August 11, 2006

Liquid Situation.

By now everyone has heard about the new security precautions in place for those flying, with one of the new precautions being that you can’t bring liquid onto an airplane. While the necessity of this new precaution is easily questioned, many passengers are complying by throwing out their liquid personal belongings before going through security checkpoints. Apparently some folks in New Jersey at Newark International Airport decided they couldn’t live without their Maybelline or whatever and stocked up on the items they had just thrown out by stopping in one of the airport convenience boutiques, intending on bringing the items on the plane.

Now, I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but the idea of the security checkpoints is to screen for items that can’t be brought on the plane. Bully for them for thinking they made the passenger concourse a safer place by giving up their makeup and whatnot, but I’m pretty confident the new rules applied to the actual airplane as well. Apparently they were quite shocked when they couldn’t bring their newly purchased items on the plane.

It’s O.k.

There are times when I often wonder if I’m doing enough in the world to contribute to the human experience. My job basically focuses on technology and I wonder if I am using my tech powers for the greater good. I think the Universe gave me some hints today about how I’m doing.

This morning I had three internet trouble calls in a row. For the most part it was pretty mundane, routine stuff. The first caller was a man who was waiting for an important software patch to be e-mailed to him. He had thought out servers had swallowed the attachment when actually Outlook Express was denying him access to it because it might be a virus that would be detrimental to the welfare of his Windows system. He assured that it wasn’t, I showed him how to get what was rightfully his, and then he asked me, “Why does Microsoft do that, anyway?” I gave him a brief explanation of the what and why of Microsoft’s thinking and then pointed him in the direction of Mozilla Thunderbird (a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Oulook Express). He downloaded and installed it while I was on the phone with him and he made the comment that it seemed easier to use. He then thanked me for the information.

My second caller was an elderly woman who was having difficulties getting her e-mail, as she was concerned that she wasn’t getting any from anywhere. I took a peek at her mailbox and saw about 300 messages for viagara and the whatnot, and a few scattered e-mails from someone with the same last name. I relayed the information to her and she perked up and said “those are from my son in Iraq!” I became SuperTech and rid her of the spam, which was clogging up her mailbox and she was able to download the messages from her son. I then went in and adjusted her spam quarantine settings so that she wouldn’t get so many viagara e-mails. “What am I going to do with viagara?” she asked. She told me how much she appreciated my help and went on her way.

The third caller was another elderly woman who told me that she was 80 and didn’t really have much to do but read recipes and search for stuff on Google. She couldn’t get her ancient computer to dial in like it has since it was new seven (!) years ago, so I walked her through her dial-up settings, airing out my rusty knowledge of Windows 95 along the way. Like the previous caller, she was concerned about the spam she was receiving, her comment being “Why would I want to date a black man? I don’t mind that they’re black, but I’m 80 and I can’t keep up with them!”. I sort of chuckled and cranked up her quarantine settings, hoping to thwart of her electronic suitor. I told her to give it a whirl and call back if she had “fur diff else close EOB” (which in trouble ticket talk is shorthand for “further difficulties or we’ll automatically close the ticket at the end of the day”). She called and asked for me about thirty minutes later exclaiming with glee that she was able to dial in and get the recipe for the apple bundt cake she was making for the girls when they come over to visit this weekend. I told her I appreciated the follow up and to have a great weekend. She said, “You too J.P.!”

So I guess I made at least three people smile today. And it feels good.

It’s The Little Things.

Here it is early in the morning (at least for me) and for once my blog entry isn’t about how I’m not a morning person or any of that. In truth, I feel absolutely wonderful this morning. It’s not because it’s Friday, though that certainly does contribute to the mood, but rather it’s because of my fashion choice today.

I get to wear jeans to work.

Once a year, our company has a “Jeans Day” to help raise money for the United Way. You pay $5.00 to the receptionist, she gives you a permission slip and I get to feel like myself at work for the day. It’s a wonderful feeling.

There are many places and situations where I believe a person should dress “nice” for the part. The work environment is one of them. Another is a Broadway show, but it seems people don’t do that anymore, opting for shiny velour instead, but that’s another story. While I don’t mind wearing my “professional” clothes at work, I admit that I feel most comfortable in a button down shirt complimented by a comfortable pair of 501s and my work boots.

The work boots are another story. I wear them just about all the time outside of work. Even with shorts. I’ve worn my work boots with my shorts since 1990 and I don’t care what the fashion industry says, I’m never going to stop doing it. Unless I’m at the beach, then it’s a nice pair of flip flops or sandals.

So today is going to be a comfortable Friday. Viva la casual clothes!