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Marines, we are leaving!

"Billy, find us a way out of this hole"
-Ahnuld as Dutch from "Predator"

I have just had a very nice conversation with a fellow from the U of M and it has been confirmed - I will be interviewing for a position with the Technology Services Center on the U of M campus Wednesday at 10am. Hooah!

My time with Wells has certainly had its ups and downs. I walked in the door my first day on February 18th, 2008, almost literally into a meatgrinder. Wells Fargo supports a plethora of highly proprietary software for everything from managing email contacts to remote networking to bare bones data entry. And I came in with no training given and no training available for any of it. Apparently this is a commonality with Wells Fargo.

Since then I've had to teach myself a lot of things by scratch, catching more experienced techs and even some of our users in 15 minute intervals of brain-picking to get a clue what the hell I'm doing. Since then my job duties have changed slightly, focusing less on phone support and more on building/rebuilding/reimaging machines and pushing out software updates. However, since our sorely understaffed team of 3 supports a user base of over 700 I still would have hours upon hours of my time funneled into support this buggy piece of software or that buggy piece of software (word to the wise, never use Integrity's Zone Alarm for a firewall. Or Voltage for secure emailing).

All the while I have had to work under someone who is possibly one of the most weasily, underhanded, jelly spined bosses I've ever known. This guy continually cripples our efforts to get more staff or get honest to god training on what we're supporting, all the while smiling to -his- boss and saying "it's not my fault, it's those techs who work under me!" The guy keeps us understaffed because he flat out doesn't know how to manage people, and is so intimidated by the three of us that do work for him on this team that he won't hire more. And he gets away with it.

Also, our user base as a whole seriously needs to die in a fire. We support Wells Fargo Business Credit, who for the uninitiated are the muckity mucks who create and maintain the high end contracts for major businesses to bank with -only- Wells Fargo. They make Wells the big money. They get away with murder in regards to how they treat anyone else. Take for instance a fellow, we'll call him "Dick", who over the course of a week called 3 times to the help desk and literally spent the entirety of each call cussing out whoever he talked to, until finally whichever one of us was talking to him had to respectfully hang up. At which point he would then go to his bosses who went to our bosses to tell us how we don't know anything and are crappy people (not just technicians) and how he could run this place better himself. Right. Because your vast amounts of technological ability are why you needed to call in the first place. Because your outstanding social skills will win you friends business wide. His boss knows what an ass he is, but nothing more will come of it than a slap on the wrist and a memo from our lilly-livered boss on how we need to take customer service training that he never schedules for us. Because, you know, our years of customer service background that made us eligible candidates for this job in the first place are obviously lacking. The farkwad just sends this email to the three of us where -his- boss can see it to go "see, I'm fixing the problem! What a good boy am I!"

And this happens every day.

I have a lot of hope riding on this interview. I will do my best to keep things...polite...when asked about my position with Wells currently. And if I net this position then my good friend and fellow 1/3 of the support team Shawn will be applying as well. We're both tired of doing the work of a Systems Analyst 1 through 3 and being paid like we're high end secretaries and not skilled technicians.

We'd both like to be treated like and work with actual human beings again.

Where's Jimmy?

I think I found Jimmy Hoffa.

No seriously. He's under Documents and Settings.

Allright, so a bit of background. I work for Wells Fargo. My primary duty (asides from wanting to grab our user base over the phone and hang them upside down until all the stupid falls out) is creating images (hard drive snapshots for the non techies) and loading them on to computers both new and old to ship out to our user base (who are so far below techies as to make you wonder "Why the hell are these people given computers?! Can't we just send them rattlesnakes? Those'd be less dangerous in their hands.")

So a good portion of my time is spent loading an old image onto a fresh machine, updating it, changing settings, and saving that image onto our server to push it out to 3 to 12 machines at a go.

And somewhere along the line Jimmy Hoffa found his way into the c:\Documents and Settings folder.

I'm pretty sure I know about when it happened. We had one of the more experienced techies here in my windowless overheated Lab of Doom getting information on how our branch of the business builds our images. I remember distinctly taking him through our image creation process step by step, using an HP Compaq dc5100 sff (these things should really belong in a museum, but our users love 'em...well, their managers do because it costs them next to nothing). I remember him asking me to build a user account on the machine with some random name and, with a mischievous grin on my part, Jimmy Hoffa made his way onto the image (sans cement sneakers).

I have sinced pushed this image, laden with its precious cargo of one long missing teamster, to over 20 machines. And yes, Jimmy's doing fine thank you. In fact he's going onto 2 more machines as a speak, with 15 more in queue after them.

I'm just waiting for the day when I get a phone call from one of our users, franticly short of breath, stating "Jimmy Hoffa is on my computer?!"

To which I'll calmly respond "Good job, you've found him."

A Little of the Light Classical


Long story short - Nine Inch Nails will be playing in the Twin Cities August 2nd, at the target center.

I'm definitely going to be there.


Keeping Our Standards High

User: Hi, I can't get my external keypad to work on the new laptop you sent.
Me: Oh? Is it giving you an error message?
User: No, it just won't fit.
Me: How does it not fit?
User: It just won't fit in this new laptop. I already called to have a new external keypad sent.
Me: How does it plug into the laptop?
User: The keypad has one of those cables with a flat end.
Me: Is it a usb cable?
User: Yeh, it's a flat headed usb cable.
Me: *Crosses himself* Do you see how the end of the cable has one side filled in?
User: Yes.
Me: Where it plugs into the laptop, do you see how one side of that is filled in?
User: Yes. I get them to line up and it just won't stay connected.
Me: What happens when you turn the end of the cable upside down and push it in?
User: Oh it went in!

...I dread the day I need to guide this person through doing anything more technical than flipping a light switch...

My sphere is Guardian (Person of great Love and Altruism), and my class is Rogue (Precise and Unhindered).

I am a Protector.

You won't let anything or anyone threaten the ones you love if you have anything to say about it -- and you aren't afraid to back that up by any means possible. You might get your hands dirty in your life. You might do things that more lawful people would question. But there is no doubt in your mind that what you are doing is right, and you will have no regrets. To be a Protector is to shed many layers of "status quo," of "morality," and, to a degree, of honor, in order to dedicate yourself to the protection of your love in any way you can. You are a truly rare breed. You are loved in return for your great dedication by the people who value you. You know how to keep secrets, and uphold your word.

What kind of Warrior are you?


Keep on Truckin

So today I jumped in a river...

I sat down with the head honcho lady here at Community Connections, the government funded care provider I do IT work for and laid out for her The Future According to Jonny (tm).  A date has been set.  Plans have been made.  Bosses were made a bit weepy (wasn't sure how to take that one).  Program directors were informed and so the trickle down has been set.

I will be in Minnesota no later than October 7th.

Any sooner than that really depends on how quickly my replacement can be hired and trained.  It's been a long strange trip here, even after having only started this gig last September.  I can't say I won't miss it (behold, English majors, as I zap you with my double-negative ray!  Kneel before Zod!), but my future is not here.  Not in this little town that is in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but is so frightfully insular and closed off from the world only a recluse could truely be at home here.  And I am not all the recluse I once thought I was.  It's one of those bone-deep aches you never realized you had until you had a chance to bask in the sun a spell - I've been wanting to move from here for years.

As much as my good friends Jake and Thane have planned and schemed to buy property here and build cabins there, realistically it's not going to be soon enough for me.  Not since I've made the aquaintance of a certain young lady I'm willing to jump in this river for.  

Now comes all the logistical spider-crawling-busy-work as I cast out my threads.  My truck needs a tune-up.  Badly.  And a canopy.  I'm going to be driving it from Bellingham, WA, to Minneapolis, MN, so it better be up for it.  I've already plotted my route, though that route may see some modification as the best friend I had while living in Utah a few years back (when I was trying to be Mormon) has reestablished contact.  He's not Mormon anymore either.  Knowing him, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Once I have a more firm date on when I'll be rolling out tickets need to be aquired and plan for lodgings made.  Which should be pretty simple.  I can and enjoy sleeping in my truck, but I imagine it'll be nice to have a bed to lay on a few steps of the way.  And I'll need it, because I'll be driving myself long enough that all this pent up nervous energy from making the move won't keep me awake all night.  That and beer will help.  Maybe some mead.  I'll have to see how much I can appropriate from Thane.

And as far as Thane goes the bloody wanker still has gigs of viking pics and videos of us he's never gotten recorded >.<  I'll relight that fire forthwith.  He'll also likely be one of the best contacts for my replacement here at CC, as he works for the Borough (I live in the KGB!  The Ketchikan Gateway Borough!)  He has is his fingers in a lot of pies so should have a good idea of someone up to the task.

For my soon to be fellow Minnesotans, this is going to be some adventure!  I'm looking forward to seeing you fine flat-landed folk soon.  You'll have to bear with me if, as I walk around, I keep looking up and acting like I might fall into the sky.  Us mountain/island folk aren't used to rolling plains, as it were.  Still, I'll have the great lakes just a bit off so I won't lack for water.  Which is vital to me in ways I can't properly explain.  I've lived by the sea most of my life and it always holds a special reverence for me.  The great lakes will help me keep from feeling too dry.