Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Updates Galore

I was about to post an entry with regards to my resignation in progress but that was nixed on account of being too tied down going through the remaining days before I'm free from the routine. Though currently free from the routine doesn't mean I have to contend with bureaucratic baggage that comes in the aftermath of a resignation. Clearances to be obtained can be such a bitch to do, given how work schedules are in a call center as opposed to a regular office with regular times. Anyways, on to this post. Its a bit like a MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst) since I'll try to put in a lot of stuff for this post as best I can.

13 Going Nostalgic

Recently watched the Jennifer Garner starrer "13 Going on 30" on my last dayoff for the final week before I left my call center job. The movie was accused of being derivative of the Tom Hanks movie "Big" for having such similiar elements though the mechanisms vary to some degree. Jennifer Garner gets to expand her range a bit more as an actress outside of her previous roles in Felicity and Alias. She plays a 13-yr old in a 30-yr old body of Jenna Rink.

It was quite a trip through memory lane for those of our generation when it comes to those 80's bits, especially moreso with the music used in it. It was a bit quirky at the start with Jennifer Garner dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller and then things really get shaking when Andy Serkis (LOTR's Gollum and Jennifer's boss in this movie) gets to do some moves along with some moonwalking. Quite a highlight of the movie.

The movie was also much a lesson about the decisions we make through life and the results that arose from it. In Jenna Rink's case, she got what she wished for though a lot was lost in the process: Her childhood best friend soon to be first love, loving relationship with parents and a lot of people hurt by her soon-to-develop backstabbing ways brought to influence by being mixed in with popular girl in high school now becoming best bud and then enemy again Lucy Wyman/Tom-Tom played by Judy Greer.

Romantic fluff abounds in this film which somewhat sets things apart from the Tom Hanks movie. It was also a wish-fulfillment of sorts in terms of having a second chance to start over when things didn't pan right due to brashness of wishing to be older. The heart of the matter was discussed when adult Jenna asks her mom as to if she would like go back in time to fix something that was done terribly wrong. She smiles and answers to her a no. Her mom elaborates that since she has decided on how things go and experienced how it went, it serves in good stead to do better and rectify or avoid any serious repercussions after. Quite a bit of wisdom in that conversation for sure.

It was also a startling surprise for Jenna to see how things have gone for the people she knew in high school. So with the outlook of her current path set by her 13 year old whim, she has begun to realize the loss she felt from that as well as damage wrought by such an impulsive decision of setting her path based on her whim. Jenna gets her second chance to set things right and with the wisdom brought by the lifetime leap.

It is a fantasy of sorts that relates to wish-fulfillment, 80's nostalgia and just plain clean fun that the current generation and later are now sorely missing. It was a decent watch for me.

Hell of a Read
Just recently bought the fourth book written by a new fave writer of mine, John Ringo. Its title is "Hell's Faire". I got hooked on his military sci-fi books back in Seattle. I was entranced immediately when I laid eyes on "A Hymn Before Battle" and I was hooked.

The story started off that humanity was contacted by a consortium of alien races and given quite a jump start with alien tech for one reason, another alien race is on a hungry path to conquer and consume any inhabited world they encounter as they expand their territory. The consortium wanted the humans to have the tech and use it as the weapons they can fashion it since humanity has been viewed as viable warrior race to do the job.

The story follows on with a decisive starting battle on an alien planet. The draw for me in that book was the use of standard sci-fi tech staple, powered armor infantry. Human ingeniuity with alien tech have churned out amazing results with the signature armored combat suits in the book which later follows as a four book series with more to follow. The story follows heavily on the exploits of Michael O'Neal, a website designer later conscripted to become the designer behind the ACS and now a bonafide war hero for his participation on his first outing.

The subsequent books "Gust Front", "When the Devil Dances" and now the recently released "Hell's Faire".

I missed out in obtaining a copy of "When The Devil Dances" in paperback, which I have yet to see here on these shores. I was so much wanting to find out as to what happened to the Posleen-Human War on Earth established in "Gust Front" since the Posleen have targetted Earth as their next battleground since their thwarted attempt on another planet back in "A Hymn Before Battle".

"Hymn Before Battle" was memorable for me when they played music over their suit's comm frequency prior to the big fight aka "Operation Tiamat". Pat Benatar's "Invincible" was noted in that book. In "Hell's Faire" the notable item in this installment was the character Bun-Bun from the web-comic Sluggy Freelance. A not-to-be-trifled-with rabbit for sure that is named for Earth's SheVa Gun which isn't exactly on par to a Bolo of Keith Laumer fame but just as similiarly massive. The Sheva is basically an overpowered 16-inch artillery piece with a massive track support base that can lob massive shells which can contain nuclear warheads, antimatter munitions or just the usual sundry of explosive and fragmentation rounds though much bigger and forceful than usual artillery.

The proposed "Legacy of Aldenata" aka The Posleen Milieu was supposed to be handled in a span of three books though a certain event changed all that, the 9/11 incident of 2001. Never though that it would have such repercussions even to literary writers on account of the tragedy that transpired. John Ringo apologized on the endword for "Hell's Faire" for the extension of this gripping epic series.

Other Pending stuff

I'll get around to posting my review for Everstone: Blood Legacy, an RPG Sourcebook which I've nearly done reading from cover-to-cover. I can say that its an interesting setting which can be tweaked or expanded in the right creative hands of an enterprising GM. Other interesting stuff will be put online soonest while I sort through the aftermath of my resignation and subsequent hiring into another company. I'll keep ya visitors posted. Till next time.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

CSR Agent No More (...for that account that is.)

The toll of working for a particular account in my call center foray is getting to me. My conscience and morals are strongly tested to its limits.

A number of irate customers I get on the line just keep driving the point home that the account company I'm servicing is really have a poor track record with its products. What aggravates it for me is that my ability to help the customer is also hampered on account that the replacements to be issued would possible have a short duty life and also have to go about upselling accessories and new products to the customer in lieu with the replacement issue.

All these things plus the demands on maintaining the standard set is all way too much for me to handle. It also grants me unexpected license for me to bottle up or compartmentalize my feelings of outrage for a while but it collects and seethes until it vents out onto some haplessly convenient target. I don't want to explode violently on account of that.

The final straw that broke this CSR's spiritual back is when I advised a 70-yr old lady that her phone is in need of replacement after troubleshooting everything and I went about suggesting the upsell of a new phone unit at a discount for her purchase. The old woman's kindness faded and was replaced with outrage and grief directed at me. She says to me that: "Your company is making millions of dollars by selling us junk and you expect me to buy a new phone? I'm 70-years old and living off social security and you tell me to buy a new phone. You're not helping one bit and I'm very unhappy about that." The events after that lead to getting my supervisor to handle the remainder of the call and process an order for a battery to her to address her concerns though it may be a temporary remedy at best in my assessment.

That call really got to me that I feel that I wanted to cry in front of my mom for having such a thing happen and more so feeling guilty for being party to such a thing. All in the name of the account company I have to serve.

After some deliberation with my parents and some inquiries with a friend of mine at the other call center, my decision has been made. Already written up and signed my resignation letters and handed them over to my supervisor/team leader. Two weeks more of going through the routine drudgery before I'm free to go about applying in the other call center. The friends I made in the one I'm leaving would possibly follow too after I do some recon work for them as to the new digs I'm going to. I am looking forward to this change in things. Here's hoping for the best.