Saturday, May 17, 2003

I am now unemployed.

That just sounds weird. Actually, I don't think I am officially unemployed yet. I tried to quit, but no one was around to quit to. I felt like a general who wanted to surrender his army, but didn't know just who to surrender to. Part of this is my own fault - I wasn't really desirous of packing up my things with everyone watching, so I deliberately waited until the end of the day to take care of business. Of course, by this time, it was after 3:15, and the timekeeper had left for the day (she leaves promptly at 3:15 - the benefit of being union, I guess). Then I went upstairs to see the HR rep, only to find she'd been (and still was) in a meeting all afternoon, and not available. I certainly wasn't going to security or IT unless I'd been properly checked out, so I left her a note to call or come see me when she got out of her meeting. At 6:00, she still hadn't, and I'd heard zip by the time I left at 7:00.

So I don't think my resignation is effective yet. I'll have to call Monday, and try and track down some answers. All I know is, I'm not surrendering anything until I've gotten all my paperwork, including COBRA. And I don't think I need to point out the obvious flaws in our outprocessing system - I have to go to HR, Security, IT, and our department timekeeper before I'm out of the system. Forget (or deliberately ignore) to do something, and I still have access to building, network...and maybe even, like Milton in Office Space, still get paid.

Either way, it still doesn't change the fact that I have a Civ Pro exam on Monday to study for. Then I'll really be able to let all this sink in.

Thursday, May 15, 2003


When you show up at 9:15 instead of 7:30 on your second-to-last day, no one notices. Except for your coworker, who politely thanks you for ‘dropping by.’

This doesn’t normally happen:

Part of my agreement to hang around for an extra week was that I got yesterday off for my Contracts final. I went downtown early, getting to school at 11. I had some administrative stuff to take care of, so I did that, and finished around 11:30. My choice at that point was to just eat, or study for a bit and then eat. Rather than have to pack up once I’d unpacked, I chose to eat.

So there I was sitting in Grillers at a long table, (which really was three tables for two put together) studying for my Contracts final. When I first got there, it was fairly empty, but then the crowd started to show up. There was a woman seated at a single table for two against the window to my left, her back to me. Presently, she asked if she could share, because she was right by a heater, and she was hot. Being the nice guy I am, I said sure. Within minutes, she’d engaged me in conversation. An hour later, she left, and I had a phone number in my notebook. This will be interesting.

The rest of the day was not nearly as interesting. The Contracts final was not as comprehensive or terrible as it could have been, and I was glad I’d devoted so much time to studying. The downside to sitting for six hours, though, is that my back is still killing me today. I feel…forty.

Afterward, we went out for a few drinks, which led to us closing one bar, then another, and we were well on our way to a third when I pulled the ripcord and bailed. It was 2 am, and I had to be at work in five hours to train my replacements. When I finally crawled into bed an hour and fifteen minutes later, I was wondering how or if I’d hear the alarm at 6:30. I didn’t.

I jumped out of bed, called M. and apologized for being late. I swore I’d be there shortly, and fell like crap for being late. As it turned out, it was all for naught, as M. didn’t make it in, and I spent the day just futzing around.

Tomorrow is my last day, and I’m not really up for packing up the desk. Maybe I’ll go in real early and do it.
It's 3:30am. I just got home. Went out for a few after Contracts final. All I can say is - Contracts is over! Yay!

We'll see how I feel in four hours.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Responding to others blogs, part deux

First, read this. Then read this. Then read what follows.

"This is what happens when you let a bean counter run a creative company."

First of all, as a Certified Public Accountant, I hate, HATE, the term 'bean counter.' Nothing grates on my nerves more. But that's beside the point.

Michael Eisner is NOT a 'bean counter'. He graduated in 1964 from Denison University where he majored in theatre and literature.

Prior to joining Disney, he worked in the programming departments of CBS (1964?-66?) and ABC (1968-1976) in 1976, he became chairman of Paramount, and in 1984 he took over at Disney. When he took over, Disney was financially unhealthy, and mired in a creative slump.

I will agree that Eisner is an arrogant a-hole, whose best achievements have resulted in his ability to hire the brightest creative minds (Barry Diller at Paramount, Jeff Katzenberg at Disney). Of course, he, like Jerry Krause of the Chicago Bulls, believes that it is HIS genius that's responsible for the success of Disney the last 20 years, but it's not.

The reason that Disney is in a down period is simple - it's all about the money. And who do we blame for that? Eisner? Ok, to some extent. But what about Disney shareholders? I have worked for several large companies, and some good ideas have been flushed simply because they didn't offer the short-term, 'quick hit' to the bottom line that shareholders and stockbrokers love. What you can say, creatively, about Disney, you can say about Universal, Paramount, Columbia, and even MGM. Movies and TV today is profit driven, and until the movie-going public votes with ticket sales for quality movies, it always will be.

Like Moxie said, it's corporate hedging. What Disney is engaging in may be reprehensible to some, but it's financially smart - it wins either way, and actually, can win on both fronts. Chicken shit? Maybe. Two-faced? Definitely. Possible ramifications? Few, as most people wouldn't understand the complexity of it all, and a good spinmeister could make it work fairly well. Besides, other companies engage in seemingly contradictory behaviour, and we, the general public tolerate that, so why not this?

Please understand - I'm NOT condoning what Disney is doing. I'm just trying to balance out the discussion here. As a Chicagoan (read: Democrat) I'm not overly fond of a lot of George Bush's policies, but I don't believe Moore has a leg to stand on, either. His speech at the Academy Awards was inappropriate and incendiary, and made without factual basis. His film, Bowling for Columbine, has come under criticism for factual misrepresentations. And September 11th is a poor choice upon which to base critical analysis, since it was so unusual that it's hard to determine if Al Gore would have acted any differently in the same situation. Personally, Disney should stick to handing out the passes, and leave the asses elsewhere.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Internet dating sites are a waste of time and money. At least for me they are. I’ve belonged, at various times, to,,, udate, and lavalife. Now, I’m not desperate. Far from it. And for most of these, I’ve only belonged during the free period, ditching it as soon as I had to start paying. Only if I’d gotten some positive feedback (read: dates) did I stick around long enough to shell out money.

My dating experience hasn’t been the best. Over the years (I think it’s been about 5 years since I joined the first dating site,, I’ve had about 40 dates. Of those, about 5 have seemed promising, and only one really sticks out as having relationship potential. Unfortunately for her, I had my first date with Laura the very next day. Other than that, only about two or three made it past the first date – some my choice, some theirs.

Of the women I dated on the Internet, some were truly nice, but not attractive (to me, at least). Some had serious issues, some outright lied about what they looked like, some were obviously not serious, one actually had a boyfriend, and, (lucky for me) none were psycho. There was Julie in Evanston, who I liked, but who wasn’t attracted to me (a common theme). And there was Debbie the Teacher, who kept addressing me by name every time I asked her a question:

“How’s the food?”
“Good, Greg.”
“Were you able to find parking?”
“Yes, Greg, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

This made for an odd dinner conversation. And no, there was no date two. But she’s still on, if you’d like to give her a shot. She was pretty.

And that’s just it – nobody gets off of these sites. I tried to cancel my account, and they told me I had to call them to do it. Why? Because I pay less - $16.95 a month – than you do. And I’m sure I’d get some pitch to stick around. After all, what’s $16.95 a month? Right? Well, when you get to live on $16,000 for the next year, it’s a lot. And if I’m spending money, it’s going to be on someone who has a genuine interest in me, and not on a gamble that maybe – just maybe – she’ll like me.

My guess (and it’s been shown in a number of articles) is that women are far outnumbered by men on these sites – and a large percentage of men on these sites are married or otherwise attached. Some of the women I’ve talked to, have told me that they’re bombarded by emails as soon as they sign up, while I can count on two hands the number of unsolicited emails I’ve gotten from women, in total, on all of the sites I’ve belonged to – combined.

It also seems like people on these sites are searching for the perfect mate – physically, emotionally, educationally, and on and on. But anyone who is or has been married knows that such a person doesn’t exist. At best, you get 60-70% of the attributes you seek, and many people fall in love with someone who doesn’t meet any of their so-called ‘criteria.’ Ok, I’ll admit to being picky. And I’ll allow you the right to ignore my email introducing myself. And I’ll even allow you to exchange emails with me, and then stop, for no apparent reason and without warning. But please – please – don’t insult my intelligence by telling me that I’m a nice guy, blah, blah, blah, but you’ve met someone that you’d like to see more of, and see where it goes, yada, yada, yada, and then sign on to the service the very next day. Because that means you are either a sleazebag of the first order, or thinking that I’m dumb enough to believe that bullshit. And I’m not.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Missed opportunities.....

Someone Googled Jeanette Beauregard yesterday, and wound up on my site, where they spent quite a bit of time. This blew my mind.

Now I'm curious who this was, and why they didn't leave a comment. Was it the same Jeanette who went to NIU with me, and who I mentioned in my blog? (And yes, who I had a crush on a long time ago, and would love to know what she's up to today?) Or was it someone else?

So if you come back here, oh mystery person, identify yourself, and satisfy my aching curiousity.......

Maybe I should mention another old girlfriend, and see what happens. After all, just because I dumped Brenda Keller in 1983 doesn't mean I don't think about her every now and then. Usually, just to kick myself for losing every picture I had of her, but occasionally to wonder what's she's up to these days, and if she remembers me....
We'd like to take a moment and welcome those of you hooking into us from Moxie's blog. Welcome, and enjoy your stay. If there's anything we can do for you, just fill out the comment card, and we'll get right on it....

Went to lunch at the Sushi House in Naperville. On the way out, grabbed a fortune cookie. The fortune?

"Soon you will encounter a whole new world of opportunity."

I'm not kidding.
Training Day

Ok, so here’s the weekend score:

Saturday, sent three emails to three ladies (duh!) on Given’s past performance, that should lead to – zero – replies. Of course, the alternative is one no-reply, one reply-by-email-never-to-be-heard-from-again, and one one-and-done (dates, that is) reply. Or my other favorite – that’s where I send an email to someone who’s been on in the last 24 hours, and they don’t reappear for the next five days, or five weeks, or – ever. Not that I’m negative or anything. Maybe Bridget was right, and somehow I come off too cynical.

Sunday was Mother’s day. Celebrated by taking Mom to the Center for Performing Arts in Munster, IN. While this sounds like we took her to a play, they actually have a pretty good buffet there every Sunday. And it was packed. The food was good, though, and I got to see my aunt and uncle who live in South Bend. Their son-in-law is finishing up law school down in Texas. Originally, the plan was to move closer to home and practice in Tennessee, but now there may be a job offer in Texas, so…hold the phone.

Of course, the big focus is Wednesday. Contracts Finals day. I feel like there’s SO much to know and so little time. I tried my best to study at the apartment, and for the most part I did well, but not as well as I could have. I kept looking around at the mess I live in, the shirts lining the doorways, waiting to be ironed, the dust piling up on the furniture, and well, I started to clean. Not a lot, just a little. Clean, read, laundry, read. Saturday was not as productive, study-wise, as I’d have liked. Maybe it was because I wasn’t supposed to be at work today, and I’d originally earmarked Saturday as recover-the-apartment-day. Or maybe it was because I tend to procrastinate, and need to work on that. Whatever the reason, I was able to really focus on Sunday and get a lot done. I’m now down to two days, and I don’t know where to focus my energy, since I missed the review session last Wednesday.

To top things off, I start training my replacements today. Miguel is pretty sharp, and so is Jose, so I don’t anticipate any real difficulty. It’s just trying to tell them what they need to know in the four workdays I have left, and not leaving anything out. I know, I know – you’re leaving, what do you care? But I do care. It’s my work, and I’m proud of what I’ve brought to the job. I’ve put a lot of myself into it, and I want to leave here on good terms, so that when the day comes that I need a reference, Rob, or Ken, or whomever. I want them to be able to say, “yeah, when he left, he hung around to help out when he didn’t have to” and not “yeah, he gave notice at the worst time of the month and left the company without doing any turnover.”