Archive for July, 2009

Cindi Update

Cindi is still staying with friends. She has arranged for places to stay until the end of August. She has talked to the boyfriend on the phone but will not meet with him without a third party present. So far no meetings have been arranged. Cindi has suggested they meet with his domestic violence counselor but that hasn’t happened either. She only returns to house to pick up clothes when he is at work. He is still off his meds and seems to be a loose canon. If Cindi doesn’t take his call he calls back again and again and again. Each time the tone of the message gets increasingly angry. I get the feeling that she wants to give him one more chance. I hope that doesn’t happen. Cindi needs to end this relationship soon.

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An Acquisition

The privately held corporation that I’m contracted to announced that it is buying a division of a bankrupt multinational telecommunication equipment manufacturer headquartered in Toronto. The purchase price is US475 million. The announcement created a lot of buzz in the office since the company continues to layoff people yet has sufficient funds to make this purchase. I understand the strategic intent of this purchase is to increase market share and revenue. However, it has done nothing to improve the low morale of the employees. They’re pissed.

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Chatty Cathy (CC) was especially talkative on Friday. I learned the following things about CC just listening to the various conversations he had with people in the office including me.

CC’s children got new shoes on Friday. His wife spent more than what was budgeted.

CC wife is pack rat.

CC house is filled with chotchkies. It drives CC mad.

CC likes to buy electronic gear. He has a home theater system that he has upgraded three times.

CC has four flat screens TVs at home.

CC knows people think he is a brown noser but defends his actions as necessary conversations with those higher on the food chain.

CC has been to France but didn’t visit Paris. He thinks Paris is a tourist trap.

CC got a new friend with a PHD in physics on a social networking site for professionals. When I asked if his new friend was an astrophysicist or a nuclear physicist he got a blank look on his face and stated that he didn’t know. It must be a really strong relationship.

CC didn’t learn a thing about me on Friday. He didn’t ask any questions about my life. Our conversations were like lectures. He did the talking and I listened.

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I was surprised to find out that some Arab countries will not allow the company to sell certain product lines in their country because they are manufactured in Israel. The company is setting up manufacturing facilities in other countries so that the products can be sold in these Arab countries. The ordering systems have to be tweaked so that orders for these products from Arab countries are sourced from the factories outside of Israel. I know there is a long history of unrest between the Israelis and the Arabs but I never realized the effect on world commerce. I guess I’m too American-centric. I wonder why it took at least four years for the Arabs to realize the products were manufactured in Israel.

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It Was Bound To Happen

Cindi’s boyfriend went off his meds and flipped out last Thursday. There was a huge fight. The details are horrific but no weapon was involved this time. The boyfriend accused Cindi of the vilest and demeaning acts. He also cleaned out the joint checking account so the house payment bounced (his name is not on the loan). Cindi has moved in with a friend. I’m hoping this is the last straw and that she will finally end this relationship. Cindi needs to get away from this man.

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Shortly after I started the contract position I started hearing about Mark. Mark is a software engineer who was once a contractor but has come back to the company as an employee with benefits. I would often hear comments about Mark’s arrival such as: Mark will be here next week. Mark will be able to run that project. We should delay that project until Mark is here. Run that idea by Mark when he gets here. There was even a three way discussion on who should pick Mark up at the airport. It was as if our savior was arriving. Mark arrived a few weeks ago. The other software developers were tripping over each other to make sure Mark was settled and that all of his needs were met. When I was introduced to him I immediately thought he was an arrogant prick. I simply asked him if he was settled in and he sternly replied that all he needed was a laptop. Well, fuck you too!

I have to admit that Mark has a lot of talent and skills but I don’t understand why the other developers have put this man on a pedestal. He’s aloof and only interacts with the developers and people higher up on the food chain. The testers, including me, are ignored by him. Mark gave us a demo on a new user interface that he developed but his laptop kept crashing and his presentation skills are lacking. Although Mark is not as slobish as others his wardrobe consists of jeans, running shoes and faded polo type shirts (not Ralph Lauren). He’s of average height, has a developing beer gut and has a thinning blond hair with a bald spot that would be covered nicely by a yarmulke. I really don’t understand what all the hype is all about. Either Mark’s peers set false expectations about his abilities, or, I just don’t have the technical background to understand how wonderful and above average his skills are compared to others. It’s probably a combination of both.

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Back To The Grind

I’m back at work this morning. I spent the first hour trying to get my global domain password reset so I could access the company’s network. I made sure to write down my login and password before I went on furlough. However, a system wide problem is rejecting the passwords and users have to call IT to get the passwords reset. What a waste of time.

K left for another three week stint in Missouri. This may be the last one for a while. K told me that he will be spending January, February and March in Missouri. Looks like it will be a lonely winter.

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