Posted by: David | February 14, 2009

Friday The Thirteenth Is Lucky For Me

How often does Friday the 13th come before Valentine’s Day anyway? Do the math if you like, I’ll just give a guesstimate of every seven years. Oh, wait I think that was the math. Whatever.

Anyway it was a very auspicious Friday the 13th for me at work. We had our annual celebration of service ceremony in which staff and faculty are recognized for 5-year incremental milestones of working at the college. There are prizes, wonderful hors d’œuvres and pastries, and lots of speeches and applause.  Last August was my 10th anniversary. Though the software and hardware of Information Technology has changed dramatically, the basic needs of “end users” have remained the same. That is my realm. Even if they don’t know a file from a folder from an application, it’s my job to patiently and clearly help the users get their work done once the computer angst is quelled.

Over the last decade, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with just about every staff and faculty member, as well as many of our fine students. This wide exposure, the fact that I try my damnedest to not make my clients feel stupid, and that I’m usually able to help, has gotten me nominated for the Staff Employee of the Year Award just about every year. A few years back the Susan Lucci jokes started popping up. Not a problem really, it’s very nice to be nominated.

Well 2008 was my year! I’ve tried and deleted many lines about what a great guy I am … all I can stand to say is that Colby-Sawyer College has given me back every bit as much I have given in my daily work there. As the president of the college sang my praises, the embarrassment of all the attention was relieved by the simple statement that my plainspoken approach was one of the most consistently appreciated things. I like the simplicity of that, and it makes me feel proud and fulfilled that my approach has been effective. Now, my father-in-law advises me not to let the newly-acquired halo fall down around my neck and strangle me. I brought my camera up to the stage and got a shot of what is likely to be the only standing ovation I’ll ever see. What a rush!

They really really like me! THANK YOU Colby-Sawyer College.

My 5- and 10-years of service  awards.  Handmade Shaker boxes.

In other college-related news … the aloe plant continues to add inches to its flower stalk every day. Another couple of weeks and the flowers will be dripping their dew.



Here’s a happy bit of small canine news. Our friend vermonter is the proud owner of the latest wonder-pup. She is now Tucker’s mommy! Tucker is a King Charles Spaniel. Check him out. He’s wearing a little t-shirt to a) make him look punk, and b) protect his hernia stitches.

You talkin ta me?! Tucker enjoys the first few seconds of his 15 minutes of fame.

Oh WHATEVER! What about me?!?!? Look, I’m in the blogging chair!!

A couple more shots from the college. Fridays in the dining hall they offer a lovely cheese and fruit setup. Extra fancy for Valentine’s Day.

Our fine Sodexo food service crew made these fancy items to celebrate Valentine’s day.

My coworker and I re-installing the college’s weather station atop Hogan Sports Center.

Yeah, so that’s about it for now. It’s going to be a long weekend with President’s Day on Monday. It’s nice and sunny out too, so I’ll be trying to catch some rays in the greenhouse. Been re-reading Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. Last read it as a teenager, and forgot most of the major plot elements.

Finally, here’s a link that my friend the archivist (she has a blog too, and I ought to link to it, hint hint!) pointed me to. It’s called Facebook in Reality.


  1. Chapeau!

    That is really nice, and very funny and typical that you thought of taking a photo of the people applauding you. I don’t think that has ever been done before.

    Now I am going to an older post of yours because I have to ask you something about a wordpress vs google address.

    That’s psychically funny cantueso! Your exclamation is doubly appropriate because of the fact that the employee of the year award had a funny little pork pie hat associated with the ceremony. The winner would be crowned with this hat and would be its owner for the year. The winner could display the hat in their office, perhaps near the plaque, and was supposed to find some appropriate trinket or charm to attach to the hat. Well for reasons unknown to me, the hat was officially retired this year. Perhaps it had become overloaded with trinkets … who knows?

    I’d brought my camera along, and took it with me when my name was called. I’m glad I captured that moment, because I was not fully cognizant due to extreme embarrassment. Accolades and praise are wonderful, but this kind of attention is not something I would ever willingly seek.

  2. I could say it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy but I hear that Mandela guy’s very nice.

    Awesome news, David! I really am happy for you. I’m glad they all know what they have.

    Thanks a bunch B&G! Who the fuck is Mandela? 😀

  3. First Lucci…now you. You didn’t cry, did you?

    Yes, then I wiped my tears with the bonus check. Lucci had me beat by a year or two. Wanker! Thanks for commenting MTAE 🙂

  4. Congrats! From the looks on all their faces you must really deserve that award. Just look at how happy they are for you. Those are not fake smiles. 🙂

    Cute little Cavalier pup. I groom several of them and they are very nice dogs. Not the brightest things in the world, but sweet and gentle, and very, very cute.

    Thanks birdpress 🙂 that’s nice to read. It’s been fun 99% of the time to help these fine people with their computing issues. They’re a very appreciative bunch.

    I’m sure that Tucker the Cavalier will top out on the intelligence charts. His mom vermonter is totally brilliant and she just loves him to pieces!

  5. awesome D-Lev!! It’s about freakin’ time is all I could say….

    Thanks vermonter. Honestly I’m glad to have it behind me now, though I’d never diminish the power of praise. It’s one of the steadiest benefits of my job since most of my clients express appreciation on the spot.

  6. Congratulations!!

    Regarding the aloe plant, you should consider doing some kind of ‘aloes gone wild’ show. Seriously. A burn unit would probably pay good money for that thing.

    Thank you Allison 🙂 Aloes Gone Wild … that’s brilliant! A time-lapse movie of the flowering process would be kinda cool, if only it were possible. The stalk reaches full height in less than 2 weeks.

  7. Congratulations on your accolade! You broke the Susan-Lucci-curse! Hahahaha…but really I can totally see how you’d be honoured in this way, and that from only knowing you in inter-web world! (yes, I’m perceptive, haha 😉 )

    Thank you Romi. I love the way you spelled “honoured”. 😀

  8. Congratulations! I love that you took a photo of your standing ovation – seize the moment!

    Vermonter’s puppy is adorable and I’m usually weirded out by animals in clothing. But I understand hernia stitch protection so I’m all for it.

    Yeah I couldn’t resist. My wife asked another staffer to record it with our digicam, but I haven’t watched it yet.

    I expect to see Tucker at work regularly, so future photo-ops will be coming. We’ll hope for dog nudity together. Talk about being weirded out eh??

  9. Congratulations, Dave! I love the photo – brilliant idea. And how awesome that they had hors d’œuvres and pastries to celebrate your superiority over all colleagues this past year. I bet Susan Lucci didn’t get hors d’œuvres and pastries. And if she did, they certainly weren’t wonderful, and I can be pretty damn certain there weren’t any apples carved in to phoenixes. (Phoenii?)

    Is the forehead with curly hair behind mostly-bald-guy-in-blue-collar-with-v-neck-sweater-and-khakis my mother-in-law? Because if she skipped out on your celebrity night, she’s got some splainin to do.

    Thanks Keath, darn nice of you to say. Bonus points to you for ID’ing a phoenix! As for the presence of Bonnie, the Talking Mime, sad to say that she ain’t there. She and Mr. L are in warmer climes for the week, visiting their insanely adorable granddaughters. Happily, she received like FIVE nominations for this same honor, and her day will soon be upon us, I predict. As a recipient, I will now get to be on the committee that selects the winner from all the nominees! I won’t be playing favorites or anything, but, like, she’s my favorite! 🙂

  10. Congratulations, Dave (on both the award and on having the presence of mind to snap the picture)!

    Thank you PT! It’s surprising that I did. Have the presence of mind … that is … 🙂

  11. I think that even you have not understood how wide the gap is between the first and the last in computer things.

    A very good example: You said, here, recently, how nice it was to be able to modify the font size “in the browser”.

    This is unintelligible to me. I don’t know what a “browser” is, and at the same time I know it is very basic and it is everywhere.

    In the past when I had to ask friends for help from time to time, they would look at my screen and say: “But where is your browser?”

    “I don’t know”.
    “So how do you enter the internet?”
    “Here. Click here”.
    “But that is Google!”
    “Yes, that’s how I enter the internet.”

    And to this date I don’t know how the other billion users do it.

    Yes! “Even I” have not understood. 🙂 AGAIN!

    When I first started to use computers, I knew nothing about them and never bothered to undertake any organized study. So it took years for the basic concepts to form in my mind. Many users struggle with this same effort, and waste brain energy on the misconception that computers are “thinking” machines. (Not you cantueso.)

    “Modify the font size ‘in the browser’ ” … you called it “zooming” I think. You DO know what a browser is. You use it every day, as you also use air, and it’s taken for granted — it becomes the background, invisible but definitely there. To continue … Microsoft Word is an application built for processing words and text. Web browsers, like Internet Explorer and Firefox, are applications built to process and display web pages, which are in turn built of all kinds of components these days, text, images, videos, sounds etc.

    This ignorance you now profess is all the more remarkable in light of your fine blogs. I have these kind of conversations often with users needing help, and I’m always looking for new analogies to aid in explaining what computers do. Or don’t do. The internet often defies such explanations. Like that massive Google search result link that points to your Famous Buildings post. [shrugs shoulders] 🙂

  12. AWESOME! and congratulations. I LOVE that you took the photo. Very cool.

    Thank you C! I’ve never basked in glory this intense. I think I’m getting a sunburn.

  13. Yay for you ! Congrats, my friend.

    Thank you Red. Yay indeed! I guess I really am just plain amazing. Dammit. 😦

  14. Congrats! That video was brutal. 😛 HA!

    Thanks Spidey. That video is a bit brutal I guess. Hope it didn’t offend anyone. 🙂 Too much.

  15. I am finally back to blogging. Congratulations on the award. That is awesome to get a standing O. I wish my aloe would flower. I am always telling everyone about your flowering aloe. BTW, I think the video is hilarious.

    Thanks Joan. Glad you’re back to sharing “whatever you think”. And that you liked the Facebook spoof video. It’s a little disgusting, but then, so is Facebook. Sometimes … 🙂


    Signed, vermonter on behalf of your global fan club.

    Thanks vermonter, right back at ya!

  17. ” Web browsers, like Internet Explorer and Firefox, are applications built to process and display web pages”

    Yes, I had gathered that long ago. Still, how do YOU get into the internet? Do you have a thing (an “icon”) on the screen that says “Browser”? I mean, is there an access that is just to “the internet”? ! I mean, can you access the internet without accessing a specific site ?

    Well framed question! No, you cannot “get into the internet” without loading some specific web page. That would be like reading a book without first seeing the cover, preface, foreword, or the following pages. The internet is nothing but an ever-expanding library of such pages and sites, linked by so-called hypertext. Yes, I do have icons on my screen, for Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc. I could set them to open to nothing, or a blank page, but I have my blog here set as the “home page”.

    In the “background” your computer is using several pieces of software to make the physical connection via your internet service provider, which is what you pay for. This connection opens the door of the aforementioned metaphorical library and even works the catalog for you so that you can enter, find a volume (site), and gaze upon it.

  18. I must have told you that I learnt about computers before I ever saw one. I had a little booklet where I wrote down definitions that I found in a computer book. I remember trying to learn by heart what “applications” are part of “Inicio” which is the Spanish term for the first button on the left, bottom. The best thing you can tell a true beginner is : You don’t need to know this.

    This is because there are one too many things in the beginning! The “formats”! “Formatting”! The “application”! Why “application”? HTML? Adobe? Word? Excel? Buts? Byte? Megas? Code? Nuts?

    It was about PDF that I once went to a Google group to ask. And there was this anonymous somebody who told me “You do not need to know about it”.


    The problem with the Google links has disappeared.

    Yes, I often tell my clients, “you don’t need to know”. It’s too much jargon and unhelpful detail. And by the time you’re comfortable with it, they will have changed the way it looks. Good software should be easy to use, fault tolerant, and thus transparent. The actual “content” (subject matter) with which we work in this new digital medium has not changed much in the last millennium or two. It’s still just thoughts, words, pictures, and sounds.

    Good that your Google link issue went away. 🙂

  19. I have to do my tax report. I started on Saturday at the rate of an hour a day. The deadline is June 23, but I must finish before because on the last days the lines will be very long. The 23rd is a Tuesday, meaning that everybody will wait until Sunday 21 and start filing on the 22nd.

    Bye bye

    Best of luck to you in this endeavor. I hope that you beat the rush. In the USA the deadline is midnight of April 15. There are lines in the post offices sometimes, but more and more people file electronically now too. My taxes are very simple, all the money is taken out of every paycheck so that way the government ends up owing me a refund. Usually it’s all taken care of before the end of February, with a month to spare.

  20. However, how then do people get internetted? As I explained, I go to Google or to WordPress or to the IHT, which for Americans is now the NYT. What would most people say if they were asked where their “browser” is?

    I understood what you said and yet I think that deep down I still think it is the mouse. Voilà. I always knew it was not the mouse but privately I kept considering that the browser was the mouse.

    How does one get “internetted”? I think I know what you mean by this question, but maybe that’s just my optimism. The content one finds on the web is of nearly infinite range in quality and form, but the forest is more than just the trees, isn’t it? Mostly I get nods and shrugs at the mention of words like “browser” or “operating system”. Same as what I’d get if I asked what the difference is between a 17 mm and 9/16 inch wrench. I like what you wrote about the mouse. It’s the main navigational tool after all.

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