for octavius . . . or was that octavian?


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life in the faster lane
camaro no more


    friday i found out my legs don't fit between the pedals and the steering wheel of a fiat x-1/9, one of my two ultimate fantasy cars. the fiat suddenly lost its appeal.
    so today bought me a 1991 toyota mr2 in dark "cop-magnet" red, with a 5-speed manual turbo, compact disk stereo and only 56K miles. a "mister two" is a two-seater no-excuses no-compromises sports car. maybe i don't need a porsche. this mr2 had all my criteria for car: sporty + t-tops + 1990s. oops, maybe not. i forgot that $7K or less thang i started out with...
    for those who don't know, in appearance this one is not the icky angular 1980s mr2 (sorry merwin--here's where we part company in preferences). a 91 mr2 is somewhat akin to the 1994 and later mustangs in form factor: not so short wheelbase as a mg or miata. It has round corners like most 90s but not too organic (yucch).
    oboy. it's more fun than a human can bear. even though it was red, i had trouble letting go after the test drive. i would have chosen metal-flake blue, but hey. during the test drive i had it up to 80 mph before i knew it; oops--the arc of the steering wheel was between me and the speedometer, really. the responsiveness of driving the mr2 shows me flaws in my technique similar to when i got a aftertouch-sensitive midi keyboard to replace my on/off arp keyboard.
    vroom-vroom. a turbo charger really sounds like a rocketeer backpack when it kicks in. i bet this thing sucks fuel like i drink mountain dew, and for the same reason. i confess i was reminded of the ending of the movie "a star is born," more than once today while moving this machine down the road. the first time i was alone in the car, i vowed out loud that i would use this power only for benevolent purposes.
    so much for conservative gas milage, conservative insurance, etc. at least it's a toyota for dependability. $7000 cash down, care of alliance semiconductor at $13.25-per-share made for acceptable monthly payments... then the toyota dealer talked me into a burglar alarm, paint sealant and rustproofing, 3-year/36000-mile full-coverage maintenance contract scam which made the payments grow 20%. however, a turbocharger definitely seems to me to be in the constant "fix me" category of mechanical device which needs a service contract.
    at zero plus twelve hours i'm feeling some buyer's remorse about that extras package now, enough that i'm not telling how much that part cost, but no remorse about the car itself. however, intellectually i'm content. historically, i put more than the maintenance contract into my camaro repairs in three years, so i'm hoping to amortize my remorse into oblivion the first time the turbo-charger breaks down, or the headlights don't pop up, or the engine throws a rod, and i have to pay only a $50 flat rate.
    zoom. zoom.

    champion wrote, "Ah... Mid-life crisis already? another friend, random wrote, "Mark, aren't you a little young for a midlife crisis? i think i detect a common theme here.
    oh, come on. where's the proof i've ever left adolescence?


to the quick
hold no demagogue before me


rant (rant) v.i.1. to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave: The demagogue ranted for hours.
- random house unabridged cdrom dictionary, v1.7

    wounded, wounded am i.
    a woman--with unfortunately demonstrable good taste--characterized this web page you are reading in a less than flattering manner.
    to wit, her email subject line was Second "rant" on your page...
    this leads me to the unavoidable conclusion that one of my previous two essays is extravagant, or violent declamation. the other rant of the plural rants is obviously referring to the well justified--if immaturely argued--diatribe against michael dell for which i am responsible merely in providing a highly creative graphical hypertext link.
    oh, gentle reader, lament with me the photons violently slammed against your screen at lightspeed so that you may view these words which declaim concepts far beyond simple reason! the time has come to confess, in all humility, that i strive to expose, with a keen poetic sense and sharp ironic wit, any oddities of human behaviour, sharing my observations about the foibles in the human condition. i must admit that i do aspire to arouse and expose the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.
    hey. aren't demagogues people, too?
    just call me an outspoken american, please. i have rights, too, ya know.


developing relationships
first day at a new job is the hardest


    september 26th i accepted a job with this one company. they asked me to be the second technical writer in a two-man team. with seven years of professional pride, i had to change the job title on the offer letter from "technical writer" to "senior technical writer" before i signed. remember the titles: they become important later.

    when i telephoned today, this one company told me they had 'let go' the other writer. the ceo told me the established writer had been distraught to discover this one company had decided that the other writer should report to me, rather than me to him. the ceo told me the other writer was so distraught that the writer said things which led this one company to let him go.

chatted up the other writer for 2 hours. his perspective is substantially different.

    last week this one company had 'let go' the h.r. director who had signed my offer letter. hmmm...do we detect a pattern here?
    i acknowledged that despite the heavy turnover, i would be interested in being this one company's technical publications department all by myself. however, as the sole member of their techpubs department until i staffed more writers, i suggested that i was entitled more compensation. 100 percent of a one-man team is somewhat more of a responsibility than 50 percent of a two-man team. seems pretty obvious to me.
    although the ceo of this one company used the words "manage" and "staff" to describe my initial duties as techpubs department, the subsequent negotiator, whose business card reads "business development," (no more h.r. director, remember?) appeared unable to discern the difference between the original duties of a non-senior "technical writer" and the new "not-a-manager" techpubs department job description including such duties as "staffing" and "managing."
    mister business development postulated that i was not being hired as a manager, but rather i could "grow into the position." we explored the english language together for perhaps another ten minutes before we agreed to "part ways." i've never eaten so many euphemisms in one serving outside of a microsoft anti-trust press release.
    i was invited to call back if i changed my mind. i thanked mister business development, but imagining ahab's dead arm beckoning his crew to their deaths, i suggested that he not wait for such an event.

    mark's resignation letter, a 15K adobe acrobat file.

    back in 1993 i was hired by a nebraska company which withdrew their offer before i started working. my lawyer friend (not an oxymoron, really!) advised me that this is perfectly legal behaviour in an at-will employment situation. technically, you see, i was fired before my first day of work.
    since california is an at-will employment state, it looks like now i've gone full circle and quit a new job before my first day of work.
    what a strange world.

homeless in san jose?
anne and the dictionary are not real close


    in 1995 deb and i invited a woman we knew to stay free at our place for three months to get established in california. as we had done this before and knew the risks, before she moved in we and our houseguest established the three month length of her tenure at our home.
    she was invited to negotiate a longer stay if she desired. she did not.
    in the third month, i approached our houseguest, who appeared surprised that i asked her to keep her word and move out.
    she was invited again to negotiate a longer stay if she desired.
    a week before her three month time was up, she arranged to move into the apartment of some mutual friends. i recall we let her take over a week to transfer her belongings, essentially allowing her to stay longer than the agreed three months, because we accomodated her plans to travel during the 1995 holiday season.
    today i discovered that for two years she's been unable to enjoy herself when i'm around because i left her “homeless.”
    perhaps that word doesn't mean what i think it means.

silly mike

    michael dell, president of dell computers suggested that steve jobs close down apple computer corporation, liquidate assets, and give the money to the stockholders.
to hell with dell

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