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Saturday, February 24, 2001

     For some reason I don't have the same patience with PC beginners that I used to have when I did large systems tech. support. Probably the difference is the large systems users were already somewhat technically literate. My sister-in-law bought a used personal computer about six months ago and I've become the de facto fixit man whenever she encounters problems. It's hard for me to remember that basic assumptions such as knowing the difference between a floppy disk and a CD-ROM shouldn't be taken for granted. I mean, they do make you get a license to drive.

     Fun with/from Microsoft. RTFM and copyright search. (courtesy rageboy)

Friday, February 23, 2001

     No wonder I'm not funny anymore. I haven't been holding my mouth right.

     This woman is simply amazing. Gracious, filled with passion and compassion, dynamic, invigorating, humble, beautiful in body and soul, intelligent and funny — and tall. Yes tallll. I even heard she can dunk a basketball with one arm tied behind her back, with heels of course. Hopefully she made it to the grocery store today.

     A 404 with feelings.

     Sorry for the terse entry yesterday. It was pink slip day at the office and I didn't feel much like blogging. When the government mandated 60-day notice of layoffs, plant closings, etc. during the Clinton administration, it introduced a mixed bag of emotion to the actuality. On the one hand, the affected employee has another two months of pay to look forward to and a little time to search for their next employer. On the other, having to make an appearance each day to maintain severance eligibility can be demeaning, depressing, even embarrassing. There is sadness, anger, and plenty of why me going on — from nearly 100 friends and acquaintances. I was fortunate this time, but I've been thinking a lot about fate.

Thursday, February 22, 2001

     [This day intentionally left blank.]

Wednesday, February 21, 2001

     I see the Web future like a 100 foot telephone pole in the middle of the desert. Your next meal sits on top of that pole with nothing else in sight. You have four wood blocks, four nails and a hammer. Oh, and just for good measure, you happen to suffer from acrophobia.

     As your stomach begins rumbling, you're thinking perhaps you should start up that pole. Nailing each of the four blocks like steps on a ladder, you begin the ascent. As you reach the highest block, you must remove the lowest and move it above the highest, and so on.

     About 20 feet off the ground, you realize your feet will no longer dangle from the lowest block to the safe haven below. Your fear of heights sends a shiver of panic through your spine, but the survival instinct is strong, you must get to the top to eat. Casting the safety of Mother Earth away, you boldly continue the ascent.

     You cannot reach the unknown pinnacle and ultimate satisfaction without eliminating old fears and irrational prejudices. Clinging to habits and security nets slows the growth and development for the next generation. In business, we must accommodate the consumer; but the independent Web compels us to come together at certain level sets of standardization so the next round may begin sooner, rather than later. We are Research & Development.

:::::

     A big pat on the back to Faith for pointing out my permalinks were a mess using Netscape 4.

Tuesday, February 20, 2001

     The verdict is in. Drumroll please. If you are new to Lucid Confusion or haven't been paying attention, you may want to start here for a refresher on the life changes I've been facing. The rest of us will wait. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

     Ah, you're back. Good. I have been offered, and accepted, a transitional position with Dow Chemical through January 31, 2003. Yay me! This couldn't have worked out any better if they let me script it for them. To say I am elated today would be a gross understatement. They could probably hear me exhale clear down the hall. So, just what does all this mean?

     First, obviously I am not immediately out of work. Next, I don't have to move to Michigan. Whew! The length of the transition offer extends enough to carry me through complete pension eligibility with my company, Union Carbide, rather than having to mix and match partial Dow and UCC retirement portfolios. I will still receive the very generous severance package in 2003 and will be able to retire on my own terms at the ripe old age of 50. That affords the opportunity to pick and choose my next job rather than rushing into it. The final little kicker; you notice that one extra month in 2003? That will earn another five weeks of paid vacation at the tail end. Pretty nice outcome, all-in-all, wouldn't you say?

     Now, before I get overly selfish drooling over my good fortune, this is still not the best of times. Remember, more than half of the former Union Carbide Information Technology professionals are being let go. There are scores of very fine people who are not going to be as happy as me in the coming days. My heart and prayers go out to them, and their families. Many hugs and tears will be shared in the weeks and months ahead as life-long friends move outward and onward. What a mixed blessing. My personal joy will most assuredly turn to sadness.

Smiles For You      My wife is delighted, and relieved, with the news. The uncertainty has been just as tough on her. The past 18 months have been a stressful time for us both, but our love and strength overcame the fear and trepidation. We are preparing already to begin the next chapter of our lives together in another two years. Sincerest thanks go out to everyone in this cyber community who has offered support, comfort and well wishes. You helped tremendously.

Monday, February 19, 2001

      Rest in peace.

Sunday, February 18, 2001

     This is definitely cool. Linky-love Nirvana. It's a Java applet that lays out the Eatonweb portal in a spiral grid. Colored lines represent cross-linking from weblog to weblog and a search function enables you to find your own. Developed by Casey Marshall, a student of computer science at the University of Edinburgh. (via Unxmaal)

Bluzz of the Week      Sunday means Bluzz of the Week. Through this feature, I'm searching for the brightest, funniest, most controversial or otherwise intriguing comments from the previous week's forums, journals and blogs. Personal security habits are interesting. When I was little it took me years to stop sucking my thumb. My brother carried around a blanket everywhere until he was five. How about you? If you find a true treasure you'd like to nominate for future Bluzz of the Week, even if you wrote it yourself, please let me know.

     In The Unnatural Progression of Bizarre Behavior, fellow West Virginian Terry Estep describes his personal experiences with self-invented sleep therapy. Old habits die hard — Terry demonstrates the lengths he has gone to keep from changing his. I see a Tivo in his future, or perhaps finally a soft, somnabulent lullaby. Here are some excerpts:

     "In the beginning there was Terry, and Terry found that he could not sleep without television. And the television's light was void and formless, turned down to dark, and the quiet sounds of half-muted dialogue washed over the deep folds of blanket-wrapped sleep. And he found he could not sleep with live television, for he spent time listening and not unplugging his mind, and so many nights did he toss and turn until he placed The Hunt for Red October in the VCR and dozed before Alec Baldwin had time to get coffee from James Earl Jones..."

     "The friends and relatives who shared Terry's orbit would ask him "Come unto my house, and sup at my table and sleep in my guest bed, for this is the way of our people." And Terry despaired, thinking "How shall I sleep in this strange house without Clue?" A messenger came unto Terry in the form of a quiet voice that said "Fear not, for thou hast a microcassette recorder. An hour's worth of audio canst thou carry, but no more lest they think thee mad. Easily canst thou secret an episode of Babylon 5 in thy clothing..."

     "And in the final days, Terry moved into an apartment and bought a computer. Thinking himself grand, he thought "Who hast like unto this setup? For many are the virtues of the TV tuner, that I may listen to television without television screen." The circle closed upon itself in his thought, and he said again, "Lo, these many weeks have I been wearing out my VCR in my nightly slumbers. I shall render television audio into MP3 for playback..."

     "And one day, toiling in the field, he did hear an inner voice say "Ye cursed! Silly art thy ways! Too much effort have thee expended, for thou hast now almost twelve hours of audio, and yet thou hast never slept so long." And Terry, in his meekness, said "Variety, Lord." — Terry Estep

 

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