28 May 2009

"Been in so many places" --Jim Croce

I've been in my organization for *mumble* years and I've worked at different sites and in multiple buildings and in a lot of offices.

It seems that in my current building, every few months there has to be some switching of offices. There just HAS! TO! BE! Even as I write this, there are offices on my hall that are being reconfigured, furniture swapped out, name plates shifted, phone lines rerouted and IP addresses re-mapped, in the name of better alignment.

I'm going to type this in a whisper so as not to draw too much focus to it: In my current building, I am fortunate that I've only had to move about six times. Shhh! Keep that under your hat. What's a little bird poop on my window compared to moving offices again?

And in my six moves, I've either been on the first floor or the second floor (about 50/50 split).

The first floor is loud and busy. It is akin to (my Hollywood inspired image of) a Turkish bazaar. If you want to hear twenty minute, enthusiastic conversations about a coworker house-training their new shih tzu, this is the floor for you. Bonus: yelling down the hallway! OH, YES! YELLING HAPPENS A LOT WHILE PEOPLE KNOCK INTO EACH OTHER ON THEIR WAY TO MEETINGS!

Comparatively speaking, the second floor is a Zen Spa. Okay, no candles or incense but I don't think anyone would complain or be surprised if there were. It's so nice and quiet. It's low-key. People only come up to the second floor if they have to, and often they don't have to, so it's not that busy. The people on the second floor are respectful of each other. They are polite and pleasant.

And then there's this:

This is what you find nine times out of ten in the second floor ladies room. The last person to dry their hands has extended the paper towel roll for the next person. They're paying it forward. It's such a little thing and yet it makes me smile every time I see it.

The second floor is my little slice of office utopia. Ommmm...

[Notice how I resisted breaking into One Tin Soldier? That's because I'm at one with the universe. You, too, can resist breaking into really bad songs. Come toward the light...]

26 May 2009

"We share a cast of characters from A to Z" --Carly Simon

It's been a while since I've waxed philosophical... so... let's kick this around some...

I don't think I'd sleep with a blogger.

You know, I mean I wouldn't sleep with a blogger if I were single and looking to sleep with someone, which I am not. So, to rephrase: Theoretically speaking, I wouldn't sleep with a blogger.

Don't get me wrong. Bloggers are a sexy bunch. At least the ones I know IRL. For real, have you seen these people, People?

And saying I wouldn't sleep with one... well, I know that's a harsh thing to say. I guess that makes me an anti-blogite. And an egoist to think I'd draw that kind of attention. And a self-loathing hypocrite, being that I have met the enemy and I are us.

Plus, I AM sleeping with a blogger (which is about as intimate as I'm going to get on this blog.) But, then, he wasn't a blogger when I met him. And he has a high level of discretion which seems to be a rare commodity these days. I think that's really the gist of what I'm getting at. The reason I wouldn't theoretically sleep with a blogger is because I wouldn't want intimate details (good or bad) discussed on said blogger's blog. And, by and large, bloggers do discuss. Oh, yes, yes, they do.

Now, one could argue that if you don't trust someone not to relay intimate details about you on their blog, you surely shouldn't sleep with them. Perhaps. Still, I've seen a lot of intimate details on blogs. A lot. From people I respect. And, I've even seen after-the-breakup revenge posts. Not pretty. Entertaining, sure. But I'm not the target.

Because, let's face it, part of the joy of blogging is sharing things you might not share in other venues. And part of the joy of reading blogs is finding some of those insights into people that you might not get in other ways. Voyeur? Sure. So please don't think I'm passing judgment if you share more on your blog than I choose to share on mine. It's just got me thinking.

In keeping with the GIAT*, this past Sunday, humor columnist, Gene Weingarten's brilliant column in the WaPo was a very intimate, bittersweet account of his father's decline. In it, he says, "Not everything that happens in a writer's life is appropriate to publish...". That premise, coupled with some very personal, dramatic, and I can only assume, horribly true blog posts I've read recently got me thinking about what is appropriate to publish on a blog.

And leads to a variety of dicey questions du jour: Are there things you definitely won't write about on your blog? Would knowing that someone had a blog make you more wary of getting involved with them?


PS Yes, I recognize the irony of posting a blog about who I would or wouldn't sleep with when discussing what's appropriate to share.

*GIAT = Global Interconnectedness of All Things.

"There's an ordinary world somehow I have to find" --Duran Duran

Is this what we've come to? The grocery store must put Olay products in locked cabinets? People are stealing detoxifying pore scrub? Really? Really?

22 May 2009

"I guess I’m feeling just a little tired of this" --Keith Urban

The perfect metaphor for my week: a two-foot bird poop on the outside of my office window.

Oh, yes, I measured. With the (lovely two-channel!) dripping, it really does extend for two feet.

That's a window that doesn't open. So, I'll be living with that bird poop until the elements wash it away.


21 May 2009

"Mary Joleisa, Always the same, That's not my name" --The Ting Tings

Last time I saw Lemmonex, we got into a discussion on many important topics, among them, how rude it is when someone can't be bothered to get your name right. Either they mangle it or they abbreviate it or they diminuitivize it ("Robert"? Eff that, I'm calling you "Bobby"!). Or whatev!

How hard is it to listen when someone says what their name is and learn it?

I say that, knowing full well that there is a thing that happens to me (maybe you, too?) that when I'm introduced to someone new, I'm so busy trying to gather myself up into a worthwhile person that I totally blank on anything they say to me. This makes it dang near impossible to get their name.

All this leads to the question du jour plus a song I've been digging:

The question du jour: When someone gets your name wrong, do you correct them? And, if so, how many times are you willing to do this? At what point is knee-capping acceptable?

20 May 2009

"And now that your rose is in bloom" --Seal

For you: celery rose.

How many people would create a celery rose and take a picture of it for you?



For you.

Because that's what life is. Unexpectedly beautiful. And crunchy. And sometimes the strings get caught in your teeth.

19 May 2009

"I know this is the time, this is the time to be..." --David Cook

[Okay, the cartoon has nothing to do with the post except for the very thinnest of tangents but I liked it. It's got dogs doing people stuff. Pretty great, right?!]

True story: I've long been looking for a way to be more collaborative in the blogging world.

And, call me crazy, but I've sensed a desire from you, too. You're nodding! I knew it! I'm right about your yearning to be closer to me.

Yesterday, I saw our opportunity. *nudge*nudge*

Based on the enthusiastic responses to my recent "Hallmark cards for blogger occasions" posts, I've decided to generously partner with those who want in on the ground floor. Yes, even in this incredibly challenging economy, I've decided to share my efforts to create a niche market with Hallmark.

But "Hallmark cards for blogger occasions" is such a mouthful. Let's simplify with a potent acronym; something that really speaks to what this is all about. I'm looking to develop a synergy among all of you creative and artistic people. Something with the energy of a flash mob. Mobs are fun! People love mobs! So... Synergistic, Creative, Artistic Mob! (SCAM!)

Here's my offer:

Your exciting role:

  1. Pay a nominal SCAM! registration fee*
  2. Create the material, allowing you to enjoy flexing your amazingly creative muscle**
  3. Submit the material to me
  4. Bask in the knowledge that you've provided the solid base of an amazingly successful pyram--er, mob
  5. Get invited to international, exclusive SCAM! events, where you'll get to mingle with other creative geniuses on the SCAM! team***
  6. Some of you will even receive special "preview" cards before the client or the public! You'll be able to edit these cards for SCAM! during your exclusive viewing!
My mundane role:
  • Shoulder through the cumbersome business start-up process
  • Do all the tiresome marketing to Hallmark (aka "the client")
  • Serve as the "front person" to absorb any feedback so you don't have to be bothered with "non-creative" issues from the client
  • Handle all the financial aspects including the nuisance of receiving and cashing checks from the client
For the first 25 respondents, I'll reduce the registration fee by half! So, what are you waiting for? Isn't it time we took our relationship to the next level?

* I only include this fee out of respect for you. Any wise businessperson knows nothing comes for free. I wouldn't insult your intelligence by suggesting otherwise.

**That's what she said! Ha, ha! See, we can have fun together. Good times! But seriously, you're so creative you wouldn't have used the words "create" and "creative" in the same sentence.

*** Some events may include finger food, such as, but not limited to, pigs in blankets! Yes, pigs in blankets! Who doesn't love pigs in blankets?!****

**** SCAM! reserves the right to substitute equal or greater finger foods for pigs in blankets.

18 May 2009

Hallmark cards for blogger occasions

(front of card)

Words of concern at this difficult time

(inside card)

To a wonderful boss...

I understand you found my blog

My little stories you acquired

In them, you recognize yourself

And now you're using words like "fired

But please remember all the good times
How hard I've worked through lots of muck

In a job that's not so easy
And, please, forget I called you "shmuck"

Thanks for reconsidering!

Hallmark? You know where to find me.

15 May 2009

"I'm movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches" --Presidents of the United States of America

[Stock photo. No actual veggies were harmed in the making of this post.]

You know what's great about this time of year?

Farm stands.*

I love 'em. I always feel good buying produce from a farm stand. Whether it's true or not, I have the belief that a) I am supporting local farmers and b) I am buying something "less processed" and fresher than I could get at the grocery store. I don't really know if either of those things are true but I do so very much want to believe.

I was at a farm stand in Virginia last week that had a "Local Produce" sign up and they had mangoes for sale. In Virginia. In May. I'm not sure why I added the "In May" part. Like maybe it would be more realistic to see Virginia mangoes in August or February. Er, no. Mangoes don't grow here. (Hothouse mangoes?)

So, maybe all the produce wasn't local. But isn't 'local' relative? At what point does local become non-local? Do you go by area code? What about the global community? Can't we all just get along?

So, we got some yellow squash and strawberries and asparagus (asparagi?) and it was a good thing. Good, I tell you. Tasted good and it just felt good, dagnammit.

And it got me thinking about the things you hear at farm stands that you might not hear other places:

"Check out those melons!"

"Put your face in there and smell..."

"Look at the size of that one!"


Happy weekend, People!

* No, this blog has not been hijacked. I know I've been exceedingly whiny lately but I can actually be appreciative once in a while, too.**

** Nuh-HUHHHhhhh!

13 May 2009

"You're a grand old flag, you're a high flying flag" --George M. Cohan

For sale: Tiny, bright flags. Dozens of them available. Each approximately 1' tall (including tiny flag pole). Great for marking underground utility lines or waving during tiny parades. All offers considered. Will accept barter of Twinkies or Devil Dogs (but not Snowballs. I'm serious: Don't be bringing those DayGlo pink mounds of ickiness around.)

Our lawn has more flags than the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Plus bright splashes of spray paint. Festive, no?


Verizon is bringing FIOS to our neighborhood. Eventually. Did I ask for FIOS? No, I did not. Do I want FIOS or anything else from Verizon? No, I do not. Do I find it annoying when people ask and answer their own questions? Apparently, I'm okay with it. Go figger.

But, LA, the county has to mark where the lines are before Verizon can dig.

True, but we've been flagged and painted three times in the last month and still Verizon is no where near our neighborhood. NOT reasonable. Not even a little bit reasonable. You want lower taxes? Maybe the county could save a little money on labor, paint, and flags by not doing this over and over and over again! GAAAAK!

12 May 2009

"I grow weary of this world" *

Remember my replacement piece of garbage from Sprint? Yes, they ordered me a replacement Centro and it lasted, oh, two and half weeks before it developed cloudy eye and turned belly up. No matter how many times I tapped the glass** it wasn't going to flutter its little tail for me.

So, I trucked back to the Sprint store...

There I wait in the 8' by 8' space for an employee to become available. The two counter people are busy "helping people" and by "helping people" I mean telling the customer "there's really nothing I can do" over and over again. In fact, they deny connection with the equipment or any culpability so often I wonder if they've been studying old Family Circus strips.

I have plenty of time to peruse all the Sprint propaganda on the walls and also to read the poster that says I'll be receiving a follow-up survey call to make sure I am delighted with my service. I notice that the poster doesn't include a phone number for me to call them... not that I have a working phone to do so anyway... tra la...

One customer ahead of me, a twenty-something woman, starts coughing up a lung while she waits, in vain, for a different answer from the employee.

But she's not just coughing. She's doing the "walk and cough." She walks and coughs into her elbow from the counter spot where she stands on the right side of the 8' by 8' space to the display of phones on the left side of the 8' by 8' space. Why, yes, the very same 8' by 8' space I'm cringing in. Fit over, she walks back and argues with the woman behind the counter. Then, she starts to cough again, but this time she walks and coughs back and to the right, because, let's face it, this woman is nothing if not thorough in her contamination efforts.

Me, voice rising with each word:
Could you stop moving, please?

Her: *cough*step* What? *cough*step*cough*hack*snort*step*cough*

Me: JUST STOP MOVING. You're coughing all over the place.

Her: I'm covering my mouth. *she steps toward me indicating that she has been coughing into her elbow, per CDC protocol*

Me: It doesn't matter. You're still spreading it everywhere.

Her: *blink*step*cough* Uh...


Amazingly, she does. If only not to get clubbed to death by the crazy woman wielding a dead Centro.

I eventually get called to the counter. They make me wait while they take the phone to the back of the store for evaluation. Five minutes later, the tech comes out, with the dead Centro in his hand.

Tech: I don't know what's wrong with your phone.

Me: That's two of us, then.

Tech: It's not working at all.


I'll order you another one. It should be in in a few days. We'll call you on this number *indicates dead cell phone* when it's in.

I can't answer that phone.

Tech: Yeah, I know. You'll have to check your messages remotely.

Me: Can't I just give you an alternate number to call me on? My home number or my work number?

I could write down another number but the note won't be with the phone when it comes in, see. It's easier if you just check your messages remotely.



Me: Thanks.

* 10 super magic bloggy points to the person who can provide another quote from the same source.

** They do TOO like that.

11 May 2009

"Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies" --Fleetwood Mac

[Not what I saw but amusing all the same.]

I have seen this more than once, and if I had a working camera (read: if I had a working cell phone--more on that later) I'd have snapped a picture of it yesterday when I saw it again.

What did I see?

Someone paid good money* to have their license plate tell people what make of car they're driving. So, say they are driving a CRX, their license plates will say CRX. Just CRX. Or, maybe, if they're driving a CRX XL, they'll have a plate that says CRX XL. They'll have this personalized tag, even though the car has CRX written on the body of the car, shockingly close to the license plate. They've spent money to say CRX all over again, just in case you didn't catch it the first time in metal, drilled into the body, six inches away, or you were, I dunno, skeptical...?


Please tell me none of you do this. Please. I'm begging you. Lie to me if you have to.**

* Okay, I'm assuming it was good money. Maybe they paid bad money. Bad, bad money. Money that snarls and snaps constantly and poops on the rug and puts its cold nose in strangers' crotches.

** After the cookie fiasco, lets just all try to forget the ugliness and get along, shall we?

08 May 2009

"C is for cookie that's good enough for me" --Cookie Monster

It's Friday and work's a bear* so... let's keep it simple.

The top-selling Girl Scout Cookies are:

  • Thin Mints
  • Samoas (Caramel deLites)
  • Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties)
  • Do-si-dos (Peanut Butter Sandwiches)
  • Trefoils (Shortbread)
(And you thought I couldn't be informative!)

Now, to me, one of those listed above is fiendishly delicious while the others are completely meh. Am I alone? *listens for crickets and coyote howling in the distance* Let's find out.

What's the best GS cookie?

And, more importantly, will they eventually get down to the size of M&Ms?

* And not the adorable Boo-Boo kind, either.

07 May 2009

"So, please stop explaining" --No Doubt

You know how people will insist on telling you their horror stories any time they hear you are in the hospital? This so does not help and I know this and I avoid doing it. Usually.

A few weeks ago my cousin was in the hospital, briefly, for what turned out to be something minor. I called her and she told me what was going on and that she was on antibiotic X.

Understand, 'antibiotic' is a dirty word in our family. I react to antibiotics as do people on both sides of my family. Allergic reactions. Mild to severe. When you start to swell up? That's your body's way of saying, if you keep giving me this stuff, I'll kill you. Thus, I don't take them.

I asked if she knew if she could take X and she said she thought she could because she thought her mother had taken it with no problem.

Later in the day, as I was speaking to my mother about my cousin:

Me: [Cousin] is on X. Wait a minute... didn't you take X when you were in the hospital and then your hand broke out in that terrible rash around the IV and they had to stop giving it to you?

Mum: Yes, I can't take X.

Me: Uh oh. We should tell [Cousin.]

Mum: I was going to call her in a few minutes, anyway. I'll tell her.

And, at my urging, she did call my cousin and proceeded to tell her the horror story of her experience with X.

The thing is? My cousin is on my father's side of the family. Her mother is my father's sister. My mother, as you might have guessed, is on my mother's side. So, my mother and my cousin are not blood relations.

I convinced my mother to call my cousin in the hospital and relay a horror story about an antibiotics experience when it had NO BEARING on what my cousin would experience. I suck.

05 May 2009

"Don't look at it like it's forever" --Elton John


If it seems like I'm a little vacant, a little missing, a little autoposty, it is because, for all intents and purposes, I am indeed out of pocket for a few days. It distresses me. I like being in your pocket. Okay, there's the lint problem and you really have to stop reaching in here to "adjust" but other than that, it's kind of nice being so close to you.

You wondered why I was posting on Sunday night, didn't you? And why that post seemed a little abrupt and unusually lacking in verbosity. You're all noticey like that.

Yeah, that's 'cause I hit "publish" before I meant to. But once it was out there and available for reading, all I could do was quickly spruce it up. No time for grand elaboration. Because there's no way to recall it once it's in people's readers and there's a part of me that says "Okay, fine, um... I totally meant to do that."* Even though I didn't and that's totally stupid. So, I gave you very little to chew on and you still came through. Who knows, maybe it was a relief for you. By which I mean, thanks!

And please remember, you're terrific! *meets gaze* It's not you, it's me.**

All I ask is that every now and then, you peer into your pocket and notice I'm not there. That's all. I'll be back as soon as I can.

* The same part of me that says "I KNOW YOU ARE, BUT WHAT AM I?"

** That worked for George Costanza, right? No? Oh.

Extraspecialbonusmessagechosenespeciallyforyou: You know how many LOLCATs are out there that I could have included in this post? But I didn't. That's how much I care.

03 May 2009

"And more, much more than this, I did it my way" --Frank Sinatra

All right. Settle something for me.

If you are a bagger at a grocery store (or the cashier bagging the groceries), do you load the groceries in order to:

  • balance the load so the person carrying the bags has roughly the same amount of weight in each bag?
  • put the heavy with the heavy and the light with the light so the heavy stuff doesn't squish the light stuff?
  • put items in bags in order of appearance, without regard to, well, anything?