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Monday, October 21, 2002

My first clue was a phone call from the Boss, first thing this morning. "We have a problem," he said. And I spent the next three hours on a wild goose chase, never catching up with the wild goose or any other feral fowl.

What he needed — and right now, too — was a particular piece of small equipment we could rent for the day. Our crew was stranded on a job site far from familiar territory, unable to work for lack of this gadget. They were standing by, waiting for me to find it somewhere nearby.

There was no answer in the phone book. Five different Internet yellow page sites gave me nothing in that town, or any closer than fifteen miles, and even those places didn't have the particular gadget we needed. I kept searching, writing down phone numbers and faxing them to the Boss so he could make the calls. It was faster that way, or would have been if I'd actually been coming up with any useful numbers.

Instead, I came up with dead ends. We had a gadget that could have been repaired, if I could find a gadget repair shop. Dead end. A dealer in new gadgets? Dead end, unless they wanted to cross the Bay. They would have had to cross the Bay twice, once each way, and I think the fourteen mile estimate was probably crow-flying distance, without accounting for the need for a bridge.

I was asked to keep trying, so I went further afield. I found places in Southern California, and way up north almost all the way to Oregon. I found places that had gadgets that were sort of similar in a kind of a way, but not close enough to solve the problem.

After three hours they called it off. They were breaking down the job site, loading up and heading back to home base. I was off the hook, nothing wasted but a Monday morning, which isn't worth much in the first place.

I spent the afternoon writing and revising a letter dictated over the phone. I thought the first draft was fine, but the changes kept coming. Some of them made sense, some didn't, but I kept typing. Julie dictated the first draft and the Boss made the first changes. Then Julie decided she didn't like what he'd done and we went back a step.

Once during the fourth or fifth draft I was on the phone with the Boss. I had one revision in my hand that I hadn't got around to typing yet, and he told me he was faxing me another version. I waited half an hour, then typed the previous one. Half an hour after that he called and said he was making changes to the changes, but this might be the last time.

All of this is nothing more than a memo that's going to an attorney friend to get his opinion on something. It's not a revenue-generator for the Company, or anything that has to look like an official document. It's just something to wring our hands over and worry about wording that's probably going to be glossed over by the attorney and then changed to his liking.

In other words, the wild geese were coming in great honking flocks today, and I was standing underneath with no protection. It made for a pretty sloppy Monday.


Another October sunset.

I gave up on work as early as I could. That isn't easy when this much is going on, but I had to try to get away from it, just so Monday wouldn't roll on up into Tuesday without breathing space between. Tonight I watched Vanilla Sky, a movie I really wanted to like but didn't.

Tom Cruise was so great in Magnolia, and I guess I was expecting something in that vein. I should have known better, but he wasn't helped at all by the too-clever overwritten dialog, or by his costar Jason Lee, who was so much better in Mallrats. Penelope Cruz was wonderful, though.

I've been waiting six months for Netflix to free this DVD up for me, so it's kind of disappointing. It is visually interesting and has a terrific music soundtrack, but the last twenty minutes, good as they were, didn't make up for the two hours that got me there. But that's just me.

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Latest recommendation:

Bill, The Daily Epiphany, October 18, Helena

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Open Hearts
"I like to see people trying to understand each other, and then, when it seems a lost cause, trying again and trying harder."

Two years ago: Living Space
"It was pure luck to find this place, and I'm not sure I deserve it, but it's what I always wanted, even if I never knew it till I had it."

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