Cynthia J. Cordell

Cynthia J. Cordell
Author

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tim and Rosie


Tim and Rosie: A Short Story by Cynthia J. Cordell

     Time and distance could not keep them apart. She was working in the city and he was working in the next town. Each of them worked long hours – well into the night sometimes. Rosie was a video journalist helping to create software that would revolutionize news reporting. Tim was responsible for the computer security department for a cloud database company.
     The two had met over coffee in their hometown. They were each supporting their parents and they struggled to have a relationship of their own. In the surrounding cities where they lived, they were instituting the two-to-three-day work weeks. Rosie and Tim wanted to qualify for that program.
     There were freelance journalists who contributed news reels to Rosie’s news company. Rosie was devising software that would compensate the journalists with a wage salary whenever they contributed some news. The novelty about her software was that the wage salary was adjustable. Mostly the news segments were about health issues. The biggest stories were about cancer. Many stories followed an individual’s struggle against cancer. The life they led were often documented and Rosie gathered these news clips, cleaned them up and often put a narration on them with a voice-over talent.
     The software Rosie worked on paid the freelancer their normal fee, a lower one, a  higher one or a variable one. The consistently higher wage earners were reviewed by upper management. They even brought them into the studios to interview them for job positions. Rosie’s specialty of knowing just what to pay them was working out so well, that she began a system of recommending and outsourcing some of the freelance talent to other corporations and executive companies looking for such individuals. She was making money for the news company because by acting as a corporate headhunter, she received a percentage of what the freelancer was contracted out for.
     Meanwhile Tim was in charge of encrypting all of the passwords for the database company that he worked for. The security questions for his employees were ever changing. He set up questions for them like what was the name of their childhood pet or the name of the elementary they went to. Tim could get creative with the process of securing the company’s database security. He even submitted an article on cloud computing to management, it went something like this:
“A Take on Cloud Computing”
By Tim Russ
     There is that buzz going around about cloud computing and the benefits it has to offer for the small and large businesses who may not have the computer memory storage capacity or the bandwidth with the faster speeds at their facility to do their data crunching.
     Testing software and running customer simulations from different angles to foresee any problems that may arise before their particular brand of service goes public, takes A) storage capacity and B) appropriate bandwidth for the faster transference rate between the customer input and the company's servers.
     Cloud computing seemed like such a novel concept to many entrepreneurs when it first became available that they had skepticism about the safety of their timely and sometimes sensitive data. At one seminar that I was privy to, the sales rep for a cloud computing facility answered the safety question by saying that the company could encrypt their data before uploading it to the cloud computing facility for processing.
     There are some people who have effectively taken the plunge into cloud computing. One of them, let's say is a young programmer named Chelsea, who has landed an Internet business project entailing the handling of greeting card traffic. She is responsible for creating software that will catalog the different cards, tagging them with appropriate discount codes and generally making them available to the public via the Internet.
     Chelsea has a particular style to her programming known to a few select gurus as that must-have-a-staging-platform-first-style. She has to have one particular address in her memory cache to review incoming fresh data or even existing older data. She will interrupt the flow of her programming process just to examine a particular variable or data set.
     A greeting card discounted at 10% might catch Chelsea's eye for examination for example, and at some point in her software program, she will pull the tag name for that card - say it's called NostalgicCard_11056 and put it in the memory compartment 0x20f86 to test to make sure that it passes all the integrity rules (from it being a black and white card, to being properly discounted) under stressful programming conditions and scenarios.
     Let's say that Timothy is a sales representative for CloudPresence.com (a fictitious company). He is very personable and confident about his company's Internet services and he wants Chelsea to become as informed as possible about cloud computing, so she doesn't feel as if she's signing her life away when she signs on the dotted line. Having a good rapport with your cloud computing rep is a must, because it is likely to be a long term business relationship.
      Like many freelancers who are software engineers who don't have the storage capacity or the transference bandwidth for their data, cloud computing gives Chelsea a second chance by offering her the means to test aspects of her software as she launches an Internet Greeting Card site for a client from her home office.
     Chelsea's story is only one example of course, but it touches upon the population's continual need for bigger (in this case, storage capacity) and faster (in this case transference bandwidth) things.
    
     Rosie for her part wrote a feel-good story that she hoped would bring a smile to her cancer-patient readers. The story touches a little bit on fashion. She developed it into a video montage. Here is the raw footage of it:

Database Design Using Nail Polish
     For a fun sprint into the combination of a fashion scene and a database design, I wrote a short story about indexing database files using the color spectrum available in nail polishes. In my short story "Daily Diary," a young girl by the name of Zoe emails a fashion magazine editor asking her how to "shop" for a high school fashion show, that she was going to be graded on by the end of the school term.
     The fashion editor's name was Cassie and Cassie's suggestion to Zoe was to pick a nail color and shop for fashion pieces that matched that particular color. For example if Zoe had initially picked out a darker tan color, then she might budget out her fashion show account, by purchasing a wide leather belt, that would hang loosely around her waistline.
     Also, for a bubble gum pink nail polish color, Zoe might pick up a few different shades of a camp shirt in that tone of pink. Cassie also pointed out that eye glasses, with outlandish frames that were that shade of pink should also be welcomed to her collection, that and few colors of boas.
     The database part will then be for Zoe to learn a little about the PHP programming language to build an online database, using the nail polish colors as the index colors to mix and match the fashion pieces.
     The days from the movie "Clueless" aren't that far off, when the lead character computerized her wardrobe selection methods.
     With a database that has filed pieces of clothing away, using nail polish colors as index values, you could literally ask for a "match" between the tan and blue nail polish colors and find some mix and matchable wardrobe combinations.

     Rosie and Tim eventually got married. They both qualified for the two-to-three-day-work-weeks. They ended up spending a lot of quality time together.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Questionnaire


“Questionnaire: A Short Story” by Cynthia J. Cordell
     Crissy was preparing a group of questions for her friends. She told them that she was writing a feature for the local paper about the trends that young adults were engaging in. So, her questioning began and no matter how strange the questions were, her friends just went ahead and answered them anyway.
     Question 1: They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. What color do you think that apples should be, that way you would find them really appetizing?
     John Answered: I would keep them red and green, but maybe just for the heck of it, I would add blue spots on them.
     Helen Answered: I would make apples bubble gum pink in color and also change their taste to cotton candy.
     Cheryl Answered: I would keep them the same colors that they already are, but maybe I’d add some silver jagged lines on them. I sure wish there was some way to measure how many apples each person needs to eat before they reach a sensible level of them in their system (just as a side note).
     Moving on, Crissy had other questions:
     Question 2: If you could take any college course right now (regardless of how old you are or what level of education you have), what would it be?
     Mariah Answered: I would take a business degree in Marketing/Advertising. I’ve always wanted a clientele that I could cater to, by selling their products with the right strategies.
     Anaya Answered: I would take a modern dance class that specialized in the disco era. After the class, I would turn around and teach what I’d learned to the local public.
     Garland Answered: I would take a fashion design class and learn the skills necessary to create haute couture. Then I would move to Paris and work for one the more famous fashion houses.
     At this point Crissy decided to talk to her editor about the paper she was writing to see if she was on the right track of what he was expecting from her. So, the next morning, she showed up early in his office.
     “Yes, Crissy,” Bill said, “I read some of your preliminary notes and I see that you’ve taken a creative approach in writing your article on modern trends. And while your friends seem competent enough, I don’t think that they are sympathetic to what the reaction will be from our sponsors or general readers. I like where you were going with the different colors of the apple because we want the public to be eating more apples (and other fruits and vegetables). However, you lost me when you asked your friends about what college class they wanted to take, because presumable by now, your friends have all graduated from college and have other things that they want to do with their lives.”
     “I understand Mr. Neally, I was just feeling them out for the types of questions I would continue to ask them, the next time ‘round. These notes are not etched in stone and of course a lot of the material won’t even make it to the final version of the article. If you could just look at these questions and answers as a type of warm-up before the real deal, then I think that we’d be on the same page,” Crissy explained herself.
     “Well okay then, you’ve got a few more weeks before the article deadline, so touch base with me anytime you need to before then, and I’m sure that we’ll be on the same page,” Bill Neally said ending their meeting that Monday morning.
     Well, it was back to the drawing board for Crissy, as she set out to design more questions that would be better in tuned with her generation, the paper’s sponsors and the general reading public.
     Question 3: What are your thoughts on the prevailing notion that caffeine fuels the body and that the purest form of caffeine is coffee?
     Cheryl Answered: I live on caffeine and I do believe that coffee is the purest form of caffeine, but I just don’t taste the caffeine directly from coffee sometimes. But I love coffee products and yes, I do think of caffeine as a type of fuel for the human body.
     Stan Answered: I mainly drink my caffeine in the form of colas and teas. You just can’t beat a good cup of Earl Grey as a pick-me-up. As a side note, are pets allowed to have caffeine?
     Edna Answered: I think that people need to have a well-rounded diet and that caffeine should just be the icing on the cake. We need to stop obsessing about the ideal body type and focus on what will bring the general population back to a healthy nutritional balance.
     Question 4: Do you save up for all the Christmas gift-giving way before the holidays, or closer to them or does it vary from year to year?
     Ashford Answered: You know what, I like where you’re going with this, because I try to give just the right Christmas present to all my friends and relatives and that usually means that I will start putting aside money for a Christmas fund by mid-April.
     Aida Answered: Actually, some years I shop all year-round for Christmas gifts and some years, it’s just all last-minute.
     Crissy asked her friends some more questions, some of them were ordinary and some of them were off the beaten track, but all them came from her heart. She set up another meeting with her editor Bill Neally the following Monday morning, just to touch base with him and to show him, how much further she had gone in her article research.
     “Crissy, I like where your going with this caffeine angle. You know that I have an aunt who was diagnosed with a mental illness, but all she needed was a little bit of caffeine (in my mind, anyway). She was hospitalized several different times and all the medication in the world didn’t do her any good. I wanted to tell her doctors to just give her some caffeine, so she can drink it, just like the rest of us! Anyway, good job on posing that question to your friends. The Christmas gift question, I thought was interesting also. It kinda tugs at your heart strings a little. So, I think that you’re on the right track. I believe that you just need to ask one or two more questions and maybe read up on those high-end fashion magazines for more filler research, and you’ll have enough material for your article. Have you thought of a title for it?” Bill asked.
     “I was thinking of calling it ‘Trends We Follow.’ I’ve got a couple more ideas for questions and then after reading up on the popular magazines – both for male and female readers, I will turn in my rough draft to you. Thanks for your time Bill!” Crissy said.
     “Not a problem, Crissy” Bill Neally said.
     Question 5: What kind of television programming would you like to see more of? Comedies, singing competitions, dancing competitions, documentaries, soap operas, detective shows, game shows – let me know what you’d like to see.
     Cheryl Answered: I’d like to see a documentary on the disco revolution.
     Ashford Answered: I’d like to see them bring back those spaghetti westerns.
     John Answered: More quiz shows please! And also, more sit-coms.
     Crissy tallied up all of the answers to all of her questions and started to make side notes to each pair of question and answers. She started to write out her rough draft and she treated it as if she was a newscaster reporting on all the latest trends around town. It started out as “Good morning everyone! Out where you are, a sample of you told me what was on your minds. I’ve made a few discoveries about what you’re all concerned about and along the way I realized just how interesting you all are …”

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

An Easter Short Story


“An Easter Short Story” by Cynthia J. Cordell

     Once in a while Shayla liked to sketch something on pieces of paper lying around. Today she came across two or three sheets of copy paper and she started drawing on one of them. The subject of her drawing was a cartoon character from the daily funnies. This particular character was shown as having the personality as a busy body. She had spectacles that flared pointily outward and a chain that was connected to the handles wrapped around her neck. She was up at arms at something! Her right hand was holding a ruler that she was waving in front of her! Shayla captured this cartoon character’s facial expressions and body language so perfectly.
     Easter was coming up and although Shayla let herself be sidetracked by drawing different things, she had plans that she wanted to put into motion for this holy day of obligation. She had been saving up all of her loose change in a glass water jug for months on end.
     Currently, she was going to grace the doorway of Fantastic Bakery and pause there first to gather her thoughts. She was going to buy five dozen Easter sugar cookies all in the shape of bunnies – the tails being made of pink marshmallows. Her whole family was coming over for dinner that Easter night, but before that, during the day there was going to be an Easter egg hunt and the cookies, along with some milk were for snacking afterwards. She was also having a sheet cake made for the after-dinner dessert.
     Time was on her side because Easter was not for a few more days. After tallying up her order for the Easter festivities and paying for them. She went to local library and read to the elderly. Shayla was their favorite reader.
     “Good morning Shayla, how ‘goes it? asked Mel at the desk as she walked in the library.
     “Really good, I’m having some family over for Easter, so I’m busy cleaning up around the house,” replied Shayla.
     Shayla planned that after the egg hunt, and while everyone was snacking on Easter cookies and milk, Shayla was going to have a cosmetics seller talk to the women (and also the men too!) about purchasing items. The seller, Aimee had told her that whatever profit she made at the event, she would split with Shayla.
      Back at the library that fateful day, she met the son of one of the elderly patrons. His name was Jack and there were a few silent sparks going off when Shayla had shaken his hand! In fact, Shayla struck up conversations with practically everybody there. After everyone was seated around Shayla, she read to them Voltaire’s “Candide.” She had been reading about forty to fifty pages of it, to them, every Wednesday morning. Candide was that likable young man in that famous novel who was the quintessential optimist. After all of his trials and tribulations throughout his worldly travels, he was the eternal optimist, believing that he lived in the best of all possible worlds! In the end of the book the moral of the story was that we each had to cultivate our own gardens. My, how everyone enjoyed being read to.
     When Shayla got home from the library, she replayed her messages and one of them was from Aimee, the cosmetics lady.
“Shayla, it’s me, just making sure that I have the right kind of inventory for your family and friends. I’m going to have plenty of brochures on hand. I can even do make-up makeovers and for the men, I’ll have some colognes on hand. Call me back!” said Aimee on the answering machine.
     Shayla was trying to jog her memory and replay in her mind who in all she had invited. She had three sisters and two brothers, she had invited them all along with their spouses and children. She also had plenty of cousins, both male and female, along with their kids. And just for the heck of it, she had invited Jack (the one she had just met at the library) and his father for the Easter festivities as well. After three more days of cleaning and prepping, Easter Sunday was upon Shayla’s home!
     That Sunday started for Shayla by attending Easter services at the town’s local church. She had had all of the bakery goods delivered in the wee hours of the morning before she had gone to church. The guests started to stream in about two hours after she got home from the church services and then the fun began. Immediately, the kids were ready for the egg hunt. She had hidden the eggs the day before. She opted for plastic eggs that she filled with coins and chocolate. This whole Easter event that she was hosting was turning out to be a successful one.
     A local eatery was going to cater the Easter dinner and they would be arriving as the evening drew on, but in the meantime her friend Aimee had all of their attention. She not only came with cosmetics to sell, she also had some casual clothing that everyone thought would be good for their travel wardrobe. She also brought cute outfits for the children, both for the girls and the boys. She mostly had moisturizers and bubble bath liquid soap for the women, but she also surprised them with attractive jewelry pieces. Of course, for the men, she had masculine-scented cologne as well as some small travel bags for shaving cream, and toothbrushes and such. But this cosmetics presentation was really for the ladies! Shayla had told her family members ahead of time to bring their wallets.
     At dinnertime, everyone gathered around the table and said grace. On the platters were slices of lamb. There was also mash potatoes, mash sweet potatoes, green beans, buttered dinner rolls. One of Shayla’s sisters had brought a ham that was pre-spiral cut. There was more food than the whole crowd of family could eat. The caterers had done a great job and Shayla was glad that they had been so punctual too. There were not enough seats around the table, but Shayla had prepared ahead of time by supplying wooden serving trays-stands to be put in front of extra chairs for all the rest of the guests.
     With the help of her sisters and cousins, Shayla sliced and served cake to everybody after dinner. She took pictures of the cake before it was cut. It had frosting in the shape of an Easter basket filled with eggs. It was a lemon cake filled with a lemon-cream filling.       Everybody thought it was delicious! Jack and his father enjoyed themselves immensely. Everyone enjoyed their company. Shayla and Jack also made arrangements to have lunch the following Friday. Who knows? In case a relationship should blossom up between the two, everyone might have something else to celebrate in the near future.
     Everyone had a good time and soon they all called it a night and went home. Shayla left most of the clean-up for the next day. Actually, the clean-up was minimal because her sisters helped her out a lot in that capacity. Her friend Aimee had been the first to go home. Aimee had had a successful selling day there at Shayla’s and she credited it all to the pre-planning that the two of them had done. Shayla had told her ahead of time what types of items interested her sisters, brothers, cousins, their spouses and their kids. Just had Aimee promised, she split half of the day’s proceeds with Shayla. Shayla was so grateful for the extra cash, that she had in mind to play hostess to more of Aimee’s cosmetic parties. As for the Easter festivities, before going to bed that night, she said a bedtime prayer thanking God for her precious family and friends, and ending it with a resounding ‘Amen.’