Thursday, December 31, 2009

And a Happy New Year to you, ya filthy animal!

Here it is New Year's Eve, and I am getting ready to work. I'll be working until 1am. And quietly celebrating the New Year while I'm helping someone with their phone, who is likely on the west coast and on their way to a real party.
Well Happy New Year to you too!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Texas Tech Fires Its Coach

I don't normally blog on sports subjects. All I know about the subject comes from TV news and various web sites.
That said, if the allegations are true, and coach Mike Leach appears to not deny it, the man deserves to be fired, as he was earlier today.
There will be some who argue that the player was not hurt, except maybe his pride, so what's the harm? The man, and I don't care whose son he is, suffered from a concussion, and yet was forced to stand, even punished when he tried to sit, for hours, not once, but twice.
I daresay others have had to undergo similar punishments from this and probably other coaches. It serves no purpose except to let the player know who's in charge.
And the player was punished because he could not practice due to his concussion.
Mike Leach has no apparent compassion. Some might argue that's what makes him a good coach. Bullsh!t.
The guy deserves it, and I hope his soon-to-be-filed case will be thrown out.

Monday, December 28, 2009

INTP Profile

This fits me to a tee, for those interested in knowing how I tick. Source:

Here's a less complex interpretation:

An INTP Profile

A description of the INTP Personality Type

by Paul James
Original version: April 5, 1999
Revised and published on the web: March 12, 2000
Copied from with permission

INTP is one of the 16 personality types defined in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I will assume that visitors to this page already have a basic knowledge of the MBTI system for I wish to concentrate on describing the INTP type as best I can. The descriptions below are based on personal experience combined with knowledge derived from other MBTI sources and I hope that other INTPs and non-INTPs alike may find some of this material illuminating. This page may be updated and expanded when appropriate.
For a general introduction and overview of MBTI temperament analysis, visit Robert Winer's excellent resource at Gesher.
INTPs are about 1% of the general population, making this one of the rarest of types. The basic dynamic of the INTP is illustrated in the following table:

Introverted ( Ti )
Extraverted ( Ne )
Introverted ( Si )
Extraverted ( Fe )

The consequences of the orientation and rank of each of the four functions for the INTP type is described in turn below. For lighter reading, see also my Myers-Briggs humour page.
Want to know more about me? Visit my other web resources here.

Primary Axis: Introverted Thinking - Extraverted Intuition

The INTP is above all a thinker and his inner (private) world is a place governed by a strong sense of logical structure. Every experience is to be rigorously analysed, the task of the INTP's mind is to fit each encountered idea or experience into a larger structure defined by logic. For here is the central goal of the INTP: to understand and seek truth. The experience of anything takes a back seat. The INTP is not interested in experiences themselves but is far more fascinated by concepts. The drive to understand things that are not yet understood is a very powerful force in the life of an INTP. Where the Ti preference is strong, this drive can override the experiential element so strongly that the INTP will become quickly bored with anything that he has successfully analysed to the point of understanding it. Once understood, it has nothing left to offer, once the satisfaction which comes with achieving the goal of understanding diminishes. Indeed, most primary interests of an INTP are things which he cannot fully understand, usually because they are highly complex or have some exotic, mystical element that does not yield to analysis. This is the real reason why INTPs are drawn to complexity: anything simple is too quickly understood and cannot hold the fascination for long. Similarly, proficiency in any area (which requires continual practice after understanding) is not such a driving force as it might be for NTJs, for example. While a judging NT will often seek to become master of his field, an INTP is satisfied by analysing it alone. The latter is often more of dabbler with ideas which leads me on to his second crucial aspect: detachment.
The Ti-Ne axis leads to a curious overriding desire to observe from a detached position, indicating the preference for intuitive perception with respect to external things. Since accurate analysis needs to avoid becoming hampered with details or being influenced by the actions of others, the INTP invariably seeks to withdraw, at least in spirit, from the situation being considered. This detachment can sometimes be so marked that he will readily see himself as a neutral observer having no personal association with that going on around him (unless forced to become directly involved through an attack on his principles). The INTP enjoys speculating about how a news item (for example) might be received by other people or how a point of view might offend certain types of people and be supported by yet other types; but to have a point of view of his own rarely seems relevant! This also indicates that Feeling is his least developed function. The argument may even be made that "points of view" and "opinions" are irrelevant since only objective truth counts. In reality, INTPs can often become far less objective than they think they ought to be: precisely at those times when the under-developed Feeling gnaws at his being.

Dominant Function: Introverted Thinking

Now looking specifically at first the Ti, the principle of detachment even encompasses how an INTP views himself. He may analyse his own thought processes as if his mind and body were separate from his conscious self. In wanting to understand his reactions to things, he may treat himself, even his own thoughts, as subjects for experiment. At the extreme end of the scale, where Ti is very dominant, the ultimate goal of understanding the world with total clarity must be achieved through total detachment from everything. Fortunately, Ti never dominates over the other 3 preferences to such an extent that such an unhealthy state is reached.
Where detachment ceases is when someone makes an illogical statement or violates one of the INTPs principles. At such a point, the INTP feels the instant drive to provide for clarity. This is his Mission; to be the provider of clarity, and is often suspicious that he is the only person capable of this task. Here, the INTP risks being seen as over-critical, aloof and arrogant. On the whole, however, real arrogance is rare for INTPs for their desire is not to dominate others but simply to observe, analyse and clarify. Once the point has been clarified, the INTP withdraws quickly, for he prefers not to be in the limelight unless absolutely necessary. Hence, for most of the time, INTPs are easy-going and will fit in to others' needs, taking up the role of observer again.
While proficiency may not be a central goal, competence always is. The difference here may be subtle, but it is important. If an INTP decides to learn a skill, then it is very important for him that he reaches a sufficient level so that basic errors can be avoided. Errors made by others are to be expected and can be criticised. But errors made by oneself attack the very root of the person, which is ultimately about rationality, logic and truth. INTPs hate to think of themselves being in any way inadequate, at least in areas that are important to them. So, as soon as he puts himself behind some task, then he must achieve competency. But that is as far as it goes. Refined competency requires too much effort and has little attraction. It would require practice and that usually bores an INTP. Hence, it is common to see INTPs dabbling at many things, achieving competency, just enough to prove to themselves that they could become more proficient if they wished, but rarely actually bothering to refine their skills further. This is a point at which we begin to get a feel for the workings of iNtuition backing up Thinking. The INTP has a whole set of skills which he knows that he would be proficient at, yet other people may know little of this. He is satisfied with the knowledge that he has these skills but often sees no requirement to demonstrate this to others, an indication of the strong Ti nature.
Related to this is the central aspect of independence. INTP's put great weight on being individuals and essentially different from other people, who they often view as being too alike and too interdependent. Independence touches on many aspects. One is the competency aspect above. When he is interested in something, then the INTP must be competent in it. But there are many things which don't interest him, and some of these will be things that others may be very competent in and where it may be assumed that everyone should be competent in them. The INTP usually applies the word "irrelevant" to such things: that is his excuse for any lack of competency in any field. And if he originally wished to achieve something, but failed, then it must be because was in fact irrelevant! The opinions of others are rarely given much weight in themselves. All opinions must get filtered through an analysis procedure to test for viability. No title or claim of being an "expert" carries any weight with an INTP. All people, big or small, are subject to an identical scrutiny. The INTP sees himself as the independent arbiter, whether a fair claim or not. However, when someone has proved his credentials through having sensible opinions, he will be afforded great respect by the INTP. Most respected of all are those who are not only sensible but also innovative. Intelligence is above all highly prized.
Independence, derived primarily from strongly introverted Thinking, leads to perhaps the most difficult aspect (for others) of the INTP, namely stubbornness. If an INTP is pushed into doing something he will automatically resist. The reason for the resistance is simply that any action must first be filtered by the Ti, guided by the Ne. He must be given the chance to reach an independent decision, approving or rejecting the action. Hence, he must withdraw to allow the analysis process to work. If withdrawal is not allowed then stubborn resistance is the inevitable result. However, others may not always find the INTP excessively stubborn, since the decision-making process can sometimes be rapidly accelerated when intuition takes the upper hand. The best way to get an INTP to do something is to suggest the idea as an option and let him sleep on it. Ultimately, the INTP must always believe that it is his decision. Once he is satisfied that the decision was independently reached, then he is content.
A further result of the Ti function is the concept, lived out by many an INTP, that knowledge is everything. They tend to believe that information is the key to life. All mistakes can be avoided by having the right information at the right time. This has at least a certain logic about it. Where they differ from other temperaments (especially from SP types) is that a large gap may exist between knowing and doing. To know is everything, to do is a lower order necessity, if it is necessary at all. This breeds the potential for lazy aloofness. The INTP is often satisfied simply by knowing that he could do something if he wished. This also leads to the danger of overestimating one's capabilities and losing a grip on reality. Here is an aspect where INTP and ENTP types differ strongly. The latter, with dominant iNtuition, are much more driven by shaping the world according to their ideas, ie. thinking supports and subordinates doing. For the INTP, doing supports and subordinates thinking.
Finally, the dominant Ti function means that the INTP takes his interests and beliefs very seriously. Honesty and directness when explaining these interests are usually displayed. INTPs detest facades and particulary dislike people who exhibit them. Equally, those kind of people also dislike INTPs and avoid them at all cost, for they know that the INTP will see right through them. The INTP's serious nature also makes them almost immune to mockery and being made fun of, at least when face to face with their mocker. If someone attempts to make a sarcastic, mocking comment about an interest of an INTP, the latter will defend himself with a pure, almost naive seriousness, explaining his position with a severe exactness, wielding his words like swords. This almost always disarms tit and its chief goal is to derive meaning. The INTP is sometimes referred to as the architect. The world is an object of study and possibilities for changing and shaping it according to the schemes assessed by the Ti core are derived from intuition. If his introversion is strong, however, then his schemes tend to remain private and speculative: the world remains an intellectual object of study but his architectural plans may not actually be put into practice. The constructor/inventor ENTP, on the other hand, with whom the Ne is dominant, aggressively grapples with and shapes the world, showing little reticence. The INTP is of the same spirit, but his constructive nature is likely to take shape within more private hobbies and less likely to directly involve others.
Where the extraversion of the iNtuition function becomes obvious is during discussions, especially heated ones. In contrast to INTJs, an INTP will often make controversial, speculative points of argument, often annoying the discussion-partner, and make them in such a way as to leave the impression that he is very serious about what he says. In reality, the INTP is not actually even certain himself whether he really stands by what he is saying, but his Ne strongly suggests that there must be a core of truth there. The purpose then of his outspoken style of argument is to sharpen his own intuitive understanding by testing the reaction of the listener, and indeed to examine the logic of his own arguments in real time while speaking them out. On occasion, INTPs may seem brash and tactless, but for themselves it is part of their way of getting closer to the truth. This is another aspect of the Ne grappling with the external world (in this case discussion with another) to understand it. The Ne provides the raw material for the Ti core to analyse. The INTJ, on the other hand, with Ni dominant and Te as secondary, tends to avoid letting uncertain speculative ideas out in the open: he presents a more considered structured viewpoint to the world while holding his private thoughts free for intuitive reasoning. The INTJ resembles a chess player, ruminating on the possibilites and then making decisive accurate moves. If the INTP played life as chess, he would keep wishing to modify the allowed-move-properties of his various pieces to optimise his strategy, find that that isn't allowed, and ask to start the game afresh! The ENTP chess player would indeed modify the rules to his advantage and complain that the standard rules were inadequate! The ENTJ would play by the standard rules but insist on making the moves for his opponent as well !
Extraverted iNtuition has a strong influence on how the INTP views his own interaction with others. It is the Ne above all that the INTP most loves to show others. He is therefore happy to be seen as somewhat eccentric, innovative and perceptive. In dreaming about what he would like to become or achieve, his goals are invariably highly individualistic. He must become the composer, the solo performer, the genius scientist who makes the unique discovery. If he is to be noticed at all, then he must be centre stage. If he can't be centre stage in an area of interest, then he must withdraw and resort to vitriolic criticism. But in all areas which interest him less he happily leaves to others and observes. With an INTP it is either all or nothing. Half-efforts he dislikes just as much as he dislikes the restrictions of teamwork and co-operation.
Humour is another aspect which marks out the INTP. He can readily dream up jokes about almost any situation. Taking things out of context is the chief source of humour and many an INTP is a Monty Pythonite. The Ne is the engine and source of this joke-generator. Needless to say, the humour of an INTP can be pretty zany and warped and may not be understood easily by others. The problem is that the Ne concepts for jokes are put into a structure only by the Ti. Hence, the humour can become black and tactless, having felt little Feeling input. Funnily enough, INTPs are dreadful tellers of jokes (which seems to be more the domain of those with Se), perhaps because they pay too little attention to detail when speaking spontaneously. If you see someone smirking and laughing at some private thought, without any obvious reason, he's probably an INTP. INTPs may however make good comedy writers, with the humour of Woody Allen being particularly liked.
The preference for intuitive perception means that INTPs dislike having their lives planned. They feel a distinct unease before most fixed appointments and cannot fully relax until the scheduled event is over, or at least in progress. However, the dreaded event is usually far less of a problem than had been imagined and usually brings with it a sense of satisfaction. Action is therefore the saving grace of an INTP, for a sense of achievement usually outweighs the earlier apprehension. Social appointments can also be greatly enjoyed, once they are underway. But joyful anticipation is rarely experienced beforehand, unless the event is central to the INTP's fields of interest. The source of the unease is simply the feeling that a planned schedule inhibits and robs the INTP of freedom. It is also a subordination to the plans of others which the independent INTP resists. Faithfully helping others is not a problem, however, but he must feel in control of his decision to subordinate or not.
INTPs tend to be rather mistrusting of people and are rather sceptical. However, a lot of their trust is based on what the Ne function tells them about somebody. This can lead to a naivity and sometimes to prejudices based on intuitive perceptions of appearence and style. People can be a problem for INTPs: on the one hand they are fascinated by some types of people, especially more extraverted individuals, but a fear of irrational behaviour in others usually leads to caution. Friendship with INTPs develops at a pace which depends considerably on the temperament of the other person. INTPs dislike making the first move and tend to mirror the emotional content of the other person. A jolly person will quickly bring the INTP out of his shell, as much as that is possible, while a serious person will find a serious INTP looking back at him. In this sense, INTPs preference for intuitive perception (rather than action) with respect to people results in them resembling a chameleon. The INTP can fit into many different modes of behaviour, even contradictory ones, in order to get into the mindset of the other person. The goal is to gain enough intuitive data to analyse and assess the person. In doing this, the INTP remains somewhat reserved, never wholly identifying himself with his surroundings. As chameleons, INTPs are therefore approachable and open, unless the Ne tells the INTP that the other person is a type he doesn't like, in which case the reserved attitude may become too obvious. The chameleon behaviour can be particularly strong when discussing something. The INTP may even argue something that he doesn't really believe himself. Sometimes it is for the intellectual stimulation that comes with the challenge of arguing from a variety of standpoints. Otherwise, it may be to avoid early conflict before the situation has been fully assessed. Chameleons hide their true selves. INTPs do not do this cynically, or indeed all the time, but it is a result of the strong desire to remain detached and observe.
However, where friendship develops rapidly, almost instantly, is when an INTP meets another INTP or similar temperament. Communication between such people can become extremely intense, leaving outsiders baffled. When two INTPs get togther, watch out! All forms of social graces and host-guest protocols become irrelevant. Both want only to share concepts and interests and absorb the intellectual stimulation of the other. Interruption of this process by any social necessity is undesired and annoying. Often the pair will become oblivious to everything around them and this may seem almost comical to an outsider. Introductory greetings such as "how are you?" may just be given and received with nonchalant disinterest. Conversations are more likely to open with something like: "Hi, I think I've worked out how changes in the Borg's command protocols can be routed through sub-space without compromising their universal teleconnectivity!", knowing that the other person knows exactly what he's on about. Later, the host may offer the guest a drink after an hour of discussing the latest developments in computer technology, and the guest may then notice that he is thirsty. In most cases however, INTPs have been groomed by other types into accomodating themselves into the social world, so that even amongst themselves a minimal level of social niceties will be given. Favourite topics of discussion are science and science-fiction, music, computers and any abstract concept with which one is currently fascinated by.
One-to-one conversation is preferred in almost every situation. In a group situation, INTPs are sensitive to whether they believe they will be listened to or not. If a dominant (strongly extraverted and loud) person is present, the INTP will withdraw and sulk, believing the dominant person to be a brute. If an INTP speaks, he must be listened to, for he believes his spoken opinions to be important. If not, he withdraws (at least in spirit) and assumes that the people who do not listen lack intelligence. Hence, INTPs make very poor leaders, for they depend too much on the attitudes of others. This is one of the negative sides of the Ne function. INTPs tend to jump to intuitive conclusions, can be fatalistic and have little perseverence. On the other hand, they can make very good assistants to leaders, provided they and the leader are of one mind, for their perceptive analysis can give the leadership useful insights which they may overlook, being too busy with leading. Indeed, INTPs are often glad when someone else takes over the lead, again providing the leader is of the same mind. An INTPs ideal is to provide all the ideas for a project and have a charismatic leader, who agrees with him, carry them out. The only area in which an INTP will carry out his own ideas to completion is in his personal interest world, where other people are not involved. For this reason, INTPs are fascinated by computer technology as well as the Internet which gives him a voice that he would not otherwise have. Many of the most dedicated Computer Freaks are INTPs. Ultimately, INTPs tend to trust machines more than they trust people and may feel particularly at home in the realm of cybernetics.
The Ne-Ti axis is a particularly useful configuration for an interest in Science Fiction. The Ne provides a fascination for abstract ideas while the Ti loves analysing the scientific concepts presented. Many an INTP is a Trekkie, particularly because Star Trek pays a great deal of attention to logical detail. Unlike much of the general population, however, INTPs take such science fiction series extremely seriously, showing the great relative importance attached to the world of ideas. Examples of fictional characters who INTPs have a natural affinity for are Avon (Blake's Seven), Data (Star Trek: TNG) and Seven of Nine (Voyager).
General role models for INTPs are individualistic, creative and perhaps enigmatic people. Innovative free-thinkers who follow their own new paths are usually greatly respected. Famous historical figures who attract the INTP's greatest respect are scientists, composers, inventors and, in society, revolutionary leaders and noble visionaries who bring about major change. Above all, individualism is the key factor, while vision is the most highly prized asset.
The Ne-Ti axis also leads to a curious duality in the thinking of the INTP. The dominant Ti core tends to assume the role of a controller and organiser of his life, while the Ne behaves like a free spirit, almost childlike in its enthusiasm. The INTP tends to experience these two forces as an almost continuous tug-of-war, with neither ever quite gaining the upper hand. He is not disturbed by this duality and can view it with wistful humour. If he has been free-spiriting for any length of time, he soon feels duty bound to analyse his behaviour and systematise it. While if he has been in an analytical mode for a while, he will soon decide that he can do what he wants freely after all. It is a yo-yo situation. Generally, INTPs have a very strong requirement to keep their external, social world as simple and as uncluttered as they can so that they can focus as much energy as possible on their internal world of system analysis and theoretizing. Hence, they tend to be amongst the least demanding and least complicated of all types when interacting with others. They prefer to let the world flow by: to observe the waves being made by others, but to make none themselves. When socializing, the Ne mode dominates, unless a discussion starts up involving the INTP in which case the Ti largely takes over. In their private world it is of course the Ti that dominates.

Tertiary Function: Introverted Sensing

The Sensing function is the mode of perceiving which gathers information from facts, details and objects. When this function is strongly introverted, Si, the focus moves away from external details and is primarly concerned with personal, introspective detail. The experience of the present is not central in itself, as with Se. Rather the focus is on how the present evokes remembered earlier experiences. The key outworking of the Si function is then a concern with memories of the past. INTPs typically have an acute awareness of the passage of past times. Sequences of past events can assume a remarkable solidity in their thinking, while most INTPs have very good memories. Indeed, the sensing function is usually very well developed in its strongly Si mode and forms a strong partnership with the Ti core. Hence, the internal world of the INTP is a world of complex, detailed structure, well organized and methodically kept in order. When an INTP focusses on specific details then he has a very sharp eye for them and will not lose sight of them.
On the other hand, one of the more serious weaknesses of an INTP is that the sensing function makes little inroads out into the external world. INTPs are usually oblivious to external details unless something forces them to take notice. When an INTP goes into a new room, or walks through a city street, he is blind to much of the detail that people with an Se function would see immediately. The INTP always tries to get a feel for the big picture, using his Ne, and habitually ignores all detail. Of course, objects of interest will be seen as a matter of course and he can choose to concentrate and focus on them, but it is remarkable how much he still overlooks. And those objects he does happen to notice will belong to a small set of things that he is interested in anyway. Many other objects would only be noticed if another person points them out to him.
When an INTP lives alone, his home is usually spartan and utility-oriented. There will be little or no decorative objects, electronic equipement will be in abundance and the importance of any object will depend only on its usefulness. The general style of the home is largely irrelevant. When an object is put aside, not to be returned to for a while, it will lie fully ignored until used again. Objects which lie unmoved for more than about 48 hours usually become invisible to the INTP, until such time as he has a use for them again. For other temperaments whose need for tidiness and order in a house is strong, this lack of concern in this area may seem despairing. For the INTP, however, no problem exists. Corners of rooms, table tops and cupboards may become cluttered with objects, but while they don't move they remain effectively invisible and are unimportant. Indeed, less mature INTPs have a reluctance to move objects at all, for the desire to remain detached and not physically interact with the world can be strong. The one thing that will force an INTP to tidy his home radically, even when alone, is when the clutter eventually gets in his way and hinders some activity. Often, however, the offending objects will merely be moved into another corner where they can spend some more weeks being invisible. When an INTP lives with a partner and perhaps has a family, he learns the necessity of focussing on the details of tidiness. This is not usually difficult, since tidying a house is an activity which can be clearly defined and, hence, the INTP can focus on it by treating it as systematic work.
Introverted Sensing often plays an important role in the private world of the INTP. When he visits a place, whether new or already known, his Si function gives an overriding concern for the atmosphere or mood of the place. In his subconscious, he connects the present experiences of his surroundings with memories of his past, sometimes deep past. A sense of history, of universality, is almost always invoked. When on holiday, the INTP wants to experience above all the ambience of each location. Specific details in the present are relatively unimportant and will not be well remembered. However, the atmosphere or mood will be remembered long after, as though it were a solid object. Since people encountered on a holiday usually count as details, unless more personal contact develops, the INTP tends to be drawn more to lonely, isolated places where atmosphere is less disturbed. Nevertheless, the presence of people does add its own ambience which can also be appreciated considerably. The net result of this concern for past experiences and of mood/atmosphere is that INTPs belong centrally to those types referred to as melancolic. The INTP melancolic is typically drawn to wild polar expanses, to mountain ranges and all places on the edges of civilisation. Whatever his particular yearning might actually be, it has a common root. The homeland of the INTP's psyche is a small and cosy community, isolated in the middle of a vast expanse of wilderness.
Because the present is inextricably linked to a sense of the past, INTPs tend to hoard items which help solidify the connection to the past. They find it very difficult to let go of anything they have collected (or indeed created) and which may have a nostalgic meaning. They assume that any object which is of interest now is bound to remain of interest for the rest of their lives. This emphasizes a strong sense of universality in the progression of time, just as it emphasizes the seriousness with which INTPs approach their interests. Frivolity is not in their vocabulary. INTPs often love keeping lists and databases in areas of interest, especially when the lists are associated with things of the past. Collecting periodical magazines or other media of interest is also a very common INTP trait. Such a collection is usually taken very seriously. Yet the collective whole, considered as a temporal rather than spatial object, always assumes more importance in the mind of the INTP than the objects forming the collection themselves. Hence, INTPs are collectors, but they are collecters for whom the objects themselves are only important in so far as they evoke a connection to past events, in so far as they yield a nostalgic mood. The curious problem with any collection of an INTP is that he typically fails to enjoy it in the here and now. Items are stored away so that they can evoke this time at some point in the future, but such a point often never occurs. It may never occur because INTPs are always so mentally active that they continually delve into new interests, and continue to hoard items relating to these, so that they rarely allow themselves enough time to reflect on the ever expanding library of their past. The interests of an INTP would be enough to occupy him for several lifetimes if that were possible.
Photography is a classic interest of the INTP, which depends strongly on the Si - Ne combination, as well as on Ti for attention to technical detail. Landscape photography, for example, is the art of conveying a sense of mood/atmosphere to the viewer (Si). The correct employment of lenses, filters etc. brings out the Ti core, while the enjoyment of seeing the world as an fascinating varied object to be observed and captured in the best possible way brings out the Ne-Ti architect. Photos are also a way of capturing the present to evoke a sense of past in the future (Si). When involved in portrait or people photography, the INTP will also be primarily concerned with the mood conveyed by the person in the eye of the lens. Quality photographic skill, as well as an intrinsic feel for imagery, is usually second nature to the INTP and can make a good career choice. When viewing photographic images, say in magazines, the overriding concern is for how the photo is conveyed; its mood, its colour, contrast and shading usages, its perspectives and image quality. However, the actual subject of the image, which other types are likely to concentrate on first, takes a back seat unless it is unavoidably dramatic. Hence, INTPs may convey a very critical and impersonal approach in discussing images, which could lead to offence in some situations.
Another area of interest common to INTPs, where Si has a strong influence, is Music. INTPs are usually fascinated by music and may have deep and wide-ranging tastes. Indeed, each of their three main functions (Ti, Ne, Si) plays a role in the enjoyment of music, and indeed music is a key interest for bringing out the feeling shadow of the INTP. Si itself brings a fascination for mood and atmosphere in music as well as for a strong sense of personal nostalgia. INTPs are therefore often keen on melancolic minor-key music in which an introspective and/or esoteric mood is conveyed. Equally, INTPs enjoy hearing music that they heard and enjoyed when younger (provided they can still appreciate it now) and yearn for the sense of nostalgia that it yields. INTPs are also drawn to complexly structured music, thanks to their Ti core. An appreciation of modern classical music, as well as perhaps contemporary jazz, is therefore common with them. Such music types are usually too complex to be understood after a single hearing, which hence provides excellent material for analysis, exciting the INTP no end. Once the basic developmental structure of the music has been assessed, Ne provides the impetus to derive a general meaning of the piece. What does the composer wish to convey, for example? Why was that particular development chosen? Indeed, the Ne is usually hard at work during listening sessions, trying to grasp the meanings behind the often fascinating combinations of sound-world evocations, structural developments and nostalgic impressions.
When the Ti core dominates the choice of music to listen to, the need for intellectual stimulation derived from complex structures and sounds will override concerns for cultured harmony. Hence, INTPs are often drawn to dissonance. Indeed, they may even thoroughly strive for dissonant sound worlds. When in such moods, consonant harmonies, especially of the three-chord-melody variety, are dismissed as boring and uninspired. If an INTP is forced to listen to simple harmonic music for a while, he usually can't wait to feel the relief provided by a few minutes of pure dissonance. The ideal music for the Ti core might be typically a modern symphony, with a complex, but analysable structure, with a rich and varied sound world, predominantly dissonant but with sections of melodic motifs to provide solidity. Examples of modern classical composers who particularly speak to the Ti core might be Simpson, Arnold, Holmboe, Maxwell-Davies and Shostakovich.
However, feeding the Ti core alone with music will rarely satisfy an INTP for long. Where music really inspires in when the Si function is brought into the picture.  Generally, INTPs are fascinated by atmospheres evoked by music. Examples of modern classical composers whose music speaks more to the Si-melancoly through sound-world evocation might be Bax, Tavener, Pärt, Szymanowski and Rautavaara. Some elements of world-music also speak strongly to the Si-melancoly. INTPs may be interested in the Folk musics of eastern Europe and India, for example. The role played by the Si function is shared by SJ types, so that INTPs may find a common musical bond with some SJs in this area. Indeed, INTPs often feel at ease with SJs, especially their near-shadow xSFJ types. The SJ's guardian instincts usually help the INTP to feel at ease, while the tradition-based predictability of the SJ approach to life helps the INTP to know where he stands, giving him the space he needs to relax. Although the most intense communicative friendships may develop with fellow NTs, some extraverted intuitive types may overstress the INTP by being too dominant and unpredictable, extracting too much energy from the Ti core.
Ultimately, however, music forms a vital, central role in awaking the underdeveloped Fe shadow in the life of an INTP. It is undoutedly Fe that gives the INTP the life-spark to introduce a genuine sense of joy that music is experienced with. To the INTP, the role of Fe in music appreciation remains mysterious. Music forms which may be useful for awakening the shadow are expressive forms of jazz, where extraverted Feeling is central to the music-making process, as well as some expressive Folk styles (Irish for example). Examples of modern classical composers whose music may appeal to the Fe shadow of INTPs are Messiaen, Copland, Schnittke, Bartok, Vaughan-Williams and, again, Shostakovich (Noting that Fe can be expressing a range of positive or negative feelings).The music of Shostakovich is a particular favourite because, alongside its developmental structure, it also yields an immense sense of passionate tragedy which awakes the Fe-shadow together with the Si-melancoly.

Inferior Function: Extraverted Feeling

Extraverted Feeling judgement, Fe, is the shadow function of the INTP, being by far the least developed of his faculties. Indeed, mature use of Fe typically doesn't begin to take shape until well into middle age. Feelings and emotions are regarded with suspicion and perhaps fear by the INTP and he may be keen to avoid considering or showing them. At the same time, he may experience a certain fascination for the emotional world, but he is desperate to de-personalize any thoughts on that area. He is compelled to subject his emotions to continual analysis, the Ti core literally suppressing the Fe shadow, attacking Fe with accusations of irrationality. He resists letting his feelings go, fearing that to do so would be to relinquish control to an unknown force. He believes emotions to be of a lesser substance than logic and his natural goal would be to conquer his emotions with pure rationality.
Much of the above demonstrates the immature and underdeveloped approach with which the INTP meets his emotional side. In reality, the extraverted nature of the INTP's feeling judgement means that his emotions, when visible, are pretty direct and easy to assess. Since the INTP normally wishes to hide his emotions; when they do come out, they do so in outbursts with an almost childlike innocence. There is a sense of all-or-nothing and, when visible, there is nothing enigmatic about the feelings of an INTP: indeed, shadow functions always seem pretty raw and basic.
When making on the spot decisions while extraverting with another person, the shadow Fe is often temporally exposed on the front line. Its immature nature may then result in an inadequate decision being made. The INTP may regret this later when the Ti core has analysed the events. Hence, INTPs tend to resist being forced to make quick decisions, for they know that their Fe judgement is their achilles heel. However, the resistance is sometimes weakened when Ne jumps in to back up the Fe. The accuracy of the intuitive insight then becomes crucial if the INTP is to avoid fatal errors. It is interesting to observe that the external world of the INTP involves a very free-spirited Ne-Fe partnership, while the internal world is a very clinical detail-structure-analysis Ti-Si combination. Hence, the outward behaviour of an INTP can contrast strongly with his introspective world.
For the INTP, emotions are seen as something mysterious and as uncontrollable as they are unalterable. Hence, the root of the fear of emotions is the fear that they cannot be controlled. Hence, when an INTP does finally respond emotionally to something, his emotions are indeed left uncontrolled, raw and open. However, when witnessing the emotional response of another person, the INTP intensely resists any similar emotion of his own. An example of this is when watching a 'weepy' cinema film in which some heart-wrenching scene is being shown. The INTP despises the attempt by the filmmaker to influence his emotions and is more likely to sneer than cry. This response has nothing to do with arrogance, however. Rather it is the INTP defensively avoiding exposing what he knows to be his weak point. Where an INTP may experience his own emotional response during a film is when he has had the chance to consider consequences of a element of the film. Hence, emotional response to media input usually occurs with a certain independence of will, which could appear enigmatic to others.
The mystery of emotion is also evidence in the INTP's use of music. He always chooses to listen to music which suits his current emotional state, be it aggression, warmth, excitement, relaxation or whatever. Hence, the emotional state is assumed to be an unchangeable, mysterious property of himself. It is easier to choose appropriate music than to attempt to influence this. People with introverted Feeling, Fi, however, will deliberately choose to listen to music which helps them change and improve their mood. INTPs could never do that. They feel an unpleasant sense of disharmony whenever a music style clashes with their emotional state. Indeed, it is remarkable how much attention they pay to their emotions when music is involved.
Sexuality is another important area which brings out the Fe shadow of the INTP. Sexuality fascinates INTPs in a similar way to music. Both have an emotional core which does not entirely yield to analysis. Sexual feelings often clash with the INTPs desire to control and understand his universe. They also clash with the desire for detachment and keeping a distance. But sexuality is the one thing who's natural power can break through any type dynamics. Hence, sexuality can play a big role in balancing the INTP's functionality. However, the INTP's natural approach to sexuality will still have true-to-type elements. He will be keen to understand and categorise his sexual responses. He will be keen to see first the generalities of male- and femaleness before any personal references are made. Nevertheless, in an intimate relationship, the extraverted nature of the feeling judgement leads to a beneficial openness and empathic directness in responding to the partner's needs, providing the healthy development of the Fe function is encouraged. Indeed, for many INTPs, an intimate relationship is the only place where the Fe shadow can really develop fruitfully.
The inferior nature of the Fe shadow shows itself, otherwise, in the lack of ability to show active empathy with people undergoing strong emotions. If he wishes to encourage the emotional person, the INTP tends to resort to giving T-based solutions to the problems involved. Often, the INTP does not really know how to empathize and may feel discomfort and helplessness, especially when he understands the rational basis for the emotions. He may become frustrated that the person remains unhappy in spite of hearing his T-based solutions. Much worse is when the emotional person appears to be being irrational. INTPs detest irrational emotion above all things. INTPs must take a very wide berth around people who appear to be irrationally, outwardly emotional. INTPs are very sensitive to such a trait and fear the potential excesses of the emotional attacks which do not yield to a defence based on logic.
In a similar way, INTPs dislike being in an atmosphere of emotional disharmony. If they need to say something unpleasant to someone close to them, they would prefer to avoid this task for fear of the disharmony that may result. This results from the INTP's fear that he does not have the emotional competence to deal with disharmony. INTPs never like doing something until they know they can do it. The best cure for this reticence is experience: to express his feelings, to live through disharmony and come out the other side with greater experience of his emotional side.
The feeling shadow is the fear centre of the INTP. He rarely fears any factual thing in the outside world, at least not things that will be encountered in normal day-to-day living. Logic stipulates that external objects or people which threaten can always potentially be dealt with by instigating an active defence strategy. Of course, the possibility of being left truly helpless leaves the INTP cold, for once the Ti core is defeated, the inferior Fe can offer little comfort. Resigned acceptance of the unacceptable is an anathema for INTPs. His typical response to helplessness is to hate the world which has produced it. However, the greatest fears of an INTP are usually ideas generated within his own mind. The problem is that the Ti-Ne axis is capable of conceiving very unpleasant ideas, which may be far from reality and even irrational. Ideas and possibilities assume so much importance in the mind of an INTP that they can override a common sense factual grasp on reality. Since the emotional response to an unpleasant idea is based on an underdeveloped function, it may also fail to bring a return to common sense. The net result is the fear that ideas alone may lead to self-destruction. This fear is irrational and is a cry of help from the feeling shadow when being overdominated by the Ti-Ne axis. This problem can be overcome when more balanced type dynamics result from increasing maturity.

Concluding Words

With this essay I have attempted to describe the INTP personality type in as comprehensive a way as I can. For fellow INTPs, I hope that the ideas presented here may add some new perspectives on aspects of our behaviour, both the well-known and the less-often-considered. For other types, I hope that this may have provided new insights into a relatively rare and enigmatic temperament.

Weekend's over, time to work!

After much rest, much play and some writing, it's time to get serious again with the new schedule. Had a quiet Christmas, but then I always do. It's easy when you live alone and the nearest relative is thousands of miles away.
One of the drawbacks of the new schedule is I'm working New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. As in Christmas Eve, I'd like to think both will be quiet, but I suspect they will not be. I'm just grateful I got Christmas Day off, though I think that would have been quiet.
Anyway, I'll be working a regular 8 hour shift for the first time since I lost my last job, and I'm looking forward to it. 10 hour shifts are too much, six hours don't pay the bills, so this will be good for me!
Hope everyone had a great Christmas and I wish everyone the best New Year possible!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Yes, the holiday is finally here and I'm enjoying it by opening lots of presents - on my Warcraft account. Each toon gets 4-6 presents and I have many, many toons! It's like being a kid again!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house...

You'd think that people would have better things to do on Christmas Eve than to call about their phone.
At least that was my hope going in.
I was wrong. We're swamped. I just want to yell: STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR PHONE AND ENJOY CHRISTMAS!
Can't wait for 12:30. Really, I can't.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Work/Play/Writing: Three Day Weekend! Wooot!

Just got my first taste of the new schedule that starts Sunday. First, with the current schedule I get Friday and Saturday off. The new schedule has me with Sunday off, so I get a 3 day weekend during Christmas! I still have to work Christmas Eve, but I can live with that. I hope things will be quiet, but no guarantees.
The new schedule has me working 40 hours consistently for the first time since my training ended. And that was at minimum wage, so I'm definitely looking forward to the increased paycheck.
What I plan to do with my time starting Friday? Play Warcraft, of course. I also plan to sneak in a little writing. I almost wrote more of my script today, but the muses weren't with me. I hope they are over the weekend.
Everyone thinks writing is an easy thing to do. It's not, of course, and most of the time, the pay sucks, if any. The only hope is to find something that captures the public's imagination and hope it sells. I've hear J.K. Rowling tried to sell her Harry Potter series to a number of publishers before it took off. A lot of people criticize her writing skill, but all I got to say is, she has a hell of an imagination, and she was able to put it into writing that anyone can understand. I'd like to think I have the same abilities, it's just a matter of finding the right outlet. So this is why I struggle: I don't know anyone in the business. So the goal now is to get the script and its bible finished, and then find the right outle for it.
Anyone out there now a good agent?
Tell you what, over the weekend I'll post snippets of my bible. I won't post everything, but it will give you an idea of that the series will be like.
Until then., adieu.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Work: Blackberry outages

Today there was and is a major outage of the Blackberry Internet Service, which affects all the carriers who provide service to Blackberry phones.
We are flooded with calls, of course, but there is a message while they are waiting to let them know there is an outage.
People don't seem capable of believing that.
'I just heard on your message that you're having an outage, is that true?'
Yes, dammit, it is true, and you just waited 15 minutes or more for me to tell you that! Now get off my phone!
I didn't actually say that, of course, but I wanted to.
Then there are the people who want a credit for the outage. It's been down less than half a day, and yet you think you deserve compensation.
Whatever, I just transfer them, because I can't make adjustments.
Been a fun day.

Work: **Snow***

Just had a co-worker who was talking to a customer who wanted him to make it snow for her. I suggested hitting the * button.
Also suggested hitting ******************************************************************************************************
for a blizzard.
Who says I have no sense of humor!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Someone gone and done it.

Someone has taken the steps of putting my idea into song form. Now we just need someone with a young-sounding voice to record it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Games: Anarchy Online

Since Warcraft is down for a little while, I decided to play a different game while waiting: Anarchy Online. This is a game made by Funcom, who is based in Sweden, and also makes The Age of Conan. They also have offices in the immediate area, and I attempted to apply to them last year, with no job offer being the result.
That aside, the game is really hard to pin down. Is it a science fiction game? If so, why have swords? There are different races, different classes, which is normal for an MMORPG.
The interface is probably one of the worst I've seen. Nothing is intuitive, the learning curve is steep. Mind you, I only played about an hour, but an hour is all I could take.Quite the opposite of Warcraft, which had me hooked within 15 minutes of playing, though it had a learning curve too.
I know, I'm comparing everything to the most-played MMO out there, and every game should try to be different, but not that different. You shouldn't need a thick manual just to learn the basics of a game. And this is why Warcraft is so popular. Yeah, there are things that you have to learn in-game, but the tips are generally helpful, and the player base is huge, and frequently 'newbs' ask those newbie questions , most of which I can answer now.
Anyway, wanted to add my two cents in on that. I'm playing the free version, which likely has limitations, so I may visit again when I'm completely bored.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Holiday Classic maligned forever

Every year, for maybe the last 5 years or so, every time I hear the song 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,' I can't help but think, in these times, that the real shock would not be mommy kissing Santa, but daddy. So I basically change the wording to 'I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus.' I get a big of a kick out of it.
Of course, the censors might not like that, but if someone wants to steal it and record it for themselves, that's ok by me. Just remember where you heard it first!

Play: Healing sucks

I have a number of characters maxed out in World of Warcraft. The Warlock, Caliaellyn, is my favorite, though I still have yet to figure out how to maximize my damage per second (dps). I seem to fall behind others with similar level gear.
I also have 2 maxed out Death Knights. After the Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King came out, this was my favorite class for quite some time, because they are 'easy mode.'
I have a warrior, whom I leveled back when some friends of mine were on the same server, and we did some dungeons together. Most of that group has broken up, though, so that warrior has languished in misuse.
I have a Rogue, which can be fun to play when decently geared, but if not are very vulnerable.
The last level 80 character I leveled is a Priest. Linlek. She is a troll, and looks very strange in her robes. But there are times I like her.
And there are times I do not. Priests are healers, most of the time. She can also DPS, but poorly. Her primary reason for leveling was to help her guild, 'When All Else Fails.' Well, back when I started leveling her in earnest, the guild needed healers. Apparently, that need has been filled without her help. So she languished for a while.
Then patch 3.3 came out, with its Dungeon Finder. This tool made finding groups so easy that Linlek came out of retirement to try to get herself some gear so she could really help healing. Her very first dungeon, however, was too much for her. it was the Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons. Her gear was simply not good enough for that, and the other players, rightly, kicked her out of the group. She has since done other dungeons, some of which are within her reach. Some, depending on the group, test her patience, as well as the patience of the group.
But healing is a thankless job. There aren't as many of them as other types of players, and really good ones are especially hard to find.
For the record, 5-man groups consist of a tank, a healer and 3 dps.
So I've been healing dungeons, and I have been kicked from a few. Some reasons were rather stupid. Tanks (the players that take the most damage and need to be healed most) who pulled entire rooms of Mobs (Monsters, the bad guys) and wonder why I can't heal through it; demanding tanks and/or dps who died for one reason or another and then instantly blame the healer.
I do not claim to be the best healer. I simply don't like the role that much. But I am trying, and I am slowly building better gear. Healing is an intense profession, requiring total concentration on my part or someone dies. It's stressful, and a game shouldn't be stressful. I ran two instances earlier, but despite the tank's best efforts to sabotage the group, no one died. I consider that a victory.
Anyway, the process is slow, and I won't be running very many dungeons on this toon until she gets better gear. But given the demand for healers in dungeons, I expect in time Linlek will be considered adequate for most groups. That's all I want.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Personal: Have a good day!

Well, the TV stand has been mostly built. I didn't include the glass shelf, no point putting my clumsy hands in danger. ;-)
The TV isn't as close to my desk as I'd like, because of the distance the electric sockets are from my desk, but it's good enough, or at least closer than the couch was to the TV before.
Gaming-wise I worked my healer for a good chunk of the night, through chain heroics. Unfortunately the healer isn't as well geared as I'd like, and had some difficulty with certain sections. Healing is a thankless job, filled with people who want to rush around regardless of whether you need to drink due to low mana. You can't heal without mana, and some people just don't care, but will blame me if they die because I can't heal them fast enough.
Thankless indeed. It's no wonder there's a shortage of healers. But I shall persevere.
Work-wise, hopefully I'll pick up a few more hours with the shift bid coming next week. I absolutely hate having to come in on my day off just to even come close to 40 hours. Give me 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and I'll be happy.
Not much else to report. Time to head to bed!

Work: Sitting and waiting, part II

In my last 25 minutes of work at the moment, waiting for work to end so I can watch my new CABLE TV! Actually, I'm going to build the TV stand, which I've started, but didn't have time to complete, and then playing WoW while watching my BRAND NEW CABLE CHANNELS!
And the best part is, I got basic cable channels when I was only supposed to get Broadcast, so I'll be chilling to 70 channels!
I can't wait!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Personal: Sitting and waiting

Today the cable man comes to 'install' my very basic local channels only service. I already have their internet service, and am happy enough with it. I got maybe 2 hours sleep today, then got up to clean the place and build a TV stand. The idea is to have the TV facing my desk, so I can watch TV while I work and play.
Speaking of playing, Blizzard released a patch (on my birthday, see previous post) that has absolutely tripled my enjoyment of the game. It allows me to search for a random group of players for dungeons, that pay pretty handsomely, and get me some better gear. Sometimes the players aren't nice, because I'm not as 'uber' geared as they are, but the Bosses die, which is the main point. Anyway, it gets me better gear, and eventually they'll have less to complain about.
My day in a nutshell. Looking forward to tomorrow, with the first day off since the patch hit. I'll be playing for hours on end!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Today's My Birthday!

A friend sent me a link to the Beatle's song with that title, and it's been running through my head all day. Has been a so-so day. My usual morning.afternoon distraction, Warcraft, was down due to a major patch. Helluva birthday present, but haven't been able to play before had to go to work. I hope I can get in a few hours afterwards.
Work has been hit and miss, a lot of difficult issues.
I got a nice e-card from my daughter, and well wishes from several friends, so overall, I'm pretty happy right now.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Personal: Abuse of the mail system

Today, as I went to check my mail for the first time in 2 weeks (I lost my keys), I got, amongst the usual bills and threatening notices on my college loans, a card,  from some unknown person in Albany. I knew ahead of time what it was, but since I have a relative who (at last report) lived in Albany, I opened it anyway. It was a nice card, even had a Hallmark (tm) stamp on it.
But it was in the end, an ad. A car dealer has been sending these off and on since I moved in, of course at Christmas.
It went immediately into the trash.
Also, because of this I will not use the car dealer in question, EVER! Even if I should come across a large sum of money and can actually afford a car and the insurance, I will not buy it from any dealer that tries to manipulate my emotions like that.
As the game saying goes: gdiaf. Go die in a fire.
Sorry, my Christmas Spirit is about worn out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Work:Back to normal, Games: another milestone.

Well, after an extremely relaxing working Thanksgiving, where I took 12 calls in 6 hours, I come back to work after my usual days off (mind you, I work from home, so coming back just meant logging into their systems), and find that call volume has returned to normal, i.e., back to back. Well, I enjoyed it while I could. I'll be working Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, I suspect those will be somewhat different, especially New Year's Eve. I've worked holidays for other such companies. You get callers who are drunk and want to laugh at you for working a holiday. Not fun at all. At least I have Christmas and New Year's Day off!
On a side note, spent my weekend getting one of my characters on World of Warcraft to the magical level 80, which is as high as it goes at the moment. This character is a priest, a healer, whom I hope will be in demand moreso than my undergeared warlock, who never sees any of the end content because she's outperformed by others. This way I can see the different fights and maybe learn a thing or two.
So a fun weekend all around, followed by reality rearing its ugly face again! AAAAH!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wested and Wewaxed

Ok, had a nice10 hour snooze. Ready to face the world of ...not Warcraft. Time to work and not doze off while doing it!
I am, by the way, working Thanksgiving, for 6 hours. Getting time and a half for it, so I won't complain. They say it will be quiet, not so certain about that myself.
Anyway, have a happy Monday!

I hate Sundayszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sundays I have to work a 10 hour shift. The other 4 days I typically work 6 1/2, but the real problem is Sunday come after my days off.
Given that I play and/or write late at night, sometimes well into the morning, starting work early on Sundays is a major pain.
Yes, I know, I should go to bed earlier. I try, but I can't sleep.So by the time I'm tired enough to go to sleep I'd get at best 4-5 hours, and some days, it just doesn't seem worth it. Yesterday, for instance.
Warcraft had several new things going at once, and I was a bit caught up in it.  I played all day and night Saturday, and when Sunday 8am came along, when I usually go to bed, I was still wrapped up in it. Good term for it, by the way, the weather has started to turn cool, and I might have to turn on the heat before too long.
But I digress. Simply put, I stayed up from roughly 4pm Saturday until the time this post comes out, roughly 36 hours straight. Not all playing Warcraft, but a good chunk of it.
Even now, part of me wants to keep playing, while the other part is shutting down...zzzzz.
Huh? Where was I? Oh yeah. Time to hit the sack. I don't have to be at work for another15 hours. That'll about do it.
Oh, and for those "Heathens out there reading this - You know who you are... If any of you has heard from Tim Walters since 1979 let me know. I'd like to touch bases with him.
Good night Neverland!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Leisure time

It's my weekend, and after playing Warcraft until 8am this morning, sleeping for 8 hours (a rarity for me, I usually get 6 or less) and playing Warcraft again for 5 hours, I decided to take a little break and watch a little TV. Now I don't have cable, I have a digital converter box that works some of the time for some of the channels. So most of the time when I want to watch television, I do it online, at Currently, I'm watching this week's episode of CSI. I also watch the new version of 'V' there.
I work during most primetime broadcasts, so it's the perfect web site to get caught up.
I just wish there were a little more variety out there. It's not like you can't throw a commercial in when you're watching.
Let's join the 21st Century and see all TV programming online!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Work: I'm retarded

My life is complete, I've been called 'Retarded' by a customer, who took a holier than thou attitude with me.Just shoot me now! Sad part is he probably makes more money in a single week than I make in a year.

Work: Staffing

I've worked at a number of call centers over the last 8 years, some large, some small, but the management at each has the same mentality: We want you here to take calls, not to sit around waiting for calls.
So here's the current scenario: After days of taking calls back to back, things have slowed down just a little, and I get maybe 10 seconds between calls. Now they're asking for people to not work.
The business part of me says makes sense. The CSR part of me says: 'Gimme a break!'
The business end says we don't make money if you're not on a call. The CSR part of me says: 'I need to breathe!'
It's a dilemma. But since I'm not a manager, I have to go on the side of the CSR. Management: You're putting too much pressure on us CSR's and making the customer wait needlessly! Stop it!
There, now the problem is solved.
Wait, what do you mean it's not. They're not listening to me? How dare they! Why I oughtta...
Finish my damn screenplay and sell it before this job really does drive me insane!

Edit: and just like that, we're in queue again. Send too many people home, this happens. Now they're asking people to come back on. Just keep 'em scheduled the way they are. Please!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On a Chicken Wing and a Prayer

Today I ordered one of my favorite combinations from my favorite pizza place, a pizza and chicken strips. I got a call a few minutes later telling me they were out of chicken strips and would I like wings instead. I had to politely tell the manager that I didn't want wings, and to remove the chicken strips from the order.
The pizza came a few minutes later, and the delivery person said the manager told him there would be no charge. Wonderful!
But as I sat down to eat a slice of pizza, I thought about the whole concept of chicken wings and why they seem to take on the popularity they have. It just seems strange to me that the part of the chicken with the least amount of meat, a piddly amount at best, would command such a demand. And then I wondered why on earth restaurants can get away with charging as much as they do for these wings?
I mean you might as well just take a bit of chicken skin, put on all the spices and sauces they add, and serve those, and you'd get almost the same experience, with no bones to throw away.
Anyway, that's what's going through my head at the moment.

Time for a little gaming

All right, work is done for the next 16 hours, let's play a little.
I play the World of Warcraft primarily. It's, as I've said before, an MMORPG. Massively Multiplayer. Thousands of players online on a given server at a given time. Why do those people play? For the gear, or 1337 purplz, in the vernacular. 1337, is slang for 'Leet', or elite. The purplz refers to the color of the title of the gear if you mouse over it. There are 6 tiers of gear: grey - the gear you start out with, junk, sold to vendors within the game to build your gold supply; white - usable by someone, sellable, auctionable, but not generally a money maker; green - pretty good quality gear/weapons/gems. usable by poor people (at least within the game, to make their gear passable for leveling up. Generally of little use at maximum level; blue - better quality gear than green, sells for more in the auction house (where people buy/sell things), and it is coveted at lower levels; purple - the mainstay of raiders and PVP enthusiasts, not the highest level, it's generally bind on pickup, which means if you loot this, you can't sell it on the Auction House. 1337 gear, that has different tiers of just how good it is. Some purplz are more 1337 than others, and you can get laughed at by people who have the better gear. Not the most fun part of Warcraft, at least for me.
The final tier is Legendary - very rare, usually some epic quest chain that you have to follow, that cost much time and gold to finish, and only a few have these. They are generally weapona.
The problem is, with every new patch, with every new expansion, the 1337 gear that you can get from the previous patch/expansion is meaningless. So for those that must be the most 1337  must continually grand their way to better gear. Warcraft will never end for them.
I'm not quite like that. I don't play the game for the gear, or the gold, or be being 1337. I play it because it's fun. I play it because each class, or type of character a player can make, is different. I play it to see what each class can do, to see how to fight each class in battlegrounds - where players fight each other. I play it because I can play it by myself most of the time, and can pick and choose when I want to work with others. Believe it or not there are MMORPG's where you don't have that option. You can't solo your way through content.
I play because each time I level a character I discover a different nuance to the game. It will never end for me, either, but I'm not stuck up about working with someone who has less 1337 gear than me.
So those 1337 people can have their 'fun', and I'll have mine. It is just a game, after all. amiright?

Be Polite

There's a scene in the movie 'The Fifth Element' that I love. The girl, Leeloo, played exquisitely by Milla Jovovich, is cornered in Bruce Willis' taxi, and she says, very meekly, 'Be Polite.'
Well, I tend to have somewhat of a meek character on the phone. If there are things I need to tell the customer, I tend to soften this up, by using terms like 'it looks like...', "it appears...',  'Let me look into that...,' when all the time I know what I'm doing. I do it because not many people like being brusquely told what to do or what I'm doing.
I didn't used to be that way, I used to be very blunt with people, and it wound up getting me into trouble.
Well some people take that meekness to mean I don't know what I'm doing and the advice I give them, which is correct, to be something to be tossed aside. 'Can I speak to someone else?' 'Sure, but they'll tell you the same thing', only maybe they will be more blunt about it.
The bottom line is, I'm trying to be polite and soften the way that I speak and the way that I appear to the customer, and some are seeing it as a sign of weakness, and they, in turn, rather impolitely, make me feel worthless.
'You can't please all of the people all of the time.' Truer words were never spoken.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just smile and nod

Most of my calls at work are people who are upset because their phones don't work. To a degree I can understand that, you're paying for something and it's not working. But some people act as if the world were about to end and it's all my fault.
One typical scenario: Customer calls because they can't surf the internet on their phone. The problem is, they're on that phone, and I can't do any other troubleshooting unless I call then back on a different phone.
'I don't have another phone.'
or 'I'm on the road, can't you just fix it on your end?'
I'm sorry that society has come down to the fact that people only have one phone and it's wireless. As a matter of fact and for working purposes, I have a landline. I also have an emergency cell. The weird part is: as these customers are waiting to get on, the system is telling them the same thing I tell them. If you are calling from the phone that is having the problem, please call from a different phone.
And sometimes, the problem is not on our end, and there are things we need to do on the phone to get it working again. That's just the plain harsh fact of PDA's.
A few years back, before broadband became inexpensive enough to use, people used modems to connect to the internet. Archaic by our standards today, but back then it was great! Except when you had a problem. You'd have to call tech support using the same phone you just disconnected from the Internet, and they'd tell you the same things I'm telling customers now. We can't help you unless you're online, which you can't do when you're on the line you're calling from.
Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
A few pointers to get the best of customer service:
1. Don't call in when you're angry: 'You won't like me when I'm angry.' That's true for any form of customer service/tech support. We won't like you.
2. If you must call in when you're angry, don't take it out on the rep. Would you like being yelled at 40 times a day? Neither do we!
3. Don't rattle off your information as if you're Chef Ramsey testing his cooks! You'll usually wind up repeating yourself.
4. Don't insult your rep. It may sound silly, but there are those that like to say things like 'Are you deaf?'

Those are just a few of the things I go through on a daily basis. If you won't put up with rude reps why should I put up with rude customers? Yet I just smile and nod through most of it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Job: Professional waiter

Those of you who know what I do for a living will look at that and go 'Huh?' Let me explain.
I work tech support for a large mobile network service provider. I work with Palms and Blackberries, helping people get their phones to do what they want to do.
The job is relatively simple, the troubleshooting steps are laid out pretty precisely. I would not rate the job itself as particularly difficult.
The customers are another matter. Most are impatient, rude, and think they know my job better than I do. Fix your own damn phone if you feel that way.
But getting back to the title, the process for fixing the issues our customers have is time consuming. Once we get deep into the process, it usually involves waiting, and more waiting. Hence the term professional waiter. I do not wait tables. I do not want to wait tables. I have enough issues with talking to people on the phone without seeing them in person. Plus I don't have the physical capacity to wait tables.
Just as well, I'd rather be this kind of waiter, and can do things like type this blog while I'm on a call, than the other type where I don't get a moment's rest.
And there's the added advantage of working from home. I love this! If I'm on a long call, I can hop off, grab a drink and be back before the customer knows I'm gone. And during breaks and lunch I can turn on the TV and relax on the couch.
More people should work this way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Intro Part V - Personal

All right. We've covered some of the basics of my life - very basic, so let's get personal. What would you like to know? I feel like I'm in an interview and I've never been good at interviews, because of the aforementioned dislike for talking, and because I'm basically a shy, awkward person.
Back when I was 10, I lived in Tampa Florida, and there were 3 girls in the neighborhood who teased me ruthlessly because I was shy. 'Shy Boy, Shy Boy', they'd chant. It hurt. I've tried to put how I feel in writing, either in a short story form, or in a script, and it's just too painful, too personal. Yet I feel it's a story that needs to be told, so one of these days I'll write it.
Yet there have been times I've tried to break out of my shell, later to discover it just wasn't me. I'm not meant to be the life of the party. So I've stopped trying.
Another thing that doesn't help my ability to come out of my shell is the numbers of moves I've made. It started I guess at birth because I was born in France, to an Air Force pilot and his wife. My father died when I was a year old (literally 2 days after my birthday), in a plane crash. My mother took us back to the states, and we moved from New Hampshire to North Carolina before my 5th birthday.
Then she went and married another Air Force pilot, and the merry go round started fresh. From North Carolina to Arizona, Arizona to Florida, Florida to England, England to Alabama, when I graduated high school.
Then I went to college in Florida, never finished school, moved to a different part of Florida, then to Nevada, Massachussetts, Connecticut, New York, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Virgina, and finally back to North Carolina, where I've lived for about as long as any other place.
I suppose I've been 'searching for myself.' trying to feel comfortable somewhere. But I've never really called someplace home, and that stems from my childhood.
It could not be helped. Most of my other family members have been able to settle down from when they turned adults, I just was never able to adjust. I don't consider it a bad thing. I've probably seen more of the U.S. than most people. But I have a sense of restlessness when I stay in one place too long.
I wish I could travel more, actually visiting places rather than living someplace for a while then moving on. If I could make a living writing, I could do that, or if I could find some way to telecommute that would be ideal, but I guess for now I'll just have to settle in. One thing about this current job: I can do it from almost anywhere!

Intro Part IV - Playing

Okay, so far we've briefly discussed some of  my writing and my job. In this blog we're going to briefly discuss what I do in my spare time, which is play World of Warcraft.
I actually have two accounts with it, and have been known to dual-box from time to time, though not much recently. If you don't know what dual-boxing is, well simply put it's playing two accounts at the same time.
Warcraft is what is called an MMORPG, short for Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game. And by massively, we're talking as many as 11 million subscribers. Oh, not all at once or on the same realm, but on each realm you can have many thousands of players at the same time. it's fun from that perspective.
What draws me in is a combination of the storyline and the fact that you can do so much by yourself.
And that's true with a lot of the online games out there. I've played a few, trying to get a feel for different games and their differences. Some are better than others, some just look better, but play awfully.
Anyway, that's what I do in my spare time. Not much of a life? Eh, it could always be worse. I could actually succeed in my writing and get caught up in the Hollywood scene That would be worse!

Intro Part III - My Job(s)

As I stated in my first post, I consider my calling in life to be writing. I am a writer, whether successful or not is a matter of opinion.
Yet since I do not make any real money from it, I must turn to other ways to make ends meet. Over my entire life I've had many types of jobs. I've tried so many different jobs, in an effort to find something that I'm not only good at, but feel comfortable doing. So far, writing is the only thing that has truly made me feel comfortable.
I'll go into details of past jobs as the blog progresses, but for now, let it be known that I work in customer service, in the current case, technical support. I work from home, which is convenient in most ways, but does have a few down points, but that's for another blog.
The thing about customer service/tech support is that I'm fairly good at it. I'm generally polite, though some people have tried their best to push my buttons. I have a fairly calm demeanor, and a great deal of patience.
But I hate talking on the phone. I REALLLLLLLLY hate talking on the phone. But it does pay the bills, and in this economy, I don't have a lot of choice. To give you an indication of just how much I hate talking - in general not just on the phone - if it weren't for this job and others like it, I wouldn't talk at all. Seriously. I hate the sound of my voice. I've heard people say I sound young. Yeah, like a teenager who's voice is changing. If you'd like to hear a sample, just check out my youtube videos.
In all, I'd rather be sending emails, using IM's and using technology in general than using my voice.
Yet somehow I muddle through a job that requires me to talk 40 hours a week.
I'm good at it. I don't enjoy it. I'd rather be writing or playing. But that's the subject of another blog!

Intro Part II - My Writing

This is a continuation of my initial post, which basically introduced me, and let you know the types of things I'll be writing about.
In this post I'll discuss the type of writing I do, as well as some specific examples of my writing.
First, I will write in most genres if I feel I have a compelling story to tell. I prefer the fantasy/science fiction story because that lets my imagination roam far from the norm. But I've also been known to dabble in erotica, but I won't post examples here.
Some finished products: 2 novels in scifi/fantasy: Theater Boy, and The Timmons Incident, both available from Publish America.
I'm currently working on the script for a potential TV series based on those novels. I may post updates on that as I go along.
I have other ideas floating around my head: New Rome, an Alternate History book, with the main plot a Roman 'Renaissance Man' finds himself in North Carolina in the 1st Century CE.
I'll post more as I can find my notes.

First things first

Hi, welcome to my blog. The name of this blog is 'Rants and Ravings of a Sane Person.' I just want to get it out of the way that I am sane, but occasionally I like to complain about various aspects of my life, whether personal, business, or things in the news. This is my outlet.
A little bit about myself: My name is Michael Fox. I write. You've never heard of me (not yet), but hopefully you will soon enough.
But since writing doesn't pay the bills yet, I also work as a technical support agent for a wireless phone company that won't be revealed.
I also like to play computer games, such as 'World of Warcraft', and I also like to surf the web using Facebook and other social networking site.
So some of my blogs will be about writing, some will be about working, and some will be about playing.
The last aspect of my life is the personal stuff: things that happened to me today, unrelated to work, writing and playing.
So sit back and read, and I hope you enjoy the ride!