31 December 2008

Watergate (final)

Sarah led down the hallway to the right. They walked for a bit before the hallway split again, this time one banked sharply to the left and the other led straight again. They took the left. This led them back to the entrance. They headed back to the left and saw that it split as well, one way straight and the other to the right where they had come from.

“Let’s go back down that other hallway,” Nathan said.

“Okay,” Sarah replied.

There didn’t seem to be a reason to whisper, they hadn’t seen anyone since getting through the gate. They looped around the hallway and to the left. They passed another door. This one was obviously special. It seemed to be made out of the same iron that the gate was made out of but had more elaborate ironwork on it. It looked a great deal like a back vault door, just without the combination lock. The continued past the door though. The room at the end of the hallway was giving a very faint green light that made the two very curios.

The room was blocked by a grate almost like prison bars. The walls and ceiling looked like plain rock, as was the floor. Sarah started looking for a latch to lift the door. Nathan started to laugh quietly.

“I suppose you know how to open the door,” Sarah said a little irritated.

Nathan smiled as has grabbed the gate gave it a gentle lift. It continued to lift until it was clear out of the way. He walked in with Sarah following closely behind.

30 December 2008

"I am in search of Friends, Advocates and Colleagues"

Recently work took over some of the operations of our sister company. The move was made as one of their high up managers left the company to venture down other avenues. This is a change that we had toyed with for a long time but the manager's leaving made the change more of a necessity than a luxury. My IS department was directed to start working our magic. We started our magic show today, or at least got it setup. The tricks will start 1 Jan 2009. (Actually, the company is closed that day so they will really start 2 Jan.)

It is interesting how someone new can bring change simply because they are new. Many of the changes that we are bringing about had been shared with our sister company several years ago. If it helps us we figure it should help them too. Only the owner's wouldn't listen to the existing managers so few things ever changed. It is interesting now that we are able to bring about these same changes, not because we can present a better case but simply because we are new to the company. I guess this might be due to the fact that we don't know better. This is perhaps a mystery I will never know.

Our first trick to roll out a web based hour tracking program. One thing that I have learned over my years of work is this: the old dog CAN learn new tricks, but usually doesn't WANT to learn new tricks. Our sister company has been around for more then three decades. They have kept many of the same processes through those many years and even some of the same people. That is a lot of baggage to wade through when making changes, especially when you are new. Getting the web server prepped with the hour tracking software was fairly easy (we based it on our own installation for uniformity and ease of installing). After it was installed we hit the pavement.

As we traveled across the parking lot Renown and I talked. I explained that as we roll things our I expect the roll outs to be somewhat bumping as we try to get people to embrace the amazingness we were giving them.

"Can't we just say 'the owner said to, so do it'," Renown asked.

I smiled and laughed to myself as I remembered back to a time when I had thought similar.

"We can," I said, "but I would rather we get people exited to embrace our changes. As you are the face of these changes you will want alleys to help get everyone else on board."

We walked into our destination and after a short tour talked with one of those long standing employees. This one is very forward thinking is always looking for better ways of doing things. I counted him as a critical alley.

"What brings you here today?" our contact asked.

"I am in search of friends, advocates and colleagues," I replied smiling.

He looked puzzled.

I introduced his to Renown then explained, "we are getting ready to roll out several new changes. I know that changes doesn't always go over easy here so I am selling my wares in hopes of gaining friends, advocates and colleagues." I then proceeded to perform something of a sales demonstration. I showed of the new features of the time clock and email system. He was glad to be progressing.

As we left I told Renown, "he is someone that would love to play with new things. In fact as you start rolling things out you should them here so they can be advocates with the rest of the company."

We again talked about the need for friends, advocates and colleagues then made our second stop. Our second stop was in the warehouse.

"What?" the manager asked.

"We are here to give you a new time clock," I said while Renown brought is up in the web browser.

"Not something like that," he said pointing to an electronic punch card system that I hear didn't work very well, "because we already got something from you and it doesn't work very well. Will this work better?"

"Hmm, it's just the system we've been using for the past two years. I think it will keep working." He was happier now.

I walked him through the process of clocking in and out while Renown showed him on the computer.

"But this is my computer," he interjected. "It is usually locked, and I don't like to let people on it."

"That's okay," I said. "Your people can do it from the other computer, or any computer in the company for that matter."

"I like it," he said. I smiled. I had scored a friend. Renown and I got to show him how to fix his employee's time punches and add new users. It was easier than I thought. Then I found out why, he has to add up his employees' time card each week. This will definitively save him precious time.

Two down, tomorrow we will search for the third, our colleague. Of course I really hope that we will get more than just these three, but for now their support will help us get things going.

27 December 2008

Watergate (more)

Nathan spent several minutes examining every inch of the gate before Sarah started giggling.

“You didn’t see did you,” she finally asked.

“Yes, but I can’t see what they triggered,” Nathan retorted.

Sarah gently pushed Nathan away from the gate and repeated the motion of the figure. They both waited. Nathan was wondering what was on the other side when he realized that two hooded strangers were on the other side. He jumped when the gate started to open.

“The right touch,” Sarah said smiling in the moonlight.

The gate opened as it had before. The two waited just out of the way from the gate to make sure the way was clear. The gate opened into a dingy hallway with some hooks for hanging hats and jackets. The floor had a gold brown tiling that matched the wall boards the crept halfway up the wall. The rest of the walls and the ceiling were covered in a red and gold wall paper that looked ancient. Nothing was even, the walls had odd bulges and it was obvious that the floor had shifted since it was laid, like the hallway was battling with the dirt it was wrested in.

“I would never leave my stuff here,” Sarah whispered.

“You know would that it is fairly safe though,” Nathan replied as the continued down the hall.

There were a couple rooms immediately off the hallway then it split into three hallways, one in either direction and one straight ahead. The one straight ahead emptied into a large dank, dark room that was equally dingy as the hallway. As they passed one of the rooms they peered through the open door. It was a plain room with a dirty desk and an old office chair. They could see a lamp but the faint light was coming from behind the door. Neither one dared to venture inside the room further.

They continued down the hallway. The whole thing looked so unreal that Nathan wanted to run his hands down across the wall just to make sure it was real. Bad things happen when you touch things that you aren’t supposed to. Nathan put his hands in his pockets just to make sure.

26 December 2008

A Splendid Christmas day

My Christmas was amazing (even if you don't believe in Santa Claus). It started when I was still asleep. I was dreaming about Nathan, the character from the Watergate. He was having a new adventure. It made writing the tale once I woke up so much easier. It was more like I was dreaming that I was writing.

After writing some my brother came by with flowers for Grandma, who's house I am currently staying at, then we headed over to Mom and Dad's house. Mom was feeling creative, and I think a little lazy, and didn't wrap any presents. Instead we hid each others present throughout the house and then had to go find them. It was fun.

I also had time to move some of my old drawing into Illustrator. It isn't hard, it just takes time to retrace all the shapes. But I remind myself that Illustrator is the standard so it will work with almost anything, and it is the newest version so it can do cooler things that the old program can do.

The evening ended playing games at a family friend's house. All in all, Christmas was amazing!

23 December 2008

Action figure Daniel in 2006?!

You may notice several post dated as 2006. No, this blog wasn't here in 2006. I have decided that I like this blog much better than my old blog and that it was time to shut the old blog down. I wanted to preserve some of my better writings though, so I moved them over here and gave them their original posting dates.

(Time travel is just one of the many special talents of an accountant.)

22 December 2008

The Watergate (continued)

Nathan sat straight up. Someone was coming.

Night had fallen and there wasn’t much moon light. The forest trees blocked what little light escaped through the clouds. His eyes finally got used to the dark and he could see that Sarah was already awake. He crouched next to her and they waited. There were figures coming from down the hill wearing dark robes with their hoods up. There looked to be three of them, all walking in a single line. They moved so quietly that he had only known they were there because Sarah pointed them out.

Both Nathan and Sarah were excited. They were finally going to make it through the Watergate.

The figures stopped in front of the gate. One of them, the one from the middle, moved his hands around the rusty edges of the wide gate. He stepped back and the three waited.

A few tense moments past, then the gate started to move. The top split into two pieces and slowly creaked open while the bottom half inched its way to the ground. It reminded Nathan of a cottage door only gross and fashioned out of iron. The gate stopped moving and the first and last figure walked through. The middle one, the one who opened the gate remained outside.

Once the two were through the gate began to close. Nathan started to panic. He wanted to run and slide in before the gate closed all the way but wasn’t sure how the hooded figure would react. Sarah must have known what was going through Nathan’s mind. She rested her hand on Nathan’s shoulder and whispered “Wait.”

They waited. The middle figure left and headed back up the hill. Once he was far enough away the two crept out of the woods and examined the gate.

Ice and Snow

It is crazy to think that is one week I have seen more ice and snow than I saw all of last semester in Idaho!

16 December 2008

Cosmic Hazard Light Powers

Driving home from Idaho this weekend we were met with crazy levels of snow. I have since come to realize several things about Oregonians and the snow.
  1. Most Oregonians don't know how to drive in the snow and are therefore apt to kill someone or be killed. It is ridiculous how bad some people are in the snow.
  2. Chains and snow tires aren't really that helpful unless you are traveling through mountain passes.
  3. I leave Idaho expecting better weather in Oregon than I left behind.
  4. If you turn on your hazard lights you receive special cosmic powers that help you navigate the snow.

The fourth was particularly funny to me. As we were going through the mountain passes we hit a point right before Dead Man's Pass where we were stopped. Marlene and I decided it was a good place to build a snow man (picture forth coming) and put on chains. I laughed to see several drivers sitting with their hazards lights on. I looked around and thought "is it not obvious that we are all stopped and moving anywhere?" I determined as people started to drive with their hazard lights on that they must receive some sort of special cosmic powers from the pulsing orange lights.

14 December 2008

The Watergate

Nathan looked at the omnious gate. It was a lot bigger than he expected. But then, it was a flood gate and it had to withstand a lot of pressure. It was to big for him to open. He had to find a way to get it open so that he and Sarah could cross through it. He looked at Sarah. She was smiling her really happy smile.

"It won't work," Nathan said

Sarah relied still smiling, "of course it will."

Nathan sighed. He knew it would. It was a bizarre and crazy enough plan that he knew it would work. He looked back from Sarah and into the woods. They were both smiling now. They didn't go far into the woods before stopping and turning.

"Is this far enough?" Nathan questioned.

"Yeah."

And there they waited. They waited for a long time.

Night fell and a cool breeze picked up through the woods from Nathan and Sarah lay waiting. The moon was just a sliver in the sky, but it was a wide sliver. It hung over the woods like a grimising smile, as if it knew what would come that night. Nathan started to get worried. He knew that they couldn't stay out much later, but they needed to get behind the gate. Nathan lay in the grass listening to the gentle sound on of the crickets and the wind.

10 December 2008

You didn't believe in Santa Claus?!

Recently I was talking my some of my roommates about lying. I told them that lying was never okay for me, even to children about Santa Claus. (The wording in this dialog is slightly fictionalized, though the conversation was real.)

"Did you cry when you found out that Santa wasn't real?" one of my roommates retorted.

I laughed. "My parents were amazing enough to always tell us the truth, that there was no Santa," I replied

"You never believed in Santa? How could you have been a happy child?" the roommate replied .

"I was happy for other things," I said. "I just never had to go through the heartache of finding out that my parents had lied to me for years about something so trivial."

"In fact," I continued, "had I know that my parents had lied to me for most of my life would have made it really hard to trust them when I got older. Look at yourself for example."

My arguement was wasted. He was wrong and he knew it. So he went back to his earlier arguement. "At least I had a happy childhood."

"You mean you were happy knowing that your parents didn't love you enough to get you presents and instead you had to get them from some strange old man whom you never met," I asked incredulously. "That is happiness?"

He started to panic, "the magic of Santa made me happy."

"The magic of creating and inventing made me happy," I said laughing.

Now whenever he is losing an argument he simply states, "You never believed in Santa" as if my argument is somehow invalidated by that simple fact.

He could never explain why it was okay to lie, about trivial Santa of all things but somehow feels that not having spent my early childhood delude by lying parents make me deprived of childhood joy. If childhood joy involves believing that my parents didn't really love me, that some old creepy man was allowed to break into our house and give me presents, then going through the heartache of finding out that the old fat magic man doesn't exist and realizing that your parents, who should have been teaching your who life to not lie, how been lying horribly to you and thought it was acceptable, cute or even adorable, and maybe worst of all, your life has been so wrapped up in believing in something that was not true that you now suffer from underdeveloped creative processing. If not having these are deprivation, then yes I was deprived. I was also deprived of being homeless as a child, but I'm fine that deprivation.

Come to think of it, I was also deprived of being spoiled, but he hasn't grownup enough to realize that.

08 December 2008

Snow? In Rexburg?

This morning Rexburg was greeted by our first real snow. It snowed earlier but didn't stick. This time it did, and will probably be here for a while. I think there are just a couple of inches. I have decided parking lots are the most dangerous places. Most sidewalks are clear of the snow, but the parking lots have turned into compact layers of ice.

03 December 2008

Mystery solved

My first morning in my apartment I notice there was a small puddle of water outside the bath tub. I thought it was just a foot puddle. You know, the puddle that forms when you step out of the shower while you're still wet. The puddle was there every morning. Then I realized it was there every night. In fact, it was always there. Today, as I flushed the toilet a little twinkle caught my eye. Some water had fallen out of the toilet reservoir and fallen on the ground. After several minutes I found that with each flush a little water escapes the reservoir and lands on the ground. Now I know.