Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Halloween Poem

"The Knock"

It was Halloween night and I was bored
There was nothing to do, no movies of gore

I sat there reclined in my trusty blue chair
As my eyes took on a vacant glare

Flipping the channels, with my old gnarled remote
Huddled down in my old house coat

No trickers and no treaters came by my door
Not even with half of all the candy at the damn store!

When out on the porch came a big racket
As if someone wanted in, knocked hard, enough to crack it

I rushed to the door to peep through the hole
I saw a man who stood there with a name badge: Hi my name is Joel

I threw open my door and shook his hand
“Damn glad to meet you my name is Stan!”

He seemed quite shocked, a might taken back
With a puzzled expression he asked “Do you know Jack?”

“I have never met him! But I am sure he is great!
Are you hungry? Or have you just ate?”

I offered him some candy, all he could take
He said “Sorry, I don’t know you. But everything’s jake!

I am ok, I just have to go
I got all mixed up and knocked on the wrong doe!”

So I slammed the door, shut hard in his face
Figured next time that door rang I would come out with mace!

-Mike Williams 10/31/06

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I like school. School is cool.

I have been doing a lot of writing for my online course and that is why I have been a bit MIA lately. It is hard to write a lot when you are already using that same source of inspiration earlier in the day. I have found all the assignments easy to do but some have been hard to get started on. The main focus of the course is techniques to help you succeed in an online learning environment and some things they have you do is take notes on the reading and post them, then we critique other peoples stuff. The last part is the hardest to do I have no idea how to critique study notes people make for their personal study habits. So I tend to find one thing I really like. For example I might say: "The bullet points help make these notes easy to follow and understand." Hmmm... yeah. So that is what I mean by using the same creative pool to produce the homework assignments and interaction as well as these blog entries. I take something small and try to blow it up into something worthy of putting hands to keyboard over... How am I doing so far? Of course the blog gets cheated because it is secondary to the education I am going deeper into debt for. I spend a good portion of my free time working on my assignments and responses to the school work even though I could probably put half the effort into it and still come up with a decent result. However I am trying to live by my new ways of thinking, outlined in New Thinking and the 1st October contest and I figure the best way to do that is by embracing each task and trying to make a worthwhile and honest effort of the end result. The bonus is that I have been able to use some of my blog entries in the career portfolio that is the central theme of this course. I have had some very favorable responses to what I have been bringing to the table. I have been working very hard at providing everyone with positive feedback even when it is harder to find. All of the people have something to bring to the table but some do not have the communication skills to do so very easily. That is what has been my biggest hang up and my focus has been on looking through the poor grammar, sentence structure and bad spelling and find their message and the figure out what speaks to me and talk about that. It is a good exercise to improve my people skills. That is how I am choosing to view it.

Other then that we have finally moved out of the evil windowless training room at work. We are at our desks and spending the days taking practice calls. I finally feel like we are learning how to do our jobs. The classroom environment seemed to be lacking the hands on aspect and I think that watching us on the practice calls was a wake up call to our supervisor. We have spent time on how to navigate the systems while everyone follows along in their own similar fake policy. November 6th is the day we officially start taking live calls so I think this week will be pretty intense. The focus will be on getting us ready to take real calls and I don't think they fell that we are ready. It is funny to see everyone stress out. I don't feel it. I am not worried about the calls I will focus on providing good and pleasant service and figure out how to get the speed down later. In other work news I worked a day at the tux shop. I am going to let them know to keep me in mind in the future. It would be nice to pick up some hours when that business picks up. I think I will be able to really help out during prom season, which is apparently an extremely busy time of year.

Don't forget about the contest going on at the New Thinking and the 1st October contest entry! Go there now!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More Florida Stew Pictures

I was talking to Stew after I ratted him out last night.... which he seems very upset about. He was telling me that he did a lot while he was in Florida and he insisted I include a few more pictures. The first one he wanted me to share was of the upcoming movie Miami Vice II: Just Stew. He says it will be a story of one rabbit on the hard road to redemption and the cops that give him carrots. Here is the promotional picture:

The next item is his involvement in the Miami-FIU brawl during their recent football game. He wanted me to share the various pictures. I do not believe he was going to school or playing football so what he was doing fighting is still unclear. My guess is he likes violence since he is a crazy rabbit and all.

He did want to make sure you all new it wasn't all about movies, brawling and putting a hit out on some bunnies. He also made time for the ladies!

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Useless Fish and The Traveling Rabbit

I ask my fish George to do one thing for me! Just one thing! Does he do it? Well do you see any entries in here? Neither do I! I said "Hey George, can you fill in at the blog while I get settled in the new job, the new school and while I have visitors?" George says "Not a problem man." So here I am, nearly 2 weeks later and I have no entries in here at all! I guess that is what you get for asking a fish to do anything! I would have asked Stew (the rabbit) but he was unavailable. Actually this is a funny story. You see a few weeks ago I get a call from Stew and he says "Hey Mikey I am going to Florida to pay a visit to some stinkin' rabbits that owe me some carrots. Think you could drive me?" I tell him all the things I have going on and he says "Well you know I would make it worth your while!" I respond "I know you would but us humans can't pay rent with carrots." He says "Well can you at least keep the old people happy while I am gone? I would leave a note but I have terrible penmanship!" I say well "Can it wait? I know they will be going out of town for a while during the holidays and I know they would miss you if you go MIA." He says "C'mon Mikey who wants bad news during the holidays? I thought you had more heart! Besides it makes more sense to have ghoulish murders during October." Which of course was true so I conceeded the point and promised to do what I could to comfort the old people and he and I ended our conversation. A few days later I get a call from my pops. He says "I have some bad news. Fluffy is gone." I am like "Who?" He says "Fluffy" I say "Who is that? Did you get another horse?" He responds "No Stewey!" I say "Oh STEW the rabbit! Did you look under the house?" So anyway they go about their business looking for the rabbit and he is sending me pictures from Florida! Like these:

Meanwhile Dad and Maryjo are worried but I get a call that he is heading back, his business is finished. He says "You will like how I fool them into thinking that they just misplaced me. It will be great" So I eagerly await news of Stews reappearance Finally my dad and Pete show up for their visit. We were having dinner one night when my dad says "Did I tell you about fluffy?" I of course said "Who?" He replies "Did I tell you about Stewey?" "No" I say playing unaware. His story went "We were real worried about him and he never showed up and we never saw him milling about the house or anything. Then we were putting our artist in residence up in the study, did I tell you we are housing an artist? Anyway she was putting things away when she went to open the closet ans out popped fluff... er... Stewey! He had been in the closet the whole time." I laughed and asked if Stew had been ravishingly hungry when he was sprung knowing he probably hadn't been considering all the carrots he had brought back. Then I laughed at the double entendre about Stewey coming out of the closet. Sorry Stew you knew it was coming! Don't whack me, I do not have any carrots!

So anyway life has been busy. My dad and Pete hung out for a week. They had Dim Sum like 3 or 4 days in a row. I had Dim Sum once, yay! They explored a bit and we watched a lot of football including a horrible demoralizing loss by the Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Which of course was upstaged by a humiliating loss to a winless Raiders team this past weekend... GO CARDS! Anyway the visit was fun but I am glad to be getting back into a routine. I found out Friday that my work routine will be similar to the one I have now when I actually start on the phones. Except that I will have Sunday and Tuesday off instead of Saturday and Sunday but the hours won't change. Other then that life is going good.

As a side note: There are only 2 winners in the why you persevere at work contest. Which means there are still 8 more prizes left! Hurry and enter today!

Some more Stew in Florida pictures for your enjoyment:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New Thinking and the 1st October CONTEST!!!

Have you ever just felt like time is rushing right past you? You stop to figure out where to go next and the years sneak past. I have felt that way on and off for the past year, well maybe the past decade. It might be because I will be turning 30 next year. It might be because I have had 5 jobs since this year began. It really doesn’t make much difference why I feel this way the point is that life goes on no matter what you decide to do. I moved to a new state to get a new life. Instead I learned a lesson or two.

What I learned this last year could probably feel a book but I just want to focus on one lesson: Jobs. There is no such thing as the always perfect job. No one can be happy and fulfilled by their job all the time. Even if they are doing what they always there can be several detractors. Coworkers can make life hard, supervisors can make you crazy, the job can be frustrating and tasks of the job can bite the big one. You are probably reading this right now thinking “This is a lesson you just learned?” What you are missing is the fact that my job hunt has always been driven by looking for that elusive perfect job. I have talked to plenty of people that have plugged away at a job that is extremely far from their ideal career and I always thought this person must have something in them that I am missing, I must be broken. In some respects that is true, I was missing something. What I was missing was motivation: Motivation to get me to work, motivation to continually perform well at my position and motivation to put in the time to make it all work. I also realized that I had no real idea how to find that motivation. I had no idea how to create the motivation to work hard and faithfully, besides making sure my rent was paid each month. Strangely bills have never really been that big of a motivator for me, which is kind of funny considering the responsible parents I sprang from. That was the case until just recently. I have found myself thinking a little differently, just a small change in my thinking about work. I find myself participating in training exercises more and I also find myself actually wanting to know things about the job. I am not relying on my ability to pick things up because I actually want to do a genuinely good job.

The thing is that I am not real sure what caused this change. I have made so many changes recently in addition to surviving 2 and a half extremely hard years. There are a lot of things that contributed to my attitude change. The reasons I see as definite contributors towards my new thinking are: wanting 1 stable job amidst a horrible and spotty job history, needing stable income to reinvent myself (this time for real), the ability to actually afford to do something with my design and writing dreams, needing a job that can support my newly enrolled scholastic pursuit and (most shockingly) actually seeing other things I want to try within the company I work for. I have a strange desire to learn new things and that has always been my basis for looking longingly at a new job in a completely new field. I never paid much attention to what the company could offer me besides what I was doing. Sure I said I was interested in opportunities in my interview but I was never serious. It just sounded like something that I should be saying, a thing they wanted to hear me say. This time I really want to get into other departments and figure out what they are all about. I feel really comfortable with what the new job is asking from me and I know that I need to keep my head in there and I figure since I need to do that anyway I might as well really make a go at the other internal opportunities that are open to me. That is a different feeling for me. I am sure people have heard me talk about other opportunities at other jobs I have held but this feels different. I want them to want me. I am now fighting singing the song by Cheap Trick right now.

I don’t know what else to say to paint a better and clearer picture for you. I guess I just need you to trust me and offer some support for this change in my thinking.

That being said I want to announce a contest for a NINJA SHREDZ sticker.


The rules are simple but a little more involved then last time. I want to hear from you about what motivates you to make it to work. Whether it be family obligations, paying for school, a mortgage or some other random reason. I want you to write a small essay style response. If you send me something with a little bit of thought behind this question and you are in the first ten responses you will be a winner. It’s that easy. Yep, there are ten chances to win.

(It is contest number one because if I get the ten responses before the month is over I have contest #2 already ready)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Life, learning, living and poetry

It seems I have forgotten the blog. A new job and a new scholarly pursuit and the blog gets the back burner treatment. The new job is great, the people are nice and it seems like something I can do. I especially like that it is actually paying me a wee bit of money. I plan on working there for a while and trying out other departments. I know that it will be the usual call center environment where you have to strap in and hold on. The thing that works is that I am not selling people anything. I am just trying to help them out.

That brings me to the scholarly pursuit. I enrolled in the Art Institute for the Media Arts and Animation degree. It is online so everyday after work I come home and do my homework. That has been a lot of fun. There are a variety of people that populate the online learning environment and so far I have found them all pretty interesting. I think I will be able to learn something from the people I am taking the class with. Some of them have a lot of experience in the industry and some just seem to like to draw. Anyway I jumped in head first so I hope I made a good choice. We shall see where all the cards fall.

I have been writint a little bit every day. So even though I am not on here I am still writing. I wanted to share something with you:

The Slow Down

The soft rays of the setting sun cling desperately to the earth,
Things are left half in shadow, my balcony railing, my arms and my legs
The other half glows in the soft yellow sunlight of a day nearing its end
The weather betrays no trace of the changing seasons
Sunny, warm and bright: 3 words that completely describe this day
Wind rustles through the leaves of the still very green trees
Creating a soft shushing sound like a mother calming her baby
I watch and hear it all
As the Sun's rays turn a glowing orange
Before descending into the darker colors of night