Wednesday, January 27, 2010

'I wish you would die in an accident'

That's exactly what someone told me today. Someone from New York. And I was trying to help the guy by getting him in touch with the department that handles his type of phone. He would have none of it. If I couldn't solve his problem, he'd just hang up, but he didn't hang up. I offered again to transfer him. 'I wish you would die in an accident' I hung up on him.
That sounded more like a threat than anything else I've heard in my 8+ years in customer service. I was so tempted to send his information the the FBI. I'm still tempted.
What on earth would make someone think they could say that over a phone line?
I'm livid right now to the point where if I weren't already far behind this week, I'd stop working for the rest of the night.
But I need the hours. He needs to get a life. Or maybe he needs to get life.

A nightmare ends, for now...

Well, after missing a full day and a half at work due to a hard drive failure, I am now back on line, mostly. I'm missing a few tools I need at work, and most of the links that I had accumulated over the months.
But I now have a working computer. temporarily.
Truth be told, it was a temporary situation any way I looked at it. The Beta version of Win 7 I currently use will expire in a couple of months, and then I would have had to buy it anyway.
But on my budget, paying $200 plus for the full version of the operating system is simply too much. Add to that the cost of a new hard drive, and it makes it unattainable.
I'm using my old hard drive from my old computer right now. Had to wipe it and put Win 7 on it. It's an IDE drive, and I suppose it's fast enough, but it's not as fast as my former SATA hard drive, and also not nearly as large. So the more I use it, the slower it will get. I can get a decent hard drive for $60, not a budget-killer by itself, but of course there's the new version of Win 7 to get.
I can get an OEM version of Win 7 for about $110, but I'm not sure how that works when it comes to changing computers.
So I have some researching to do before I commit money I can't afford into something I may not be able to use.
And I also have to make up 10 hours of work.
Joy to us all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Worst. Day.Ever

Over the weekend my computer took a header for one brief hour. I thought at first it was a failing hard drive, but as it turns out that's not quite the case.
Monday, as I was getting ready for work, it takes another header. It's not the hard driver, per se, it's the whole thing is overheating. It happened at possibly the worst time it could happen, just before work.
While I frantically tried to cool the damn thing off, my shift started. I then tried to get my old computer to work. Big Mistake.
Well, first of all, this is an XP system, designed about 5 years ago and it was pretty obsolete even then, but it was cheap. It served its purpose then.
I haven't used it much since I got the new computer. So what does it do when I first plug it in? It tried to update. About 6 months worth of updates. Plus I can't even try to use it until Java updates. So I let it update. Tick. Tock.
So it finishes updating and I try to log into my work systems. More updates. Then I forgot my user ID to get into the systems, and had to briefly reconnect my old/new computer to see if I can get it. I can't even get the thing to boot up. Tick. Tock. I tried to put a spare power supply in it, thinking that might help. Well the spare didn't work. Tik. Tok.
So I put the old computer back on, and ask my supervisor for help getting my user ID. It is now written down rather than just being on my computer.
I start to slowly log into my systems, and just when I'm ready to log into the phone, I discover that the program that logs me into the phone is denying me access because of some Java issue. T. T.
I can't use the old computer, but maybe the new computer has cooled down sufficiently to work. I throw the working power supply on the thing and pray.
YES! It worked!
And it lasted the rest of the shift, half of what I was scheduled.
The idea is it appears the system heats up to a point where it's unusable. The solution, albeit temporary, is to let the system stay off for the 2-3 hours before work starts. That way everything's cooled down, and hopefully will last the entire shift.
If not, it will be a piss poor week. And I'll have to get a replacement computer, or whatever component is failing, I'm still not sure which it is. Either way, I'm not a happy camper. I think I'll start by getting one replacement fan. We'll see if that works, if not, it goes back.
I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Work: Methinks she doth protest too much

I had a caller recently, a New Yorker, whom I had asked whether she still had the cable that came with her phone so she could hook it up to her computer. She said, rather hotly, that she never got one. I replied that she should have, and she then accused me of calling her a liar.
Why do people do that?
If I'd wanted to call you a liar, I would say so to your face. I have no problem acting the same way you do. -Acting, mind you. I'm not like that.
As it was, I wondered whether people who say things like that are really lying to me after all. Maybe she lost the cable somewhere and didn't want to admit it and when I called her on it, she became defensive.
At any rate, let's combine two gripes into one blog.
She was a New Yorker. These people, and yes, I'll lump them all together, because I have yet to see someone born and raised in New York who wasn't like this, seem to go out of their way to either offend, or act offended at the slightest provocation. They are rude, demanding and think the world revolves around them.
Maybe they don't see their faults because everyone they know acts that way, and finding someone who truly cares and is considerate in that bunch is like finding a needle in a haystack. So when they're dealing with someone who isn't one of them, their first reaction is to try to take advantage of them.
I wonder how customer service agents from that area act around them? Do they put on the tough guy/gal act too? 'Ey, you want something from me, ya bastard? Go to hell.'
Yeah I can totally see that.
And you can't fire them because they're all like that!
Maybe I need to work in New York!
Nah, I'd rather work from home, home being in any place but New York or California.
Have a wonderful evening! Even those from New York.
And for God's sake, lighten up!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Work:: Hello?

I'm trying to help you. You don't need to keep saying 'hello?'
If your connection is that bad, use a different phone.
Worse yet is someone who asks a question, and almost before they finish it they say 'hello?'
I'm here. But if you keep it up, I may not say anything and let you think the connection was lost.
Just a small warning.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Play: Back to DPS

I've decided I've had enough of healing for a while, and when I play my priest, she will be covered with shadows and hard to see, as I've converted her Holy spec to Shadow. I will keep the Disc spec for when I'm feeling in the mood to heal, but I'll be working on gear for DPS from now on. Just fair warning for those expecting different.

Political: Building a Solid Foundation - Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Here is my promised political rant.
Today I heard and read that President Obama began his term as President by trying to build a solid foundation to work from. He made it clear in his inaugural speech that the process of climbing out of this hole we are in will take time. I certainly believed him at the time. Apparently no one else did.
My problem is, with the year he's had to build that foundation, he has put it to Congress to create a Health Care Reform Bill and get it passed. He wanted certain things out of it, but let them decide whatever else to put in it.
Big Mistake!
I tried to slog my way through the bill now at the door of the House of Representatives. Just finding out which bill is the right one took me an hour. This is where I found it.
There is also a pdf version of it, which now resides on my computer.
I know that Congress does things the hard way. They've done it for years. I suppose even such documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (before amendments) are complex by the standards of the late 18th Century. Certainly with the amendments that have been added since by various Congresses, the Constitution is now a much more complex document than our forefathers imagined. I wonder if they could have imagined the monstrosity that is the tax code?
So the point I'm trying to make is: if you want to build a solid foundation, go the way of the original Constitution and the Declaration, and make it simpler.
You want to reform health care? Hey, I'm in agreement with you. For part of this past year, I was unemployed, and then for another 90 days after I was employed I was uninsured. I'm a person with Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. I can't go that long without Health Insurance without doing worse harm to my body.
So you want to change the system. Here's what you do: keep it the way it is for those that have health insurance. Man, that is not the best system, but it's one in place. Don't fix it - yet. You want to make sure anyone who is not insured either gets insurance or is covered if they need medical care. All right. How about a health plan just for those? You're unemployed or between jobs and don't have health insurance? That's okay, the government will cover you until you do. You're poor, destitute, homeless? You can get the medical and dental care you need. I know Medicaid exists to cover some of that, especially for families, but it leaves gaps. Let's close the gaps. Let the government take care of its own, and yes, even the illegal immigrants if they need it.
You don't fine people who can't afford insurance. Don't even cover it up by giving exemptions. My God, this is how the tax system got so bloated, by having exemptions. But that's for another blog. Cover everyone dammit, regardless of the cost.
That's the solid foundation to build on. Once everyone is covered, then you can start to work on the problems that are causing our health care system to be broken.
This is my solution. A simple bill that guarantees that no one pays more than they can afford for health care.
We can do this. We have to do this.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Work: Hump Day

Well, Wednesday is almost over for me, as far as work goes. We had a very slow day early on, but the last hour has been back to back. No explanation other than either more people are calling in or fewer reps are on. I'd go with the latter.
Later today I'm going to make a political blog. I normally don't raise my voice about politics, but this time I'm going to.
More later.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Personal: Migraine Misery Part II

Okay, here it is Tuesday morning, what, 5 days after the the initial migraine hit, and I'm still feeling some pressure behind my right eye. It's not so bad that I would beg off work, but on nasty days like the one I just had, it just makes it harder.
Other than the migraine, I actually feel not so bad.
WoW has lost some of its appeal, but that could be the migraine talking.
I have written an outline of what I want to accomplish in the second act of my script. It's a key act, because it shows some of the background for understanding Dottie, and I have to write it carefully, so as not to make people think she's either crazy or an attention hog. Of which she's neither.
Once the second act is written, the rest of it should flow rather quickly, I hope.
I just enjoyed watching a replay on of the initial 2 hours of '24'. I caught bits and pieces of the second 2 hours as I was working. Looking forward to seeing those later today.
Trying to make a budget for the next paycheck, when several bills will come due that I have to pay or lose service. And I have to pay some back rent. I hope to be fully out of this hole within 2 months. And then I can start paying for my education loans again. Joy.
Of course if I can finish this script and garner the attention of a suitable agent, (hint hint to any literary agents out there, this one is worth looking at!!!) then that might make paying bills a bit easier.
Not that I expect literary agents to read blogs, but you never know.
Nothing else to report, time for bed.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Migraine Misery

Last night (Wednesday) I was having a typical day at work, when fairly suddenly, I felt a throbbing in my head, just behind my right eye: a migraine, that formed incredibly fast compared to others I've had.
It's likely due to a combination of stress, and a sinus condition that has had me sneezing and my nose running
Depending on the intensity of the headache and call volume I can sometimes work through such headaches. Wednesday was not one of those nights. I literally was almost incapacitated by it. I begged off work, and went to take a nap. I usually play music while I'm sleeping, for reasons I will not discuss now, but at that time, both sounds and bright lights (such as from a computer screen or TV, even) only made the headache worse.
I did, in the end, take a nap for about two hours, and felt well enough to get up and do a little playing, very limited playing, just grinding, killing things that came along. The headache was still there, and at this moment, is still there, but I was able to work tonight without too much of a problem. But now I have to make up 3 1/2 hours sometime between now and Saturday. I actually had a short night tonight, but with the migraine still poking around my head, I didn't want to chance it, plus it was a pretty rough night as far as calls go. (Have I mentioned I hate the attitude all New Yorkers seem to take? No? I'll leave that for another blog.)
But at the moment I can feel the back of my eye pulsing, and I'm going to bed. Have a wonderful night!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life: Update

Well, I broke down and moved another key into the 'b' slot. Yes, that was the missing letter, and it works just fine. The problem is: the keys I took off. I find myself using them, though certainly not was much as 'v' and 'b'.
Anyway, I just need to look again for the missing keys. They're probably buried under paperwork that I have on my desk or rolled into a corner behind my behemoth desk.
Other than that, life rolls on. I continue to play. I try to write, stuck at the end of the segment I posted, not sure where to take it from there. I can never make it easy for my characters, though you'd think with their 'gifts' and technology, they could take it easy.
Problem is, someone else always wants it, and none of it can be used by everyone without creating more trouble.
I've been sneezing off and on for days. Feels like allergies, though not sure what I'm allergic to.
My last paycheck, which included more hours than I've been getting, was larger, by less than I'd hoped. I had about $100 more gross income out of it, and of that $100, $30 was taken out in taxes. A higher tax bracket, for someone who still makes less than $25,000/year, doesn't make sense to me.
But then, I'm in favor of a National Sales Tax, to completely replace the IRS.
It's feasible.
Not much else to report. Life goes on, and on, and eventually... well I'll leave that up to your imagination. Mine is roaring along just fine, thank you!
Have a happy January!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I was going to make this _log a_out the weather outside, since it's _een in the 30's and _elow for the last week or more..., _ut then something else happened.
I had spilled something on my computer today, so I decided it was time to clean it. I spent quite a _it of time getting the keys out, and a few of them popped out and landed in places unknown. I found all _ut two of them, the 'v' key and the '_' key, hint it's not really the '_' key, see if you can guess which is it. I had _een a_le to use those keys _y pressing into the empty slot with a pen, _ut that hasn't worked since just _efore I started writing this _log.
I found, though, that I needed the 'v' key enough to use another _utton in it's place. I needed it for the ctrl-v option of pasting. I don't know if I damaged the '_' key or not, _ut it's not working. I'd hate to have to replace the key_oard over one letter, _ut you can see how often it's used just in this _log.
I suppose I could use the onscreen key_oard, _ut that's such a hassle.
So until I find that key, or see if I damaged my key_oard, I'm stuck.
Out in the cold.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Writing: My script: What I have so far

Here is my script in its entirety. It's rough, it's not finished. It's barely into the second act of what will likely be 8 acts. Comments, as always, are welcome.

The Timmons Chronicles
By Michael Harrison Fox
Act I
It is January 1, 1972. A birthday party is in progress for BOBBY TIMMONS, age 6. His friends, boys and girls, are celebrating with a game of pin the tail on the donkey, and the birthday boy has been blindfolded. His mother, LORIE TIMMONS, watches over the party.
After the party is over and Bobby has said goodbye to his friends, Lorie takes him by the hand and leads him to a door in the hallway.
We have one more present for you, Bobby.
Oh great! What is it? That fire engine I wanted?
Not exactly.
She opens the door and they see Bobby’s father, BRAD TIMMONS, and his grandfather, THE OLD MAN next to a strange-looking chair.
Hey, I already had my teeth checked. What gives?
Bobby pulls back slightly.
Sedate him.
I don’t like this. Bobby we’re going to give you the gift of knowledge.
What does that mean? And that chair looks like the same one you use when you check my teeth.
It is, sweetie, but I promise you’ll be okay. We’d never hurt you.
The Old Man glares at her. She sighs and takes a needle out of one pocket.
Ahh! You are going to hurt me!
Brad suddenly appears behind Bobby and sticks a needle into his butt. Bobby cries out then passes out.
That wasn’t necessary.
They lift Bobby and take him into the room.
They quickly lift Bobby into the chair and strap him in.
This is for the better. He won’t move and be tense during the procedure.
I still think this is the wrong time to do this, the wrong way. If something were to go wrong…
We’ll cross that bridge, doctor. He needs to broaden his mind. He’s been too slack with his education as it is.
He’s only just six!
I had this done when I was his age. He’ll be fine.
You were better prepared. You knew what was happening. He doesn’t!
Enough. (Looks at Brad) Do the honors, please?
Brad moves to a console on the far side of the room. Lorie and The Old Man join him. A device drops from the ceiling, and lowers onto Bobby’s head. It looks like a colander but with spikes on the inside and out. When it reaches Bobby’s head, electricity begins to arc.
Are you monitoring him, doctor?
Of course. Pulse is up, EKG spiking, but not beyond tolerances. His brain waves are shooting off the scale.
Within tolerances. Start knowledge feed.
The unit begins to hum and the arcing increases. Bobby tenses.
That’s too fast. (Hears a beep) Wait, shut it down. Something’s wrong.
The arcing begins to subside and Lorie rushed to Bobby’s side. She pulls out a box and waves it in front of Bobby, whose eyes have glazed over.
(Shakes her head)
Too late. There’s brain damage.
He’s not brain dead is he?
No, but he’s lost higher learning functions. I told you this was too dangerous.
We could try it again, with less power.
No. We’ll have to do this the slow and sure way. (He calls out) Rejuvenate him, to just before this started.
The device lifts up and Bobby is surrounded by a glow. After a few moments, the glow fades away. Lorie examines him and nods.
Back to normal.
Take him to bed. I’ll prepare his gift.
Bobby is sleeping soundly. On his bed appears a small glowing ball. Bobby stirs, then jumps to a sitting position.
W-what are you?
The ball beeps.
A question has been asked. I am your guide to knowledge. Please ask anything you like and I will answer.
Bobby rubs his eyes.
Am I dreaming?
Negative. (It beeps again) Do you wish to learn more about me?
Bobby nods.
Very well. Please place one of your hands on me.
It’s not going to hurt is it.
Bobby reaches a hand tentatively at the ball. As he begins to make contact blue spikes of electricity come out. Bobby jerks his hand back.
That didn’t hurt, but my head tingles.
That is knowledge passing through your hand to your brain. This is a low-level form of brain training.
Bobby reaches out again. Soon his head is surrounded by a blue field. His hair flies up. Bobby laughs.
This is fun!
The Old Man, Lorie and Brad sit in a circle, concentrating intently.
I can see no damage this time. I don’t see why you couldn’t do it this way the first time.
Because it’s slow and it will take longer to tell him what he needs to know. I swear, I’d never thought of myself as being this slow.
Lorie covers her face with her palm.
We couldn’t use the techniques you were trained under, It would draw too much suspicion. His mind and body weren’t ready for the shock, and you know it. He’s not slow.
No, but he has been terribly average thus far. We’ll change that.
He’ll have trouble coping. He’ll have changed but his friends, his teachers won’t.
Well then we’ll have to guide him through it, won’t we?
Bobby comes running into the room, carrying his guide.
Mom! Dad! You’ll never guess what I got!
Do you like your gift?
Oh yeah. It’s great!
It’s from your grandfather.
Bobby runs to The Old Man and hugs him.
Thanks grandpa!
Bobby sees a pigeon on the balcony and runs to the door. He opens it, touches the ball.
Columba livia , they eat seeds, bread, (pauses) oh wait, they spread disease. Shoo!
Bobby flails until the pigeon flies away.
That’s enough of that, young man. Leave the birds alone. I won’t let you get sick from a pigeon and they have as much right to be here as we do. I will not have you be cruel to animals.
But don’t we own this building? We can tell them to leave!
The building has been here long before we bought it. Leave them alone son.
Bobby sighs.
I’m glad you like my gift, Bobby. But you must promise me something.
Promise me you’ll never tell anyone about it.
But why? This is a great thing!
There’s only one like it in the whole world. And it’s yours. If you go around telling people about it, they may try to take it away from you.
Bobby clutches the ball closer.
Don’t frighten him. (To Bobby) Just make sure you keep it hidden. (Turns to The Old Man) In more ways than one.
Bobby lies in bed, clutching his ball. The ball glows softly.
Why do they want me to hide you?
Because you and I are unique. There is no one quite like us in the whole world. People will be jealous, they’ll want one too. Or if you tell them about me, they may laugh at you, think you’re crazy.
But I’m not crazy. (Pause) Am I?
No, you’re not. But think about it. If before today someone told you they talked to a ball, what would you think?
(Nods) I’d think they were crazy. But couldn’t you talk to them? Let them know you’re real?
I can only talk to you. Go to sleep now, and I’ll try to explain it while you’re sleeping.
Bobby strokes the ball, closes his eyes, and falls asleep.
Bobby enters his classroom, which is typical for a kindergarten classroom of the era. He wears a backpack, which he places on his desk. Several of his friends come up to him.
Hey Bobby! What did you get for Christmas and your birthday?
Oh, lots of stuff: A fire truck, a baseball glove, and uh- a new ball.
Did you bring the glove and ball? We can play catch!
Bobby clutches his backpack.
Uh, no. It’s not a baseball, it’s like one of those magic eight balls, only it talks.
This I gotta see.
Bobby pulls the ball from his backpack and the growing crowd ‘oohs.’
It glows. And you say it talks?
That’s right. Ask it a question.
Okay, are the Cubs ever going to win the World Series?
Well, answer the question.
I can only answer questions you pose.
All right. Will the Cubs ever win the World Series?
Not within the next 80 years.
Ha! They are pretty bad.
Who’s pretty bad? And when is that thing going to answer?
It just did. It said not within the next 80 years.
I didn’t hear it. Did anyone else?
Everybody shakes his or her head.
Only you can hear me, Bobby.
Oh, only I can hear it.
Bobby, you’re the last person I’d ever expect to do crazy things. But you are officially Crazy Boy now!
The rooms chants ‘Crazy Boy.’ Bobby sits at his desk, puts the Guide into his pocket and covers his ears. The teacher, MISS EVEREST, comes into the room.
Hey! What’s all the shouting? Everyone in their seats!
The class scatters and sits down.
We have a very special guest this morning! An Astronaut, who flew on one of the moon missions! Class, please welcome Michael Collins!
The class claps as MICHAEL COLLINS comes in. Bobby uncovers his ears.
A real astronaut!
Hi kids! Hey, who here remembers Apollo 11?
A few kids tentatively raise their hand, including Bobby.
I thought so, you were pretty young when we went out. Do you remember Apollo 15? About six months ago?
Everybody raises their hand.
Great! What did you like most about that mission?
Bobby and others raise their hand. Collins points at Bobby.
The lunar rover!
That’s right, we were able to drive on the moon for the first time! Hey, who here wants to be an astronaut?
Half the class raises their hands, including an enthusiastic Bobby.
Great! We need people like you if we’re going to make it to Mars in the next 30 years!
Bobby raises an eyebrow, puts his hand in his pocket and speaks furtively.
Is that true? Will we go to Mars?
Yes, but the first Mars landing won’t be until 2045.
(Raises hand)
I’m sorry, Mr. Collins, but you’re wrong. We won’t go to Mars in the next 30 years. It will be (does the math in his head) 73 years.
Well, granted we may have some cost overruns, but we’re on track to land by 2010, not that far into the future. (Hesitates) Any other questions?
The kids laugh, and Bobby hears several kids say ‘Crazy Boy.’ He puts his head on his desk again.
Bobby sits alone, away from the other kids. One occasionally passes him, yelling ‘Crazy Boy.’ Bobby gets up and wanders further away. He feels something hit him in the back and turns to find a baseball on the ground near him.
Okay, what joker threw the ball?
He picks it up and notices something written on it.
Take it easy? What does that mean?
He sighs and put the ball in his pocket.
Lorie and Brad sit in the office. PRINCIPAL OWENS sits at his desk.
I’m so glad you could make it here on such short notice. Bobby’s having some problems in school today and I wanted to bring it to your attention. He’s been in several fights already, including an argument with his teacher over how best to teach the class. He says a ball told him the answers. It has me worried. Has something happened over the holidays?
Bobby has an overactive imagination. He received a lot of science fiction comics for Christmas and he was reading them non-stop.
While I would normally applaud his ability to read, and have in the past, I think he needs to lay off the comics and keep his imagination in check. I’m sending him home for the rest of the day. And Doctor, you might want to take a look at his eye. It’s a bit swollen.
Brad and Lorie get up, and open the door to the reception room. Bobby sits there with a black eye and a pained look in his eyes.
Bobby, Brad and Lorie come into the apartment.
Sit on the couch. I’ll take a closer look at that eye.
She goes into the kitchen.
Bobby sits, throws his backpack down.
The old man comes in.
A little worse for wear?
Perhaps we should take Bobby out of school until he (pause) adjusts.
They’re my friends, or they should be. I don’t want to be stuck here.
The old man touches Bobby’s eye and Bobby winces.
Bobby’s right. He’ll adjust faster if confronts their laughter, their punches. Who started the fight anyway?
They did. One of them threw a baseball at me and no one admitted it. So I punched that creep Jeremy. He’s been the worst. Then they all started hitting me.
Someone threw a baseball?
Bobby reaches into his backpack and pulls out the ball.
He even wrote something on it.
Bobby tosses the ball to Brad, who looks at the writing on the ball, and stares at the Old Man.
This looks familiar. You don’t think…
What I think is that Bobby needs to learn how to protect himself. He needs to know when to fight and when to walk away. There’s an old saying I’ve heard: ‘It is better to hear there he goes, than there he lies.’ Today, you were the one lying. Maybe you can teach him some martial arts.
(He stares at Bobby.)
For purely defensive capabilities.
Maybe he can work on some Jujitsu, and some Eastern philosophies.
Lorie comes into the room carrying a bag filled with ice. She sits next to Bobby and looks at his eye.
Nothing too serious. Put this ice pack on for the rest of the day, and get some rest.
He needs a punishment, since he started all this by doing exactly what we told him not to do: telling people about the ball. Hand it over.
Bobby looks at Brad and then to Lorie.
You’re going to listen to him? It’s my ball, you said so yourself. It can only hear me, only talk to me!
Just for the rest of the day.
Bobby stares at Brad for a moment. He reaches into the backpack and pulls out the ball. He hands it to the Old Man, bursts into tears and runs to his room.
That was harsh. He was already beaten up. You had to take away his only friend.
He’ll get over it. Lay out a plan to teach him Jujitsu, Sensei, and I’ll reprogram his ball to keep him on track.
These woods are in a rural area of Nebraska, close to a small, as yet unnamed town. DOTTIE BROWN and PENNY THOMAS walk outside the woods. It is about a month after the events of Act I. Dottie is 6, has blazing red hair, and is tall for her age. Penny is 5 1/2, blonde, and is average height. Snow is on the ground and they are dressed in coats. Dottie’s seems a bit threadbare, Penny’s is all fluffy. They hold hands and they approach a path into the woods.
Are you sure it’s safe? Seems a bit spooky to me.
Dottie lets go of Penny’s hand.
You’re kidding me, right? You travel all over the place with your parents but you won’t go into the woods with me?
I’ve heard that bears come here.
Silly. The bears are hibernating now. Come on!
Penny reluctantly follows Dottie into the woods. After a time they come upon a spring flowing into a creek. They stop to enjoy the wildlife they see: a majestic stag taking a drink.
Ooh, how pretty!
Good thing my dad’s not here, he’d shoot him.
Oh no. (looks at stag) Not him. He looks too proud to be shot.
Dottie points her fingers like a gun.
The Stag looks at them and then runs away.
See what you did! He’s too smart to get shot.
Dottie shakes her head and sighs. They continue down the stream until they come across a man fishing. He sits on a red-stained duffel bag. Dottie stops, looks at the man, and shivers, eyes wide. Penny smiles at the man and waves.
I know him. He works at my dad’s plant. Hi Mr. Brady!
MR. BRADY smiles back at the girls and waves. Penny starts to wind her way to him. Dottie pulls her back. Dottie is agitated.
(gasping for breath) Something isn’t right, Penny. Lets – lets get out of here.
(stares at Dottie) What’s wrong with you? You sick?
Uh, that must be it. I’m sick.
(Turns to Mr. Brady) See you later!
The man stares after them as they walk away. He quickly stands and puts his fishing gear into the bag. A small, pale hand pokes out of the bag.
Penny is skipping as she and Dottie move away. Dottie freezes for a moment.
She bolts toward the entrance of the woods. Penny stops, her hands on her hips.
(yelling) What are you doing?
(stops) Race you home!
Well if you wanted to race you gotta give me more warning!
Penny starts to run after Dottie. When they get side by side, they both run together. They reach the entrance and Penny falls backward onto some soft, snow-covered grass, gasping for breath. They are in a business area now, a road lies before them and cars pass by.
You win! You always win when it comes to running. Must be those long legs.
Dottie looks behind them and sees Mr. Brady standing about a hundred yards away, carrying the duffel bag. Something red drips from it. She shivers.
(stands) Hey, I wonder if Dad and Uncle are busy? Let’s go see!
(looks back again)
Good idea, I kinda wanna talk to them.
They head to a large complex, wave to the guard at the gate and walk inside.

Work: I'm sorry, can you repeat that?

It's a phrase I repeat often. 'I'm sorry, can you repeat that?'
There are  a number of reasons I might ask you to repeat something:
1. Your phone broke up, or cut off the first part of what you are saying. That's usually a problem only with numbers.
2. You talked over me. Happens way too often.
3. You're not talking into the microphone of the phone. You're fading in and out and sometimes saying something important while your mouth is too far away.
4. We have a bad connection. It isn't my phone or my headset, but it may be that in the transfer process something got glitched. You might not hear me well either.
5. You were trying to say something while I was trying to look up something else. You didn't have my full attention because you're making me do more than one thing at a time.
My advice?
1. Don't call from the phone you're calling about.
2. Don't use another cellphone if you can help it.
3. Don't call when you're drunk. It happens.
4. Don't talk over me, and then say 'Hello?' That is sooooo annoying for my part.
5. I'll reiterate: Don't talk over me. I'm trying to either gather information from you or solve your problem.
6. Don't yell into the phone with your mouth right over the mic. It distorts your voice.
7. The other extreme: don't talk from too great a distance.
8. Please, don't use speakerphone. Speakerphones are one of the reasons number 1 above happen. i.e., it cuts you off at the beginning.

That's it for now. I may have more tips later.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Play: I reiterate: Healing sucks/

Tonight my priest went into the Ice Crown Citadel raid for the very first time, as a healer. She came out with her head held low, defeated, not by Arthas, but by other people's belief that she could not heal the group the way it should be.
First, it's a ten man raid, and there were two healers. It started well enough, making it though the trash to the first Boss with few deaths and no wipes. Then the first wipe happened. It's a difficult fight for someone who has never done it before. Lord Marrowgar puts out frozen trails in many different directions, and if you can't get out of the way, you die a cold death.
Second he puts out spikes that freeze one person, and too often that was me. After the first wipe, we had to contend with 3 additional bad guys, not quite as bad as the Boss, but hard to contend with anyway.
So the second attempt at the Boss starts, and we lose a tank early. Tanks, as I have stated before, take most of the damage, but also draw attention from people like me, so we can survive.
We wiped on that one too.
The funny part of this game is when you wipe, people start pointing fingers. It took just two wipes before someone said I was undergeared. Which isn't actually true. My gear was the best it could be short of raiding in the place we were at. Since it was my first time, my gear could not have been that bad. Anyway, I was told my spec, the combination of points I put into each specialization, was wrong for healing a raid, since I didn't have much to heal a large group. No use countering that, even though I was not the only healer, and I was the one who had to constantly get out of the way of the frozen ttrails.
Maybe I just needed more experience, but Warcraft players are a notoriously impatient lot, and someone had to go. I left on my own accord. I also switched to the spec that was supposed to be better for raids, and proceeded to test it on the hardest 5-man instance in the game. We wiped, twice, and the group broke up. Seems to be a recurring theme: Try twice and leave.
I heard later that the raid group I left earlier fared no better with a different healer. Do I feel better? No. I don't get smug about these things because I am inexperienced in healing a raid.
I'll keep working the different spec, and maybe I'll get comfortable enough to go back and try again. But I do really like the original spec, and maybe I'll prove it's useful in that raid.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sharp start to the New Year

After the last posting, I actually got one more call before the shift ended, so the last hour was the busiest of the night.
That said, New Year's Day has been brisk, Not back to back, most of the time, but far busier than New Year's Eve. How much life do you not have to call about your phone on a holiday.
More importantly, come tomorrow, the calls will likely be flying out the door. Thankfully, I will not be on the phones then, it's my weekend.  I will be partying (online) like it is 2010!
Speaking of 2010, weren't we supposed to be visiting Jupiter in person by now? Guess Mr. Clarke got that wrong. Or maybe he was writing about an alternate reality. Either way, we need more funding for  space exploration. Just my $.02 for the day!

Happy New Year!

I'm pleased to say calls have been extremely slow for the last 5 hours, and I was able to usher in 2010 while not on a call. That lasted all of 2 minutes though, when I got a call.
Still, with 30 minutes to go, I'm quite happy with how the night turned out. I hope tomorrow is as quiet.
And just like that, I get a call. Hopefully the last of the night!