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A dumpster full of various musings over life, God, scripture, and any random thought that may fly by meanwhile. Comments welcome.

Archive for the ‘Venting’ Category

Stress-related illness.

Posted by Iszi on April 10, 2007

This sucks.

I’m not typically one prone to sickness in general.  In fact, I rarely even fall sick enough to call into work once a year.  I’m also not one that usually experiences any noticeable physiological reactions to emotional stress.  Most of the time, I just deal with the problem as I can, and move on when it’s done.  However, according to my body, this seems to be pushing my limits.

Nothing serious has come of it yet, but I’m already starting to feel waves of mild nausea any time my mind crosses over any of the issues that represent a current thorn in my side.  Maybe it’s being caused by a surge of adrenaline rushing through my veins as I fight the sudden urge to rip something apart.  I don’t know.

All I know is I’m so S.A.F.T. of this shit, and I just want to get it out of my way and move on with my life!  Why does the universe seem to be fighting to make that not happen?

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SAFT

Posted by Iszi on April 10, 2007

God, I hate today.

I don’t know what the force is that has suddenly come against me in my life, but I’m starting to get pretty sick and tired of having to fight it.

Today started off as well as could be expected – or so I thought – with me waking up just a little later than I should (as usual) and getting ready for work.

Then, my wife tells me that she’s got some medical problems which we’ve known about for awhile, but which have apparently become more aggravated than usual and really should get checked out. We don’t have medical insurance, and we can’t afford a doctor. However, in the past we have always found one way or another of working around that or just been able to deal with things on our own. So far, I’m not sure if this is going to hold true for this case.

On the way to work. Gotta hurry, running a little late. Cruising along the highway, someone’s sneaking up behind me so I must be running a little slow. I pick it up, and by the time I realize there’s a motorcycle on the side of the road, the FHP officer on that ‘cycle has clocked me at over 80 MPH in a 65 zone. Just great. My third ticket in just as many vehicles (first was in a Crown Vic I used to own, second in my Mark VIII, this one in my step-dad’s Bonneville) and the one that would probably get me barred from driving my parents’ vehicles for a long time. I can’t afford to pay it of course. I really can’t much afford the points on my license which I am almost sure to get because I’ve already taken the driving class once in the past year. The officer tells me of a few options, and writes my ticket for an even 80 MPH which is worth 1 point less than if it was 1 MPH more. I may yet be able to negotiate another shot at the class, and perhaps some Community Service time instead of a fine, but that’s going to require a court appearance and even then it’s at the judge’s discretion.

My car’s still not fixed. Awhile ago (I’ve lost track of how long by now) my transmission stopped shifting into 3rd and 4th gear. So, any driving that I’ve had to do (which has been since avoided except for emergencies) has been with the car in 2nd gear, running high RPMs. Several things have delayed the repair of my vehicle so far:

  • Waiting on tax return to pay for new transmission. – Got tax return a few weeks later.
  • Finding new transmission. – Picked one up from an acquaintance not long after the taxes came in.
  • Finding someone to help with the work. – Found someone, was supposed to work on it the next weekend.
  • Finding someone else to help with the work. – Found someone (I’ll call him BS. Dunno if S is his last initial, but that’s what I’m in the mood to call him right now.) a couple weeks later. Got car to BS’s house, and started pulling things apart. Ran into a snag along the way, trying to figure out how to disconnect the driveshaft.
  • Finding out how to fix the snag. – Took a little time and exploring of the ‘net, but we’ve got some options.
  • Getting a hold of BS so we can work on my car some more. – Almost never returns phone calls. Rarely returns texts. Finally got a hold of him, but that was because he needed me to move my car from his driveway since his landlord had some roofers coming out to do work on his house.

I’m not sure, but I think the total elapsed period of all these delays has been 2-3 months now. I’m growing weary, and the guy that’s been giving me a ride to work meanwhile is also growing tired of it. In fact, he’s just as much as said that this would be the last week of it. So, I’m pretty much out of alternative transportation options.

Then BS texts me and tells me that he’s leaving town tomorrow for a week, and we won’t be able to work on the car in the too-near future. Furthermore, it seems his homeowner’s association has deemed it necessary to fine him $150 because his neighbors have complained about him doing car repairs (probably not just mine) in his driveway. So, I doubt that even upon his return he would be too willing to do anything but maybe help me put my car back together enough for it to be transportable, if that. So, not only am I out of alternative transportation options after this week, I’m also pretty dry on options for getting my car repaired.

So, I’m pretty well SAFT (That’s “Sick And Fucking Tired, for those who don’t have my dictionary of spontaneously-generated acronyms.) of dealing with today. I would just like to forget about everything that’s happened in my personal life for a few hours, and get on with my work. (Which in itself has also become a bit of a headache.) But of course, I can’t. My mind doesn’t quite work that way. I can let it go for maybe five minutes solid, tops. But then something comes into my thought process and I just want to start punching walls and breaking people’s necks all over again.

 

For fuck’s sake, can this world please find someone else to shit on now?!?!

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Am I Speaking Another Language?

Posted by Iszi on March 22, 2007

I’m really getting tired of dealing with idiots.

Generally, I try to be careful about how I word things and express myself. Particularly when it’s going to be in writing, and especially when I’m at work. In communications with end-users, all it takes is one poorly-written e-mail from IT to create hours of cleanup work. With that in mind, I like to say I try to “idiot-proof” my e-mails.

But of course, once someone makes something “idiot-proof” someone else is bound to come up with a smarter idiot. Or – in my case – three.

Consider this quote from an e-mail I sent regarding an access change request that was not properly submitted.

Due to security policy and audit requirements, I cannot process requests for access simply based on “match to” criteria. There needs to be a specific list of roles outlined in any given request, which should be tailor-fit to meet the individual user’s access needs.

The e-mail goes on a little longer to describe the approval process for after the list of roles has been laid out, but those were the first two sentences in that message, and they were also the most pertinent to why I could not process the request.

Please, if I did something wrong here or was ambiguous in any way, somebody let me know because I obviously can’t figure out why I received the following replies from some of the people CCed on the e-mail:

(From the requester, to the Service Desk support person who had originally contacted me regarding the case.) –

Per our discussion this morning, I am forwarding you the email that I spoke of.
Could you please intercede on this matter and work on getting me the appropriate access?

(Reply to the above, from the Service Desk person. Names changed to protect identities.) –

It basically looks like Iszi and Joe Security are saying the same thing:

We need approval from your manager.
We need approval from John DataOwner (which we already have below)
Then that would be forwarded to ID Admin.

(Reply to that, from the requester.)

But all 3 steps below have been done. (including the email to ID Admin).
What’s the next step?

Yes, all three steps in the Service Desk person’s e-mail were done, but that’s not the problem! Did no one read the first two sentences of my e-mail?!?!

(From the person the requester wanted their access matched to, in reply to my original e-mail.) –

The reason I asked for the role to be copied from my ID, is that he will need it. If not, I would not have asked for it. Please duplicate his ID with the same roles I have set up

Finally, after re-sending my original e-mail – with font emphasis on the pertinent lines – and discussing the issue over the phone with several individuals separately, the request got re-submitted properly and everything fell in line.

Still, could somebody please tell me what I did wrong in the original e-mail? Why is it that three people couldn’t seem to get the message right?

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Blinding Confusion

Posted by Iszi on February 27, 2007

Dazed and confused
blinded by the ruse
drowning in distraction
conviction surrounding me.

Questions unanswered
infecting like cancer
spinning with query
seeking what cannot be seen.

How did this start?
When will it end?
Will I ever know
my true meaning again?

So many desires
burning like fire
caged by my burdens
everything smothering me.

Searching for freedom
dreading the treason
straining to unravel
the mystery of deity.

How did this start?
When will it end?
Will I ever know
my true meaning again?

I just don’t understand
I wish I could comprehend
how I came to this place
or how I can be free…

Posted in My Lyrics/Poetry, Venting | 1 Comment »

I just can’t stand Service Desk stupidity!

Posted by Iszi on February 20, 2007

Working in IT, I get to deal with a lot of stupid stuff mostly due to user ignorance and/or laziness.  This is commonly known as PEBKAC and is generally accepted as part of the job.  So, in dealing with users I try to offer a bit of forgiveness whenever they say or do something that just doesn’t make sense in the given situation.  When the IT Service Desk exhibits user-level ignorance and moronishness however, that’s when I blow a gasket.  These people should know better.

In today’s example, a user is calling in to check on the status of a requested change to their SAP account.  SAP changes require a few approvals.  Firstly from the user’s manager, and second from the Data Owner in charge of whatever permissions the person is requesting.  If the request hasn’t yet been approved by the user’s manager, the Data Owners never see it.

In this particular case, the user’s request hasn’t been approved by their manager yet.  This is clearly visible on the online request form, and is also noted in a trouble ticket open from when the user previously called in to check on the status of his request.  After the manager approves the request, my approval will be needed for some basic display roles, and some other roles requested will need approval from another Data Owner.

Here’s a bit of my conversation with someone from the IT Service Desk (Referred to as ITSD) on the subject.   Names have been stripped and/or changed to protect identities:

ITSD says:
hey

Iszi says:
?

ITSD says:
i have john doe on the phone, he wants to know when his SAP CMP role change is going to be done

Iszi says:
Last I checked, my answer was “When it is approved”.  Did you look at his ticket?

ITSD says:
yes smarty pants

Iszi says:
well what are you coming to me for?

ITSD says:
and ibecause it doesn’t have that you approved it yet

ITSD says:
that’s why

ITSD says:
never mind i will talk to (ITSD Manager) about

Iszi says:
It’s not MANAGER approved yet.

Iszi says:
I can’t approve anything until the user’s MANAGER has approved it.

ITSD says:
there is no need for you to get smart

ITSD says:
at all

Iszi says:
Not getting smart, getting defensive…

ITSD says:
well you don’t need to do it with me

What part of “not approved, I can’t do anything” is hard to understand?  It’s in the ticket, it’s on the form, why am I even hearing about it?  Sadly, this is not a rare occurrence.  All too often the ITSD (not this person most times) calls me with an issue, and it goes like this:  Me – “Did you check the ticket/form?”  ITSD – “Yes, and you said this in it…”  Me – “Does it look like there’s been any change in the situation on the user end?”  ITSD – “No”  Me – “Then why are you coming to me with this?!?!”  ITSD – “…”

Or worse:  Me – “Did you check the ticket/form?”  ITSD – “No”  Me – “Well all the info you need is in there, go look and then come to me with questions!”

This is just ridiculous, and I’m getting tired of it.

</end rant>

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The Road Won’t Know What Hit It

Posted by Iszi on February 13, 2007

Generally speaking, I enjoy driving. I enjoy it to the point that I will usually insist on driving whenever I go out with my friends, no matter whose idea it was to go where we’re going and no matter how far it is. That’s just the way I am.

I’m also a fast driver. I’m sitting on two speeding tickets right now, one for 80 MPH in a 65 zone (Actually clocked at 85, but I guess the trooper gave me a break for my first ticket.) and another for 77 in a 45. I’m not generally an agressive driver, and don’t typically pull any “stupid” or “crazy” maneuvers in traffic, but for some reason driving fast just feels natural to me and I can’t drive any other way. Really, I’ve tried. I’ve even gone to set the cruise control to “just” 5 or 10 over the limit on a 65 MPH highway and I still can’t contain myself. It’s kind of like when I climb stairs. With my long legs, taking them one at a time just doesn’t feel right – I’ve got to take them in doubles (or when I’m in a real hurry, triples).

Thirdly, I like my car to have a good bit of get-up-and-go. This of course, goes naturally with fast driving. Still, I don’t want my car to just be able to go fast. I want it to be able to get to fast in a hurry, without too much strain or complaint.

All that being said, the past few weeks have felt especially long. Since before the end of last month, my Mark VIII has been sitting in the driveway with a half-dead transmission. One day on the way to work, third and fourth gear just went out on me. The drive home was real great, watching the gauges to make sure the engine would survive the 30-mile trip in 2nd gear. (Through which I must say it performed rather admirably.) Since then however, it has stayed pretty much parked except for an occasional jog around the corner to the store.

To get to and from work, I’ve been either borrowing my step-dad’s Bonneville or catching a ride with a friend. While the Bonneville is equipped with a Supercharged V-6, the car (a ’94 I think) is beginning to show its age. So being that it’s my step-dad’s car, not only do I not want to get caught driving it as I normally would drive mine, but I also have to worry about whether or not it would survive my normal driving habits. The friend that’s been driving me also drives pretty fast, but it’s still not the same as being behind the wheel myself.

Finally, I’ve received news that my taxes have been submitted and should be direct-deposited with a week. The return is expected to be more than enough to cover for the transmission replacement, and also numerous repairs and upgrades that I had been planning to make to the Mark to begin with. Now the only problem is I just can’t wait.

Every day around this time, my foot just gets the itch to lay down some rubber and get to hauling some serious ass outta here. When the day finally comes that my Mark VIII is alive again (and kickin’ harder than it ever has!) you can be sure the road won’t know what hit it.

Posted in Driving, Mark VIII, Venting | Leave a Comment »

Password Maintenance Woes

Posted by Iszi on February 12, 2007

I’ve just got to vent this right now.

My company has got to have quite probably the STUPIDEST password maintenance rules and policies in the world! Not only are there probably a dozen different systems that you might have a password in, but each one of them has their own specifications to be followed.

For example, differences may be:

  • Length requirements.
  • Dictionary exclusions
  • Allowed characters
  • Required characters
  • Expiration schedules
  • Reuse schedules
  • Change frequency

So, if I would want to have one password for all systems (which is a general security no-no of course, and even against written policy for some systems) or even a few systems, I would have to first make sure that it meets the length and character requirements of the system that demands the most complex password, then make sure that it doesn’t fall under any dictionary exclusions in another system (which has been known to kick passwords out for words of as few as three letters), and then make sure it isn’t excluded by the reuse policy in any of the others! Oh, and if I change a password in one system but it doesn’t jibe with another, I might have to wait a whole day to update the first one again!

Yeah, and by the way: You’ve got to do this every month, or 60 days, or 90 days, or whenever depending on which system you’re in! Sound confusing? Well it is! Of course, on the technical end, it’s supposed to be confusing – it is a security matter after all. But, on the human end the extreme complexity in itself can become a security risk. People will naturally want to simplify parts of their daily life which are complex. And the more complex, the greater the desire to simplify.

For example, let’s say you want a person to change their password once a month. Consider this a conversation between user and their computer. User is italicized, computer is bolded:

Okay password change today, no big deal. We can handle this. Just breathe in, breathe out. Concentrate. Yeah, I’ve got it!

Good job. One problem. The password has to be longer than that! Oh, really? Hmm, let me think. Okay, I’ll add another word or throw some prefixes/suffixes on there, how about that?

Great, but… What? You need more character types. *sigh* Fine. I’ll throw in a number and a special character here and there. Happy?

Almost. What now? Well, you’ve got some words in there. Isn’t that what a password is? No, I mean *real* words. You know, stuff I could look up in a dictionary? We can’t allow that. Oh my God. Okay, how about I substitute some l337 5p34k in for some of this? Is that good enough?

I think so, let me check… Oh, no no no no! We can’t have this! What the bloody hell now?!?! Well you see, you used this password last year one time when you came up for renewal. Remember, (insert number) passwords ago? What the F&$K?!?!

Okay, that does it. I’ve got to be able to remember this thing somehow! I know: I’ll use my son’s name, the nickname we use for his soccer team – I know *that* can’t be in the dictionary – a number sign, and his jersey number! How about that? Well, let me see. Wow, that’s PLENTY long enough, you’ve got all the character types, no dictionary matches, and I don’t think you’ve ever used this before. It looks like a great password! No one will ever guess it, superb job!

Finally, thanks! Now let me update this other system that I use in the same program. Oh, wait. This one doesn’t like that password. Some of the characters you used aren’t recognized. Well $#%&! Fine, how about I change this bit? Is that good?

Yeah, that’s fine. Okay, thank you! Now let me go back and make that other one the same, so I don’t forget…

Woah, wait. You want to do what? I don’t want to forget these passwords, so let me change the first one that I made to match the other one! Well, I don’t have a problem with you doing that… just not now. See, you just changed your password a few minutes ago and I can’t let you change it again now until tomorrow.

Some computers just deserve to be shot.

Anyway, my key point is here. See what password the user ended up going with? Believe it or not, this accounts for the way probably 75% of users end up making their passwords. When I was doing computer migrations – where we needed to know the user’s password – I saw this all the time. Kids’ names, jersey numbers, pet’s names, vacation plans. Anything that will be easy for them to remember, all common-knowledge stuff for anyone who might know the smallest bit about these people. Or worse, they end up writing their password down somewhere near (or attached to) their computer so they won’t forget it! (Yes, I have seen this done.)

They choose the simplest way to deal with the most complex system, thereby nullifying any security benefits that are supposedly gained by making the system so complex! And for those who don’t do this? Well, I used to wonder why people called in so often with forgotten passwords. I guess I have my answer.

Posted in IT, Office Life, Venting | Leave a Comment »

Patience

Posted by Iszi on January 23, 2007

I usually consider myself a pretty patient person when it comes to waiting on things and dealing with people. I mean, I’ll usually get inwardly aggravated and frustrated to one degree or another – often to the extent of expressing it to whomever will listen nearby – but usually when it comes to the person that I’m actually dealing with, I’m pretty cool. I usually try to give them their time to do whatever it is I need them to do, or try to give them some extra forgiveness as I attempt to get them to understand one thing or another.

Today though, that patience is gone. I don’t know exactly where it went, but all of a sudden my tolerance level for anything has dropped to nil. Someone tried to ask for a status update on some tasks which I’d only recently been given, and not had nearly sufficient time to even look at, and my first (internal) response to them was “Cease ye thou senseless drivel, lest I layeth my smack-down upon thee!”. The external response was slightly more courteous, but still to the same point. Where I would normally try to make some small show of apologetics and attempt to settle them down, I just flat said in short: “You’re not giving me enough time, and your expectations aren’t even consistent enough for me to understand what time you are giving me, so just back off and I’ll get to it when I can!”

Another instance, one guy asks me for an update on a case that he’s been asking me about for a good week or so. There’s really nothing I can do from my position right now, and I’m waiting on response from another company before I can do anything at all. He knows that already, so I told him to try contacting another group in our company that is more specialized for handling these types of cases. He says they told him there’s nothing they can do either, and wants to know if there’s any way I can force the other company into action. My response, summarized: “Well, if there was, wouldn’t the more specialized team have known this and possibly told you about it?”

Quite frankly, I don’t know what my damn problem is today, but I’m starting to get tired of dealing with it! Sure, I doubt the caffeine I’ve been taking lately (in the form of one daily dose of Starbucks Doubleshot, and occasionally another “energy drink”) hasn’t helped, but right now that’s about the only thing that can keep me going after lunchtime.

In the words of Bilbo Baggins:

“I need a holiday. A very long holiday. And I don’t expect I shall return. In fact I mean not to.”

Of course, if I were to take the 5 days of vacation time I still have left over from last year, I would probably come back. But by “vacation” I really mean a vacation from everything. Work, home, family, life, the whole shebang. I just want to get away where no one can find me for awhile and chill out. Get some time to shake the world off of me, and get refreshed.

I just want to get in my car, take nothing but the clothes on my back, and leave nothing behind but rubber and road. Then, when I get where I’m going, I don’t want to be bothered. I don’t want anyone to call me, talk to me, or even see me. I want to just spend some time somewhere that the whole world will just leave me the hell alone!

Maybe that’s an extreme end of my frustration, but that’s really what I’m feeling. Until then, back to the daily grind…

Posted in Venting, Work | 1 Comment »

Brain Dump

Posted by Iszi on December 20, 2006

Right now (as has been the case often lately) my mind is a mess of disorganized random thoughts. Pardon while I dump. This probably won’t be the last time, either.

I know that I am bound.
Why can’t I be free from these chains I have found.
I don’t know what they really are, but only that they are there.

I’m constantly wandering, wondering.
Aimlessly, pointlessly.
Lamenting that which I don’t understand.
Treasuring that which I do.

There’s an answer within my reach.
It’s there, but I can’t see.
I’m grasping at thin air.
It taunts me, tormenting me with every unsuccessful strain I make to grasp it.

Two roads diverged, but this is no yellow wood.
I’ve looked down both as far as I could.
The darkness is foreboding and so I stay put.
I feel the ground shaking, collapsing underfoot.

Posted in Random Musings, Venting | Leave a Comment »

Breaking Point

Posted by Iszi on December 14, 2006

Here I am again.
I don’t want to be here.
Why have I come here?
What draws me to this place?

The world is spinning around me.
I feel like I’m standing still.
I just want to let go.
And run!

To run, and be free.
To run, and be me.
To find who I am,
And come back a whole man.

What has brought me here?
Why can’t I leave?
What is keeping me here?
Why can’t I breathe?

To wish for freedom,
A man first finds himself bound.
What if that freedom is wrong?
An answer cannot be found.

I just want…

To run, and be free.
To run, and be me.
To find who I am,
And come back a whole man.

I stand at the edge.
On the other side is broken.
Which way will I break?
Has the answer already been spoken?

Do I have a choice?
Can true freedom be found
In this bondage I wish to break?
Or will I just break down?

I still feel the need…

To run, and be free.
To run, and be me.
To find who I am,
And come back a whole man.

Devil, get away from me!
Jesus’ blood is over me!
Holy Spirit comfort me!
God, come down and guide me…

To run, and be free.
To run, and be me.
To find who I am,
And come back a whole man.

– Iszi

Posted in My Lyrics/Poetry, Venting | Leave a Comment »