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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

This really isn't much fun, this business of working all the time, and always being available to drop what I'm doing at a moment's notice so I can do something less interesting like fill out a form or make a (ugh) phone call. I sort of hate it.

But big plans are afoot here at the Company, and I'm everybody's favorite last resort when it comes to the nuts and bolts of preparing paperwork. That's my job, I guess, and supposedly I'm good at it. I don't have to like it, though, and I definitely don't enjoy it. Give me a nice, friendly spreadsheet over a job résumé or a credit application any time.

It's actually kind of cool to see the Boss and his peevish, petulant offspring getting along, though. It's neat to see them both enthusiastic about the same project for once, instead of pulling in opposite directions. Something usually snaps when they do that, but this time maybe we'll get somewhere. I'm sure it will all be worth it if the big plans work out. For them more than me, but still. Rising tides and all that.

The FedEx guy brought me a package today, a two inch thick glossy bound "request for proposal." A lowly construction firm like this one doesn't see that kind of thing every day. Inside it had all the information I'll have to immerse myself in to start getting our proposal ready. I hope I don't drown in it; it looks possible.

The proposal isn't due until August, but that won't help me this time. I can usually take things down to the deadline, but I have two overseers with a profound interest in seeing me make some early progress. Maybe if I come up with something before they have a chance to ask, I can get off the hook for a month or two.

To be honest, I don't care that much. Sure, I'd rather be doing spreadsheets. Heck, I'd rather be playing third base for the Giants, but that's not going to happen either. I don't have a strong enough arm for it. So as long as I'm going to be kept busy, I might as well be doing something that might possibly one day result in some kind of modest reward. There must be a pony in there somewhere.

What I won't do is lie, but everybody already knows better than to ask me. I won't fudge the figures. I don't mind if they get interpreted in a favorable light, but the numbers are the numbers. Even if I thought I wouldn't get caught, I couldn't find a way to screw around with them. Bad things start to happen once you tweak the truth, and you could find yourself trapped by your own wedge of rancid cheese.

The thing is, I don't think I'd get away with it anyway. I have a fundamental belief that any indiscretions I commit will end up on Dateline (and if I'm really bad, 60 Minutes). Maybe it's my Catholic upbringing, but if I sign off on this big proposal we're working on, it'll be because I believe it. I might not love the process, but I'll make sure the result is authentic.

13 May 03

At the back of the garden is the first and only yellow iris so far this year.

The one thing I'm afraid of is that some day I'll actually say out loud what I think about these harebrained projects we're slavering over like a pack of starving chihuahuas. I have these long conversations with invisible people, and I'm very articulate about my feelings. I don't flinch from colorful name-calling. I just hope I never forget that real people tend not to be as forgiving about these things as imaginary ones.

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Can you tell I watched another movie about honesty and character tonight? Second night in a row! This one was way different from The Emperor's Club, though. That was a serious adult movie about kids, while Little Secrets is a kids' movie that has something to say to adults as well.

I had no idea what I was getting when I rented it, except that it starred Evan Rachel Wood, who had some of the most moving moments ever seen on television in the great, lamented series Once and Again. She plays a young teenager who listens to the secrets younger children don't want to tell their parents. The movie is about what happens to a person who holds too tightly onto secrets, her own as well as others'.

Little Secrets really is a charming family film, playfully directed and truthfully acted. It has an innocence that plays well against the serious question of when a promise should be broken, and when a secret must be told.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Remedial Measures
"It drives them nutty, and since they start out a little nutty, it's comical to watch."

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