Tuesday, June 26, 2001

Resistance is Futile. You will be assimilated. All your portals are belong to us...

I work for the corporate office of an internet company that owns a bunch of other companies. In this economy of internet dot-bomb companies, I'm psyched to have a job.

In working for "the corporate entity" I am watching the culture of the way things have gotten done in the past change. And I am afraid I am part of the change-implementation team. We are consumed with how we're going to save money. What can we cut? Where can we slash? People are no longer people, they are "head count" like cattle. Anything that can be automated should, and the humans who did the job dutifully before will assist in making the automation happen, then be handed pink slips.

We have a portal. I work on the web development team. Our subsidiaries built their own portals... some of them. They felt they liked their autonomy, they bought servers to keep stuff safe and in house, while we busted our asses putting in an infrastructure to enable them to use the servers here for content. They aren't interested in our portal... they want to use their own.

So, they're pissing money away, which is fine if they want to pay for it out of their profits, but oh! Lookie here! THEY ARE NOT SHOWING ANY PROFITS! Oh, so sorry for you.

We've put forward initiative to consolidate all portal operations here in house, which is great for me because it protects my ass because someone has to be in charge of stuff, and we have just enough people in house to do that right this minute. It also guarantees that we'll be busy as beavers for the near future in getting content from the subsidiary's portals into ours... by hook or by crook. And, then, people at the subs will be let go, because we'll do it in house now. End of conversation.

All your portals are belong to us.

So I totally feel like I am part of a Borg Collective. The philosophy had been to let the subsidiary companies operate totally on their own, with their own everything, but that proved to be incredibly unprofitable. So, now the plan is to centralize as may operations as possible.

Nice to meetcha. I'm Christine of Borg. You will be assimilated. And I'll absorb all your stuff and it will be part of the collective. Resistance is futile... and I obviously feel so good about it.

(By the way, I am not a big Star Trek weasel in any way, shape, or form, but I always have sort of feared the concept of the Borg. Nameless, machine-like entities just sucking up whatever they come across and destroying its identity and personality... that's what business is all about though). I can't say as I think any of our centralization activities are wrong. I mean, money is the bottom line. Our stock is lame. We've got to do something NOW so we can be here in 10 months. In 2 years... so I can keep getting paid.

So I'm trying to figure out what our strategy will be to politely, and with great encouragement and education around it, get people to see that this is all for the good.

The good of the collective. I mean, the corporation. Right.

On another note, I rented some movies in Doug's absence as he is now someplace west of St. Louis. I watched one of them last night. "The Wonder Boys," with Michael Douglas, Tobey McGuire, Frances McDormand and Robert Downey, Jr.

It was an amazing movie. I loved it. I won't talk too much about the plot, but suffice it to say it takes place at the University of Pittsburgh for the most part, many scenes filmed in the Cathedral of Learning, and there were lots of road scenes around the rivers and in very Western Pennsylvania looking neighborhoods. I love Western PA and what it looks like, and enjoyed the visuals, as well as the story. The story weaves round and round several problems that crop up in the day of Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) as he prepares to go to a University dinner party full of pompous windbag authors and pretentious English students. A world of Writers and Wannabe Writers, that echoed a lot of what I remembered from my college years.

Michael Douglas' character, Professor Grady Tripp, was likeable enough in a pathetic way, even if he was kind of a self centered jack ass unable to end a book he's working on, is unavailable emotionally and spiritually for his wife, and has knocked up his lover, the University's Chancellor. Tobey McGuire is wonderful as a creepy student named James Leer who fabricates an unbelievable life of suffering and pain, which he pours out in stories that he maintains are autobiographical, to the point where his fellow students are sickened by his tales and can't stand him. Robert Downey, Jr., is pheomenal as Crabtree, a gay editor/manipulator of writers (and in the end, the young author James Leer).

My favorite scene is when they're in a bar and they scope out a patron and make up a story about what he's all about. They name him Vernon, and proceed to weave this imaginative tale around him about where he got scars, and how his brother was murdered by the mob. It reminded me of something that I used to do with my friend Bonnie in college, where we would just create fiction based on what people looked like. I watched this scene with amazement, watching them enjoy the creation of a tale, watching the characters feed off each other's imaginations, and it really made me laugh. I highly recommend this movie. Good ending (a little too hollywood for my liking, but an okay ending nonetheless) and I think I will rent it again when Doug gets home from his trip.

Okay. Gotta run. I have to pick Geoff up from pre-school because I am in "single-mom mode" this week while Doug's away. I have been dropping him off very early and getting in here, very early. It's good to get out of here very early.

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