The Airtight Garage of Dr. Fandom
by Ted White
A year ago, I wrote, in a portion of editorial intended for BLAT! #5, about all the changes that had occurred in my mundane employment, and in typical fashion, once I'd written about it, I blithely assumed this information was known throughout fandom, disseminated through the Fannish Aether . . . .
So, let me recap, for those of you less gifted at reading my mind.
In BLAT! #4, I mentioned that I was a couple of months into a New Job, at Logotel, Inc. Logotel is a T-shirt company, but not just any T-shirt company, y'understand -- Logotel is the industry leader in upscale Ts. Logotel has world rights, for example, to the Far Side shirts (& sweats). When I started at Logotel, there were forty or fifty employees at the company, it had relocated six months earlier to an industrial park in Columbia, Maryland where it occupied one-third of a large warehouse in a really parklike setting, and I worked in Accounting, handling accounts payable and the payroll.
At first I worked three days a week, but soon after the first of the year (1995), I was asked to work full-time and given a salaried (rather than hourly) position. And in order to do the five-days-a-week commute of almost 100 miles (roundtrip), the company "bought" me a new car. (Well, actually, they advanced me the down payment on a new Honda Accord coupe. But they didn't make that an advance against my salary -- they gave me an advance against my annual bonus!) I go into this in much greater detail in my BLAT! #5 editorial, and I commend it to you in the event that it is ever published . . . .
When my Annual Review occurred in January, 1996, I was offered a new and different job, that of Inventory Control Manager -- a newly-created position. I took it (along with a raise), and set out to conquer "the company's Number One Problem," which was the failure of the inventory as it existed in our computer system to match up exactly (or even approximately) with the actual stock on hand. I had little guidance (I did take a "seminar" on the subject in June), but I managed to identify at least three problems with the system that were throwing the numbers (sometimes wildly) off, each of which was corrected. In the course of all this, Logotel was growing steadily -- in sales and in size. First we took over the second third of the warehouse in mid-1995. By the end of 1995 we had the whole of the warehouse, and annual sales were grossing over $30,000,000! And we had over 70 employees full time and another 20-30 temps as needed. (Now we're talking about a second warehouse . . . .)
After the Big Problems in Inventory Control were whipped, I found myself doing more routine tasks in inventory maintainance, and recently I was transferred to Production, where I perform those tasks and more -- but Inventory is no longer my primary concern, and Inventory Control has been subsumed by Materials Management. One doesn't get stuck in one job too long, here! A growing company means lots of opportunities for advancement.
What I want to do here -- and management knows I am ideally qualified for it -- is to start editing a monthly newsletter for our customer base (over 6,000), and to concurrently develop our website, which is presently Pretty Basic. This has yet to happen, but probably will, eventually.
In the meantime, Logotel has given me real, hands-on experience with computers, and provided me with access to The Net, via both e-mail and Microsoft's web-access, allowing me to browse both fannish and non-fannish websites . . . when I have the time, which, these days, is seldom.
And that explains my Greater Participation here in this fanzine. This, like everything I've written in the past few months for APAK, is written and sent by e-mail, reaching my editors in mere nanoseconds, and allowing for an amazing amount of editorial back-and-forthing and fine-tuning in a very short period of time. (I'm writing this on a Tuesday for Thursday publication.)
And, speaking of things written in the past few months, here's a little item left over from earlier in the summer:
On a Friday in July, Lynda, Aaron and I went over to Terry Hughes' to join with Steve & Elaine Stiles, rich brown, Dan & Lynn Steffan, Colleen & Leonard Stockman, and of course Terry Himself, in welcoming Leigh Edmonds & Valma Brown to the DC area.
We found ourselves following on the Stiles's heels when we arrived, and were just in time to hear Steve querilously asking, "Lillian Edwards? I was told Lillian Edwards would be here!" She was not there, of course -- a victim of bad communications, I guess -- but it was a pleasure to see Leigh and Valma again, after 11 years. (Actually, I wonder about Steve's hearing. Later that evening he overheard me telling Dan I'd gotten our tickets for the King Crimson concert here late the following month [August 25th, actually . . . we thought of all you guys at Toner while luxuriating in Crimson sounds], in the course of which I said that I was in "physical possession" of said tickets.
"What's that?" Steve asked. "You had another physical?" I cut him off before he could pursue that line of thought any further, and told him we'd have to start calling him "Dave," which didn't seem to cheer him up much . . . .)
It was a pleasant evening's party. Leigh told us about their extended trip -- destined for Budapest -- and asked us when the next BLAT! would be coming out. ("We're waiting for the columns," was our reply. . . .)
Before the evening was over we'd half-talked Terry into utilizing his centralized location (middle of Arlington, a block from Metro) to host Fourth Friday get-togethers. I suspect he thinks we were just kidding, but won't he be surprised when we all show up a week from this Friday!
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