Friday, April 15, 2011

Not so Bad

The project is moving along fine. It was not as bad as I thought. That goes to show that one’s churning thoughts often result in paranoia. The go live date has been set for next week. Now the only thing left to do is have the systems ready for go live. Not everything is bright and shiny with a primrose path ahead. There are still lots to do and need to hang on and support production. I would think that the whole thing will stabilize after a few weeks. The challenge now is to get everybody ready to support the application. In other words, the stage has been set and the actors need to perform their roles. My immediate concern is to make sure that everyone knows his function. Actually this should be the concern of the director, but sometimes one wonders if the director knows what to do. In fact, I have been overstepping my job which is really the source of stress and anxiety.

But the situation has dramatically changed from defeatism last week to sunny optimism. We met these past days discussing the next steps and the directors are finally getting their act together. More planning, new worksheets and meetings with all concerned were undertaken. There is better direction and steering now. I guess they realized that one can only do so much. We are finally working as a team than ever before. There are a few concerns especially the main actors of the major systems. But communication is ongoing to keep everyone in the loop. I am doing more testing and hope all the other actors are ready for their coming responsibility. Stepping back from pressure and depression is the real trick to survive. One just needs to keep going despite the many obstacles that one faces. An important lesson for one’s kids.

Last Tuesday, my fiction writing class had a field trip at the city park. It was a nice sunny day and a few of us where lost so we wandered around looking for the others. But it was a nice walk in the grounds beside the stream and waterfalls as the river made its way through the park. Finally, we called our professor and met with the rest in a café near the park entrance. We talked about our topic for the day and got to our writing assignment. The professor had to leave at 6pm but we continued writing and one of the student’s husbands, also an aspiring writer and former student in a previous class, continued to lead. We read our work and exchanged feedback. It was a good day all in all and I read the assigned chapter when I got home. The field trip brought my spirits up especially with the turn around in the project’s fortunes.

I have been trying to catch up in my paper work now that I finished filing my income tax return. I review my pending papers, try to resolve them, pay the bills and check my paper mail. I try to do these tasks in the evening or during some free time at work. I spend too much time enjoying myself by reading and watching movies that I neglect my paper work. There’s just too much paper floating around that one needs an efficient system to keep track. This coming weekend there’s a Toastmaster conference nearby and I am debating whether I should attend. I guess I should because it’s a rare time that the division conference is held in the upstate. I have been doing a lot for Toastmasters recently. We just had our weekly meeting last Wednesday. So I had to find time to organize and arrange the gathering since that’s my role in the club. Though I often have doubts, these activities actually help me grow and I should be more appreciative.

I am listening to ‘No Country for Old Men’ which is a great novel. It captures one’s attention unlike the usual books one finds. It’s a good view on the drug problems in the Border States such as Texas. But it’s a classic tale of good and evil, greed and ambition and modern life with great depictions of its characters. Cormac McCarthy has a gift in portraying evil men – the Judge in ‘Blood Meridian’, Anton Shigur in ‘No Country for Old Men’ and the various cannibals in ‘The Road.’ A lot of his books were made into movies which go to show that Hollywood does pay attention to great America writers. Cormac’s work is often filled with dark, senseless and brutal violence as well as disillusion (see ‘Sunset Unlimited’). This dark vision is in contrast to Thomas Pynchon whose works possess an intense zany hilarity that seems to celebrate life.

These are great books worth reading. I am also watching Season Three of the HBO crime series ‘The Wire’. I consider it the best television series I have ever seen. It’s like watching a Shakespearian play mixed with Greek tragedy, filmed in gritty realism by a great Italian director but paced out into a Mexican tele-novella serial. It’s both realistic and imaginative with a great ensemble cast showing a city in its coarse microcosm. Reading Cormac’s work and watching ‘The Wire’, one realizes that it’s a whole new world out there. A world that’s more brutal and senseless than one can ever imagine; more sophisticated and organized in terms of its criminal elements. One wonders if decent life or civil society can ever survive. Except perhaps with the ruthless chauvinism of a fascist right wing where justice is dealt with the rule of a gun than from legislated laws.

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