May 21, 2013

Excellent Service

For as long as I can remember, I've dealt with the public with my jobs. With The exception of those few factory jobs I've had. Be it working at McDonalds in high school, the department store as a stockperson, the automotive store as a parts manager and now as tech support for a phone company.

It wasn't a career choice and I would like to make a career change to something a little more suited for me to where I don't have to deal with the public as much. However, in the meantime, I do what I do and i'm good at what I do.

Now, yes anyone can do tech support. It's not hard. But in essence, it's how you do it. I've been told repeatedly for the last six and a half years that i've been in this position, that I should be a teacher. Not just by John Q. Public, but by teachers of all grade levels, both currently active and retired.

The way I take technical information, (which really isn't technical at all) and explain it to them in ways they can understand, makes for a good experience. Something i've been able to do really all my life. The ability to listen to a person to figure out what their issue is and find a way to get by their stubbornness to get it resolved.

So, it wasn't really a surprise so to speak, but in a way it was, that I was awarded with a customer service award for outstanding support. Why? I'm just doing what i'm paid to do. Yes, many hear me bitch and moan a lot about John Q Public and the fact that it seems today's society has gotten very lazy when it comes to common sense. I guess sometimes it feels I get up everyday, knowing I will be someones punching bag for their aggressions. Yet day in and day out, I do it, because I know I am good at it. And trust me, it has taken it's toll on me both mentally and medically.

In the end, I know that maybe one out of every eight or nine people I speak with will remember what I told them. And that the others let it go in one ear and out the other. But yet, for some reason I have a glimmer of hope that the words that come out of my mouth will have some kind of impact and help.

The more I think about it, maybe I should have been a teacher. Is it too late at 39 to go back to school?

May 16, 2013

9/11 Greed & Corruption Memorial

The 9/11 museum at the World Trade Center has made a decision to implement a mandatory admission fee when the museum opens next year.
While no decision has been made as to how much to charge, officials have revealed the fee can be anywhere from $20 to $25. The museum contains a a curated "collection of artifacts, stories, photos, video and other material" from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to the museum website.Those who want to enter memorial plaza can still enter for free. 

We knew this was coming. Every since the beginning, it was always about money. Always has been. They wanted to included shops and business spaces. They wanted this and that. 

Is there a specific reason, other than money, as to why it's so big? 

What I find funny is, the Shanksville PA memorial is free. But accepts donations. Guess what else is free. The Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial and the WW2 Memorial, to name a few. 

I've been to some major art museums with cheaper fee's then this. And if you think about it, that's what they turned this into. And art museum.  Not so much about remembrance, but art and money. 

I would be okay with a nominal fee of $3-5. Maybe some donations. But a flat fee of $20-25?  Even the Warhol museum is cheaper than this and it's a nationally, if not a worldly renowned site. 

So at $20 at the expected 2.5 million first year visitors, comes out to about $50 million. How much are they paying the employees? Does it take that much to mop a floor or to empty trash cans or use some paper towels and windex on some glass?

Using the devastation caused by such a tragedy as a money making tourist attraction is despicable

But what else can one expect from it's government, both locally and federally. They've run their own states and country into the ground economically, they need to find other ways to make money. Which in the end will go elsewhere anyway.

It's just a shame that politics, greed and corruption had to get in the way.

May 6, 2013

Ballad of the Green Silk Shirt

For as long as I can remember, I have played tabletop games. Well, at least back to about 1988/89. From D&D, AD&D, Gurps, Rifts, Cthulhu and more. At one time, I was even active in the RPGA. Yes, I am NERD!

Some of the best weekends of my childhood were spent around the table using dice and our imaginations to create worlds that didn't exist. And even later on in the RPGA, meeting some of the best writers in the genre's at conventions and playing side by side with them like Ed Greenwood, made times better.

Over the years, life has moved on and so have I. But there are times I long for the night around the table with a group of people who are willing to throw the real world aside for a few hours, forget the rules, not judge others for the way they play and just have fun.

Since joining Google+, I have met others like +Stacy Dellorfano and +Amanda Blain , that I've realized there are still a lot of people out there who still play. And they're not young tweens hiding in a closet. Though I have yet to make a hangout for a game, my wishes haven't died.

But it was Stacy and her #MicromapMonday tag that got me thinking again. And while cleaning off my bookshelf this evening, I came across some old. A binder containing one of my RPGA characters.

Dru, as he is known, is a bard. Drusus Sinistari. A character I created back about 1991/92. Once i joined the RPGA, i carried him over and started him fresh. So I was technically running him twice. Weekend home groups and local group meets and conventions.

I was always one to work out a major background of any character I played. Especially ones I knew I would have for a long time, barring any insane DM that always threw dragons at you because he was bored.

Like all people, even my characters had quirks. I played them that way. Dru is no different. Well, that was until his last run in a RPGA convention that cursed him. And this is his story.

Like other bards, Dru is an entertainer. At least in his mind. His forte is song, (again, in his own mind). See, he can't sing unless under the strains and pressure of battle. On a normal day his voice will crack mirrors and glass. but in battle, his song will awaken the deepest beast in any mortal man. Quell the angriest of foe and even make animals love him (get your mind out of the gutter sicko).

If there is adventure to be had, you can find him there, under two conditions. One, no horses. He has a deathly fear of horses. A  pony or a mule he's fine with. But a horse, He will all but pass out if on top of one. Kinda makes travel hard. Two, do not make him get his clothes dirty. After all he is an entertainer. The greens silk shirt he wears is precious to him. it was the last thing his sister gave him before she disappeared.

Add to that his nicely groomed dark brown breeches, black feather hat with multiple colored feathers and knee high black leather boots, he has a making for a street walker on any corner in any city. And he carries one extra pair of clothes in case of emergency.  So he prefer to not get them dirty or damaged. But in the end, he has become a master at sewing and repair.

He is an artisan at handling two swords at the same time. Though he can wield just about anything, he prefers  his dual scimitars. Which coincidentally, he took from the dead body of an undead lord in some long forgotten catacomb.

Above all of his accomplishments, over anything else in life, he has one quest. Staying alive. See, he was cursed. He walks the streets in daylight, as a night walker. Or in layman's term, a vampire. Oh, but not a true vampire. Just the teeth. he can bite like one, and make people bleed, but his bite has the healing power of that of a cleric for disease. Problem is, his dracula fangs are all too prominent. Try telling the villagers who are tormented by the blood sucking dead that you're not one of them that can walk in the daylight. Makes for great chase scenes and lynch mobs!

Overall, he tries to be as sophisticated as James Bond, but more in reality he's like Matthew Lillard playing Shaggy Norville in Scooby Doo. But count on this, if there is a story to be told, treasure to find or a damsel in distress, he won't fail to have his companions backs.

Well of course, unless his clothes get dirty, then he'll whine like Paris Hilton.

Below: just some pictures:
1. Character sheet
2. Bards Guild Acceptance for the RPGA
3. Tome of Comprehend Languages
4. Anti Poison Fangs ( Nice curse)
5. Few convention awards for winning first place amongst some great role players
6. Overall First place at a convention in Rochester, NY



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