Sunday, June 24, 2007

that's kinda cool...

Here's what David did while I was gone. I think maybe he thinks about skateboarding too much...

home again, home again, jiggety jig

Back to WA.

Client in Dallas doesn't like my work. They have some reason, but it's mostly
a) poor communication
b) unfortunate events (that could have been prevented by me if I were more diligent)

I was late to a few mtgs, and I hadn't set their expectations well enough as to content/format of the meetings (it's needs analysis and configuration; they keep trying to make it be classroom-style end-user training). They complained to the proj mgr who hired me for the gig, he called me, I said I'd address it. And then I promptly screwed up by oversleeping my alarm when I had 6-8 people waiting to start a mtg at 8am.

There is a reasonable explanation for all of it (even the oversleeping) by which I mean it's not about being egregiously careless or unprofessional. I've gone about 4 wks w/o adequate sleep; my body was still on Pacific Time; I started the wk with a red-eye flight to be with my kids on Fathers Day and still accomodate the client's Summer Mon-Thu work schedule; I was doing a day's work, then going back to my hotel and working till the wee hrs for another client in crisis; the radio station I set the alarm to faded to static by morning; etc) but the bottom line is that none of that should be the client's problem -- it's my responsibility to get there on time and to communicate better.

I have a feeling I set out on the wrong foot, and it might be very difficult to overcome their impressions of me and my work. I'm not such a delicate flower that I'll give up in shame and slink away, but there's a possibility I won't get another opportunity to turn things around. I think they believe there are lots of equally qualified consultants waiting in the wings, and it's just a matter of asking for a different one and Presto, he/she will show up and do things better.

The reality* is that I can do a much better job for them than anyone else, but they just don't know it yet. And if by some chance there *is* another resource available, I may never get a chance to show them so. It's frustrating. Especially the part I could have avoided by having my life in better order so I'm less busy/tired, or choosing a better radio station, or asking for a wakeup call as backup. Or whatever.


*my reality, that is

Monday, June 18, 2007

busy me

Sorry no posts for the last while.

Stuff that's true lately:

1) Kids (mostly David) needing more time with me at home.

2) Me and Camila breaking up (see #1 above).

3) I knew it was going to hurt.

4) I didn't know it would be this much.

5) First thing I do after making that dramatic gesture of self-sacrifice is leave my kids and go away for a 6-day vacation -- just me and some buddies. But I needed it. Feels like looong ago that I last took a vacation where I wasn't responsible for someone else's good time.

6) My vacation was a learn-to-sail course in the islands off of Victoria, BC.

7) I've concluded I like sailing better than I like working.

8) I'm way behind on client stuff again.

9) This is me getting back to work now...

Friday, June 08, 2007

boring stories about how dumb other people are

David’s cell phone got stolen. I called the company that provides the insurance I pay Verizon for…


Then followed a conversation during which Aayaugh
  • was unable to find my record via David’s phone number
  • was unable to find my name
  • asked me four (4) times for my address
  • confused Washington state with Maryland
  • put me on hold twice
  • suggested I might not be able to open a claim without knowing the exact purchase date of the phone
  • after I described the theft (at her request), she then asked “Do you still have the phone?”

I still have to call back later to complete the claim, after I find the name and badge number of the officer who took the report. I’m not looking forward to it.


I tried to make a reservation online for a ferry trip, but the website wasn’t working right. I sent an email describing the problem with the website (you don't have to read it, but in case you want to, it said:)
… Clicking "web reservations" takes you to the page where you check a box to acknowledge that you need to take your passport; but when you get there, your Route Schedule has re-set to "Select a Route Schedule". If you continue without selecting a route schedule, you get an error message; if you select a route schedule, it takes you back to the beginning page for that route schedule, where you started.

I got the following reply:
This does not say you have to have a passport, this says you may be asked to show proof of citizenship which would be a passport, birth certificate with picture ID. You can still get into Canada with a drivers license, it just makes it easier with the other documents. Go ahead and click that you read it, and then continue to make your reservation. If you have any problems call the 1-888-808-7977 and talk to one of our agents.

Gosh, thanks guys.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Eight Random Things

Psychomamma has tagged me with a deal where you're supposed to tell 8 random things about yourself.
As if I needed a reason. For many of us, the whole blogging deal is just the actualization of our theory that what the world needs is more of Meeee....

So, anyway, eight things:

1) Chris Cope's wife said about him something like "He's happiest when he's pleasing people and being the center of attention." She could have been talking about me. On the positive side, I love making connection with strangers; on the other hand, I've only comparatively recently begun to free myself from a debilitating need to be liked by everyone.

2) I loved american football as a kid. I hit puberty too late to ever play, but I loved the sport so much I would stay after school just to watch the team practice. My brother and I made our own pads out of cardboard and foam rubber and tackled each other in the back yard. To this day, the sounds of the sport excite and inspire me: the quarterback barking the count, the lines crashing together, with the grunts of the players and the click and smack of helmets and pads...

3) I used to be devoutly religious, impatient with things that smelled like psychobabble or moral relativism, convinced of the existence of moral certainty, and a stickler for good grammar. Now I'm not any of those things. Maybe it's connected.

4) I used to think mullets were cool. Also, if I could wear whatever I wanted without fear of social ostracism, I would dress like Zorro (this one -- or even this one -- but not this one), or possibly a pirate, altho Jack Sparrow can be a bit swishy for my taste.

5) I majored in computer science because I was shy -- I wanted a job where I wouldn't have to deal with other people much. Then I found out I actually liked people, but by then I was in the middle of a degree and it was too late to change to psychology or linguistics. Plus, I wanted to make money and at the time CSCI seemed the easiest route. It's way easier than engineering, and the pay is comparable...

6) I wore a lot of hand-me-downs and clothes from garage sales as a young child. Later, my parents had more money, but to this day I feel guilty when I buy new clothes.

7) I wanted to have long hair all during my childhood (1970 - present) but wasn’t allowed to when I lived at home. Later, when I finally could, I found out I don’t look that great with long hair. Now I have a flat-top again for the first time in 20 yrs…
8) I really really really like pie.

Oops. Almost forgot you're spozed to tag other ppl. Not sure how they could possibly be as interesting as me, but for the sake of playing along...

Chris Cope, because he's got loads of free time and insufficient outlets for self-expression.
Erik, because of reasons which I'm sure will come to me in a moment.
Crystal, because she's insane.
Andi, because she's not, and because what she's about right now is so much more meaningful and authentic and articulate than anything I've ever experienced or written.