Wednesday, October 27, 2010

USU here I come

So, update on college status.  I was accepted by all three schools I applied to, and have chosen to go to USU.  Their program for what I wanted seemed more along the lines of what I wanted, so I'm doing it.  I've chosen Conservation Ecology for a starting major.  We are working on moving as soon as we can manage, or maybe earlier, your pick.  It's times like these I wonder how many books we really need.  I think I counted in excess of 13 boxes full of books.  We spent several days just packing those up and doing nothing else packing wise.

This means transferring between work places.  That's been an experience and a half before even doing it.  So my HR department keeps contradicting itself about how benefits transfer.  Not that I'm not fairly certain I know which ones are making it up based on a lot of assumed information that isn't true and which ones actually know, but its kind of scary none the less.  Also, my experience so far is that one moment I'm told a training class is available for me to join, the next moment the training has been canceled, the next moment it is available again.  Oh, and bouncing back and forth between being told that my application will be handled through a backdoor process vs being told that I can only get in if I do things in the traditional by the book method.  Annoying describes it fairly well.  Hopefully everything will go smoothly once the rubber hits the road at all of its 10 MPG glory (which is the advertised mileage rate for our rental moving truck), but I think I can expect a few bumps in the road.

I'm also not looking forwards to a new training class.  The last time I went through training I had a class that acted like a bunch of 3rd graders.  The kind of thing like people hitting the teacher in the head with a paper airplane during class etc.  And that was pure hell for me trying to work through.  So hopefully there will be a more disciplined approach to managing the classroom once I get to the new site.  If not, hopefully I can duplicate my social success from the last time.  I think it was the first time in my life that I took a group social setting and intentionally changed peoples attitudes towards me so that general behavior wasn't so antagonistic.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Skousen and GWC

I recall once hearing a professor of mine describe Skousen's technique for describing the world as reducing the incredibly complex to the amazingly simple.  Perhaps that's a good summary, perhaps not.  One way or another, select readings on Skousen used to be part of the core freshman curriculum at GWC.  If you hadn't memorized his list of principles from his book, chances are you had never been a student there.

The first time I read his book the 2000 year leap I loved its simple clear cut seemingly scriptural based claims.  You could solve almost any policy discussion by quickly hacking away the reality and reducing it down to how it fit into a couple of neat tidily packaged ideas.

When I read him again for my graduation exam, I hated him with a passion.  As I re-memorized his words, I found myself unable to concentrate because I kept breaking off into arguments with him about how he was so wrong.  Utterly, completely, and insanely wrong.  I think my wife had to remind me many times that I wasn't trying to agree with him, just memorize him so that if they asked me what principle number 14 was I could spout it off.  Luckily, I'm a fairly good crunch time memorizer.

So when I was looking at  their website today and reviewing the curriculum, I found to my delight they have removed Skousen from the curriculum.  I'm not certain how they did that without me hearing about it, but somehow they managed.  I guess they decided spending more time actually studying classical texts and papers by important political founders was more important than Skousen.  Maybe this has something to do with changing the president of the school a couple of times.  The entire curriculum looks better than I recall it being when I went through it.  Maybe the school is going places after all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Forums... and rambling

On the days when I want to try to reach out to other people and connect some, it often seems it would be easier to do so on web forums that in real life.  In real life I have to sort out who I actually want to interact with in a fairly short amount of time.  And most of my personal interactions happen at work.  Ok, this probably sounds silly, but I really struggle with finding acceptable ways to spend time doing non work while I'm at work.  I mean, if I'm spending any significant amount of time on a social interaction instead of working I feel like I'm cheating my employer of my time.  Its hard to find ways to do both at once, especially when, well, my work is isolated and it typically involves talking to someone over the phone.

Sometimes I wonder whether the ICU team was a mistake on my part.  Yes, being in this position allowed me to take some classes that really moved things forwards for me in life.  Yes, it was a raise in pay.  But at the same time its meant not being able to attend most any church social events because for some reason the ward likes holding them on weekdays or Fridays in the evening, and I work Mon-Fri in the evening.  Also, the team I was on before was a close knit group.  Not everything was perfect about it but the members of the team at least interacted regularly.  The ICU team typically has only one member active at any particular time.  Sure, I have a backup person who I could fall back on if things got too intense, but that's a total of one person on my team I can normally socialize with throughout most of my day.  I could always join the chat room for the PM commitment team, but I've just never felt that I fit in.  Dominant interactions include making fun of your customers, other agents who bring you work to do, and each other.  And I'm sorry but I just have trouble interacting in that mode.  It's just like how I could never learn to play-fight growing up.  If I'm going to hit someone, I'm going to do it because I'm hoping to injure them, not because I want a mock contest of strength to help arrange the macho stratification of a social group.  Similarly, I have a really hard time making fun of someone unless I am really out and out trying to mock and crush them.  IE, I have to have lost my temper.  And I hate losing my temper or treating someone in a low manner.  To me if I act that way that's a message to me that I'm a low life who isn't ready to be live as an adult.  I think to many people, making fun is a way of analyzing each other for the likelyhood of tolerance to when you might actually mistakenly hurt their feelings and also a way of defining yourself in your social stratification/network.  IE, make fun of our customers to establish ourselves as superior intelligence to them, make fun of other agents to mutually agree upon how our team is better than their team, and make fun of each other to try to establish who has emotional, technical, and social dominance in the group.  Flatly not much of that makes any sense to me, but I think that's what they are actually doing.  About the only way of doing that that ever made sense to me was arguing over political philosophy to establish how intelligent I actually was in comparison with others and also to exercise my mind.  And yes, Andy you were a wonderful debating partner.

In any case, I don't fit in with the PM shift of my old team.  And due to a fluke of chance of how things were situation when I was training and other things, I sit by myself in one of the most isolated spots in the call center.  Its so nice that way that a bunch of admin chose to sit in the same area to take advantage of the peace and quiet I found for myself back there.  And I'm not on buddy buddy terms with my operations manager or sales trainer so that doesn't help the social isolation part.

So back to forums.  I used to invest a large part of my socializing into online forum discussions.  About the same time I got engaged, my favorite forum started to die a slow and horrible death and most of the frequent participants were driven away by the change in atmosphere.  It's since been deleted so you won't find the things I said there anymore.  Since then I've never been able to bring myself to more than just lurk on a forum.  I mean sure, I'll check out spiderweb's forum if I want a hint on how to complete a game and I'll browse through another forum or two from time to time if I need to browse through other people's experience for some practical ideas.  But in general I just have lost interest in forums.  I think I just can't bring to bear any feeling of commitment to the social environment, don't care about what people are talking about anymore.  So I mostly just comment on blogs now and then.  Hopefully the changes that are pending in my life right now will help shift things around for me some.  If I don't die of change anxiety first :)