had to return. Monday I had a doctor’s appointment (all good news, yay!) and I had a trouble spot near that medical building. So, on friday, I packed my car with the needed equipment and brought it with me so that on monday I could do the tests.

WHICH MEANS, today, wednesday, i had to take my car back to work to return the equipment I had used the previous work day.

My job involves a lot of shuttling STUFF around.

And so, today, I shuttled things to the office. When I arrived at my building, I took the equipment out of my car and put them in the van.

Then I went upstairs to the 3rd floor to my cube. I started my email and all other computer things…admired my GTD-style empty inbox. Well, it had one email in it. A survey about how my company is doing regarding diversity. In GTD style, I did the survey RIGHT THEN.

They asked some vague questions and then got really personal. No, I am not transgender. I feel secure in saying that.

Then had a long intense conversation with co-worker about politics, religion, euthanasia (one of his favorite topics) and suburban sprawl (another favorite).

During this long conversation I drank some wretched instant cofee..I have run out of the good instant coffe. I like the international coffees sometimes. You know, the kind that are powdered and sweet and milky? And I try to get sugar free and fat free, which reduces the yumminess. This one, the wretched one, it a generic brand of the reasonably yummy kind. I have NO IDEA what flavor it’s supposed to be.

“Cafe Vienna” it’s called. It is not chocolate. It doesn’t taste vanilla. Or hazelnut or cinnamon…I can’t really tell what vienna is supposed to taste like. If I go to vienna, I don’t think I will lick it to find out.

I should throw the can out. It is my emergency reserve. I should have bought something yummy, like mocha or french vanilla hazelnut.

But I had the indefinable beverage and a banana.

I scheduled a work trip to antelope valley for next week. Handled some personal business. Bought firepit I’ve been admiring. Asked my Credit union to fax me a release of lien on the broken car.

I started to check other people’s blogs, but then I thought I should write on my own!

hence this post.

I must go to Hollywood soon. I should have left already, but I am eating a rice and corn cake with a piece of soy cheese on it. MMMmm. When I am done with my little sandwich I will leave.

I am musing about all the things that are broken.

Oh yeah..I called our support contract people and asked them to send (again) the three tv monitors that were supposed to be here two weeks ago.

“They aren’t there yet?”

“No, the guy from shipping said he had to call you.”

“Why would he ask you to call me?”

“He didn’t. He said HE would call you.”

“oh. What was his name?”

“I dont’ remember.”


“could you go ask them when or if the TVs are being shipped and send me an email with the status?”


“Okay, Happy new year!”

“You too.”

I changed the battery in our clock which had gone dead. I realized I need to clean the microwave.

When I was first here, I resisted cleaning the ferociously dirty microwave for at least 6 months. I knew that if I cleaned it I would always clean it, and I didn’t want it to be my responsibility.

Responsibility. Like, the clock has needed the battery changed since last friday. YET! I am the one who changed it, today, Wednsday. There is a common saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” I modify that here at work. “If I want something done (at all), I have to do it myself.”

Anyway, the microwave. I resisted as long as I could, but at last, my daily soup or frozen entree lunch was halted because of the smell. I could put something I intended to eat in the microwave that smells like that. I had to clean it.

Since then, I have come to terms. I microwave something almost daily. The others microwave only a few times a month.

So, maybe it is my job to clean the microwave. Since I use it most. I choose to ignore that before I arrived, the microwave began as wretchedly filthy.

That’s my day so far. I have finished my rice cake. I should probably get to hollywood.

I wish you all a productive new year.

nerd word peeve

Okay people, pay attention!

yes, this means you.

My job title is Senior Videoconference Engineer

I work on video conferencing equipment. I also sometimes help with audio conferences, and with web conferences.

ALL of those things can be correctly called “teleconferences” and none of them may accurately be described so.

the prefix “tele-” refers to distance.

A telephone is a device that sends SOUND (phone) over DISTANCE (tele).

A television is a device that sends PICTURES (vision) over DISTANCE (tele). Televisions also send sound, but that was old technology by the time television was invented so it got ignored when naming the device.

So, a teleconference is a conference that takes place over distance.

If someone calls me and asks for help setting up a teleconference, I immediately must ask them a bunch of questions that (to them) appear stupid.

“Do you want to have a conference in which all the people dial into a phone and can speak to one another and hear each other throughout?”


“Do you want to have a conference in which all the people are sitting in a room looking at a TV that shows someone in another city?”

I sound like a kindergartner because I have been placed in a position of redefining terms EVERY TIME the word teleconference is uttered.

Those questions do sound stupid, but the stupid comes from the question. Just because a word has 5 syllables doesn’t mean it’s meant to be used or that it makes sense.

A phone conference is a clear accurate phrase. Even a “telephone conference” is okay to say. A “television conference” is a phrase that never gets uttered. A telephone goes both ways, meaning you can talk and the other person on the other end can talk and you can both hear each other, so it seems right to have a conference (a back and forth discussion) using a telephone. But a television is one way. You recieve the video (and the sound) but you never send. So a “television conference”, as far as I know, has never been used, and kinda doesn’t make sense because when you talk to a TV you really don’t expect it to talk back.

A “video conference” is the correct term. But because televisions and telephones are such common household items, AND because they both start with tele-…we in the business tend to call phone conferences AUDIO conferences. A whole other word can sometimes shock a L-user into rethinking what they are asking for, and when they have insisted (for the 5th time) that they want “a TELE conference” and we ask “An audio conference or a video conference?”…we use words that are not part of the television/telephone diad.

audio or video…take your pick

expunge this word from the dictionary. It is non-specific to the point of destruction.

2 years

today is the two year anniversary of my current job.


If I make it one more year…and right now I feel like I will…that will be the longest I’ve ever worked at one job.

but that’s a year away.

right now, I feel pretty good.

the power to annoy

So today, I had to work in a different station.

Two of us four were out. So i had to go up front and interact with the customers and my one co-worker.

Customers, I don’t mind. My co-worker I don’ t mind either, but he may not feel the same way.

See, I know this. I know this about myself. It is kind of a dangerous thing to leave me alone with someone for a long period of time. I know this, and yet it is very very hard to change the course of events.

Because eventually something is going to come out of my mouth. I don’t know what I’m going to say. I start out in perfect peace and quiet, but eventually something is going to fall out of my mouth.

I’ve heard the maxim ‘Never discuss politics or religion.’ I don’t think that is true anymore, but even so, I’m not likely to bring those two up.

I don’t know what I will bring up. My head has a stream of thoughts running through it constantly.

And it seems unfriendly to just not talk for hours at a time. isn’t a little light conversation a happy thing?

Of course, one person’s ‘light’ is another person’s collapsing black hole.

I know this. I know this. But I can’t help it. And there is a part of me that feels like talking about what’s running through my mind is a sort of conversational largesse.

Is it fair that I have a thousand interesting topics that spring to mind when a bit of conversation would be nice, while others have such a poverty?

How often must we discuss the same worn-out topics? Lunch? The weather? Traffic? please. I can do better than that.

So today, we talked about:

* Reforming Mexico
* the realism or lack thereof of the hollywood standards for beauty
* How the public’s taste in female buttocks moved from flat to big over the span of the 80’s to the 2000’s
* whether people would accept an ugly movie star
* Plastic surgery
* the pain of adolescense and the cause of anoroxia
=who has is worse? boys or girls?
* how women are percieved in society
* Prices of houses in Hawaii

Now frankly, I knew I’d been holding forth for a while. I wanted to try to lighten it up.

so I said, “OK if you were an orphan, would you be more interested in finding your mother or your father?”

“I don’t know. Both.”

“Okay, because I was watching a show about Star Wars, and I realized Luke didn’t give a crap about his mom. He was all about his father.”

So we talk about this for a while, me thinking that this is about as shallow a topic as any I could encounter. Which is higher, a Jedi or royalty, etc. Until he says:

“STOP! You are NOT going to spoil this movie for me! I LOVE STAR WARS! JUST STOP IT.”

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