21 May 2011

I Was Playing Galaga

I was playing Galaga last night and I was in my zone. I had just enough focus on my ship that I could see both the bullets and the bugs coming at me while moving my ship back and forth out of harm's way and blasting away at the buzzing insects. Yea, that zone. I had just gotten to stage two, so things weren't really that intense, but I was settling in nicely despite a band playing “Walk This Way” and two drunken dudes cursing over a foosball game.

“You make that look so easy,” a young voice pierced my Shield of Don't Bother Me. The waitress behind me smiled. I knew this because I saw her reflection on my screen a nanosecond before my ship was blasted by two torpedoes and a giant blue bug. I watched in despair while the metal pieces of my ship burst into flames and a mushroom of black smoke and orange embers blossomed from it.

I was pissed, but I forgave her. It's not like she did it on purpose. So, I got back into the game with one of my three remaining ships and made it into the tunnel ray of the green spider. My ship twirled to an alien beat before the spider took it to the top of the screen as a captured vessel. I was moments away from the challenge stage where I get to blast all the bugs with my newly acquired double ship, but first I had to kill the spider and take back my captured vessel.

The challenge stage is an awesome experience with double ships, even more awesome with triple ships, increasing your odds of hitting your targets. But I wasn't there yet. I had to get my double first. I shot one bullet at a time, careful not to blow away the payload. Aim. Fire. Got it! The rewarding tune played by the arcade game sang into my ears and my captured ship spun about before it finally rested itself beside my active vessel. I was ready for the challenge stage.

"Oh my gosh. Look, it's Galaga!" I looked back behind me and there stood this rather large drunk woman, beer bottle in hand. "Ain't played that in years."

I heard the familiar crash and burn, not only once, but twice. Both ships gone. I didn't have to look back at the game to know this, but if the look on my face told that woman anything, it was that I wasn't in any kind of mood to discuss my precious game with her.

16 May 2011

Tone - No Drama Here

When writing fiction, we can create all the drama we want. In fact, readers want that. However, in business, we deal in strictly "NO DRAMA". It can be tricky trying to take the drama out of your readers’ heads before they even read your message. Some readers feel instant drama over certain words or the arrangement of words.

Here is a letter to consider. Negative impact words in red, positive in blue:


For the past three weeks, we have been getting emails concerning the rerouting of parking spaces at the front of the building. This project has been in the working for many months and we have all been forewarned of the limited parking spaces during this period.

Please do NOT send me emails regarding this parking issue as it is the responsibility of City of Madeupcityname, not our internal facilities maintenance department.

Thank you!

That has some serious tone in it, don't you think? When you compile a letter of any sort, you should keep in mind that the reader does not care what you are going through. They are not concerned with how bad your day has been. All they want from you is for you to respond with something helpful. If you are broadcasting a message, you have to be more diligent in removing the drama.

Broadcasting with tone is not a good idea. When you broadcast with tone, EVERYBODY gets it that you probably need a vacation.

Instead of being a victim (having tone), try being a hero (being helpful). It is easier to do. It sounds like the person who wrote this next message is more in control, doesn't it?

Good morning, everyone!

I would like briefly to remind you of the limited parking spaces we have available due to an ongoing construction project sponsored by the City of Madeupcityname in an effort to improve navigation flow to and from the inner city metropolis.

Please send all inquiries to:

City of Madeupcityname, Planning and Development Department
5785 Main Street
Madeupcityname, XX 89999
(888) 878-4444.

Thank you!

05 May 2011

Time Management Crisis

I feel terrible about an argument I had with my husband of 24 years. The other day we were discussing how we managed to stay together all these years and one thing led to another and we both became very defensive. What caused this defensiveness? Time Management.

You see, I am the type of person who likes to maintain a certain pace throughout the day. If I didn't accomplish one thing during the day, it meant it had a lower priority and I would do it the next day or the next. I don't see it as a failure on my part. I also don't carry a list in my head of things to do. Trust me, there's a lot of shit going on in there, I don't have room for lists!

My husband is the complete opposite. He has a list or two...or three. His lists have priority over what's in my head. If there is an item of lesser priority, and it didn't make it onto his list of things to do, don't fret! Because while you're in the car, attached to his hip, running the errands on his list, he will remember something he missed and it will go on the list, be assured! Remember that 2:00 pm walk-in at the hairdresser you wanted to make? Forget it. Because something made it on his list and that trumped what was floating around in your head for the past 30 minutes!

Why do I feel terrible? I could have handled myself a little better. I could have simply offered to help him fill out his list. Then instead of arguing with him about his managing and using up all my time, we could have had a list that looked like this:

1. Go to Lowe's and buy hardware for tool shed
2. Go to Pinch a Penny and buy chlorine for the pool
3. Get my hair did
4. Get a Pedicure
5. Stop by Wal-Mart for birthday cards
6. Get a large tattoo of a demon across my back

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