Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Throw me a rope, I’m in webinar hell

You know, I wondered when the time might come that I would have to turn on the comment moderation feature on blogger, and apparently the answer to that question is: when I write about euthanizing cats. As Veronica could have warned me, it's a topic about which many people feel strongly. Let me just say a few things. First, while I welcome open discussion, I can and do reserve the right to delete any comments I deem inappropriate or venomous, especially if that venom is aimed at someone other than myself. Second, I write with a heavy dose of sarcasm. It's not typically how I come across in person and it's not necessarily how I intend to communicate, but for some reason it’s what comes out of my keyboard when I sit down to write, so I go with it. And I dish it out whether I'm talking about intelligent design or nipples or, yes, even my beloved cats. But I also switch voices and write serious posts at times as well. I trust most of you can tell when I'm wearing my sarcasm hat and when I've taken it off. Celeste suggested awhile back that I put little emoticons by my posts to let readers know my mood, but I think I'm just going to continue to let you figure that out. You seem like a pretty smart bunch. And remember, if you don’t like what you read, there is always that little x in the upper right hand corner. Better yet, there is a link on my sidebar to Blogcatalog. Feel free to click on it. Go on. I dare you.

Have you ever sat through a webinar? Too fun for words, right? I’ve sat through loads of them lately. We’ve been testing out lots of different database systems at work over the past year and have finally narrowed it down to a winner, but the process has consisted of several of us sitting in our individual offices while someone, somewhere takes control of our computer screens and leads us through a fascinating tour of their software as we listen in on a conference call. Over and over and over. And after viewing six or seven of these systems, most more than once, I’m (a) enthralled with databases and (b) have had no problem keeping them all separate in my mind. At all.

For instance, there was the Drill Down system. The man who demonstrated this showed us how we could use the little arrows to drill down to get more detailed data, and then create our own subfields if we wanted to drill down further. Here’s the client screen. Need to see their history? Let’s drill down! I have no idea if the software was any good but I felt a vague desire for a cigarette and a nap afterwards.

There was also the system demonstrated by that guy with the really thick Indian accent. I think it was probably fantastic and it looked really sharp on the screen, but honestly, no bloody idea what he said.

Yesterday we had a 2 ½ hour webinar to go over the system we finally chose. This is a system I’ve already seen three times. The woman who demonstrated it spoke with a soothing, unmodulated tone just right for our post lunch viewing. Since I’m one of the new administrators for this database, I knew I would have to do my best to pay attention, even if it killed me. About 30 minutes into the call, I thought it just might. I started in on some other work, being good at multi-tasking, but after a while I didn’t think I could stand it anymore. I wondered if perhaps Celeste was on Facebook. She was on the call, too, and I knew she had to be on the verge of stapling her eyelids shut. But this is tricky, because Don, our boss, was also on the call, so I wanted to keep things under control. But I caved and logged on and this is what I saw: three minutes ago Don had become a fan of the Jewish Arts Festival.

A few minutes later Don interrupted droner and suggested that perhaps we had all reached our maximum information saturation point and how about we wrap up the call, so we all put down our electric staplers and breathed a sigh of relief. In Don’s defense, I should mention that (a) like me, he’s a most excellent multi-tasker and (b) we have a company Facebook page that he was no doubt wisely using this found time to update.

The good news is that, as database administrator, I get to go to a 3-day training to learn even more about our new system. The even better news is that the training is in California! So in 8 weeks I’m heading west, away from snow and sub-zero temps to my old stomping grounds. Did you hear that my California peeps? Do you think they’ll have Facebook in their training rooms?

In douchebag news, Pat Robertson is blaming yesterday's earthquake on Haiti's pact with the devil, backing up his claim with a convoluted account of the country's French occupation and revolution. If I didn't know better, I would think he was vying for a commentator position with Fox News. I hear they'll hire just about anybody. But then I guess he would know. About pacts with the devil, that is.

Thankfully, these occasional voices of hate are drowned out by the many nations and relief organizations that have swiftly responded to the crisis. People of Haiti, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  1. I'm still not sure what a "webinar" is, but I guess it's like the castor oil my mother always threatened me with as a kid..... nasty.

    I loved you kitty post, I did one on Life... about the cats in my life. And, your RSS feed one was great, I might even go back and reread that one. I've never understood it either, but you have shed new light there.

    I've bunged everything here into one comment through the same laziness that led to so much time since I got here.

    Love your writings/ramblings, fantastic stuff through dreary eyelids at 1:30am, maybe that's what webinar hell is?


  2. Aw, thanks AV. You're still my continent.

  3. Seriously, you got trollish comments? Sorry for doing that to you!

  4. You did nothing. My blog, my big mouth.

  5. You could just direct the trolls straight to Dr James. I hear he is a cat lover.

  6. And I forgot to ask if these horrid trolls at least gave you some flag?

  7. When will people realise that they can just not read something they don't like? Honestly.

    My husband sometimes attends webinars when he's working from home. He usually uses that time to make a cup of tea and watch the weather. I listened in on one, I think I would have fallen asleep if I'd had to participate for too long!

  8. Ha - Kim wins prize for most clever comment!

  9. I don't know you outside the blog world...but I do think I know which hat you are wearing!!!

    I know you won't concern yourself with the nasty comments as you know where the "delete" button is and how it works...

    Webinars...sounds like something I'd rather not do!!!

    California...lucky you...never been but my daughter thought it was wonderful!!!


  10. Welcome to blogging! ;-) There's a rather excellent webcomic called and one of the past strips has a guy on the computer, with his girlfriend asking him when he's coming to bed:

    "I can't!" he replies, "Someone is wrong on the internet!!!". Opinions on the internet are not only like a-holes, but additionally people feel the need to rub them all over your blog, so to speak.

    Anyway, as another cat person, who grew up with a house full of moggies, I had no problem with what you wrote, and indeed have been there.


Mmmm, comments - nom, nom, nom, nom!


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