October 29, 2004

Prayers for Tabby

I knew, by checking The Chief's blog, that Tabby had arrived. Fox News also offers a report for your perusal. She has her first surgery today.

Please send up your prayers and well-wishes for Tabby. In addition to the cancer on her face and neck, some heart problems were detected. She may need up to three surgeries before she's out of the woods. Other parents can empathize with the love and terror her father must be feeling right now. Please include him and the rest of her family in your petitions to the Divine.

Also, if you can spare even a few dollars, please make a donation to Operation Give.

Get well, Tabby. You have a million friends you will never meet, but we're pulling for you just the same.

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posted by Linda at 10:56 PM : Comments (1)

High Country Blogger's Alliance

You may have noticed a new header on the right-hand sidebar. Turns out that an old friend might be moving back to this neck of the woods. Under the cover of a technical conference, we decided that it might be fun to start our own blogging alliance. We're both right-of-center, with very similar political opinions, and neither of us have the time to blog with the, ah, professionalism of a group like the Rocky Mountain Blogger's Alliance.

So, why not start our own?

Membership in HCBA is relatively painless. If you have right-leaning political viewpoints, work in technology, blog only for fun and entertainment, and don't mind putting up an HCBA blogroll (small as it is), you can join.

HCBA is is for fun-loving bloggers. It doesn't matter if you can rant with the best and spew four-letter invective with style and verve, or if you are a more measured commentator. So long as you're a gregarious geek, you can come play. We'll even give you your very own logo to post. (Once it's all designed and everything.)

Email one of your friendly HCBA coordinators today!
Yours Truly: civicalls-at-yahoo-dot-com
The Nerdy Conservative: nerdyconservative-at-gmail-dot-com

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posted by Linda at 07:14 PM : Comments (3)
October 25, 2004


"If Allen were to do something like that on a case you'd handled, you'd probably go over and kick his butt."

That statement just shows how little my managers know me. So, I shook my head, "No," I said; "I never get upset with anyone who errs on the side of customer satisfaction. I only get angry with people who abuse the customers, or who obstruct issue resolution."

The context is this: a customer was in a situation in which he had come to believe that our hardware is the source of the issue. He was two and a half hours away from that hardware, and so, cannot easily troubleshoot. Sure, he'd been onsite for the initial troubleshooting phase, and felt confident that he had tracked the issue source to my product. He couldn't say exactly what the problem was, but he was sure he had it nailed down, and it was hard for him to get to the site. The network is in production, and his own end-user has some pretty clear service expectations.

The first agent who took the case was justified in saying, "It may not be hardware. I believe you, but what if we can resolve this with a simple firmware upgrade? I'd really like to troubleshoot further before we replace hardware."

Unfortunately, the customer doesn't have remote access to the equipment. When he pressed, stressing his unique restrictions, I believe that the first agent should have relented. The agent did not, so the customer ended the call, and got in touch with his sales representative. This person conferenced him in with us, and the second agent was somewhat less helpful; absolutely refusing to replace hardware without troubleshooting.

Yes, I can see where my colleague was coming from. Sometimes, issues that present as hardware failure are easily resolved with a simple firmware upgrade, or by fine-tuning a feature.

So, when the customer called back a third time, and got to me, I could hear the desperation leaking into his voice. He was 2.5 hours from the equipment, he had no spare stock on hand for testing, and he did not want to show up onsite without hardware, just in case that was the problem -- doing so would have resulted in more lost productivity for the end-user; not to mention unbelievable driving time for this person, who is located in one of the worst areas of the East Coast for long drives.

I could absolutely see where he was coming from. He needed someone to be flexible under the circumstances. So, after stressing to him that the warranty statement does indeed have a troubleshooting caveat, and that he will be expected to work with us in the future, I agreed to ship him some replacement hardware. He agreed to ship the switch back to us if it turns out that the source of the issue rests elsewhere.

There's more to this story -- at the time I took the call, the second agent had not updated the case notes. So, I had nothing to go on. I had no idea that he had spoken to supervisors and service parts resources regarding this case. What's more, none of these people were at their desks when I went by in an effort to talk to someone about it. So, I did what an adult is supposed to do: I made a decision.

I let everyone involved know what I had done. The other particulars in my office are upset with me. According to some, I undermined the agents who handled the case before me, and I taught the customer that he can call in and "cherry pick" agents to get service. That's when one of my supervisors made the statement that started this post, and that's when I stood up for myself.

I thought that I was hired to do customer service, you see. I thought that part of this job entailed employing something called discernment.

I guess I was wrong.

Whenever your immediate supervisors express distrust in your ability to make a decision, it's time to get out.

I'm working on that. My resume is on monster.com. I have a friend whose wife would like to personally deliver my resume to her HR department. There are options, and I have my hook baited. I'm just waiting on a bite.

In the meantime, how about a little discussion? Y'all put yourselves in the customer's shoes, and tell me what should have happened. Then pretend that you were me, and tell me what you would have decided to do. Sure, it's a bald appeal for validation, but I still think I made the right decision. What do you think?

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posted by Linda at 11:42 PM : Comments (8)
October 22, 2004

Speak for Yourself

Puyallup School District in Washington State is cancelling Hallowe'en, because they're afraid of offending real witches.

To be sure, they're citing other reasons -- valuable time wasted due to celebrations; some kids can't afford costumes, etc. But, the biggest concern is the flak they've received from hypersensitive Wiccans who are offended at the sight of traditional Hallowe'en images like pointy-nosed witches on broomsticks.

We will all get a lot more acceptance from the mainstream if you don't go around acting like a bunch of hypercritical children. If you studied your symbols at all, you know that the modern-day images have evolved over a long period of time, and relate to the "cone" of power. The witch on a broomstick is symbolic of the Goddess' ride into the Underworld for a well-deserved winter's nap.

Idiots like those whiners in Washington will only help maintain the public impression of Wiccans as flakes.

Now go get a life. Quit acting like a bunch of judgmental Christians. You people don't speak for me.

Colorado schools: please go on with your usual Hallowe'en celebrations! Modern festivals are still an acknowledgement of the turn of the seasons. Today's Hallowe'en events still acknowledge Her, even unconsciously. By all means, please proceed!

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posted by Linda at 04:52 PM : Comments (8)
October 21, 2004

Some of the Strongest Women on Earth:

Marine Corps Moms

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posted by Linda at 04:29 PM : Comments (0)
October 20, 2004

Back. Kind of.

Well, I wound up working through lunch on Monday and Tuesday, which means that I didn't vote until today.

I love living in Northern Colorado. I got there, and although there was a steady stream of voters arriving and leaving, I was in and out within twenty minutes. There wasn't a single protestor in sight. I saw no evidence whatsoever of any sort of voter intimidation. (You hear that, Kerry/Edwards? NOT ONE SOUL blocked my way or made me feel uncomfortable in any way, shape, or form.) The ballot was clear, and easy to understand. Privacy was quite adequate. The volunteers manning the polling place were efficient, courteous, and kind. There was no evidence of any sort of partisanship.

Of course I won't tell you exactly how I voted. I will say that I took Heinlein's advice and voted for the lesser necessary evil when appropriate, and I certainly voted with this country's future in mind. I voted for the long-term. I voted for my daughter's future. I voted for liberty, responsibility, and sovereignty.

In other news, it's nice to be able to breathe freely again. The bronchitis knocked me down pretty hard. Once the doctor got me on an inhaler, I really started to improve. (But I don't have asthma! Go figure.) Today, I feel almost like my usual self. I'm still rather tired. Once the Little Miss goes to bed, I'm pretty much ready to follow her. Just give me time. I'll be back on my feet soon.

Sadly, my husband is still ill. We've tried a lot of things, but nothing seems to be helping that deep, racking cough. It's disturbing his sleep. He's been on antibiotics, cough syrup with codeine, an inhaler, and guaifenesin. The only thing that seems to help, oddly, is DayQuil. It looks like we're just going to have to ride this one out, but I really hope he feels better soon. I'm worried about him. The upside is that we've quit smoking. (Sometimes the Goddess applies Her hints with a baseball bat. We took the "suggestion", as gracefully as we could: wincing and rubbing our heads.) Also, the vector of this illness, The Miss, is improving with antibiotics. Her cough is actually productive, and she woke up laughing this morning.

Enough nasty health news. I just felt that those of you who visit regularly deserve to know just why I crawled into my cave for so long. I'll try to get better about updating this blog, really.

In good news, not only do I have the Toys For Tots drive ready to go, I also got Operation Give added to the list of charities supported by my company. The Corporation will match every $25 contributed by employees, and I've been shameless about plugging the organization to my coworkers. Hopefully, we can get a steady flow of donations coming in to this worthy charity. That way, other children like Tabby can get help in a timely fashion. (More good news! She's on her way, and her father is coming, too! Please help if you can, folks!!)

I'd like to mention some other good news, but I have not been given permission to do so. All I can do at this point is make an oblique reference to it, and grin foolishly. (I'm so happy for you, darlin'! I. Am. So. Happy. For. You.)

With that, I'm off. I have been watching the news lately, and I do have some thoughts about current events. I'm just disinclined to rant and rave at the moment.

But I will provide invective before long. Watch this space.

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posted by Linda at 09:57 PM : Comments (1)
October 18, 2004

Let's Go.

If you're in an early-voting state, what are you doing hanging around here? Get to it.

Time to make our voices heard.

I'm going to go get it done during lunch.

Gods, I love this country.

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posted by Linda at 05:19 PM : Comments (5)
October 13, 2004

Roseville Conservative: WMD Discussion

(Hat tip to The Nerdy Conservative.)

The Roseville Conservative has this wisdom to offer:

"We found residue, chemical pre-cursors, stuff buried in the sand and mobile labs. Saddam could have had WMD whenever he wanted!!!

Once again, the truth and the Democrat Party are at odds.

Their argument is a ridiculous as saying I have no Spaghetti in my residence even though I have ground beef in my freezer, sauce in my cupboard, pasta all over the place, pots and pans and a burner to cook on!!!"

Well said.

NOTE: No, I'm not completely back just yet. I still need a few days to finish recovering. I am getting better, it's just... well, let's just say that I'll never see twenty-something again.

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posted by Linda at 06:40 PM : Comments (0)

A Real Baby Killer

Another mass grave was found in Iraq, with bones of toddlers still clutching toys, the bones of unborn babies, and the bones of women clutching infants who had been shot in the back of the head.

Try telling me Saddam Hussein isn't evil. Try telling me that we weren't justified in ending the rule of that fucking psychopath. Try telling me that it's "all" about the oil.

Just try.

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posted by Linda at 06:16 PM : Comments (8)
October 06, 2004

Temporary Extended Outage

I'll be out with bronchitis for a few more days.

For ranting, visit The Rott.
For perspective, visit Ripples.
For insight into a life well-lived with wisdom and humor, visit my dear friend, Ethne, at her new home. (Let the DX exodus continue!)

For everything else, take a cruise through the blogroll.

I'll be back later.

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posted by Linda at 05:04 PM : Comments (2)
October 01, 2004

This Brings it Home

The Right Stuff...and the just plain wrong.

Yep. I think the pose in front of the Teletubbies is especially...symbolic.

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posted by Linda at 11:50 PM : Comments (1)

Welcome the Nerdy Conservative!

I found out about a new blog today, and boy, lemme tell ya -- this guy is breaking out with a vengeance!

The Nerdy Conservative is written by a friend and former coworker of mine. With an ideological path not too different from my own, he should be bookmarked, blogrolled, and visited frequently! In fact, I've already added him to the roll call of the Extremely Readable under the "Friends and Companions on the Road" header on the right.

So please stop by and welcome him to the blogosphere today!

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posted by Linda at 11:05 PM : Comments (1)

Read Lileks today.

He expresses my reasons for not watching much of the debate last night, and he hits the crux of the matter right on the nose. Get out of my head, Mr. Lileks.

Go read. Then, if so inclined, come back. I'll be waiting.

(Proceeds to file nails while waiting.)

That's just it, isn't it? Kerry was arguing the sime tired, disproven moonbat positions over and over again. Bush, I thought, was a gentleman; all class, he stayed on topic and spoke with passion, even as he paused to search for words every now and again. He knew his subject material. I liked it.

But I tuned out because listening to Kerry was like wading through moonbat troll screeds on my favorite blogs. Within ten minutes, I wanted to put my fist through the TV in the hopes that I could get to his throat. I am so sick of his stubborn refusal to live in the real world with the rest of us.

OK. Enough. Lileks summed it up. Go read it again.

So, I'm sure no one is really asking, "Where the hell have you been lately, Linda?"

(Listens to the crickets going wild.)

I knew it. Even so, I'll tell you anyway. If you've read this far, surely you have some passing interest, right? Right?

First things, first: I didn't get the job I tried for. They gave it to someone who has half my experience, but who boasts a master's degree. Frankly, I'm relieved. Some things have come to light recently that make me disinclined to delve deeper into the technical side of the house. People who can jump regularly through hoops will do well, I expect.

I felt like my career was at a crossroads with this round of hiring. Now that the decision is made, I know where I want to go, and it isn't into the lab. Their lives will shortly become a living hell. I look into the faces of my husband and child, and there is no way I will ever absent myself from them like that.

So, I've come to a decision. I'm searching for process-oriented jobs, now. I got feedback from the interview team that I would do well in a process or supervisory position. Mind you, I like casting a reflection, so I doubt that I'd ever sign a blood contract with management, but I would really, really like to get into a full-time technical writing job, or even into a job in which procedures are streamlined. I'm creative that way, and I can guarantee that I would shock the bejeebus out of a process team: "Hey! I have an idea! Let's cut the crap and use common sense!"

On second thought, maybe I'd just better pursue the tech-writing thing.

Still work-related, but on-topic (as explanation about where I've been, lately), work has been insane. Call volume is up, because we have a ton of new products that people are trying to deploy. (Oooh! Forklift upgrades! Cool.) We also have one hardware issue that is resulting in a higher-than-normal volume of warranty claims. We're being put through insane amounts of training to get us ramped up on the new products, and...somehow, someone in the Upper Echelon of the Soulless decided that it'd be a lovely idea to take a bunch of hardware technicians and turn us into software support. Let's just say that our learning curve has a 90-degree angle in it.

It sucks. We're all pissed, and morale is at the -13th floor.

That's a lot of my day. No end in sight.

In the meantime, I have gotten some positive things done. I'm in charge of the site's Toys For Tots drive again. (Hooray!) And I got Operation Give added to the company's list of officially-supported charities.

In blogging news, it's taken me nigh a week to get it set up, but Loren finally decided to make a go of it on his own. I'm not good at HTML, folks. This was a lot of template hacking and break/fixing. But his site looks rather nice, I think. Go give him a look-see, if you like. He's already rockin' and rollin' at http://wolfgangvonskeptik.mu.nu.

Then, we've had some little stomach bug running around at home. There's nothing more miserable than a little one with a sick tummy. Mommy and Daddy can manage it, but it's been hard to get her to eat well for the last week or so. You can only find so many ways to serve up bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, you know? It gets boring. Hell, I'm bored with it. But last night, we let her have Mac'n'cheese. She ate almost every bite, and went to bed with a full tummy. She slept all night, too. Except for that rattly little cough still hanging around, she seemed to feel better this morning.

I'm beat, which is part of the reason why I have no tolerance for politics. I've already weighed the evidence. I know which way I'm going to vote next month.

There's lots more, but I have a meeting in a few minutes, and I want to inhale a little smoke before I dive into the breech again.

Have a good weekend. I know I will.

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posted by Linda at 05:30 PM : Comments (4)