Friday, December 14, 2007

More random paca facts

OK, these turned out not to be facts as much as scattered autobiography.

1) I graduated high school when I was 16. And then college when I was 20. I therefore managed to be in grad school for about 2 weeks before I was able to legally drink.

2) Most everyone knows me as an academic and student. In reality, I've spent more of my adult life outside of academia. After the Master's degree in philosophy, I applied for three types of positions: a) teaching at prep schools like the one I attended; the only interview I ever got was from my old school and the theater department and they didn't hire me. b) teaching English in Japan. They actually offered me a position; however, I also had applied to c) this software company in Nashville, TN that the killer llama worked at, if people still remember him from the old blog. I decided I had been in school all my life and so I went and joined corporate world.

3) When applying for the job in corporate world, I heard a report from one of my interviewers that I seemed quite smart, but he was afraid I would get bored pretty quickly there. He pretty much nailed it. I stayed there 8 years, but I switched jobs every two years maximum, sometimes a bit less.

4) During the interviews, somehow I had reason to mention that I was writing a script and language for this novel I wanted to write. Kalabinabeso, I believe, was the name of the novel in the invented language and meant simply Journey to the East. It was my take-off on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. The artificial language's script was based off of Sanskrit, which is a syllabic script. I finished defining the possible syllables of the language and invented about 100 words, but then it sat after that. I still dream of one day writing the novel with the Seauni language on the left side and the English translation on the right, in the manner of classic texts, such as Plato, in which Plato's Greek is on one side. Whenever I've sold 21 million copies of something people actually want, I will spring this puppy on my agent. Ha ha, take that! I had only taken one intro linguistics course years earlier at that point and had no idea I would ever take more.

5) So what did I do for eight years in between school (as it has turned out)? The company was in the call center industry, providing software to large companies with large numbers of people answering the phone. Think all the major airlines, banks, and more. For the first two years I sort of worked in a call center myself, answering support questions from people who managed call centers. I then moved into the development side of things, which for a year was a job with some sort of direction, where I worked with programmers to design new software. (I don't program anything myself.) But then the company merged with another and my job became entirely administrative, managing people's schedules in Microsoft Project. I mentally checked out on the company at this point and went from interested employee to someone collecting a paycheck. When I couldn't handle it anymore, I actually tended my resignation without having another job to move to. (B wasn't born yet, so one could be stupid with less consequence.) However, people in the support operation offered me a position back in there where I supported the people who supported the people who supported the customers. I still needed a break and took unpaid time for a week and went to bum around western North Carolina and Virginia Beach by myself. I remain convinced that Western NC, particularly the Nantahala Gorge, is one of the prettiest places on earth. I spent a lot of time standing next to streams, not catching any trout. This was enough peace to get me through another couple years before I started applying to grad school.

6) Apparently, I can still do customer support. A co-worker of N's called a few days ago to ask N for help on why her PC was crawling. I ended up on the phone with her. While I did nothing sophisticated, my support skills linger in my ability to tell the person on the phone what columns and tabs should be appearing and when, what to click on, step by step, without ever seeing the problem.

7) I've always assumed as a back-up plan that if I don't end up teaching I could get a job in some company that does language-related software.

8) Since I mention people like Plato and Aristotle on here and I already have a master's in philosophy, why didn't I continue on in a philosophy program years ago to get a doctorate? While I was capable of doing philosophy papers back then and probably could have gotten through a program between the ages of 22 and 26, I had nothing to say. At least I knew I had nothing to say. And knowing your own ignorance is true wisdom, or so Socrates said... :)

9) I might be too sensitive to be a teacher. I've been grading exams all day and it makes me sad when someone screws up a section really badly. All that work all semester and they lose it now. Profs are supposed to have this nice distribution of scores of A, B, C, D, etc. If everyone gets too high a grade, then people question your teaching. I'd rather be so good a teacher that everyone earns an A because they all know the material. I want everyone to earn an A. Fortunately, I've bewildered enough classmates and bored enough students when substituting that I am sure I will have no trouble inspiring apathy and ignorance.

10) My left nipple is about 50% bigger than my right one.

11) OK, not really. But I wanted to wake you all up.

12) In Sacramento, California, there's a restaurant called The Rusty Duck that serves seafood and is in this restored mill looking thing. I recommend it. Haven't been there in probably 8 years.

13) I almost moved to Canada with a new job once, before I was accepted into grad school. It would have been Toronto. Part of my "support" gig involved consulting trips and I really got along with one of our clients. I've never been to a place in Canada I didn't enjoy. This includes, Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. But I'm easily pleased. I like Cedar Rapids alright too.


Sammy Jankis said...

Okay, I read and reread #10 five times before I could bring myself to move on to #11.

Ello said...

Damn it! I could have used # 10 in my story! Oh well, your story is up. I hope you like it!

Church Lady said...

Re number 10--I was already awake, and really didn't need that visual.

Re number 4--Is it something like Clockwork Orange? I tried reading it a couple of months ago but it kicked my butt. I will try again in the summer.

Re number 3--You don't look smart. Your ears are too fluffy.

Re number 9--As a student teacher, I couldn't handle grading. I had a horrible experience. I student taught part of the time in a high school. The 'real' teacher wanted me to call her my 'master teacher.' I remember grading papers, and gave one boy a 'B' when it really should've been a 'C.' But he was initially failing the class and I knew how hard he worked. My master teacher scrawled across the B and wrote a big, fat C across the paper. I didn't know she did this. The boy came up to me after class and started to ask why, but he almost couldn't get out the question because he was so upset, and I had to choke back tears and absolutely said nothing because I would've sobbed right then and there. I was so proud of him, and you should've seen this 'C' in big red lettering. Like telling him that even with his best effort, he's still only average. I hated that woman.

Sorry for the rant. I never taught after that. I volunteer so I don't have to worry about grades.

Vesper said...

Interesting facts about you, Paca - college at 20, philosophy, an artificial language, true wisdom, not to mention the nipple thing :-) and you like Montreal... Great list! :-)

writtenwyrdd said...

that is a gorgeous photo! And you have led an interesting life so far.

I would love to read your Journey to the East, even though I have yet to wade through even one volume of Journey to the East. (Alas, it lingers in the to-be-read pile still. But did you see the very cool miniseries that was done for the SciFi channel last year?)

pacatrue said...

Sammy, I know you are fascinated with my nipples. I understand and it's okay.

Ello, thanks very much! I am glad to have the world watch me vomit all over EE. It sets such a low standard that I will look good from here on out.

Hey, CL. I'm glad to have poisoned your mind. It's the least I could do. For number 4, no, it's not like Clockwork Orange, which is a new dialect of English, roughly. The language of Seauni is completely separate. No one would ever take the time to learn the entire language, which, after all, would be completely unlearnable unless I were to also publish a grammar and dictionary. It would really only be for effect, so that you feel more like it is an ancient book from a lost civilization. I could even bury tons of inside jokes and insults in there and no one would ever know. I'm liking this more and more!

Vesper, it sounds more impressive when you say it. Maybe the key to an interesting life is to summarize it in about 2 sentences and leave the boring parts out. I will admit, however, that almost all of my knowledge of Montreal is walking up and down a couple miles of St. Catherine.

Word, I should have made it clear that it isn't my picture. I went looking for images with Google. I would love for you to read Journey to the East as well, but it was never written. I have a fragment of a language, a piece of a map, and the opening 6 pages or so. I wonder if I ever wrote those up on here. I might go looking.