.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Chasing The American Dream

May 29, 2005


Posted by Hello
I returned to Ft. Lauderdale’s grungy, dingy, smoky, raucous, yet intimate, Culture Room for the next stop on Plantation’s summer concert tour. I’ve waited for Snow Patrol to come back since September when the concert got canceled due to a Hurricane. Let me tell you people, it was well worth the wait. I skipped the first two opening bands that played at last week’s Raveonette’s concert. The third opening band called Athlete was very good. Nice group of lads from the UK with a nice sound. They warmed up the crowd nicely, and when Snow Patrol took the stage just after 11 p.m., the small, intimate crowd roared their approval.

SP opened with the familiar “Chocolate.” The band looked and sounded revved. The crowd immediately joined lead singer Gary Lightbody (formerly of Reindeer Section) sing every word. I loved the interaction of the band with the crowd. Gary asked “us” if we survived the hurricane, took requests, and sported an overall dry sense of humor. They played some old songs and played a few new ones, but they mostly played every song on their current “Final Straw” CD. I listened and, as is my usual, I took several moments to look around and gather in my surroundings and appreciate where I was and how special times like these were. How wonderful is it that I’m hearing such good music, standing a mere 20 feet from the band, and sharing it all with 200 of my closest friends?

SP closed with the beautiful and haunting ballad “Run” and came back for a two-song encore. They said they’d be back here next year after the release of their new CD. I can’t wait. In the meantime, go ahead and treat yourself to the Final Straw CD. It’s great. Pack up the bus folks. Keane is next.

May 28, 2005


Out of the blue. I was sitting there at a live Marlins baseball game when I felt the cell vibrate. I saw the caller ID and almost dropped the phone in disbelief. It was *her.* CBG. Of all times, why now? The ballpark was so noisy, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear her. I answered. I heard faint, “hello.” I heard her say she was at some medical conference and she was bored. Wow, did *that* bring back some memories (details in forthcoming posts). I told her where I was and that I’d call her back as soon as the game was over. My mind started conjuring up all sorts of scenarios. So what happened already?

Well, I called her back after the game. The background was noisy. Her voice was enthusiastic, happy. But I noticed her speech was, I’d say, more than slightly slurred. I didn’t want to say anything, but then she volunteered. She was in the hotel bar having a few merlots. Truth serum. Merlot. Kinda loosens you up, makes you talk more freely. And it was working. She told me the wedding date was September 4th. I sensed self-doubt in her response. I told everyone at some point has doubts. But she kept saying, “I don’t know, I don’t know.” I sensed she wanted to say something. “What? What is it,” I asked her?

You may accuse me of wishing and dreaming, but I know it was there. She and I have a bond. Unspoken perhaps, but you just know it’s there. She started to tell me. “Well Todd, it’s just that…” and she trailed off. I told her to just spit it out. I told her I needed to know. I needed to have closure. If I was Sam Kineson as Professor Turgeson in the movie Back To School, I’da screamed to her ‘SAAAAY IT!!!’ But she just said, “oh I can’t go there, I just can’t go there.” I pleaded but to no avail. She started blabbing about some 83-yr-old man next to her who told her he paid $25,000 for a hooker weekend. I guess the bottom line was that it wasn’t what she said, but rather what she *didn’t* say.

I think given another lifetime, another time, another place, I’d have married her. I think she believes this also. We spoke about great memories. We’ll always have those. No matter how hard we try not to, we’ll always think of each other every time we hear “Run” by Snow Patrol and “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. How interesting is it that my next two concerts are Snow Patrol (tonight) and Keane in two weeks. We met almost a year ago today, and so our whirlwind romance began. This is a tough time of year for me. I hate those, last year I was doing such-and-such or seeing so-and-so. I know when I hear “Run” tonight, all the memories will come flooding back to me. Like last night, I may shed a tear thinking about the happy, fleeting moments we shared.

There are some loves in our lives that we truly never get over. Or maybe it’s just me. Some will always find a small place in my heart. They’ll stay there because they made me a part of who I am today. Pain, hurt, sorrow, love, they are all part of the equation. But it’s the love I’ll always remember, and remember fondly with a smile on my face. Case closed.

May 25, 2005


Posted by Hello

It’s really hard walking around with a bull’s eye on your back. Everyone takes pot shots at you. I guess this dude DP wasn’t particularly enamored with me today. Here are the highlights of 10 emails he sent me today:

From: DP
Sent: Wed 5/25/2005 11:31 AM
To: AR
Cc: Todd
Subject: RE: Samples


I cannot accept this request in its current form. Please indicate the respective Narrative, test condition, etc. relative to the request. This will be utilized to track open items and aid in the compilation/completeness of sample information that is pulled by us.

From: DP
Sent: Wed 5/25/2005 11:54 AM
To: Todd
Subject: RE: Samples


Its very simple……refer to SA’s email sent to me late last night. Finally its specific; I know what company to look into, the respective vendor information and also the type of documentation that will provide completeness to the sample pull information provided to you. As I told SA, and I will tell you, I will not do the homework to make your request right; that’s your job. I need requests that are complete and provide the necessary details in order for our staff to respond timely to each request without further discussion.

From: DP
Sent: Wed 5/25/2005 1:11 PM
To: Todd
Subject: RE: Request items

Clarification relating to my hard copy submittal, there are various problems with the attached requested items:

Let me know what you want to do regarding these problems/requests. Its very hard to pull accurate/complete information if the request(s) are incorrect or ambiguous.

From: DP
Sent: Wed 5/25/2005 3:34 PM
To: Todd
Subject: RE: Updates for Open Items

Todd, I just sent the date updates to you 30 minutes ago, I never had told SA anything about these prior to my email. Also, her email at 12:06 which you were cc: on had incorrect dates and that was the basis for my email to you. Just look the open items spreadsheet and you will see what I mean.


From: Todd
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 3:37 PM
To: DP
Subject: RE: Updates for Open Items

Dude, relax. SA already indicated to me that there were errors in her spreadsheet. That's all i meant.

Yes, I did actually call the client, “dude.”

May 23, 2005


Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello
For an old guy like me, it was as if I was in a time warp. Turn back the clock some 40 years to the sounds of surf groups, girl groups, rockabilly, 60s guitar licks, and wonderful harmonies. Tonight’s Raveonettes concert felt and sounded like it was 1965 again. Yes, I had to endure two lousy, noisy, opening acts and a small, dark, smoke-filled club. But it was sure worth it especially when you consider the ticket was only $15, and I stood a mere 20 feet from the band.

I first heard of The Raveonettes about a year ago. For those of you with Plantation CDs, check out CD XI song 1 (That Great Love Sound) and CD XIII song 16 (Remember). Now they’ve got a new CD out. If one had to capture ‘the sound’ of the Raveonettes, look no further than “Love In A Trashcan.” Take a listen to the sample and you’ll see {hear} what I mean. The Raveonettes are truly a flashback. I mean what 20-something alternative band records early 60s remakes such as “My Boyfriend’s Back?” Yet the Danish duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo pull it off flawlessly. I wonder how much longer it will be until they get noticed? I’m guessing fairly soon.

They rocked the house for nearly 90 minutes. I was a fan before, but I’m a huge fan now. I went solo, and it was cool. But it pains me that I can’t share this awesome live music with anyone. Ah well. Next stop? Saturday and Snow Patrol. *That* concert will be awesome and I can’t wait. Even *if* I’m going solo.

May 22, 2005


Here's the revised lineup. The list keeps growing.

Sunday May 8th Sarah McLachlan with The Perishers
Sunday May 22nd The Raveonettes
Sunday May 28th Snow Patrol
Friday June 24th Alanis Morissette
Sunday July 17th Dave Matthews Band
Friday August 26th Green Day with Jimmy Eat World
Saturday September 10th Foo Fighers with Weezer

May 21, 2005


My worst nightmare lit up on my caller ID. It was ”Woefully Inadequate.” He's coming Monday to 'check up' on me. I find it curious that this project has been going on since September, I take it over four weeks ago, and *now* the guy decides to do a quality review? The time for that was January when the project was out of control. Heck, we've basically got two weeks left. I already know the work is shitty so why come down and tell me so? I absolutely cannot see any value added here. I'm gonna be honest, and let this guy have it. I'm tired of all the games. Come Monday, as Jimmy Buffett once sang...

May 19, 2005


Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello

I think I was somewhere near the end of the line when I was handed my digestive parts. I’ve been broken all my life and have learned to live with it. Oh, I’ve been tested, examined, poked, and prodded until the cows come home. I’ve even had surgeries, but I still have ‘problems’ in that department. I’m sure I’m in the 95th percentile or greater when it comes to time spent in the bathroom. As a result, choice of TP is key.

For the past year or so, I’ve been using Angel Soft. True, it’s nice and soft, but after about four rounds, the roll’s done. So I tried Kleenex’s Cottonelle. I didn’t like it; it didn’t have a good feel. I read on her blog that JuRiScHiCk uses Scott. She swears by it. True, those rolls last forever, but it’s like friggin’ sandpaper. Definitely out. So where’s the happy medium? Softness plus lasting? I went shopping recently and discovered that Scott now has a new Extra Soft version.

Posted by Hello

I decided to give it a trial run. Guess what? I liked it. Soft enough yet long lasting. I’m a convert. Thanks JC for the Scott tip. This could end up being a life-changing event for me.

May 17, 2005


Tonight, a reader described her perception of me as, “whiny, clingy, and insecure.” I’m sure everyone reading this post is nodding their head and saying, “oh yeah.” I’m not going to get defensive here, and I’m certainly not going to disagree. If I’m reading this blog day in and day out, there is no doubt I’d walk away with the same impression. But really now, what am I doing here? I’m writing to vent, to complain, to want, to wish, to hope. Sure, I come off as “whiny, clingy, and insecure,” and probably a whole lot of other choice adjectives. And I’m OK with that. But people rarely want to read about how great your life is; instead, I think they’d rather read about your troubles, struggles, and angst. All I can say here is that if you ever *did* get the chance to meet me, and you walked away with these same perceptions, then I guess I really *am* in trouble.

In closing, I’d just like to take a moment and thank you, kind loyal readers, for sharing my life with me and being so supportive and constructive. Shit, there I go whining again...

May 16, 2005


I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to actually *live* life. Thanks Sarah for reminding me. I desperately needed the reminder. I can’t even remember the last time I was “in the moment.” What a truly incredible night it was.

It all began with the opening act. Now I honestly think I was the only person in the crowd of 10,000 or more that really came to not only hear Sarah sing, but also to hear them sing their beautiful melodies. I wondered to myself whether anyone there had even heard of The Perishers, a young quartet from Sweden. Back in December, I told my good friend Greek Tragedy to watch out for these guys because they were really good and they were gonna make it big. Well so far, they’ve not made the mainstream, but if they’re opening for Sarah I think they’re on their way.

The more songs they played, the more I liked them. Plus, they looked like they were having such a good time up there on stage. The drummer was cracking me up because he was so into it. What disappointed me was the general apathy the crowd had for them. After each song there was only a smattering of applause. I felt sorry for them, but they were most gracious for the applause they *did* get. I pointed this out to my friend (yes, after 12 declines, I finally got someone to go with me), and we were discussing it when all of a sudden we heard the applause we should have been hearing all along for these guys. Of course. It was Sarah walking on stage. She sang the female part in a song called Pill. The crowed finally went nuts. They finished off their hour set with two songs you must hear, Sway, and Trouble Sleeping. The CD is called Let There Be Morning. Buy it, guys. It’s great.

Sarah came on to a standing O. Her set was quite unique. It looked like a forest in a fairy tale-type setting with two huge video screens behind the trees. Very outdoorsy looking. And, wow, Sarah looked amazing. She wore a long black skirt, black boots, a classy tank top with a gold pattern to it, and a beautiful smile. Gone was the long black hair she had been sporting. Instead her hair was closer to the late 90s look, just off her shoulder with a dark reddish hue. She opened with World on Fire and followed up with Building A Mystery and Adia. We all know what a beautiful voice she has with that uncanny ability to hit those high registers. I wondered if she could pull it off live. Oh man, no doubt. She was right on key and sang flawlessly.

I just kept thinking what a wonderful time I was having and how awesome the moments were, and how truly amazing the music was. I like the fact that Sarah took breaks to talk to us. She spoke to us about her love for fashion. She described her outfit. I couldn’t exactly hear who the designers were. But she talked about how she loved her Canadian-made 12 year-old boots. She talked about how she sets out to write a love song, but then gets stuck and ends up going back to the same, comfortable place she knows well. Failed loves and bitterness. She talked about what a challenge her three-year-old daughter was and how wonderful a husband she had. She talked about how awesome the weather was in South Florida and how she was thankful she got a tan. She told us she was a control freak, and told us to go buy The Perishers’ CD. Her talks impressed me. It was as if she was genuinely interested in sharing all this with us. And she really was, I could tell. Her smile was beautiful; she looked almost embarrassed by the continuous ovations she was getting.

That girl sang all her hits for two-hours. Fallen, Stupid, Sweet Surrender, Train Wreck, Perfect Girl, Time, Hold On, I will Remember You, Angel, Possession, Ice Cream and many others. She sang The Beatles’ Blackbird and Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill. She came out for two encores and looked truly guilty for having to go. It was sad to see her go. Aren’t we always sad no matter how long our heroes play on stage? We can never get enough of great music, can we?

Wow, what a concert! Indeed, I’m basking in the afterglow of that three-hour event. I’ve been a fan of Sarah for 10 years now, but I’m *really* a fan now. I’ve gotten to know her not only as a singer but also as a person. Both of which are truly beautiful. And thanks to you too, Perishers. I can’t wait to share that CD of yours with the woman I will eventually meet and fall in love with. This woman will love Sarah and will love The Perishers. How do I know? Trust me on this one, I just know.

May 14, 2005


Posted by Hello

Wish me luck folks. I'm bidding on it tomorrow (Sunday). If I win the Heavenly Bed, I promise to stop sleeping on the couch.

UPDATE: 12:00:00 p.m. Sunday 5/15
Only 25 were available. I clicked on the "I Want" button at precisely 12:00:00. The message said, "checking availability." Waiting, waiting..."we're sorry that product has sold out." Man, in the blink of an eye or less, they were gone. Well, I've got two more shots at it. 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

UPDATE: 4:00:00 p.m.
No luck. Got one more shot at it at 9. Think I have two chances. Slim and none.

UPDATE: 9:00:00 p.m.
Well, 3 strikes you're out I guess they say. Guess it's back to the couch for me.


I figured out that I’ve probably worked in the neighborhood of 5,000 days since college. And I’ve had some unbelievably horrific days. I started thinking whether yesterday was my all-time worst day in the workplace. I had to think really hard. I’ve had three days where I was almost fired and was basically on trial in front of an executive panel. Those three days would probably rank ahead of yesterday. So overall, I guess 5/12/05 comes in at #4. Emotionally, I think it ranks #1. Let me tell you what happened.

The day was normal, as normal can be around here. I’ve been posting about the environment here so you already know what’s been going on. So same ol’, same ol’ until about 6 p.m. We were supposed to have delivered some documents to the client. We had been working with the new consultants, and what should have taken an hour to wrap up took 8 hours. My good friend Slightly Askew (SA) was the person working with the consultants and the client on the documents.

So six o’clock comes around and it looks to me like we’re finally finished with the revisions and we’re ready to submit them to the client. Now bear in mind that most all of our work submitted thus far has been crap. Remember, before I arrived four weeks ago, the client and the auditors had zero confidence in our work. I’ve done my best to manage the damage control and restore some credibility. The work *has* gotten better with the addition of some people who worked with me on the previous project. The auditors and the client have repeatedly told me how thankful they are that I’m here to restore order and improve the project.

So this deliverable was our first big test. We simply *had* to get it right. We worked hard to get it in tip-top shape, and we were apparently ready to deliver it to the auditors. Now out of the blue, my ‘buddy’ the Managing Director (MD) comes in from a meeting (yes, I’ve put him to work) and declares he’s hungry because he’s had a muffin for breakfast and no lunch. I certainly didn’t blame him for being hungry because I had basically the same meals. But we had a HUGE deliverable due, and I certainly wasn’t going to join him not to mention that eating dinner would just keep me here that much longer.

Just before SA walked out with the MD, I asked her if she emailed the documents and gave the hard copies to the client. She hadn’t so I asked her to do so before she left for dinner. She said, “on its way,” and so she left. Well, hindsight’s 20/20, but I should have confirmed that the client actually got the email before she left. I soon found out they didn’t.

Five minutes after the dinner group left, the CFO came in and asked me where the documents were? I indicated to him that SA had sent the email already. He thanked me and left. A minute later, he was back. He didn’t get it. So I called SA to make sure she sent it, and she confirmed she did. I looked over at SA’s laptop and noticed the hard copies of the document. I thought they’d been delivered. I offered them to the CFO who thanked me, but then he had a question when he started shuffling through them. He noticed they were originals and not copies so I told him I’d take a look and get right back to him.

I quickly called SA to explain the situation. I could tell she was upset at not being able to take a break for even 5 minutes. She told me she’d get her dinner to-go and be right over. So I waited. Ten minutes later I got another visit from the CFO. “Anything?” “Nothing, I called and they should be here momentarily.” He left. I got more nervous because I had no control over the situation. No answer. Left a message. Called SA no answer. Another 10 minutes went by. Not a word from anyone. Called the MD, no answer, hung up. Called SA, no answer, hung up. Called the third member of the dinner party and he answered. I asked him if SA was there and he said she was. I almost swallowed the phone. WTF, she’s *still* there, I thought? Before I could even ask, he told me they were leaving now.

Distraught and defeated, I felt I had to apologize once more to the CFO because after all, if I’m the captain of this sinking ship, then I had to go down with it. I walked into the boardroom and apologized for our company looking like an ass. He reiterated to me how important the documents were and that the auditors and the audit committee were waiting for this information, and that somehow, our guys decided to eat dinner first. I mean, what could I say? I told him they were literally arriving momentarily. I apologized, told him I knew it wouldn’t do any good to make him feel better but if he had to fire me to just go ahead and do so. I made the same “I’m sorry, we suck” speech to the SVP and to the audit Managing Partner. Wait, it gets worse.

The MD walked in first with a sort of contented, I’m full, look on his face. SA came in just as I told the MD, “Ya know, we’re about to be fired!” Incredibly he said nary a word. Instead, he picks up his Blackberry and dials up someone and starts talking about a banking question. It was like he never even heard me. And then I really got caught off-guard. My dear sweet friend showed me a side of her I’d never seen. She started to yell, curse, and scream at me. This was round one. She couldn’t understand what the BFD (Big Fucking Deal) was? She couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just make copies for them or call her and get her password and send out the email? I told her she had a point and that I was guilty for that, but I didn’t want to give them the wrong information and that it needed to be right. I told her I thought she was coming right back so why do it myself? It got worse. She thought I’d blamed her for us about to be fired and that I blurted it out in front of everyone. And believe me, she was yelling. I sat there, trying to remain calm. I tried to point out that I made the comment to the MD and not to her and that it was no one’s fault. Our company, as a whole, didn’t deliver. I wasn’t blaming her and I didn’t blame her when talking to the CFO. It really didn’t matter what I said, because she was pissed and there was nothing I could do. You see, to me, that was the most upsetting thing about the whole fiasco. The fact that she was so upset. This whole fucking job has reduced us to ‘this.’

She stormed out to make copies leaving me and the MD in the room. Again, unbelievably, he didn’t say a fucking word to me. I finally suggested he talk to the CFO. I mean, he was the MD, the true head of this project and I wasn’t about to talk to those guys again. So he got up and left. SA came back and gave me round 2. That girl lit into me with so many four-letter words that I was just dumbfounded. She hated the fucking job, hated the fucking client, hated all the bullshit, hated everything, etc. She was crying. Explain as I might, but it did nothing. She was inconsolable. She stormed out to give the CFO the documents.

She came back and was still visibly upset. She told me we were meeting to go over the Purchasing cycle in 10 minutes. Now, it was already 8 o’clock and these meetings typically lasted 4-plus hours. I told her I had arranged for the meeting to be moved until the morning for her benefit and this was even before all this shit. She mentioned something to the effect that she wanted to make up for her mistake and that she was gonna do the meeting tonight. I tried in vain to tell her how difficult this whole thing was for me. I told I was trying to please the client, please the auditors, please the consultants, please the MD, and please the staff. I told her I was doing the very best I could. Right then, the MD walked in. I wondered what he’d finally have to say. His words of wisdom? “Todd, are you ready for Purchasing?”

SA excused herself and said she needed 10 minutes. I did, too. I took my papers and went into the copy room to make my copies. And then it happened. It all hit me. All the bullshit, all the hours, all the stress. I was trapped. What the fuck was I supposed to do? I so desperately thought of walking out. But knowing I was on the hook for child support and alimony made this an impossible choice. Still, I considered it. I considered all of it. And when I thought of how badly my friend was feeling, I lost it. I broke down. For the first time in all of my 5,000 days, I cried at work. I cried as I copied, sorted, and assembled the documents. It gave me time to get myself together before walking back into the room.

I was barely able to utter to the MD that I was going to the meeting. I told him I’d see him tomorrow…maybe. I ran into SA in the hall and stopped her. I told her I’d just spent the last 10 minutes crying in the copy room because I was sick at all this shit but especially sick of how badly she felt. I couldn’t even get the words out. I started bawling like a baby. And then she started in. Can you imagine? Two 43-year-old adults crying like kids. We hugged. I had hoped she believed me about how badly I felt. I think she did. We managed to compose ourselves, wiped our eyes, and trudged into the boardroom for the meeting. We broke the meeting at 10 o’clock to be continued the next day.

We got back to the room and thank god, the MD was gone. I walked SA to her car and we talked. I told her the two things that bothered me most about all the shit that went on. First and foremost was the fact that she got upset and it hurt me to see her that way. Secondly, our fearless leader could seemingly give a shit. The guy didn’t say another word to me about any of it. No apology, no nothing. Instead he got on the phone and talked banking with some other dude. We both weakly smiled knowing we had to face the music in less than 12 hours. We said goodnight and off she went.
I thought long and hard during my 40 minute drive home. This is when I figured that this was my worst emotional day at work and 4th worst overall. I also knew that I had to change my course of direction. I had to figure out another work solution and figure it out fast. I know, I know. Go ahead and yell at me. I know I’m doin’ a whole lotta bitchin’ and not a whole lotta taking control and making an effort to change things. Change WILL happen. It’s a given. Even if it means pumping out Venti non-fat Caramel Macchiatos at Starbucks. Well, it’s 6 a.m. and this post is already too long. Thanks for listening to the rant.

May 11, 2005


That was the quote from the MD after I had him sit in on a 6-hour meeting so he’d get a flavor of what I’m going through. Other highlights of my wonderful day yesterday? Check out these emails:

Sent: Mon 5/9/2005 7:34 PM
To: Todd
From: Client
Subject: RE: Month End Closing Test Plan

Sorry Todd, but this one seems to barely reflect the changes I had suggested...there are missing objectives, controls which I deleted are still there, most changes adding to an explanation have not been made, etc etc. Remember that we discussed that the fact that Great Plains does not allow posting of unbalanced entries is an automatic control? Well, the paper I recoevered from PwC still shows it as a Manual control.

Also, the description of Key Control C8 seems to be wrong, or at best, incomplete. Not all entries are approved by the Controller, some are approved by the Sr. Acct.

In the chart I only reviewed the Objectiuve and Description column...those items which in my opinion still need work are in colors other than black, and you will notice that these are almost all of them. I would really recommend that they be addressed carefully and if you guys feel the changes do not have to be made, that you guys be ready and able to convince (not just explain) PwC that you are right.

One last note, which I am sure you have already thought about and please relay this to the members of your team...should PwC had reviewed this matrix, we would have lost a lot of credibility on the only processes they have signed off so far.

Sent: Mon 5/9/2005 7:44 PM
To: Todd
From: Client
Subject: RE: Month End Closing Test Plan

The last sentence I just wrote in the previous e-mail: “One last note, which I am sure you have already thought about and please relay this to the members of your team...should PwC had reviewed this matrix, we would have lost a lot of credibility on the only processes they have signed off so far” was not directed at you. I realize the stress this situation is having on all, and while you are our key contact with your company right now, I am a firm believer in letting the chips fall where they belong. Again, I don’t think the poor quality of that matrix reflects on you (maybe only to the extent that it slipped through without being reviewed), but rather that it reflects the general carelessness that I have been complaining about for a while now.

Unlike other narratives and matrixes which I have reviewed, the second round of this one shows not an honest difference of opinion (e.g like my being too picky), but a complete disregard for changes we suggested. Again, I do not believe it is a reflection of you or your professionalism, but I do believe it reflects very poorly on others in your company and, what is worse, casts doubt over the quality of everything else you guys have done, whether good or bad.

Again, and I hate to emphasize it so much, this is not directed at you or your work, but it is definitely directed at the rest of the staff (though I am aware others are unfairly falling in this bucket just by association).

Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 9:47 AM
Subject: RE: Month End Closing Test Plan
To: Client
From: My Staff Member

Let me know when you want to meet.

Sent: Tue 5/10/2005 10:07 AM
To: Staff member, Todd
Subject: RE: Month End Closing Test Plan

I don’t think we should meet until either all the changes are made or there are good reasons for the changes not to be made….we already had a meeting to discuss this, in { SVPs} office…either we do the changes or document in a way that PwC is convinced that the changes are not needed. I am happy with either, but discussing it without documenting why a change is not being made is not going to help the PwC review.

Now I ask you, after 15 hours of this, is there any doubt why I’m totally losing my mind? Oh, those Marlins tickets I won last week? I was too busy messing with this shit and missed the game. Sarah concert review coming, I promise.

May 10, 2005


Woke up at 6.
Left the house at 7.
Got to work at 8.
Reviewed someone’s shitty-ass work for 7 hours.
Missed Lunch.
Meeting for an hour.
Another meeting for an hour.
A 5-hour meeting in which I found out my company is no longer making the project decisions. Why we're even here now is beyond me? Meeting included reviewing a process that has been reviewed 20 times already and had verbal approval from the external auditors. But these new guys think they know it all. So they make changes. And so we’ll go back and make changes. And then the shit will go to the auditors. And then they will ask, “why is this different?” And then they will tell us to change it back. So we’ll change it. And we’ll submit it back to them. And then they’ll think of something else. So they’ll send it back. We’ll change it, submit it. Then their Director will come down from NY and ask a whole different set of questions. So we’ll get it back again. We’ll make changes…

Do you get the point? I don’t. I almost walked out yesterday. Honest to god. If I didn’t have alimony and child support, I’d have quit for sure.

Drove home at 10.
Got home at 11.
Had some Whole Foods Sushi, talked with my dear friend, and collapsed on the couch fully-clothed.

It’s 8 a.m. and I’m back for more.

Sarah concert review forthcoming…

P.S. Thanks to all of you for your kind comments. I haven’t even had a chance to respond to them.

May 07, 2005


“…you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…”

Another beautiful, sunny, tropical Saturday in Coconut Grove. It certainly feels like déjà vu, and I guess it is. After I’m done here at work, I’ll have logged in 88 hours this week. I think the key number is three. I *almost* quit three times this week. Almost. Thursday night, I was here until 3:30 a.m. That was the breaking point for me. I had a nice talk with myself aloud. I cursed at myself for falling into this ‘your life is your work’ state that I’m in right now. I complained that I was sitting here at 3 a.m. like an asshole, working my ass off for management who don’t give a shit, for clients who rant and rave, for illogical and fee-hungry auditors, and for staff that I can’t keep from being disgruntled. I complained that I worked 12 hours a day and then had to drive an hour home on the brink of mental exhaustion. I complained that I promised myself I wouldn’t do this ever again and yet I broke my promise. I complained about the email saying ”2-week assistance program.” I complained about my weeks meals consisting of nothing but chips, doughnuts, cookies, snacks and, of course, iced coffees.

I told myself to just say, “fuck it,” and walk out the door. I tried to convince myself to do it. “C’mon man, just walk, this shit isn’t worth it.” I tell ya, if I was single and had no obligations, I’d have done it. But life’s complicated. It’s not that easy anymore. The court isn’t gonna say, “oh so you just walked out? Oh, don’t sweat it man, we’ll cancel your alimony and child support payments.” And the choice to simply not work the overtime is complicated. The job and the project are complicated. I can’t just say, “I’m leaving, you guys figure it out.” This is what they pay me to do. But what I would ask of them is for a little reciprocity. I didn’t get any for Gilligan's Island. I haven’t gotten much for making numerous concessions in my personal life. So for not bringing these matters up to management, *that* I am guilty of.

I *did* have a heart-to-heart with the Managing Director on Friday. I told him how close I was to quitting and why I was thinking of leaving the company. I told him about Gilligan’s Island and all the crap I’ve been through for this company without hardly a thank you. I told him about the straw that is breaking the camel’s back. Oh, didn’t I tell you about that? No? Well, right in the middle of that horrible 19-hour Thursday, my real boss called me to check in with me. I hadn’t heard from him in weeks. I relayed all the horror stories of this project. He had absolutely no idea. So we chit-chatted and then out of nowhere, he gives me an oh-by-the-way. That OBTW, was the straw. He told me he had signed up a new client out of the Tampa area. It was gonna be like a two-year project and I was the manager-in-charge. Thoughts raced through me. ’Scuse me? So like I’m gonna be traveling to Tampa for the next two years??? Are you out of your rock-pickin’ mind, Rubble {obscure Fred Flintstone reference, sorry guys}

Well obviously, there’s no way in hell I’m going to Tampa for two years. So now, I really need to get a game plan together to figure out what I want to do. And it’s not just a matter of doing this same old shit for a different company. That isn’t the answer. The answer lies elsewhere. What do I *really* wanna do with myself? And for that question, I had no answer for myself. I need the answer but just don’t have it yet. So for the immediate six weeks, I’ll be here. I’ll be here with all the crazies, lunatics, assholes, and disgruntles. After all, “we are all just prisoners here, of our own device.”

May 06, 2005


Muh-muh-muh my Sharona…muh-muh-muh my Sharona.

No, no, no, not *that* knack. Ya see, with few exceptions, I wouldn’t consider myself really good at anything. I’ve told you about my Rain Man brain. It’s good at collecting worthless trivial facts and storing them for easy recall. Part of the musical recall includes not only remembering the song title, artist, and year, but also the ability to identify a song in literally one note. Yeah, that’s right, like Name That Tune.

I think the only ‘contests’ I’ve ever won were music-related, and often as a result of identifying songs in those one notes. I’ve won $2,000 in cash, albums, CDs, tee-shirts. It happened again last week. I was randomly flipping stations and caught the words, “Name That Tune.” The deejay said he was going to play a note of a song and the 9th caller to identify the song and artist would win a pair of Florida Marlins baseball tickets (box seats). My ears perked. The tickets were worth around $100. I hadn’t done this in so long and was psyched. BLIP. The note came and went. The light bulb went on in the ol’ Rain Man brain. I knew the song, but it hadn’t registered completely. The wheels were grinding when the deejay said he’d play the clue again. BLIP. Man, it went by fast. Nearly impossible, believe me. But it just magically came together. CLICK. I knew the answer. I also knew the song and the note played was too obscure for anyone to really get it.

Now normally when you call for a contest, all you get is a busy signal because everyone and their brother is calling, right? I called and got in, 3rd caller. I called back, 5th caller. Not even a busy signal. My theory was correct. No one knew this friggin song. I called back, 7th caller. 3-5-7, would I get the 9th? Yes, I did. The deejay told me I was the 9th caller and asked me to carefully identify the song title and artist. I told him, “without any shadow of a doubt, the song was Shambala by Three Dog Night.” The dude spooked me a little because he asked if I was sure? I said yes and of course, he told me I had won. He told me I stumped him by getting it so quickly and easily. And then he stumped me. The call was being taped for broadcast. I thanked him and then he threw out the question that stumped me. “Hey Todd, tell me what radio station rocks Miami?” As soon as he said ‘what radio,’ the panic of a blood rush hit me because I had no friggin idea what station I was listening too. You know how these radio stations all have that cool name like ‘Rock 105’ or ‘Buzz 97.’ I had no idea, for a split second there I almost hung up on him for fear I had no answer. As the deejay finished his question, somehow my brain focused on the radio dial and I was able to blurt out “102.7 FM.” I laughed to myself for the lame answer, but at least I saved myself from total embarrassment. He immediately played the radio station jingle. “Magic 102.7”

These days, life’s confidence isn’t too high. I’m glad to know I still have the knack. Anyone up for a ballgame?

May 01, 2005


Posted by HelloYou know Bill [Ruthorford]? There is one thing I've learned in all my years... sometimes you gotta say, "what the fuck," make your move.

I had every intention of going to work today. I started my cleaning early this morning. Three loads of laundry, did the dishes, vacuumed and dusted, did the bathroom, toilet, tub, and all. Took out two bags of trash (I told you it was dirty!), and gave myself a buzz haircut.

I took a drive to get my dry cleaning which was two weeks overdue. Then went to get some money. I looked at my watch and it was already 2 p.m. I still had to get my car cleaned and washed and had to send my alimony check overnight. That meant I wouldn’t get to work until 3:30. I called over at work and one of the guys was there. I asked him to take a look and see if the auditors were there. He walked over and said it was all dark in their conference room. I smiled to myself. No trip to work. {Insert Risky Business quote here}

I’m home now. The apartment smells fresh and clean. I’m gonna pay all my past due bills and chill out for a change. Mission accomplished. I’m feeling much better now. Sorry for the dear diary post.