April 30, 2010

Day of Stressed

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

Yesterday was the first day since the beginning of Job Slobs that I didn't post anything.  You might think that it was because everything was so slow, relaxing, and jovial at the office that I just forgot.  Or maybe you imagine that I was so distracted all day by my exceptional physical health, my ache-less head, and remarkably un-runny nose.  Or perhaps you envision me in my own office all day just doing a great job rather than being called in to the big boss' office to hear that I'm not.  Alternatively you might picture that, after not hearing that I was doing a not great job, I would never have dared to sneak out of the office for an hour on a day that we tape our show because I had an audition that I really wanted to make it to, and that the reason I didn't post was because I was so dutifully at my desk not doing that.  On all these points you would be wrong.  Like, super wrong.  But I do appreciate your optimism and good faith.

You Think Your Fish Don't Stink?

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Someone microwaved fish in the staff kitchen! FISH! Do you know how bad that smells? I will tell you: really bad. The smell has permeated our entire (admittedly small) building. My boss and I ended up having our meeting in another building because neither of us could handle the smell. It's windy, cold and rainy out right now and people have their windows open because the cold, fresh air is preferable to the fish odor, a reasonable temperature, and dryness.

And God are we pissed at that guy who he did it. He's really nice, but kind of a weirdo and just the type to be so out of touch with social norms to not realize that microwaving fish in the workplace is a real no-no. My boss yelled "what is that awful smell? Did someone cook fish?!" and the guy was standing right behind her. She felt bad, but I think someone needed to clue him into this not being okay.

Once I accidentally burned popcorn in the office microwave at my old job and people came after me like I burned down the whole damn building. But that was an accident and popcorn is a food that is typically meant to be microwaved and when all goes according to plan, the smell is not bad at all. But fish? You know fish is gonna stink.

April 29, 2010

You Be The Judge

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

We had a little congratulations/going away party for our workstudy students today. We invited any staff, students or faculty that have spent time interacting with these workstudies and would like to say thanks, good-bye and good luck. I sent out the following email:

Hey everyone, as you probably know XXX, XXX and XXX are graduating this year and leaving us for good. We couldn't survive without their hard work and to say thank you, we're having a little lunch for them today at noon. Please come by the courtyard (weather permitting) or our office (weather not permitting) for pizza, drinks, and tearful hugs.

Pretty straightforward, no? I got no fewer than four emails/phone calls asking what "weather not permitting" means.

"Oh I was just being silly. I mean that if the weather's nice, we'll do lunch in the courtyard, but if it's not, we'll just have it in our office."

"Why didn't you just say that?"

"I don't know."

Friends, weigh in here please. Was my attempt at a dumb joke so off the mark that it was actually misleading? I mean I do get that it could be taken to mean that the weather might not be permitting for us to meet in the office, but that's just silly. The weather's always good enough for us to be inside. My feeling is that some of the people I work with are just that dumb. What say you?

April 28, 2010

The Power of Positive Thinking

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

At least I have a job.  At least I have a job.  At least I have a job.  My job gives me money and money can buy me candy.  I like candy.  I like candy.  I like candy.  I can eat candy at my desk.  My desk is not in a coal mine or on one of those boats that the guys on "Deadliest Catch" are on or in a dumpster filled with dirty diapers, and no I don't know whose desk would ever be in a dumpster filled with dirty diapers, but at least mine isn't.  Mine isn't.  Mine isn't.  Aaaaand... That's about as positive as it gets today.  I should write a book on this stuff.

What's in a Name?

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Graduation is next week. Even though we've known the date for months, it always seems to sneak up on us. One thing I've been assigned to do is teach our dean how to pronounce our students' names. I spent a good portion of this morning writing out the more hard-to-pronounce names phonetically in preparation for our pronunciation meeting today.

Our dean likes to believe that this name-tutorial is something he doesn't need, but in his heart he knows he doesn't know how to say many of the students' names and he doesn't want to blow it on the big day in front of all their friends and family. Here are some of the best quotes from today's meeting.

Dean: So this is easy....Helene.
S: No, she's French, it's more like ell-ENN.
Dean: Damn France.

Dean: Margareta....or Margarita?
S: She goes by Maggie.
Dean: Well then why the hell doesn't this paper say so? What do you even do here, S?

S: You're close, but it's more of an "ahhh" sound then a "uhhh" sound.
Dean: Why don't you just read the damn names then, if you're so smart?

Now that he's such a master at knowing how to say the names of his students, 11 days before they graduate, he's just going around the building, shouting out the correct pronunciations of different names. Not at the appropriate students, mind you. That's next week's meeting.

April 27, 2010

Whether the Weather...

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

There's a poem that goes like this:

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

I did not write it.  (Or did I?  The authorship is unknown.  Maybe I'm just very humble.  (I didn't/I'm not.))  I'm not even the target audience for this poem, because let me tell you this: Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not, it's always 72 degrees inside my office.  I have not, in the last 6 months, dressed with any consideration for the outside temperature.  I get up in the morning to walk the dog and I put on a sweatshirt and a warm hat?  I wear a blouse and jeans and bring a cardigan to work.  I get up in the morning to walk the dog and I put on shorts and a tank top?  I wear a blouse and jeans and bring a cardigan to work.  It's kind of really sad, but also convenient for somebody lazy (me).

Well today, as I know it will shock anyone who's read a sentence of this blog to know, I left the office for a lunch meeting with a guy that I'm hoping to go work for (I cleverly called it a "doctor's appointment").  It was so weird because I couldn't park inside his office building, or inside the restaurant that we walked to, which meant that I was thrust into the out-of-doors, real-life, mid-spring Southern California elements!  All of a sudden I became aware that I have arms and legs and they feel hot and cold even during business hours!  And the restaurant thermostat was set at least a few degrees higher than we keep it in my office, so I had to take my sweater off.  It was interesting.  And the thermostat at the outdoor crosswalk to get back to my car was set to cold, so I realized that if I wear a dress, as I did today, sometimes my legs can feel cold because the actual earth itself is cold even though if I were sitting at my desk it would not at all be chilly.  Fascinating.

When I got back to my office after all that worldly temperature exploration, we had a staff meeting that brought everything full circle for me.  My immediate boss screwed me over and presented a bunch of things that I was assigned to present, and- even indoors at an even 72 degrees- I was able to feel both the hot hot heat of rage and then crank up the icy chill when I bumped her knee under the table and didn't even say, "Excuse me."  Elements?  Weathered.

Coffee, mate

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

So a coffee shop very close to our office is giving away free coffee and pastries today. I'm trying to avoid pastries right now, swimsuit season and all that, but will never say to no free coffee. I headed up for my free joe and received a paper cup with a thing of Coffeemate attached to it. Apparently, Coffeemate is sponsoring this coffee giveaway in an attempt to make their product relevant again.

Officemate mentioned seeing Coffeemate commercials recently that try to make Coffeemate seem really cool and hip. People are dancing around to "Express Yourself" (the Motown/R&B version, not the Madonna version), gleefully pouring Coffeemate in their coffeee and apparently enjoying the freedom to be themselves that Coffeemate provides. "I used to feel so oppressed, but then I put artificial hazelnut flavoring in my coffee! Free to be you and me!"

In an attempt to be as badass as K, I only drink my coffee black these days, so Coffeemate's efforts are lost on me, but I was happy to have my free cup regardless. When I got back to our office, I sent an email out to our students, letting them know that free breakfast awaited them less than a block away.

Minutes later, one of our (admittedly dumber) students came down and asked if she could get some coffee. "Yeah sure, anyone can," Officemate said. "Where is it?" she asked, looking around our office. "It's not here," Officemate said patiently, "it's at [Local Coffee Shop]. This is the Student Affairs Office."

If it has gotten to the point where we have to explain to our students the difference between our office and a coffee shop, and they just assume our office is the place to come to have all of their needs met, not just the ones pertaining to their studies, we have got to drastically change the way we interact with them. Except that our boss already instructed us to hire a massage therapist to give them massages next week to help them cope with the stresses of the end of the school year.

What have we done?

Will and S

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

As someone who lives in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, I like to think I have better-than-average gaydar. I'm definitely not 100%, but I think I'm pretty solid at spotting a gay dude, save the one I took to my junior prom (true story).

So though I've never asked him point-blank, I feel completely confident saying that a colleague of mine from an East Coast university is a gay man. He loves working out, he's a great dancer, he's gone to Berlin for LoveFest. It all adds up. Once we were both at a conference in Atlanta, we grabbed dinner together at a hip, local restaurant. Like many hip, local restaurants, this one had a wait, so he suggested we go to Banana Republic to kill time before our table was ready. He is gay.

Anyway, we get along great, which is handy because we see each other at different conferences and school-related events several times a year. We make fun of people, scour for the best snacks, and get cocktails when the day is done. It's win-win really.

So I was happy to find out that he was going to be at the conference I attended in LA last week. We gave each other big, showy cheek kisses, talked about each other's shoes, then promptly went off in search of cookies, gossiping about our colleagues all the way. When I came back to my table, the woman next to me leaned over like a junior high school girl and said "I think he likes you!" I assumed she was kidding and laughed it off. "And, he's not wearing a wedding ring!" she added. "Oh wait, are you serious?" "Yes, he's been flirting with you all morning." "Oh no, he's gay." "I don't think so! I think he has a crush on you!" "Yeah, I'm pretty sure he's gay."

I had forgotten all about this little exchange until this morning where I got a nice email from that lady saying it was good to meet me and we should keep in touch when we're in each other's neck of the woods and ended with "ps: anything happen with that cute guy from [Redacted] University?"

Yes. As we were walking to our cars, I told him that you thought he had a crush on me, then we had a good laugh. Then a good margarita.

April 26, 2010

Key to What?

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

In addition to the glamorous tasks of my production job detailed right here in this very blog, I also sometimes drive around Los Angeles like a crazy person in business casual/young and hip outfits hoping someone will pay me lots of money because they like the way that I eat a hamburger/pretend to pay money to an imaginary cashier.  That's right- I don't limit my humiliations to my office, but instead regularly sneak out to take them on the road and audition for commercials!  Because I don't like to push it by asking for permission every time I need to leave my desk to go pass an hour in a casting office before I can  take my turn to say, "Here's your popcorn shrimp," I've gotten pretty good at sneaking out of my office.  The other day I realized my true minimalist escape potential when I made it out of the building with just my phone and my driver's license in my pocket and my ticket to retrieve my keys wadded up in my hand.  If I'm not carrying a purse full of things like Visine and Target gift cards, then how could I reasonably be going anywhere for any length of time, coworker I might possibly run into in the hall?

Today I got a call once I was already at my office that I had a call back tonight, this very evening.  Because no one could possibly remember/imagine/move on from what an actor wore to their initial audition, you're supposed to wear the exact same thing to the call back.  But here I was at my office with no blue mock turtleneck and no black pencil skirt in sight!  I decided to use my most low profile sneak-outery to run home and get them.  My method was just was just the same as the first time- Phone and license in my pocket, parking ticket in hand... Except last time I tried it I was going to an audition, which- unlike my house- does not require my house key to get in.  The problem is that I don't leave my house keys with my car keys when I give them to the parking guy, a consideration that didn't strike me until I was all the way home with no house key and no fake rock with an extra one (as any reasonable person should have).  I got kind of excited at the idea of breaking into my own house (which, incidentally, is directly across the street from a police station) but couldn't even get the dog to pull his end of the bargain as the guy on the inside who pops out the screen so I can hoist myself through the window.  Cursing the well-functioning security that protects me and my possessions, I headed back to my office empty-handed, wearing what I will be wearing tonight for my call back: A shamefully different colored sweater and- my god will they even recognize me?- jeans.

Just Another Manic-Depressive Monday

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

I'm pretty practical. I don't believe in tarot cards, or ghosts (though I am scared to walk in a graveyard at night alone). I only read my horoscope when I'm bored, and I think The Secret is total crap. I get the idea of positive thinking: if you're going to be thinking anyway, why not think positively? But apparently this book tells you to focus on things like finding a parking spot or getting a new TV, and also implies that your healthy lifestyle with a focus on disease prevention might actually attract the exact diseases you're trying to avoid. I think it's BS.

However, it does seem like someone around here must be thinking thoughts about crazy people and putting them on their wish board or whatever they're called, because crazies are totally everywhere today.

Crazy on the phone: 3o minutes from a man who believes he can revolutionize the world and wants to do it at our school except for the classes he doesn't need to take due to "professional exemption." He also told me about his son's coke problem and other son's involvement in grand theft auto (the real crime, not the video game).

Crazy in our office: people just keep stopping by on sitting on our couch and telling us everything that's happening in our lives like we're their psychiatrists and they're Betty Draper.

Crazy over email: incoming students seem to think that being admitted to our program entitles them to every class they want, free housing and a personal audience with anyone on this campus.

Additionally, I did not sleep well at all last night and snoozed so many times I didn't even have time to make coffee before leaving for work today and am barely awake here in my penultimate HTML class, where apparently we're learning something called PHP. I, much to our instructor's chagrin, keep referring to it as PCP, which I think half the people in this building are on right now.

April 23, 2010

TGI... Just Kidding

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

Did you guy(s?) ever read "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"?  Remember how he gets in trouble at school, and he has to get a cavity filled at the dentist, and he doesn't have any dessert in his lunch, and his dad gets mad at him, and he hurts his foot in an elevator, and gets pushed down into a giant puddle of mud?

Oh, how I would like to swap Alexander to have that comparably pleasant day be my day today.  Gah.

Small Wonder

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

We have new workstudy student. Like the others, she is tiny and very attractive. People have accused of us of asking for headshots in addition to resumes when we hire our workstudies because they're all so good-looking, but we really don't. Something about this office just seems to attract pretty girls. Obviously.

We hired her to help out with website stuff and she is some kind of freakish HTML/CSS wunderkind, blowing my newly-honed skillz straight out of the water. The past few days I've given her HTML tasks that a) completely baffle me and b) I assume will take her all day, and she finishes in like 10 minutes. It's impressive, but then I'm like "crap, I don't know what to give you to do for the next 3 hours." Is "fix the internet" something you can ask a student to do?

So until we can think of an assignment worthy of her genius, we've put her to good work: designing new pranks. Her graphic/web design skills are really coming in handy. In addition to the beautiful, Medieval-themed wedding invitation she designed for the dudes next door, she made a bachelor party invitation and is currently designing them a wedding website, complete with a Target registry! Her web design abilities really open up a whole new level of possibility for prankage that we had not considered previously.

In the meantime, one of the guys next door is dressed in all black today, so we're playing Johnny Cash songs as loud as we can.

April 22, 2010

Pepperoni Continents and Green Pepper Oceans

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

Today I got this in my e-mail:

You guys... The snacks... were PIZZA!  Apparently there is a super green pizza place not too far away, and so we got to eat pizza.  For the Earth!  When I got there right at 4 p.m. because I love snacks our planet, I got to pick which of the many different kinds of pizza I wanted, and also there were sodas!  Because I am as good a person as I am employee, I even put my name on the list to learn about Green Committee meetings even though doing that was not required to get pizza (which they announced after I had already done both, but I'm sure my heart of gold/green would have led me to that choice anyway).  The place they ordered from is called Pizza Fusion, which is great to know about.  Now a good deed for the environment is only a Medium Four Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato pie away!  It just feels so good to give.

Tri, Tri Again

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

So once upon a time, in a time we'll call "2008", I liked to do triathlons. I thought my 6 month stint in the world of triathlons would lead to a lifetime of participation in the sport, but it has not. Since coming to the realization that my time in the activity is probably over, I've decided to sell some of my tri gear.

I'm still on the list serv for the training group I used to work out with, and when I saw an email from a guy looking to buy a used "transition bag" (triathlons require a LOT of equipment, so your transition bag holds everything you'll need for swimming, biking, and running, with special compartments for wet stuff and everything), I told him I had one in great condition that I was willing to let go to a good home.

I sent him a pic of the bag (the one above in fact), we settled on a price, and he agreed to come pick it up from me on campus today. "How will I know who you are?" "I'll be holding a giant transition bag that looks like the one in my photo." "Right, makes sense, well I drive a gray Prius."

I brought the bag in today and Officemate asked what its deal was. I told her about my afternoon meetup and said "He's just going to pull up alongside the curb, get the bag, and give me cash. I feel like it's a drug deal." "Yeah, you've never been involved in any drug deals, have you?"

So I was waiting at the specific spot at the specific time, and it turned out the guy was running a couple of minutes late. You know who else in the Bay Area drives a Prius? EVERYONE. The only thing people here love more than being environmentally friendly is being smug about being environmentally friendly. You know how vague of a description "gray" is? Pretty vague. I was wildly waving at silver Priuses, tan-ish Priuses, even one dark blue one.

Turns out it was pretty damn gray. He got the bag and I got my sweet scrilla, but not before no less than 3 of my students stopped to mock me for standing on the corner with what looks like a really oversized backpack, jumping up and down and yelling at random cars. "S, what are you doing?" "Drug deal," I told them.

April 21, 2010

Ups and Downs

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

I know that, given the frequency with which I talk about the elevators at my office, it must seem as though I used to live in some blissfully one-storied world where you could see the sun rise over the top of every building, and never had to say things like, "Excuse- What floor is that on?" because the answer, in that world, would always be, "One". But thanks today to my tardiness, selfishness, and unpreparedness, there is another elevator story to be told.

This morning I was running late because I'm someone who runs late (but just to work, never socially...figure that out).  As I was waiting impatiently for the elevator up from the parking dungeon, I saw a man approaching the nearby attendant to hand over his keys.  It was safe to assume, as there is no other way into the building, that this man's next stop would be the elevator.  But the elevator came, and he was still dropping off his keys.  And that was going to take up to maybe half a minute.  So I tried to hide in the corner of the elevator car, hit Door Close, and headed up by myself.

Ah but my employee badge wouldn't scan, which meant I couldn't light up the button for the floor I work on.  So the elevator went up for a moment, and then headed quickly back down.  To the parking level I had just been on.  And opened up to reveal the man I had abandoned there, the fallen soldier I had left to die alone on the P3 battlefield.  He recognized me, and went so far as to say curiously but secretly accusingly, "Oh.  I just saw you get on the elevator."

When I went to the security desk to have them help me fix my employee badge, the man at the desk looked it up and told me that it wasn't working because it had expired.  For one dreamy minute I thought that meant that I had been fired and could go home and eat pudding and take a nap.  Instead it just meant that I've been here for exactly six months and needed to be reauthorized.  You can only imagine the half-iversary party that my bosses threw me to celebrate, and how cleverly they disguised it as a regular day.  "Party on!  You're half a year into being here an entire year and disliking it roughly that same amount of time!" was probably too hard to fit on a banner.  Or it was sold out.

Justice with an Attitude

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Last week I mentioned that we have an annual Spring Awards competition going on right now. All submissions that were turned in by the deadline were overnighted to our judging committee, which consists of local alumni. Most of the local alums are really cool about judging and have fun staying connected with the school and checking out the work that our students produce.

But it seems like there's always one who believes that the quality of the submissions turned in are not up to her arbitrary high standards and feels insulted that we would assault her eyes with such low-quality work. And furthermore, it makes her ashamed to be an alumna of a school where students think such shoddy work can be submitted for awards.

I've written back to her and tried to be sympathetic to the fact that these submissions not being up to her standards insults her self-image as a super-important judge of super-important things for this super-important contest, but the truth is that these are departmental, student awards whose existence means virtually nothing outside our little community.

I want to tell her that the problem isn't really with the submissions she received but her own notion that she is such a talented, high-ranking member of our alumni community and would only be tapped for the most crucial, high-level of tasks and that she doesn't feel like these submissions aren't worthy of the awards we give out every year, but in fact, not worthy of her.

But I want to keep my job so I wrote something nice. Saying it to you guys felt great though.

April 20, 2010

The End of Days

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

While S's coworkers made good- though comically amateur- use of a fart machine in her office, I recently learned that when I leave my office at night, my office mates make the same noises sans machine.  Yes- They sit around all day waiting for me to leave so that they can fart out loud in our office.  Also yes- They are all boys.  I learned about their torturously delayed gratification when we were all here late a few nights ago, one of them farted, and then said not excuse me, but, "We usually wait until you go home."  What a long wait that must be.  And what fear I live in now that I might once again find myself here late enough into the evening that the witching (farting) hour will be upon me.  And what a valid excuse to always be the first one to go home.  Good night.

Get Off My Plane

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Sorry I didn't post yesterday; I was actually down in LA for a Slobs reunion. Well, technically I was there for a conference and to do some outreach to other universities, but the highlight of my trip was drinking keg beer with K.

Anyway, the conference was boring, the outreach was okay, the aforementioned keg beer was awesome, but the coolest part of my trip was watching AIR FORCE ONE land in LAX yesterday evening. Yeah, dude, Air Force One! It was carrying THE PRESIDENT. POTUS. El jefe. Maybe Michelle, too, I don't know. It was so exciting.

Usually, I hate LAX the most. Not just the most of any airport, but really the most of all places that exist (yes, I've been to Hartsfield, O'Hare and De Gaulle. But I'm there so infrequently it just doesn't compare.). The Southwest terminal is the worst. It's impossible to find a good place to sit, there's no delicious food, and the bathrooms are super gross. I dread it every time I fly there, but for some reason yesterday seemed charmed. I breezed through security, found a seat close to an outlet to charge my iPhone and they've installed a PINKBERRY in the food court. What could be better?

Seeing freaking Air Force One. I am a HUGE presidential geek. I spent a quarter in DC back in college and fell in love with all things POTUS. I love "The West Wing" (and, if I'm being totally honest, in my mind, the plane I saw was carrying President Bartlet and all my favorite staffers. What up, CJ?), I love the official seal, I love "Hail to the Chief". It was fantastic.

Now I'm back to the regular old, no-President-sighting-life. You know, having ham and coffee for breakfast, sleeping past the time I'm supposed to be at work and dreaming up ways to torture the guys next door. Hail to the Chief, indeed.

April 19, 2010

Bill Nye I'm Coming for You

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

Though I would not call myself a scientist per se, I did conduct a serious experiment this past weekend as a group of friends and I celebrated my boyfriend's birthday.  I set out to discover if one weekend can contain all the beer I would like to drink, all the ice cream I want to eat, and all the playing with Woody the Pup I can muster OR if one weekend can only contain so much fun (which could be a real property of, um, science).  Because if one weekend can't hold it all, a good amount of the buzz and the yum and the fun won't have anywhere to go but into Monday.  That's the simple principle of the conservation of liquid, the conservation of matter, and the conservation of delight.  I took physics in high school in the nineties.  I know what I'm saying.

So I really went for it, in the name of the birthday and in the name of science.  And I'm not sure if this crushingly strong body/stomach ache is from my hang-over, my sugar high come down, or all that jumping around with the dog, but I am sure that science ruins everything.  Stay out of school, kids.  And just say no to Mondays.

April 16, 2010

Who's the Boss?

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

So you guys- I've been thinking a lot lately about how I would like to start meditating and maybe get into yoga or whatever else could make me thin and wise at the same time.  I've been hoping to find a practice to enhance my mental clarity, but after yesterday turned into a TWO revelation day... I kind of think I'm already doing pretty awesome.  What tipped the scales to make me think that I'm sufficiently sage was when it became clear to me last night that:

The big boss at my office... is a real person.

A real person.  One who sometimes tells stories that aren't completely hilarious, and who doesn't magically turn a booth at a bar into a long conference room table with himself at the head as soon as he sits down.  When he came out with my office mates and me after we taped out show last night... he asked questions.  And then he listened to the answers, but did not assign a deadline for better answers.  And I think he may have been really dorky in high school.  And he told this story about back when he was dating the woman who's now his wife, and he stole her credit card from her purse when she was sleeping to go to the Beverly Center and buy a puppy that he really liked.  That's a mistake!  He made it!  And he told it to us!  If I had been his then-girlfriend I would have been real super mad... And she probably was and maybe he got totally yelled at!  Like a real person!!  The kind who doesn't like his mother-in-law, and who worries about money, and who got so drunk in Denver not that long ago that he wandered around until he realized that there was no way he could find his hotel on his own and so got into a taxi and could only tell the driver that they needed to find a hotel that was blue and could they just drive around until that happened.

So, I guess the best part is that not only is he a real person, but also my kind of guy.

The Final Countdown

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Today is the deadline for our students to submit work for our annual Spring Awards competition. In addition to adding "award winner" to their resume, Spring Awards winners also receive a modest cash prize (usually somewhere between $100-300). I announced the submissions requirements and deadline 10 days ago, but of course it wasn't until about 1:00am today that I started getting emails with questions like: "Can I turn my submission after the noon deadline?" "How many copies of each submission do you need?" "Why aren't there any guidelines for how to submit?" To which I replied, "What do you think the word 'deadline' means?" "Read my damn email." and "Ibid."

Around 10:40 this morning they started coming in with sob stories of broken computers and competing deadlines for other school projects, and do I really need to have the submissions at noon? Isn't that just a totally arbitrary time I've picked?

Not that any of them will read this, but...

Dear Students,

Remember when I sent you that email that said "Spring Awards Announcement"? It had all the submissions guidelines right in it, including the fact that the noon on the 16th deadline was not in fact arbitrary but based on when I had to get your submissions to our judging committee. I acknowledged that yes, sometimes our deadlines are soft ones, but this was not one of those times and that you had to get your submission in by noon if you wanted to be included in the competition.

And I don't need to hear your sob stories or be told that I'm ruining your life. A) You did this yourself. "Deadline" means "absolute last minute." You could have turned it in anytime between the announcement and noon today, but you chose to wait until this morning. That's your call. B) I am not killing you, taking your house, or preventing you from graduating. I am telling you that you will not be able to enter this particular contest this year. It's really not that bad.

And to the young lady who turned in her submission on time only to come back and ask if she could switch it out for another because she realized she made a big mistake on the first one, but she'd need to turn in the new version after the deadline: you really didn't need to do the Charlie Brown/George Michael Bluth pout walk away from me when I said no. I didn't mess up your first submission. You did. Grow up.


April 15, 2010

What the Pho

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

It seems like K's and my jobs are competing for most boring today. I haven't been able to post because not one interesting, newsworthy, amusing, or even irritating thing happened. I got to work on time (before Officemate!), answered emails, attended a meeting that wasn't horrible, had a delicious shrimp taco for lunch, prepared some documents, complained to Officemate about our boss, and went home. Totally regular, normal day.

So instead I will report what our workstudy student did over the weekend because it blew my mind. The darling girl turned 20 on Friday and to celebrate she probably went out and got super drunk, but she couldn't tell us about that, so she let us in on one of her hidden passions: competitive eating.

Now this girl is half-Chinese, half-Vietnamese, super pretty and very thin. Not like scary thin, but thin enough so that you would not assume that she likes to see how much of something she can eat in a short time, but apparently she does. And for her birthday she decided on ice cream.

A local ice cream parlor offers a banana split challenge: eat a 3lb (yes. THREE POUND) banana split in fifteen minutes or less and you get a t-shirt. And a rocking ice cream headache, I would imagine. As someone who doesn't like bananas, this challenge has no appeal, but our workstudy loves banana splits and was dying for that shirt. She had tried twice before and failed and felt like her 20th birthday was her day.

Officemate and I stared incredulously as she told us this story. "YOU??" I asked. "ANYONE?!?" Officemate asked. Three pounds of ice cream, bananas, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and nuts?? In 15 minutes? I wouldn't want to eat 3lbs of anything in one sitting, regardless of how long it was, and this is not because I am a delicate flower who doesn't like to eat. Oh, no. I like food. I like ice cream. But good god, people. That's just gross.

But not as gross as her next challenge. Like a good half-Vietnamese girl, she likes her Pho and has found a restaurant that boasts a Pho challenge: 2 pounds of meat (including tripe!!), 2 pounds of noodles and a gallon of broth! It's $22. If you finish it all in an hour you get it for free, as well as the GIANT bowl it comes in. It's such a doozy that they even give losers a consolation t-shirt. This is what our darling little 20 year old workstudy wishes to do next. Eat half her body weight in (delicious, I grant you) Vietnamese noodle soup.

Tomorrow I'll be manning the office alone for most of the day and will try to get into some trouble. Otherwise I'm going to have to start recapping Gilmore Girls episodes and I know no one wants that.

Up on the I Wish

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

You know, it's pretty rare to have a moment of clarity so profound as I have had this week.  A truth has become so magically clear that I can't believe I didn't see it before.  What have I realized?  What has this great and powerful universe shown to me this week?  The universe has shown me that the reason that no part of my employee orientation included directions to the roof of my office building was because my boss was going to tempt me so enticingly to jump off of it as a pleasant alternative to dealing with her and the inane assignments that she creates that- could I find my way there and were my shoes comfortable enough- leaping from five stories would seem a pretty great option.  Now I'm not saying that I want to end it all- don't read me wrong- I'd just really like to get out of doing some dumb stuff.  And prove a point.  And take some sick days.  But alas.

The assignment that I'm dealing with this week that has me wanting to play failed Superman so badly is actually too boring to describe in words that anyone would be able to read without their face falling asleep, but I believe that it can be communicated in metaphor... 

It's as though the big boss of our show said off-handedly at a meeting last week that he would like a couple grains of sand for a show we've got coming up.  Then my immediate boss tasked my office mates and me with a job similar to going to the beach and bringing back, one by one, each individual grain of sand that the big boss ever stepped on.  And when the big boss got wind of this assignment he did not assign, he clarified and said the equivalent of, "No, no... Just take a quick trip down to the shore with your pails and shovels and bring me enough sand to make a small sand castle."  And then it was like my immediate boss ignored him, and insisted we keep gathering sand no one wants in a crushingly tedious way.  As if she sucked at life.  (She sucks at life).

But it must be done, and so I will do it.  At least until I figure out how to open a window.  (Note: That almost sounded like that optimistic expression about doors closing and windows opening.  Any allusion to a positive, reasonable attitude is unintentional.  I was talking about jumping.)

April 14, 2010

Full Bodied

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...


Well look who got some little arms and legs and other stuff today!  Wax cheese person did!  With just one more Babel cheese round, I was able to really put together a nice little desk tchotchke.  It was also a great project in that I could have an appropriate screen up on my computer (as in something that relates to my job) while still not paying it any attention.  This was useful because here's something stupid I've been doing lately: When I have a window open on my computer for my Scrabble game or Facebook or Old Navy (girl's gotta get a swimsuit, am I right?) and someone comes up behind me, I jump in my seat and- as they watch- pull up a work-related window.  I do this as if the person has either lost their power of sight, or could somehow be convinced to believe that everyone keeps up a decoy window and their real focus is on the minimized one.  This is ridiculous.  I cannot stop doing it.

Another trick I've been pulling that is fooling no one but... no one... is that I hold my purse low by my side- instead of putting it over my shoulder- to be less conspicuous when I'm sneaking out of the office early.  This would make sense if my coworkers were unable to look down, or if a reasonable thought pattern was: "Oh- It's only 5:30.  Is Katie leaving this early?  She's headed towards the elevator and her computer is shut down, but no... no... She's holding her purse down low which means she's not really holding it.  It's not over her shoulder, so it isn't her real purse and she isn't carrying it in earnest.  She must just be walking somewhere to work harder."  That is not reasonable at all.  Unlike Wax Cheese person.  


From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Okay they're finally stepping it up a little. As I've mentioned before, the guys in the office next door often treat our office like a hallway (as do many other people), so we often see them passing through 5-6 times per day. Yesterday around 3:30 they left together (in matching blazers, no less), we presumed for their afternoon buddy snack, which usually consists of Mexican Coke (glass bottle, no high fructose corn syrup) and some kind of trail mix/Slim Jim type item from the nearby market.

When they returned, instead of breezing through our office as per usual, they sat down on our couch and start playing with their new iPad. They watched video, looked at books, and discussed its features as if they were on the couch in their office.

But they didn't know who they were messing with. We had our Noriega playlist all set up (thanks friends!). So I just started playing Baha Men after Venga Boys after Chumbawumba in an attempt to wear down their resistance, but they hung tough (dammit! I didn't think to play any New Kids!) until we left at 5:00pm.

Our students were very confused when they would come in looking for a form or to ask a question, because not only did they see the guys next door on our couch, but we were also blasting "The Macarena" at top volume. One them walked in and did a double take when she saw the guys on our couch. "What do you need?" I asked. "I need...to....talk...to...them?" "Great, come on in, we're doing our office hours here today," they said.

Touche, gentlemen.

Granted, this prank required virtually no preparation or dastardly collaboration with outsiders, and was quite likely born in the moment, but we liked it anyway. As we were leaving for the day, we acknowledged our competitors for their fine effort, like tennis players after a hard match.

"Thanks guys; that was pretty good."
"How did you have all that music ready?"
"We've been planning to Noriega you for awhile."
"NORIEGA! I was trying to remember who had that done to him. Panama, right?"
"Yes. Those songs are really bad, huh?"
"Actually, I was thinking those were all songs I secretly liked but never admit to liking in public."


April 13, 2010

Heads Will Roll

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

 ...Because they're made of wax!  Well, this one is!  Wax that my circle cheese was wrapped in that allowed me to combine two of the best things today: Crafts and snacks.  I worked very hard to make this wax head unattractive- but ambiguously so- in hopes that it can represent anyone who is bothering me. A wax proxy, if you will (if only I could play "wax proxy" in my current Scrabble game that I am losing by about 200 points). Although I haven't considered what to do if multiple people are lame at the same time.  I guess I've got some cheese to eat (yes!).

Short Circuit

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Oh-ho! The Bandits of Lame have struck again! This time they unplugged our ethernet cords! The cunning! The treachery!

When I got in to work this morning (only four minutes late, thankyouverymuch), Officemate informed me that she couldn't get on the internet or access her email and asked me to see if I could. I wasn't able to either, so we assumed all the computers were offline. We called our IT guy who said no, other computers were connected fine and we should see if our ethernet cords were properly connected.

Lo and behold, they were BOTH unplugged! Not just not-quite-in-the-socket-as-solidly-as-they-could-be, like our IT guy had originally thought, but full on unplugged! My god, what *will* they think of next?

When we confronted them about it, they denied it again and said that their prank to end all pranks is still in the works and when it happens, we won't need to ask them if they're the ones responsible because "all your furniture will be hanging from the ceiling." This is idiotic for two reasons:

1. You don't reveal your prank beforehand.
2. Neither of them is anywhere near strong enough to lift any of our furniture.

April 12, 2010

Poetry Slam

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Keeping up with Katie's Monday poetry theme (see: copying her because I have no ideas myself), I have composed 3 haikus based on my time at work today.

Yes, late again. You
noticed. Not gonna lie, I'm
super hungover.

Pizza special ends
at two. Come with me now or
pay full price later.

SNL was great!
But seriously guys, who
is Justin Bieber?

Good Morning, Monday

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

Good Night Moon Morning Monday

Good morning, Monday. 
Good morning, I really wish you were Sunday.
Good morning, office mates.
And weird stories of your weekend dates.
Good morning, parking garage.  
Good morning, it's too hard to rhyme parking garage.
Good morning, pointless chat.  
And good morning, standing cat.

Good morning, four cups of coffee to keep me awake.
And good morning 11 a.m. snack break.
Good morning, doing anything that isn't my job.
And good morning, Slobs.

April 9, 2010

Pavlov's Assistant

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

As I've shared before, I have a dog.  Again, he is the cutest dog in America.  Something that I find interesting when I'm spooning him by force on a weekend afternoon as we watch "The Dog Whisperer" or "It's Me or the Dog" off the DVR because, let's be honest, anyone can record foreign films or enlightening documentaries, but watching pet shows requires the brain power of an elementary schooler- what I find interesting in all of that is seeing what weird phobias some dogs have about novel household items.  And I think it's funny to catalog what is and isn't shocking/fascinating/terrifying to my dog because of exposure or total absence.  I've seen dogs on those shows who are freaked out by the television.  My dog is more likely to be nervous if the TV is off.  I've seen dogs that are afraid of the vacuum cleaner, and by golly if a vacuum ever finds its way into my house I'm sure it will shock and awe Woody the Dog in much the same way that he was growling this morning at his first introduction- and mind you we've been sharing a home since September- to the iron.

So today when I was at a staff meeting, and my boss seemed to be looking down the table to the general area where my office mates and I were sitting, and he started to say, "Great job..." I felt as I imagine Woody would if I introduced a beef liver couch into our house (and, well, his birthday is coming up).  I sat up taller, my face took on a smile, and I felt my heart race with the newness of this praise- it was the human equivalent of wagging my tail and standing on my hind legs to get a better look.  "Great job," the big boss said, now looking unambiguously in our direction, "On getting all those chairs out last night."  Great job on getting all those chairs out last night.  Great job lifting some chairs from one place and setting them down in another.  Great job using your arms and also your feet not to mention your hands and eyes, guys.  Ugh.  Woof.      

It's War!

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Finally! After 3 excellently well thought out and beautifully executed pranks on our next door office neighbors, today they retaliate with....a fart machine.

Yes, a fart machine.

I wasn't around our office much this morning; I had to attend a little awards ceremony for our students. When I came back, two of our workstudy students were jumping up and down, demanding that I stay in the room long enough to hear something that sounded like a duck quacking.

"Is there a duck in here?"
"No, we think it's a fart machine. It's been making that sound every 15 minutes."
"Those idiots."

I had another appointment and when I came back, Officemate had found the fart machine hidden behind a potted plant and had turned it off. We were indignant: a fart machine? A FART MACHINE?! Our pranks have required student cooperation, advance planning, costumes. We made AN AUDIO RANSOM NOTE for goodness sake. And they stick a FART MACHINE behind our plant? Amateurs.

We confronted them about the lameness of their prank and they claimed that they're just "warming up" for the truly sublime prank they've got coming down the pike and all they really wanted was for the fart machine to go off in the Dean's presence. Still, we're insulted and we've decided that we are going to go all out with as many complex pranks as possible before the end of the school year, when our focus will turn to incorporating more daytime drinking into our schedules.

I told my friend M about their prank fail and she replied "you should send them a male stripper!" We went as far as going online to price it out, but it's way too expensive, plus we realize it probably falls under the sexual harassment category.

So next on deck is the Noriega prank, and in the continuing "you two are in love" motif, we're having one our super-talented workstudies design a beautiful wedding invitation for their fake, but (in our minds) eventual, marriage. You know, once it's legal in this state.

ADDENDUM: After reading this post, M told me that I left out the funniest part of this anecdote and I've decided she's right. So when Officemate decided to price out male strippers for the ultimate prank, she simply Googled "male strippers." I was turning to look at her screen to see what she found just as she put both her hands in front of her computer and yelled "I got video! I GOT VIDEO!!!" You're welcome.

April 8, 2010

Somebunny Loves You

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Being raised Catholic rarely pays off. Here's how I've found it useful:

1. Obscure Bible knowledge.
2. Funny Sunday School anecdotes. ("Dress Like Your Favorite Saint Day" is always a hit.)
3. Guilting people.

As you might imagine, 3 comes in handy the most often. Like today. Officemate brought in some leftover Easter candy, including a large chocolate bunny. She asked a workstudy to break the bunny into smaller chocolate pieces and leave them on a plate for people to eat. Cleverly, the workstudy put the box the bunny came in behind the plate, lest anyone not understand where the chocolate came from.

So all day, people have been coming to our office in search of candy and balking at the plate of segmented bunny, until I solemnly remind them that "that bunny died for you." This works especially well on Christians, as it was just Easter and they've been all about honoring someone that they believe died for them lately. But it's also been successful with people who don't believe in Jesus too! They either think it's funny or actually feel bad about the bunny's ultimate sacrifice and feel that eating a piece is the least they can do.

My parents, never terribly devout Catholics themselves, took me to church every Sunday until I was in high school because they thought it would shape my sense of morality. Joke's on them.

Attack of the Machines

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

An open letter to whomever makes the executive stocking decisions for the second floor vending machine:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I've been using vending machines for as long as I can remember.  And let me start off by saying that if you or any of your colleagues had anything to do with the ample supply of Funyuns at a certain Northern California middle school in the early nineties, I thank you.  Truly.  It was a dream.

Today, however, I am writing to you to enlist your help with a problem.  I'm sure that you are a faithful reader of this blog (who isn't, right Mom?) and so are familiar with how I feel about treats in the workplace: Simply, devoted.  Which means, I think, that you and I have something special in common: Neither of us could do our job if snacks didn't exist.  Isn't it cool, how connected we are?  You work a physically demanding and thankless job, carrying food up stairs on your very back through nothing but your body's sheer force, and I sit at a desk complaining and eating that stuff!

But here's the thing:  Where the eff have my Rice Crispy Treats been and who in their right mind would put Pop Tarts in B1 in the vending machine in their place?!  Oh- There are other alternatives?  You're right.  C7 is a Cinnabon Bar that I didn't even know existed until I started working here, and then when I read the fine print on the back that suggested that I put it in the microwave for seven seconds my head almost exploded from the gooey deliciousness, and that would be a totally viable replacement for the Rice Crispy Treats... If the Cinnabon Bars hadn't been replaced with yogurt covered granola bars!  This is not reasonable!  That's like swapping out someone's dear child or beloved pet and leaving in their place... A much much less cool child or pet!

So how can we meet in the middle on this?  Which is to say, how can you go back to doing this exactly as I want?  I'm being torn apart.  Today I had to bring a bag full of baked goods from home and put it on the table in the communal area just to be certain that I would be able to eat my fill of sweets while also collecting thank yous and compliments from my coworkers.  It has been a trying time.  Please- Hear my cry.

B1 Rice Crispy Treats, C7 Cinnabon Bars.

Thank you for your prompt attention,

April 7, 2010

You Say Hello, I Say Do We Have To?

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

On my floor at work there is a guy I don't know whose desk is, let's call it, one hundred feet from mine (keep in mind that if you told me that one hundred feet was also the average distance from the floor to the ceiling I would, with only brief hesitation, believe you).  I pass him on my frequent, previously-discussed trips to the ladies' room, and every time I go to the break room to visit the Peanut M&M's in the vending machine (I don't bring them home to my desk, but I like to gaze longingly at them and imagine the day that I learn how to run without doubling over wheezing so that I might- on that day- justify making them my very own).  I do not know this man's name.  I know that it isn't the same as the guy whose desk is immediately next to his, but most of the time I can't remember that guy's name either, so my process of elimination isn't what I would call strong.

Well last week this guy and I literally ran into each other in the hall.  Our office has lots of abrupt turns and narrow passageways, and- full disclosure- I worked with a blind girl before and I- with full sight- bumped into twice as many things as she did walking- literally- blind, so this hallway shoulder check was more than likely my fault.  Anyway, in the wake of our elbows colliding, this guy feels that we now have to say hello to each other.  Aggressively.  Not just in that really awkward way that I already have to say hello to my coworkers around the building when we are walking towards each other from a distance in the hall, and have to choose at which point in our long approach we are going to acknowledge each other with some greeting, and then either look at our phones or some interesting imaginary thing on the floor so that we don't have to make steady eye contact until we clear each other.  I mean, nameless shoulder checker wants to do that, too, but in addition he now shouts from his desk whenever I pass to say hello, and once I say it back, we've exhausted our conversational repertoire.  Because what could we talk about?  Work?  I don't even think he plays Scrabble.

Reunited, And It Feels So Good

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Officemate's back! She was gone Friday-yesterday and was like 15 minutes late today and I almost peed myself with concern that I had gotten her return date wrong.

Everyone else is excited to see her too. Since she's in charge of financial aid stuff, our students really get their panties in a twist if she's not available right when they need her. In the 15 minutes that she wasn't here this morning, two students came by, foaming at the mouth, shouting accusatorily "YOU SAID SHE'D BE BACK ON WEDNESDAY!"

Luckily, Officemate is cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce. "Hey, I just got in, I can't talk to you right now, let's make an appointment to talk later" she says in her soothing, rational voice that I bet she also uses with her five-year-old. It's like Jedi mind power, because you can actually see the students' blood pressure lowering as they dreamily reply, "Okkkayyyy, I'll be back after lunch...."

She's got 138 new emails, and who knows how many voicemails since I only answered her phone the one time, and a parade of whiny students demanding answers, but I want her attention all to myself. I've got 3 days worth of silly YouTube videos (Single Ladies Devastation, anyone?), NYT articles and "can you believe this guy?" anecdotes saved up to share with her and I'm really irritated that she's getting distracted with her actual job.

Since I started writing this post, I heated up my Greek Wrap from Whole Foods and it is SO GOOD. The warm feta with the brown rice is pure heaven. I don't need Officemate anymore; everything I'll ever need is inside this quickly-disappearing tortilla.

April 6, 2010

To Sleep, Perchance To Pzizz Part Deux

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

There are few things I love more than napping. Once my boyfriend told me that running was as crucial to him as napping was to me and I almost broke up with him. Who loves exercise as much as sleeping? Crazy people.

So when I saw K's post "To Sleep, Perchance to Pzizz" I was intrigued. Could this Pzizz improve upon the already essentially perfect act of napping? YES. Yes, it could. I've Pzizzed by myself, and forced a 19-year-old workstudy to Pzizz along with me. "I felt like I was floating through a black abyss. It would have been scary, but I was too relaxed," she said. Yes, my child. I know.

So I was hooked. It had to be mine. It was...$60?!? Even with the 20% coupon you can get for filling out a quick questionnaire, that's still....money! Seriously, what's 20% of 60*? Whatever, it's more money than I have to blow on activity that's currently free. Now, the Pzizz samples are good, but apparently part of the magic of Pzizz is that you can customize it to the length of nap you wish to take, or use it to help you fall asleep at night, and unlike sleep aid CDs, Pzizz changes every time so your brain can't get used to it. So just playing the two sample tracks over and over again wouldn't be getting the job done. Plus, I wanted to be able to download Pzizz to my iPod for planes and BART.

Enter: the Pzizz iPhone app. $9.95 for the nap version; $9.95 for the sleep version. And it's already on my mobile device! I will never be awake again!

*I know 20% of 60 is 12 and that the new cost of the Pzizz would be $48. I do possess the math skills of a 4th grader, lest anyone be concerned. Sometimes K and I pretend to be dumber than we are for comedic effect. Sometimes, we're just as dumb as we claim to be.

A truth universally acknowledged

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

So clearly, K and I like to write. And while I get that we're not Tolstoy, or even Dan Brown, I am confident that there are published writers who are way worse than us at it. Case in point: Jennifer Love Hewitt. Yes, she has a book. You can find it on Amazon and everything. It's a dating guide. That's right, a woman who dated both Carson Daly and Jamie Kennedy has decided she's qualified to advise other humans on how to have successful, adult relationships.

I should first confess to having not read the book, so technically I should not be passing on judgment on it, but people whose opinions I trust (NPR and the FugGirls), tell me it's godawful and I have no trouble believing that.

I've read "He's Just Not That Into You" and while I felt that some of its advice was well-taken (if a dude doesn't like you, that doesn't make you ugly, fat, stupid, or boring...something I think us ladies forget more often than not), I mostly found it ridiculous. And I imagine J.Lo.Hew's (copyright K) new tome is also ridiculous, and for the same reason: you cannot distill all human behavior down to a few rules or catchphrases, be them "guys hate to spoon--they prefer to fork! LOL" or, well, "he's just not that into you." I wish we could. But the truth is people are complicated and relationships are hard and there's no guarantee that anyone will behave a certain way, no matter what you do.

Except for this bitch who will not stop calling me about the damn supplemental documents. She will always call when I'm away from my desk and leave a long, monotone message that starts the same way "Hello, S, this is Bitch from central admissions. I've got your exceptional admission request for XXXX here and I just don't know how you expect me to show it to the dean with all these gaping holes..."

I'm happy to admit I don't do everything perfectly, especially the bureaucratic nonsense involved in getting someone admitted into our school, however this woman's way of telling me I've done something wrong is absurd. Instead of saying "I need x, y, and z to complete your request" she calls me asking for x. I provide x and then she says she can't do anything without y. So I send over y and the next day I get a voicemail saying....you get the picture. She's what my boss calls a "career bureaucrat": she's worked so long within the strict, yet arbitrary constraints of our university's old-fashioned systems, she is unable to process things in any way but the step-by-step methodical fashion she now so clearly prefers. Note to self: leave job before becoming career bureaucrat.

Coffee Slob

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

What with the joy of unemployment and devil-may-care sleep cycles woefully behind me, I have developed a fairly consistent morning routine to get me to my desk on time (read: progressively later each day since the day I started).  I wake up early, exercise the dog for an hour, drink coffee, get dressed and ready, drink coffee, cook up some breakfast and pack lunch, leave for the office, drink coffee in the car, arrive at the office, and drink coffee until the moment when I am certain I have had so much that my hands are going to fall off from the shakes and I'm going to toss my cookies (if I had cookies for breakfast- not an impossibility) all over my desk.

I mean- It all starts out normally enough, setting the coffee pot at home to make ten cups of coffee for two people.  But once it goes beyond that, once I get to the office and that little table in the common area with the microwave and the single-cup coffee maker starts calling out to me, asking me to forget a stomach so sensitive that coffee used to make me throw up with such consistency that my dad and I had to have a terrifically awkward conversation wherein I explained to him that, no, I wasn't pregnant just unwilling to forsake caffeine for health, that's when I'm in trouble.  And yet, as often as not, I go for it.  Like the girl you had to stop going out drinking with because she just got too cuh-razy all the time draping herself over the bar at the end of the night to slur an order for a tequila shot to close things down, I will drink that bad-choice cup of coffee.  And then I will pay for it.  And then I will do it again.  Kind of like an experiment.  Sort of like I'm a scientist.  Almost as if I had a job that real.

April 5, 2010


From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

 I feel as though I am really getting this week of to a good start as far as productivity.  Look at that picture right up there!  Look at all those tabs.  That means I'm doing stuff.  As I type this, I am listening to a show that I need to watch for work, G-Chatting with S, playing Scrabble with my coworker, thinking critical thoughts about something I just read on Facebook because please- there is no reason to talk about peeing on a stick and other such personal things on a social networking site, counting down to when I am allowed to eat my lunch in 29 minutes, wondering if people are thinking that my hair looks weird today because I put it in bun even though I've never put my hair in a bun before but I did today because it's raining and my hair already has little hope of looking nice but once there's moisture in the air just absolutely forget it, closing my eyes for mini-naps, wondering if anyone can tell that I have had this sweater since 2001... oops- I just took a quick break to show a coworker an album of pictures of my dog in its entirety... and now I'm back and also eavesdropping on my coworkers' conversation about some bad decisions that they made over the weekend.  This is what employers are talking about when they say that they want attention to detail and the ability to multi-task, right?  Man.  I really am under-using my talents here.

Update: I just read this back after I posted it, and thought to myself, "Wait- Haven't I written this post before with just a slight variation in the details?"  And yes, I have.  Because all of my days are just a slight variation on this post, an endless string of pointless activities to distract me from the grand pointless activity that is my job, and when I stop crying into my leftovers about it I'll try to at least come up with a new way to complain about it.

Graduation Song

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

So once again, I did something against my better judgment and immediately paid for it. My day began with more phone calls from the same woman who chewed me out last week (see: Stay Thirsty, My Friends) upset again about my lack of supporting documents and the effect they will have on the all-mighty dean. After receiving my morning tongue-lashing, I was excited to hear the phone ring and see the light for my officemate's extension and not my own.

My officemate is off camping in Big Sur with her adorable family today, and I was planning to just let her phone go to voicemail as my conversations with people calling her line go like this:

S: This is S.
Caller: I was looking for Officemate.
S: Officemate isn't in today; can I help?
Caller: Explains long complex problem that only Officemate can fix.
S: Yeah, Officemate will be back tomorrow...

But the ringing of the phone was getting to me so I picked it up, ready to recreate the scene above. But lo and behold it was a question I could actually answer!

Caller: What day is graduation?
S: (Excited to know this one) May 8. It's a Saturday.
Caller: Not May 19th.
S: No, the 8th.
Caller: Is that a Saturday or a Sunday?
S: (Slightly confused because she knows she just said this) It's a Saturday.
Caller: Well the thing is, my family members all have plane tickets for the 19th.
S: (Wondering how this is in any way her problem and cursing herself for picking up the phone) Hmmm...that's a Wednesday, and our ceremonies are always on the weekend.
Caller: I know, I thought it was weird too, especially because I have the 8th marked on my calendar as graduation too. So why do they have airline tickets for that day?
S: I'm sorry, I have no idea.
Caller: Well that's just incredibly inconvenient.
S: I'm very sorry.
Caller: I just wish you could tell me why my family members all have tickets for the 19th.

Thankfully, the dude's cell dropped the call and he didn't call back, and I am just going to let all of Officemate's future calls go to voicemail until she comes back on Wednesday...or is it Saturday?

April 2, 2010

To Sleep, Perchance to Pzizz

From an unnamed production office for an undisclosed television show in an address-withheld building in LA where the elevators are shockingly slow...

A pretty awesome trend has started in my immediate office this week: Napping!  I know it sounds difficult to actually fall asleep at work, and we really did used to struggle with it.  Last month, for example, after a weekend of 18 hour days working on a friend's movie, one of my coworkers crawled under his desk, hung a jacket in front of him, and put this decoy in his place:

But he couldn't quite relax on the hard ground and worried that- somehow- someone would on second glance realize that that was in fact a stuffed monkey at his desk and not a working human.

Enter: Pzizz.  If the catchy name doesn't at first tempt you, let me testify that the site is worth visiting if you want to be guided through the most awesome power nap of your life.  We Pzizz our day away at the first sign of anxiety, fatigue, or boring assignment.  Sometimes with headphones, sometimes through computer speakers for a community doze.  It's a revolution.  Look at this person, whom I don't even like:

He is Pzizzing!  And you can, too!  I'm not even being paid to write this except by the company that pays me to sit at this desk and do something else but instead I nap and write a blog!  But not by Pzizz!  No- For them I volunteer my services.  My hard-working services.

Cole's on First

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Our office is the closest to the main entrance of our building, and for that reason, people often come in to our office to ask questions, generally about how to get to other places in the building. Sometimes it's a little annoying if we're really busy, but mostly it's fine. We tell them where the bathroom or a certain professor's office is and they're on their way.

But not today.

A woman came in and stood in the doorway. "Yes?" "Can you tell me where Bob Cole's office is?" "Oh, there's no Bob Cole in this department, sorry." "Well, he told me to meet him here, so where should I go?" "I don't know; I don't know who he is." "Bob Cole, Robert Cole." "Right, there's no one here by that name, are you sure you have the right building?" "YES! I just need you to tell me where to go."

Oh, I'll tell you where to go bitch.

"I am sorry. I do not know who that man is. I don't know why he told you to meet him here. But there is no one by that name who works in this building. We have a Bob XXXX, could that be who you're looking for?" "No, it's Cole." "Then I'm sorry, I really can't help you."

She took off in a huff and I breathed a sigh of relief. A couple minutes later, my phone rang. It was the front-desk person.

"There's a lady here looking for a Robert Cole. Do you know who that is?"

April 1, 2010

Stay thirsty, my friends

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

I know the last time I mentioned writing exceptional admission requests for international students, you were all clamoring with anticipation to hear more about what that entails. Wait no longer friends, I'm here to elaborate.

Sometimes an international student doesn't technically have the required credentials to matriculate into our university, and when that's the case, we write a letter saying that yes, we're aware of this and for XXX reasons, we want them in our program anyway. It used to be more of a formality than a real requirement, but that was before the central admissions department became THE MOST IMPORTANT PLACE IN THE WORLD. (Not to be confused with the Most Interesting Man in the World.)

So anyway, last year I wrote a bunch of letters, sent them off, and our students were let in without a hitch. This year, however, there's a new sheriff in town and she apparently doesn't trust us to decide who we do and don't want in our program, so she's requiring supporting documentation (letters of rec, transcripts and the like) to justify our offering admission to someone that they deem unqualified. I told her that we never had to do that before and she said it's always been a requirement, which is a total lie, but I wasn't in the mood to talk to her about anymore after she yelled the following at me over the phone:


Oh, God, not the dean! He has the authority to kill people! Oh wait, no he doesn't. So, as I'm sure you were expecting, an open letter to the bitch who thinks special circumstance admissions processing is a matter of life and death:

Dear Bitch:

Chill the hell out.


PS: Your requirements are super generic and apply to all disciplines, making the assumption that what makes a good chemical engineering student also makes a good modern dance student, but that's bonkers. Special circumstances exist. Please trust our admissions committee to know better than you what kind of student we want.

About 10 minutes after my little lecture, another woman from their office called me, not knowing I had already been berated for my lack of supplemental documents. Her voicemail went a little like this "Hello, S, I've got your exceptional admit letters, but it doesn't look like you have any supporting documents with them and we really need those before we take it to the dean. Could you please send some over? Thanks!"

Nice. Normal. A proportional response. She seems like a rational person with a clear understanding of the relative level of importance of what she does for a living in comparison with oh, say, a heart surgeon or President Obama. I give her 6 months in that office, tops.