Sunday, June 25, 2006

Losing my touch

I am a Mac Evangelist. I spread the gospel, put Apple stickers on people's Dell and Gateway boxes in the middle of the night, and in general try to turn people from the dark side that is Micro$oft and Windoze. Of course, what comes with converting people over to OS X is the responsibility to be there for them when something goes wrong. I've spent more than a few weekends over the years helping people with their computer problems on my off time, something that a few of my co-workers and many people in my profession find utterly stupid. My position has always been however that I don't have all that many skills to make the world a better place, so I should use my knowledge of these particular computers to at least make some people's lives easier - especially when it comes to my co-workers. I have been doing it for a long time, and have never had a problem that I couldn't solve for someone....until today.

My fellow Packeteer B.J. (I advised him to go the Mac route a few years ago) came to me the other day with a problem he was having with iMovie and iDVD. He was trying to burn a DVD that he had been working on for over a year of his baby, Owen, and was having no luck. I gave him a few things to try, and he did so, but they didn't help. So I told him to bring his computer to work and I'd take a look at it (after hours of course, in case my boss is reading this :). I messed with it for a while, and still had no success. I took it home for the weekend, figuring that I'd fix his problem one way or the other. Well, after working on it all day long and completely re-creating his entire project from scratch on my own iMac....IT STILL WON'T WORK!!! My only guess is that one of the video clips that is being used is corrupted in some way.

I'm fairly sure that it isn't a problem with his computer, so I know that I shouldn't feel bad. Nonetheless, I still feel that I've let B.J. down :( he worked so hard on this project and wanted to be able to present it to his family so they could all share in the expereince of his child's first year. Heck, after working on this thing all day I kinda feel like part of the family myself! In that regard, I will do whatever is necessary to help him get this DVD made. Anything less and I might as well trade in all my Macs, go get my MCSE certification, and apply Windows security patches for the rest of my life. Ugh.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Well we've decided to go ahead and buy a house. Construction on a new development called Okatie Park has begun - it's located on Hwy. 170 in Ridgeland, about 8 miles (or 10 minutes) away from our current home. This picture is of the lot we picked out - where I'm standing ought to be our living room come September. The lot actually has trees! Amazing! Anyway, today we went to pick up the contract and hoped to meet with their design people to pick out finishes for the house. We walked in the door of the office and I came face to face with...none other than the woman from Paramount Companies whose head I bit off last Wednesday. Seems she moonlights for the Okatie Park folks during the weekends. To her credit, she didn't say anything to me, and I didn't talk to her for the benefit of Allison and the sales droid from Okatie Park who were not privy to the fact that I had verbally assaulted this poor woman 96 hours prior. Best case senerio: she's gotten yelled at by so many Summer Isle residents who are pissed off at her employer that she didn't remember me. Worst case senerio: she somehow sabotages our efforts to buy a home in this new community in a desperate act of revenge. I guess I'll find out soon enough!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Anger management

"An angry man is again angry with himself when he returns to reason."
- Publilius Syrus

I thought I'd share my major angst for the week - as is usually the case these days, it involves my good friends at Paramount Companies. We received a notice in our door on Monday night saying that someone had put a contract in on the apartment (we officially declined their generous offer to purchase our tiny little apartment for $105,900 a few weeks ago) and that they wanted to bring this person in to inspect the unit. The letter said that the inspection would occur on Wednesday sometime between 9AM and 4PM. I had no intention of allowing complete strangers into the apartment unsupervised, so I went to the Paramount sales office Tuesday afternoon and asked them (well, ok - told them) in a not-all-that-friendly manner that I wanted to be there, that I didn't know them and I didn't trust them to not let the cats run out the door. A nice woman named Angela (who is the "walk-through coordinator") seemed to understand, wrote down 12:45 in her book as the time to show my unit, and said that it wouldn't be a problem. I left the office feeling good - I was happy that I'd stood my ground and didn't let them just have their way, like they have had every time since this whole thing started.

So on Wednesday I arrive at home on my lunch break at 12:40. i walk in the door and discover that the bedroom door was closed. Knowing that I didn't leave it like that, I instantly knew they'd already been there. Not only that, but they locked the cats in the bedroom with no food or water. I was furious - I didn't even take another step into the apartment, instead walking right back out the door and straight to the sales office. I was so mad that I was actually shaking when I got there. I was literally out for blood. I went in and demanded to see Angela. The receptionist said she wasn't there, so I asked for whoever was in charge, and was told they were at lunch. So, with no one else to yell at, I simply unloaded on the poor receptionist. I told her in no uncertain terms what I thought of Angela and Paramount Companies. She gave me the standard lines that customer service people are trained to give an irate customer, but I wouldn't even let her finish a sentence. After about 2 minutes of non-stop screaming, I left, slamming the door behind me. At first, I felt good - I had been wanting to say those things to someone from that place since the very first day they came into my life. But since then, the more I've thought about it....I really got way, way to angry. I mean, I would never, ever hit a woman - but if Angela was a man, I would have had no problem attacking him. That's how mad I was.

In the last two days, I've had a chance to reflect on why I got that angry. Yes, they screwed me yet again - but the cats were fine, they didn't steal my stuff - was it really worth me hitting someone over? I have a feeling that I've been taking out my issues with other things in my life on this company and my living situation. After all, they are an easy target: I never even knew they existed, then one day out of the blue I learn that I've either got to buy my home or leave it. They instantly became my enemy, and gave me something to be mad at. I honestly think I need to take a step back from this situation and try to let it go. I don't think that I'm doing myself any favors by constantly being upset and irritated at people/things. If I stop thinking about how my hand is being forced for a moment, I have to admit that there's a good chance we would have left Summer Isle when the lease is up in December anyway. Four years is a pretty good run in a 1BR/1BA with two people and three cats. Perhaps if I look at this whole sitch as a kick in the pants instead of a screw job, I'll be a much happier unit. I'm gonna try it and see how it goes. I can always make some heads roll later if necessary :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

I do a great impression of him too....

You Are Dr. Bunsen Honeydew

You take the title "mad scientist" to the extreme -with very scary things coming out of your lab. And you've invented some pretty cool things, from a banana sharpener to a robot politician.But while you're busy turning gold into cottage cheese, you need to watch out for poor little Beaker! "Oh, that's very naughty, Beaker! Now you eat these paper clips this minute."