Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Month: September 2008 Page 1 of 2

Update on Bizarro Library saga

Thanks to everyone who commented on this post.. My friend read them all and wishes me to thank you all. She’s very grateful for all your concern, support, and suggestions, and when she was feeling overwhelmed, she’d come back and reread your comments and take strength from them.

After the stress finally became enough to make her physically ill yesterday, she took a sick day to consider her options, and had a long talk with Boss. The end result of which is that she plans on tendering her two-week notice today, and begin looking for employment elsewhere.

It’s a big, scary thing to do, but I think that it will ultimately be the best for her. I’m glad she’s going to soon have this madness behind her.

Thoughts on Warhammer Online

As most of you following this journal know, I’ve been an avid MMORPG player for the last few years. Though I was late to the party, having completely bypassed EverQuest and Dark Ages of Camelot and their ilk, I jumped in wholeheartedly with City of Heroes in 2004 and later World of Warcraft in 2007. While I tend to focus on playing one game at a time, I do sometimes go to take a look at other stuff on the market. (kitanzi is currently having a ball with Spore, and I will have to eventually give that a whirl myself.)

It’s not unfair to say that Warhammer Online was one of the most eagerly anticipated game releases of the year, if only because it gave the gaming press many chances to breathlessly speculate on if it could be the “WoW killer”. (Age of Conan having failed miserably at even being remotely playable, let alone a juggernaut. ) And it’s not hard to see why some people were excited. The Warhammer miniatures game has a long history of fanatic devotees, and the heavy PvP focus of the new online version looked like it might be just the sort of thing for people who like that sort of thing. Since I’m really not a hardcore PVPer, I wasn’t terribly interested, but enough people in my Warcraft guild were rabidly excited that I figured I’d buy it and see what the fuss was about. At worst, I thought, it might be a diversion until Wrath of the Lich King is released in November.

Bizzaro Library (And you thought YOUR job was bad…)

I have a friend who works as a librarian for a small private Northeast college. And she’s utterly miserable, because her boss is insane.

I don’t mean to say that she’s insane in the way that everyone’s boss is insane. I mean to say that she’s clinically paranoid, irrational, inconsistent, and expects her charges to be both superhuman and mind-readers. Consider the following:

  • Boss expects to be told about every single thing that happens, preferably in real time. That means that if a student asks to use a stapler, make a photocopy, or have a tissue, she expects an email reporting this fact. Apparently, nothing is so trivial that she doesn’t want an alert about it.
  • She is convinced that students who come in to ask questions are actually being sent by higher ups to report back on the quality of service, and as a result wants to know what each of them asks, and what they were told, and carefully scrutinizes what information was sent out..
  • She doesn’t want work-study students to do *anything* other than sit and do their homework and “be a face” at the desk. They aren’t supposed to actually help anyone, re-shelve anything, or interact with patrons. They are occasionally trusted to count the number of patrons in the building once an hour. but one gets the feeling she begrudges them even this.
  • She forbids the librarians from referring students to resources outside the library. Any resource or information that comes from beyond the walls of the institution is suspect, and finding out you’ve done so will invite a severe reprimand. They *certainly* aren’t allowed to use the Internet as a tool for finding information.
  • The librarians are forbidden to participate in professional mailing lists, and have been told that if they find themselves in a place with other librarians, they aren’t to talk to them, because she doesn’t want other libraries finding out about their “secrets”. (Hey, lady, I have news for you. You don’t have trade secrets — you’re a *library*. And even if you did, you’d help people research what they are. You know why? Because you’re a freakin’ *library*.)
  • On being told by friend that she didn’t know how to perform a particular task, Boss replies, “You’re a reference librarian. You should know how to do that.” (I suggested that “Well, I know how it would be done in a real library, but how would you like it done here in Bizzaroland?” would probably be impolitic, satisfying though it might be.)
  • Boss frequently issues reprimands to friend in front of co-workers, which makes her feel even worse about things.
  • Boss doesn’t want the librarians to talk to each other any more than absolutely necessary. She was incensed when one of friend’s coworkers sent her a report that friend had requested, containing information that friend needed for the task she’d been assigned to do.
  • Now that friend has been ‘exiled to Siberia’ (read: the other campus), Boss is wanting *hourly* status emails about what’s going on.
  • My friend was promoted, shortly after being hired, when the person in the vacant position quit without warning. My friend protested that she didn’t really have the experience for the job, and was promised she’d be mentored at every step of the way and allowed to grow into it. Subsequent to being promoted, she had a huge amount of stuff dumped on her that she didn’t know how to handle (mostly related to instructional classes that needed to be planned, organized and taught.), was told to “just deal with it”, and then yelled at when the results didn’t match her expectations.
  • After valiantly trying to cope with this stress for weeks, friend finally went to her boss and said “i can’t do this. It’s too much.” Since then, she’s been treated like an incompetent toddler, despite the fact that she was never given the support and direction that was promised her.
  • Last week, friend was asked over to the main campus to attend an instruction tutorial session, with Boss and two co-workers. Upon arriving, Boss told her that *she* was teaching the class, a task she had not being given any opportunity to prepare for. Boss seemed quite irked that my friend wasn’t capable of teaching a class she’d never taught before on a moments notice without preparation.

This is by no means a complete list. I spend a great deal of time alternating between gobsmacked disbelief at this crazy woman and frustration that my friend, who is quite dear to me, is stressed nearly to the breaking point over this incredibly irrational work environment. When she took the job a few months ago, she was so excited about it. She’s good at what she does, and was looking forward to the position. Now, she’s trapped in a miserable job with a crazy boss, no openings in her area to try and apply to, and financially unable to just walk away. (Though the latter option is looking better and better to her, it’s also generally not a good idea to just up and quit a professional position. This isn’t retail.)

I’m sharing all this with you because….well, because it’s just amazing to me, and I had to share it with someone. Though I’m sure my friend will appreciate any sympathy or encouragement you have to offer.

Weekend Update: Video games and Drive through Sweeties!

I had a relatively relaxing weekend, which is good because that was just the sort of weekend I wanted.

Friday night, catalana and I met up for our usual night of WoW questing. We spent a good deal of time killing giants and water elementals in Feralas — the giants were dutifully dropping stuff for us, and the water elementals not so much, so we dropped that quest and went to collect Yeti hides instead. On the way to the yeti cave, catalana spotted a sprite darter and said “Those are so pretty! I wish you could get a non-combat pet version of one of those!” I whispered one of my friends who is a rabid non-combat pet collector and asked if there was one. It turns out, there is! It just involves doing a very long quest chain that starts with an NPC hidden in a spot that one would be fairly unlikely to notice. We dropped our plans for mega XP and decided to chase this chain down instead. It mostly involved razing a village of Tauren and freeing a bunch of the little dragons, then flying all the way to Darnassus to turn in the quest, then flying all the way back to Feralas to pick up the second part of the chain, then down to Shimmering Flats, and then The Hinterlands. Those of you familiar with the geography of Azeroth will note that we earned our frequent flyer miles on this one! It was late when we finally wrapped up for the night, but we were both the proud new parents of tiny little faerie dragons!

I split most of Saturday between WoW and Warhammer Online. WH Online is a new MMO that just came out, and a large number of my guildies are playing it, so I figured I’d at least see what the fuss was about. I’m really horribly underwhelmed by it, unfortunately. I’ll keep dabbling with it, but as soon as Wrath of the Lich King comes out, I expect it to start gathering dust. I’ll go on more about my impressions of the game in another post.

Currently exciting in WoW land is Brewfest! World of Warcraft has a number of little holiday festival events through the year, and Brewfest is essentially the dwarven (and Orcish) Okotberfest. There’s a fair, and kegs of beer, and ram races, and a cool boss mob to go and kill for shiny trinkets. We spent a good deal of time on Saturday and Sunday repeatedly running the special boss — hes’ not hard to kill, but you can only run the event once per person, so even swapping people in and out of the party, there’s a limit to how many times a day you can get his loot. But it’s fun to do stuff as a guild again.

Sunday night, my darling sweetmusic_27 and her old roommate Patty dropped in on their way down to Walt Disney World! This made me quite happy as I have not seen my darling Amy since January, and there was much cuddling to be had. We went out to Famous Dave's for a Giant Helping of Protein, then came home and watched a Jeff Dunham DVD. A good time having been had by all, we went to bed at a reasonable hour, as kitanzi and I had to be at work and Patty and Amy had a long drive to Orlando ahead of them. But it was fantastic to get to meet Patty, and of course I’m always happy to see Amy. (We’ll get to see them both again in a week or so, when they’re on their way back north. We made sure they’d have to stop…we loaned them graphic novels! *grin*)

Don’t think, just shoot!

Seen several places, most recently from epi_lj

Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair…just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with your picture.

The problem with brilliant ideas is having them first…

Weekend before last was a fabulous and fun trip up to Massachusetts, about which I really ought to talk about in a separate post. But what I really wanted to talk about was driving.

Oddly, despite the number of trips I’d previously made to New England, I’d never once been a driver there. I’d always been picked up by someone, or relied entirely on public transportation. (Or, y’know, hired a stretch limo, but that was a one time thing.)

Despite the legendary reputation of Massachusetts drivers, I really had no troubles at all. Of course, one of the reasons for this is that we have a GPS unit, specifically the Garmin StreetPilot c550 that I bought kitanzi for Christmas. Aside from a couple of odd bumps, it’s been an awesome little gadget, and one I’m glad to have in our possession.

Recently, I updated the software on it, and in the process downloaded some extra voice packs. So now we can have the GPS give us directions in an English or Australian accent, and we had fun playing with it. Now, I’m hardly the first person to think “Gee, there should be celebrity voice packs.” But it occurred to me that there’s really only one actor who I’d want to be powering my GPS…William Daniels. Why, I bet you could make a fortune if you could put the voice of KITT (not to mention the voice of John Adams…As you miss a turn, it could exclaim “What in God’s name are you waiting for?”)

Well, it turns out that someone else already had that idea:

The Knight Rider GPS can be customized to speak your name from a list of 300 popular names. Once you’ve selected a name, the voice of William Daniels will greet you with a random selection of phrases such as “XXX, where would you like to go today?” or “XXX, I’m really looking forward to this.” Your selected name replaces the “XXX.” Then, the Knight Rider will instruct you, for example, to turn right at 500 feet, but won’t pronounce the street names.

Based on Mio’s Moov 300 series, the Knight Rider GPS has a 4.3-inch screen, a 20-channel SiRF Star III receiver, measures 5.51 by 3.15 by 0.76 inches and weighs 6 ounces. The case has been redesigned to accommodate the flashing LEDs, and the Moov interface is “skinned” with a color scheme that seems appropriate for Knight Rider.

Despite the fact that I totally love the idea, I feel sorry for the people with unusual first names, as they will once again be left out of the customized product business, just like the keychains they sell at the county fair. But I think it’s incredibly cool that someone has done this.

The product is apparently available in stores as of last moth, and you can find out more info at their website.

This whole week can stop anytime.

Overall, the weekend was pretty relaxing. Didn’t do much to speak of, honestly. Friday night was my weekly WoW date with catalana. We’re slowly creeping our way up…level 46 now, and aside from instances, which we’ve been getting regularly run through by 70 friends, we’ve run into almost nothing we could not handle together. I seriously doubt we’ll hit 70 by the time the expansion comes out in 2 months, but that’s ok. We’re not really in a hurry.

Sunday was a bit of a down day, emotionally. It started out well — we went to the pool at the gym for a while, soaked in the hot tub, and came home for a nice brunch. It’s been a while since the last time we were at the gym, so I was pleased to discover that I’d lost 15 pounds since the last time I weighed in. I’d suspected this was the case, as my pants size has shrunk, but it was nice to see the scale reflect that as well.

The afternoon came with a case of the blahs. There were a variety of reasons for this, some of which I had a finger on, and some of which I didn’t. Of the things I had a finger on, at least one was completely irrational and the other was something I had no real ability to do anything about, so I was fairly unhappy about the state of my head. This wasn’t improved when I got a call from my mother around 6:30pm, to tell me that my Aunt Barbara (her oldest sister) had passed away suddenly that morning of a heart attack. She was 65, the same age as my grandmother was when she passed away under very similar circumstances. Mom pointed out that our family doesn’t tend to go for the long lingering illnesses, preferring to stay healthy to the end and going suddenly, and I’m sure that on the whole, I’d prefer that myself, but its certainly a shock to those left behind. This whole week has been filled with news of people close to me dealing with unexpected death, and I really wish the universe would just cut it out.

I made tacos for dinner and we watched the first episode of Alton Brown’s new show Feasting On Waves, which was much fun. I then logged into WoW for a while, and ended up pulling a guildmate and 2 other 50ish characters through about half of Blackrock Depths. This made for a nice distraction, and I have to admit it was fun to listen to the lowbie hunter ooh and ah as I dispatched the Dark Iron Dwarves and their minions. My guildmate has run me through more instances than I can count, so I was glad to return the favour to her.

Around midnight, I decided it was getting late, but took some time to give sweetmusic_27 a call. By the time we were done talking, it was late, but I was in a better frame of mind. But I’d really like another Sunday to replace this one…I think it was defective.

At the end of the day…

[I originally wrote this in 2002. Reposted with minor revisions.]

I don’t have a problem with remembering the terrible human catastrophe that occurred seven years ago today. I think it would do us all good to pause and reflect on how terrible events can bring us together, and to remember what we learned, as a nation, as a community, as a people, about the world.

But I also think we should spend more time looking forward, not looking back.

We should spend more time making grand plans and executing them, inviting our souls and being creative, and living life to the fullest.

We should spend more time doing small, special things for our friends, our family, our loved ones.

We should spend more time laughing, and making music, and increasing the joy in the people around us.

We should spend more time helping each other, and holding each other, and saying “I love you” to each other.

Because at the end of the day, each other is all we ever really have.

Captain Quirk

I’ve seen this one go around in various forms, but I don’t recall ever being tagged on it. Since aiela so nicely did tag me this time, I figure I’ll give it a whirl.

The rules!

1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Mention the rules in your blog.
3. Tell 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking to them.

  1. Despite being very disorganized usually, I have a compulsive desire for things to be properly catalogued and arranged on the shelf. I once spent an entire evening at telynor‘s house methodically alphabetizing her CD collection by artist, because it was annoying me that they weren’t.
  2. Despite the above, I haven’t done so on my own CDs since moving over a year ago. It is entirely possible this is because all the CDs are ripped to mp3. (The books still need to be properly alphabetized as well.)
  3. While I have a very outgoing public personality, I’m actually quite shy and introverted. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them this.
  4. I appear to be completely incapable of starting a relationship that isn’t long-distance. The last time I started a non-long-distance relationship was in 1989, when I was in college.
  5. I can, and frequently will, pick up small objects with my toes. (I’m not sure this is really all that unusual, except that several people have expressed small amazement upon seeing me do it. Or was that small amusement? But, I digress…)
  6. By the time I was 19 years old, I had held paying government jobs at the county, state, and federal levels.

I think I shall not tag anyone. Well, maybe I’ll tag …. Nah, too much pressure. No tagging. Do it if you wanna, and I’ll enjoy reading it.

A poem for today

Just because it makes me happy.

Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
     Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
     Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
     Say that health and wealth have miss’d me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
     Jenny kiss’d me.

        –James Leigh Hunt

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén