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A Continuing Web Diary

 

 
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Wednesday February 5, 2003 - ***sigh***     : - (

Back to the grind.

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Friday January 31, 2003  8:43 AM - Start Date

Subject: Re: Offer from IS

Yes, Wed Feb 5 is the start date, I have not mailed out a letter to you. We normally start our day at 8:00, but on that day let's have you come in at 8:30 so we can be sure everything is set up and ready.

Thanks.
-DR

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Friday January 31, 2003  7:05 AM - Letter

To: DR
Subject: Re: Offer from IS

Just checking in to see if next Wednesday (Feb. 5th) is still the start date. In case you've mailed the letter on letterhead and have been waiting for a response, I haven't received anything yet.

Regards,
-LF

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Monday January 27, 2003 - Cities and Towns Run Amuck

Tennessee is definitely global with town names like Moscow, Milan, Monterey, Athens, Troy, Paris, Quebeck, Bogata, Loretto, Lebanon, Normandy, Belfast, Wales. . .

And towns named after people (and an occasional dog) with first name cities like Marion, Henry, Timothy, Stewart, Spencer, Rover, Earle, Chuckey (don't stay after dark), two Cliftons, Martin, Michie, Sharon, Heloise, Helenwood, and yes, Pocahontas.

The dessert cities: Cherry, Sugar Tree, Strawberry Plains, Mulberry, Berry Hill, Fruitvale, Hickory Withe, and Nutbush.

The mound cities: Orange Mound, Chestnut Mound, Indian Mound.

Towns crossed in some primordial geographic stew with Oklahoma: Tchulahoma, Tullahoma, Coahoma.

Cities named after cigarettes: Chesterfield, Raleigh and Pall Mall.

Then there's Leech and Leechville (ugh) and two towns named Ripley, believe it or not; but one of those is in Mississippi.

And the déjà vu cities: Dyer, Dyer County, Dyersberg; Union, Union City, Unionville; and like Arizona's Lake Pleasant -- Pleasantville, Pleasant Hill, Pleasant Shade, Pleasant View, and Mount Pleasant; Duck River and Ducktown; and finally Hornbeak, Hornsby and Horn Lake (Mississippi).

And Lutts, Crump, Arp, Duff, Shandy, Ozone, Finger, Grundy, Sledge, Harms, Coma, Raus, Smartt, the somewhat looney Toone, and the only town that is an adverb, Only. There's also Burns, Colt, Guild, Marks, Halls, Polk, Bells, Moss, Gray, Rhea, Guys, and a doll of a town, Viola. . .

And on, and on: Golddust, Leapwood, Tremble, Mifflin, Lascassas, Bybee, Gilt Edge, Sunbright, Bell Buckle, Bluewing, Goodspring, Fort Pillow, Hurricane Mills, Bumpus Mills, Cumberland Furnace, Pigeon Forge, Iron City, Coalfield, Bulls Gap, Turtletown, Sneedville, Soddy-Daisy, Static, Trade, and Dukedom.

Also, Red Bank, Red Boiling Springs (Woah!); Readyville, although I'm not sure for what; and Weakley, although I'm not sure why. . .

And like Arizona, there's Humbolt, McNairy, Orme (with a dam nearby), and Yuma. And Tennessee has Jacks Creek, while Arizona has Jackass Flats.

And nearby Arkansas has Forrest city in the forest, and Bay (but there isn't any). . .

And finally, there's Bone Cave, Skullbone, and Bon Aqua. Well, if you're reading this over supper, bon appétit.

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Tuesday January 21, 2003  3:57 PM - Answers

Subject: Re: Offer from IS

I have answers sooner than I expected:

1. The original position is for customer support and documentation (user manuals, etc.).
2. There is a waiting period. Your earliest eligibility would be April 1.
3. We want you to come in feeling good, so $*** it is.

We look forward to having you be a part of the team. Please confirm that these terms are accepted by you, and we will follow up with any paperwork or other info as needed.

Welcome aboard!
-DR

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Tuesday January 21, 2003  2:22 PM - Questions

Subject: RE: Offer from IS

IS has impressed me as a very good fit for both my experience and the kind of company I would like to work for; however, I do have a few questions concerning the position. They are as follows:

1. Is this the position we discussed in which I would be doing primarily customer support with some Visual Basic programming on the side, or is it strictly a customer support position? Either is acceptable to me as long as I go into it understanding the intent. (Any changes which might occur later are of no concern to me.)

2. Is there a waiting period before signing up for the medical insurance? Once again, I can live with any answer; but I need this for planning purposes, because I was about to drop an insurance payment into the mail.

3. While I will not turn down this position at $***, I would feel much higher self-esteem if you were to increase the amount to $***. That's still in the lower half of the ***ties, and I know that I will be worth it to IS even considering the size of the company.

Otherwise, all of the conditions and benefits are quite acceptable to me, including the start date. I hope you do not find any of these questions to be offensive; they are offered with my highest regard. I look forward with great anticipation to working at IS.

Regards,
-LF

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Tuesday January 21, 2003  2:06 PM - Offer

Subject: Offer from IS

This is our offer to have you join us at IS as a customer support person.

We will have a starting salary of $*** per year.
We pay twice per month.
We have a 401k plan that requires you be with the company for 12 months before starting.
We have a new profit sharing plan on the same basis.
We have Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance.
We have a 90 day probation period where at the end of your first 90 days we can both determine whether or not the fit is as good as we both think it will be.

Upon acceptance we will need to agree on a start date, which we believe will be Feb 5.

Please respond to this to let me know your response. We will give a more formal version on letterhead upon receiving a positive answer from you.

We look forward to working together.

Thanks.
-DR

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Sunday January 12, 2003 - Yet More Comparisons

We left Cameron Harper and Eyewitness News on channel 3 in Phoenix. Arriving Memphis, we have Cameron Harper and Eyewitness news on UPN 30. The only difference is the zero. . .but then Eyewitness News always was. . .

Memphis TV features Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood, Texas, while Phoenix features Van Osteen, Attorney at Law.

Phoenix has Tickle Hill, where a friend's oldest daughter had a car accident in the late 70's that gave her a permanent scar ankle to waistline. Memphis, also, has appropriately named Dent Road with Thrill Hill, where like-minded teen-agers still insist on taking charge, and flight.

For sure, Memphis is a tough town where people treat each other very well and with great acts of politeness. Phoenix, on the other hand, is a young city where people treat each other very poorly and sometimes with great acts of hostility.

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Tuesday January 7, 2003 - More Comparisons

Keating Street, no kin to its namesake in Phoenix - May, 2003

The ongoing war: The Phoenix news media favored Bush's Iraqi war, but in Memphis it's the School Board wars.

Grass: One of the first things you notice when coming to the Memphis rainforest from the desert. Besides your typical lawns I've observed two other kinds in Memphis.

Lamb's WoolUncut; naturally short grass seen around freeway interchanges.
SaladNative wide blade grass neatly squared of on the end of each blade by a lawnmower.

Spread a little dressing on the latter and you're ready to go. In Phoenix there is only one kind of grass: that which you smoke.

Despite such differences there are also unexpected similarities. The picture speaks for itself. We had to come all the way from Phoenix for this?

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Monday January 6, 2003 - Mogwais in the Woodwork

It's a strange world. Groping in the cabinet this morning for coffee, I found several baby pictures left by some past tenant. They had to have been in complete view before we blindly threw stuff into the empty cabinet, so why would someone leave pictures of a cute, cuddly baby behind? What's more, this baby is not related to the last tenant2, which begs the question, why are the pictures still here now? It looks as if these little Mogwais are patiently waiting for someone to return for them.

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Wednesday January 01, 2003  7:50 PM - Lunch

Subject: Second interview confirmed
Importance: High

Please come to our office at 11:45, Wednesday, January 8; we will provide lunch, and you and AR and I will have lunch and meet with the entire group.

Thanks.
-DR

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Wednesday December 18, 2002  3:28 PM - 2nd Interview

Subject: Re: Resume - Software Developer / Technical Wireless Support
Importance: High

We have not yet met with all the developers who we will be interviewing, but we do want to ask you to come in for a second interview during the first week of January. We have not set a date and time, but it would be for lunch here at the office with the whole IS team. Please let us know what day(s) work for you, and then we would like to respond with a date.

Thanks!
-DR

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Monday December 9, 2002  8:57 AM - Interview

Subject: Re: Resume - Software Developer / Technical Wireless Support

Thank you for responding to our software developer ad. We would like to schedule an interview with you, please contact AR to set a date and time,

Thanks.
-DR

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Monday December 9, 2002  7:02 AM - Onward. . .

My soul mate started working today, but I'm still looking. I miss her around the house already.

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Sunday December 8, 2002 - Resume

Attention IT Director -- Sr. Software Developer / Technical Wireless Support

Gentlemen:

In reference to your Dec. 8 job listings in The Commercial Appeal, please accept my application for employment.

I have recently relocated with my wife from Phoenix, Arizona to Memphis, and am seeking permanent employment in the Memphis area.

As you will see in my resume, I have a wide range of experience in Information Technology, gained through over 20 years of employment in the field, as well as significant depth in Visual Basic 6, SQL Server, SQL, C, and other relational, database and programming environments. I also have some Windows CE and ActiveSync exposure. I believe you will find my skills to be an excellent match to either of your listed positions.

Thank you for affording me the opportunity of applying. I look forward to an interview at your convenience.

Very sincerely yours,
-LF

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Tuesday November 19, 2002 - Weather Like Never Before

Today we complete our sixth week here, and are able to count the clear and sunny days on one hand. We've had fog and clouds alternating with drizzle almost continuously since our arrival. Yeah, we came in the fall, but gimmie a break! In all of our years coming to Memphis to visit, we've never seen more than an occasional afternoon shower. And the humidity has remained near or above 100% the whole time, if that's possible. The outdoor temperature has been excellent, but to keep the humidity from dripping off our faces we have to keep the indoor temperature below 60o. And it's dark. On the few days the sun does shine it only hits the house between about 11:00 am and 2:00 pm; the rest of the day we have shade, and that's only about 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. Other than that, it's dark.

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Wednesday November 13, 2002 - Crime Doesn't Pay Well Enough

According to tonight's news, a thief was apprehended today in Memphis. His statement:

"I knew they were looking for me, and I was stealing TV sets to get bail money before I was caught."

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Tuesday November 12, 2002 - Seriously, Though. . .

Memphis is the home of O.J. Simpson's famous attorney, Johnny Cochran, whose picture can be seen on billboards throughout the city.

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Friday November 8, 2002 - Ambulance Chasers

Late-night TV ads: Arizona has Goldberg & Osborne, "The Eagle."

"If you need legal assistance, get The Eagle".

In Memphis we have attorney Cory B. Trotz, who does a variety of strange stunts such as girder walking to get your attention in his ads.

The Famous W.C. Handy Theater, fallen on hard times - Memphis, 2002

"If you need legal assistance, get The Trotz."

Somehow, it doesn't quite ring. . .

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Sunday November 3, 2002 - The Culture of Entertainment

There's a lot of hype on channel 10 (WKNO) tonight. As with most PBS stations, they have a promotional week every so often. You can pick up on the richness of Memphis entertainment culture by watching these promotions. Instead of going to theaters, Memphians prefer videos on historical old theaters and their legacy, such as the W.C. Handy, the Park1, and the Lamar.

One such offering is well worth the cost: Memphis Memoirs: At The Movies, $300.00. And you'll be supporting PBS.

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Saturday November 2, 2002 - Security in the 'Hood

We went to Overton Park today. It's a beautiful old park with all of the usual amenities including walking paths through real woods. There seem to be no street lights in Memphis city parks, even along these walking paths through full-fledged dense forest that's so thick you could hide an army regiment within ten steps of the path. This, in contrast with the double and triple locks on the doors of most homes, which require a key to open the door from either outside or inside. Makes you wonder if they want to keep burglars out or fires in.

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Massive Old-Growth Tree, roots folding over curb at left - Memphis, 2002


 
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Friday November 1, 2002 - The Rainforest

Went for another drive today. I don't think there is anything like Memphis foliage in any other city in the world -- tall old-growth trees standing five stories in the air with trunks four feet in diameter; lichens of three or four different colors covering one side of most trees. Grass growing so fast that you can almost hear it grow -- a well-trimmed yard requires mowing twice a week. There's a yard in our neighborhood that hasn't been mowed, according to our neighbor, in about a year. It has a few dozen sapling trees coming up with the grass, some of which are as much as six feet high. Another house around the corner actually has a forest in the front yard with mature-looking trees. Clearly, if you don't mow regularly, you get forest rather than tall grass.

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Wednesday October 30, 2002 - School Board Wars

We watch the national news on TV. In Phoenix the ongoing subject was Bush's Iraqi war; in Memphis it's the ongoing School Board Wars. If anything else does get reported, it's bound to be someone criticizing mayor Willie Whorten.

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Monday October 28, 2002 - Shades of Eddie Murphy

We're sitting in our favorite restaurant, the Gridiron Cafe on Elvis Presley Blvd eating breakfast. A bunch of regulars sit around two tables near the front window and on stools at the counter, kibitzing in a variety of local dialects (yes, it's English). Although I can't understand what they're saying, my wife doesn't have any trouble; when they address me, I have to look to her for a quick translation. I have to chuckle; they sound just like the guys in the barbershop in an Eddie Murphy movie (only without the profanity).

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Sunday October 27, 2002 - Plucked Out of Email

Sent: Thursday, October 03, 2002 11:35 AM
Subject: Self Survey / Article About Memphis

Dad, Memphis didn’t rate very well in this SELF Magazine survey. . .

Unhealthiest Places:

  1. Memphis, Tenn.
  2. Indianapolis, Ind.
  3. Lafayette, La.
  4. Flint, Mich.
  5. Biloxi-Gulfort-Pascagoula, Miss.
  6. South Bend, Ind.
  7. Ocala, Fla.
  8. St. Louis, Mo.
  9. Galveston-Texas City, Texas
10. Gary, Ind.

Memphis, Tennessee: That Elvis called Memphis home didn't help it in our survey. The city ranks below average in most categories "SELF's" experts deemed important. Violent crimes and rapes occur at close to double our survey's average rate. Memphis-area women have sky high rates of sexually transmitted diseases and rank in the bottom 6 percent for exercise; their average body-mass index is 27.3, overweight by Centers for Disease Control and Standards. Plus, Memphis has a high number of motor vehicle deaths and ranks below average for healthy eating.

Memphis is however coming back to life according to resident Cary Cauthen, 31 who says, "You see more stores opening, hear about health programs on the radio. You see problems being attacked."

Least Safe:

  1. Ocala, FL -- Compared with the other places SELF looked at, Ocala has more than twice the number of vehicular deaths, with 25.7 killed per 100,000 residents.
  2. Memphis, TN -- This city has an unusually high rate of vehicular deaths.
  3. Lubbock, TX -- Lubbock's violent crime rate is almost six times higher than that of Stamford-Norwalk.

-Ronce

I read this email and think to myself that some of the health problems have to be related to humidity and mold. Others are probably related to the delicious ethnic food here -- Soul Food -- and the rich ethnic heritage. Much of ethnic life-style is by tradition, and many times length of life is not the most highly esteemed consideration. But if the number of motor vehicle deaths is so high, howcum car insurance costs so much less in Memphis than in Phoenix? Also, according to local news there are 3000 with HIV in Memphis; but Memphis is not a small town -- how many are there in Phoenix?

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L. Fox

 
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1The historic Park Theater was torn down in August, 2003 to make room for a Walgreens Drug enlargement project.

2This baby is White; the last tenant was Black.

 
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