Saturday, October 26, 2002



Last week, I had a request for a conference. All my co-workers said “Oh, this one has to go well. It’s the one with the new CEO in it.”

OH. Okay. I will make sure it goes well. I called the assistant to ask her what this CEO needed for his call.
Will he have a powerpoint presentation?
Oh no…

Will he have a telephone conference as part of the video conference?
Oh no…
Are you sure? Even if someone can’t make it, and has to call from their hotel room or something?
Well, let me check…No no…No phone call.

Okay. So I have my techs on each site (three sites, including mine) all there a half hour early, everything is fine, all is perfect, all is well.

But then the participant walks into NY, and his call drops.

Try to reconnect, it drops again, bad news. So I get on the phone, to call into NY’s room and tell them to dial into the speaker phone in the room where we are at.

Just told them the number, barely hung up, and the speakerphone rings. It is someone else, telling us the CONFERENCE CALL NUMBER THAT HAS SUDDENLY BEEN CREATED BY THE LITTLE MISS WHO SWORE WE WOULDN’T NEED ONE!!!

Carp again. Now NY has to have the number. But wait, it’s okay because suddenly they are dialed in.

Someone else brought them the number. Okay, good, they are finally set up. I ask the second Video conference site if he can hear okay, he says yes, and I slink away.

I am met immediately by another, completely different fire that needs me to put it out. In the midst of that, I forget and leave my cell phone at my desk for a moment. When I realize it’s gone, I freak out, rush to the phone, and sure enough, it’s got a missed call.

I run up to the conference room, to ask what’s wrong. The whole thing has fallen apart and they are now only on the speaker phone.

Ugh. The new CEO, the Chief of staff (my boss’s boss) and the CIO are all in the meeting looking at me with contempt. Well, maybe not the CIO. He understands that technology happens.

They tell me that it’s too late, that nothing can be done.

I slink away again.

posted by Murphy 10/26/2002

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Some people, and I have the impression that it is mostly men, are terrified to go to the doctor. Maybe it is the doctor's hurried and supremely self-confident and superior way of tossing off diagnoses and prescriptions that make people dislike seeing them. It explains the gender difference, too. Most women are used to being condescended to, at least a little.

Of course, things have changed so much. The last hundred years or so have taken medicine so far.

But so much has changed so little.

"The Doctor's Dillemma" by Bernard Shaw satirizes the medical profession brilliantly. Shaw groups the brilliant doctors of his late victorian era and has them talk about their methods and their practices in such a way as to make any sick person set off in search of a witch doctor.

That's not the only point to the story, though. There is a dilemma for the doctor, after all. A lovely young woman comes to him for help; she wants him to cure her husband of tuberculosis. He is quite dismissive at first, but is charmed by her and agrees to see the man.

With time, he becomes more and more impressed with the young woman--at the same time he discovers her artist husband is a liar and a cheat.

Is he worth saving? For his wife's sake? For his art's sake?

The play is very interesting, dealing with serious subjects, but with a lot of humor.
posted by Murphy 10/22/2002

Monday, October 21, 2002

Writing takes time. It takes a certain time of brain space, too. I have been really busy with work. I wish that work would back off a little...I would rather be reading and thinking and writing than doing all this JOB stuff.

But the job stuff pays the bills.

I had a chance to listen to PYGMALION by Shaw. That was a great play! All kinds of good stuff, about class tension and social climbing and the place of women and the importance of manners in society.

On the back of the package, it says "PYGMALION inspired the award-winning film and stage productions of Lerner and Loewe's musical, MY FAIR LADY."

I went and got MY FAIR LADY so that I could compare the two. I like musicals.

But you know, this was pretty different than the play. THe musical added songs which are very nice. But the story itself is such a practical story...I mean, it is about getting this work done--HIggins has to teach Eliza how to speak.

In PYGMALION, Eliza learned very fast and had a quick ear.
In MY FAIR LADY, Eliza couldn't hear the sounds at all until Professor Higgins essentially tortured her inot saying it right. I thought that change to be rather implausible, he didn't even TRY to explain how sounds are formed. Then, after he's starved her and been cranky to her all day, she gets it and they dance around sining "The Rain in Spain." Then, he demands that she stay up and study some more.

And she goes all googly and sings "I could have danced all night."
WHAT?! the implication is that she is in love with professor higgins.
I fail to see the attraction. He hasn't done anything nice for her, and he's done a lot of mean things.

It doens't make sense to me.

In PYGMALION, Shaw treats marriage as a much more practical exercise. In fact, on of the lines that are in common show his point of view, "In tottenham court, I was above this. I sold flowers, not myself."

That line seems incongruous in the musical. THe musical has all kinds of massively sappy moments of LOOOOOVVVEEE!!! Freddie is head over heels, and Eliza is exstatic over Higgins, and Higgins has grown accustomed to her face.

It doesn't hang together quite as well.

I think the play was much more complimentary to Eliza, giving her talents that are to her credit. But the musical makes her a patsy, whose only major selling point is how pretty she is.

It's too bad.

posted by Murphy 10/21/2002

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