Caveat: A rant worth remembering…

The following was writting in January, to one of our Business Systems Managers (a sort of IT department liaison who job it is to deal with us difficult business / functional folks. All that's changed is that evidence suggests that my recommendations were not taken. That's OK – I didn't think they would be. But I still want to go "on record." So here goes… any modifications or additions I've added are in square brackets [].

Please understand, my motivations are not meant as criticism of any person, department, or process, but rather, I'm driven by a desire to make things genuinely better.

I think there is a growing consensus that the "New Data Warehouse" project fell woefully short of expectations and promises.

[er… outta time … I'll add the rest later]

[um… I never finished this rant. Just as well.]

Caveat: Welcome to Paradise, Corp.

Keeping in mind that all names are being changed, to protect the innocent, the guilty, and the idiots, here is my world.

Basically, think "Dilbert" – but without all the glamor.

Paradise Corp is a fortune 500 company — over 50 years old, a "bricks and mortar" conglomerate. Paradise went public again in the most recent decade, after several decades as a privately held company, and — unofficially at least — is experiencing some shocks under the higher level of scrutiny that being a public corporation is subject to.

As a conglomerate, it has a number of unrelated divisions with very little in common between them, except perhaps a brand and a CEO — we're in "silos," to put it in consultantese. I work for a very autonomous, $1 billion+ annual revenue division in a specialized niche in the B2B services world.

We're one of about 5 national-scale players in an otherwise fragmented, regional and mom-and-pop industry, and, until a few years ago, we held a definitive lead, in both reputation and size. The recent economic downturn, changes in the industry overall toward "commodification" of our primary product, and some serious at-loss pricing from our competitors in order to gain market share, have all contributed to our recent bout of ill-health.

My loyalty to Paradise is based in the personalities that surround me — the organization as a whole hardly merits it. Although I've no concerns regarding the general ethical soundness of Paradise, it's hardly what I would call an exemplar of corporate excellence.

I've received some good breaks at Paradise, however, climbing from being a "temp" in the billing department through billing coordinator, programmer/analyst, and now data analyst and even "data strategist" (at least unofficially) in about 5 years — all without any help from my resume, which says I should be teaching high school or, at best, pursuing my PhD in literature.

Caveat: Guess what?

As I've stepped through the configuration process for my new weblog and some associated "typelists," I've had the sudden realization that I could use a books typelist to catalog my entire book collection. Sounds like a fabulous fun, e?

So, in no particular order, you will find my many books, pulled at random, from shelves and small piles around my little house. I'll try to include approximate date-of-acquisition, and to comment on at least the interesting ones (but isn't that all of them?).

Not that you, the putative reader, is anything but a figment of my imagination. But isn't that the point? I suspect most of the depth on this blog is going to end up in the comments I provide for my texts.

Caveat: And lo…

… it came to pass

that Jared decided to start a blog.

Is this a sign I have too much time on my hands?

A cross between:

1) a traditionalish journal ("dear diary…");

2) one of those yellow legal-pad thingies where I write down things from books and websites that I find interesting;

3) a semi-fictionalized account of nothing in particular.

Caveat: Retroblogging

[Retroblogging.

I have deliberately placed this post on the day before the day that I actually started writing this blog. In actual fact, I'm writing this entry on 2010-11-28 (with updates in 2013).  It's a mysterious post-from-the-future! By this anachronistic act, however, I mean to introduce my grand, narcissistic project: retroblogging.

I realized, some time back, that the ability to back-date blog posts means that I could post to my blog back in time:  to times before I was blogging;  to times before there were blogs;  even to times before I was born.

The fact is, I have been journaling, on and off, in rather bloggy fashion, for a major portion of my life.  So one day, I had the epiphany that I could transfer the content of my paper journals to this blog.  Perhaps selectively.  But… autobiographically.

Several times, I've taken steps to try to "digitize" some of my old journals.  Before the "hard drive disaster of '98," I'd typed over 100 pages into a laptop. There's a certain narcissism inherent in this sort of project, I realize, but reviewing the past has a certain therapeutic value for me, and putting out into the online universe matches up well with my beliefs and feelings about the importance of living a sort of radical transparency – not as a prescription for others but for myself.

Not all the journal entries are equally suitable for placement online.  Some are, frankly, illegible.  Some are disturbingly banal, or downright incoherent.  A few are too private to put online, even for someone as radically transparent as I strive to be.  But there are lots of things I think I'd like to record.  This blog entry, here, will serve as a place to "explain" what these "retroblog" posts are about, that I can link to in a note at the bottom of those old posts.  The posts themselves will show up at the appropriate date, in the archives, through the use of the back-dating feature.

Here is a picture of some of my journals.  I carry several kilos of these green- or blue-ruled "comp books" with me from continent to continent.

Old Journals

I also tended to keep journals on those those yellow legal pad thingies – but over the years, those have decomposed into disorganized manila folders crammed with paper.  I carry those around, too.

All along, my approach has been not unlike the way that I continue to approach this blog.  The difference is that I was much less aware, for the most part, of a specific audience.  If I thought of an audience at all, it was most likely some mysterious future biographer.  Or simply my future self.  And, in fact, clearly, that latter future audience idea was exactly right.  But now… with some selectivity, I'm going to be putting dated entries here in blogtopia.

Dumping the many caveats of my life from my paper dumptruck.

I was most prolific during my last two years of high school and during my college years.  But there are interesting materials to be found for nearly every year, if I poke around a bit.  I doodled a lot.  I frequently experimented with my handwriting – sort of a private typography.  Almost always, I had some "language-in-progress" that I was trying to study, and just like today, I would jot down notes or lists of vocabulary.  I sometimes typed, using a manual typewriter, imagining something hemingwayesque, maybe.

Here are some images of pages from these past journals.

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals

Old Journals