Thursday, December 29, 2005

I Done Did it!

That's right, make yourself a hot tasty beverage and sit back. The blog archive is now complete! Ok, with the exception of the two pictures and everything in the secured section (which none of you saw anyway). I'm working on the pictures, but you may need to just go to my website for them! If you want to know, archiving my files meant copy and paste from a previously saved text document, one by one. I worked hard on that archive for you, archiving like a mad fool, so go have a reread! And for those of you who weren't with me for my first blog endeavor, you can read it now.

Yeah, I'll admit, I did most of it when I could have been working. But honestly, who wants to be at work anyway? I'd like to stay in bed one of these mornings.

I hopped on the pilates machine on Monday, that was a mistake! I think I hurt more than I did right after the accident! I'm going to push through, though, and maybe get back to it tomorrow. Every now and then, my muscles let me know they're not happy, but I am doing better. Who needs a doctor anyway.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bye Bye EQ

Well, that's it. I finally cancelled my EverQuest account. My subscription ran out yesterday. I won't lie, there's still a chance I could pay up and keep everything, but that window doesn't last, and I don't expect to be doing it =)

The saddest part, other than the fact that I really enjoyed playing and working on my characters and such, is that there's no going back to the Guide Program from here. I miss that the most.

Now, some people have said that World of Warcraft can have the joy in newness that EQ once had, but alas, I have way too much to do than to spend every day on the computer. Besides, I still have the Sims!

Thanks, Sony, for letting me in that wonderful world.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

PC and Religion Don't Mix

Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Merry Yule! Did I leave anyone out? I want to be sure I include everyone because Jews are offended by Merry Christmas, and Christians are offended by Happy Holidays.

I'm sure you've all heard this debate. I'm going to take a blog-day to be political, go make a warm cup of tea and have a seat, this doesn't happen very often. I'm going to start by making a few points:
1) I believe in the separation of Church and State.
2) I believe in freedom of religion for everyone.
3) I believe in freedom of personal expression.
4) Political Correctness is an oxymoron. This therefore makes professional politicians morons, but we knew that already.
5) In all places where you is used, it means a generic you. In all places where I or me is used, it is a generic I. Nothing here is directed to, nor should be considered from any individual person unless otherwise noted.
On to the dish.

One religious front says we should all celebrate Christmas, one says we should celebrate what we want, which makes me offended by your celebrating something else. It makes no difference that the birth they are celebrating is believed to have occurred in the spring, or that the actual reason for the season is the Winter Solstice or a lamp that stayed lit for eight days when it should have gone out in one. In fact, by that logic, Christmas is only holiday that doesn't really belong here.

Why is it that Rabbis are offended when someone says Merry Christmas? Why are Christians offended when someone doesn't say Merry Christmas?

For a retailer, the generic terms Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings are the best way to go, they (as in retailers) follow different rules than the rest of us. And these terms include everyone and exclude none. Most people in the United States have some kind of celebration during this time of year, so it is wise to choose a blessing that includes them all. Season's Greetings = "Whatever this season means to you, I hope you are filled with it." Happy Holidays = "Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope you have a joyous one." What is in there for anyone to take offence to?

Here's the big one: Merry Christmas = "I hope your celebration of the birth of Christ is happy." No, that does not mean something to everyone. It means something only to those who celebrate the event in question. One thing to keep in mind is that these are the majority of our nation.

I'll put this to you; instead of greeting me or wishing me happiness with something that means something to me, why not wish me happiness with a blessing that means something to you? I want a Jew to wish me a Happy Hanukkah. I want a Christian to wish me a Merry Christmas. I want to hear Happy Kwanzaa from my African-descended friends. And by gum, if a coven wants to run around screaming Happy Yule, I want them to!

The point of this and any holiday blessing, you see, is to take something that is important, loving, meaningful, and everything else that it is to you and share it with me. This is a part of you, something that has meaning in your life. What a wonderful thing it is to take a piece of that and give it to another person, wishing nothing in return but responding in kind. How much of that other person do you learn by one blessing that leaves their lips and is directed towards you? This is the embodiment of perfect love and perfect trust; no matter what words you use, your holiday greeting says "This time of year is important to me, I hope you are enjoying it too." This time of year is not about others accepting what you believe, it is about connecting with people.

And while I'm at it, if someone wishes you a Merry Christmas and you have no idea how important such a blessing is to them: Be gracious! Who cares if it means nothing to you? Why can't you just accept the blessing for what it is and say 'thank you?' Does that hurt? Instead of saying 'I want to be greeted this way' accept that someone thought enough about you to greet you at all, and they thought enough about you to give a part of them to you. Oh, how truly blessed you are to receive such a wonderful thing. Gratitude, friends, is what you give in return, and perhaps a heartfelt wish from you to them.

We enjoy so much freedom in this country. Think of the people who live in a place where Christianity is not the majority. Can they say Merry Christmas without fear? In this place, we say what we want, believe what we will, and live among many differences. Let us celebrate that! Have a Happy Everyday!

Why should one person hide their beliefs just because another may or may not believe the same thing? Freedom of religion applies to everyone. You are free to practice something that is not what the majority follows, and I am free to say Merry Christmas or Happy Yule as I choose.

Forget PC, whatever happened to freedom of expression?

I know this debate has been around for years, but the sheer volume of it this year is painful to me. It is one rare point where my mother and I agree. Say what you mean. If a Jew does not appreciate being wished a Merry Christmas, wish them one anyway if that is what you believe. The love you share with others will be felt by them whether your words have meaning to them or not.

The divine within me bows to the divine within you.

Monday, December 19, 2005

This is Why I Have a Blog

My supervisor will now have the same name in each subsequent blogs. I have called this person many a thing, including simply Sup. Sup will now be referred to as Adolf.

A few months ago, a new employee was hired who they put in the cube right behind me. The cubicles are open in that direction, so I could turn around and speak to her whenever I wished. This person and I got along very well, we hit it off right away and I am happy to say she attained the level of friend quite quickly. Adolf, however, has a problem with that.

We have been told that we talk too much and too loudly. Personally, I think who cares? If no one is complaining of us disturbing them, and we're still getting our work done, who cares if we get along? In fact, my productivity improved when she came along. My friend was hired into a new position within the company, and was supposed to be moved to another area at the beginning of next year. In spite, Adolf had her moved today, directly after we were told we were talking too much and too loudly after we took 20 seconds to say good morning and I gave her a gift.

I applied for another position in the department (however under a different supervisor) but I know I won't get it. I wonder if Adolf had a problem with me because I wanted to go to another group, and that's why we were getting picked on. Some of the other people in the department were amazed, they admited to us that they talk as much if not more, and nothing has ever been said to them.

I can't work this way. I don't understand why Adolf feels the need to control me. I am not a servant of anyone, least of all my supervisor. It is so hard to work when you are afraid to say good morning lest you be yelled at for talking too much, or when you are afraid to get up from your seat to get water or go to the bathroom lest you be accused of not getting any work done. I have enough to worry about after the accident (get the car looked at, get a doctor who will follow up) than to worry about Adolf appearing behind me wondering what I'm doing all day.

Clearly, blogging is the answer! See, I'm doing this to prove a point. I believe I do more and better work when someone I get along with is nearby. That someone has been moved, therefore what I produce in a day will diminish. The last thing I want to do is be here right now as it is. If, as I think, I don't get the position I applied for, I'm going to need to get out anyway. I'm not getting any better in this situation.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Doesn't Look Much Better

Well, the urgent care places were a flop (see comment to the first entry today, if you're confused). Even though my HR rep said it was a $35 copay, the places I could go to said that, because it was an accident, I have to pay for the whole thing and then get reimbursed by the auto insurance company. I tend to not carry that kind of money around with me. So, after lots of phone calls and driving around, I ended up at the ER! It took about an hour for a doctor to tell me I'm sore but nothing appears really damaged, hand me a piece of paper to be redeemed for a couple bottles of drugs, and tell me it's going to be worse tomorrow.

If I had known that getting a doctor to just have a look at me was going to be such a pain on top of the pain I already had, I would have gone to the ER on the way home this morning. I wish I had Kaiser Permanente like my parents; my dad talked to a live person, was transferred to another live person, and had an afternoon appointment scheduled all before 0900. We've both been prescribed pain killers and muscle relaxents, so whether work is in sight for the morning or not is debatable!

The lesson of the day: Don't waste time with your Primary Care Physician, they're not going to care about you when you really need them.

Another Reason to Hate Doctors

As if I needed another reason.

I was in my first auto accident today. Morning rush hour around Washington is always pretty bad, but some person in a big jeep took his eyes off the road for a moment, and ran into my little Saturn. My car's plastic bumper did what it was supposed to do, and we were completely stoped in traffic so didn't run into anyone else. I was leaning forward at the time so the bump jerked me around quite a bit more than it would have if I were sitting back in my seat.

Right now, my entire right side is hurting, from my ankle to my wrist to my neck. I decided to not go to work, and called my insurance company, who was going to file the claim with his insurance company on my behalf. I called my doctor when they opened and was told by the receptionist that they 'don't do auto accidents.' I tried calling my health insurance company, but couldn't get through to a live person who might be able to help me find someone who will help me. I tried calling the HR department at work to see if they have a live person number for the insurance, but couldn't reach anyone there. My mother gave me the number of a doctor that my grandmother sees, but I was on hold for 15 minutes and got cut off. I've never had to deal with this before, so I'm really at a loss. All I know is that I hurt and I can't find a doctor who cares, and I'm tired of hitting a dead end everywhere I try.

Looks like ibuprofen and heating pads will be my friends for a while. And the search for a new primary care physician is on, and there's another reason to avoid a doctor.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Finally Did It

Believe it or not, I cancelled my EverQuest account today.

I know, I know, many of you will think I've gone mental (you may be right). But it was really just eating up money! It didn't matter if I didn't play while I was a Guide (even though playing was part of our requirements. Shhhh, don't tell anyone!) since the play account was free. But since I left in August, I didn't log on once. I was hoping to return to the Guide Program last month, but there are so many other things I'd rather do with my time. It might be different if I didn't spend so much time in front of the computer (for my job and all my graphics programs and things like that =) but why keep paying for something that you don't use, right? I was sad to do it, but it's nice that the small bill it produced won't be coming, and I won't have to feel guilty about not playing anymore!

Besides, who wants to play a video game when you can drive out past the area you work in to sing some very . . . less than stimulating music as a favor to a friend? Ok, well, I do, honestly, but I said I would sing and so I did. The Mass included music that was written by a friend for litanies written by one of his friends. If you've never heard a litany or don't know what it is, it's a kind of prayer that uses repetition: there are several in every Catholic Mass. These were long vocally challenging pieces, but not really stimulating. One thing I've learned about observing Mass is that many people put themselves on autopilot, and go through the motions while their minds are elsewhere. We prayed the rosary on the buss-ride to the church, and it was almost like near everyone just flipped on a switch and started reciting. I don't understand why people who can seem so devoted can't pray among others with passion in their voices. Litanies seem to encourage the autopilot syndrome, and more than a few people lost interest about halfway through. We did sing Ave Verum Corpus, which is a lovely song by Mozart that I've always wanted to sing with that choir, but we started going to a different church before my vocal skills were ready for it. If I got nothing else from this day; I sang a beautiful piece of music that I've always wanted to sing, with a great group of people. Never heard it? Here's a midi! (For the record, I sang in the Alto section for this mass, with the exception of Ave Verum Corpus, where I joined the Sopranos. My voice is comfortable with either level. When I sang Mozart's Requiem in college, I was an Alto, and I think I had the best part! Mozart loved Altos, my director would say!)

One of the priests at my old church joined us for this, Father Jenkins. He told me a story that was both happy and sad. Right before we stopped going to that church, I had told him and Monsignor Hughes that I had lost my cat. Apparently, Monsignor felt so bad for me that he went and got me a kitten! A little calico whom I've never met. Apparently, she was quite the terror. When Father Jenkins was transferred to another church, he took the cat with him, and still has the ferocious 10 year old. And today was the first time I felt sorry for not going to church. So Monsignor never got the chance to deliver his gift, and I'm sorry he never got the chance to see how happy the gesture would have made me. Of course, the reason that gift was never delivered is because I would never have had the sweet calico I have now, and that would be a sad thing indeed.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Long Time Coming

If you haven't noticed, the old blog is old news. Now you can only hope that I saved all of the old files so that I can complete my archive!

It snowed yesterday! Not enough to give grown-ups a snow day (bah!) but it's pretty anyway. Nearly everyone in the office is having a hard time concentrating on work. It's going to be gone by the time I get home, so there's no snowboard practice today. They're claiming a new storm approacheth on Friday, so maybe I can fall on my bum then!

I went to the memorial illumination at Antietam National Battlefield with my dad and his friend on Saturday. It was incredible. I hope I used fast enough film (1600) to get the lights from the moving car in the dark. We'll see!