Friday, October 28, 2005

Conclusions

Within the past year of my life I've come to the following conclusions/assumptions about the world we live in (here at this company):

1.) It's better not to question anything and just do it - Most companies in this era would rather hire people who do not question values or challenge them.
2.) The top are not accountable for their mistakes - Many companies protect their upper management with reorganizations and layoffs. Sounds like the accountability item may apply to certain political leaders as well.

Here 's the problem with each conclusion:

1.) If you have too many people working in an organization who simply follow the leader. The company will consistently suffer from the poor decisions made by that leader.
2.) The only people who TRULY benefit from the system are the people at the top. Why should a leader have any incentives to make truly good and sound decisions if they are covered either way (success or failure).

Is this the world we live in? I have a few friends who call themselves realists who insist that this is the world we have always lived in and that most of us really don't have any Free Will. On a side note, I've been toying with the idea that everyone no matter who they are has a space or potential space (figurative or metaphysical) in which they exist... this space can be called for any intensive purposes freedom.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Freedom, spun sugar and objets d'artes

Someone help me with my French grammar and plurals... One of my all time favorite films, though most people think it's a snoozer... is Vatel.

Maybe it's because the whole story centers around the idea of bringing beauty into the world despite the foibles and ugliness of the people who drive it. That and I'm drawn to any movie, cooking show or documentary that features making works of fine art from spun sugar

If you don't know the story of the fated master of ceremonies who was basically the 17th century version of a PR whiz, movie producer and master caterer all rolled into one... watch the movie.

Or you can read about him here:
http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/aboutVatel.htm

Or read the historical text written by Madame de Sevigne:
http://history.hanover.edu/texts/louisxiv.html


I was able to find a food history web page that features some of the recipes from the historical feast served to Louis XIV.

http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/vatel/Vatel_Recipes.htm


NOTE: dont read below this line if you want to watch the film...

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There's a lot of controversy around the actual reason why Vatel killed himself. The film featuring Gerard Depardieu in the starring role, portays Vatel as a man driven to desparation because he is forced to choose between his freedom and being pawned as a slave to pay a gambling debt. Personally, I think the poor guy was just exhausted to the point of despair after working for nearly 2 weeks without sleep... I should learn something from this shouldn't I? Though I hardly think that I could be responsible for a master banquet given to the ultimate 17th century monarch... though I can dream can't I? And no I don't want to be on some freakin cooking show with a bitch-ass chef screaming at me.

Scones for all

I've been working nearly round the clock to get this project completed... at least my half of it. The sub team I'm working with was tasked with developing training for this major application that will hit the company finance orgs globally... Here's the thing... the tool is a MAJOR piece of shit... a fucking Access Database held together with poorly written code and band aids.

But damn it, why do I do this? I just cannot put my name next to a piece of crap so I work day and night to make sure that the training looks good, and all the pieces needed for a good implementation are all set in a row. I can make a pretty elearning and nicely written student handbooks, but if I don't have my communication pieces, my website, my course access, and course credit mechanism, my online survey, my rooms, and my instructors all chipper, than what good will my training be? Then I still need to go back and make sure that all the verbs in any text is in active voice.

All in all I'm still putting Martha Stewart wrapping paper and custom cut out tags around a box of shit.

I've decided not to go to the project update meetings anymore because they have resorted to yelling at each other and either accusing on another of not meeting their deliverables or demanding that the project be held back (which it actually should, but the bobbing heads at the top of the project are still going to ram the thing through before the end of the year.)


I needed a break around 9 PM last night. Here's how lame I've become: I don't head for a bar... I head for the all night gourmet grocery store... I drug J along with me. We found a jar of clotted cream and of course bought it even though it was six dollars.

So naturally:


Scones
2 1/2 c. flour + extra
1/4 c. sugar
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp. European grade unsalted butter (has less moisture than Yank butter)
1/2 c. sour milk (milk +1/4 tsp cider vinegar)
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in the food processor. Gradually add the butter cut into chunks into the food processor and mill until you have a course meal. Mix the vanilla with the sour milk and pour into the four mixture... pulsing all the while until you have a soft dough. Note, if you don't have a food processor, you can mix all your ingredients by hand with a pastry cutting tool.

Turn the dough out into a well floured surface and roll or pat down to 1 inch thickness. Cut into squares with a square biscuit cutter. Then cut the squares into triangles.

Place on cookie sheets at least 1 1/2 inches apart and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. or until lightly browned on the tops. Serve with jams and clotted cream.

We were able to enjoy this morning with what remains of the strawberry preserves we made earlier this year.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Update

The interview I had with Company A did not pan through... Though I'm not to down hearted by the whole thing. Have you ever interviewed with a company and they just didn't have their shit together? Makes you think: Do I really want to work here?

Here's the thing... I interviewed with the company a few months ago and did not get the first position that was offered. It was offered to Mr. S. However they called me back two months later and asked me if I was interested in coming in again. I e-mailed and replied by phone that I was definitely interested. Then I waited a few days, then a week and then another week, then another week. No response. Finally the vice president of the company e-mails me asking if Mr. S. head of training has contacted me. I replied "No." He noted that he would get Mr. S. to send me an e-mail.

The morning of the scheduled Interview which I did not even know about because I never received an e-mail or phone call from Mr. S.

S must stand for Schlmiel.

I have to switch my development meetings around just so I can get to this interview, and on top of that I have to give them a short window to interview me in because I need to be back home to receive calls for a meeting that I cannot reschedule. I rush down there. I have to wait for 20 minutes because part of the interview team is late from a meeting with their lawyer.

Now Mr. S swaggers in the room. He's slick this one... like the sort of dick who played golf with your grandfather. He's the marketing salesman with the tight gripped hand shake, brill cream head and the dangerously contagious optimism shrouding the unkempt testosterone fits that lurk within his persona. He had way too much hair for someone his age... which is a bad sign (Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay... Phil Donohoe).

Through out the meeting he kept of asking me about my rationale for offering courses. His queries though were questioning the tools I was developing the training for... not the training itself. He kept insinuating that I was making the wrong decisions for what I was doing... all with a smile. I wanted to look at the other interviewers and say point blank, "Do I have to work with this guy?"

And to top this off... at the end... he looked at me and titled his fully coifed head... "You sure you did not get my e-mail?"

That's the end of that. Move on I say.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Anti Gay Phone Companies

Read and listen... can you believe it?!!! I guess there's a market for bigots and homophobes alike...

Web page write up/background explanation:
http://www.eugenemirman.com/showandtell.html


Call 1: http://www.eugenemirman.com/audio/Anti_Gay_Phone_Company_I.mp3
Call 2: http://www.eugenemirman.com/audio/Anti_Gay_Phone_Company_II.mp3
Call 3: http://www.eugenemirman.com/audio/Anti_Gay_Phone_Call_III.mp3

"They train their employees to accept a Gay and Lesbian lifestyle...."