31 December 2008
“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
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
“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
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
(Time travel is just one of the many special talents of an accountant.)
22 December 2008
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.
16 December 2008
- 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.
- Chains and snow tires aren't really that helpful unless you are traveling through mountain passes.
- I leave Idaho expecting better weather in Oregon than I left behind.
- 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
"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.
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
"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
03 December 2008
14 November 2008
"Once I release a work, I can't go back to it. I must move on. (Okay, you can fix that minor flaw, but one minute tops.)"It is not that I don't want to go back, I do. I want to go back so bad. But I realized long ago that I can't keep going back and move forward at the same time. George Lucas once said:
"Movie are never finished, only abandoned." And something to the effect that at some point the producer runs out on money and has to release the movie to make money.But recently I faced a great dilemma. DAES' changed the religious study card from 3x5 inches to 2.6x5 inches. This small change lets us fit an extra card per print, reduces the cuts from 16 to 12 per sheet and provides beter alignment of the images (less edge cutage). I hate inconsistency for improvements so I started going back to change the older cards to the newer format. I did take liberty to rework a couple of cards that I think were suffering deep down inside with design issues.
Armour of God
The first is the "Armour of God". The front of the card is the same, and the text on the back is the same. With a little reformatting though it is now much easier to read:
Glory of the Defense of ZionNext was the dreaded "Glory of the Defense of Zion". This is a card that I haven't been very proud of. In fact, I think have given out maybe five of these cards (the initial run). The new card has been redesigned to capture the sense of life's journey. It features two column of text, instead of one really wide paragraph, with more graphics.
It is now a card that I feel good about distributing.
So sometimes it is okay, or even good, to go back and revisit released works. I just need to make sure that I don't spend so much time perfecting them that I don't push forward with new designs and projects.
10 November 2008
I will not eat them in a house.
I will not eat them with a mouse.
I will not eat them in a box.
I will not eat them with a fox.
I will not eat them Sam I Am.
I will not wear a pink shirt.
I will not wear it in a house.
I will not wear it with a mouse.
I will not wear it in a box.
I will not wear it with a fox.
I will not wear it Crystal Johnson.
Okay, but I will wear a pink shirt with a green ham on it.
01 November 2008
On the way out I noticed a spider web and thought "this is a weird place for a spider web". Weirder yet was that there are a dead bat in the spider's web. It was hanging from a rock near the cave floor so I think the spider bit it while it was asleep. I think it made it worthwhile.
=IF(ISERROR(INDEX('Master Driver Log'!$C$6:$C$93,MATCH($B8&$A$5,'Master Driver Log'!$A$6:$A$93&'Master Driver Log'!$B$6:$B$93,0)))," ",INDEX('Master Driver Log'!$C$6:$C$93,MATCH(B8&$A$5,'Master Driver Log'!$A$6:$A$93&'Master Driver Log'!$B$6:$B$93,0)))
repeated 16 times to:
=DSUM('Master Driver Log'!$A$4:$L$107,B$9,$L10:$N11)
done once. The new way is definetly much better than the old way. I am glad that the Lord helps me with Excel. The change in code not only makes the formulas easier to follow and troubleshoot but also reduce the total file size by 15%. Okay it is really only 100kb but the changes also make the file process faster.
31 October 2008
(images courtesy of Apple.com/support/ipod/earlier)
28 October 2008
12 October 2008
06 October 2008
27 September 2008
26 September 2008
I am currently reveling in gratitude as today was the third time I went outside to find my car, Elazar, right where I left it. You might be thinking that is an odd thing to be grateful for, but it really isn't (and even if it was I would still deny it). It wasn't always that way. In fact just earlier this week I went to get in my car and it wasn't there. I walked but to the apartment steps then back to the parking lot, much slower this time. I was hoping that the world had not loaded the parking lot correctly and that by refreshing and going slower it might render the parking lot correctly. Alas, it didn't work. No Elazar to be found. I slowly walk through the entire parking with my keys casually at my side while frantically pressing the lock button hoping to hear my horn honk.
I thought to myself "I am pretty sure that I left my car right here".
I stopped in the office and asked "if I parked my car over there (pointing to the lot) and now it isn't there, where would it be?"
The office manager then informed me that my car would have probably been towed and that I should call "Darren" the towing guy. Apparently, EVERYONE knows who Darren is except me.
So I had to ask "Who's Darren? Why does he have my car? And, what is his number?"
I spent some time talking to the manager who said she couldn't do anything, the next day she called the office which told her they couldn't do anything either.
Minutes later I showed up at the office to talk with the Supervisor. We talked for about a half hour before I realized that she really didn't hear anything I was saying. She kept saying I needed to take some responsibility in this matter (she said those words at least three different times). Finally I stopped her.
"Let me take this from the top" I told her. "I May I pay for a parking contract with you according to your housing rules. That contract, according to Rexburg City Ordinance, entitles me to a parking spot in my apartment complex. Early September I show up at the complex and am informed that you, in violation of my contract and Rexburg City Ordinance 975, have oversold your parking spaces and that I, who paid before most everyone else, will need to park in some other parking lot because of your violation of the law."
I raised my hand to stop her interruption. "I understand you had some sort of a computer glitch, but I don't car. You are still in the wrong." She settles back in her chair and I continue.
"Further I was instructed by my manager that she would inform me when a permit for this other, then unknown, lot was available. This enacted the clause in our contract that states that I require a permit unless otherwise instructed by my manager. Your failure to provide me permit does not void my right to park in your parking lot." I took a deep breath. "So the day that you notify me that my permit is available you tow my car before I can even get to the office to get said permit."
She interrupted during my pause. "We towed your car before you had the permit?"
I rolled my eyes in my mind and knew now that she really hadn't been listening to me up until now. "Yes."
"Oh, I thought that you had been given the permit but just hadn't put it on your car."
"No, I am a responsible enough person to put my permit on my car shortly after I received it."
She reached for some note paper, "sorry, what was your name again."
"Daniel," finally I seem to be making some progress, "do you want my phone number?"
"Sure, let me make some calls and see what I can do."
This made the situation more promising. As I left her office I was grateful that I had walked and not drove. Walking home let me vent some anger. At home I felt drained and just sat in the living room for awhile. My manager gingerly knocked on the door.
"I have some mail for you," she said. "I talked to the office and the supervisor said she talked to the towing guy who said that he would just open the gate and not charge you for your car."
ARRRRGGHHH!! Did they not hear anything I said? Was I speaking in some completely foreign dialect that they couldn't understand? I had clearly mentioned to the manager and the supervisor that I had already got my car and that I wanted to be reimbursed.
"I thought you weren't going to get your car out until after we talked."
"What?! Why would I let the storage fees pile up? It cost $30 a day; do you think I want to pay that?"
"I told you we could get that waived," that manager replied.
"Why would I want to wait for you guys?" I take a deep breath. "I want a reimbursement. That is all I am looking for."
"I think the Supervisor said we could pay $75 of it."
"I want all of it, $160..." I wanted to go on. I wanted to say "I shouldn't have had to pay anything, nor should my car have been towed, nor should you have oversold you lot." But I realized the manager hadn't done this, she couldn't reimburse me. "The office is closed isn't it?"
The manager nodded her head yes.
"I will talk to them Monday." The manager turned and left and I sat back down on the couch. I realized two things. The first, how true my friends words were "every apartment has issues; you just need to choose the one that had the problems you are willing to deal with." As I thought about it, if this issue gets resolved soon I would probably come back next year (this year is already paid for).
The second is that I have a sharp escalation curve. Escalation is an intriguing trait. It is the trait that says if, on Wednesday, they had offered to pay the $100 and I pay the $30 I would have been fine. Even on Thursday I would have been good paying the $60 if they paid the $100. But to come to me two days after my car is towed after I have paid to get it out and to tell me that they will pay $75, less than half of their mistake, at this point I am looking for $160 on Monday with interest accruing Tuesday on. I am not quite sure where I got this sense of escalation from, maybe my dad, maybe my grandpa. But I am grateful that my parents gave me enough tools in life to deal with issues like this. I am also grateful to my parents for teaching me to take responsibility. Though I am pretty sure this is not the kind of responsibility that the housing supervisor had in mind, I feel that it would be irresponsible to not get reimbursed.
After a couple more days of talking with the manager she agreed to pay the remaining $25 of the towing fee. I am glad that we arrived at a reasonable solution.
24 September 2008
- Sit down and start watching a really interesting TV show. It doesn't really have to be something you are interested in, but it needs to attract other people.
- Select a commercial break OR at a very important plot building moment in the show.
- Take the TV remote and press the channel up or down button as rapidly as you can. At the same time make a car shifting sound similar to the sound you hear during a NASCAR race.
22 September 2008
Hey! I'm at school! My roommate is a good guy. When I showed up at the apartment I had a choice to make. I could pick the room on the left or the room on the right. I choose the right and later found out that was the better choice to make. My roommate is a quiet guy who keeps his stuff picked up and can sleep through almost anything. My other choice would have given me a roommate whose stuff seems to be spreading every day, not only across his room but into the rest of the apartment. The messy one seems most concerned with my social life and thinks that I don't get out much. This always makes me laugh because he spends tons of time in front of the TV (often alone because few can survive his playing NASCAR with the remote, I'll explain later). The other day I had an epiphany [spell check is amazing]. I had just got back from an unusually long day on campus; I dropped my backpack in my room and started to check email. Moments later he walks in and gives me a big slap on the back and says "you're in front of your computer again?" It was then that I realized that as busy as I am he is usually gone when I am gone so he never sees that I am gone. As I thought about explaining this to him I stopped myself thinking "why would I ever need to justify myself to a freshman who obnoxiously [spelled it right the first time!] bugs me about my social life?" So I made a snide comment about actually working at my computer in addition to schooling. I don't he got it though, which is probably good because it might have hurt his feelings as he doesn't have a job. Anyway, of the other three roommates, there are six of us in total, two are freshman the other a sophomore. The sophomore is 'off track' right now so he is just working and will resume school in the winter semester. Here we have tracks, two out of the three semesters in which you are allowed and expected to be at school. The 'off track' semester you can still live in approved housing as long as you intend to go back to school. It lets the school have a more predictable student load and control which major are on campus when.