Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's just a dream 

I had an odd dream the other day. I went to work--at my old company, Bloatmeal. It wasn't really my old workplace, of course, but more like an odd dream version of the same. It was a very nice space, all carpeted and nicely furnished. The work stations were sort of set up like a classroom, with banks of three desks arranged in rows. For some reason, I had brought my wife along. She wanted to use one of the computers for some purpose. One of my erstwhile co-workers, Mike, was sitting by the door and he quickly arranged it so it looked like he was using the vacant computer next to him. This annoyed Noodles to no end, but I encouraged her to forget it and find another station. Then, out of the blue, I realized that I no longer worked there. "Oh, @#$#^$! I'm at the wrong job!" I exclaimed. With a sinking feeling, I realized that I should be at my new workplace and that there was no way I could make it back to South Seattle by 7:00. Then, mercifully, I woke up and discovered that I could go back to the sleep and make it to work in plenty of time.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

October Weblogger's Meetup Report 

I went to the Weblogger's meetup last Wednesday. 'Twas a unique gathering--totally attended by Mac users. That was actually bad news, because that meant that our beloved and fearless leader, Anita Rowland, wasn't there. She's been having a bad time, healthwise, and wasn't up to it. (Apparently my prayers are getting a "no" response.) Anyway, there were only three of us who braved the wind and rain to show up: Karen Anderson, Clark Humphrey and yours truly. Karen pretty much carried the conversation. Clark added his comments now and then while cruising the net on his laptop. Me, I just nursed my Pepsi and offered up a handful of insignificant statements. Oh, well, at least I helped to put the tables back when we were done.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is this a joke? 

I just got an e-mail from my former boss. You know, the guy who runs the shop that just laid off about thirteen people. He may have an opportunity soon and wants to know if I'm available. I don't know if I should be flattered or appalled that he would call me instead of one of those folks who just lost their job. I think I'll stick to making business cards.....



Last night, in my quest to, um, do something else with my life, I did my stint as a phone volunteer with KBCS. It's been something that I had in mind for a few years now. I even went so far as volunteering a few years back, but given my limited availability, they didn't take me up on my offer. This year, however, I was able to make the cut.

I signed up for the 7-9 shift, so a bit after supper, I headed east to the Bellevue Community College campus. I got their with a modicum of hassle--I'm still not used to rush hour traffic. The studio is in a converted house on the BCC campus. I walked in there with some pre-conceptions, I admit. First off, I wasn't picturing a house. I had always imagined some faceless building like we had at the College of DuPage, with a state of the art studio, just like they had on WKRP in Cincinnati. This imaginary broadcasting complex would also have a separate room for the phone volunteers, who would sat gathered around a large table or two--snacking or goofing around when the phone calls slacked off.

Instead of my daydream, I got a house. I suppose it was a nice enough house, but I didn't see too much of it. I walked into the entrance into what must have been a dining or rec room at one time. Posters festooned the walls and a mid sized table was in the middle with four people sitting around it. A couple of people were moving about--it seemed quite busy. I was directed to sign in and sat down near the table. One of the phone volunteers greeted me and gave me the 30 second rundown about the whole process. There's a form we follow, which has the stock phrases written on it. Soon after she finished her spiel, the phone rang and I was able to watch her field a call. As she deftly handled hte transaction, I belatedly recalled that I hate talking on the phone. What the heck was I doing there?

As the horror of my actions washed over me, the clock struck seven and all the phone volunteers got up and left! As public affairs gave way to music over the airwaves, the chaos of pledge drive central faded away like the morning mist. I was left alone at the table with one of the regular volunteers working at a computer over on the side of the room. The sounds of the program, FolkSounds, wafted around the corner. (I never did find out if it was a monitor speaker, or if there was actually an open walkway to the studio.) I got myself oriented in my chair, looking over the various paperwork before me. There was the pledge form, of course, as well as charts listing pledge premiums and employers who offer matching funds. My first call came through soon enough and I handled it with all the awkwardness I should have expected, had I been thinking. At least nobody cancelled their pledge in mid-call.

The calls came in rather sporadically. There was supposedly some other person scheduled to share the shift with me, but they weren't needed. I helped out with some filing, so I wasn't totally useless. (I discovered that a lot more people pledge on the phone rather than online.) (Probably so they can hear their name mentioned on the radio.) Occasionally one of the DJs walked out to get updates on the incoming pledges. The dearth of calls were slightly disappointing. But in the end, we did make our financial goal. In the waning minutes of the show, one gentleman--moved by a wonderful fiddle tune--called in with a pledge that put the total over the top. The crowd went wild and I was able to leave on a happy note.

So why did I volunteer to answer phones? Well, to support the station, of course. I think there was also an element of my wanting to do things that my old work schedule wouldn't let me do. But mostly it was a desire to connect with the station. I've enjoyed it for years, and in China it was one of those links to our home. That's mainly why I chose the shift I did--during the show which Poodlepums listen to so faithfully in China. (It was funny to think, during the last fifteen minutes of the show, that the student back in Yunnan were swarming into the cafeteria for lunch.) So now that my quest is fulfilled, will I do it again? ummmm, maybe. For all the disillusionment, it wasn't a bad experience. We'll have to see what life is like come springtime.

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