Monday, February 21, 2005

Ain't life funny!

I've just been through the worst (well, maybe not the worst) three weeks of my life. Certainly the past 21 days rank right up there with some of the crummiest days I've had the displeasure to experience.

But what the hell, life is a thorny pit of rose bushes, aromatic but capable of drawing blood.

And so it goes.

I'm finally winding down after nearly having a nervous breakdown - the stress from work has been like a tsunami (sorry for the choice of words, considering the events of late) swallowing my peace of mind like a frontal lobotomy swallows one's memory. My boss (his name's Crash, no kidding) and he's usually a mild-mannered fellow who rarely expresses anger or rage but who, of late, has been a total prick! He's being spread thinner than cheese spread at a hobo convention.

I just bought the new release of "The Fifth Element: The Ultimate Edition" which contains two hours of behind the scenes interviews, special effects secrets and loads of trivia about this classic piece of science fiction.

The humor is really funny and perfectly timed, the story line is well-thought out and layered enough to make the futuristic world of 2213 believable. Of course there's the odd flub - such as the scene where Zorg blows up one of his henchmen at the airport - if you watch closely you'll see the form of the department store dummy still standing, enshrouded in the smoke of the blast. But minor flubs aside, I think "The Fifth Element" must go down as one of the most entertaining science fiction films ever made.

Ah, small respite from the unrelenting stress that's been the hallmark of these past weeks.

And why the stress? Well, we've had to learn a new publishing program called DTI, an Adobe-based program that ties together copy, photos, graphics, ads, obituaries, accounting, personnel records, et al. In short, it's a program that allows Morris Communications to monitor every keystroke, every line and tittle produced by its employees, no matter where in the world they may be.

Big Brother is watching! Now if they'd paid more attention to productivity they might have created a really nice computer publishing program instead of the complicated jigsaw puzzle that it is. The very nature of its complexity suggests that its main purpose is to monitor the employees' daily performance.

It sucks!

But it's what we've got, and after the huge financial outlay the company has sunk into its installation systemwide (about 20 newspapers and several other publications) I don't foresee us changing the setup anytime soon. No, we're stuck with this Rubric's Cube software for another 20 years, I'd guess.

So, if I don't learn it and learn it well enough to make deadline, I'm sure I'll become expendable in rapid fashion.

It's a really lousy feeling to cringe whenjust thinking about going to work, let alone actually taking my seat in front of the new computer screen (Dude, we got Dells ....) and logging in. It feels what I imagine a man condemned to hang might feel like when the noose is put around his neck and the inevitability of what's about to happen hits home like a punch from Mike Tyson.

I will be looking for another job soon I think, especially if the anxiety level doesn't drop markedly in the newsroom, and soon! Everyone is wearing a frown (except the writers - all they have to do is type their stories and perform two keystrokes to complete their tasks) and everyone is edgy, irritable and generally unpleasant.

Thing is, the DTI software is held by a Mormon company -- developed by Mormons, sold by Mormons, taught by Mormons and, I suspect, crafted along the lines of some arcane, secret architecture known only to the keepers of the church's most protected tenets.

I'm at a loss to explain how difficult it is to use this complex torture device, so I won't even try for now.

Suffice it to say that Quark was heaven compared to this.

Hope everyone who reads this is healty, happy and filled with the divine light of love.

Peace - out.