October 24th, 2005

running, bomb tech


Busted ass at work today. Wound up herding a lot of cats -- that is to say, there's this survey that the county sends out to businesses to have their employees fill out. (Maricopa county. Trip Reduction Survey.) We do it yearly. Friday and Saturday, I had first one here-to-assist supervisor get the people and herd them through it, then another. Today, we were two men down, and it fell to me.

It really wasn't all that bad. I made a quick sort of the people, and started out by attacking Area 1 and summoning them to the area set up for the surveys. I never knew how hard it was to pry a specific person off the phones before. Now I do. A lot of people complained. A lot of people did the "But I've already done that survey before!" I had them shut up and color. I troubleshot survey errors. (Putting a letter in a numeric-only box is a problem. Old lady: dead.) I did this for morning. I did this for evening. It was a lot of surveys.

One Old Lady who works on the weekends is quite honestly scary. She has nearly pure white hair and froggy eyes that are enormous behind gigantically magnifying spectacles. She is always dressed impeccably. The major problem with her is that she's old enough to have earned the right to be cranky, and not ashamed to use that right, even in situations where it ought to be a privilege, and a privilege that should have long since been revoked from her. She is Always Right, and easily confused, especially on technological things. She has a fearsome temper and a scorching vocabulary. Stressy College Chick fears her.

She hadn't yet done the survey.

The survey is on a web form.

(I wound up having her over there in a moment by herself, just her and me, and when she visibly feared the scary interface, I wound up taking charge by just running the mouse while she dictated her answers. Perfect solution, and no one was harmed. I gained rapport with her by becoming her Champion in the Face of Unknown Technology, which is a position I'm reasonably happy in. Better that than Someone Who Adds To Her Stress and therefore Gets Sniped At.)

I am generally effective at this stuff, it seems. I am gaining People Skills.
  • Current Music
    R.E.M. - Leave
old school hacker, bug

High-energy computing

I was working cheerily away at my work computer Saturday night when things started getting unaccountably sluggish. I was annoyed. Then the dread Blue Screen and memory dump!

When I powered the box back on, there was an uncomfortable clunking noise. All attempts to boot ended in waiting for DHCP to respond, then having a problem with a non-system disk or disk error. Helpdesk, in response to my e-mail (from another, inferior, box in the bullpen) thought that the hard drive died, and the soonest they'd look at it for repair would be Monday.

I shan't be back until Tuesday.

Comic Pirate Super thinks the check-ins should have a more powerful computer. I happen to agree. That would be nice.

The thing had been rebuilt just recently. I am annoyed that it has to be messed with again so soon. Fortunately all my important files are on the network. It's tedious to set up everything just so and then have to do it again.

Evening shift was down by two supervisors tonight -- Practical Joker Supervisor was out, and Homie G called in last night to put in for a month's leave, due to a death in the family, and the necessity of an extended visit to Grandma across the border. Then Quiet Geek Super left due to an urgent lack of BBQ at the workplace. Trendy Chick was pissed. She and I were sharing a desk, as almost all the other computers in the bullpen are stacked two to a desk. The one she was at has a sucky mouse. The two on the other side of the bullpen are tacitly reserved for Rev. Not-So-Nice Super and company. The one at the far end is the timesheet computer and is only slightly speedier than a cosmic turtle at a few degrees above absolute zero. The desk opposite the check-in desk is tacitly reserved for the senior supervisor below the Shift Ops Super.

If the computer is still out on Tuesday when I'm next due in, I wonder if I could get away with bringing in Thalia to work from while things get repaired. I can't deal with the lack of desk space to do all my check-in stuff. Things fall over messily and to great effect. (I wound up taking a bow for the benefit of the amused Area 9 when a clipboard clattered down from the top of the monitor.) The network jack needs a new box anyway. Damn, forgot to put that on the booth out e-mail.

I came in Friday to find that I couldn't access the network. Turned out that the cable was disconnected from the jack-in-the-box that is installed at foot level by the desk. I attempted to twitch the plug back home, but no such luck. I dropped to the floor in the familiar geek push-up position, prone on eye level with the equipment of interest. I found that the jack was pushed so far back inside the box that plugging it in was impossible.

There had been geeks in Area 10 and around, so I went and flagged one (the contractor who'd been looking for the switch in the bullpen some weeks ago) down, telling him that I needed IT help or a screwdriver. I explained in brief, using correct terminology. The contractor came back with me, repeated the geek push-up, and headed off to get a screwdriver. The jack is naked right now, so I scavanged a black plastic supply bin and shoved that in place to protect my precious network connection from stray feet, the same stray feet that doubtless disconnected it in the first place.
  • Current Music
    R.E.M. - Be Mine
running, bomb tech

Cow-orker update

There's always at least one. Problem Child was the first one I noticed, he who wound up singing "Girls just want to have fun" far too late and on an open line while being monitored, badly out of tune. Stoner-boy was just thick. King of Birdbrains was surreal as well as stroppy. Now, Tall, Handsome, and Duuuuhmb is as advertised. There's a little too much blond in the boy, and he left his booth a mess.

Stoner Boy doesn't work with us anymore.

It's not to say that an employee of this type does not have potential. Groucho Marx Phone Goon worked with the company some years back and was an employee of difficulty. This time around, he has distinct potential, and may even be under consideration to help out. Heck, I was very much not a model employee. This time, I have ambition and drive.

But there's a certain attitude that bodes ill for people. Part of that attitude is a cheerful disregard for the spirit of the rules of the workplace. This guy has a lot of that.
trust, best friends forever, snot-nosed brats

My introvert! All mine!

Caring for Your Introvert

And some introverts don't get that when their friend who walks the edge of the introvert/extrovert line wants to spend time with them, it doesn't mean "we have to do something and be social". My most memorable high-quality interaction time with my best friend was the random day last November when he started playing a video game and I curled up next to him very quietly. It was interrupted with talking from time to time, but the bits I remember most clearly are the bits where we were just together, each alone with our own thoughts. And it was Safe.

I got used to our quiet mornings together at school. I resented it when others intruded. I got used to having that time that was not isolation but not interactive. "Companionable silence" is the traditional phrase.

I learned how to get him to talk to me. You do know how to get an upset introvert to talk, right? When you see they're upset, sit down a safe distance away and be very quiet.
  • Current Music
    Aqua - Good Morning Sunshine
running, bomb tech

Not Good.

This is a Not Good thing: my laptop's screen is flickering with spots and lines, like everything moving very fast around. I am Not Happy with this state of affairs. I hope she's going to be OK. She's only a year old!
running, bomb tech

Much better!

Looks like a setting was just jarred loose or something; going into the display settings and trying out a new resolution calmed things down, and I went back to the old resolution no trouble. Yay for technical smackery!

I'm still paranoid, though.