(Random: just finished the third Eragon book.)
When I was in school in English class, one the oddest things I remember being taught was how the story line in a book or movie was supposed to go.
It was something line this:
The teacher disclaimed, “It’s not always exactly like this, the hill can be steeper on the side and sometimes that’s more than one hill.”
I wasn’t all that much convinced, even at the time.
When I read a book or watch a movie, it’s usually very much unlike that. Yeah, there are more exciting and more boring parts, and yeah, it sometimes starts and ends boring (not even close to always), but beyond that there are no real similarities.
THIS is a plot. Twists, turns, and more than one “climax”. If our school system was trying to foster the young minds toward the careful art of authorship, or to prime them in life to be able to readily recount anything more than a simple story, then they work working against heir goals.
Better question: Who the heck thinks this is important to even teach to kids?!? I mean, seriously, if it was important, wouldn’t they figure it out themselves? How about instead of assigning us those boring, gory, lewd excuses that the world tries to pass off as “classical literature,” they instead gave us some bestsellers and other good books to read instead? Wouldn’t a young mind, engaged by a book that fascinates them, be more likely to not only read the book (instead of using their good friend the internet to get cliff notes), but wouldn’t they be driven to gain a better understand the language of the author as well? Isn’t the point of a grade-school education to teach the student how to use language? And was I ever paying attention to semantics when I couldn’t hardly pay attention to the droll subject matter?
I decapitate this subject and make it it’s own point with a failure to include a proper close.
So today, at work, we rolled out a new system that affected practically everyone in the company. As we were planning it, we knew that it would affect pretty much everyone across the board, so I sent out an e-mail, via my manager, to all the important heads of departments who forwarded it on to their worker bees as they saw fit. In this e-mail, I addressed some of the features that would be new to the system, and some current features that, presumably unused, would not be carried over to the new system, unless additional feedback showed otherwise.
I received some feedback from this and subsequent e-mails and adjusted the new system accordingly. Because what was changing was so big, this process (asking people to look over the new system and present feedback on what they would miss) was repeated no fewer than four times.
Finally I found out about a final go ahead and we released the system today. Everything went smoothly for the first few hours until my team lead walked up to me and told me the one of the VPs from another department needed xxyy feature added back in ASAP.
Frustrated, but willing to overlook a mistake by the head of one of the most important teams in the company, I began working on adding said feature back in – adding an optional check box that allowed them to activate the feature at will.
Partway through implementing the changes, a thought occurred to me. I went to ask my manager for clarification on that point. In the ensuing conversation, I discovered that what I was adding back in was not to be an optional feature at all – but mandatory for everyone everywhere. What more, this was not a casual want, but one that was, apparently, vital to the very system I was working on running smoothly. How did we manage to go through 4+ rounds of checks and double checks while every manager and owner received notifications, the first and foremost of which stated explicitly, as a potential point of concern, that this feature was not going to be added unless it was needed, and not have anyone manage to mention anything toward keeping this feature in the new system?
Anyhow, I’m pissed. Not immortally, eternally angry. Just pissed for the moment.