Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quote of the Week

"so guess what

I just went to the bathroom...

and while I was washing my hands

I noticed I was wearing 2 watches

my metal one on my left wrist

my digital one on my right"

- Doug, on gchat

Monday, November 12, 2007

A World Drowning in Bureaucracy

Today I overheard my boss talking with my boss’s boss about a co-worker. This co-worker had been given a responsibility, saw a way to make the job more efficient, and adjusted some paperwork accordingly. Basically she rearranged some wording on a form. My boss’s boss found out about it today. “She just can’t be taking initiative like that,” my boss’s boss said in an appalled tone, as though my co-worker had just streaked the office or slapped a student in the face.

Since when did “initiative” become a bad word?

I thought that people who took initiative were supposed to be rewarded, sought-after employees. This co-worker, in my eyes, did nothing wrong. There are about 4 people in the world who actually look at this form, and she consulted every one of them to make sure they were happy with the adjustments. But she didn’t bring it in front of a committee of people who never even glance at this stupid piece of paper, and now she’s in trouble because of it. Why does every change have to have a committee’s support behind it? Isn’t “micromanage” supposed to be the bad word?

This sort of bureaucracy is what’s drowning our society today. Millions of people are employed, however unhappy they may be, to help slow the system down. I’m all for supporting the system, I think that societies need structure, but it’s reaching the point where it feels like we’re trying to prevent improvement, change, EVOLUTION. It’s a natural thing to change, see if things get better and stick with it, or go back to the old way if it got worse. I think my heart belongs to a place like Greenwood. It may not be managed well, but at least everyone supports you when you step up to try and fix the problems, instead of getting told off for it.

We’re taught when we’re little that we can make a difference, we can change the world if we want to! But if we can’t even change our own jobs, one tiny detail of our daily life, how are we supposed to keep believing that? I told a friend yesterday, “You can’t fix the world, but at least you can do something about your little corner of it.” But now I’m starting to doubt that too.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The sort-of top 15….

This isn’t a list of great literary novels of our time. This is a list of books that I really love to read. I know a lot of them aren’t deep, meaningful, symbolic, whatever. I don’t care! They’re entertaining, emotional, suspenseful, and that’s what matters to me. Screw you James Joyce!

Dead last. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks – I read it in Italy. It was left in Italy. I feel bad for Italy.

Second to dead last. Next by Michael Crichton – I warned Moon not to read it, but he did anyways. I’m sure he’ll regret it for the rest of his life.

Third to dead last. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce – seriously, a textbook of a novel. I appreciate the work that went into making this book (probably a billion times more than the Notebook) which is why it’s not dead last. But it hurts me to read it. It’s like reading cardboard. It’s full of unemotional, detached characters who I really couldn’t care less about what happens to them.

12. The Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey – probably doesn’t deserve a place on this list, but I’m giving it one anyways. I don’t recommend that anyone over the age of 14 read these books.

11. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – a fabulous murder mystery book for kids.

10. The World According to Garp by John Irving – it’s funny, it’s heart-wrenching, it’s bizarre. It’s John Irving at his peak.

9. The Long Walk by Stephen King* - One thing I love about King’s books is he leaves some of them open-ended. You don’t REALLY know what’s going to happen to the characters. For me it makes the story keep going, long after the book is done. You can wonder about what happened next, come up with your own theories, relish it for a bit longer (kind of like garlic).

8. Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie – the definition of suspenseful. I couldn’t sleep until I found out what happened. I always had this weird thought in my head that Agatha Christie was Alfred Hitchcock’s pseudonym for literature

7. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling – yeah, so they’re children’s books. I still love ‘em!

6. The Stand by Stephen King* - I judge all post-apocalyptic books by this high standard. It’s epic, which in my opinion is the best kind of story you can get.

5. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – an all-around great, which also gave me a new appreciation for armadillos.

4. Armor by John Steakley* - I can’t come up with a quip that can summarize how I feel about this book. It’s a great stand-alone book.

3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card* - It’s one of those books that sticks with you, whether you read it once or a hundred times. Truly inventive and insightful.

2. The Redwall series by Brian Jacques – C’mon! It’s Redwall! It’s got mice and badgers at war against rats and weasels and foxes! Brian Jacques may be personally responsible for my love of small woodland critters (except the South Park Christmas critters, those are fucked up).

1. The George RR Martin series, A Song of Ice and Fire* - the series hasn’t even finished yet, but I can’t stop thinking about them… talking about them… reading them over and over. Thankfully there are groups for this sort of lunacy.

* denotes books/series that were recommended by the Wolf. The man picks winners. He should start a club, like Oprah.