Journal Entry: March 19, 2009

Well, hmm….

I don’t usually talk about work much on my blog, because the life of a Technical Writer is not an interesting one. But this seems worth posting.

Back in December, as you all know, our house was robbed. In addition to every single thing that makes our lives happy (read: electronic toys), I lost a work laptop that I’d accidentally left at the house that day. That was no small source of anxiety for me, given the recent attention paid to losses of government laptops. This one had no sensitive security information on it, but still.

Anyway, everyone at work told me not to spend a lot of time worrying about. There would be paperwork (and, oh my, there was), but apart from that it was just a thing. The Federal regulations are pretty rigorous, and I absolutely had to get the loss report filed within three days of the incident. I turned it in the day after I got back.

Then, on Tuesday just before heading home from work, our property manager at work called to tell me that my report had gotten lost in the paperwork of a massive inventory that was going on at the time, and she was just getting to it. She said she had everything but my Memorandum Receipt (the form that allows me to take government property away from the facility), and the police report.

Now, when it happened, T– called the police in first thing and we filed a report. The officer gave us a little card with contact information and our casefile number, and that was it. When we filed our claim with the insurance company, we gave the agent a copy of that card, and that was enough for her. So when I filled out the incident report at work, I did the same thing. I figured if that was insufficient, if they wanted me to go through all the hassle of tracking down the actual police report, they would let me know. When I didn’t hear back from them, I figured everything was taken care of.

Then of course, as I said, I got that call on Tuesday. I went home and asked T– if she knew where the card was, and then forgot about it.

Yesterday morning I showed up at work, and my Team Lead came storming out of his office fresh off a phone call to ask me if I had my police report in hand. “Not on me,” I said, cursing myself for forgetting to bring the card in.

He said, “Well, you’re getting it. Go to the police station if you have to, but you’re getting that report right now, because this has gotten ugly.” Turns out they’re really not kidding about that three-day deadline. I did everything I was supposed to, but because our property manager didn’t follow through on it, I’m now going to be the subject of an FBI investigation.


Yesterday was an intense day, actually. In addition to that stuff at work, I also wrote an email to the author of The Numerati — on a whim, not expecting any sort of answer from him — but telling him I’d written a novel on the same concept and wondering aloud if he’d be willing to give me his reaction to it. To my utter astonishment, he wrote back within an hour saying he couldn’t commit to reading a whole novel, but if I sent him the first chapter he would give it a look.

That’s exciting. Obviously, I’m hoping he’ll like the first chapter enough to ask to read the rest, but just getting an answer at all surprised me, let alone offering to read it. Frankly, if a complete stranger wrote and asked me to read his material, I’d almost certainly ignore the email altogether.

I also started the process of applying for graduate school at OU. Dad’s been pushing me to pursue a Master of Fine Arts for a while now, and then Writer’s Digest recently spotlighted the unique Master of Professional Writing program at OU, which looks awesome. So, yeah, I’m trying to get in this fall. I’ll have to take the GRE before then, and I’ll need to do a little bit of leveling (specifically a Stats class and Mass Comm. History or Mass Comm. Law, which I almost took at O.C. just out curiosity). Apart from that, the whole program seems perfect for me.

Then Dad spent some time sounding concerned about me providing a copy of my novel to a published author (who probably has the contacts necessary to steal my material and get rich off of it). I don’t see any risk of that with this guy, but he got me thinking about the Copyright Registration process, and I remembered reading a year or so ago about the Copyright Office starting work on an electronic registration system. So I went home and checked it out.

Turns out, it’s a pretty simple process (given, of course, that it’s government paperwork). Took me about fifteen minutes (and thirty-five bucks) to register Gods Tomorrow. There’s an option to register multiple unpublished literary works with a single registration, but I didn’t really have my other stuff ready, and I needed to get it done in a hurry before dinner, so for now it’s just Gods Tomorrow. It’s nice to know how simple it is, though. I’ll probably do everything else in a batch sometime later this month.

Then we went to dinner at Johnny’s, where we met K– and N– (with their baby, of course), and my sister and her whole family. We had a delicious dinner, then D– and my brother-in-law came back to the house and got caught up on Family Guy while the rest went to church.

After that, T– and I watched a new comedy, Better Off Ted (which was pretty good) while the TiVo built up a suffiicent buffer on Lost. Then Lost, and immediately after that I disappeared into the office.

I got about two thousand words done last night — half a chapter, the way I write them — and then finished up chapter three over lunch today. I’m optimistic that I can get chapter four done tonight, and then I’m still on track to finish it in March with a chapter a day. We’ll see how that goes.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.