October 2007

In the continuing saga that is now my work life, the proofreader has returned my work to me with some changes.

Some of those changes were good, and I readily made those changes, but most asked me to change text that was grammatically correct into text that would be grammatically incorrect. I have chosen not to make those changes.

We’ll see what happens as a result.

Those of you who know me, know what a perfectionist I am, particularly when it comes to grammar. I simply refuse to put my name on something that I consider substandard. So, if one of the requirements of this job is that I must make correct grammar incorrect in order to justify some uneducated proofreader’s job, I won’t do it.

I made copies of the proofreader’s comments and added my own, citing sections of the AP styleguide that proved I was correct and sent it back to the proofreader. It should be interesting to see what kind of pushback I get on this. Obviously, at this point, I don’t care, but I won’t compromise my work just because someone with questionable creditials says I should.

Stay tuned for more on the continuing saga of Maggy’s Continuing Adventure or How to Piss off a Writer in One Easy Step.

Friday night, I did something I haven’t done since I was in highschool - I saw a community theatre production.

Dr. Frankenstein is showing at The Stage Door in Yukon, OK for the next couple of days, and if you get a chance to go, you should. Especially if you’re a fan of The House of Paine’s very own Johnny Paine, who starred as Dr. Frankenstein himself.

Michael and I both call Johnny friend, and we’ve known for a long time what an intelligent, witty and passionate person he is, so we knew he had to be a good actor, too, and we were right. His performance was flawless Friday night — right down to the over-the-top maniacal laugh when discussing his “experiment.”

Everyone in the play was really good, but in addition to loving seeing Johnny on stage, we got a big kick out of Igor, who did an appropriately comedic interpretation of the character. Frankenstein himself was also really good, and we especially liked his look, which was very different from the traditional monster. This one had long curly hair to go along with his green skin.

A real stand out was one of the minor characters — a man who played one of the drunk townspeople, whose performance absolutely cracked us up. I wish I knew his name, so I could mention it here. 

We had a great time and we really didn’t expect to enjoy ourselves so much. Community theatre is a dying art, and our experience proved to us that it would be a real shame to see it go. So, if you have a chance to see a community theatre play, go see one. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

If you’re looking for some wholesome fun way to celebrate Halloween with your kids, go see Dr. Frankenstein.  You’ll love it! 

One of the most disconcerting things about American society today is a lack of accountability among our populace.  Nobody wants to take personal Originally from: http://csswashtenaw.org/ada/resources/Accountability.JPGresponsibility for anything, and our work ethic seems to have degraded to “I’ll just do the minimum I can do to get by without getting fired.”

What happened to pride in a job well done?

No matter what segment of the working population you look at, you will be faced with lacluster performance and an “I-don’t-give-a-damn” attitude.  It permiates just about everything in the service industry — from people who serve you at restaurants to the guy who does your lawn.

Why did this happen?

I believe it’s directly related to the Me Generation that grew up in the 60s. (That’s my generation, by the way.)  Prior to that time, those who had come before had lived through the depression, and WWI and WWII.  Those people Originally from: http://members.aol.com/Fredwaite/bein.jpgknew what it meant to work hard, to save, and to work with a purpose.  The flower children, though, were all about freedom — freedom to do what you wanted, smoke or take what you wanted, eat what you wanted and have sex with whoever or whatever you wanted.

And it’s those people who’ve raised the young people working in the service industries today.  These kids were raised by parents who excused bad behavior, didn’t require chores in exchange for allowance and who allowed their children to speak their minds openly — even in defiance of authority.  As a result, many of the children (now adults) believe that everything is owed to them, whether they’ve earned it or not.  They have no respect for authority, no respect for those they serve and, ultimately, no respect for themselves.

The good news is that this kind of pendulum swing from responsible to irresponsible and back has been going on forever.  Plato and Socrates both bemoaned the plight of the world when left to the hands of the young, and they both lived thousands of years ago.  If things go true to form, the next generation of young people will be so disgusted with the previous generation’s behavior that they’ll be ultra responsible and accountable.

We can only hope.

In the meantime, those of you who still believe in a job well done, strap yourselves in and start doing things for yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be faced with a life of frustration at the hands of the Me Children.

And now, I am officially old…I’ve just dissed the generation that came after mine, thus becoming crochety.

Someone find my heart pills and my reading glasses.  It’s all downhill from here. ;)

Time has really gotten away from me lately.  No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to keep up with all my obligations.

It’s pretty maddening, really. I’m the kind of person who prides herself on keeping up with everything, and with my current plate, there’s just no way.

Deadlines are a writer’s lifeblood.  We live by them and we die by them. Meet them, and you’re a star. Miss them, and your name is dirt. The problem is, in many cases, that the deadline is being set by someone who has no idea how long it takes to write a quality piece of work.

Case in point:  Last week, I was told I had to completely update two 300 page manuals and the help documentation for a software release. That’s all well and good, but the deadline was one week.

Yep, you read that right; ONE week.

I had to laugh at the ludicrousness of that request, and my laughter was met with Originally from: http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/783180/2/istockphoto_783180_deadline_just_around_the_corner.jpgblank stares.  “What?  You can’t do that?  You’ll just have to work overtime.”  Again, I laughed.  “You don’t get it,” I said, “You were oooing and ahhhing over the fact that I wrote the 11 page release notes in a day and a half, because it was so fast. Take 900 (the number of pages you want me to write and/or update) and divide it by 11 (the number of pages I wrote) and then multiply that answer by 1.5 (the number of days it took me to write the 11 pages). That’s how long it would take me to complete the task.”

For those of you who don’t have a calculator, the answer is 122.7 days or 24 1/2 work weeks, which is approximately 5 1/2 months or so. Gotta love that!

At that point, the blank stares changed to popping eyes. (It was actually pretty funny.) The even funnier thing was, though, that they still expect me to do it.


So, I’m having a little trouble keeping up with my obligations. Hopefully, I can give them something that will at least look decent and have the correct information, but this isn’t how I work. I produce quality at a fast pace, not quantity that’s crap.

So, stay tuned, boys and girls. I’ve got my feelers out again to see if I can find something more suitable for my work ethic.

God help the poor person who takes over when I’m gone, because one thing is sure - some things never change. And here, it looks like nothing does.

See you soon!

The first time I got on the Internet was sometime in 1991. I was teaching Computer Aided Composition at the University of Oklahoma, where I taught my classes to use computer software to write their papers, how to write with the other side of your brain (which is what happens when you go from pen and paper to keyboard and monitor) and how to converse on a message board.

That was about the extent of it. There really wasn’t much more to see. AOL was new and had some competition in Prodigy and Compuserve (which was later eaten by AOL), and all of them were little more than chat rooms and file sharing at 2600 baud per second.  I hadOriginally from: http://metropolitician.blogs.com/scribblings_of_the_metrop/mosaic.6beta.jpgn’t signed on with AOL yet in ‘91 but only because I didn’t own a computer at the time. My only real outlet was teaching Computer Aided Composition and running the English Department’s Macintosh computer lab. (The day we went from Mac Classics to Mac Quadras was huge.)

Needless-to-say, as a born again computer geek, I spent a lot of time in my computer lab, so I was there the first time the university ever connected to the World Wide Web.  I’ll never forget it. We signed on with Mosaic (Remember that? Probably not!) and there were TWO websites. That’s it…TWO.  One of my grad school professors and I huddled together with a few other people using the lab and looked on in wonder at The Web.

Of course, we didn’t call it that. I think we just referred to it as Mosaic or the Internet. To tell the truth, I don’t remember. What I do remember is my professor saying that it was going to be huge, and I believed her. By the end of 1992 there were 50 websites and by the end of the next year, there were 150.  That’s some amazing growth when you think about it, but it’s nothing compared with the exponential growth we still see today with millions of websites soon turning into billions. Back then, that old joke “you have come to the end of the Internet” page could have been true; today, I’m not sure there is an end.

In 1992, I got my first computer - a Mac Performa - and one of the very first things I did was pop in an AOL floppy (it was version 1.0a) and sign on. AOL had approximately 50,000 members then.

At that moment, my life changed forever. Those first few years on the Internet were, for me, magical — right from the get-go.

My very first night online, I chatted with my very first person online — a policeman from California. During the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he was going to be teaching a group of policemen in my home town, Lawton, OK.  Surprised, I told him that that’s where I was raised and asked him who was picking him up at the airport. His answer was Bill Mathis, who just happened to be a very good friend of mine.

That was when I first began to understand that all our lives are just intersecting, expanding circles, which, if you think about it, is what the web is all about — the way we can reach out and touch someone we might never see in person.

Needless-to-say, I was hooked from the very start. My first AOL bill, at $2.95 every five minutes or something close to that, was $600; my second not much better at $450. By the fourth month, I’d been fortunate enough to meet the right person (who went by Rich00) who got me an interview with the AOL Guide Manger. She accepted me into the guide training program and changed my account to overhead (read: FREE)  In two years, I was the guide operations manager, directing hundreds of guides from my bedroom. I met and worked with so many people from across the country and even fell in Internet love with a man from New Jersey named Brian.

The early years of AOL were amazing. The impact you could have, the people you could meet, the opportunities for just about anything were boundless.  In those years, I wrote a helpful newsletter called “The Newbie News and FAQs” that was eventually disseminated to thousands of people (by request only) and ran the All My Children forum. Through those things, I met and became chat and/or email buddies with people like Michael E. Knight of All My Children (who I have always loved from afar), Rosie O’Donnell, who was a huge fan of All My Children (and who never uses capitalization or punctuation in her emails); I had a two hour face-to-face conversation with Todd Rundgren and Graham Nash at Mac World, because the three of us were such Internet nuts that we immediately became kindred spirits (Todd even game me his personal email address), I got help on my novel from Tom Clancy, who also had an overhead account (AOL gave famous people like him free accounts in exchange for help) and became a regular in our overhead chat room.

Together, my Internet friends from across the world and I invented a language of emoticons and shorthand.

I and my friends from my favorite chat room, The Flirts’ Nook, were on The Phil Donahue Show — virtually, of course. Around that time, I wrote a 12 page letter introducing the writing staff of All My Children to the Internet demographic that they were missing out on, and they actually began participating on our forum and in our chatrooms and even used one of my story ideas on the show.  ABC invited the forum regulars to the studio where we spent the day with the actors we adored, and eventually, ABC was one of the first major entities to have a space on AOL. 

In 1996, I went to work for AOL as their Communications Manager at the OKC office. While there, I spent the day with Steve Case, the company’s CEO, met Colon Powell, made more money than I’d ever seen in my life, and had more adventures than I could write about here. By the time I left the company in 2000, they had over 30 million members, and I had been part of something that will never happen again.

Today, the Internet continues to play a vital part in my life. Through email, I’m able to talk to my friend, Frank, who lives just outside of Dublin, Ireland, and through Google Maps, I can see his house.  I can IM with Hawana, who I went to gradeschool with.  I can write my thoughts in a blog that’s read by thousands of people, and because of that blog, I can get a surprizing email from my very first dear Internet friend, known back then as only Pinzon, who just happened to stumble upon my blog and somehow recognize me.  Oh, how we used to dance the virtual night away!  How cool is it that I should hear from him 14 years later? :)

Through the Internet, we can play massive multi-player role playing games like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy where thousands of people get together in a virtual world to quest and do battle. Such games allow those who are infirm and crippled to lead virtual lives of greatness, adding immesurably to their quality of life.

The Internet has been and continues to be a wonderful part of my life. I could never imagine a world without it.  We can only guess what the future holds for our Internet lives.  I’m so thankful that I got to be — and continue to be — part of it. :)


With all the possible beverages to choose from today, it’s still the best choice for quenching one’s thirst, but if you want to order it with a meal on the go, it’s often the most difficult to get. The simple fact is that most fast food chains are just not set up to offer it to their customers.

In a world that’s becoming increasingly fat conscious, you would think that the opposite would be true. McDonald’s, for instance, is now putting nutritional information on all their products, they’ve cut out trans fats and they’ve added health conscious choices to their menu; but try to order a large cup of ice water with your health conscious meal, and you won’t get it without a fight.

Here’s how it usually goes:

Me: I’d like a number two and, for my drink, I’d like a large ice water with extra ice.

The next thing I usually see is the computer screen charging me for the meal (which includes the drink charge) and then an extra 25 cent charge for the water.

What? They’re charging me EXTRA for water, the least expensive beverage they have? That can’t be right!

This is usually followed by my attempting to explain that I’ve already paid for the drink with the meal, so I shouldn’t have to pay an extra quarter just because it’s water. If I win the argument, I drive to the next window, only to be handed a tiny “curtousy cup” of water. So, once again, I have to tell another person that I paid for a large beverage, and I want my ice water in a large cup. This person will usually argue that they are not allowed to give water in a large cup to which I answer that they are allowed if I pay for it. Sometimes the window person calls the manager to the window to explain it to me, and often, I have to argue with that person, too. Inevitably, if I have enough energy, I can get the water, but what a fight!

Not to single out McDonald’s, mind you. It happens no matter what fast food restaurant I go to, save one. I make the order, always adding, “I’ll be happy to pay for the large cup if I have to,” and when the food arrives, I have either:

  • A bottle of water (which I don’t want; I don’t really like water without it being icy cold, so the ice is important). No ice at all there.
  • A small or tiny cup of water.
  • Some other cola drink in a large cup and a tiny cup of water.
  • A medium sized cup of water.

No matter which of these I get, I hardly ever get the extra ice either. This I kind of understand. People are creatures of habit, and they’re used to giving only a certain amount of ice with a drink. (There are often guidelines telling them exactly how much ice they are allowed to give.) The problem is that the water usually comes out of a tap, so the ice quickly melts (or is already melted by the time I get it), and I’m left with tepid water.


Only one fast food place I know of gets it right every time, and that’s Sonic. (As a matter of fact, Sonic almost always gets EVERYTHING right, and that’s very unusual for a fast food restaurant, proving that the chains can get it right if they want to.) This, of course, leads me to go to Sonic more than I do the other chains. It’s nice for me to get what I want without an argument, and it’s nice for them that their revenue goes up due to their great service.

Does this mean that the other fast food chains are conspiring to keep us drinking beverages filled with sugar and caffeine? I don’t think so. I think a better answer might be that they either a.) Don’t want to give us something free, so they don’t want to make water an option or, b.) That they’re simply unaware that there is a growing contengent of customers who are trying to eat healthier or who just like the stuff better than those syrupy sweet drinks.

Either way, it’s time for fast food chains to get on the bandwagon and put water in their point-of-sale computers. We don’t mind paying for it; we just want it available to us.

So, water-loving customers unite! Start making your voice heard and ask for ice water in a large cup, and if you don’t get it the first time, ask for it again until you do. It’s the only way we’ll ever get our drink of choice and ease our frustrations! And remember, not all fast food chains are managed by Kim, so feel free to mention it to the manager, so he or she can pass the word on.

Sooner or later, the fast food chains will come around. They always bow to popular demand, so keep that demand coming. In the meantime, get an ice machine, a water softener and a filtration system at home and drink to your heart’s content.

And, those of you who are hooked on the caffeine and sugar, go get yourself a tall, refreshing drink of delicious ice water. It’s hard to break free, but once you do, you’ll never want to go back. Give yourself two weeks to try it, and then once you’re free of all those toxins in your system, join us in the fight to win the right to order ice water anywhere!

Next Page »