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~Monday~  Kevin ended up getting in closer to 4AM than 3AM, but he got up at 8AM to come downstairs to bid me adieu.

At about 8:10, I said to Kevin, "I don't want to get out there too early for the bus." I went to my kitchen window and looked out saying, "I wonder how humid it is out there." And then realizing what I was doing, I added, "Of course, you can't see humidity."

At the bus stop, I checked my work inbox on my BlackBerry, and I had an e-mail about an invitation to my boss' retirement gathering we recently sent out as an e-mail (as opposed to a calendar invitation). It was from an upper-level manager in my organization saying, "[I]t would be really helpful in saving additional work if you could set these types of thing up as a [GroupWise] appointment."

Well, we've done a lot of work on this event so far, and this e-mail was from someone who would never organize this kind of event himself, and it was Monday morning, and I was cranky, so I had something to say about it as soon as I got to work. Not a great way to start off my Monday.

The lady reading Firestarter was aboard this morning, and I'm officially naming her. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Reader Lady:

At Gorman and Conifer, a bunch of people boarded, including one person who was carrying a little one. When they walked by me, the kid said, "Ut-oh!"

After I exited the bus, when I was almost to the intersection where I cross the street to get to my building, Li'l Dino hopped out of a truck that had pulled to the side of the road to let her off.

As soon as I got to work I fired of this e-mail in response to that one I read at the bus stop:

Good morning, [name],

Thanks for RSVPing, and thanks for the suggestion about a GroupWise appointment next time.

In addition to a suggestion on how we might do it better next time, did you mean to "lead by example" by also thanking us for all the work going into pulling this one together? ;-)

Happy Monday!


I attended the first of what's going to be a series of chancellor's forums in different venues around campus, open to students, faculty, and staff, with this agenda: "The chancellor will discuss his impressions of his first four months on the job, talk about NC State in the context of the US News college rankings and set the tone for the upcoming strategic planning process."

He was actually standing at the door when I walked in and he looked at my t-shirt:

and he said, "Grammar police! Ut-oh."

To which I gave my—by now standard—reply to such a comment: "Don't worry I'm off duty for the next hour. Speak freely."

There were enough things about this event to write a blog entry in and of itself, but since it's work-related stuff, I'm not going to go into them in this public forum. Suffice it to say, I left there underwhelmed.

On a happier note, Kim was in town for Salon XIV, and we started off with a pre-Salon dinner at Porter's Tavern, where I split their Thai Chicken Tavern Chips with Brad and Sarah (although I ate most of it), and followed that up with their Piedmont Burger, which comes with pimento cheese, a fried green tomato, and barbeque sauce on it, and which I ended up taking half home with me.

At 6:45, I said to everyone, "Oh my god! We're late for Salon!"

Shortly thereafter, we cashed out and headed a couple of doors down Hillsborough Street to Salon Headquarters, also known as Mitch's Tavern, where we proceeded with our usual antics of alternating lightening round repartee and raucous laughter that kept us high, sprinkled with intermittent dustings of serious and poignant moments that kept it real.

Tonight's agenda was as follows, with my own responses included:

Salon XIV Agenda
Monday, September 13, 2010
Mitch’s Tavern

  1. Could we handle a Salon with no agenda items? [Anna]

    Everyone agreed that an agenda is a part of the definition of a salon, so no.

  2. Share anything about your Tea Leaves reading and/or your Tarot Card reading that you thought during, right afterwards, or have since. (Kim & Etta, have you have had either done that you could share about, too?) [John]

    I shared that not being a big "believer" in things like tea leaves and Tarot card reading, what struck me was about the people doing them. In particular about, Anna, but only because I know her better, I thought, "This might be a bunch of malarkey, but this is a wicked smart woman, who is not doing this half-assed. If she's going to do it, she's going to do it right, and she's going to do it well, and in that moment I appreciated her more than usual."

  3. Worst Job / Best Job [Sarah]

    I've had two jobs that I've hated, at the opposite ends of the salary spectrum, and for different reasons. The first was a two-hour job at McDonald's that I took in college as a second job for a little extra money—the plan being to work there for breakfast, and work at my other, primary, job for lunch and dinner. The first day, I was learning how to make pancakes in the midst of the breakfast rush and one of them wasn't perfectly round (to meet McDonald's "high standards"), and the manager made a big deal about it in front of everyone, customers included. I turned to him and said, "You know what? I don't need this job! I have another job—at Burger King!" and I walked out. Snap. Snap.

    The other job I hated was the one in which I made $110,000 a year, that I mentioned in my recent posting about my salary history, and as I said in the comments of that posting, what I hated about it was that I never felt totally competent in that job.

    The job I loved the most was when I was an Executive Secretary to an IBM Director, and then became the receptionist at a brand new career center opened by IBM. What made that job so great was that I interacted with people all day long, and they were people who came there down in the dumps, but by the time they went through an assessment and had two or three appointments with career counselors they left there rejuvenated to either go back to their current jobs with a new perspective, or having found "their purpose" and ready to make big changes in their lives.

  4. Money vs. Happiness. Inspired by this article: Money can buy you happiness, to a point. [John]

    We had a good discussion around this item. We talked about the extent to which all jobs have some good elements and some elements that suck, which led to a discussion on trade-offs and lifestyle choices.

  5. Is anyone else sick of the term social media? Or am I just cranky? [Anna]

    Almost everyone's answer to this was, "Yes, and yes." My answer was, "Yes, and "You need a new narrative," which was a pingback touché.

  6. What is your writing process (academic/professional/corporate, not personal/journal/blog)? Where/how did you learn it (if you remember)? Has it evolved over time? Have you ever tried to change or improve it? [Anna] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    We jettisoned this item once and for all.

  7. In response to the TED talk Sarah linked us to, how would you answer Conley's last question? What can you count in your life as a means of measuring your happiness? John can lead off...:-) [Anna] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    I measure my happiness in (daily) affirmations and "congruence." The most interesting, and quite abundant if you look for them, affirmations are the implicit affirmations in life, and an example of living congruently is being your authentic self, which I didn't do for nearly 35 years of my life.

  8. “Where are you at?” and other annoying phrases with potentially extra, redundant, superfluous words in them. [John] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    People! On the cell phone? "Where are you?" is sufficient. Jettison the "at." (Obviously, "jettison" is today's vocabulary word.)

  9. What do you re-read? And why? Inspired by this short blog posting: Re-reading. [John] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    I rarely, rarely, rarely re-read. A Prayer for Owen Meany comes to mind as one that I have re-read, and I re-read The Turn of the Screw, because I wanted to give it away as a gift to my 515 class, and I was going to see a play of it. Others that I might have re-read were a result of being in book club, and I re-read them because I didn't remember enough of them to be able to participate in the discussions about them. Some books that I think about re-reading, but haven't yet include: The Pilgrim's Progress, Das Perfum, Crime and Punishment, and The Fountainhead.

  10. Brad’s Canada trip report. At least share your favorite and least favorite moments/things? [All] {Carryover from Salon XIII}

    Brad shared his high and low points.

  11. Giving the Ning the bird. Where now? [Kim]

    We listed the problems, but didn't quite get to an action plan.

We had a very, very interesting conversation at the end of the agenda about the rhetoric of including pictures of people on the bus in my blog. Thank you, Sarah, for that. I'm still thinking about that conversation, which is great.

Brad was gracious enough to give me a ride home. Thank you, my friend.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)
Snap and Salon
Love the Proper Usage of Snap!

Glad you were not offended by my concerns about the pictures. I appreciated your willingness to listen to a critique about your wonderful blog. I am always impressed by your ability to listen and consider other people's opinions. You are amazing.

Happy Hump Day ;)
Sep. 15th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
new narratives
As I develop my new narrative, I am making a special place in it for you, John. Thank you for both the compliment and the pingback touché (a phrase I will enjoy using around the office at some point this week, be sure of that).

Love love love!
Sep. 15th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
@sarah, @anna

You two warm my heart! Thanks for reading and commenting! xxoo
Sep. 15th, 2010 11:35 pm (UTC)
Email question
OK, since you are the email guru, I'm going to ask you about this. I am on a university computer at State, and my email program is Outlook. People in other parts of the uni occasionally send me meetings via GroupWise and Outlook cannot read them (it's just funky code). Why do we have two email programs we are to use I that cannot talk to each other? Or is it intentional to have central campus and admin speaking in tongues to the rest of the campus community? Is the answer somewhere in your (unreported) thoughts on the forum with the new chancellor? ;-)

Just wondering.


Sep. 17th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: Email question
Hi Ann. Okay, this is how it works. There are two "officially supported" e-mail systems for faculty and staff at NC State. (As you may or may not know, the students are all on Google now.)

Those officially supported (which means the Office of Information Technology (OIT) provides back-up, and archiving and retention of the e-mail as required by the State of North Carolina in the case of e-Discovery, which means e-mail being subpoenaed for legal cases) e-mail systems are: 1) WolfWise (which is also called GroupWise, as it's NC State's customized version of Novell's GroupWise product) and 2) Cyrus, which is also called "Unity e-mail" or "Webmail."

With that said, the colleges can decide by their own managers (Deans) or perhaps IT Directors that they don't want to use, or can't use due to certain business processes they have devised based on a particular technology, which is a mistake to ever due since technology changes so much now, one of those two centrally-supported faculty and staff e-mail systems, and set up their own, such as Exchange.

It's a long, long history why we don't have one e-mail and calendaring system, which has little to do with technology and a lot to do with politics, fiefdoms, and ultimately egos. Cyrus (Unity/Webmail) does not provide a calendaring solution, and that's why we have WolfWise/GroupWise. But some departments/colleges don't care about a central calendaring system, particularly if they mostly just interact with people in their colleges. But people who schedule meetings across the university do need a central calendar (to be able to check busy times and send invitations), so WolfWise/GroupWise includes a calendaring function.

Sorry you asked yet? :-)

Now that students are on Google, OIT has formed a task force to look at the "next generation of e-mail" for faculty and staff, and they recently made a recommendation that all faculty and staff go to Google, too. This would finally get us to having one e-mail system all across campus. We'll see how it all plays out. The politics, fiefdoms, and egos are still around, they're just in different people now. :-) You can follow the progress of that via this website: Next Generation (NexGen) E-mail Project.

Edited at 2010-09-17 02:05 am (UTC)
Sep. 18th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Email question
Thanks John! Sounds about right. Good luck sorting them all out. I'll bet you are just loving the new business of saving every email.

So can Cyrus read those MIME emails from GroupWise or is that an Outlook problem?

I've just started replying to people that I can't read their GW code and they need to send me a plain text email.
Sep. 20th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Email question

I'm not really sure about the technical details, but I don't think Cyrus can read them either. A quick call to 5-HELP or quick e-mail to help@ncsu.edu would get you the answer, though.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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