Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mystery of Hidden Pond: The Complete Saga

  Come along on the search for Hidden Pond. It lies somewhere deep within Brandywine creek State Park.  I would suggest you scroll down first and turn off my music player so you can hear the narration.

 Part I Entering the Forest

 Part 2 Up to the Riverside

 Part 3 Mudland

 Part 4 Escaping

How Did We Come to This? Chapter 5: Unsystematic System Shifting

The Old Goat was successful again in Sales Uplifting, but again he was moved (kicking and screaming) to another area. Each time The Old Goat had been moved it was not his idea or desire. Each time The Old Goat was moved it was into the current “hot” spot, the newest number one priority, and yet each time The Old Goat was moved it was not upward, but sideways.  His grade level stayed as it had been when The Old Goat was in All Things Deposited, yet people who had not established reputations of innovation and success were moving effortlessly upward.  Dudley Doright had become a Section Manager in but a few years and Flip Wineberry, who had a reputation among those he worked alongside of knowing nothing and bragging about it, had progressed by age 33 to a Division Manager position.  It was also very clear that Flip was more than just the new manager of All Things Deposited, replacing Ross.  He was the top guy at the OpsCenter. It was obvious that Willy Doitagain, the new Vice-president over Spittin’ Out Data had to acquiesce to Flip’s whims and wishes. Yet while Willy was there every day putting in many extra hours overseeing his domain, Flip was most often not there. Flip was off golfing or having meetings and whatever kept him from the helm. And all along persons over a certain age were disappearing from the OpsCenter to be replaced by young and inexperienced people, who also seemed to move up the ladder at amazing speed, skipping rungs of knowledge, even as the quality of the work deteriorated.
And The Old Goat, who had successfully built the Silly Pilly System to accompany the Silly Pilly Program, was sent yon and beyond to Numbing Numbers and another Old Female Goat with no experienced was brought in to take over his Silly Pilly System and step upon her own greased skid.
Once more The Old Goat tossed and turned at night, certain this was the move to make him fail. The Old Goat dreaded going into the Numbing Numbers area.  He only hoped that they had called him in recognition of what he had done with costs at All Things Deposited, since building a cost system was the new number one priority of the bank. 
Now in one of those incredibly questionable moves, We Are Independent Trust had hired an outfit called PENCIL-NECKED GEEKS, INC. (out of Pennsylvania), to study WAIT’s costing needs and recommend a cost system. They paid PENCIL-NECKED GEEKS, INC. $100,000 for their recommendation.  It is a smart move to get an outside opinion before investing several million dollars on an unknown quantity, is it not? Oh right, sure!  Except PENCIL-NECKED GEEKS, INC. representatives were former We Are Independent Trust managers who had been close to Cuddy Bear.  But The Old Goat was certain they were fair and impartial (oh yeah).  Except PENCIL-NECKED GEEKS, INC. also happened to sell a cost and profitability system of their own, so one of the vendors they were studying for their recommendation was themselves.  But The Old Goat was sure they could be fair and impartial (oh yeah). And surprise, surprise, their recommendation was PENCIL-NECKED GEEKS, INC.  But The Old Goat was sure it was a fair and impartial recommendation (oh yeah).
At the very same time, Icabod Longfellow, in Makingit Sell Research was pushing for the purchase of another multi-million dollar venture called WhoGotRockX, a Makingit Sell Central We-Know-Everything-About-You-And-What-You-Had-For-Breakfast-And-What-You-Paid-For-It System. A database to tell who had what and who was worth having as a client.  Only one little hitch, the PENCIL-NECKED GEEKS, INC. Cough-And-Produce-By-The-Notch-We-Put-On-The-Wall System was number one priority at WISH and all the IMP resources had been allocated to PENCIL-NECKED GEEKS, INC. There were only crumbs left over to support the installation of WhoGotRockX.  But Icabod stubbornly pushed it anyway and he got it approved and purchased.  This would return to haunt him; haunt us all in fact. Who got rocks? WISH got rocks in the head for ever getting mixed up with either of these systems.
The Old Goat was assigned to a team to study the costs of the OpsCenter, which was fine with him. He was to spend most of the next year where he use to work, away from headquarters and the Numbing Numbers division.  The Old Goat became the group leader of six analysts. He set the schedules and did the training. He didn’t like some things about the PENCIL-NECKED GEEKS, INC. system and The Old Goat hacked through the backdoor into their database (it was Access and so he got access because he understood Access) and was able to steal the collected data for a database of his own design, which produced much better reports than thePENCIL-NECKED GEEKS, INC.'s  high cost system.  The Old Goat also fixed some errors he found in their design.  He did tell them what he had done and they did incorporate some of his changes into upgrades of their system, but notice that got The Old Goat no credit or royalty.
The Old Goat also argued them into letting him study all shifts of Spittin’ Out Data during the same time frame. That division worked around the clock, three shifts. Their plan called for doing day shift one month, twilight shift the next month and night shift the third month.  Now The Old Goat was already in disagreement with their methods, because they had decided to devote three weeks of study to each area, rather than a full month. The Old Goat argued a full monthly cycle should be done, because there were often big differences between the weeks within a month. This was a normal sane, standard and sure approach to such a study, not just his idea. However, Cuddy Bear had insisted the system be completely in place within one year, so they had cut the study time to make the target date. Well, The Old Goat couldn’t see breaking Spittin’ Out Data’s shifts up over three months. The work flowed through the shifts and The Old Goat wanted the flow to match, especially the volumes.  It meant visiting every shift every day for a month, but The Old Goat scoped it out and got it done and saved them two months and probably a lot of bad base figures.
With OpsCenter completed,  The Old Goat was reluctantly assigned a desk in Numbing Numbers and made Senior Profitability Analyst. He had told his boss, Cap Kneebone, he could give him any other areas to study except Trust.  The Old Goat really didn’t know Trust. The Old Goat was given Capitalist Lending, which meant The Old Goat would have to work with a man named Vetter Willit, who was high up in Capitalist Lending and over all the lenders.  Then all of a sudden, things changed and The Old Goat was given Trust, not just Trust, but also Trust Operations and Info Machine Processing, the tough assignments.
But  Numbing Numbers also had responsibility for the budgets, so we constantly got interrupted in trying to pull the profitability system together because we had to do budgets, and we were always in a bind from lack of leadership. Then it became apparent that there was a generation gap. They reorganized the units and a little clique of twenty-somethings, who hung out with the manager, like flies around manure, got promoted to supervisors and we old guys were just a bunch of aging worker bees locked in the cells of the hive.  While we were the ones they could depend on to do the job, we were just chucked aside socially, so to speak.
But The Old Goat can’t just not do a good job, it goes against his nature. He began automating some of the routine procedures and he wrote up the manual.  He built a database to handle the organization chart and the income review, which was still in years after he left.
Meanwhile, as if time was not slim enough for getting the costing and the budgeting done, WISH announced The Cooperative Workshop, something like the collective communistic theories of Mao I think, but the latest obsession of Cuddy Bear.  It was a big deal, our subsequent annual reviews would depend on our involvement. The Old Goat joined a team outside Numbing Numbers.  Everyone was supposed to join teams outside their areas.  It was supposed to empower us, but basically it had everyone doing two jobs and being paid for one.  The Old Goat joined a team that was to come up with a Makingit Sell model to gain recognition for WAIT in the high-income market. This team had been in existence for six months and had gotten nowhere, even though most members were Makingit Sell people, who should have been elsewhere anywhere.  The Old Goat went home after the first meeting he attended, sat down and drew up a model, which he presented at the next meeting. It was tweaked a bit, but it was the one presented to Senior Management and approved for implementation. Did The Old Goat get recognition for this?  Well, yes and no. The whole team received an award for it, but the ones who people remembered were the two who did the presentation at the Senior Management meeting, not the one who actually conceived the model, wrote the presentation and created the PowerPoint slides. 
The Old Goat just went back to his Numbing Numbers cubicle and crunched his numbing numbers.  Then one day he saw his old job, Administrator of the Silly Pilly System in Makingit Sell Research was posted. The woman who had replaced him was retiring to move out west with her husband. The Old Goat ignored it, until he was coming out of the cafeteria and met a woman who worked in Brokerage. She had shared the dBase system with Sales Uplifting and they had often interfaced. She asked him if he was going to post for his old job.  The Old Goat said he had not considered it. Then she said, “You know Ernest Healthstriver would love to have you back.”

        And with those remarks his fate was sealed and The Old Goat began his final quest through the forest of evil.

Friday, March 25, 2011

On the Days of Deaths

The funeral of Rudolph Valentino in New York, 1926. 100,000 people came, two women committed suicide and a mysterious Lady in Black lay flowers on his grave for years after.

Everybody died, the known and unknown. Perhaps some of us are remembered by friends and relatives until they go, a few are recalled by their life achievements beyond generations. Then there are some who remain indelibly impressed in the memory of many; people who's death for some reason, whether sudden, shock, surprise or sadness of loss remains within our memory.

Rudolph Valentino was such a one for many, he was only 31 at death, but not for me. He was before my time. Once I would have said: "well before my time", but truthfully, his death was much closer to my birth than my last birthday and 15 years doesn't seem like much time before anymore.

For my friend, Ron, at Retired in Delaware when Elizabeth Taylor died on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, she was such a person for him. "I will remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard," he said and he wrote about a list of people who he can say the same about.  Most of those he listed, perhaps all, were memorable deaths, that probably those of us alive for each do remember well. I can't claim I remember exactly where I was or doing when each passed, except perhaps John F. Kennedy. However, I may recall it because I wrote a long essay about what happened that November day at the time.

Anyway, here is my brief recall of those deaths on his list.

I was on my computer early that Wednesday morning, as usual. I receive my local paper online and had just read the obituaries. They made no mention of Elizabeth Taylor yet. I was contemplating another's death, John J. O'Toole at age 83. A few minutes later I saw a blurb on the web that Taylor had passed. My first thought was, "Poor John, you picked the wrong day to die." If you have some minor celebrity you may receive some coverage on your death, but not if a mega-star dimmed at the same time.

I didn't know John, but I had met him, had spoken to him. I can't say the same for Taylor. I also know many are asking who's John J. O'Toole. He was an actor, dancer, singer, producer, director legend in the area of Arden, the founder  and owner of the Candlelight Dinner Theater for thirty years.

Now I doubt thirty years from now I will remember where I was or doing when O'Toole or Taylor died. I doubt thirty years from now I will be around. Will you remember where you were when you hear the news of my death? But here are the people who I do remember even if I had to put on spurs and dig a bit to recall where I was at the time.

While we are on Elizabeth Taylor we probably should mention three people not on Ron's list, but who's parting  did grab the same type of attention. I even remember very well where I was and doing when word came on one of these. All three also had close ties to Elizabeth Taylor.

The most recent was Michael Jackson, apparently a somewhat popular singer. He died at age 50 of questionable circumstances on Thursday, June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles. This was two days before my birthday and  death was announced at 2:26 Pacific time. It was 5:26 here on the  East coast and we were just getting ready to have dinner when the report came over TV. Coincidentally, this past Thursday, the day after Taylor died, jury selection began in the trial of Jackson's doctor for manslaughter.

Many, many years before Michael Jackson's last moon walk, another pop idol died suddenly. He also was friends with Elizabeth and co-starred with her in a little movie called "Giant", along with another actor's whose death caused some stir, Rock Hudson. This young man, for he was only 25 when he died and already something of a legend in films was James Dean. He was killed on Friday afternoon, September 30, 1955 at 5:45 PM Pacific time (8:45 in the East). He had just bought a new sports car that morning and he collided with another car that evening and was killed. I was 14 years old and can't say exactly what I was doing at the time.

As it were, a reporter has just published a story that he claims Elizabeth Taylor whispered in his ear during the filming of "Giant". She and Dean had become friends and confidents and he told her as a boy he had been sexually molested by his preacher several times. The reporter says Elizabeth told him, but swore him to secrecy until after she died. I always approach such things with a grain of salt. Now she is dead and Dean is long cold, he has released it and who is there to confirm or deny?

Oh, the picture on the left is me in 1958 attempting to look my most James Deanest.

The third person connected to Elizabeth Taylor, and this is the one where I remember where I was at the time, is Mike Todd (birth name: Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen), a film producer best know for "Eighty Days Around the World" and being Elizabeth Taylor's third husband. I suppose there is a certain irony that Todd was killed in a plane crash in Grants, New Mexico on March 22, 1958 and Elizabeth on March 23, 2011. She had very much wanted to be on the trip with Todd, but because she had a cold he insisted she stay home; otherwise, she would have died with him at age 26. Todd was 48.

I recall the news of Todd's dead because his plane had been effected by the bad weather that week. A great blizzard had hit the country on March 20 and on Saturday, March 22 my family and I were still snowbound in a house with no electric, heat or water. The news came over a little transistor radio I had.

Just short of a year later, on February 3, 1959 at 1:00 AM Central time another plane went down in bad weather and crashed in Iowa. It took three performers to their grave, Jiles P. Richardson (known as The Bog Bopper), Richie Valens and the very influential Buddy Holly.

Holly was tired of the tour bus and paid for a seat on this charter. There was room for two others. Dion didn't want to pay the $36 fee and Ritchie Valens flipped a coin with another member of the group for a seat. Waylon Jennings was to take the third seat, but J. P. Richardson felt he was coming down with the flu, so asked if he could go on the plane. Jennings relented, thus sparing him for a long and distinguished career.

Given it was 2:00 AM where I was on a Tuesday morning and I had school the next day, I guess I was asleep in my bed.

I do know where I was when I heard of Marilyn Monroe's death. She died sometime in the night either late on August 4 or early August 5, 1962. She was discovered by a housekeeper dead upon her bed. The housekeeper called her psychoanalyst, rather than the police. Her doctor came to the room, as apparently did a number of others before the police got involved. It was ruled she died of an overdose of sleeping pills, but her death has remained in the throes of speculation and mystery, some of which involved Jack and Robert Kennedy. She was 36 years old.

My wife and I were on vacation at the time. We had first spent six days touring Virginia by car, but on Sunday, August 5, we were on our third and last day staying in New York City. We first heard the news while walking down a street looking for a restaurant to have lunch.

Speaking of the Kennedys, they are on the list and chronologically, President John F. Kennedy was the next to go. He died on a Friday in Dallas, Texas at 12:30 PM Central time (1:30 here) on November 22, 1963. I was at work when rumors circulated the president had been shot. I tried to call home, but you couldn't get a line. That confirmed it for me. I remember this death vividly, but as stated earlier, this may be because I wrote about the day it happened. You can read my full account of that day by clicking here - "Reflections on a Friday".

In 1968 I was following the Hippie crowd, even though I worked full time for an oil company. I was also writing for several publications and in 1969 I left the corporate world for a while to simply be a writer. 1968 was a hot year politically. The Vietnam war was raging, the Civil Rights Movement was cresting and Lyndon Johnson announced he would not run for the white house again. There were several candidates vying for the Democratic nomination and the most appealing to a lot of young people was Robert F. Kennedy. During his campaign that year, he came to Philadelphia.

Kennedy was to hold a rally in front of the Democratic Headquarters on Chestnut Street around lunchtime one day. I walked down there on my own lunch break and the place was mobbed. Kennedy was late arriving and the mob just kept growing and were somewhat restless. The police were all about and they were pushing everyone up off the street and cursing at us none too flatteringly. I was along side a stone building on what, 15th or 16th Street. I had a good view of where Kennedy did finally come and stand in his open top car to speak. It didn't hurt that I was taller than most around me. However, the constant compression of the people was threatening the well-being of a young woman in front of me. She wasn't all that big and she was being crushed into the stone wall of the building. I stepped up and put myself between her and the crowd, because I wasn't as easy to push.

Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel where he had made his victory speech after winning the California primary. He died just around 24 hours later at age 42. He was shot at 11:30 Pacific time on June 4, 1968. It was 3:30 of the morning of June 5 where I was, but we were watching the telecast of the speech in our living room, and then the chaos that erupted.

Those years were years of assassinations. Besides the Kennedys, leaders of the Black Rights movement were targets, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and then in 1968, the Face of Civil Rights, The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee. It was April 4, 1968 at 7:05 PM, a Thursday evening and it send shock waves throughout the nation. These were very volitive times.

I was working in the headquarters of that oil company at the time. We came to work the next day, but then they sent everyone home early because their was rampant fear of riots breaking out in the city.

The last person that was on Ron's list was Princess Di. I'm not much of a Royal family follower. Don't have much time for him to tell the truth, but I do know where I was when this death happened. She was killed in that Paris tunnel just after Midnight on August 31, 1997. It was just after 7:00 PM on a Saturday night here. My wife, three kids and I were just entering the Grandview Speedway near Boyertown, Pa. for the stock car races. We didn't hear the news when it happened, but we did on the radio driving home. If I recall correctly, it began to rain late in the evening and it was miserable driving in the dark, hard to see. It came on the radio and we were all shocked.

Anyway, that is my take on this memorable death list, sort of a ghoulish exercise. Besides these particular people, I am certain there are others whose death remained strong in peoples minds for a long time, perhaps forever. I took Ron's list, added a couple and this is mine.

I would add one more, though. This one happened on a Sunday evening in Los Angeles on June 12, 1994. It was around 10:00 PM Pacific Time and 7:00 PM here. My son and I were driving to a pool party at one of the coaches house. This was a get together thrown by the coach for our Little League team. The outcome of this person's (actually two people's) death was to hold the public attention for months. I think I read more than a dozen books about it in the years since. It was a murder and we watch in fascination a strange slow police pursuit across the LA freeways and it gave us things like the "Dancing Itos" and an ill-fitting bra on Seinfeld.

That was, of course, was the brutal slaying of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How Did We Come to This? Chapter 4: A Brief Time in Paradise

When The Old Goat reported to Sales Uplifting that made five in the Division.  Yes, this dinky little group was actually considered a Division.  All Things Deposited was a division and at its height it had 275 employees and occupied ninety percent of a building, but as is often said, size doesn’t matter.  Ernest Healthstriver was the Vice-President who replaced Flip Wineberry in this position (although Flip had not been a Vice-president when he was over Sales Uplifting).  Dynamic Jones was an Assistant Vice-president and her background was Personnel (Oh gee The Old Goat am so sorry The Old Goat mean Human Resources!  God forbid we call it what it is or by a name containing the word “Person”. Isn’t it funny how the term “Human Resources” actually dehumanizes the employee – just another resource, like copy machines and envelops.) Dynamic was charged with designing the modules of the Silly Pilly program and overseeing employee training.
Tilda Childspeak was administrator of an application called Giveme-Giveme.  The vendor promoted this tool as a way to ease the sales person’s burden of paperwork. It purported to make the tracking of clients’ needs, appointments, sales and etc. simple allowing the user to concentrate on selling. When you could get them to use it.  Perhaps it was too complicated to grasp or maybe there were other reasons. Some of these people resented the idea of using any new fangled gadget while others were just too lazy to learn.
Tilda came to the bank years before The Old Goat did, although she looked about twenty years old with the speaking voice of a child of ten. She was a very nice woman, who The Old Goat had first met Tilda in the early years when she was the techie who set up his PC.
The other person in the unit was Taffy, the only Indian in this tribe of Chiefs. She worked part time, did all the data entry and acted as receptionist.
As much as The Old Goat dreaded this new job, it turned out to be great (at least while it lasted).  Ernest was as easy to work with as Ross and in such a small group, The Old Goat got to work very closely with him. They both liked to try new things, to blue sky it and to get all enthused about wild ideas. In fact, everyone was this way, except perhaps Taffy who had to bring some earth-bound reality to this den of wildcats. Ernest also gave members of the group autonomy over their area; again, with the exception of Taffy who had to please us all.
As stated previously, The Old Goat’s office was very nice. He was on the Street floor of headquarters, just behind the lobby branch in an office originally designed for use by a banking officer dealing with the customer, so the office was designed to impress the public at a time when bank’s believed opulence assured people the institution was sound.
Even better, this little division was reported directly to Hobart Wazza Goodguy, the new President of WAIT. Sales Uplifting was like a royal family and could get whatever was felt necessary. When The Old Goat came, there was no PC for him yet. The Old Goat was able to write in his own ticket and he ordered and got the top of the line PC of the day, meaning by that the top in speed and memory and storage capacity, not the brand. All the bank’s PCs were Compaq. Of course in those days, Compaq was probably the top of the line brand as well. Anyway, The Old Goat had his dream-machine.
The Old Goat was a great user of blue three-ring binders as a means of organizing information for quick reference. He requested a bookcase to hold these. In all his past experience with asking for something such as a bookcase, Purchasing would rummage about in some dark and hidden storeroom for one. The Old Goat would get whatever discard they found, usually something with a lot of scratches and dings. This time an emissary from Purchasing came and handed him a thick packet. The Old Goat opened it up and inside were wood samples. What kind of wood did Mr. Goat prefer for his bookcase, what color, what style, what this and what that? Mr. Goat never was able to get use to this kind of personal attention. Mr. Goat just wanted something to hold his binders.  “Oh, and would Mr. Goat like better binders, perhaps leather bound with monogram?”
Lets digress and discuss PCs.
In the early 1980s The Old Goat was trying to persuade Ross Rollins to get some PCs. The Old Goat felt they were the future, but Craig List, the Senior Manager of Info Machine Processing, was a mainframe man. List didn’t think the PC would ever have a place in the business world. He viewed it as some kind of toy, a curiosity, more fad that practical. Still, he did set up an experimental area called Fiddle-Faddle and bought four Apples.  (Apple was really the only thing out there then.) Perhaps he felt doing this would soon show the uselessness of the blasted doodads and get idiots like The Old Goat to shut up about them.
Anyone in WAIT could use these, (around 1,900 employees in those days), but this were strictly time-share. You had to sign up to use them and were limited to small snatches of time. They had VisiCalc and WordPerfect on them, which one also had to teach one’s self using tutorials. The Old Goat was there as much as The Old Goat could get time, but it was so limiting, and everything you did had to be saved to 5 ¼ floppy disks, which really didn’t hold much.
The person put in charge of Fiddle-Faddle was Greta Regreta. She was very rigid and was certain that Apple would always be the only small computer for business. She saw Fiddle-Faddle growing to as many as a dozen such devices, but these computers never expanding beyond a timeshare arrangement. 
The Old Goat said to Ross if these computers ever caught on they would see if Apple could keep the market when the big boys like IBM jumped in. The Old Goat also still pushed to have desktop computers put to use in Ross’s division.
IBM did jump in and immediately sprained its ankle.  For some reason IBM couldn’t get a good handle on marketplace, but the box, the PC did get into the hands of others, such as Compaq. After about two years the Apples were gone and Compaqs were in at WAIT.  About six months after that Greta was gone. In a couple years Fiddle-Faddle was gone. Within a half-decade the PC dominated everywhere at WAIT.
By the time the Apples went made into sauce, The Old Goat had a Compaq PC on his desk, one of the first, if not the first employee to have such. In all those years to come, The Old Goat always had the biggest and baddest machine in WAIT, although the powers-that-be always dragged their feet on technology and always went for the least capable boxes. They never understood the potential of these machines, never grasped they would expand in capability and that every year or so the company would have to upgrade. In would have been cheaper to buy the bigger power and storage and memory capacities available, but they never thought that added space or speed would be used.
Of course, The Old Goat had an even bigger box at home.
His first home computer was an Atari. Yes, an Atari 401. It couldn’t do a lot, such as print. He had to save his work to tape cassettes, which were slow to use. There was no monitor; it hooked up to the TV. You could play Atari games on it naturally, but you could also write programs in Basic. You could get some little bookkeeping applications, too. The Old Goat taught himself Basic and wrote a couple very rudimentary games.  Then The Old Goat went out and got an Apple II.
This didn’t have a lot either, but a lot more than the Atari. It had a monitor and two disk drives using the 3-½ floppies for storage. No hard drive for storage on home computers yet. It also had an impact printer.  It came with AppleWorks software, which had a combination of word processing, spreadsheet and database. Most important of all, the thing worked well and was easy to learn. The used manual was clear and used humor. The Old Goat loved his Apple.
But the business world didn’t. The wisest and brightest minds of big business kept looking at Apple as if it were covered with brown spots. How could some gizmo put together by three geeks in a garage be trusted? When the PC appeared, they took it as the “real deal” and ended up married to the bride of Microsoft.
The Old Goat, too, eventually moved to PCs and had a series of Compaqs, but he always carried a flame in his heart for Apple. It was easy to use, and always seemed ahead of the PC world in technology and reliability, but remained rare in business and incompatible with what The Old Goat had at work, so The Old Goat ended up switching loyalties so he could do his job both at home and in the office.
Back to our story:
Sales Uplifting staff worked closely together on the Silly Pilly program. The Old Goat was sent to Access classes, although these lessons only skimmed the surface. The Old Goat really learned Access by buying the program and installing it at home.  The Old Goat then sat down and went straight through the manual.  Well, long-story-short, The Old Goat did build the Silly Pilly database, did get the data out of the old “DRAGON” dBase system, and did save Ernest Healthstriver’s rear end. More importantly, The Old Goat had a job he liked and people he enjoyed working with. Dynamic and The Old Goat became good friends and still are.
And then the world shook again and things changed; another reorganization at the top of the house. Makingit Sell was removed from the Administration Department and made its own, and named to be the first Senior Manager Makingit Sell Department Head was one Lydia Metermaid, the first female Senior Manager of We Are Independent Trust. And Sales Uplifting was removed from Hobart Wazza Goodguy and given to Lydia Metermaid.  A Makingit Sell Section called Makingit Sell Research was also now to report to Ernest Healthstriver. Ichabod Longfellow managed this section. Now Ichabod and his assistant, Horst Headless, joined the little Uplifting group at staff meetings
The Old Goat had known Ichabod for some time. The Old Goat first got to know him when The Old Goat was Project Manager over the development and institution of Do-It-Yourself-or-Else Banking. (It was his managing of that project that led to him being named Chairman of the New Products Committee by Hobart Wazza Goodguy.  Ichabod Longfellow was also a member of that committee.) Ichabod and The Old Goat developed a close acquaintanceship over the years.  They sometimes went to lunch together and discussed ethics in business.
There was irony in this new reorganization, which will be seen later.  Still, even though some things changed. (We couldn’t get things we wanted so easily anymore), The Old Goat still liked his job and working with Ichabod and Dynamic.  His Silly Pilly System was well designed, easy to use and though The Old Goat only had six months left of the eighteen months before he would be exiled to Numbing Numbers, The Old Goat was hoping Ernest could pull strings and keep him safe in his present lair.
Then on another dull and drear January day, one year after The Old Goat had left All Things Deposited, Yard Perimeter showed up at the lair door and snatched him away to Numbing Numbers, stolen away six months early.
The new hot button at We Are Independent Trust was cost and profitability.  The Old Goat had been pushing for knowing costs for fifteen years, had built an Activity Based Cost System on my own initiation that had been a success in All Things Deposited.  But as they say, no good turn goes unpunished.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bloggin' and Walkin' and Complications Thereof

Okay, so I've been reading some others talking about why they Blog. It's their therapy. It's their relaxation. It's their addiction. Yeah, well it may be all of that, especially the last. I have always claimed writing was a curse or disease with no cure. And sometimes it is just plain hard work.

I mean, there are things you need know and don't. For instance, I don't know if the word is blog or Blog. Is Blog a proper noun or just some generic thingamabob? I'm always capitalizing the word, but maybe I shouldn't. A writer is supposed to know such a thing, is he or she not?

Why don't we have a neutral word for he and she. See, there is another style book question. Do you stick with he or stick with she when making general statements or must you alternate? On the other hand, must you always use both? It'd be much easy if we had a pronoun like hesh or something. A writer is supposed to know such a thing, is hesh not?

I writer ought to be writing, too. Have you noticed my production was down these last few days. There are a couple of reasons. One has to do with writing. I joined a writers' group and got self-conscious about my grammar or lack of it. I bought a new book for the purpose of brushing up on such things as whether I sat that book down or I set that book down. I did this because some of my time has been taken up reading and critiquing eight other writers' work for the meeting this Friday.

And then I took a walk. Yes, I know, I am always taking walks, but in this case I decided to do another taping. Now I had some video snippets of my stroll to put together. Ah, ha, I said, I will make one big film this time. So I worked at stitching these snippets together, adding special effects, music (something that would come back to haunt me) and a narration. Beautiful, it came to just 30 minutes and some things timed out just perfectly and I felt I nailed the ending. All that was left to do was the upload to YouTube to finalize the effort. This is when I learned YouTube limits videos to 15 minutes.

I had to cut my opus up into three parts (I was afraid splitting it in half was cutting too close to that 15 minute barrier).  It took more effort that you can believe. I basically had to start all over for there was no way to slice and dice my finished epic. I had to reassign the strips, re-add the music and redo the narrative. This took time, a lot of time, but at long last I finished and all three sections uploaded to YouTube without a hiccup.

Except I got an email notification saying one of my videos may contain copyrighted content. I try my best to not use any such animal. The only thing it could be was the music. The pictures, the film, the narrative were all original by me. When I looked at my playlist on YouTube, I saw several marked as possiblily using copyrighted material. Now I had used classical music as background and figured that was written before 1922 so would be public domain. However, I guess the performance of the music was  what was copyrighted.

I went in and deleted all my videos where I used music. I then removed all the music from my masters and loaded the altered films back to YouTube. Bingo, any warnings went away, but so did some of the spark. I felt the videos needed something beyond my dreary voice and shaky filming.

Once again I deleted all my videos from YouTube and once again I reproduced them, this time using bits of music supplied by Apple, supposedly in the public domain. If I receive any notice on these, then I guess music will not be in the background of my tapes, unless I start composing my own and pluck it out on my son's guitar.

At any rate, below is my latest effort. It is called "Cauffiel in the Wind". (And you need ask yourselves, did "hesh" capitalize the correct words in that title?) And, by the way, you set the book down on the table next to where you had sat to read.

Oh, and I suggest you turn off my music player so you can hear the videos.





It isn't easy Bloggin' with a lap full of cats, either.