Subject: DenverNotes - It's Go Time!

Late September, 1997

This letter got a bit long, so I’ve introduced an easy-to-follow indexing system so you can skip as many sections as you wish. I stole some of this from a couple of letters I wrote already, so deja vu may ensue.

INTRODUCTION

I want to give a shout out to all my boyz ‘n' girlz and a special hello to all the sweater weather, raincoat wearin’, heated car seats and foglamp option drivin’, umbrella totin’ folk out there. I mean, is it normal to have 50 degree temperatures as the HIGH in September? Whoaaa.... With El Niño warming the oceans, things are looking interesting for this Colorado winter.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you’ve already been through the Weather Wringer(tm) for my central Europe trip so I’ll stop here and forever (until the first time my little finger gets cold) hold my peace.

THE NEW JOB

So far I'm having fun with the whole concept of a new job, although I went out and tied one on until about 4 in the morning before realizing that it was a school night. I ended up with minimal sleep, my car got towed and I took a taxi to work. I showed up late (9:30am) in time for a meeting with the Vice President and my boss sitting three feet behind me cracking bad jokes while my hangover kicked in. Bummer.... I need to remember not to do that during the week and to hydrate better even when I decide to do stupid stuff like that on the weekend. Life’s full of little lessons.

I went to Las Vegas recently for the weekend to celebrate one week working. Quite an accomplishment in not getting fired if you consider I’ve never had a boss before. I won $25 at the tables and I've discovered this new-fangled game called craps... Damn, it's cool. Now I understand the true joy of Vega$.

Going with that, and my new GUPPY status (Gen-X Urban Professional) I convinced US West to spend some dough to send me out to the “Uhhh, it’s really important, Boss” computer convention ComDex – in Vegas. Gotta luv the big, uncaring corporate pocket!

SWIMMING UPSTREAM
I’d like to start an informal and irregular GUPPY newsletter, which I’ve tentatively entitled Swimming Upstream. In this month’s edition, I’ll talk about breaking the glass ceiling, and why football should not be played in highrise buildings.

Actually, I’m now realizing that meetings occur here at US West. In my first week alone, I had 15 hours of meetings, and people haven't even invited me.

Also, there is some new terminology to learn not to laugh at outloud. We’ll start with the subject of this missive, “It’s GO time!” a sad display of corporate enthusiasm. “Disconnect” doesn’t involve forgetting to pay your cable bill, “In my own mind” means the opinions expressed should have stayed there, “negotiate” turns lunch into a drama, and “for the team” is a threat and a curse simultaneously made by weenies in the office.

I’ve also gone through something known colloquially as “compliance.” It’s a pleasant word that is brought up right after US West’s comments about the high value of employees, as in “We value our employees as supreme assets in making this company great, however, all employees will gladly remain in full compliance on all issues or be terminated.” Following this, I took a 4-hour BORG-like assimilation training to learn things like “US West employees follow the law as a policy.” Begs the question, really.

Along with assimilation (RESISTANCE IS FUTILE, employee) I was “strongly urged” and heavily pressured to sign up for automatic payroll deductions to give money to the US West PAC (Political Action Committee). Talk about disgusting. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a small hole in my wallet. I told them to shove it up their, oh, wait, sorry sir, yes, I’ll complete the application now.

I am proud to say I broke the Corporate Back, as it were, and avoided being handed an e-mail address that looked like this: wefish2@netmail2.mnet.uswest.com and instead triumphed again over meaningless bureaucracy to get bilfish@uswest.com (go ahead and continue using bilfish@beer.com though, no changes necessary). Small victories count.

Seriously, I’ve decided to give Corporate America one year to see if I enjoy the experience. During that time, I will try to suck every dollar out of US West that I can, since I don’t like them (errr, us).
 

FALL OF ROME

Ahhh, Pride Goeth Before the Fall, which goes before a hard Colorado Winter. As part of the new GUPPYdom I’m creating, there is a certain humility to be introduced. One cannot avoid occassionally tripping when one’s nose is so high in the air, and this will partially offset my ego, which is growing and forcing me to buy bigger clothes. In this month’s edition of ego-deflators, I offer:

    --Painfulllll hangover during the workday
    --Meetings, meetings, meetings and a flat ass in a pear tree
    --Car towed ($100 cash to get it back, no checks, sir, crisp bills only)
    --Sunburn on my head which is now peeling nicely
    --Denver weather is not so great (50F high)
    --I'm still ugly, despite expensive hair and dye treatments

However, on the plus side, the elevators in my building take the same time to do 28 floors that Internet Direct’s health hazard of a thrill ride took to move one floor...

...Which reminds me. Speaking of ugliness, I have some pictures from my euro-trip and I am going to begin putting them on-line as soon as I get my computer set up in my apartment. Hopefully, I’ll be moving in to the closest thing I’ve had to long-term living in years. I signed a one-year lease, and I expect to be able to sleep in my own bed for the first time in a year and a half. I’m predicting good rest and clear skies.
 

NEW RESIDENCE

My new rental place is a townhome on the edge of downtown, and I’m excited to be moving in there. For those who wish to send me sympathy cards for my poor rent-negotiating skills, please direct them to the GUPPY project at my new address:
    1150 Inca St. #60
    Denver, CO 80204

My new phone number is (you might have guessed):
    (303) 53-GUPPY

I’d like to invite all to join me for what promises to be a season good for skiers, bad for newly-relocated Phoenicians. I’ll work on getting the guest bedroom set up as soon as I manicure my back yard.
 

RANDOM TRAVELS

My enjoyment in acting as a traveler didn’t end with the new job, I’ve decided. This weekend I spent investigating my new home, Denver. I drove up to Lookout Mountain (alone, so no snickers, please. On second thought...) and took a nice hike down and a lung-collapsing jog back up. Apparently, my air-intake valves are malfunctioning up above the mile high city for some reason. During the breath-defying hike, I barely managed to avoid visiting Buffalo Bill’s grave and Bistro, a close call.

Denver has a lot of parks (and mountains just off to the left) and I took a nice walk around on Sunday as well, enjoying the last few moments of good weather, and thinking that once I’m acclimatized to the thin air here I’m gonna go down to Phoenix and kick some low-altitude ass, that’s what I’m a thinkin’.

Yup, well, I apologize for the length of this letter; you may judge my sincerity in that I sent it to everyone anyways.

From the Rocky Mountains of Colorado,

Cheers!

BilFish
Crown Prince of GUPPYdom
bilfish@beer.com