Friday, December 28, 2007


Hey kids -- hope you're not doing any work today, whether you're at work or not. Heh.

I have lots o things to say -- an xmas by the numbers post will be coming directly -- but can't do it now. Have a kickass weekend, and check this space later for more awesome.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

My backpack's got jets

I figure today's the last workday before xmas for most of you who read this blog at work (on your BREAKS, of course!) -- here's hoping you're released early. My company, or at least my team/department/whatever tends to do that, which is very kewl of them, but I've worked at plenty of joints that hold you till the last everlovin minute -- the nanny agency, for example (my boss once left early the day before xmas vacay and CALLED US at 5:01 p.m., allegedly to tell us something she forgot, but really to make sure we were still there, the hose beast), and the online spinoff of the print-media company (where my fourth boss, T., a very neurotic little man who was a great guy but a TERRIBLE boss, would rush around in the last hour before a holiday acting like we were about to break the goddamned Watergate story to a stunned and outraged nation). And poor Ma Gleemonex this very day is supposed to be released from minding the little high-school hobgoblins at 1:00, but all the teechurs have to stay after for their mandatory-fun holiday luncheon. Gaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Aaaanyway, get outta here! Scoot, all y'all! Go have a nice cocktail somewhere, preferably in the company of someone you love. The Internets'll still be here next week.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

let it blow, let it blow, let it blow

So it seems that the hep new thing in holiday lawn decor this year is these giant inflatable snow globes. They're like eight feet tall and vaguely creepy, what with the overly friendly-looking, semi-Japanimation snowman inside, and to me it looks like a variation on a plastic trashbag caught in your hedges. Thing musta been on special down to the Wal-Marts* this year.

I dunno, holiday lawn decor in general is so much eeeasier than it used to be. Back in my day, we didn't have all these pre-fabbed forms with the lights already on them, or flashing eight-reindeer setups, or inflatable Precious Moments manger scenes and what have you. Ya wanted a display of snowflakes, ya bent some damn wire together and strung seven thousand lights along it with twist-ties and electrical tape and ya hooked it up to the juice with two-dollar indoor-only extension cords and ya LIKED IT. Ya liked it fine.

*That's singular, as in the one Wal-Mart store in town -- that's just how the old-timers say it 'round here. "The Wal-Marts."


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Feeeelings, nothing more than feeeelings

Another peril of the all-female office is that meetings are almost never about work. Ostensibly they are, of course, but really they're about getting up in each others' grills.
Take our Wednesday morning meetings, for example. A normal workday started at 8:30, but on Wednesdays, we had to report at 7:30 for our weekly team meeting. We were all hourly employees, but this (mandatory) meeting was off the clock and thus unpaid -- I regret to say, only a bunch of women (especially young ones just out of school) would put up with that horseshit in the first place.
Each week, the duty of "hosting" the meeting rotated; if it was your week, you had to:
1) Type up a list of agenda items for discussion, including space for each person to present her "goals and challenges" (both professional AND personal) for the week, make 6 copies, and have them ready to hand out.
2) Come up with an activity (this was an agenda item) for everyone to do. Actual examples included: writing down something you like about each person on a separate little piece of paper, which then are sorted and handed around so that each person ended up with five of these little affirmations about herself; going around the table, every person makes two statements, one true and one false, that everyone then gets to guess which is which; stating a work-related or (preferably) personal challenge and having everyone else weigh in on how to fix it.
3) Bring food, almost always Starbucks pastries (at about $2 each), which you paid for out of your own pocket (see above re: only women putting up with this horseshit), and about which all the girls would ritually bemoan how high in calories and fat they were and would eat only half of.
All attendees were required to show up on time, slop over with praise of the "You go, girl!" variety for each other, and every once in awhile really open up an artery about her personal life from which everyone could suck deeply (e.g. one counselor who kept us all updated on her fertility struggles, another who provided progress reports on her new boyfriend, whom she hoped would ask her to marry him).
Can you IMAGINE a scenario like this if there were even ONE dude in the group? What happened was, not being a very girly person in general and reacting badly to this bizarre sorority thing, I sort of became the office "guy" out of self-preservation, and was repeatedly accused of being cold or gruff, of not being a Team Player, and of really just Not Getting It.
Well, that last was at least true ... I surely did not Get It, and the day I handed in my resignation (after fourteen looooong months trying to bail water), without even a prospect of another job lined up, was among the highlights of my working life.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And then the Arabs came, and THEY had Mercedes-Benzes

So a self-described "Bible-believing Christian biologist" got fired from his job at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution -- an entity whose whole DEAL is about evolutionary fuckin principles -- allegedly because he doesn't believe in evolution, and he's suing for wrongful termination. 
The mind boggles. 
Now, I'd have to check with a lawyer, but this guy's firing sounds like it might be A-O-fucking-K, no?

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Rilly Rando Tuesday

Sorry for the lack of posts since Thursday -- were you aware that even a generally Very Obliging Baby can eat an ENTIRE DAY with brain-melting crying every now and then? It's like a wormhole in the space-time continuum -- y'all science bitches should really get on that.

1) Friday Night Lights: OK, Internets. This last week, they pulled it back from the very brink of disaster with the Landry/Tyra thing, but I must regretfully and with MUCH sorrow admit that a show that had been highballing it down Realism Causeway all last season has somehow taken a wrong exit somewhere and now we're on an access road (Melodrama Drive) running parallel to the original route. There's still so much good there, and I do still love the show -- but certain story lines and certain things happening on the field have frayed the ol' varsity letter jacket, you get me? I stand by my original endorsement of Season One as the Best Show On Network Television, but I can no longer say the same about Season Two. Grrrrrrrr. 

2) The cave paintings at Lascaux: They're plagued now with some weird mold or fungus, possibly due to people being in there, but also possibly because of the increased temperature of the caves in the last 20 years, thanks to global warming. Y'all, we're fucking up something that's been just fine for 17,000 years -- humans suck. 

3) Fur: Who would wear it? In this Sunday's New York Times, there were all these full-page ads for furs at upscale stores. So I guess there's a market for that sort of thing, still, but seriously -- PETA hysteria aside -- what's the deal with fur? It made sense back in the day when that was the warmest thing going, but we have Gore-Tex and Polar Fleece and shit now. You buy a full-length fur coat, you're just doing it to show off the fact that you have $20,000 to spend on a heavy-ass piece of outerwear that you can roll up in at about three events in an entire winter. I get annoyed by people who have that kind of fuckin money and no goddamned imagination. All that dough, which you could spend on SO MUCH AWESOME SHIT (like a month on Kauai, a cellarful of Michel-Schlumberger wines or hiring Van Halen to play your birthday party), and you spend it on the stitched-together pelts of dead animals.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Smorgasbord of Stupidity

Couple of quick questions for y'all: 

1) Why do your Lindsay Lohans, your Paris Hiltons and other net losses to the universe get jail sentences measured in hours, while Kiefer Sutherland gets 48 days? 

2) Why don't any of these Prize Dumbasses HIRE A FUCKING DRIVER?   

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Half a dozen awesome xmas gifts I got as a kid

Now, the pile of books and the stocking full of kickass little stuff my mom picked out were perennial favorites, but here are some of the single-item standouts from up to age 11: 

--A puppy. I might have been the only kid ever in the world to actually get a puppy, with a bow around its neck, on Christmas morning -- well, no, despite the World of Aggro this puppy (whom I named Prince) gave us throughout his short life (and who was the cause of my Nearest-Death Experience, a story for another day), my parents did it again a few years later, for my sister (which turned out to be Sam the Dog, the Best Dog Ever, May He Rest in Peace). So, OK, the two of us were the only ones ever.
--A huge chemistry set. Kinda funny for a person whose aversion to science in general and chemistry in particular is so well-documented, but I remember I really wanted to mix up some potions and shit.
--A detective kit. When I was a little kid, I established the Sally Field Detective Agency in my grandmother's walk-in closet, and I was always trying to investigate stuff. This detective kit's main most awesome feature was the fingerprint stuff -- black powder to dust over latent prints and this special tape to pick it up, plus cards to put it on so you could compare to the ones you inked from your friends & family. WADS of enjoyment, people. 
--A red dirtbike. Not some ten-speed (that was later) or some sissy girly bike -- I wanted one like my brother's and his friends', a real boys' dirtbike, with a crossbar and everything, so I could stone cold roll with them. And I believe they did let me, once or twice. If by "let," you mean "didn't ride so fast that I couldn't keep them in sight." 
--A gymnastics mat. This was in my super-serious Nadia Comaneci phase -- I think I was five -- and despite never having lessons, I was a gymnastics fiend. This mat likely saved me a few scrapes, although the balance beam I made out of a 1x4 and a couple of stacks of bricks probably canceled that out. 
--A disk camera. Y'all remember those? The thin body, and the film that came in the form of a disk, like the ones you use in a Viewmaster? Ohhhh, did I love that camera. I rode my bike to my great-grandmother's house that very morning to show it off to her. I took it to school, I wore it around my wrist, I used it until photo processing places quit taking that kind of film. If I could find it somewhere in the attic, I would be super-hip at parties and whatnot. 


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

You'll shoot your eye out

You know that section in the men's department at Macy's that has, like, tie racks, "executive" poker sets, and inflatable sports-themed furniture -- basically all that crap that says "I have no idea who you are or what you like, but I drew your name in the office Secret Santa pool, so here ya go, you can at least tell I spent the required 20 bucks"? Well, that got me thinking about the whole Secret Santa thing, my main experience of which was at the nanny agency where I worked when I first moved to Galivornia. 

One of the perils of working in an all-female office -- which I will never do again, so help me Shatner -- is that "Secret Santa" in that type of environment is code for "Festival of Olympic-Level Passive-Agressive Bullshit." This particular gynocracy had a very highly codified Secret Santa tradition. There were six of us in the San Francheesy branch, so there was no sliding, no halfassery -- you had to do it right, goddammit, or somebody was gonna be pissing in your lattes for MONTHS. I mean, seriously, if office policy* is that you have to sign emails to each other "LYLAS," you know you're in for some finely-tuned insanity. 

But so anyway, it went on for a week, and there were specific things you had to do over that week. It went something like this -- and keep in mind, the three of us at my level were pulling down a sweet 27 G's a year: 

--Monday: A homemade food gift (e.g. cookies).  Unspoken Rule: Home. Made, bitch, and don't be frontin with something from Whole Foods.
--Tuesday: A small item for the home (e.g. candle, little mirror, set of port glasses). Unspoken Rule: Minimum level = Pottery Barn.
--Wednesday: Reading material. Unspoken Rule: If Oprah likes it, we fucking LOVE it. And it better be so new it still has the no-go inside it.
--Thursday: Kristmas Keepsake. Unspoken Rule: Any ornaments must match receiver's xmas decor; no Hallmark items; minimum gift value = $25.
--Friday: A Real gift, which proves how you know the receiver like a sister (she's a pal and a confidante, after all, and if she threw a party, and invited everyone she knew, she would see the biggest gift would be from you, and the card attached would say, "You are an amaaazing woman!!!"). Unspoken Rule: A gift card, even one to Sephora or a day spa, will mean that at least until July, every one of your sushi orders will be "accidentally" fucked up, every conversation will stop when you walk into the room, and every tittery little gigglefest in the galley kitchen will be aimed your way. Yay sisterhood! 

*I am only joking about the LYLAS business. We were a micron away from that. But JUST a micron.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Someday, my blog will have something to say about all this.

Flipping channels at the end of a long day, I stopped on Chiller and saw something that reminded me why -- and how desperately -- I want this for xmas: 

Donna Hayward, visiting James Hurley in jail and wearing the Large Dark Sunglasses of Sultry, Sexy Power, inhales deeply on a cigarette. 
James: I didn't know you smoked.
Donna, exhaling: I smoke from time to time. It helps relieve the tension. 
James: Since when did you get so tense?
Donna: Since I started ssmokin. 

Goddamn, do I love that show. It was my first real TV obsession (not counting That's Incredible! when I was like eight years old), and clearly, the hold persists. My friend CK and I would either watch at each other's house or call each other during every commercial break and screeeeeeam like banshees about what had just happened -- that's the kind of thing good obsessives did back in the day when there were no Internets. And between this show and Heathers, some 90 percent of my wardrobe at the time was short, pleated plaid skirts, tights, turtlenecks and jackets; I wanted to be a mysterious, weird brunette like you would not BELIEVE. 

Oh, and that thing with the cherry stem? I can do that. I've practiced

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