Monthly Archives: August 2011

Generation Why?

Here is a source of frustration new to the digital age. My grandparents never dealt with a scenario like this – but then again, I never walked to and home from school each day, uphill both ways and in the snow:

Most people who work in an office setting have a company computer network they must log into and out of each day. So when we corporate cogs start work, we create a password. Every few months, our trusty system (or office IT professional) prompts us to create a new password for security reasons. Some networks force users to have a rotation of three, and even four different passwords because when prompted to create a new password, one parameter often states “please choose a new unique password, distinct from the password you used both most recently and during the period before that” (or some reasonable facsimile).

We sleepwalk into work on anymorning M-F, and we power up our workstations. A familiar prompt greets us, and those login fields beckon. Pure reflex takes over as we hunt and peck our password symbols into the correct field. Alas, we get a red error message. Maybe we misclicked an adjacent character on the keyboard. Perhaps CAPS LOCK was enabled, screwing up the entire process. Or, on occasion, we key in a password in our rotation that is not currently correct, forgetting that it recently changed.

This mental lapse is akin to writing the wrong date, on checks and homework assignments, for instance, for an indeterminate but prolonged period after New Years each year.

So we silently mutter a four letter word or two in our office/cubicle/hotel room/living room (depending on where we are working from this lovely morning). And we try again. This time, we make sure CAPS LOCK is off, and we wrack our brains to make sure we know which password we are currently using. We enter the characters and hit enter. Generally, we hit pay dirt and are able to exhale.

 

BUT…on rare occasion, we get an error message again.  This time, the red seems to leak into our already groggy and bloodshot eyes and our ringing ears. We audibly shout another four letter word or three. And we mentally prepare ourselves for the battle to come.  For we know, through trial and error, that our final attempt is upon us.  Fuck this up one more time and we are doomed to a visit from an IT tech or our office administrator, who would have to unlock our workstation.

Now we scour our desk drawers to find the little piece of paper we have our current password written – if we are even that organized.  Maybe it is in our phone. Hopefully it is somewhere. Cause if not, then we must endure every movie scene involving a bomb dismantling scene, where a ticking clock is speeding toward zero point zero zero in reverse and the protagonist‘s brow is teeming with beads of sweat, veins popping out of his or her forehead as he or she debates whether to cut the blue wire or the red wire.

Our hands become clammy. We put on our game-face and start to type, taking every precaution to only hit one key at a time, and in the correct order. We know we aren’t going to blow up the entire office with a mistake, but the frustration we feel this early in the morning, and our overarching desire not to have to waste more time this morning having to explain what happened and then waiting to have our computer unlocked throws some serious pressure onto our shoulders nonetheless.

As we key in the final character, we count the little dots in the password field. Hopefully there are exactly as many dots as characters in our password.  Hopefully we typed the correct password – our current password. Hopefully this never happens again.

While we hit enter, thoughts run through our heads – almost universally we imagine the scene in Office Space where Michael Bolton, Samir and Peter take a baseball bat, a la Casino, to their office fax machine. We visualize this scene even if, for some ridiculous reason, we live under a rock and have never seen Office Space.

We can barely watch the screen. Part of us wants to turn away. Another part forces us to endure the carnage of the train wreck that might unfold. And those next split seconds dictate our day to come.

If we have success and log on, we chalk up the frustration we just experienced as a lack of sleep, but are sufficiently psyched to have weathered the storm and come out on top. We will channel the momentum our ridiculous victory creates, and plow through our day.

However, if we fail on this all-important third attempt, and start our day off with what can only be described as a steaming pile of office shit, slathered onto the top of our desk and left to fester in our minds for hours to come, we know our day really couldn’t have started with any less promise.  It throws our whole morning off, invites unwanted negative energy into our heads and basically ensures we will be fighting an uphill battle to restore sanity and serenity into our day. If it is a Monday, this might border on the impossible.

Oh well. At least I can say this with a decent amount of certainty. My computer allows me to do more in one day at work than my grandparents were able to accomplish in weeks. And check Facebook, and read the news, and update my fantasy football lineups and buy a large assortment of products. So take that octogenarians.

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Maybe William Goldman’s mythical Fire Swamp exists…in California?

It finally happened.  Rodents of unusual size (R.O.U.S.’s) were recently spotted in our country, at a waste-water treatment facility in California. Not sure these R.O.U.S.’s are as dangerous as those braved and defeated by The Man in Black (Westley) and our fair Princess Buttercup outside of Guilder, and just beyond the famed Cliffs of Insanity. In fact, they may even be gentle like guinea pigs.

But still, one can only imagine the panic that might set in should a few people stumble across some lightning sand, or are charred by flame spurts in the next few weeks.

Just beware of the man with six fingers.

This entry is dedicated to the memory of Peter Falk, who recently passed – he will be forever remembered as Columbo, and the narrator of the timeless fairy tale that is The Princess Bride.

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Grateful Salute to a Dead Legend…

As Jerome John Garcia’s birthday recently passed and the anniversary of his passing rapidly approaches, I felt that the DAYS BETWEEN are the perfect opportunity to reflect on a few trivial, emotional and extraordinary facts about my own love affair with my favorite guitar playing musician.

TRIVIAL:

1st JG/GD song I ever heard: Casey Jones

1st song I ever memorized all the lyrics by heart: Friend of the Devil

1st song I learned to play on the piano: Uncle John’s Band

1st live version of a song I ever heard (though on the radio): Shakedown Street

1st song I ever heard live: Touch of Grey

1st Encore I ever heard at a live show: Brokedown Palace

1st Live Venue: The Spectrum, Philadelphia

1st Live Show Date: October 20, 1989

1st Cover Ever Heard Live: Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (Bob Dylan)

1st Album I Ever Bought: American Beauty

2nd Album I Ever Bought: Workingman’s Dead

Song I Requested DJ at Maloney’s (Margate) to Play on my 26th Birthday – Eyes of the World

2nd Song I Requested When DJ Told Me He Didn’t Have First Song:  Brown Eyed Woman

Song I Settled On After Asking DJ To Name All Dead Songs He Did Have (he had only 2 BTW): Shakedown Street

Live Album I Have Listened to Most, Including Dick’s Picks: Without A Net

Total Live Shows Attended (While Jerry Was Alive): 27

EMOTIONAL:

Where I was when I heard Jerry had passed: Summer following my college graduation, had just returned from a trip cross country and was moving to New York

1st Song I Played following the News: Standing on the Moon

Lyric that particularly reminds me of Jerry from that song:

Somewhere in San Francisco
On a back porch in July
Just looking up to heaven
At this crescent in the sky

Song I Most Associate With Jerry: Althea, mostly due to a terrific interview of Jerry by Greg Harrington in 1981 as they share multiple joints

Favorite Song Today that I Didn’t Care Much for When I First Started Listening to The Dead: Wharf Rat

Cover and Jerry Moment I Will Always Remember: Jerry Laughing Audibly As He Belted Out the Lyrics to Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

First Dance at My Wedding: They Love Each Other – thanks again to Drew T and the band for jamming it out perfectly

EXTRAORDINARY

Of my 27 Live Shows, The Grateful Dead played Truckin’ 21 (78%) times and Sugar Magnolia 20 (74%) times. The next most frequently played song (Not including Drums/Space) was Touch of Grey, 12 times (44%)

I saw 4 different Keyboardists over the course of my 27 shows: Brent Mydland, Vince Welnick, Steve Winwood and Bruce Hornsby – This is not overly surprising if you know the curse of the Grateful Dead keyboardists

Jerry began his musical training learning piano, like his father. His first foray into stringed instruments was the banjo

Jerry lost his right middle finger at the age of 4 after suffering an accident while steadying wood his brother was chopping with an axe – so if Jerry ever gave someone the finger…he actually gave them THE finger

Jerry was dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine as the 13th greatest guitarist in history in 2003 – Imagine where he would rank on that list if he had 10 fingers like the 12 men ahead of him

Jerry’s funeral took place at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

If you are into numerology, 8 was a very important number in the life and death of Jerry:

There is a span of 8 days between Jerry’s birthday and the anniversary of his death

He lived 53 years, and when the numerals are added together, they total 8

His music career spanned 35 years, and again, when you add the numerals, they total 8

There are 16 total letters in Jerry’s full name, a multiple of 8

Jerry named his first child Heather, the first letter in her name, H, is the 8th letter in the alphabet

When Jerry died, his band lived on without the word Grateful, as The Dead. Grateful has 8 letters

And Jerry came into this world and left it in August, the 8th month in our calendar year. August 9th 2011 will mark the 16th anniversary of Jerry’s death…a multiple of 8

You are missed Jerry. I hope you are that headlight, shining though the cool Colorado rain.

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