Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Longest Day

NOTE: Wrote this Thursday at work, when the internet and phone service was out all day long. Emailed it to myself. It finally arrived this afternoon.

Arrived at work this morning to see our computer network is down. No email. No internet. No phones, even. This has long day written all over it.

No matter. Usually the outages are handled quickly. So I clean up some papers. Print a few more – print server is working, that’s a good sign. I post some documents released the day before, and come back with a pile of records to deliver to Wanda in the cubicle next door.
Still no network.
So we wait.
And wait.
And wait.
Two hours now. I’ve written or edited 3,322 pages of a novel – I want to remain busy, even if I can’t do my work. Potty breaks. A little reading. More tidying. Checking my consumable forms, making up a list of forms to order from the print shop, once the network is back online. Other folks in the building have found things to do, after the normal “the network is down” chatter died, after about an hour. I have no proof they’re actually working or if they’ve wandered off to find more entertaining spots in which to slack off. Wish my job were less computer- and network-dependent.
At 9:02, decide to keep a log of what’s going on, I’m that bored. We’ll see how long it lasts.
0906: Gal in training wanders by, “Let’s go home. The computers are down.” Response from RadCon manager: “I’m kind of enjoying this, unplugging for a while.”
0910: Cleaned out email I have on my computer so I stop getting the “your box is full” nastygram. Not that I’m going to get one today . . .
0914: Found myself on the North Wind Inc. org chart, released yesterday. That’s all I can tell you; it’s not for external distribution. Because other companies could use it to take over American TV, I suppose. Glad to see I’m not represented on the chart by a stain on the carpet. Also relieved to see my reporting line doesn’t brush against Asok’s box. It’s clear everything I know about org charts I learned from Dilbert.
0917: Just dawned on me that if the network is out all day long, I have no way of getting this log home. Oh, the problems of modern society.
0923: I’m too dumb to play mah-jong today.
0934: That’s the best my paper clips and binder clips have ever looked. Completely organized for my next spontaneity session.
0935: Wanda next door has the vacuum out. I’m not the only one searching for productive things to do.
0936: Found MORE paper clips and binder clips to sort. Sorted the hell out of them. I’m starting to feel like Frank Burns, sorting out all the condiments on the mess hall tables according to height and popularity. It won’t be long until I’m knee-deep in gherkin pickles.
0945: Lots of sighing coming from the project manager’s cubicle. In the meantime, inspired by Wanda’s cleanliness, I got down on my hands and knees and picked up the many paper clips on the floor beneath my desk. Sorted them right into the trash. Because they’re the ones I’ve used to clean my ears. Hyacinth would be appalled.
1019: Found some stuff to do. First of all, went out to the far distant shift desk and posted some documents. Nearly got squashed in the doors of the bus doing so. Driver felt bad, but hey, gave me a story for the day. Came back, had to shuffle through cell phones of others to verify the versions of two documents needed for a systems operability test today. INTEC’s network is working just fine, we’re the red-headed stepchild today. A good testament, though, to why we keep paper copies of the procedures at the shift desks, and why it’s important to keep them updated.
1020: On the bus, the radio was playing that ‘70s tune “Illegal Woman.” Or “Legal Woman.” Or “Evil Woman.” I’ve never understood the words.
1022: Pondering it might possibly be time to get a new cell phone. Ours is ancient technology that has buttons on the front of it and you use it to make calls. One of the phones I borrowed, a Blackberry, is far too intelligent for me to use. I didn’t even know how to hang the damn thing up, and the guy I borrowed it from had to dial for me. Without a dial. How does that work? Hope I don’t have to make any more calls that way today. I did borrow Wanda’s phone, which is like ours with the numbered buttons. Will have to do that again.
1025: So this is what it’s like to use a computer in North Korea.
1037: Cafeteria crew is here and bustling. Good to know they’re not inhibited in their jobs by network breakdowns.
1039: Print server is now down. CRISIS! How will I EVER get this magnificent log to blog?
1040: RadCon manager just walked by saying that ARP 8 has gone hot – meaning it’s contaminated now, so no random lookie-loos. That must mean Ken got the documents he needed, because he was checking on docs for that building. “Did you hear the news? I’m like a town crier!”
1042: Good news: Turnstyles work, so when the time comes, we can get out to the buses. Maybe I should just go through the turnstyles now and sit in the lobby until it’s time to go home. They have couches.
1047: Yup. Seriously too dumb for mah jong today.
1050: Seriously feel like Louis Tully at his party. “Anybody wanna play Parchesi?” I do have a pack of Saddam Hussein playing cards, left over from the first Gulf War, in my file cabinet. Not sure I’m that bored yet.
1055: I really should have replaced the movies on my Kindle. I’m sick of the ones on there now. And I’m not yet desperate enough to watch one of them again. Maybe I could swap devices with someone else for a while. Who in the office might be a Johnny Quest or Star Trek TOS freak?
1108: I have cleaned out and repaired a few file folders. Someone just walked by muttering about the outage and how we might have to start writing procedures by hand. That set me to thinking: Well, we could do it. We have current copies of the procedures. We have paper and pens. It could be done.
1110: One of my scouts will celebrate his 13th birthday on our campout next weekend. What kind of little scouty trinket could I get for him? Flashlight? Little packet of cherry bombs?
1111: Hear the unmistakable sound of a carpet sweeper. Cleanup for those who don’t want to noisiness of the vacuum.
1112: Don’t put binder clips on your ears. It hurts.
1129: Don’t put them on your nose, either.
1135: Down down down dooby doo-wah, woe woe woe woe. Down down down dooby doo-wah, Only the Lonely . . .
1140: Revelation. I can put things in an email and send them, and then when the network is back up, the messages will get sent. In theory. That might be worth a try.
1159: Seriously falling asleep in my chair right now.
1200: Day is half done. How long will the next five hours last? Well, five hours, natch.
1215: I want to make a digeridoo. Taking inspiration from the noise I’m making with a plastic spiral from an old manual I’m throwing away.
121: I may indeed look upon sorting paper clips and binder clips as the highlight of the day. Though almost getting squashed by the bus doors was exciting too.
1218: It’s amusing when short people walk by my cubicle. I can only hear them. They scare me.
1229: Cowshee. See kaus. Kaus. A moderate to gale-force southeasterly wind in the Persian Gulf, accompanied by gloomy weather, rain, and squalls; it is most frequent between December and April. Also known as cowshee. Interesting the things you learn, reading the Mc Graw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms. Fifth Edition. One of the gems left in this cubicle when I took it over. No one will find much of value in my old cubicle, as I have gone back through and pillaged that entire trailer. And somatic copulation. With a drawing. This is getting exciting.
1238: Going to try mah jong again.
1311: I have seriously improved my mah jong skills from earlier this morning. People are now talking about either taking the rest of the day off or heading into turnaround offices in town. I’m not sure either would buy me anything.
1324: Read another chapter in the book I’m beta reading. One with multiple storylines. I like one storyline better than the other. I’m reading the undesirable storyline now. Sleepy.
1325: Feeling really ADD today.
1330: Yeah, people are starting to leave. Like rats off a sinking ship. Or at least a ship without internet access.
1334: The aforementioned McGraw-Hill dictionary does not define “interociter.” Seriously deficient, this dictionary is.
1336: The first few pages of this dictionary are sealed shut with clear tape. Why?
1337: Huh. Nothing there but a flyleaf and the title page. Sometimes it’s not worth fathoming why people do things. Like keep logs of the longest day.
1343: Just came back with a pile of empty binders, booty from my latest pillaging of my former work location. It’s even junkier than I remember.
1344: I wonder what the reaction would be if I went over to Mahogany Row, stood there and muttered “When the Internet is down, anarchy is just around the corner”?
1345: I may never know. Mahogany Row is looking pretty dark. The only guy there is the guy I borrowed the complicated cell phone from this morning. He already thinks I’m odd, so water under the bridge there.
1405: Before East and West Germany were unified, the area around Dresden in East Germany was known as “The Valley of the Ignorant,” because it was a low-lying area where transmissions of West German television couldn’t be intercepted. I think I know what they felt like.
1416: Verified the turnstyles still work. If they break down, I’m going over the fence.
1418: [Annoyed grunt]
1420: Watching “The Devil’s Tower” episode of Johnny Quest. Just can’t stand it any more.
1421: Stupid Bandit.
1422: I seem to remember something about cavemen in this episode.
1423: Yeah, cavemen. Ugly ones, too.
1424: A biplane, Race? How quaint. WATCH OUT BANDIT! It’s a FILTHY monkey!
1425: They’ve got that biplane at 8,000 feet, and climbing. Are they even capable of flying that high? And if it is they’re in open cockpits. Freezing to death while they die of oxygen starvation. Genius, Dr. Quest. If I had INTERNET access, I could look it up.
1427: Blechh. I just can’t do Johnny Quest at the moment. ADD still kicking in.
1439: I’m tired of killing zombies.
1445: Those couches out in the lobby are really calling my name. If I put a note on me saying “Wake before the buses leave,” that might work . . .
1504: Just got back from replacing a worn-out binder with a slightly less worn-out binder. MY ONE WORK-RELATED TASK IN THE PM! Yes, verified, the only work-related thing I’ve done this afternoon.
1508: Back to Johnny Quest. UGLY CAVEMEN. And Bandit is BARKING at them. And Johnny just took out one of them with a body slam.
1510: Oh goody. A German leftover from World War II. Who trained the cavemen as henchmen. What an untermenschen.
1512: He’s been on the escarpment for 18 years. Hells bells, this is an old show.
1514: Ah, the old “escaped Nazi War Criminal” gag. Yippee.
1515: Dr. Quest has chicken legs.
1518: You know, Mr. Mad Nazi War Criminal, you might want to tie that sack of diamonds SHUT before you get into the plane and take off and do fancy maneuvers.
1521: I could really see Nic Cage playing Race Bannon in a live action version of this show. Who could do Dr. Quest? And the problem is with a live-action movie today, they’d turn Johnny and Hadji into teenagers, rather than pre-teens. Stinkerino.
1548: Back to mah jong. And I’m getting cranky.
1550: Put my elbow to sleep. I WANNA GO HOME. I could go catch the 1500 bus, but what’s the point? Most productive part of my day might be when I get home and visit with two of my scouts and their mothers. Good news is, only three more scouts after that (including my own son) and that’s ONE of my Wood Badge goals done. Well, technically TWO done. I’m counting the one meeting and many encounters I’ve had since with current scout leaders towards that second goal. The one goal I haven’t really started yet is the one I thought I’d have done first, which is pretty amazing, considering.
1552: Someone’s very musical cell phone ring tone is, uh, ringing.
1553: Pee break.
1601: One. Hour. Left. It’s frowned upon for us to go through the turnstyles before 1715 each day. I usually slip through about seven or eight minutes earlier than that. It may be even earlier today. 1700 hits and I’m out of here. And some poor soul just came by looking for an Ipad charger.
1604: I guess I could read the org chart again.
1605: Emptied my computer’s recycling bin. I feel so tidy.
1608: WGS folks are in a nearby cubicle, asking their acting boss if he has any coloring books in his office.
1610: Now the acting boss is also in the nearby cubicle. They’re not talking about coloring books.
1613: Watching another Johnny Quest. This one featuring DR. ZIN! The sinister Dr. Zin. Nice finger steepling, dude. And Dr. Zin mentioned Phase II, which obviously includes a trick cigarette lighter with a poison needle in it. Should have seen that coming.
1615: Aw, this sucks.
1617: Zanium. ZANIUM! Well, okay, Dr. Quest.
1624: Bandit, you just got xrayed, dude. Cancer for you.
1625: Oh, he’s being smuggled in the camera bag. Oldest trick in the book.
1627: Dr. Zin is fingered already.
1628: Interesting that Race was giving the boys a geography lesson while on the plane, but in India, they’re traversing a gigantic mountain range with a view of Everest to get to the country’s interior. Oopsie.
1629: I remember this episode. Bandit in one end of the delicately-balanced train car, everyone else in the other. The movement of a ten-pound dog saves the entire crew. I didn’t buy it even then.
1630: I hope that parrot eats Bandit.
1632: Whoa. One of the Indian bad guys in this is basically Dr. Quest with brown skin.
At this point, about 45 minutes out from getting on the bus to go home, I suppose I lost interest. Or went insane. There are no other entries. I hope this never happens again.


Anonymous said...

Frank Burns's "height and popularity" reference just came up on a friend's post tonight, and Googling the reference introduced me to you


Mister Fweem said...

Glad I could contribute to the Internet's vast collection of ephemera.