Archive for January, 2013

The Edict

The CEO of the company I’m contracted to issued an edict implementing an involuntary furlough for all employees in the United States and Canada and a voluntary furlough for other countries. Each employee has to take a week off without pay by the end of March. It’s not an issue for me since I’m paid by the hour and was planning to take time off in March. The salaried employees in my department are pissed. It’s essentially a pay cut for them. Morale has once again hit rock bottom. Do you think the CEO will stay off the corporate jet for a week?

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Getting Out Of The House

I had plans to meet Sam for happy hour last night before going to an event at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). Sam cancelled because he came down with a cold. I wondered if his illness had anything to do with the Wednesday late night sex date he had with a twenty-five year old he met online at Daddy Hunt. It was best for Sam to stay home as he needed rest and I didn’t want to be around someone with a cold or the flu.

I decided I didn’t want to spend another Friday night in front of the TV. I got cleaned up and threw on a pair of dark rinse jeans, shirt, vintage tie and sweater. I’ve never been to the DAM’s last Friday of the month event. Not knowing how the crowd would be dressed I tried to walk that fine line between dressy and casual. I had time to kill before the DAM event so I stopped by Cherry Creek to pick up some note cards. I struck out with the cards but did manage to buy two t-shirts at Eddie Bauer and a blazer at J. Crew before leaving the mall.

I arrived at the DAM a few minutes after the event started. The program consisted of short lectures, hands-on demonstrations, music, food and cash bar. I ran into Cindi’s ex-boyfriend, Michael, the chocolatier, at the photography lecture. We chatted for a few minutes before the lecture started. Michael introduced me to Laura Letinsky, the photographer whose work was being exhibited in the photo gallery. I had a little nosh before watching a short comedy skit performed by two actors from the Buntport Theater that was staged in the freight elevator in the Hamilton wing. After a tour and lecture in the pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial art collections, I bought a package of art note cards in museum gift shop.

I left the museum a little after eight and decided to head over to the Santa Fe Art district for tacos from the little Mexican place where English is the second language. Driving by Spark I noticed that a new show was up so I stopped in for a look see. Spark was having a members show. I saw great pieces by Barbara Carpenter, Leo Frank, Kate McGuinness, Madeleine Dodge and Joyce Coco. It was a great show. The show next door at Core was also a great one. Jennifer Meyerrose, Craig Marhsall Smith, Mark Friday and Debra Jang were showing paintings and sculpture while Lauri Dunn had a collection of landscape photographs showing the devastation from Colorado wildfires. Mark had a great wall sculpture that I almost bought but decided to wait since I don’t know where I’ll be living in the not too distant future.

Hunger was calling my name so I left the galleries in search of dinner. I gobbled down a couple of tacos at the counter of the Mexican restaurant while three employees chatted in Spanish. I asked for the check in Spanish much to the surprise of the three workers. It was time to head home.

It was a fun night but I wish I would have had company. I’m tired of flying solo.

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Changing Firms

Today is my last day with the company based in Mumbai. The Indians never answered all of my questions and stopped communicating with me. I start with the Silicon Valley firm on Monday. Changing firms resulted in a 10% raise but I don’t have any benefits. I’m still a by the hour whore. I’m happy to join the new firm.

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Surviving The Storm

Yesterday I was on a rocket ship headed straight to hell. One of the business analysts (BA) was trying to throw me under the bus and then drive it over me. When the facts of the situation were analyzed it was clear I did nothing wrong. The BA left out a key piece of information in her requirements which caused an outage for users. She tried to blame me for not catching her mistake but when the dust settled she had to admit the outage was due to her omission. A huge email storm erupted and lasted most of the morning. Emails were flying back and forth across the pond from the management team in Ireland to our team in New Jersey and Denver. I ended up with close to sixty emails about the outage. It made for a nail biting morning. I was relieved when the BA finally took accountability for the situation.

This is typical of life in Corporate America. People don’t want to be accountable for their mistakes and often try to blame a third party. I’ve seen it happen many times in my career.

I was warned about his woman when I joined the group. I was told to be nice to her and to stay on her good side. I asked several peers why this woman was always rude and grumpy. The standard reply was “Nann is a bitch”. It is widely accepted that Nann is a bitch so she gets away with blaming other people, not responding to emails and throwing tantrums in the office and on conference calls. She is a powder keg ready to blow at any moment and nobody knows what will set her off. Clearly, she is an office bully. She gets away with this behavior because the management team will not address the situation. It seems that the management team is afraid of her too. How sad it that?

I plan to keep my distance from her. I don’t have any of her projects in my queue. I hope it stays that way.

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Jackie’s Saturday shoot at the new courthouse was postponed so we changed plans and met at an art gallery on the Auraria campus to take down a photography show on Friday afternoon. It was a bitch getting downtown before five on Friday afternoon. I arrived at the gallery a little early so I got to view the show before it closed. It was a good show but I wished I would have had more time to look it over. I helped Jackie, two other photographers and a couple of students box the fifty photos for shipment back to Los Angeles. The instructions were simple. Each photo had to be packed in its original box. The number and title on the box matched the number and title on the back of the framed photo. The boxes were to be sorted numerically before and after packing. I was amazed by two of the students couldn’t follow these simple instructions. Boxes were put in the wrong numerical order or were upside down so the number couldn’t be read. Some photos were put in the wrong box. I could help but wonder how these kids ever make it to college. After the show was packed up I chatted with Jackie for a few minutes. We made tentative dinner and movie plans. I drove home to feed the cat before meeting up with Sam, a gym pal, for dinner.

I spent three hours working on the yard and garden on Saturday since the shoot was postponed. It was a beautiful warm sunny day. It was great to be outside but I soon realized there is a huge amount garden clean up ahead of me. Our lack of snow and rain has left the soil dry and cracked. I pulled out the hose and watered to south facing side yard for an hour. After a late lunch I took both cars to the cars wash to rinse off the dirt and grime left from the last insignificant snow three weeks ago.

Today I need to read over a contract and employment agreement for the new firm. I’ll be switching contracting firms unless a better offer is tendered by the Mumbai firm on Monday. Nothing will change from the client’s perspective. I’ll still have the same job and same duties but now I’ll be paid through a company in California at a higher rate. A raise is always a good thing.

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Updates 1/18/2013

Tom gave me a copy of his new book last night. He wrote a touching dedication and autographed my copy. I started reading it before bed last but fell asleep after twelve pages. The book is not boring. Seventeen hour day + half of an Ambien = sleep.

Jackie asked me to assist her on a photo shoot on Saturday at the Colorado Justice Center. She’s going to be shooting the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice Chambers. I’m looking forward to the shoot. Jackie and I always have fun when we get together and she is an incredible artistic talent. We also made tentative plans to gallery hopping in March which happens to be Month of Photography here. Many of the art galleries will have photography exhibits.

I talked to K last night. I hadn’t talked to him for two weeks. He’s coming back to Denver in February. K hasn’t been here since November. K’s parents are ill. I’m perplexed as to how to handle the situation. What does one do when one’s future ex-husband’s parents are sick? I feel odd calling so I guess I’ll send a get well card.

Negotiations have broken down with my contracting company. The client wants to keep me so they have suggested moving the contract to another IT consulting company based in Silicon Valley. I need to review the new company’s offer. Their offer is significantly higher than my present firm but it does not include any benefits. There is no love lost between me and the company based in Mumbai so I’m not sad to leave. The Indians I have been dealing with at my present company are a bunch of idiots. Perhaps it’s a cultural difference but I expect questions to be answered in a timely manner when negotiating a contract. The Indians have dropped the ball several times. It should not take three months to negotiate a relatively simple contract.

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Giving Back

Yesterday after work I dropped off four bags of winter clothes and a backpack at the shelter for homeless youth on the edge of downtown. The woman taking the donation told me they are currently housing sixty-five youths with the youngest being fourteen. I left the center feeling sad even though I was doing a good deed. It is so unfortunate that these kids either feel safer in a homeless shelter than their own home, or, have been thrown out of the house for some reason.

I may live in an upper income neighborhood and drive a BMW but I haven’t had the easiest life. In my youth I always had a home, a bed, basic clothing and food. I didn’t have a lot but my basic needs were met. I was never in need like the homeless youth at the shelter. I can’t imagine starting out life with nothing. I can’t imagine the struggles these kids face on a daily basis. I can only hope that my clothing donation will help some young kid not have to worry about having warm clothes for the winter. It’s the least I can do.

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Updated 1/11/13

The contract negotiations have come to a halt once again. The contracting company is blaming the client while the client’s procurement department is pointing fingers at the contracting company. My management team in Ireland is now getting involved. My management team recognizes my value and doesn’t want to lose me but the procurement department doesn’t want to increase my compensation even though I’ve taken on additional responsibilities over the last three years. Contract discussions are set to resume toward the end of next week.

I need to get my compensation package finalized so I can get prequalified for a mortgage. The house is held in joint tenancy so I either have to buy K out or move. Yesterday I started looking at houses on line to get an idea of how the housing market is performing. There’s only one house for sale in our neighborhood. It’s on the market because the gay owners are also divorcing. The house in 9,200 square feet and is listed for $3.1m. Clearly, this is too much house and not even close to a price range I can afford. I looked at houses in the neighborhood to our west but they are either older 1,200 square foot houses in 600k range in need of renovation or they are new 4,000 square foot houses in the seven figures. There seems to be no middle ground. It looks like I’ll have to expand my search to other central neighborhoods.

Sheila called from New York to tell me the book launch has been huge success. The lecture at the National Opera Center of New York was standing room only. Tom’s book is now in the window of the bookstore at the Julliard School. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Trish left this morning for a month long road trip to New Mexico and Arizona. I just don’t get her. At times she talks like money is really tight but takes a month off from work for a vacation. Trish still brings up the ex-boyfriend every time we talk. I am sick of hearing about him. She needs to get over him and stop talking about him. I’m glad she’s going to be away for a month.

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And You Think It Looks Good?

The gym is being “remodeled”. So far, they have only repainted. The cheery blue and yellow color scheme has been replaced by terra cotta and baby shit brown. It’s dark and depressing now. There’s nothing like working out with the scent of latex paint in the air.

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Tom’s Book

Tom’s biography of a well known American opera composer will be published next week. Tom and Sheila are flying to New York on Monday for several days of festivities that includes a launch party on the 10th. Later in the month the book tour will kick off in Seattle. Tom has spent six and half years researching and writing the book. Tom is generously giving K and me a copy. I look forward to reading the whole book since I’ve only read a few pages of select chapters. I hope it is a good read.

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