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This is an archive collection of entries from  my main personal blog, My Mundane Mid-Life.

This collection of entries is from the Category "Work".


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Elevator Entrance Etiquette

Am I off-base here? Is there some kind of cultural thing going on?

When I'm in an elevator and when I reach my floor... the doors will open...

WHY OH WHY OH WHY.. am I sensing that certain people of certain ethnic decents... have this... compulsion.. to enter the elevator before you can get out?

That's why I'm asking if it's a cultural thing that I'm just aware of... or are these individuals just discourteous?

posted at 01:29 PM | Link | Mundane | Care to comment? | § |

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Severe weather alert

Never, in my... ummm... 29 years in my career, have I EVER had to evacuate my office due to severe weather... until today.

read more of this entry »

posted at 03:46 PM | Link | Mundane | Care to comment? | § |

Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's that time again to mark the date...

I feel that I still have to mark this day... know where I used to work years ago? During the Great Internet Boom?

Yes, marchFIRST.

Those were the days. So long ago...

I felt this year that I had to mark this day, because on February 2nd, Bob Bernard the CEO and founder of the original company - Whittman-Hart - died of a heart attack. He was 45.

posted at 10:08 AM | Link | Work | § |

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I'm screwed...

myesetrdamy, I accidenallmy spilled mmy Diet Pepsi all ovtetr mmy desk. MUnftotrmunatelmy, I gtot a little on mmy laptop keyboatrd, and now... well, you can see that I'm gtettingt extra key ptresses. I can't logtin because I'm gtettingt invtalid passwotrds.


posted at 09:19 AM | Link | Mundane | § |

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mag-stripe readers

If you've noticed for over a year now I usually don't talk about work. I use vague terms to discuss some of the things going on, like if I'm busy or not.

This entry is a little different, but still is as vague as possible - don't want to get dooce'd.

I never feel helpless at work at all unless something happens to my ID Badge and I can't get in to the four doors to get to my desk from the parking garage. Four. To go to the bathroom, I need to go through one of those doors. I HATE having to ask someone to borrow their just to be able to go to the bathroom. There was a time at the end of March that my card didn't work for a week. A WHOLE FRIGGIN' WEEK without a card. That was hell. There was one night after most of the people had left when I had to go to the bathroom, and - I'm sure you agree - doing that takes precedence over trying to find someone still in the office that will let you borrow their card. I had to wait 15 minutes for someone to come to the door and let me in.

To add fuel to the fire, the card reader stations are mag-stripe readers and not proximity readers (for you non-dweebs out there, that means I have to take my card and swipe it through a reader, like a credit card, instead of just touching - or getting close to - a reader that'll read a certain radio frequency that gets bounced off the card) And there's at least one of these readers - specifically the one between bathroom and office - that doesn't read well, so it can take up to 5 or 6 swipes to get the reader to recognize the card and unlock the door.

Well, it started again this morning - I could get in some doors, but not the last two. After a while, I started to find out that this was happening to other people as well - all of us are contractors. I had nightmares of this. People are telling us that it could be the cards or could be the reader because the "system" shows that we are active.

After we demonstrated what was going on to another person, all of a sudden the cards work. We didn't see any work done on the reader, so it had to have been a "system" thing.

I hate the feeling of being locked-out. It's almost that feeling of not being wanted, that you're not part of the group. And this is happening often enough (my first incident was shortly after we moved-in here at the beginning of the year), that anytime the system "hiccups", I start to panic.

posted at 10:15 AM | Link | Work | 1 comment | § |

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I haven't done this in a while

Haven't been going to work at this hour for a while. And it's only 15 minutes away. I like being busy. I like the pressure (right now). Head down, doing work... can't talk...

posted at 06:24 AM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hey, dummy... look up!

Too busy, didn't realize what time it was to go home. Wow. People are still here working... though they don't look familiar... they must come to work later and I just don't notice them...

posted at 06:06 PM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I forgot about yesterday

I guess it's been long enough ago that it just didn't hit me yesterday.

You know. Yesterday.

March 1st.

Know where I used to work years ago? During the Great Internet Boom?

Yes, marchFIRST.

Those were the days. So long ago...

posted at 10:09 AM | Link | Work § |

Friday, February 10, 2006

Yo-ooooooo, Mike!

The "guys" that I go down to the deli every morning for coffee (or whatever) showed up at my cube. One of them, quietly, fake yells "Yo-ooooooo, Mike!"

And immediately I was taken back to my childhood, when Paul and Albert would come to my house, stand in the gangway between the houses, and yell my name, just the same way. It was a kids-style doorbell, specifically for me. They'd alway come over before we walked over to Steinmetz to play ball on one of the diamonds (or even fast pitch against the stairs at the front of the school)

It was a wonderful, if not brief, trip back in time, to a time of warm sumer days, no school, and baseball for hours with your friends.

posted at 08:57 AM | Link | Work § |

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ah, busy again

Getting busy again at work. in the middle of an audit.

Would rather be busy regularly than peaks and valleys of activity/inactivity.

posted at 02:20 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, January 23, 2006

But I don't want to go to school today, Mommy...

Nope, can't do it.

Have got this pain, in the middle of my stomach. Sharp, stabbing pain. Spent too much time in the bathroom last night.

No, not going to work. I don't want to suffer there - especially without a badge that won't let me in anywhere. I figure that would be a real bad thing. I could lay around and sleep and recharge for the week.

Hmmm.... this is pretty close to what it felt like back in September, though the pain overnight was pretty bad, it doesn't feel as bad in the daylight.

posted at 07:47 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Defective ID replacement

My company ID picture - would you hire me?
I finally got a chance to replace my company ID. It's all bent-up because the plastic that's being used is a little thin. I hang my badge from my belt on one of those retractable tethers. Unfortunately, if i don't pay attention when I sit down, the badge slides into my front pocket and it folds. And it's real difficult to try to flatten-out the badge. What's really bad is that these "creases" are permanent and the badge is a swipe-style, meaning there's a magnetic stripe on the back and I have to swipe my card in the reader to enter a door. When I come in in the morning, if I get to work before 8am, I have four card swipes to get from the garage to my desk. Over time, the oxide is rubbing off the mag stripe at these creases, so I had to go get a new badge. Even though the photos are digital - they didn't save them, so I had to get a new photo taken. Let's just say I wasn't ready for that and my photo - just like what seems to be every friggin' photo ID I have - just isn't the greatest: my hair was a mess, my beard needs a trim. And let's face it - look at it, would you hire me?

Update: My new badge doesn't work. At all. It won't let me in any of the 4 doors I need - or even more importantly, it won't let me back in the ONE door that I need when I return from the restroom. There are no temporary badges either. Until they fix me, I'm a man without a badge - and that's not a good place to be.

posted at 10:45 AM | Link | Work § |

Monday, January 16, 2006

mmmm... *snork*... must... stay... awake...

First day back after a full week of being out of town... hard to stay awake... hard to concentrate... emails make no sense... can't find the groove... wow, this is hard to do...

posted at 10:52 AM | Link | Work § |

Friday, December 23, 2005

Faux Santa

Me at work, working hard at hardly working
There is NOBODY at work today. My SameTime list is showing just about everyone I know is not in the office or even logged-in from home.

Very quiet.

Today, just to play with the season and since I already had the beard and gut, I wore a Santa hat to work. Nearly every single person addressed me as Santa today - and I don't know any of these people. But they were all smiling.
Even the hottest woman in the place, whom I've only seen once, stopped by my cube and wanted to know if she could add some last minute wishes to her list. Oh. My. God.

Gotta love the hat.

posted at 01:26 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dead Spot!


I have a cell phone dead spot right at my desk!

That's not good!!!!

I swear I was OK yesterday...

posted at 12:03 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, December 19, 2005

New digs

All of my boxes were waiting for me in my new cube in the new building. It took me all day to actually unpack, though and somehow everything that was packed actually fit somewhere in the cube.

The chair is just OK, not good. the new Cisco VoIP phone is... odd. The receiver is extraordinarily heavy. i think everyone thinks that logging-out of the phone at night is just ridiculous, so we're all logging-in today and just staying logged in. It's just feels odd having to login to a phone. The lighting is good and the workspace is a lot bigger than what I had before.

I feel really isolated - I'm actually in a separate room from everybody else I knew. I have no idea who some of these people are "back here". Didn't even try the deli today - there was a catered welcome luncheon one floor up today. We'll have to check it out tomorrow.

Update: I forgot a major thing - two words: Parking Garage. In my whole career, this is only the second job I've had with an attached parking garage, with an underground entry into the building. Gotta love it.

posted at 03:05 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, December 16, 2005


The floor of my office is ghostly quiet. The only one here is a network guy in the next cube, who wants to shut down all of the switches since everyone has packed-up their offices into the moving boxes and have taken their personal items and have left the building for good. We're all moving to a brand new office complex down the road with brand new cubicles - not to mention a brand new deli to check out on the first floor.

I won't miss this place - my cubicle was built of metal walls - very similar to the cubes I had when I I was with my first company almost 30 years ago. They're just outdated. So was the furniture.

And... it's just time for a new beginning. I have no idea who I will be sitting near. All the people that used to sit around me have been scattered around the floor, sometimes in groupings that don't make any sense.

Well, I've changed all of my many voicemail greetings, shutoff accepting messaging in the old voicemail system, and I'm just shutting-down my laptop.

I'm outta here.

posted at 03:32 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Blood on my papers

I'm still packing up my office. I'll be packing up tomorrow, too, because I have more stuff than I thought I did.

If you think a paper cut hurts, try a manila folder cut.

Yeah. Real pleasant.

posted at 03:19 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, December 09, 2005

Burning another ticket

Last Friday Carol wasn't feeling well with this rash spreading around her body. We figured out the next day when looking at a calendar hung on our fridge that we had tickets to the Chicago Wolves game the night before and obviously missed the game.

Tonight, we have tickets to tonight's game.

Only that we're tired and not really interested. So, we're not going.

I don't know - w just have the interest in Hockey - we can't shake the whole baseball thing. And the Wolves have been playing so crappy this year. Last week's game was a loss, so no it wasn't lost time being there.

I don't know - it's just I feel bad about burning a ticket.

Update: Figures - the Wolves scrored 4 goals in the 3rd to beat Peoria 6-5.

posted at 06:09 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The walls fall down around me

Odd day at the office.

Next Friday we're moving to a different building, fortunately just down the street.

In the meantime, we have a crew on the floor tearing down cubicles. They actually had to put signs on our cubicles that say we're moving next week. We're assuming that the sign translates into DO NOT TOUCH because people are walking the floor with tools in their hands looking for things to dismantle. Noisy. Very noisy. There are piles and piles of chairs strewn across different parts of the floor - piles of cabinets in other areas.

Very disconcerting seeing walls going down around you. The building is getting emptier and emptier.

At the same time the length of my current contract gets shorter and shorter without a word about an extension or a re-sign. Or not..

posted at 02:39 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Swamped. Drowning.

I'm barely treading water.

Too busy to blog.

posted at 10:10 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Whoa... going home sick

I don't think I've done this on this job... I'm going home... sick. I made it through a couple of hours, but I can't take it anymore. I have a stabbing pain really low in my abdomen (on the center line not toward the sides) and it hurts like hell.

I need to just disconnect and go home and lie down and let whatever it is take its course.

Lots of odd pains are coming along with this. I guess I'm just achey as well.

I'm going home.

posted at 09:44 AM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Don't you love coming back to the office after a long vacation only to find your email inbox overflowing and several new high-priority projects that are due on the day you return?

What a slap in the face to start your day! Such a nice way of saying "Welcome Back! Hope you enjoyed that time off!"

posted at 07:05 PM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Friday, July 22, 2005

Furlough #2

Well, I'm packing up my office again for my second week of furlough.

Again, I've been really looking forward to this... but it's that double-edged sword again - 1 week off but 1 week of no-pay.

I'm feeling I need to negotiate some time off throughout the course of the year. Just don't know how much.

Anyway, I'm outta here for a week!

posted at 04:11 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, June 27, 2005


Went down to the cafeteria in our building this morning and found out that Thursday is their last day. There are a lot of people that are just no longer in our building. There have been some pretty large, multi-company layoffs, and some companies - our included - will be moving out to new/different facilities this year. (I'm supposed to be moving out in the November/December time frame last time I heard).

The cafeteria people were able to get out of their contract early, and some other company will be coming in and take over the next couple of months, though with some kind of stripped-down service. No more great soups for lunch. In fact, I heard no more hot lunch. I'm sure that means no hot breakfast either.

Today, it hit me hard - no pastries. My donut was not waiting for me like it has been every single morning I've eaten here. That white glazed donut with a little chocolate drizzled over it wasn't there. He stood me up. He's been so reliable.

I guess the relationship is over. I feel lost and alone.

posted at 08:50 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Furlough Delayed

I was supposed to be furloughed again all next week. I got a reprieve for a while - I've been busy with an internal audit on the customer that I manage at work, so I guess I'm needed. So, instead of canceling the furlough, they've postponed it until the end of July.

I was sort of looking forward to the week off. Of course, not getting paid for that week is a bummer, but still. Would have been nice.

Now I have to wait a month.

I can do that.

posted at 04:51 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Didn't miss this a bit

First day back to work from my first furlough. Didn't miss this place a bit. The amount of important email stacked-up is actually overwhelming. New projects coming up that actually scare the hell out of me. No, really. I am worried sick about this one thing coming up. All-in-all, I don't feel good being back here. Maybe it'll all work itself out... by the time I go on my next furlough...

posted at 05:48 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, May 20, 2005


Spent most of the day making sure things run OK while I'm gone.

Gone? Yeah. Starting Monday I will be out of work. Without pay. For a week.

I'm being furloughed. Actually, all of the contractors are being furloughed for a total of two weeks sometime in the first quarter to help the company make some numbers. My first week is next week - the week before Memorial Day. The second week will be the week before 4th of July.

Quite frankly - I'm REALLY looking forward to this!

posted at 12:56 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, January 31, 2005


I've got to tell you, I've actually been busy at work recently. I mean, like, having a little overtime kind of busy.

I'm still not doing what I'm supposed to be doing yet, but being busy and contributing is a much better feeling than treading water, looking for help.

posted at 06:15 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Maybe the second day of work after a vacation is worse than the first. I think on the first day back you just reach down inside and try to get caught up and try to get through the day. The second day, you're caught up and now you're just still exhausted and perhaps a little less motivated.

Well, it's not 4 degrees outside, it's 10. Whoopee.

I'm starting to think that all of the walking I did last week in Las Vegas, though good for me, screwed up my left foot. My heel is killing me this week, but I don't remember any pain there last week. My toes on the left foot don't hurt as much, and that hip pain I had in my right hip just sort of disapperaed (Carol thinks it had something to do with sitting in the airplane - I'm thinking "no").

posted at 07:42 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, January 17, 2005

*groan* back to work...

4 frickin' degrees outside (wind chill, oh, about 15 below). After complaining about being in the 40's and 50's in Las Vegas, I am now well aware of being thankful for what you have. This cold sucks.

Work should be fun - MAJOR re-org. Wonder where I fit?

posted at 07:38 AM | Link | Work § |

Friday, December 31, 2004

I'm legit!

I just got my ID Card for the building. I feel like I belong now! (I know... it's trivial... I'm just looking forward to anything to enlighten my day...)

posted at 10:56 AM | Link | Work § |

Monday, December 27, 2004

Back to work?

Oh, God... My boss isn't here again and neither is most of the staff.

I'm not feeling productive at all whatsoever. On top of that, no one is here to sign my timesheet...

Oh, I hate days like this...

posted at 11:13 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I'm outta here

I'm "at the office" (it's sooo nice being able to say that). I can barely hear anybody on the floor. I have a an inside cubicle. The only windows are available to the outside offices that ring the floor. Fortunately, the office across from my cube has been empty for as long as I've been here. My guess is that I'll see the guy sometime next year.

Anyway, I wander into his office to look out the window. There's a handful of cars out there.

Nobody is here. My boss - who was on vacation all week and yet was in the office every single day - left a few hours ago. Time to wrap-up and get out of here.

I've been feeling really productive lately. I've got my Notes ID, my intranet access. I've been heavily manipulating and restructuring a critical spreadsheet since yesterday, keeping me busy., And you know how fast the day passes when you're busy.

Yeah, that's it. Wrap it up and get outta here...

posted at 03:16 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, December 20, 2004

Getting closer...

I'm starting to feel connected at work... sort of. I got my Notes ID today and got Notes up and running - only to find out that I have to use a different ID since I'm a contractor and now I have to wait for that one.


Hey - did I mention that my brand new work laptop has a DVD/CD-RW combo drive?

posted at 04:00 PM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Friday, December 17, 2004


Well, I finally got my laptop at work. Do I have an ID? No. So, I'm logging-in locally so at least I'll get internet connectivity and feel connected with the world again. I've got access to a printer, which is also a plus. And this IBM ThinkPad T41 is pretty sweet, too - Pentium M with built-in 802.11g and Bluetooth.

All I need now is my intranet password and my Notes ID and I'll feel even more productive...

posted at 11:03 AM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Back to work

Less than a week after my last gig, I am back to work.

I have a cubicle. I have a phone. I have a brand new IBM ThinkPad Laptop. I don't have a badge to get into the building or even onto my floor, but it's in the works. Ditto with my intranet and Notes ID's.

Now, I can't exactly tell you what I'm doing because I don't know what that is exactly yet.

The one thing I do know: it's a one year contract.

I'll have to fill you in on this sometime. Give me some time to figure it out.

posted at 09:25 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Another Last Day

Here it is, another last day on a contract job. We're building building servers and testing, not to mention also recieving shipments of hardware that we don't have any room for.

I'm looking forward to some days off. But I don't know how long that will be because...

I'm getting ready to go onto another contract. It's right here in the same building, a floor below the lab I'm working in. So, I may not be out of work very long.

I'm sure I'll talk about this some more when things get solidified and I start up again.

For those of you wondering - this would be that One Year contract gig I mentioned earlier. It's also that "15 Year Step Backward" that I've referred to that I hope to clarify someday as well.

I just want: 1) An ID Badge that will get me where I need to go 2) a cube/office 3) a computer and 4) an actual network login account and live company email.

All 4 of these things I DID NOT HAVE during the current contract gig.


One more thing I keep forgetting to mention... Looking out the 11th floor windows over Schaumburg and the surrounding areas, other than seeing Woodfield Mall and other public places of interest, I find it comforting be able to look a little Northeast and see Carol's building and then looking out west down Higgins Road and seeing where my house is. It's a very odd but satisfying feeling to vew everything you love right outside your window.

posted at 11:47 AM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Winding down

I've been alone at work for almost 2 days now. My partner has back problems and is in extreme pain, so he took off very early yesterday and today. Fortunately, there were no requests for replacement hardware yesterday, and there's only been 1 request today which I built and just sent off to Pahrump.

I sort of like working alone. What I rather prefer is just being busy.

Looks like Thursday will be my last day. We'll see what happens after that.

posted at 02:52 PM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, December 02, 2004

No melt

SO the Weather Criiters were a bit wrong about yesterday - the sun was out all day, but it never got warm enough to melt anything. Another day of slop on the grass, though the roads seem to have dried up nicely.

So, my last day on this contract will be next Thursday - the 9th. The contract was for 200 hours of work and that's when it gets used up.

However, I may be here again. Very soon. In a totally different role.

If you were in an industry for... let's say... 25 years.

You have been unemployed for quite a while, and have been working some pretty short-term contracts that have been weeks to months in between.

You have an opportunity for a 1 Year contract, but you'd be stepping backwards 15 years in your career.

Would you take it?

posted at 08:21 AM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Friday, November 26, 2004

Black Friday roads

I must have been driving between the early bird shoppers and the other shoppers going out later in the morning. There was no one of the road this morning. There was no one in the parking lot. There was no one in the building. It's going to be a boring day...

posted at 08:18 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, November 18, 2004


My partner that's supposed to be working with me in the lab is out sick today, so I'm here alone. In the dark. (Well, I didn't turn the lights on in this part of the lab (I don't even know where the switch is) and those of you that know me will know that I like working in the dark or in subdued lighting.) I'm digging this. I'm just worried about actually doing work in here today. So far, I have not got an official security ID badge for this facility. That means I don't have any way to get back into the lab if I have to leave to, oh let's say, go to the restroom. I have no accounts on the network here, which means I have no access to any of the help desk systems. In a nutshell, that means if there is a server that needs to be built & shipped or just a drive that needs imaging and shipping, I have no way of getting that information. I have no email access as well.

So, I'm alone in the lab, cutoff from my cow-orkers (I've always liked that spelling!). Hopefully I can keep busy.

posted at 08:27 AM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


So, one of the companies that I'm indirectly working for is being bought...

Kmart Corp. is acquiring Sears, Roebuck & Co. in an $11 billion merger

Overheard standing at an elevator: "It's like tieing two drunken whores together and hoping they'll walk a straight line..."

posted at 07:51 AM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, November 16, 2004



... nothing can wake you up like the smell of a snootful of air downwind of a sewage treatment plant as you pull into your parking lot, ready for work.

I feel ill...

posted at 07:21 AM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Oh, no pix

Just an FYI - (like anyone out there cares) - There won't be any pictures from where I'm working. There's signs in the lobby forbidding any cameras in the building, so no chance to show you what I'm doing. Hmmm... I suppose I can post a picture of the building itself...

posted at 02:03 PM | Link | Work § |
Fire drill(s)

The strobe lights started going off this morning - Fire Drill. I hate these things, but I guess you have to classify these things as a necessary evil. Fortunately, today was going to be the warmest day of the week, so management picked a good day. I can tell you that I went down 11 flights of stairs easier than I thought. Out in the parking lot I met a woman that I worked with just last month. She's working in my building now, so we commiserated about our last gig.

So the drill was over and we took our time going inside. The lobby was full, the elevators were full, so we waited a while - only to find out that the building was executing the drills by groups of floors - the alarm goes off again and a new bunch of people pour outside. We wait again and go back in, but decide to go down to the cafeteria for coffee, which, after we got there, decided not to get anything. We hit the button on the eleveator and wait around a bit when we see the light go out on the button. Sure enough, time for the third group. Back outside and wait around. This time, we're one of the first one's in and we get an elevator to actually stop on our floor (there is only one ewlevator that stops on our floor, so we were lucky to get it).

Anyway, nice way to break up the day...

posted at 10:56 AM | Link | Work § |

Monday, November 08, 2004

So dry

The lab that I'm working in feels so dry that I think my eyeballs are going to bleed. I am so damn exhausted, that I can't keep my eyes open. In fact, they're cross-eyed right now. The just want to be covered... so they... can... rest... ahhhhhhh... WHOA! No good! No sleeping on the job! Even my Red Bull isn't helping me this morning. I really thought I'd be in better shape today.

Hmmm... the sound of the air handlers changes picth and intensity as I close my eyes and drift a bit. I can tell I'm drifting because when I "awake" the air handlers sound totally different. Weird.

posted at 08:40 AM | Link | Work § |

Friday, November 05, 2004

Day 2

So far... 's OK.

The cafeteria is suckier than I had originally thought. The people here are actually pretty nice. The work is OK. At least there's documentation.

Can't beat the location. Even in Rush Hour, it's still 10-15 minutes to get home.

The only downside is the technology that I have to support. OS/2 WARP? Puh-lease...

I'm a little concerned - I'm exhausted and I can't seem to shake it. I know I should sleep more and nap more whenever I can, but I just can't seem to do it...

posted at 05:04 PM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Throw Back Part Deaux

Well, I'm back at work again for a couple of weeks - and it's deja vu all over again.

I'm working for the same people as my last gig, but in a different location and doing different work. I'm still working for the same company, but they have a different contract to service and support the retail store operations of the same other company. I'm in Schaumburg instead of my hometown Hoffman Estates, so instead of driving only 9 miles to work... I'm now driving ONLY 4.8 MILES!

So, today I was building servers. Remember how I was complaining about Windows NT being used on the desktops? Know what the servers are using? OS/2 WARP!!!

So far, can't read how this is all going to work out. The building is no where as nice as the other facility and there's a LOT less people.

But so far, it's OK.

posted at 06:11 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Back to the grind...

Starting again at 9am tomorrow for a 4-week stint...

Let's see how THIS one goes...

posted at 04:02 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, October 22, 2004

Maybe next week

I may have a short contract starting late next week... at least it's at a good rate. We'll see if it works out.

posted at 03:08 PM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Pulled the trigger too soon...

Got a very early phone call this morning from my recruiter who wanted me to fill-in for someone that was supposed to be at a local hospital working all day just rebooting machines. I, of course, said yes - I didn't have anything planned, so I was more than willing to bail him out, but on my way out the door the hospital decided that they didn't want a replacement.

So, I am still home. Again.

posted at 07:38 AM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

That ol' whipsawing action...

So, I got to work around 7, like I've been doing all this week. It's been dark as the sun doesn't come up until after 7, not to mention cloud cover lately.

Anyway, I'm walking to the deli, thinking about a coffee and a donut when my phone rings. It's the Account Manager for my contract company. It turns out that we've done such a great job getting the number of call tickets in queue down, that we're no longer needed. In fact, the count is so low, a lot of the people here don't have much to do, only the more difficult, long-to-resolve tickets. That's it.

I have half a day of work today and then it's back to unemployment, unless my company can find something for me (which I'm doubting).

I was just getting comfortable with this huge campus and was felt like I was just getting into the swing of things and now it feels like the rug was pulled out from under me. Again.


posted at 07:29 AM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

How far of a walk is it?

No doubt about it, I need a pedometer. I can't believe how much walking I'm doing from call to call throught the entire day. Yes, I need one...

posted at 02:41 PM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Throw Back

Well, I started a new job tis morning, working for a company that had a long-standing Deskside Support contract for a company and has since lost the contract to another company who is supposed to take over the duties "soon".

I don't want to do Deskside Support, but, hey, it's a job. But talk about going back in time... It's NT 4 and Token Ring! Yuck! And it's about 5,500 people in one complex of buildings. Talking about walking! Oh, and I don't have a cube - there are none availble. So no cube, no chair, no phone. Oh, and I have to start at 7am tomorrow. *yawn*

Flipside? It's nine miles from my house. Nine. Know how fast I can get there with traffic flowing in the opposite direction? And the main cafeteria (yes, there are multiples) is bigger than some Food Courts I've seen at some malls. And the quality is way above average.

posted at 04:06 PM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I forgot how warm that is

I got a phone call from a technical recruiter that I've worked for a lot in the past. He had a lead for a short contract position in my own town. How cool would that be? Well, it would actually be for one company that has a desktop support contract for another company (though they lost the contract to still another company, but apparently the transition is going well).

So, even though I had the appropriate background checks done last year for the NMCI job, I never had to take a drug test. In fact, I don't remember the last time I had to take a drug test - wait, I remember once - 1978. So, I had to drive off into an industrial office park in Elk Grove Village to find a medical center that specializes in that sort of thing. The odd/weird/unsettling/cool thing was that the, um, sample (when it was, um, ready) was put into a a thing that looked like a Mr. Coffee and the results "would be sent to the company within 10 minutes"! Cool! But it's still an odd little time going someplace to pee into a cup...

posted at 05:04 PM | Link | Unemployment § |

Friday, July 09, 2004

OK, I guess that really WAS short

OK, so it was under an hour and a half of work this morning and that project is over. All in all, a very easy project that I wouldn't mind doing again - I just wish I had more hours. (Total hours on the project - 6 3/4.)

Got home and Unemployment was calling. They had questions regarding my employment over the past year because there was a challenge filed saying I didn't work 30 days for my company... well, yeah, that was last month, but what about this past year? That should get corrected.

Time to relax and watch a little Bond on the telly.

posted at 11:16 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, July 08, 2004

OK, it's not so short of a job...

So, I'm back at my "short" project today. It's now the second day. The replacement printer actually showed up this morning. I set it up and this time it worked just fine. I had to repack the old printer to get Airborne to pick it up and return it.

Because of the nature of the business, I couldn't actually cutover the new printer until after the close of markets. I decided to go home for a couple of hours and come back and finish up. It took less than an hour and a half to hook-up the new printer, define the queses and push out the changes to the users.

I have to come back tomorrow to train people and how to use the printer. Let's face it - printing is not rocket science. That should take about an hour.

posted at 05:38 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

A very short job

I started a very short job today. So short that it's only today and tomorrow. I'm in Crystal Lake at a branch office of a company representing a printer company that is swapping out all of the legacy printers. It's laid out so that you install the printer one day and train the users the next day. Well, I'm already behind - the new printer is giving an error (about closing its back door - which is closed, so there's a physical problem) so they're going to have to send out a service guy. I found out later that for this kind of error, they're going to just overnight ship a new printer to the branch, and I'll have to send the bad one back.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

You have to ask - is this all worth it for such a short project?

posted at 11:16 AM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Back in April, I said I was done.

Here I am saying it again.

I'm done. The project is over, again. Like I said yesterday, in retrospective, they didn't really need to bring in a group to do this.

It was nice to work again, with people I know, at a place I know.

I'm hoping to do this again...

posted at 01:36 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, June 14, 2004

Half Day

Just a half day of work today. I just realized that , slowly, people are disappearing. It's down to just 3 people plus the two EDS leads. There's only a handful of machines left to deploy.

In hindsight, they should have never brought in a team of techs to do this. We're not working a full day and we've been off a few full days as well.

This is going to totally screw up my unemployment benefits...

posted at 02:40 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Hard to ignore...

The hearse arrives carrying the casket of former President Ronald Reagan before the casket is transfered to the presidential aircraft, Wednesday, June 9, 2004, in Point Mugu, Calif. The body will be flown to Washington D.C., where he will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) The casket of former President Ronald Reagan is led by caisson on Constitution Ave. for his funeral procession to the U.S. Capitol in Washington Wednesday, June 9, 2004. The White House is seen in background. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) A riderless horse with boots turned backwards is led forward during the start of the funeral procession for former President Ronald Reagan from Constitution Ave. near the White House to the Capitol in Washington Wednesday, June 9, 2004. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) A formation of U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter jets perform the missing man maneuver as they fly over Constitution Avenue in Washington, in honor of and signifying the loss of a fellow comrade in arms, during the procession for former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, June 9, 2004. Reagan, the nation's 40th president, died in Los Angeles at age of 93 on June 5. REUTERS/Ralph Alswang The casket of former U.S. President Robald Reagan lies in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington June 9, 2004. The former president's body will lie in state for two days in the Capitol before his formal state funeral on June 11. REUTERS/Jason Reed Nancy Reagan touches the casket of her husband, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, as it lies in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, June 9, 2004. The former president's body will lie in state for two days in the Capitol before his formal state funeral on June 11. REUTERS/Peter Jones Overhead view of the body of former President Ronald Reagan lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill Wednesday, June 9, 2004, in Washington. (AP Photo/Rick McKay, Pool)
Had the day off of work today (I guess the building that we have to deploy isn't ready for us).

It was very hard to avoid Ronald Regan today.

Everywhere on TV was the solemn funeral procession from California to Washington, from the Presidential Library to Point Mugu Naval Air Station, onto Special Air Mission 28000 (a plane that he never traveled in, as it was put into service after his Presidency) to Andrews Air Force Base, to The Ellipse were the flag-draped casket was put on a caisson and processed up Constitution Avenue to the west side of The Capitol, accompanied by a "riderless horse" (a pair of Reagan's personal boots were in the stirrups, turned backward to symbolize the loss of a rider). Then up the 99 steps on the west side of the building to the Capitol rotunda, met by the members of Congress.

Nancy looks so frail. The ceremonies - dignified, solemn, military precise.

posted at 05:12 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Hot as Venus

90° today. Actually, 91° at work and we're on the damn lake where it's always "cooler by the". Guess not today.

On top of this, something weird is happening on the base. It's hot out, right? You want something cold to drink... every friggin' soda machine in every building is empty. I've got this bad feeling that Coke lost a vending contract somewhere and they're not refilling the machines so they could haul them out and replace everything with Pepsi products.

In the mean time, no relief...

posted at 06:09 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Back at it

8 weeks later, I'm back at the job I started in October.

It's not the same position(s) at all. Here, I'm just another technician deploying machines. There are no team leads - there's only a staff of 9, even though Steve - a former lead - is back, as well as me.There's no Project Manager, though Dave came back and is a Admin instead. The EDS team is different. It's the same, though it's different. It's... comfortable.

And it's really only for two weeks. Big deal. But, I enjoyed my time there and I thought it was worth going back.

It's only two weeks to make more money than what I'm getting from unemployment...

And perhaps position myself for more work that is potentially coming up...

posted at 05:44 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

It was fun while it lasted...

I guess 8 weeks is enough this time around...

posted at 04:38 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, April 09, 2004

I made the call...

Well, I slept-in as much as I could. Carol is off today, and it's my first day of unemployment this time around. Made the obligatory phone call to my recruiter (I guess that's necessary to tell them "I have completed the project. What else to you have for me?", which - somehow - triggers eligibility for unemployment.

And so it starts again...

At least there's baseball to watch this afternoon...

posted at 11:21 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, April 08, 2004


Juliet's Happy Bunny - let's focus on me
That's it. I'm through.

The day was hard - Jonathan and I had some last minute deployments, orientations, and even some boxing of legacy machines to do. There was paperwork, agreements that these machines have actually been deployed, everyone agrees on the counts, the sign-offs completed. Then - gone. Again, everyone disperses around the country, the project officially closes...

...and the job ends.

Unemployed again, waiting for another project. Or another job.

With the team that we had for this project, even though it wasn't smooth sailing, I'd do it again. Maybe I can later this year - there is one project and potentially a second project later this year with different organizations on the base (one's with the Marines and the other the Naval Hospital). I don't know if we can wait that long without a steady income.

We'll just have to see.

read more of this entry »

posted at 06:13 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, April 07, 2004


Most of the NMCI Deployment Team and staff
So, today was the last day of work for my team. My team. I'm still having problems grapsing this meaning, especially when one of the guys, when introducing me to his wife, refered to me as his boss. His boss. As far as I was concerned, I was just one of the team that kind of directed things. We struggled all week to come up with enough work for these guys to do - in the end, it just didn't work out. All they wanted was a full day's work and full day's pay.

I miss these guys already. They made it to the end after all of the cuts we had to do as the project slowly wound down, so you know they had to be good people. Now, they're gone, litterally dispersing across the country.

I miss the lugs.

posted at 06:14 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, March 26, 2004

Two Weeks

Yep. That's it. Two weeks.

That's when the project finally ends. Two weeks, and then no job.

Back on unemployment again.

I'm just hoping it's not as sudden as it seems. There's a possibility of doing more later this year... if I (we) can hold out that long.

posted at 06:16 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Short day

We ran out of work to do by 10:30 this morning. Half a day and we're out of there.

It's obvious - this job doesn't have much more life in it. It should have ended months ago, so I'm grateful that I'm still employed right now... but I think we've only got weeks, maybe days to go on the project...

posted at 03:03 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Boring day

Another day of nothing to do at work. Went to one of the barracks on base and hung out there, watching TV and playing pool. Not exactly what I want to do, but there's nothing scheduled today... until 1pm.

You'll never guess what we did at lunch - we went bowling! The base has a 32-lane house (with Brunswick equipment) and from 11am-1pm on Tuesdays & Wednesdays it's free. I had to rent shoes because I wasn't ready to do this... I just may have to throw my bowling bag in the trunk in case we do this again...

We had orientations to do this afternoon, but that was a bust... we had 15 people and none of them had accounts. Frustrating when you want to help out a customer but can't.

Hey... I think the weather is turning... for the better...

posted at 05:59 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, March 22, 2004

No dinner

I'm not having dinner tonight.

Can't. Too stuffed.

We went to the galley for breakfast this morning and stuffed ourselves for $1.70... and then spent $3.30 for lunch....

All-you-can-eat Navy food.

I told Juliet my story last week that I wasn't feeling too good. I wound up eating a quart of Oberweiss Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. Her comment? "You eat because you're unhappy, and you're unhappy because you eat."

Great. I gotta stop stuffing myself. Maybe skipping dinner will send me in the right direction...

posted at 07:22 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, March 19, 2004

Two Pints

Went out after work with some of the guys. It's the first time I've done that on this job - and the contract is almost over. Had 2 pints of Guinness as we all promised to only have one. We all broke the promise but we just needed to talk and drink for about one more before we were ready to leave. It was a gorgeous day outside today - not a cloud in the sky. Had deployments on the RTC-side of the base, so were were able to here the canons going off during the graduation ceremonies. The galley is not a great place to be on a Friday during Lent. I mean, the Pollock was OK, but damn, I wanted the Polish Sausage...

posted at 06:26 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

$1.70 breakfast?

We had a little time before our deployments today, so we went to the galley for breakfast. How can you turn down $1.70 all you can eat breakfast with made to order omelette's, French toast, pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon, fruit cereal, juices... OK, it wasn't stellar, but $1.70??? How could you turn that down??? I had a donut with green sprinkles for St. Patrick's day and brought a bottle of Green River with me for a drink this morning. That's about as green as I get - couldn't get far while still being professional on a military base.

posted at 09:22 AM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Half Day

Only a half day of work today and we're off the rest of the week. There's just nothing to do. It was a light morning of just trying something to do. At least we went out to Portillo's for lunch before going home. It's a nice day out - not a cloud in the sky. It'll be nice to go home and decompress for a while.

posted at 03:39 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Back in the office

I was asked to spend the day in the office, which I gladly took. I miss hanging-out with Chrystal and Juliet. We worked on resolving some issues with which machines are actually deployed or not. We're getting closer to the end - it just may be at the end of the month.

posted at 06:45 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, March 08, 2004

10 techs and nothing to do

Well, not 10... 8 techs and 2 leads. Nothing to do. Talked a lot about sports. Oh, and shot some pool, too. (Don't ask.) Had lunch on base at RTC inside the Navy's largest galley - $3.30 all you can eat. Yes, it's Navy food (for Recruits, no less), but it's not bad.

I think I would rather be a tad bit busier.

posted at 05:52 PM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Monday, March 01, 2004

Warm. Wet. Oh, and Leading

It's March 1st and it was 61 degrees today. A bit windy, but sunny. That is, until the thunderstorms moved through. It was warm yesterday, too, so it was a oh-too-tempting look at Spring. But alas, the storms were because of a cold front, and you could already feel the temperature drop.

Anybody else notice how the days are getting longer? Cool.

So, today was the first day were I was the Lead for the deployment team. Yes, I'm now in charge of the guys (oops, guys and girl) that are installing the new machines on the base and orienting users. I'm am so uneasy about this. I had a great job that I actually built and designed... and enjoyed being in control of. Now, I'm directing people I don't know doing jobs that I don't know... it's just an uncomfortable feeling.

Hope I can survive. I only need to do it until the end of the month when the job is over.

posted at 06:41 PM | Link | Work § |
Ah, the Good Ol' Days...

As some of you may know, I just have to say something about this on this date...

As I'm looking back at my career, one of the best times I've had at a job was my times at a leading dot com. Those were the days... I loved the people, I loved the work, I loved the environment... I loved the times...

I didn't love it when we (marchFIRST) declared bankruptcy, the dot come bubble burst, the IT industry went into a tailspin and took my career with it.

*sigh* Those were the days...

For some reason, I've held on to 3 of the television commercials that we released. They're all in QuickTime format, and are about 2 Mb.

posted at 08:59 AM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Friday, February 27, 2004


Well, at least I was at work today, earning a paycheck (of sorts). Looks like we'll have enough work for the entire team on Monday. There's no word on anything after that. Working on a lot of data gthering and correlations...

The weather around here has been simply outstanding - Sunny, balmy. Going to be 58º on Sunday. The other day when I was here we went out to Egg Harbor Cafe in Lake Forest for breakfast... or actually lunch since it was 1 in the afternoon. That was wonderful, and now Chrystal has been talking all morning about going back for pancakes. Now, I can only focus on food... and the stomach is growling (always an embarassing situation in a work environment).

posted at 10:35 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, February 26, 2004

At Home

Yep, I'm at home today. No work to do, so we're bringing-in only a few people a day.

Quite frankly, for the sake of the project, they should just shut us down. How can you expect people to stick around if they don't work every day? What happens when they could make more money on unemployment than on this project? If you can't sustain the work, shut it down.

Of course, that's a bit controversial, but it's just the way I feel right now. I think we're doing a disservice to the contract employees.

Again, just my opinion.

posted at 09:21 AM | Link | Work § |

Monday, February 23, 2004

Another day of exhaustion and frustration

I am exhausted. I'm not feeling well at all. There's no machines to deploy, we don't have a full staff (because... there's no machines to deploy...) and we missed a few pieces of important information to make our day go a little better. I'm just too tired to talk... Now that I'm home, I've got to call DirecTV - I had to replace the access cards in all 4 of my receivers and none of them reset correctly...

posted at 09:37 PM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Nervous Exhaustion

I am exhausted.

My work-life has been turned on its ear. Yesterday was my last day at my desk. I am now out in the field, on the base, working machine deployments and user orientations.

I miss my desk. I miss my phone. I miss my computer. I miss Chrystal & Juliet & Tom & Dave & Julian...

I'll talk about it sometime, but I'm tired. I did nothing physical today, but I am physically and mentally exhausted from what's coming and what I'll be doing for a few weeks.

Not to mention what to do when this is all over in just a few very short weeks.

posted at 06:22 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, February 17, 2004


It's really quiet in the old staging room. Really quiet. There's 7 of us in here and we are all busy. No talking, no music - just the muffled sounds of keyboards clattering away. The air handlers even seem to be a little quiet. The room used to be humming with over 20 people and up to 60 machines being staged. Now, the end of the project has kicked-in and it's just too damned quiet...

posted at 10:21 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, February 12, 2004

"... and other jobs as required..."

Oh, oh... looks like I'm going onto the Deployment/Orientation teams at work. There are new metrics being pushed onto the site leads and, well, I've always been a "red herring" in the project. I mean, of all the other bases that are being worked for this project, my position is unique to this base. So, to make up the numbers and still keep me around, I'm going to have to go out into the field and do work. Great. Wonder how long that will be for?

posted at 02:32 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I hope the smoke detectors don't go off

The fumes in the hallway at work are much worse today. It's hard to breathe when walking down the hall, and you can actually see the exhaust fumes now. The janitors which work out of an office in that hallway are wearing masks. The staging room seems much emptier today as the staging crew is gone and less and less machines are on the bench. I started sweeping up the room, and started figuring out what to tear-down. In the mean time, I'm still correlating data of what has been staged and deployed on the base. The day flew by, which is always good.

posted at 05:36 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


When I walked into the building this morning, I noticed that engineers have removed a window into what appears to be a boiler room. Well, that had some pretty significant repercussions, as now there is a breeze coming in that opening and it's pushing what I think is exhaust from the boilers into the first floor of the building. Smells like an oil boiler. *blech* This is going to be a rough day. Well, the staging crew is gone. Staging is over at this base, and we're just slowly cleaning-off what we have on the bench. Feels like the official "beginning of the end".

posted at 02:43 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, February 09, 2004

Not as cold in Baghdad

This morning it was 31 degrees when I woke up, but the temperature drops 6 in one hour. Windy as all hell, too. Today is the last day for the staging crew - the last day we will officially stage machines for this project at this base. We've staged almost 2600 machines for this project, and almost all of them are deployed and signed-off. Had a cool thing happen today - our Project Manager was in Yahoo Messenger with his 21 year old nephew who was online in Baghdad. He's an Explosive Ordnance guy with the 1st armored division. So, while the PM was in chat, he called his sister (the soldier's mom) and "added" her to the conversation. Cool.

posted at 11:14 AM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


We're struggling to get machines to stage at work. Data from the user community is just not coming through. We're struggling to get 20 machines to stage. Lunch today was... interesting. For some strange reason, the team members that are from DC want to go to White Castle for lunch. It's been years since I've had a Slider, so I went along. I knew we were in trouble when I went to get into the back seat of their rental car and found McDonald's French Fries all over the back seat - like an entire large order of fries all over the seat. *blech* So, off to White Castle where two team members buy a Crave Case of 30 burgers to eat now and save for later (the advantages of staying at a Suites hotel). Never saw a crave Case before - the burgers are in little cardboard boxes (the way they normally come) and the 30 little boxes interlock and fit together within the larger attaché-like cardboard box. Ingenious. The only bad part about the trip is being a non-smoker with three smokers in the car. Oh, that was such a joyful trip back to work... When we get back to our building, we are greeted with new staging data! But it's only for 12 seats... but then another segment comes in of 129 seats! Yes, life is good as we finally will have work to do.

posted at 02:31 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, January 05, 2004

Back to work

Well, it's finally back to work time. I - just sort of - was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it was another day of no data, which means no machines to stage, which means that the crew that we normally have to do the staging won't be in again, and that just sucks.

The weather is still sliding downhill, with the temperatures dropping through the day and overnight. I'm not looking forward to this.

Oh, and to top the day off, while I was driving to the tollway after work, while the car was still warming up, a flock of geese flew overhead. Big deal - happens all the time, right? Well, I've never been under a flock of geese and have one of them - from altitude - crap on my car! What's worse? I find out that it's cold enough that my windshield washers are frozen, so all that happens is my windshield wipers just spread the poop over the windshield. Oh, great, what a drive home this will be. Fortunately, close to home, I was able to get the washers working.


Welcome to 2004. Is this an omen?

posted at 06:29 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Stand Down

Hmmm... the start of a White Christmas? Eddie Izzard - Circles
Well, we got an unexpected piece of news today at work: "... a mandatory holiday deployment stand down throughout the NE region effective COB 12/23. ... All NE region Dell staging, deployment and sweep activity will stop from COB 12/23 until after the first of the year."

Crap. We had a lot of work planned for next week. What's worse (from my perspective) is the typical contractor's lament: no work = no pay - a <sarcasm>wonderful place to be during the holiday season</sarcasm>. So, I am on Stand Down until January 5th, the day after my birthday.

The flip-side to all of this negativity is that we've hired a new Admin who'll sit next to me. It was bad enough last time when we had a new tech join us (she's been great to work with), but this time it's going to cause more problems - younger, taller, and gorgeous. There's too many geek guys around for her not to get hit on...

I bid adieu to my colleagues and walked out to the car where I noticed it started snowing. The traffic home made the drive miserable. The Tri-State was a mess. It's not normal to actually come to a stop on the tollway, so I got off on Golf Road to take that all the way home. Well, that was fine until I was within a mile or so of Woodfield Mall. We were stopped again. This time, I realized that right at the mall, the traffic lights were out. Not good, especially right at Christmas around one of the biggest/busiest malls in America. Then I saw what the problem was - a white panel van slid off the road... and ran right over the top of the traffic control electronics box. That's going to be down for a while.

Stopped at White Hen to get a few tickets for tonight's Mega Millions game (the pot is up to $100 Million tonight). After I slid into my parking place, I had to wait for one of those "Lottery women" that have all of their multiple tickets all filled out, leaning over the counter with the worker, just chatting up a storm, and moving pretty damn slow. Then she starts singing Christmas music... not what was playing over the Muzak in the store. And she's terrible. And in a syrupy-voice she says (to no one in particular) "Oh! How beautiful the snow is!" and she starts dancing a little in place. I just want my effin' tickets - get the hell outa my way!

So, there's snow on the ground, traffic sucks, I'm not working for almost two weeks, and - worse yet - Carol & I are broke. So, needless to say, I'm a bit down in the dumps.

But then, I see a box from on the counter.

I can't tell you how much of a surprise and how much it meant to get something from your Wishlist from someone out there in the Blogosphere.

In this case, it was the Eddie Izzard DVD of Circle from Erin (we saw Eddie in Circle here in Chicago back in March of 2000). Erin, it made my day! Thank you! Make sure you visit her blog! She's a good egg!

posted at 07:40 PM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Damn whistler...

Look... we all have Pet Peeves. I have a whole list of ones just about driving.

But there are a few things that pop up every once in a while that, well, just piss you off.

I work in a raised-floor room with 15 guys that stage about 35 machines at a time. It's quiet in here - not a lot of chit-chat.

One of the damn techs is sitting here friggin' whistling. Now, I'll give the guy props on the quality of his whistling, but, damn it, STOP THE FRIGGIN' WHISTLING! I want to wring this guy's neck... I Mean he's a nice guy and all, but when he puckers-up, I just want to smack the guy...

It's just one of those things that get on my nerves.

Add it to the list of:

  • Cracking knucles

  • Popping gum

  • Chewing with your mouth open

posted at 10:42 AM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Short day!

It's always a great day when you get out of work at 1:30 as an early start to the Thankgiving weekend and get paid for a full 8 hours! Wooo Hooo!

posted at 02:33 PM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Light traffic

Traffic has been light this week - obviously due to the short work week. We're having some oddities happen at work - we've run out of data to stage machines for users. I guess this doesn't normally happen at other bases, so we're hoping that something will come along to keep all of these people busy. Fortunately, data came through for another 120 machines just before 2 o'clock, so at least we have something to work on.

posted at 06:28 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Friday, November 07, 2003

Cold & Sneezy

Everyone at work is start to sneeze and sniffle. Not good. Even though the room that we're in is pretty big, people can pass stuff pretty quick in that environment.

It was 28 degrees this morning, going to be 20 overnight. Damn. I hate this time of year.

posted at 07:00 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Thursday, November 06, 2003


Heading north on the Tri-State in the morning A quick snap of the sunset while getting onto the tollway
A cold, but crystal-clear day. This morning was one of those days when you're sleeping and the alarm goes off, but you're really comfortable in a really good position in bed and you just had a pleasant dream and all you want to do is get back there again... but you have to get up and get to work.

Still no change in the parking lot situation at work. I think they haven't done a damn thing in a few days because of the rain. It'll be weeks before this is finished. What will be done first - the parking lot of my contract?

Remember the blonde brunette that started last week? Well, I just felt more hair fall out, the others turn grayer, and arthritis settling into my joints. I'm feeling old because I just found out that her mom is 42...

I left tonight after sunset, but the sky was still clear and te colors so vivid that i was compelled to try to take a picture of it from a moving car... which is never a good thing. Not that I couldn't handle the car, it's just that you can never be still long enough to get a good shot without blurring the image.

posted at 06:52 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

One Thousand Pound Weight

Yesterday's rain was the precursor to a cold front coming through. this morning it was 39 degrees. Looks like we turned a corner and it's downhill from here. No more Indian Summers - fall and winter are here.

read more of this entry »

posted at 06:39 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, November 03, 2003

No Parking

Over the past couple of weeks, the parking lot at work is undergoing renovation. They tore-up half of the lot, removing the asphalt and digging up the dirt, putting in a better base of gravel and then resurfacing. The lot is barely large enough to fit the cars for everyone that works in the building. Having half the lot gone means we have to park in the base exchange next door and walk over. Well, the started asphalting over the weekend - but it's only half done. The other half of the asphalt is blocked-off, and the old part of the lot is now being chewed-up, so the lot is about a quarter of the size it used to be. It's a mess. It's a bit of a walk from next door and, even though the weather has been OK, it's going to make for a lousy walk if the weather changes (which it should over the course of the week).

read more of this entry »

posted at 06:17 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

*gasp*! A woman!

Today - something different for my stop at the oasis to get something to snack on for the morning. I get a nice tall cup of coffee - a French Vanilla one, too. Flavorful. Wonderful. Now I need a Thermos bottle to keep it warm. Hopefully, Carol can scare one up for me.

There was a great ripple in the force today - I work with a whole room full of tech guys whose job is build brand new Dell desktops for specific customers with specific software for their needs. Today Shock! Sitting next to me is a young blond from the east coast. She'll be here leading pre-deployment tasks for a while. There's nothing that puts more interest in a bunch of geek guys than a young geek girl. This is just so entertaining... There's a lot of interesting "playing" going on...

Found out that one of the gentlemen here has auditioned for the NY Philharmonic and plays trombone (did that for 20 years before becoming a network engineer), mostly for stage shows. His wife is currently playing french horn for the Lion King here in Chicago. Wonder if that's why we have such an interesting selection of music on the boombox? Today it's Sinatra, James Taylor, Billy Joel and Aerosmith.

posted at 06:22 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Fixing a Hole

Yesterday was 9:30-6, today was 8:30-5. I think we're settling on this set of hours.

This morning was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the boombox. Love the selections of CD's I saw near the machine.

Went from 85° to 54° today. More seasonal, I guess. Don't like it, but it's what's here.

Been eating doughnuts in the car during my long (40.5 miles one way) rush hour trip. Yesterday I stopped at the Oasis and got a couple of Krispy Kremes for the drive (not HOT fresh from a real store, but it'll do in a pinch) and I got one of those gold Sacagawea coins for change. I didn't even know they were still in circulation! Tons of machines at work I could use that coin in... except they don't except the coin (not surprised).

Have to start thinking about eating something in the morning. Then I have to think about actually eating lunch - something I haven't done yet this week.

posted at 06:44 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


So, there's about 15-20 people in the room that I work in, all of them concentrating on burning the requested images onto the machines that I've had delivered to the staging area. These are people from many different age groups - 20's to 50's (at least). And yet, we found quite a few people across the group that like Frank Sinatra. A CD goes into the boombox and we're swingin' with The Chairman for most of the morning. Then, over lunch, someone went out and bought Live & Swingin' - The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection. Now, we're swingin' with not only Frank, but Dino and Sammy as well! What a great little pickup to the day!

posted at 06:56 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, October 20, 2003


Well, I got my Department of Defense Contractor photo ID today. I still have to get a vehicle pass for the base.

I still don't know exactly what I'm doing but the picture is getting clearer... sort of.

Originally, I thought I was working 4:30 to Midnight. Friday I worked 12-8:30, but only put in half a day (nothing to do for the rest of the day). Today was 10-6:30, tomorrow will be 9:30-6. Wonder when it will settle on a time?

Anyway, I'm feeling OK about the job. Let's see how far it goes and how well I can perform...

85° today - the average is supposed to be 60°. It's supposed be be colder that that tomorrow. Really windy today, too.

posted at 09:47 PM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Saturday, October 18, 2003


I don't have much to say today. I'm still trying to figure out what I can say.

Well, I started a new job yesterday. It's a 30% decrease in salary from my last fulltime job, or about 43% of what I used to earn in my life before my last permanent job before that. I had to take it - we're having financial issues so you take what you can.

On top of that, it's a contract job - as a subcontractor, to a subcontractor, to a subcontractor to the contractor of a project. A government project, Actually, a military project.

There's cool aspects to this, though. I'll be part of the world's largest desktop deployment in computing history - over 420,000 machines (though I'll only be involved with a local deploy of about 3,400). I get to write my own job description and build my own job and I don't have to code, or assemble or build or troubleshoot. It's mostly logistics among some major groups and the customer.

So, I'm not sure what I can say. Just that I'm employed, I have to drive about 40 miles one way, my hours have changed 3 times since I signed the contract.

I'm just not sure what I can talk about. One thing's for sure - don't expect any pictures!

posted at 11:25 AM | Link | Work § |

Friday, July 18, 2003


Well, I'm at home. I was terminated today.

I'm totally OK with it. I feel a big weight lifted off my shoulders. I have been unhappy for so long, that this feels good.

A new weight is taking its place, that of dealing with unemployment. I've been here before. The weight starts out light, almost imperceptible. It gets heavier as the days progress, but right now, just the difference in weights is a joy.

I'm a bachelor this weekend - Carol is going up to Michigan to Diane's house, so I'll be alone to decompress, which Carol says I should do. Just relax and we'll talk next week.

I'm fine with that.

And I'm feeling good.

posted at 12:31 PM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Monday, July 14, 2003

I have to WHAT?????

Wait one friggin' minute... I'm not being terminated and I have to actually resign????

This doesn't feel right and I'm not happy right now...

I'll talk some other time when it's over.

posted at 08:23 AM | Link | Work § |

Friday, July 11, 2003

Coming up to the end... again

Do you know what today is for me?

The last day...

...of the last full week of permanent employment.

More info next week...

posted at 01:37 PM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Bloody ouch!

The steri-strips holding my gash together... Hey! I'm balder than I thought!!!
Ok, short story - I was moving a computer from one cube to a common area. It was being placed underneath a folding table. I was working at plugging-in some of the equipment when I leaned in and... OUCH!!! CRAP!!!! I hit one of the cross-supports with the top of my head. And I start bleeding. Great. It doesn't stop and it hurts.

So, for the first Workman's Comp case of my career, I get driven to a local clinic to make sure it was OK. I couldn't view the wound directly, but I could tell I know had a flap of skin.

So, after getting the wound cleaned and some steri-strips applied to close the wound (a typical flap scalp lac) and getting a tetanus shot, I was back at the office with a huge friggin' bandage on my head.

posted at 02:37 PM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |
What would you do?

Would you choose to get terminated within a week so that you can finally leave a job that you have hated since Day One, or linger-on part time to do fill-in work knowing that at least some money is coming in while in this bad job market?

posted at 09:41 AM | Link | Work § |

Monday, July 07, 2003

I've been betrayed

Changes at work - and I'm not part of them.

I knew they were coming, I was led to believe I would be part of it.

Now I find out that something's changed and it's no longer true.

When will I be back on the street? Next week?

I'm angry, upset, confused. More some other time.

posted at 02:22 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, June 30, 2003

Back to the grind...

It's back to work for me after a week of vacation. The drive almost seems "foreign". I went through an entire week not thinking about the place, and even maybe not even caring about it as well. It's the first time in a long time where as I sit down after a vacation, things just feel "different" even though as I look around my miserable cube, nothing has changed.

Update: Wow... the main page looks pretty empty... I have lots of entries that are un-published from my Orlando trip. That will be up in a day or so.

posted at 08:36 AM | Link | Work § |

Monday, June 16, 2003

Cat's Away

My boss is away this week, and it feels good. It's not that we're sitting around goofing-off. We're working, but it just feels different. Like an added pressure is off your shoulders. Like you can focus on what you need to do instead of getting whip-sawed around at every turn to do something different from what you are doing, sometimes 3 or 4-times over. It's just nice to focus on something, you know?

posted at 12:58 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, June 10, 2003


I'm wearing too many hats... today I played shipping clerk sending equipment around the country. This, after having to deal with one snooty beeotch after getting treated like crap by another (who thought we were working a problem since Friday... until I told her that no one told us there was a problem to work on...) to new users who I have never talked to on the phone and don't even know how to describe a problem:

"I need help"
"With what"
"The computer"
"Can you tell me what you were doing?"
"Well, I got hung-up"
"In what?"
and it goes on from there...

Crap, I hate this job...

posted at 03:04 PM | Link | Work § |

Monday, June 02, 2003


Krispy Kreme on Manheim Road in Rosemont Mmmmmm... doughnuts...
I had to be at work this morning at 6:30am. Ugh! We have some eye clinics going live on NextGen, so I had to field the help desk calls for them (their in the eastern time zone and they open at 7:30am). Well, when I got here at 6:15am I found out the hard way that my security key fob doesn't allow me access to the building off-hours! I was able to "piggy-back" on someone going in that had access, but then I found out that the security cards are used to activate the elevators and are coded for the specific floor you work on. Since our floor isn't heavily populated, I had to wait for the building to "unlock" at 7am. I sat in the lobby eating my Krispy Kreme doughnuts, just biding my time. Now that I'm upstairs, there hasn't been a phone call. So, I'm groggy and bored. Going to be a long day...

posted at 07:03 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, May 29, 2003


As a sit here in my freezing cubicle (which has been this way for weeks) thinking about how I don't exactly enjoy what I'm doing, trying to wake up with some Starbucks House Blend that I had to make this morning to try to stay up after tossing and turning most of the night thinking about this blasted job, I surfed over to Merriam-Webster's, and here's today's Word of the Day:

read more of this entry »

posted at 08:32 AM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, May 14, 2003


I've been in the IT industry for 25 years now. I've had lows and highs over that time. I've never felt as low as I have over the last 5 months. Instead of being a tech lead I've been "riding" a Help Desk for the last 5 months. It has been the worst job I've had over the 25 years, even worse than being a computer operator and the beginning of my career. I don't get to manage or "own" anything. I just answer phone calls, fix what I can as a typical Level 1 person would do, and if not - "throw it over the wall" to the (few) other people that work here (there are only 6 of us).

I took this job because, after being out of work for almost 19 months, the money got too tight. I'm only making 63% of what I used to, so it's hard to makeup the difference over the 19 months and the difference in current salary. The job isn't all that challenging - the company is downsizing (well, considering there used to be over 50 people in IT), and the call volume varies radically from 0 in 4 hours to non-stop calls. Then there's the calls on Sundays that I won't go into because it just makes my blood boil... I've received no training to speak of. The documentation is close to being non-existant. I'm a "big picture" kind of guy - I want to understand how things "fit" together, how things feed and flow. That way, I could make some (semi-)intelligent decisions in problem, determination. I'm not getting that.

In general, I'm just not happy.

There's also something happening there that I don't want to discuss right now, though you will probably hear about it here in a few weeks, I suppose. I guess I need to start looking again - see if the market has changed at all. I don't want to be doing this for the rest of my career.

I am just not happy. I want to be happy again.

posted at 10:17 PM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, April 24, 2003

I survived...

Looks like I survived Take your... Child... to Work Day. It was a heck of a lot noisier and uncontrolled (at least on our side of the floor) than I expected. At least we all had pizza and cake today. Interesting seeing who's kids are well behaved and who's... well, aren't.

posted at 03:12 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

W-H Lives

OK, let's see if you can follow this...

Back in 1999, I went to work for a consulting company in Chicago called Whittman-Hart, as a Notes Administrator for the company's infrastructure (not as a consultant for the company). I had used them on a project back in 1996-97 to bring my then company's Corporate HQ onto Notes. I liked the company, they had a good rep in the industry, so I was very excited to join them. The CEO, Bob Bernard, formed the company in the mid to late 80's (if I remember correctly), and in 1999 Whittman-Hart had a market capitalization of $4.47 billion. Not too shabby. Then comes the merger that Bob steered with USWeb/CKS to create an Internet consultancy, marchFIRST - 9,000 employees worldwide and about $1 billion in annual sales. I was now officially with a dotcom. And then - *BUST*. Bob sells parts of marchFIRST that was the core of the old Whittman-Hart to his buddy Andrew "Flip" Filipowski at divine (in a sweetheart deal), just before marchFIRST declares bankruptcy (and subsequent liquidation). I'm then at divine on a 60-day contract for transition services for "Divine Whittman-Hart", which ended June 1, 2001 and ended my journey. But, to continue the story, divine doesn't do well either, and it, too, declares bankruptcy (after being sued for fraud by one of its own subsidiaries).

Flash forward to today. Bob Bernard outbids everyone and buys back what remains of the former Whittman-Hart Inc., for $6 Million, which will go to marchFIRST's estate to defray more than $1 billion in pending claims. And so the circle goes...

posted at 09:29 AM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

5 years on...

I know today may be Tax Day, but this day holds another connotation for me. I worked for a company 7 months shy of 20 years when I was let go. That was 5 years ago today. Being with a single company for almost 20 years (especially when you're in the IT industry) isn't heard of very often anymore. Nonetheless, I was one of the few. I'm finding it hard to believe it's already been five years. You get used to a company, an industry, your coworkers, that it just seems part of you, even though it's already been five years on...

posted at 10:10 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, April 10, 2003


John Hancock building and Water Tower Place on a great, clear spring day Washing the windows on our building Inside the wash So, why does this guy have a mask and a hat attached to the passenger head rest?
I work out in Des Plaines, but today I was going on a road trip of sorts. I had some laptops I had to swap at the "corporate" office downtown. I've never been there. In fact, I have never even met anyone from downtown. I grab the laptops and hit the road. What a gorgeous day - not a cloud in the sky. The drive downtown was great - until I got to the Ohio ramp, which was backed-up. I followed everybody's directions and pulled into the parking garage. that's when I realized that the address of the building didn't mean too much - the building was called One Magnificent Mile. I knew this building! There's a lot of retail in here and a few good restaurants. I head for the elevator, get my guest pass and go upstairs. I walked into the office area and introduced myself and everyone seemed delighted to see me! This, of course, made me very suspicious. I swap one laptop, and the person brought me around and introduced me to everyone and, of course, everyone was nice. I've talked to all of these people on the phone before, so now we were both placing names and voices with faces. I had one more laptop to go - the CFO's, so we went up to that floor, played the same introductions again and was received the same way again. All it all it was a great little trip. It was good meeting everyone, and even a little valuable having a few minutes to talk with the CFO about a small incident that happened last week (that I don't think I talked about here). When I was driving back to my office, I had thought back on my impressions of the "corporate" office itself. Not the people, the office. For where it was located, and for being a "corporate" office, quite frankly - it sucks. Visually, it does absolutely nothing to enhance the image of the company, and I think it actually detracts. Plain walls, no trim, crappy brass nameplates. No color. Very nondescript. Not great office furniture. A lot of clutter. The design is a rat's nest of narrow corridors that wander everywhere. It feels cramped. I'd rather work in Des Plaines than in the office. I hadn't realized that in all of the companies that I've worked at, they all had a certain look at "corporate" that established the feeling of the company. Let's just say - I don't like the feeling of that office. Someone needs to spend money on this place to change this "austere" look - and it's not a "good" austere either. Yuck. But still, great day outside. The CEO's admin's window overlooks Oak Street beach. Very cool. I really didn't want to leave the downtown area, but I had to get back - after all, no one was answering the phones at the Help Desk...

posted at 06:21 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Three months

Huh... I've been working three months. Doesn't feel like it was that long. I'm still trying to fit in, to join "the club" of the long-timers (5-7 years) that I work with. Getting information around here is like pulling teeth, getting direction is worse. No one else in my department has worked a full 5 days straight in the office, most working from home if possible, or at least keeping "bankers hours". I can't blame them too much - after all, the IT staff used to be 52 people and these people are the ones that were involved in the building of the company and infrastructure. Now, there's six of us, with one scheduled to be released next month and two more that don't have their date set. Not the greatest environment. But I can't complain too loudly - after all, I am getting paid (though only 57% of what I used to make). There are too many unemployed IT people out there - I used to be one of them. You've got to grab whatever comes your way.

posted at 06:35 PM | Link | Work § |

Saturday, March 01, 2003

You know what today is?

Why, it's March 1st. Know where I used to work? Yes, marchFIRST. This day will never be the same on so many different levels...

posted at 10:14 AM | Link | Work | 2 comments § |

Friday, February 28, 2003

The sound of the crowd after ash strikes horsehide...

I've had an extremely stressfull and crappy day at work... until now. I've brought my little Sony Walkman and I'm listening to Spring Training Baseball - Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks. Ah, baseball...
Update: Ah, the first loss of the year. Sox lose 14-5 (Boxscore)

posted at 02:42 PM | Link | Baseball § |

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Out in the field

Gazing out the Doctor's office window
Had my first experience away from the office this morning. I had to drive into the city to visit one of our doctors to swap-out her laptop. It was interesting to see what one of the office locations looks like. In this particular case, everything was a little tight - they were doing a lot of stuff in a relatively small space. The swap went well - the doctor was actually nice and cordial. Too bad she didn't copy her stuff off of her old machine before I got there. So, instead of a quick trip, I had to hump her stuff up the network, swap machines, and hump it back down. Let's just say I spent a lot of time drinking coffee and looking out her window - which wasn't all that bad. The office is location is on the "fringes" of my old neighborhood in the city. I should have called my mom and told her I'd be over for lunch!

posted at 11:24 AM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, February 13, 2003


You know you're having a bad day when your Internet T-1 connection is giving you 12kb down and 6kb up throughput. Ugh. Painful.

posted at 10:39 AM | Link | Internet § |

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Busy for a change

Have been pretty busy at the office today. We're in the process of "un-winding" or spinning-off some practices, and making the company even smaller - an event that will be going on with regularity over the next few months. It's odd being with a company that is growing smaller and smaller. I've always been associated with companies that grew by market expansion, growth and M&A activities. It's not a warm and fuzzy feeling.

posted at 03:56 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, January 24, 2003

MMMmmm... cake....

The company birthday cake
So, starting this month at the office, they're doing a little birthday celebration for those people that have birthdays in the month. Total for January? One - ME! So, we had a great cake from Jarosch's (Yellow and German Chocolate with strawberries and buttercream frosting) (actually, for the size of the group that works here, it was quite a bit too big). So, everyone sang Happy Birthday to me, and I got cake cutting duties, eventually getting a piece myself. Yumm...

posted at 02:46 PM | Link | Mundane | 2 comments § |

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

No Coffee

I blew up the coffee machine. I didn't mean to. I just ground the beans, put the grounds in the filter, popped the filter basket into the machine and hit the brew button. The next thing I know, I have cold coffee running all over the floor. The machine shorted out, a tripped the GFI-breaker in the outlet. The bad thing? The damn water valve fails open, fills the pot, and empties the rest of the water all over the counter and floor. I can't get the outlet to reset - it sort of arcs when I hit the reset button, so things are not good... I need my morning cafeine...

posted at 08:25 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, January 13, 2003

Effing™ Health Care Benefits

I worried about healthcare for a long time after I started my unemployment. I mean, it took 12 months to get cleared to get on Carol's plans from her job. Now that I have a job and have to use this company's healthcare insurance, I'm no better off. As usual, probably like millions of other Americans, my doctor is not in their PPO plan. Damn it, I'm not changing doctors! I'm going to have to do it out of network and maybe have Carol's plan as secondary and maybe between the two of them they can hash this out. If figures, now that I'm scared about this damn nerve in my neck that this would happen. Effing™ insurance companies! How are you supposed to keep healthy when you are expected to change doctors as often (or sometimes more often) as you change jobs? What good is that to the consumer? Screw them... of course, I will wind up paying more just to keep my doctor... <grumble><grumble><grumble>...

(The use of "Effing" is trademarked by Erin at! Well, not really... but at least I gave her props for the use!)

posted at 01:45 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, January 06, 2003


Back at work after what feels like a very long time. Relatively busy. I mean riding a Help Desk has it's moments of non-stop phone calls and what could be sheer boredom. Fortunately, I have "other duties as assigned" in my job description, so I'm doing some weekly tape copies for off-site storage and building a notebook for a user in Kansas City. Keeping busy. Busy = good. Of course, I wouldn't mind some downtime to read some blogs...

posted at 04:21 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, December 27, 2002

Foreign Objects

I am holding something that seems... familiar... I seem to recall having something very similar to these things some time ago in my past... it looks foreign... it has my name and address on it... I seem to remember those other ones having that, too... the lettering in the corner seems really familiar... Arial, italic... wait... it's... it's... it's a paycheck!!! Oh, my, how long it has been!!! And there's two of them!!!

posted at 11:03 AM | Link | Work | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Gee, I wonder why there's no traffic...

Got to work in record time today - 20 minutes. Wonder why? Yes, that's the downfall of working here - you don't get Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve or the day after Thanksgiving off. I was thinking back and realized that I have never worked Christmas Eve in my career. Advantage? Light traffic. Disadvantage? Forget being able to get anywhere on time for any Christmas Eve celebrations.

posted at 07:51 AM | Link | Work § |

Monday, December 23, 2002

Crash and burn

Major failure at work.

With me, that is.

There's nothing I despise more in my career than to show up at work on a Monday morning and find the system down. And not knowing why. And being the first person there. And having to handle the avalanche of Help Desk calls from around the country from users not only wanting to know what's wrong, but demanding to know how long it will be until they're up (without even knowing the extent of the problem). I handled the whole triage miserably. I failed. I failed so badly that there were calls about my performance. I haven't had to handle pressure like this is in quite a few years and I wasn't ready for it. I should have been more professional, I should have known better. I just let the emotions build and I mishandled the calls. (Thank God I took my blood pressure medication today!!!) All of this because a WINS service goes nuts on a server (not to mention a VPN issue because of a PIX box reconfiguration, but that's a whole other story). So, I've been told, I need to step away and let the phone ring for a while to gain my composure. I have this need to answer the phones and provide quality service, but I guess if you can't deliver quality, then just step away...

I'll learn.

posted at 10:28 AM | Link | Work § |

Friday, December 20, 2002

Those "other" people

Blizzard outside the office The floor walker
Part of the interesting thing of being employed again, is that I get to work in an office building that supports many companies - something that I haven't been in for quite some time. So, like the walker I had mentioned the other day (who I now see everyday), there are "other" people in the building that I feel free to talk about! Like today, in the men's restroom on our floor. A gentleman walked in to brush his teeth. At 10 in the morning. Now, for some reason, I feel free to discuss him because you just don't see people brushing their teeth at work. And then, after watching this, you starting to wonder - "Why?" Can't stand his breath after some coffee? (one hopes that it wasn't because he was eating onions or garlic at 10 in the morning). Was he being considerate to a fellow coworker, perhaps a young lady that he works with very closely? Or perhaps it's medical, having to keep his mouth and teeth as clean as possible because of dental or gum issues. Or maybe it's just OCD? (I had never seen him before, but today is only Day 8 on the job). Just one of those observations that make you wonder...

posted at 10:08 AM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

"And we're walking... we're walking..."

The building that I work in is not very big. Each floor is a series of office suites connected by a main corridor. On my particular floor, a few suites are empty due to companies going out of business. So, in general, it's quiet ot there. There's a guy that walks the main corridor, from end to end, reading a book. Just walking back and forth. He's got walking/running shoes on, and he's walking and reading from one of the floor to the other. I guess it's one way of taking a break and getting some exercise.

posted at 11:20 AM | Link | Work § |

Monday, December 16, 2002

The coffee situation...

OK, I've got a serious situation that I need to take control of. When I get to work at 8 in the morning, there's no coffee. No one on the other side of the floor even makes coffee during the day. That leaves us drugs of IT Discontinued Operations" to fend for ourselves. Now, my new bosses and coworkers have a drip coffee machine about 12 feet from my cube - but no one makes coffee when they get in. So now, I've got to take that over because I made my first pot at 10:30 and that's way too late to jump start my day. And do we have coffee? Not ground - beans! You have to pick your bean (there seems to be a bit of selection) and grind your own and then drip your own pot. Time to "own" the coffee duties, or else I'm not waking up before I start answering the phones!

posted at 01:36 PM | Link | Work § |

Friday, December 13, 2002

Third Day

So, it was quiet most of the day today as everyone in the company was at a company Christmas party. There were only half a dozen support calls... until the Internet connection burped and VPN failed. So, I panicked for just a short while, got some colleagues on the phone and the line came back up - by itself. Must have been a problem with the provider, since there wasn't any errors on the CSU/DSU. Based on my first week, I think I could do this job for a while.

posted at 05:58 PM | Link | Work § |

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Second Day

OK, second day and I'm more on my own than yesterday (tomorrow is the real test - I will actually be alone as I man the phones during the company Christmas party that I'm not going to). Finally got my laptop configured late this afternoon. Now I have to figure out why I can't keep the master volume level up - if a try to set it, it actually moves by itself to 0. Weird. Didn't have lunch - worked instead while everybody else went out, then I had to do the HR orientation and fill out paperwork. *blech*

posted at 05:47 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


Not used to working... falling asleep... need to get my act together

posted at 04:47 PM | Link | Work § |
First Day

I now work in this building My cubicle My cube is against the far wall on this empty floor
Well, here I am halfway through my first day at my new job. First: it's quiet where I'm sitting. I'm in a cube farm of 18 cubes and I'm the only one "living here" - the other cubes are unoccupied. When people in the surrounding offices aren't here, it's deathly quiet. It's going to take me a while to get ramped-up - both on the company and support structures, but also just on working in an office environment again!

posted at 01:19 PM | Link | Work § |

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The long nightmare is over


I start work tomorrow at 8:30am. It's really a temp job, as it's a position that will be going away, but they are going to sign me on as a full-time employee - with benefits! That will be the first full-time job I've had in 20 months!. Excited? Yes. Sort of, though. It's not what I normally do. It's actually a Help Desk job - something I've never done before (lately, I've been doing 3rd Level support, not 1st Level). And it's tens-of-thousands less that what I used to earn, but it's a full-time paying job and I get to stay within the industry (which I think is a plus!) There's another little thing, too - my buddy Barry got me the job - it's at his company! So, I'm indebted to him for saving our broke asses! Thanks, Bar. I need to do something for you!
posted at 01:45 PM | Link | Unemployment | 2 comments § |

Friday, December 06, 2002


Face-to-face interview on Tuesday morning for a temporary job on a help desk. There's more detail, but, again, I don't want to reveal it yet - there's potential jinxing involved and someone else is involved. It's been 14 months since my last contract (that only lasted 9 days), and 20 months since I had a permanent position.

posted at 12:27 PM | Link | Unemployment § |

Thursday, December 05, 2002


It looks like I just might be earning some money starting next week... it won't be what I used to earn, but it would be something... More info to follow - don't want to jinx anything.

posted at 11:44 AM | Link | Job Search | 2 comments § |

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

24 years and holding

I started my first job in Corporate America 24 years ago this morning, reporting to work at Brunswick Corporation's World Headquarters in Skokie, IL as a programmer trainee. The odd thing is that I took the next day off to fly to Detroit to shoot an HR film for the Budd Company. Somehow, I stayed at Brunswick for 7 months short of 20 years. That's a long time to be at one company, especially in an IT position. I loved my time there, and I'm fortunate to still have a few friends from there.

Now, I wouldn't mind starting another long stretch at another company... if I could just find a job...

posted at 09:18 AM | Link | Unemployment § |

Friday, October 04, 2002

My old team...

My old team - me, Chris, Sadaf, and Tom
I miss my old team mates... I've actually got up enough nerve up to IM two of them (the other doesn't have IM access because of a company firewall issue). We talked for a while and commisserated. I still miss that team, though...

posted at 09:23 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Friday, August 02, 2002

Temp Bach Day 1

Well, day one of my "temp-bach" (Temporary Bachelor) life has passed. Have I enjoyed it? Yes. Have I done anything special? No. I need to correct this.

My old bud Joe called me today, and told me that he talked to someone from one of my old companies recently and they want me to call them re: possible position. (Yes, I'm intentionally being very vague about this). I'm worried about this - it's a small, high-end consulting company, and I'm just scared of my skill set. The executives at the company are all former employees of this prior company. It's weird. I sent an Email right away to "this person" with my resume. I'll call "this person" next week. Hopefully "they" will remember me.

posted at 01:58 PM | Link | Mundane | 1 comment § |

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Think of the SWAG

I wish I was still employed so that I can reap the benefits of System Administrator Appreciation Day (this Friday)...

posted at 02:45 PM | Link | Odd § |

Monday, July 15, 2002

Project Management from Above

Joe (up front) teaching project management
So, after spending a long day traveling and watching baseball, I had to roll out of bed early (not as early as yesterday) and pretend I was a commuter again. I hopped on Metra and to the train downtown. My buddy Joe let me sit in on a Project Management class he was teaching for his company. I felt like I was exercising mental muscles that I haven't used in a very long time. It was an all day lecture (he even made me do the classroom team exercises!), with lunch. It was a great class. Reminded me of the times we worked together back at Brunswick. It was a bit weird being a "guest" in a class of 18 people, the rest being actual employees of the company. Project Management has always been my weakest skill. This helped me a bit.

The view of Millennium Park and Grant Park froom Joe's office Aon Center Earth from Above exhibit at Millennium Park Earth from Above exhibit at Millennium Park Earth from Above exhibit at Millennium Park Earth from Above exhibit at Millennium Park - a photo of the World Trade Center Commuters trying to catch a train at Union Station
After hanging around in Joe's office for a bit (with a very nice view of Millennium Park), I decided to start my journey back. I walked to Union Station because I wanted to stop by Millennium park to see the Earth from Above exhibit that everyone has been raving about (especially Dawn at Wow. This was really something to see. It's not just the individual pictures, which are from around the globe and very interesting to see, but it's the entire collection of the images that was so interesting. I must have spent an hour over there just looking around. Well, that and buying some postcards in the gift shop. Then, the long walk to Union Station, and the long ride home (that was lengthened by "switch problems). Feels long a long two days. I'm not used to this!

posted at 07:37 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Thank you very much

Thirty-five minutes and out the door - that was my recruiter face-to-face interview. Actually, it was a good thing to do - it was the first one I've had since October. It's always good to go through the interview process. I just wish there was an opening...

posted at 04:02 PM | Link | Mundane § |

I have a face-to-face interview with a recruiter this afternoon. I hate these things. It's a total waste of time for the "candidate". I mean, they don't have any open positions, so what's the purpose? It's all for the recruiter - they want to see what you actually look like - to make sure you are not a Quasimodo that would make the customer uncomfortable, or that you do have some grasp of the English language. I even think they even smell you to see that you are "presentable". Great. Carol took my suits to the cleaners yesterday (in anticipation of my cousin Jane's wedding this Saturday) before either of us knew about the interview, so I have to improvise.

posted at 09:47 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

All the same

Well, phone calls are up to four right now. Unfortunately, three of them are for the same contracting gig. I haven't heard back from the fourth - bet you it's also the same. It's obvious that I match this one pretty well, and everybody must have jumped at it. I would have wished they were four different jobs. Figures.

posted at 07:10 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Sunday, June 09, 2002

Party at Joe's

Joe grillin' chicken John and Darcy and Buffy Joe and Barb John and Darcy John and Darcy and Buffy and Barry
Tonight was a get-together at Joe and Barb's house. Joe was my former coworker and boss at Brunswick - the actual guy that laid me off back in 1998 - but was and still is a friend and, in a way. a mentor (though I've never told him that). Also there - John and Darcy. John is still at Brunswick and retires from there in 2004. All I can remember out of him for almost 10 years was "2004... 2004...". And then, of course, Barry & Buffy. We hung out on Joe's patio all evening. What an absolutely gorgeous night. Warm (a bit too warm while the sun was still out), maybe a gentle breeze every once in a while. We gabbed about everything. Joe grilled up a lot of chicken that Barb had marinated. We get together once or twice a year, and we enjoy our time together. I miss those guys.

posted at 09:18 PM | Link | Friends § |

Thursday, June 06, 2002

Hiya, Peg!

Maddie at Comiskey - August 20, 2000 Maddie and Peg at Comiskey - August 20, 2000
I received an EMail recently that just made me feel warm inside. A former coworker of mine has been reading my blog quite regularly. It was something I hadn't thought about, but she said "I feel like we are still working together and seeing each other everyday." I hadn't thought of a blog giving that kind of connection to people that you used to work with. Even though it's a bit one-way (even though there are options on each post to make a comment for feedback), it feels good to know that there's a connection. On top of it, since Barry is mentioned a bit in my blogging, she's vicariously keeping in touch with him as well. I really enjoyed my time working with Peggy. She's a great woman and a great worker. I've missed her dearly since my time at Brunswick. One of the last times I saw her was at Comiskey Park almost two years ago for Elvis Night. She had her daughter with her, so I snapped some pics. These are for you, Peg! Hope you keep reading.

posted at 01:03 AM | Link | Friends § |

Monday, April 08, 2002

Thank you for your timeliness

So today is April 8, right? Guess what I got in the mail today.

A W-2. From my prior company that went bankrupt - marchFIRST. I was hoping they'd finally get around to sending a W-2. I was hoping the bankruptcy judge would tell the trustee to get out the W-2's so all of us former employees. It's bad enough that the company went *poof*, but they were screwing around with the former employees as well. So maybe I'll get a chance and file a complete return electronically without having to file manually using IRS Form 4852 "Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement". At least it looks like a refund is in order... I won't know until I plug in all the number into TurboTax...

posted at 03:26 PM | Link | Work § |

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Muslims, mismanagement, and Grammy's

Read USA Today this morning and I got pissed. Right there, front page, an article that says that only 18% of those polled in six Islamic countries say they believe Arabs carried out the attacks, even though all 19 guys involved in the hijackings and crashes were Arab men. 61% say Arabs were not responsible. HUH? Is this because the local news reporting is a little skewed in these countries?

Then I pick up today's Chicago Tribune only to see a big article on the front of the business section about my old company - marchFIRST, stemming from the bankruptcy trustee filing court papers saying "top officials directed or approved a pattern of wasteful dealings that last year drove the company into bankruptcy". Sounds all too familiar, and, even though none of this was surprising to me, it's the first time that I've actually seen it in print.

Watching the Grammy's tonight - still a bit boring. It's a long awards show that spans so many different areas of music that it's hard to get excited about. And I'm not sure how to make it better.

posted at 09:16 PM | Link | Current Events § |


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This Blog was last updated Friday December 18, 2009 13:03:12 CDT (-06:00 GMT)
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