Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The backstory

What I'm writing tonight, if I quote someone, I've got their permission.

Yesterday, we all put stuff up at our sites. Under different titles. We all worked on it. And it was supposed to provide everyone with an easy post. For some of us, it did. For C.I. and Dona, it didn't.

Rebecca had a topic and some stuff for it. But she wasn't pleased about how the writing turned out. She e-mailed that intending to call (C.I.) but that didn't happen because she couldn't get a line to this country. What ended up happening was C.I. waited for stuff to come in, Rebecca wasn't the only one having problems, and then Dona called and they both ended up having to deal with it. For them, it was an all nighter.

That wasn't what anyone planned. Elaine organized the whole thing to make it easy for everyone and she was especially hoping it would mean an easy period for C.I. Dona points out that after the The Third Estate Sunday Review was completed, she went to sleep.

C.I. still had to do The Common Ills. And then had other things to do. And? Then it was night time and time to work on "And the war drags on . . ."

The plan had been as follows.

*Everyone would come up with their item either by themselves or working with others. ( worked together).

* You could do it when it was good for you. You then either just e-mailed it in or e-mailed and it called. Ava, Jess and C.I. were going to smooth it over and since there were over 3 of them, it was thought that they would be able to knock it out quickly.

* After they finished it, they'd e-mail a copy out, people would wake up, log on, copy and paste and -- boom -- easy entry for everybody. After midnight, they could post it at any time they wanted.

Instead, problems came up.

*Ava and Jess were in the mountains with friends and dealing with a very old phone system. (How old? So old the place they were staying had a party line.) They weren't able to dial in on the laptop. So they weren't able to hunt down their items on time or to assist with smoothing over the post.

* Rebecca had sent her item in. The noted she wasn't happy with it and that she'd call with changes. She wasn't able to get through for hours. (Rebecca: "I should've just e-mailed in what I wanted to change but instead I got caught up in a power struggle of, 'I will get through! I will make this call!'")

* Ty's links in his e-mail ran together and had to be tracked down. (It was known that Ty wouldn't be by a phone -- it was a romantic weekend for Ty.)

I'm sure I'm forgetting something but that was the basically it.

I found out when I woke up early Monday and checked my e-mail. I didn't have the post. I figured it was an oversight and went to the other sites to grab it from one of them. When no one had it up, I called C.I. intending to hang up if it rang more than a few times. C.I. grabbed on the 1st ring and explained a) on the phone with Dona and b) they were still working and had been working all night.

At which point, I called Mike. He was asleep and his mother couldn't wake him up (she tried repeatedly, he was out). Instead, Trina ended up putting off her own stuff (preparing the lunch for everyone in their family that was coming over) to hunt down some stuff.

Trina and I were able to turn out an item building on what we knew Ty was trying to write about before his links ended up running all the way through his e-mail.

Wally, Jim and Mike had done their item but I was comfortable calling Mike because I knew he was at home. Wally and Jim weren't. (Wally was at his grandfather's and Jim was spending the holiday with his father and step-mother.)

I couldn't get ahold of Elaine. She'd spoken to C.I. Sunday night. She was the first one to complete her item. She phoned to be sure it made it through and then she stayed on the phone while C.I. was doing the "And the war drags on . . ." entry.

After that, she unplugged her phone (she was covered in the case of a work emergency but there shouldn't have been one) and had her cell phone charging in the kitchen.

I did wake up Kat because I knew she'd want to be. (I also know to give her a second to gripe when she answers the phone. I'm not making fun of her, she'll tell you that herself. If the phone wakes her, don't hang up, just give her a few minutes to gripe and then she's awake and ready for whatever reason you called.) I made the decision not to call Betty because, although I knew she'd want to help, I also knew with three small children, she needed to sleep as late as possible on a rare day off from work.

By the way, Ava and Jess had worked with Dallas when they couldn't log in on the laptop and Dallas had hunted down links and helped them with their section.

Dona says the plus is that what was completed was a lot tighter because while she and C.I. were waiting, they wrote and rewrote every sentence repeatedly. They also were able to grab Afghanistan because that was breaking while they were on the phone. They were trying to provide Ty's links (which messed up in the e-mail) by going to the news sources they thought he might use and Dona said, "There's a thing on BBC identified as 'Breaking.'" C.I. was at Reuters and looking at an article on the same story. Which was how we all ended up having the Afghanistan item.

Dona also asked me twice to note that she went right to bed Sunday morning after The Third Estate Sunday Review was up and completed. Her point, and it was Elaine's concern as well, that what was supposed to be easy for everyone ended up being an all night thing for C.I. All night from Saturday morning.

C.I.'s only comment was to note that Ava and Jess went through the state they were in to help out C.I. with something on Monday. C.I. was needing to go through personal papers as well as thin out a number of things, including magazines. That was the plan for Monday afternoon. It needed doing. It may not seem like a big thing but I'll note that C.I. got a pair of shoes 2 weeks ago. Needed them (walking shoes) for over a month but there was never time. So Ava and Jess cut short their plans because they knew that technical problems had interfered with the plan and they wanted to help out. (Jess says it took five hours and they still "really weren't done.")
(Jess also says he made out like a bandit and that next time, we should all try to show up for that because a lot of things were boxed up to be donated and a lot of things were tossed but anything that Jess or Ava liked, C.I. insisted they grab it.)

So that's the story behind the post that went up everywhere Monday. Jim said I should write it up and post it because it's something they would like to note at The Third Estate Sunday Review but wouldn't have time to.

If you're wondering about race, I'm pushing for that. C.I., Betty, Ava and basically everyone is pushing for that. But we haven't had time to note it. We're hoping to grab it shortly.

Had everyone gotten sleep and rest over the holiday (Dona didn't, no matter what she says, and obviously C.I. didn't either), the plan was to make this the fiction edition. That's not up in the air. (If it's postponed, it will be done later.)

There are always things we want to do and never get time. Then there are things we do but don't think they're strong enough (either for the writing or the topic) to make it up at the site (they go into the print edition -- and Ava and C.I.'s "TV commentary: About the women" is much longer in the print edition.).

We had thought we'd have time to do a number of things last Saturday; however, Ty brought up Wikipedia. To write "Crapapedia: Kids don't use it to research papers! " required a lot of research. C.I. could spot errors and tell us where to go but we still had to do research and there's a large number of things we researched that didn't make it in. How that worked was we were all researching for hours and then we wrote it. It took hours and hours because we had a lot more information than we used. (Point, there were even more mistakes than what we noted, we just noted the biggest ones.)

That's how it goes every weekend. I'm not complaining. But there's always a story that comes up that we think, "We have to do this." So we do it and then we're behind schedule due to all the work it takes.

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