Monday, July 03, 2006

Random Observations and Trivial Events


Sometimes at work I pass by a room where they do training sessions for employees – you know, those sessions where they teach you things such as how to be more efficient on the job, how to manage your time and how to deal with psychopathic nut case bosses without involving the company health plan.

Maybe I’m just the cynic here, but I don’t think those training videos and teaching sessions really do what they’re supposed to do. Yes, the people who attend them might be fired up and full of new ideas while they’re sitting there missing work under the spell of a good instructor-motivator, but from what I’ve seen, about 99 percent of what they’ve learned never sticks with them for the long haul. Sure, sometimes they pick up a tip here or there that they end up using (“Big yellow sticky notes get seen easier than small ones do. USE THEM LIBERALLY!”) but I think most of the time, the trainees believe the trainers are just blowing smoke. And let’s face it, a person who has spent his lifetime being a messy, unorganized goof-off is not going to turn into an organized, trailblazing captain of industry after watching just one Stephen Covey video. When all the attempts at behavior modification are over, the driven perfectionists go back to nosing the grindstone, and the goof-offs go back to playing Internet poker and downloading photos of Uma Thurman.


When sociologists discuss how different people affect or are affected by trends, some are the trendsetters, others are the “early adapters,” and then there are the sad people called something like the “clueless foot-draggers.” I’m in the last group. For example, I have just recently watched the first few episodes of the first season of “Alias” for the first time. I kept hearing how good the show was (like I incessantly keep hearing how good “24” is), so, courtesy of Netflix, I put my toe in the water. Now, I won’t say I’m absolutely hooked on “Alias,” but I think I could easily get there with a little more exposure.


Speaking of how I adapt to technology, here’s how I can get smacked when I try to be too trendy. People here at work had told me I needed to have one of those little USB stick thingies to store my personal data on instead of the big, clunky Zip disks I’d been using. I kept resisting, but finally, I realized that since my PC at home doesn’t have a Zip drive (like my Mac at work does), I would need one of those stick thingies to transfer data back and forth from work to home.

So, I bought one, and loaded it up with all my stuff – my history research, my fiction writing, my essay ideas, my freelance journalism articles, even my haiku, which so far has never seen the light of day. The stick had a neat little hole to allow you to put it on your key ring, which I did. Well, the other day I looked at my key ring and found that the part of the stick that has the USB port and the memory was missing. I looked in a few obvious spaces, but I couldn’t find it.

I’m assuming that it popped of my key ring when I pulled my keys out somewhere to get in the car. So, it most likely was or is lying around some parking lot somewhere. I hope it gets crushed quickly, but if someone actually finds it and accesses the information inside, I have two competing fears. One is that they’ll think the writing inside is terrible, and hit me up for a ransom payment to prevent them from making it public. The other fear is that they’ll turn it over to a literary agent (with their name on it) and make big money as the newest star of the New Yorker. I’m expecting the first scenario, mind you.


Have you ever looked at an old movie or at old newsreel footage – maybe from the very early 1900s – and thought that all the people shown on the film, even the children, are almost certainly dead now, and that you’re watching something that doesn’t exist any more? Well, I have. Maybe I’m just morbid, but sometimes I get the idea that I'm watching the equivalent of theatre from beyond the grave.


I was watching one of those reality shows on Animal Planet the other night – with a name like “Animal Cops” or something. Most of it was pretty routine stuff – ASPCA officers going after animal abusers or stray kittens caught in drainpipes. But then, the last segment surprised me. A police squad busted an illegal, high-stakes poker game, featuring those differing breed of dogs you see on the paintings everywhere smoking big cigars. Boy, that was exciting TV.


nettie said...

You make me feel so much better about losing mine.

Jenn said...

You sure have a way with posting 5 blog posts all at once.

skywriter said...

Re Alias - though I have to laugh at how she affords her palatial living quarters. . I'm a federal agent, I do what she does (well actually it's much much more boring in real life)but in a size 14 and flat shoes. . and I can barely afford my little colonial in the burbs. .Oh well, the real thing probably wouldn't make good TV. :-)

CrosSwords said...

Uh oh! Looks like another fan. Love those posters! Used "Intimidation" when presenting before a group of teachers and principals...and then the Superintendent of Schools walked in! Lots of fun.

Inkling said...

I need to check out those posters! Would it be bad to put them up in my classroom? Probably, huh? I already have Bart Simpson on the wall inspiring them to do all kinds of inappropriate things.