Monday, February 20, 2006

an update on goings on

We had the first meeting for the play yesterday. Abbie printed off copies for everybody and we had a read through with all the cast members who could make it. There's something about listening to other people read the words you have written. Sometimes it comes out like you expected. Other times they mess it up completely. And sometimes, in rare instances, people take a different interpretation of your words and somehow make it better than you thought it could be.

The bad thing about a reading like this is that I always get terribly embarrassed. My face turned red, my hands started to shake, and I had to keep my head down to avoid looking at people. It's a strange combination of happy excitedness and strange fear. And its the same thing every time.

Christy's sister Aimee was there to read all the open parts and its amazing to see her at work. She is definitely a very gifted actor and its a shame she can't be a part of this. Assuming she would even want to.


Today is Monday and for some reason I'm in a really good mood. It's cold as hell, but the sun is out, so the campus has a crispness to it that you can only see in winter. Normally I am not a big fan of the colder months, but today is an exception to the rule.

I just got out of a meeting with the main IT group, which I will call Team Cynical(TM). Team Cynical(TM) consists of computer guys in their mid thirties who couldn't quite hack it in the real world and have thus resorted to careers in academia. I don't like to use this popular maxim when it comes to teachers since I know several who could run circles around the majority of people in the "real" world (including my sister and this guy), but in the case of the non-educational roles, the description is apt. And, yes, I am well aware that the description covers my job as well. I tried for years to get a job in the "real" world and met only with frustration. Academia is not very challenging, at least not yet, but it is comfortable. So at least I have that going for me.

The majority of the meeting with Team Cynical(TM) consisted of them complaining about a faculty member's request to purchase a certain piece of unnecessary hardware. Yes, they are correct in their belief that the hardware is unnecessary and that her request is due primarily to her inability to understand basic technology. But here's the rub. The hardware only costs $20, and they'be been fighting it since the Fall. This lady is faculty. She will fight tooth and nail to get what she wants, because that is what faculty do. In speaking with jimi this weekend, I learned that part of a phd education is learning how to outlast the lessers when it comes to the acquisiton of resources. And if jimi's story is the norm, this lady hasn't even begun to fight.

It was neat to see the guys from Team Cynical(TM) in action, though. They elevated profanity to an art form. It was beautiful. One guy was not merely "working on the new application," he was "fucking up that shitty software that basdtard sonofabitch from the fucking rare books department had requested five fucking months ago." I'm a big fan of profanity, and even I had to sit back in awe of these people. Rather than come up with workable plans to complete the projects that had been given them, they chose instead to spend an abudnant amount of time complaining about how much work they had to do followed by an equally overabundant amount of time coming up with new ways to avoid this work in the future.

Perpetual procrasination is the name of the game, apprently.

I don't begrudge them, though. I've played that role in other positions; some of which you've read about here. But I don't want to be like that any more. So it's a good thing I don't have to work with them too closely. It is also a good thing that my boss and my boss's boss are apparently behind me 100%.


I've got the itch again. I currently have a plethora of writing projects I'm working on. Two short skits, a little one act, and a monster of a play that would put my last project to shame when it comes to scope and complexity. Don't tell Christy or Abbie about that last one, though. They'll kill me if they find out!

There's also that book idea I've been mulling over for a while. Perhaps I should get started on that.


Have you noticed that everybody seems to be in the process of writing a book recently? It's like its a fucking trend or something. This week its writing a book and next week it'll be investing in time shares. After that, maybe everybody will pick up nuclear physics as a hobby and then our energy problems will be no more!

Either that or somebody will accidentally explode a nuclear device in a large city and send the Ameircan way of life to a bitter and ugly end. Given our declining performance in math and science over the years, the former scenario seems much more likely.


I wonder if the previous section has landed me on a government watch list. If so, goody goody. It means some poor schulb in the CIA has to read this blog over and over in search of scandalous material. And when he finally makes his report, he'll have to say, "All I found was crappy writing and lots of references to burritos."

I feel sorry for the guy. Or girl. Or whatever.


Pitchers and catchers are currently working out at camps all over the United States. No, this is not a gay joke. This is major league baseball! Spring training is soon to start and that means real, live, American baseball is soon to follow. For those of you who dislike baseball, it all means warmer weather. So shut the hell up.

I'm not too keen on the Reds chances this year. I always said that the new owners would like to take a year to get to knwo the organization and learn the strengths and weaknesses from personal experience rather than reports from past coaches. And this is exactly what appears to be happening. I was sad to see Sean Casey go. I don't care if he wasn't the prototypical first baseman who mashes homeruns and lumbers around the bases so slow they have to time him with a calendar. He was a consistent 300 hitter and he made hitting a double to the gap in close, late inning games his speciality. He'll do well in Pittsburgh, especially since he'll likely hit in front of Jason Bay.

Yes, I was sad to see him go. But it was good to hear that the Reds had made the move in the hopes they could lure Matt Morris away from St. Louis. The deal eventually fell through and Morris went to Frisco, but it shows that the new management has recognized the team's bigesst weakness. Pitching. And, really, when you look at the lineup, there were only three big name players you could loose in order to make that deal. Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr, or Sean Casey. Adam Dunn can play both outfield and first base, and he is still relatively young. His patience at the plate (evidneced by his high walk total) tells me that one of these days he's going to learn how NOT to strike out so damn much. When that happens, watch out. Griffey would not have garnered the kind of revenue the Reds needed in order to get a pitcher like Matt Morris, despite his resurrective 2005 season. Casey's glove was easily replacable and the Reds had a glut of outfielders. It was the smart move. Had they pulled it off, they Reds might actually have had a shot at contending this season. As things stand, they don't. But at least management is thinking about the right things. Finally.


One of the fun things about MY library's proximity to the dance school is that, on days like today, I get to work to the sound of african drum beats that seep through the walls at strange intervals. You don't get this kind of fun in the corporate world.


The return of baseball means that I get to take part in yet another failed season of fantasy baseball online. For the past few seasons I've been in a league with people who used to live on my floor when I was a CA back at Wright State University. It's a keeper league, which means that at the beginning of each season you get to choose 10-12 people from your previous roster to keep before the draft that kicks off the start of the season. This means that your ability to recognize talent early on will eventually pay off in perenial success. It also means that if, like me, you are a terrible judge of young talent, your team will be whipped like sick rats year in a year out. Here are a few of the marquee players I have traded away in the past two seasons for what I thought would either be young talent or veteran resurgents...Todd Helton, Bartolo Colon, Michael Young, Jake Peavy, Barry Bonds, Joe Mauer, and many many others. I take part in the league only to assure that somebody else will not finish in last place. But it's fun! So I keep doing it. And you never know. Maybe Barry Zito will finally pull his head out of his ass, and maybe Curt Schilling's foot won't fall off. You never know. It could happen.

One of my friends once said that the defition of faith was the ability to persist in belief when all the available evidence spoke otherwise. This, he said, is why faith is so close to (if not the same thing as) stupidity. I'm beginning to see his point; at least in this instance.


Enough for now. There is work to do! Sorta.

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