Hit Coffee is the story of Will Truman (trumwill),
transplant in the mountain west with an IT background who bides his time
substitute teaching while his wife brings home the bacon.
This site is a collection of reflections
on the goings-on in his life and in the world around him. You will probably
be relieved to know that he does not generally refer to himself in the
third-person except when he's writing short bios on his web page.
Greetings from Callie, Arapaho, a red town in a red state known for growing
red meat. And from Redstone, Arapaho(Aw-RAH-pah-hoe), a blue city with blue collar roots that's been feeling blue
for quite some time.
Nothing written on this site should be taken as strictly true, though
if the author were making it all up rest assured the main character
and his life would be a lot less unremarkable.
This website is maintained by Guy Webster (web),
who also contributes from time to time.
Web hails from the midwest and currently lives
in Truman's home city of Colosse, Delosa. He works as a utility IT person at
Southern Tech University, their alma mater.
Also contributing is Sheila Tone (stone) a West Coaster, breeder, and lawyer
who has probably hooked up with some loser just like you and sees through
your whole pathetic little act.
Since Will’s out, to keep everyone happy: adapted slightly from a conversation at work (names removed and small explanations added, dialogue unchanged).
Co-worker: “When I click to download this, internet explorer doesn’t open up to the folder I put these things in automatically.”
Me: “Well, that’s because IE remembers the last folder you downloaded something to and goes there, and you must have put something in the folder it’s going to [which coincidentally is full of probably not-quite-legal music files].”
Co-worker: “But whenever I’ve downloaded things from (internet explorer-based application) before it’s always gone to Folder X [located right inside her My Documents folder].”
Me: “But you didn’t download anything else to other locations those days, right?”
Me: “Then this is normal behavior for internet explorer, and all you have to do is navigate to where you store these documents and save one there, and it’ll see that as the default again.”
Co-worker: “But how do I fix it so stuff I download from (internet explorer-based application) always goes there?”
Me: “You don’t. If you download something elsewhere, IE will remember this the next time you try to download something and go there first. This is normal behavior for Internet Explorer.”
Co-worker: “You mean I have to tell it where I want it to go? That’s dumb.”
There’s been a lot going on. Every now and again it is worthwhile to consider one’s life looking inward instead of with a megaphone. I will be taking a brief break from the site. It will probably be back on in April. I’ll see y’all then.
For some reason as of late, I’ve read quite a few phrases about events being part of “God’s plan” or “God’s Will.” And if you subscribe to this theory, then I’m wondering what is the point of praying for things for a particular result?
Here was the original reply I was going to put in the comment section:
One useful thing about prayer in my mind is that it’s a form of self-reflection. It’s a way to lay-out what you want and why. If you’re embarassed to tell God why you want something, then that tells you more than any deity is likely to.
Case-and-point. About eight years ago I almost prayed to God for the first time in years to ask that she not be pregnant. But the thought occured to me that she already missed her period and if she was pregnant, it was too late to ask that. I would, in essence, be asking for a miscarriage. It made me look at my potential fatherhood in a completely different light, see that what was done was done, and that it was up to me to live up to the consequences of it all, whatever they might be. Ultimately, I prayed that if she is pregnant that it be healthy and that I have the strength to pull through and be the best father that I can.
Of course, I am projecting a personal experience on the rest of the world. So my answer is certainly not the universal one. But it is at least one thing that helped me keep things in perspective during a very timultuous time in my life.
When Charlie was first hired on by Falstaff, it took me a week or two to realize that he was married. I only discovered this because Marcel asked him point-blank. I didn’t know because he conspicuously did not wear a wedding ring. It wasn’t until after it was established that the wedding band magically appeared. Not that I can talk, of course. My wedding ring is in the netherworld of our apartment. I know it will surface, but I have not worn it in over a year. But there is a difference between not wearing your wedding band and not wearing your wedding band.
Angela arrived at Falstaff not long after Charlie. An attractive and spunky tomboy, she immediately grabbed the attention of non-southern redneck Charlie. He was relentless in his passive-aggressive flirtation. She was either oblivious or pretended to be, but it got to the point that proposed seating arrangements were scrapped because they had the two of them near one another. She wasn’t remotely interested in him and there were concerns of a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Charlie, I’ve mentioned, has a rather ill wife - I was recently informed it is Graves Disease. I can only imagine how difficult that must be for both him and her. And yet I have difficulty mustering up a whole lot of sympathy for her because I have no ability whatsoever to muster up sympathy for him. Charlie is a constant Internet surfer and I caught him looking up tips for how to cheat on your spouse and get away with it. It would be one thing if he were a charmer that she had found herself on the wrong side of, but he wears his identity on his sleave because he is too lazy, incompetent, or oblivious to even try to hide it.
His grasp of foreign affairs does not extend beyond “us against the towel-heads.” Curiously, his immigration policy is that we need to use a big, giant slingshot to fire all the spics back to Mexico. You can imagine my surprise when I met his Hispanic wife, Maria.
And yet, despite all this, she married him anyway. She seemed nice, but she married him anyway. She actually seemed somewhat intelligent, but she married him anyway. I wish I could say that this dumbfounds me, but it doesn’t. I see variations of it every day.
It seems as though a lot of us spend so much of our youth looking for eternal love that we forget that loving someone for eternity means that you have to live with them for an equally long period of time. That not only means that you should be able to get along, but that you should be able to trust them with your life. The big lesson lost in the whole Schiavo mess last year was that your spouse holds the power of your life in their hands. I find it difficult to believe that someone as seemingly intelligent as Maria was incapable of seeing him for what he was.
Ask me what I love most about Clancy and one of the first three things I will always list is her integrity. In their own ways, all of the big lady-loves of my past have had it. I may not have understood their value system, but I always understood that they had one. I could never get very close to those that didn’t. Though, I must confess, even I danced a little too wrong with the wrong sort under the faulty notion that something was better than nothing.
But love is not enough. Compatibility matters, but more than that values matter.
Before getting married, I wish that less people would stop after asking themselves if they love the other person. The question they should be asking is whether or not they would trust that person with their life. The answer had better be yes, because that’s exactly what they’re doing.
When I was a freshly minted driver at the age of 16, one of the things I was sure would get me would be something like failing to turn my lights on half-an-hour before sunfall (because, I suspected, they had cops with watches that counted down and were waiting to get unsuspecting travellers such as myself.) I also worried about the hundred thousand little things, such as a busted headlight or lapsed registration or insurance.
My father, seeking to ease my concerns, told me that while I definitely need to worry about insurance, the other things can actually be a blessing as much as a curse. Often, he told me, a police officer that pulls you over for speeding will opt to give you a non-moving violation that won’t go on your record over a speeding ticket or run stop-sign that would.
I kept that in mind earlier this year when I decided not to renew the registration on my car. I figure that I’m only going to be here for a few more months so half of the registration expense would be wasted. I could keep the registration in Estacado, of course, but cops often target out-of-state plates and I wouldn’t want to leave myself vulnerable for that. And, I reasoned, if I got pulled over it might get me out of a ticket.
Clancy and I were high-tailing it for Capitol City this weekend when I happened upon a Deseret State Trooper. I was going about 15mph over, which is more than the usual 5-10mph grace space I give myself when I flout the law in the name of trying to “make up time in the air” to get somewhere on time. Clancy, who was napping, woke up to the sound of my exclaiming, “Holy cow poop!” I slowed down of course and changed lanes, but there was little doubt as to what awoke the officer from his restful spot on the emergency crossover.
Now, for all my criticisms of Deseret, one of the things I appreciate are the cops. I’ve had to call the cops a couple times and fill out a report or two and every time they’ve been what you think cops are supposed to be when you’re little. I was pulled over several months back and the cop was as nice as could be. Though I am always polite to officers when they pull me over, I was actually apologetic to this officer (and not in the way one regrets when one does not get out of a speeding ticket as hoped).
The highway patrolman that nabbed me was no different. He asked if I was from Delosa because he recognized the “Southern Tech Alumni” bumper sticker on my car. He told me that he pulled me over for my speed and asked me if I realized that I was going 87mph (note: speed limit was 75). I told him that I didn’t (I thought I was going 91 or so) but that I realized it once I saw him. I was sincerely sheepish and I think he appreciated what he thought was my honesty (and was, to an extent, I did not realize I was going over 85 until I looked down after I saw him).
He asked for my license and registration. I gave him my license and Clancy and I hunted for the registration. As expected, he noted that it was out of date and asked me if I had renewed it. I told him that I wasn’t sure, but that I probably hadn’t.
Sure enough, Dad’s plan worked. When he got back he gave me a ticket for the registration but not the speed. I was all proud of myself for this lesson that I had just learned.
Until I shared it with Willard. Willard informed me that when he was serving his mission in California, an escort of his had a car actually impounded for a lack of registration. That’s an awfully big risk to get out of a moving violation.
Then, of course, it hit me: one doesn’t have to have one’s registration expired to get a ticket for it. All one needs is to be unable to prove that the registration is current. The cop even said that if I had re-registered my car and forgotten about it. So the verdict is that I will have one outdated registration in my car to give the cops and a current one in case the cop is an prick about it.
When I was in middle school I was a pretty big guy. Big being a euphemism for fat. I also hadn’t figured out what to do with my hair yet. And I wore slacks instead of jeans. And I didn’t know the first thing about how to talk to girls. When I had a growth spurt in the 8th grade, started combing my hair back, and got comfortable in jeans, social acceptability followed. By the time I was in high school, no one knew what an unpleasant dork I had previously been.
That lead to some interesting experiences. When people who became my friends said nasty things about fat kids, they didn’t know that I used to be fat. When girls made unfavorable comments about nerds, they didn’t know how much of one I was. Every negative thing they said about who I used to be was noted, registered, and put in the back of my mind. The more of them there were, the less likely I was to get too close to them. Some of them wondered why I always kept my distance.
The biggest contingent on the OSI Team has been the Kimball Alumni Club. Kimball is one of the bigger employers in the Mocum area, handling customer service for cell phone companies. Deseret is a dream for phone support outsourcing. You have articulate young men and women with a solid education and a good command of the English language without a whole lot of job prospects. Phone support jobs here pay $2/hr less than they do in Colosse and are twice as difficult to get.
The first Kimball alum to get hired at Falstaff was Simon. Simon got the job the way most people did at that point: he knew someone else that worked here at the time. Once Kimball saw jobs that paid $9.50 an hour doing easier and more respectable work than answering phones (codemonkey beats phonemonkey on a resume), at every opening he would call one of his friends at Kimball. First was Del, whom I wish hadn’t been promoted out of the department because we could really use him. Second was Melvin, who is the best programmer OSI has ever seen. Then came Martin, whose ability to wade through docs. Take the best and most important full-time people the department has seen in the past year, and almost all of them came from Kimball.
I am an exception. But at some point I got incorporated into that group. Not sure when it was, but I think it was when we were conspiring to get rid of Golden Boy, or maybe it was when Melvin got moved into QA, making 2/3 of QA Kimball alums. I’m not only not sure when I became part of the group, but I’m not sure when we actually became a group.
Since coming to Falstaff, Simon has quietly been building an empire.
One of the ongoing problems in the department is that everyone is enthusiastic about doing everything that isn’t their job. I was always aching to work on my database application; Melvin has Melvin’s App; Adam is always volunteering for stuff that will get him out of actual ANG programming. There is painstakingly little that is glamorous about what we do within the company. It looks good on a resume, but it generates little respect within the company. As such, there is a drive to become more than just an ANG Programmer or OSI Programmer. The good news is that a lot of people have found a lot of ways to contribute to the company. The bad news is that people sound offended when you tell them that while the project they’re proposing sounds great, our programming workload is only increasing. The problem is that as Falstaff starts hiring increasingly overqualified people for the department, everyone believes that they are worthy of more than they are presently tasked with doing.
And, for the most part, they are.
I’m not sure if anyone has a bigger claim to overqualification than Freddie Paste. Freddie graduated Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Computer Science. His first job turned out to be a drafting position, where he learned that skill as well. But despite the overqualification he brings to the position, only Simon is better at keeping his nose to the grindstone. The guy is a workhorse. His productivity is phenomenal and his accuracy is not bad. He was hired on to work on reports, so he works on reports. Works overtime when asked. Works through lunch when asked. Doesn’t get distracted when conversation strikes.
Freddie and I get along quite well. He was here for a couple months before I ever really talked to him, but once I did we were natural friends. We’re both southerners. We both have college degrees and are probably the two most overqualified people in the department. We both came to Deseret because of opportunities for our wives.
I’ve noticed in recent weeks, however, that it seems that the Kimball Alumni are unusually hostile towards Freddie. They were not particularly congratulatory when Freddie got Employee of the Month. The general consensus was that he got it because they were itching to give it to someone in our department and he was the pointleader. Freddie is never really invited to our outings, though I’m not sure if he would really go to begin with. Freddie, for his part, is not the most social person in the world.
It does make me wonder, however, the basis on which I got incorporated into their group and he did not. Was it because I got deference by Melvin and Martin because I was in QA grading their work? Did Simon and I get along because QA can be a lonely place to be? Because Paige liked me? Am I there by way of luck and if I wasn’t in their group would they think that I got the leadership position because I get along better with Willard than they do?
They’re nowhere near cruel to Freddie as my confidants in high school were about the fat kids and the nerds. But they are oddly indifferent and not nearly as friendly. It leads me to wonder about those that I am unfriendly to and how much of that is circumstancial.
It’s interesting to think about… and not particularly in a good way.
When I was the network admin for Wildcat, we had a DSL Internet provider named DXL that contracted out to an internet infrastructure company called Intico. Intico decided that instead of being the behind-the-scenes company that it wanted to be a full-fledged ISP. The problem was that this ran contrary to a non-compete contract that they had signed with DXL. DXL sued. Intico blocked all of the DXL customers, leaving us without internet access.
I called DXL to complain about our inability to connect when they gave me the above explanation. They said that Intico may contact me about switching services and they said not to do it because it would be a breach of our contract with them. I discussed the matter with the company president, who reasoned that our lack of internet access already nullified whatever contract we may have had with DXL. We couldn’t go without internet access until they sorted this out because it could be months. I felt bad for DXL since they had just lost the entire Colosse market, but we had to do what we had to do. Sure enough, Intico contacted me a couple days later and we switched.
We had Internet access for less than two days when we were blocked again. I called Intico and they told me that a judge had issued an injunction, blocking access for all DXL and Intico customers until they got all this sorted out. I don’t know if the judge was just ignorant of the devestating impact that this would have on both companies or if he or she was completely aware and figured that this would force them to come to some sort of truce. If it was the latter, it worked. The following week they came to an arrangement.
In the meantime we had tried to contact other providers in the area. However, due to our location (more than 3 miles from the hub) we were unable to find any other high-speed company willing to take us on. The arrangement that they had one rep from each company at the same time call each customer and ask us which service we wanted to go through. Since it was Intico that had started all this, I went with DXL. In the longer run, it didn’t matter two much. Both declared bankrupcy before I’d left Colosse.
One of the most hopeful customers we have right now at Falstaff is Eremus, Inc. Even as we were setting up as their HR representative they were gobbled up by Summit Industries. Usually when a client gets bought out by a larger company it’s bad news for us because the outsourcing they do to us is usually done in-house at larger corporations. In this case, however, Summit was already outsourcing to a competitor of ours, Orgus.
So the first change we had to make to Eremus employment contracts was to change it from “Eremus, Incorporated” to “Eremus, Inc., a division of Summit Industries.” Previously, we were just pulling the name of the company. However, since the name of the company was still just Eremus we had to hard-code the title. We’d managed to make these changes and Eremus employment contracts were launched. Eremus was trying us for our employment contracts, and if those worked out they would use us for their more serious documentation (payroll reports, insurance forms, etc.). Then, right before our launch, someone at Summit read over the forms and they didn’t like what we’d done. “Eremus is not a division of Summit, they are Summit. Change it.”
Not only did they want us to change the documentation, they wanted us to change the account name. We give every company a four-character account name. Eremus’s was EREM. Summit wanted it to be SUMT, but when we told them that was taken, they were fine with our random name generator, making them S107. Anything so long as it wasn’t reminiscent of the word “Eremus.” The odd thing about this was that nobody ever sees the account name. There was no reason to change it since we would be dealing almost entirely with Eremus personnel anyhow.
But they wanted what they wanted, so we delivered. We went back and we changed all forty documents, changing everything to just pull the client name, which was set to “Summit Industries.”
However, Eremus appealed the previous verdict and the case went up the Summit management chain. They won their appeal and now they wanted it to say “The Eremus Division of Summit Industries.”
We were barely halfway through them this time when they said the Final Word on the matter was that it would be “Eremus, a Division of Summit Industries”. As long as they got rid of the “Inc.” the top brass at Summit was happy.
The good news is that Freddie and I, the two that stayed until 8:30 on Friday getting all of this done, got free pizza and a nice overtime monetary value, courtesy of Falstaff and Eremus/Summit/whatever.
So we went through and changed