Wednesday, December 09, 2009

exactly how intelligent should the monkey be?

Yesterday I was tasked with some data entry. Usually this is a welcomed change from the usual, but I guess I just wasn't in the mood. After two minutes I had the hang of it, and the thought occurred to me: "You could train a monkey to do this."

I started wishing someone would ask me how the data entry was going so that I could say, "Like most of what I do here, you could train a monkey to do this."

Then things got kind of meta when I decided that that sentence needed an adjective. I spent at least an hour while I was entering data trying to decide which adjective would make the phrase the funniest.

"You could train a smart monkey to do this, like most of what I do here."

"You could train a kind of dumb monkey to do this, like most of what I do."

I repeated this sentence over and over, for an hour, substituting different levels of intelligence. I tried out smart, pretty smart, unexceptional, mediocre, kind of dumb, pretty dumb, and mentally challenged.

A smart monkey is funny because of its precision. The job is too easy for a dumb human being, but just right for a smart monkey. Unexceptional and mediocre appealed to me because I was trying to picture teaching a monkey how to do what I was doing, and I liked the idea that you could go out and pick any monkey, you wouldn't even have to find a smart one. The more bitter I became, the more "pretty dumb" appealed to me.

By the end of the day, I was trying to decide whether you would have to teach the monkey how to read before he could do the job. I reasoned that you wouldn't, as long as he was really good at matching pictures. Letters are pictures, words are pictures, etc. I decided that you would first want to try to teach an illiterate human being, just so you knew what you were getting yourself into with the monkey.

What can I say? I have a brain, and it demands that I find something for it to do.

Monday, November 23, 2009

i'm a google girl, but thank god for outlook

I totally forgot to pay the rent for our two Canada locations. Again. Outlook totally just saved my ass.

Friday, November 20, 2009

this is your brain on new moon

I just spilled sweet and sour sauce on my desk. Here are the thoughts that followed, in the order they occurred:
1. Don't get it on the carpet for fuck's sake!
2. Ooooh, that kinda looks like blood. Mmm, Edward. *Homer Simpson slobbering noise*
3. Don't get it on your pants for fuck's sake!

At least I kept my priorities in order throughout the emergency.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

michael's new trick

Five or six times a day, Michael asks, "Is there anything I can help you with?" The first few times he did it, I was unnerved. I wasn't really doing anything at the moment. Should I be doing something? Is there something I'm supposed to be doing that I'm not, and this is his subtle way of getting the ball rolling?

No, he was just being nice. I interviewed Michael about his new habit tonight. His first reaction was to ask, "Is it bad?" Umm, no, unless you're another husband who is totally being shown up. Here's what I learned:
  • He does it at work too (this made me feel a little less special, but okay, moving on)
  • He asks it because he asks a lot of me
  • It's not like when someone asks you how you're doing and expects to hear "good" and move on with their life. He's totally okay with me assigning him a task if there's something to be done.
Then I just had to ask. "Does this have anything to do with Kate Gosselin?" His answer: "Well, I don't want to end up like Jon..." Jon & Kate Plus 8 is like a Scared Straight program for husbands!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

that door thing again

Someone did the whole "holding the door for me while I'm still uncomfortably far away" thing to me today and then she said "you're welcome" before I could spit out my "thank you." She was just a little premature to every part of our interaction.

Friday, October 23, 2009

the sociology of doors

This seriously just happened. I saw someone I work with walking ahead of me, approaching our door, and I took a left turn and walked through a bunch of side hallways to avoid "the whole door thing." You know the thing.

She opens the door and looks behind her. You make eye contact. Now she's required by our ridiculous office culture to hold the door for you. Except you're still, like, 10 yards away from the door. So you shuffle forward as quickly as you can. You can't run, because she'll tell you not to rush, and it'll be all awkward, like she inconvenienced you by holding the door for you. This whole little period is excruciating for a shy person.

This, like so many other things, was simpler in college. The culture at my school, at least, required nothing more than pushing your arm out while you walked through the door at your normal pace. If someone was behind you, they pushed their arm out for the next person. No looking behind you to see who's coming, no waiting for people. You could walk in a crowd of hundreds of people with barely any human interaction. Bliss!

The shuffle to walk through a door someone held for 30 painful seconds isn't the only "thing" about doors in my office. There's also an important decision to be made about thanking people. In order to exit my building, you have to walk through three doors in quick succession. I'm sorry, but I'm not thanking the same person for holding a door three times in 20 seconds. By the third time you sound like an idiot. I've adopted what seems to be the most popular pattern: I thank on the first and the last door.

Finally, you can judge a person by their door-holding technique. Holds the door back for you and gestures for you to enter before him (it's always a him)? Gentleman (and usually an Executive or someone in sales). Walks through the door and pushes his or her arm out to hold the door open behind them? Normal (this is by far the largest group). Walks through the door first and then stands there in the doorway holding it open behind them? Douchebag (and usually middle management).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

if i got a competent phone, what would I write about?

(Wow, has it really been almost two weeks since I posted anything? I feel like I should post something good, to make up for my absence, but this is all I've got. Sorry.)

Okay, so someone is sitting at my desk helping me set something up on my computer. My cell phone vibrates. I read the display, "Unknown caller," and ignore it. 20 seconds later it vibrates again, quickly. They left a voicemail, great. A few minutes later it vibrates again, reminding me that I have a voicemail. Yup, I'm all over it, thanks.

My co-worker leaves and I listen to my voicemail. It's an automatic refill from Target. Like, yawn.

5 minutes later, my phone vibrates again. Could it be a text message? Excitement!

Except it's not. It's my phone telling me that I missed that call 10 minutes ago. I imagine my phone's bumbled justification for the delayed reminder:

"You know, like, 10 minutes ago when I vibrated? And then the person left a message, and I told you about it twice, and then you listened to it? Yeah, that was great. I just wanted to let you know that when that person called, you know, the person whose voicemail you just listened to? You didn't pick up. I vibrated, and I saw you looking at me, but then you didn't answer me, and it was all embarassing. Not for me! For the person whose phone call you screened. I know it was an auto-dialer, but machines have feelings too, you know? I don't want this to be all awkward, but I just wanted to bring it up again." *Sob*

Thursday, October 01, 2009

you just did

Jen, Michael and I were watching Glee on, and a commercial came on.

Jen: Can't we fast-forward through this?
Me: Nope. Someone should invent Tivo for the internet.
Jen: You just did.

letters to inanimate objects

Dear first aid cream,

Pain relief my ass!


PS, Freaking ouch!


I was having a great, productive day. I was actually enjoying my time at work, and talking to people, and being pleasant and everything. No, really!

And then I gave myself a papercut

on my palm, between my thumb and pointer finger


I'm going to go put a giant bandaid on it so I don't pass out from looking at it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

oh ralph

So, I was reading an interview with Ralph Lauren. When asked his favorite authors, Ralph answered "Ayn Rand and Ernest Hemingway." Interesting, I thought. Makes sense, he's a self-made businessman. And then I got to the second-to-last question.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

I'm guessing he's a fan of her fiction and not her nonfiction, notable among which is a little book called "The Virtue of Selfishness." Actually, it's more likely that he hasn't actually read Rand, and just thinks he'll sound interesting saying he likes her.

That sounds you hear is my eyes rolling, hard.

Friday, September 25, 2009

murder and ice cream!

There's an article on MSNBC today that's making me a little stabby. The headline: "Study: Spanked kids have lower IQs."

I assumed the headline was a bit of sensationalism on MSNBC's part. Anyone who hasn't heard "correlation does not imply causation" over and over again in the classroom could be fooled by this headline into believing that spanking causes low IQ. (The example we were always given is the strong positive correlation between murder rates and ice cream sales - both of which rise in the summer). That can't possibly be what the study concludes. Right?

Except that is exactly what the researcher is trying to say. He claims that he controlled for socioeconomic status and other factors in his study, and therefore that the lower IQ scores were actually caused by the spanking. Says the researcher, ""You can't say it proves it, but I think it rules out so many other alternatives; I am convinced that spanking does cause a slowdown in a child's development of mental abilities."

I'm pretty sure this researcher was "convinced" that spanking causes lower IQ before he ever started his experiment. He goes on to explain how he thinks spanking lowers IQ, something his study could not possibly have told him. Then I get stabby and have to close the window before I hurt my computer monitor.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

resumes are funny

I was skimming more resumes today, and I found a couple of tidbits I just had to share.
First, someone listed this under "Activities" at the bottom of his resume:
"Winner of doubles-competition and runner in singles-competition at Company X's yearly Table Tennis competition." [sic]
I think that's supposed to be funny? I hope? But I'm not endeared. I mean, I'd like to hear that you organized the thing, but telling me where you placed? At table tennis? That has to be "funny because it's absurd," right? Please?
Okay, so I guess the next person was using a template. At the top of the resume, I saw this string of nonsense:
123-456-1234 (p) - N/a (f)
This one took me a few minutes, but then I realized that they were trying to indicate "not applicable" for a fax number. Which, I mean, gahh. Template FAIL.
I also realized something about myself when I was going through these. Whenever I saw a gap in someone's resume, I would always scroll to the top to see if the person was female. Like, did she take off because she had a baby?
And then finally, hundreds of resumes later, I realized that I was being sexist. I mean, it's more likely that a woman would take off after having a baby, but it's not impossible that a gap in a man's resume could also be baby-related. Duh.
Later in the day, I found nothing at all amusing, and couldn't wait to run out the door at 5. I'm going to spare you the little stream-of-consciousness rant I wrote then. You can thank me in the comments.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

i am one spineless, nerdy smart-ass

Okay, so recently there appeared a sign above the copier in one of our break rooms. It reads:

"Copy Machine Usage is for Business Purpose's Only!"

I've read the sign like a dozen times, but today was the first time I noticed the inappropriate use of an apostrophe on this sign. This sign, which someone printed out on pink paper, laminated, and then hung in a professional setting. Duh, people.

As soon as I noticed this, I had the urge to run to my computer and print a sign reading:

"Apostrophe for Posessive Usage Only!"

Then I did a wikipedia search for the word "apostrophe" to make sure I wasn't missing any appropriate usages, because there's nothing worse than being all snotty and correcting someone and saying something incorrect in your correction.

Turns out I was missing two basics (in addition to lots of ridiculous particulars that no one would really hold against me): contractions (e.g. couldn't) and abbreviations (e.g. gov't). But my sign doesn't pack quite the same punch when it reads:

"Apostrophe for Possessive, Contraction, and Abbreviation Usages Only!"

Usages? Usage? I can't decide, so I guess I'm going to have to give the whole thing up.

Not that I would actually be brave enough to hang the sign, anyway. There could be cameras! I could be called into offices!

top 5 reasons why yesterday was better than monday or tuesday

  1. White cake with whipped cream frosting and chocolate mousse filling. One piece at the little corporate cake gathering thing, and one later while I scanned those stupid double-sided phone bills.
  2. Something new and interesting (no, really!) to do at work: Reviewing resumes! (Quick tip to all job applicants ever: get yourself a nice, staid, email address for job hunting, because seriously, people. The "quirky" "creative" address you give to your friends looks totally ridiculous on your resume.)
  3. I got an examiner newsletter suggesting that I write articles about exactly what I was planning on writing articles about this month. I'm a total genius, and I rock at this job, even if I did only make $1.86 yesterday. How much did you make for writing an article about 5 new sitcoms that are airing this fall? Yeah, that's what I thought.
  4. Getting exactly what I wanted for dinner. The Wii Fit board is going to weep on Saturday, but whatever, this is no time of the month for good choices.
  5. Listening to Josh Groban on the way to work. Rolling my windows down and positively blaring Josh Groban on the way home. (Suck it, guy blasting hip hop in the car next to me!) Singing along loudly to all the Italian songs and feeling all smugly superior about it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

self-medicating with tween romance and dusters

Saturday was a nice day. I wrote a movie review for and cleaned my kitchen while watching HGTV. Renovation shows always help motivate me!

Sunday started getting sketchy. I couldn't get certain parts of Breaking Dawn out of my head, and I started itching to read it for a third time. Michael and I went to breakfast, and then Michael went to work. I watched television or something for a couple of hours, and then I caved and read like 400 pages of Breaking Dawn.

Monday was just downright strange. Michael left for work early. I finished reading what I wanted to in Breaking Dawn (I lose interest when the action begins), and then I thought that maybe I should watch Twilight again. After ransacking the bookcases twice, I finally found it.

I'd heard the audio commentary was kind of ridiculous, so of course I decided to listen to it. I enjoyed it, but I didn't actually get to watch the movie, since they were talking over it, so I decided to watch the movie again. Or listen to it, really, since I also re-cleaned my kitchen (there were new dishes to be done, I needed to clean the counter and stove again, etc.)

When the movie ended, I played it again. I cleaned the living room (I even dusted!) and cleaned the bathroom. The movie ended again, and I played it again. I straightened our bedroom, and then there was nothing else to do, so I sat and watched the end of the movie. For the third time, not counting the first time with the commentary. I was kind of afraid to turn it off, I think, like I would have a panic attack if I didn't distract myself enough.

I teetered between distracted and downright miserable yesterday. I can't really believe I got so much done yesterday. Usually when I'm unhappy I just want to curl up and do nothing. I think the same thing that made me watch Twilight three or four times yesterday also made me spend the whole day cleaning. Like I needed to be busy with something so that I wouldn't be forced to think.

Michael was feeling pretty down when he got home, too, so we went out to dinner, and then to Target, where we bought the first season of Mad Men on DVD. We joked about being miserable, and I pretended to hyperventilate. We watched two episodes at home, and then it was time for bed. I read Infinite Jest before I went to sleep, instead of Twilight (which I had re-started before dinner), because really, my use of Stephanie Meyer's crack had been excessive enough.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

i was not abducted by aliens last night

Last night a nightmare was pretty much inevitable.

Ever since seeing the trailer for “The Fourth Kind,” I can’t stop seeing the pixilated face of Dr. Abigail Tyler, and hearing her say “Someone… or something… came into my room… and took me away.”

For most of last night I had to sleep on my left side or my back, because I was just too freaked out to have my back to the bedroom door. I tucked my blanket around my body carefully, even though I was hot. I thought about how alien abductions only happen in the middle of nowhere. It’s not like there was going to be a spaceship hovering in the middle of town, right?

But I was still nervous, because I’ve watched all the UFO shows on television, and I know the scientific explanation for alien abduction: sleep paralysis, a state in which your mind has awoken but your body remains paralyzed. That would be reason enough for panic, but many people also have some horrifying hallucinations during the experience.

I feel about sleep paralysis the way my brother feels about killer asteroids. I wish I didn’t know it exists. Even when I can completely convince myself that I won’t be abducted by aliens (which is a tall enough order when you’re lying alone in the dark), I still have to worry about having the experience of being abducted. Does it even matter if it’s “really” happening if the experience is horrible enough?

I did fall asleep, eventually. I didn’t experience sleep paralysis, but I did have a really strange nightmare.

Here’s the premise: Michael Jackson is sleeping in a bed with a married couple. He may have been sleeping at the foot of the bed like a dog, I’m not sure. Later, the couple are telling someone (a documentarian?) about the noises that MJ made while he was sleeping. You see an image of him asleep and hear these strange, high-pitched noises. They play it back slower, and you hear him calling for his mothership, or something.

And then I woke up. Not in a cold sweat or anything, but kind of freaked out. Still seeing the sleeping face of Michael Jackson. I told Michael I had a nightmare, and he snuggled me. Then I told him I had to go pee, but I was afraid to leave the bedroom.

I expected him to pat me on the shoulder and tell me it would be okay, but he actually offered to come out with me. When you’re with someone for a long time, your displays of affection change. Instead of buying me flowers or jewelry, Michael waits in the living room while I pee so that Michael Jackson won’t get me.

The moment was ruined a little bit when we got back to our bedroom and Michael said, "Don’t worry, the real Michael Jackson will come down in his spaceship and kick his ass.” After a second I understood that he was making a South Park reference, but I still yelled at him. “That’s not funny! We don’t say the “s” word at night!”

Despite Michael's lapse in judgment, I did get back to sleep.

Friday, August 21, 2009

the most gourmet thing i made today was instant cocoa

  1. Pour about 1-1/2 tbsp of cold water into a styrofoam cup
  2. Pour instant cocoa into the cup. Push the sides of the packet in gingerly, about 10 times, to make sure you get every last molecule of cocoa into the cup.
  3. Hold two 7" stir sticks as you would a whisk, and whip the cocoa into the water until they form a paste. Be sure to run the stir sticks along the edge of the cup, as you would with a spatula, so that no dry cocoa clings to the side of the cup.
  4. Fill the styrofoam cup to about 2/3rds full with hot water. You should see a chocolatey foam at the top.
  5. Holding the two stir sticks like a whisk again, whip the cocoa and water again, being sure that the stir sticks are scraping the bottom of the cup thoroughly, so as not to leave any super-chocolatey deposits there.
  6. Pour cold water into the hot chocolate until the temperature is as hot as it can be without being uncomfortably so. You should be able to take a sip, but not a swig, without burning yourself.

why i love it when it rains while i'm at work

I was at reception, and people started coming in and warning us about the clouds coming in from... I was about to say the west, but I actually have no idea from which direction they were coming. They were coming from the right, if you were looking out from the reception desk. If I had a new iPhone I'd use that fancy compass to tell you, but I don't, so I won't.

Since my desk is surrounded by cubicle walls, I took a field trip to a friend's desk to watch the clouds rolling over. These clouds are so thick and black and low that I'm kind of expecting death eaters to come flying out of them. Now that I'm back at my desk, I can hear the patter of rain on the ceiling.

The rain is something interesting to look at, something to listen to. It's a reason to be really glad you're in the building, because right now you're protected from being out in that. Instead of sitting quietly at their desks or making phone calls, everyone is talking about it. "I hope your windows are up!" Lots of laughs. I'm not really participating. I'm just sitting at my desk, glad for the storm that has made my day a little more interesting.

i just can't help myself

Predictive text is just an endless font of humor, at least to my mind. But I promise this post will have something for everybody: humor (at least for nerds like me), trivia (I was going to say "education," but who am I kidding?), and bacon!

So, Jen and I were texting about Wegman's. When you can send and receive up to 1,500 text messages per month, you don't have to be picky about what topics warrant texts. (Stop judging me!)

Jen had said that she likes Wegman's, but that it can be annoying that they card everyone who buys beer (including her father). I texted back, "that's kinda hilarious, Stan getting carded."

Except "carded" was my phone's second guess. The first guess was "barded." Which totally made me picture William Shakespeare delivering a smackdown to some poor soul, exclaiming "You just got barded!" I'm seriously laughing out loud right now just thinking about it.

Then I got to wondering why my phone would come up with such an odd word. I mean, the past tense of the verb "bard?" Instead of "carded?" Is bard even a verb?

But it is, oh it is! The first definition gives me is too boring to share, but the second!

Cookery. to secure thin slices of fat or bacon to (a roast of meat or poultry) before cooking.

I still can't imagine having occasion to use this word more often than "carded," but I kind of wish that I did (mmm yummy bacon-wrapped meat mmm...).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

getting philosophical

When I was younger, I believed that…

  • “telling time” meant knowing what the time was – like, psychically. I thought adults just knew what time it was. I don’t know what I thought all those clocks and watches were for.
  • not being able to speak a language (e.g. I can’t speak Spanish) meant that you literally couldn’t make the words come out of your mouth. Learning to speak the language, in my mind, meant learning to make the words come out.
  • you couldn’t die while you were inside, because your soul would bump its head on the ceiling on its way to heaven. (It occurs to me that I also apparently believed there was a heaven, and that, should I die, I would go there).
  • even though every driver in the world seemed to manage their cars, I would need a car with the driver’s seat in the exact middle of the cab. I think there was one such model in production in the world, and I supposed that I would have to buy it.
  • my dad could drive to any city in the continental US without a map or directions of any sort, using only road signs. I didn’t understand how he could talk to us and read all those super-important signs at the same time.

Things I believed about high school when I was in middle school, about college when I was in high school, and about the post-grad working world when I was in college:

  • I would be thinner.
  • I would have more friends.
  • I wouldn’t do or be all the things I didn’t like about myself.
  • I would finally be an adult.
  • It would be much harder intellectually and much easier socially and emotionally than it actually was.

That first list makes me smile. How magical the world, and the adults in it, seemed when I was little!

The second list is a little angsty, but still amusing. You would think by college that I would have figured out that I've always looked forward to the next period in my life as the one in which I would be transformed, my problems solved. I had discovered that the world wasn't magical, but I still held out hope that time, and its influence on us, was.

Now that I've passed through all the milestones that I had been counting on to turn me into a normal person who has her shit together, and I am not at all a normal person, and my shit is wildly scattered, I know better.

It could be tempting to turn motherhood into that next phase of my life that I look forward to and trust to fix me. I have to be vigilent against thinking like that. The changes I hope for will have to come through effort, not this magical transformative property of time that has yet to pan out.

That's a big responsiblity, but liberating, in a way. I can't sit back and wait for my life to fall into order, but neither will I wake up one morning and find myself an unrecognizable Stepford wife. My life depends on my decisions. How scary. How great.

Monday, August 10, 2009

has my obsession with sms jumped the shark yet?

I taught my phone a new word!

You see, this afternoon I was fucking hungry. Not just "hungry", not "really hungry", not
"freaking hungry", fucking hungry. And I texted Michael to tell him as much.

I fought my phone every step of the way, sure that it would protect my dignity from my darker intentions. No I don't want an e, I want an f. Not ft, fu. Not fu2 (because, again, seriously, why would I be trying to say that?), fuc. You get the picture.

Michael quickly realized that this was not a drive home from work, make dinner for an hour, then eat kind of night. This was a go to a restaurant to prime my hedonistic tendencies so that he could talk me into a Nintendo DS (on sale at Target!) kind of night.

Next I needed to text Jen to find out if she was in. To explain why I wanted to go out to dinner on a Monday night, I repeated again that I was fucking hungry, but this time I didn't fight. I just typed in "3825464," and what should come up?


My phone still doesn't know how to spell "defrosted," or "damn" (no, I don't mean "econ"), or "fuck" (no, not "dual"), but my phone can officially say "hell," "shit," and "fucking" without putting up a fight.

This was my great victory for the day. We're going to forget for a second how sad that means my life is.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

another skill for the resume

Today my boss sent me an email (in reply to an Excel file I had sent her) that cracked me up. Here's the first sentence:

"Nice matrix!"

Whatever the hell is going on with my life, at least I've got that going for me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the obligatory "my vacation was fun" post

Top Ten Things I Loved About My Vacation at Otakon, in Baltimore:

10. The drive was about an hour and a half shorter than I thought it would be. Aside from a long detour in Delaware in search of alcohol, the ride was fast.
9. Crab chips. I always forget these exist until I go to Maryland, and then I remember I love 'em. I was both amused and disappointed to find that dehydrated crab is not an ingredient in crab chips.
8. Seeing a seahorse, sharks, dolphins, and jellyfish at the aquarium.
7. All you can eat seafood at Phillip's. Shrimp, mussels, crayfish (which Alton Brown informs me I didn't eat right, like, at all), and plate after plate of crab legs. Yum.
6. Raymond, our waiter the second time we visited Phillip's. He came up twice and slid a plate onto the table filled with things we wanted. He also asked us about the convention and recommended another one we should go to. Also, he was cute and Jen totally embarrassed herself by asking if she should put a heart by his name on the comment card when he was standing right next to her.
5. Discovering Sergeant Frog. Kero!
4. Fan parodies. Fans splice scenes from various anime together and dub it over with a song, the audio from a commercial, etc. Especially funny was the "That's What She Said" spot, set to the audio from a commercial for "The Office."
3. Cosplay. I would say at least a third of the people attending the convention came in costume. We saw some really great ones, including an Optimus Prime who was at least ten feet tall, and a couple of girls wearing glorified underwear or less (in the case of one girl, tissue paper crossed around her chest). We would love to bring Andy and Daniel next time and dress as the characters from Sergeant Frog.
2. A workshop where we learned how to draw chibis. Also, laughing at Michael's chibis. (I'm sorry, but seriously.)

1. I wasn't at work! Thank you God!

Monday, July 20, 2009

lady, you have no idea

This morning, one of my coworkers was describing to another what happens when you have an MRI. She described how they slide something over your face, and how it made her really claustrophobic, so she kept her eyes closed the whole time. "And then they pulled me out of the tube to inject the dye, and I thought they'd taken the head thing off, and I opened my eyes, and oh my God!"

And I wanted to add:

Yeah, and then your eyes got all scratchy and bloodshot
and your nose and throat and chest suddenly fill up
and it's kind of hard to breathe
and you can't help but sneeze, but you still try to stay as still as you can
and your right eye gets all purple and swollen and shiny
and when they say your name you think they're talking about you, not to you, because you're all disoriented, and they come running in thinking you're not breathing...

or maybe that's just me?

Yes, MRI's can be really scary, but yours sounds like it was pretty normal, so maybe you should quit your whining.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

a post that's not about birthday presents of the netbook variety

Today a vendor asked me which name he should put on my order, since my email address and my signature don't match. Which reminded me of something funny that happened when I got back to work from my honeymoon.

One of the first emails I sent with my new married name was to someone named Jean-Philippe in Canada. He wrote back:

"Did someone give you a new name for Christmas?"

I replied: "Sort of. I got married on New Year's Eve."

His question was cute, it made me smile. It also gave me a really evil idea. JP doesn't know how old I am, and I was really tempted to write back, "I got a divorce. That's my maiden name. Thanks for rubbing it in."

what i do with my brain while i work

Sometimes, my job doesn't take up a lot of mental space. While my body is scanning, renaming files, typing in spreadsheets, etc, my mind tends to wander. I hear songs in my head over and over and over, make budgets and resolutions, and daydream about the strangest things.

Like what to name my netbook. You know, the one everyone I know is going in on for my birthday.


1. George. Because I will love him and hug him and ... call him George.
2. Giorgio. Because if I call him George, my mom will say "when you say George, all I can think of is your uncle George, and ew." It'll be a little in joke and won't work my mom's gag reflex.
3. Gigi. Because Giorgio is getting too masculine. Why couldn't the netbook be a girl? But wait, not Gigi, because I want to name my daughter Julia, and Gigi is actually a really really cute nickname for Julia (especially since one of my nicknames is Kiki). And if I name my computer Gigi, then I won't want to call my daughter Gigi, just like I can't name my son Gabriel because I named a cat Gabriel.
4. Sammy. Short for Samsung. Cute, simple, androgenous. I like it.

So actually, I spent the last hour of work 1) doing work, 2) naming my netbook and 3) nicknaming my as-yet-unconceived daughter. That's what I call productivity.

i will hug him and squeeze him and call him george

My birthday is still 3 months away, but I know exactly what I want. No need to create a wishlist, because I only want one little thing: a Samsung NC-10 netbook.

My laptop is currently unusable because of battery issues. Sure, I could solve that problem for $80, but my laptop would still be big, heavy, five years old, and weighed down with a ton of stuff I never use.

I've had a netbook revelation: I am the user for whom the netbook was invented. I want small, light, simple, and fast. Thanks to Google Docs, I can perform every function I want to with only a web browser. I'm a "coffeehouse user" as one reviewer put it, and the netbook is the perfect computer for me.

And the Samsung NC-10 is the perfect netbook for me. It's compact and light, but still sports a 10" screen. The keyboard is 92% of standard size and comfortably laid out. The battery life is great at 6+ hours.

Also, it matches my phone. Sold!

P.S. The picture is a link, for your convenience. :)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

hi canadians!

I finished preparing the rent for all of our US locations, got the Treasurer to sign it, and went into Excel to send the spreadsheet to Accounts Payable.

And then I saw this folder: Canada Rent.

To which I said: "Oh, oops!" And then laughed hysterically, because forgetting to pay the rent for our Canada locations is kind of more than an oops.

I'm sure you're really super important to our business, Canadians! I'll try hard not to get you evicted!

know your place, huffpo!

Dear huffpo (Huffington Post),

Love your site! The Daily Show recaps are brilliant, and I love love love the photo galleries of Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy! Your style section is where it's at.

But, umm, we need to talk. During my lunch today I innocently opened your site, and you hit me in the face with this headline: "Jobless Numbers 'Devestating,' Worse Than Expected." The thing is, sweetie, this is not what I come to you for. Unless you want to tell me about something ridiculous Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin did, I don't want "news."

I clicked away to the Style section, and you showed me three pictures: Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama, and Robert Gibbs with their "manbags," Obama and Bobby Flay grilling, and Hillary Clinton makin' it work with her arm cast. Yes, this is the light entertainment I was going for.

So I'll make you a deal. I'll start opening your website using this URL: And you keep anything "devestating" away from me.

Love you to pieces!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

my stomach has a guardian angel

I had just sent my mom a text message when my boss asked me to do something for her.

The text message read: "Omg starving!"

My boss's request? Move the chips, cookies, and drinks from the conference room to the break room "so that people can eat them."

What's the opposite of FML?

high-octane typing

Yesterday, I was assigned 500 lines of data entry to complete. The person who was assigning it kept 500 lines to complete herself, and gave 500 lines to the receptionist. She told us that she would check with us this afternoon to see whether it seemed like we would be able to finish by the end of the day Thursday.

I scoffed. I vowed that I would be completely done before she asked this afternoon.

Right now, I'm looking at line 314. Despite the cramps in my shoulder from sitting in the same position and hitting the same keys over and over for hours, I may not finish today.

But I saw something at lunch that tempered my disappointment. The receptionist is on line 84.

Okay, she probably had a ton more distractions than I did, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt, blah blah blah I win!

Friday, June 26, 2009

umm, self? what are you doing?

I peeled the paper off of a muffin, and at least a tenth of the muffin stuck to the paper. So I did what any rational person would do, and pushed the paper inside-out and started eating the stuck-on muffin bits off of it.

When I was about half-way done, it occurred to me that I probably looked really terribly attractive all hunched over this paper, eating the absolutely essential 1/10th of a muffin off of it. Luckily it's a Friday and it's summer, so there's nobody in the office to see me. I didn't even finish eating the stuck-on muffin bits, so unattractive was the mental image I had of myself.

So I have to ask, am I alone in finding myself in these situations? Half-way done doing something that suddenly seems totally gross or weird or ridiculous (e.g. stapling rolled-up tissues)? Do other people, like, think before they act, thereby avoiding these situations?

c'mon c'mon c'mon!

Things I did while copying 50 bajillion pages of phone bills, double sided:

  • Prepped other documents for copying (multi-tasking! And it only took me like 4 months to figure out this was a good idea!)
  • Paced.
  • Prepared, cooled by blowing on, and drank a cup of hot cocoa.
  • Cursed.
  • Expressed faux-remorse that other people couldn't use the copier.
  • Wrote a list of things I did while waiting for the copier.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

even when i lose, i win

So, last night I made myself a bowl of soup. I was trying to get myself settled on the couch, and I lifted the bowl above my head so that I could slide a pillow onto my lap. And all of a sudden, hey, why am I being scalded?

The soup got everywhere. My arm, my shirt, my pants, the pillow. Except, miraculously, the couch.

To which I say "I win," because everything else I can toss in the wash.

Friday, June 19, 2009

my incessant trash-picking

You would never guess it from my apartment, but I'm kind of a neat-freak, at least at work. I love having my desk perfectly cleared. I keep the papers I need to work with organized in manilla folders in my inbox. My boss commented today on how nice and neat my desk was, and it occurred to me that she might think I don't have enough to do, because whose desk looks like that?

When I'm done with a paper, it goes in the trash, and I mean right now. So a lot of times I find I need something that I just threw away, and I have to dig for it. This happened to me like five times one morning, and it finally occurred to me to be a little self-conscious about it. I mean, I'm just picking papers out of a container full of papers most of the time, but if every time you turn around you see someone digging in the trash, what do you think of that person?

Also, I can't deny that in a moment of desperation I may have dug in the trash can for the tissue I had already used to death and thrown out because there was just nothing else and what was I supposed to do? Drown? Stop judging me.

Okay, a few moments of desperation. Okay, like, at least a dozen moments of desperation.

the sign of chocolate cake

Every time I get dessert at the cafeteria at work, my total comes to $6.66. I refuse to believe that means anything...

smart thought of the day

I made a mistake on the bill I was coding and whited it out. And then this thought went through my mind:

"What do you call a typo when you're writing, not typing? They must have had a word for that."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

the art of the sarcastic yay

I typed "yay" into my cell phone.

I was going to follow it up with an ellipsis, to indicate that my "yay" was sarcastic.

I pushed "1" and my cell phone gave me an exclamation point. Because when I say "yay," just like when I saw "awesome," I usually finish the sentence up with an exclamation point.

I pressed "1" again, and my phone gave me "!." (And I asked, as I so often ask my cell phone, "Why would I be trying to say that?") One more time, and my sentence now ended "yay!.."

I had to delete this conflicting punctuation and fight my phone every step of the way. No, I don't want an exclamation point, I want a period. And no, I don't want a period followed by a comma (because seriously, why on earth would I ever want that?), I want a period followed by a period. And then another one.

I'm obviously not sarcastic enough in my text messages, if my phone isn't trained by now.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

so pleased with myself

Chicken caesar salad: $4.99

French onion soup (no crouton/cheese): $1.79

Putting the croutons from the salad into the soup: Priceless!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

these pens, they are not so great

When I was in high school, I had to have my wisdom teeth removed. The procedure itself totally sucked. When I got back to my mom's car, I totally freaked the fuck out. I honestly believed I had been awake during it. (Now I realize that I was probably dreaming, bad-tripping, whatever, as the things I thought I heard made absolutely no sense in that context).

So my mom, being totally awesome, bought me a kitten. What better when you're feeling down, right?

Except the Vicodin they gave me made me depressed. And, like, kittens cost money. I apparently had a little trouble bonding with the kitten, and totally started crying about not loving the kitten enough. Not that I disliked the kitten, just that I didn't love her enough to warrant the money that my mom had spent. That's not even the craziest thing I've felt guilty about in my life, folks.

I tell you all that to tell you this: I'm not in love with the green pens, so much. Turns out they're still boring stick pens, even in green. And the green isn't very bright. Surprise surprise, considering each pen cost less than $.13.

But I've made progress, you see! I don't feel bad at all for not loving the green pens enough.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

you know you're in trouble when

Every now and then my boss will come in to my cubicle with a couple of pages of hand-written notes, and give me a look.

It's the "I'm so sorry for what I'm about to do to you" look. And she should be.

I think I should get an honorary Mensa membership for the beautiful Word docs I make of the insanity.

roll your eyes with me

I walked into the break room and someone asked me "Do you know who brought the cake in?"

Seriously, people. Eat the freaking cake.

Also, I seem to have broken the pen I've been using since my favorite pen died. The barrel is cracked, and so the bottom half of the pen is doing that annoying dislodging thing, where suddenly only a little bit of the tip is exposed.

First on my to-do list this afternoon: toss my second-favorite pen into the graveyard that is my wastebasket and see how pen #3 works out. (It's the wide-barrelled one that was annoying me yesterday, so this oughta be good).

And before I could even finish typing this entry, someone actually said to me, "I was in the break room, asking Maryann who brought the cake in..."

Monday, June 08, 2009

something to look forward to this fall

I'm a GLEEk!

i am so persecuted today

I was coding some bills, and because I had nothing more exciting to think about, I became annoyed with the pen I was using. It had a big barrel, a little tiny point, and made my letters look weird.

So I reached into my pen holder, took out my favorite pen, and took the cap off. Except the cap was still on. But I just... oh.

My favorite pen is dead. It was a Sharpie pen, and it was the first gift that I ever received, as official office supply bitch, from Office Depot. Sitting on my desk, it looks like I let a dog play with it. It was fun to chew on and wrote well. I loved it, it's gone, and I'm officially in mourning.

In fact, I'm so upset that I'm in mourning retroactively. I've decided that the demise of my beloved pen explains the funk I've been in all morning. Also the remarkable lack of any activity that might be characterized as "work."

Sunday, June 07, 2009

reading lolita in quakertown

What's making me uncomfortable about reading Lolita? Aside from, you know, sympathizing with and rooting for a pedophile?

Not being able to go a single freaking page without having to get my ass off the couch and type some word into

Here's the latest:


[kog-noh-muhn] Show IPA
–noun, plural -no⋅mens, -nom⋅i⋅na

[-nom-uh-nuh] Show IPA .
1.a surname.
2.any name, esp. a nickname.
3.the third and commonly the last name of a citizen of ancient Rome, indicating the person's house or family, as “Caesar” in “Gaius Julius Caesar.” Compare agnomen (def. 1).

Remember that one for next time, kids.

a death in the family

The first book I read from my list was A Death in the Family. The author, James Agee, didn't get to finish writing it because he died. So, the editors were left with a pretty much completed story, and then these sections that didn't fit anywhere chronologically.

So they split them in half, put them in italics, and stuck them at the end of the first two sections. Why not just leave them out? Because they're beautiful.

My new favorite quote comes from one of these italicized sections. It's about parents.

"When I am astonished or bewildered, it is they who make the weak ground firm beneath my soul."

Edward Cullen is beautiful and shiny, but not that beautiful.

my reading list

Okay, so I got addicted to Twilight. Like, couldn't stop thinking about it, ignoring everything else around me to read just one more page and then just one more, and then I finished. Michael actually remarked to me that I was taking quite a long time to finish. I read the last two dozen pages over a couple of days. It was hard to let go.

In a moment of panic that the series that had become my raison d'être was ending, I had promised myself that I could just start again from the beginning. But when I finished the last book, as much as it hurt, I decided to let go.

I went online and looked up lists like Time's 100 Greatest Novels of All Time, looked the titles up on Wikipedia, and compiled a reading list for myself. A list of 80 novels that I read for a class but didn't appreciate (like Animal House, which fifth-grade me had no idea was about Communism), or had just never read before.

I had an epiphany in college, when they stopped having us read about Plato and started having us read Plato. It can be hard and confusing and boring, sure, but if you pull out a dictionary and re-read some sentences, the classics aren't impossible.

I had a second epiphany in my Russian literature class. The classics aren't classics because they're impenetrable and War and Peace long, but because they're great stories.

So I've been reading some great stories. The books I've read so far have been depressing and rewarding. In addition to sharing some laughs at my own idiocy and my status as low man on the corporate totem pole, I'll share thoughts on what I'm reading.

Friday, June 05, 2009

yeah, today's like that

I just sighed, put my head back, and whispered, "What a schmuck."

I was referring to myself.

smile! you're on candid camera

Sometimes I wish I had a camera in my cubicle, so that I could show people the extremely ridiculous things I do sometimes, especially when I'm dealing with my phone.

Once, the CFO's line was ringing. I was messing with a pile of papers on my desk and knocked the phone off its hook, effectively answering it. So I, very smoothly, hung it back up, because I was totally unprepared for that shit.

Today I attempted to hang my phone up and the result was the opposite of smooth. You know how when you're holding a fish, sometimes it wriggles out of your hands? And you try to catch it, and you kind of get your hands around it, and then it wriggles out again? And, like, lands in the pond? I did that with my phone. Which was totally not wriggling.

When I accepted that I had just totally lost control of the situation, I let it fall to my desk. When I was sure it was done moving, I picked it up and set it carefully on its hook. Then I just kind of shook my head and sighed.

If only I had that camera, I could have a million hits on Youtube by now.

wow. just wow.

I just looked into the trash can at my desk and thought to myself

"You know, those chips are only touching other chips and the container they came in. And they look pretty good."

Yeah, those cupcakes were pretty clean, by my standards.

and then office depot threw the kitchen sink at me

There's an odd quirk that I've found in the search function on the Office Depot site.

Usually, the more words you add to a search, the fewer returns you get.

For example, when I type "HP" into the search, I get 904 results. When I type in "HP 88", I get 104 more-specific results.

If you type in something just completely non-sensical, you get no results. I put in "jk," and Office Depot returned nothing.

However, if you give Office Depot a special blend of stuff it recognizes ("HP 88"), and something totally non-sensical ("jk"), it will say "I don't know what the fuck you want - here's everything but the kitchen sink."

My search for "HP 88 jk" returned 1,178 results - more results than I got for just "HP." To which I say, "WTF, Office Depot?"

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

and now, back to our regularly scheduled dumbassery

My BFF finally decided to grace us with her presence again, after an unprecedented absence of two weeks. I said something that ended with the word "you," and then she said something that ended with the word "you," and then the following gem came out of my mouth:

"Hey, that rhymes!"

Then, after five seconds:

"...'Cause it's the same word..."

And now I can't even remember what the two sentences we said were. I swear, being with Jen lowers my IQ a couple of standard deviations.

a rose, by any other name, would be a lazy bitch

I got married on December 31st, 2008. Here's the timeline of me changing my name:

December 31st: Introduced by the DJ as Mrs. [husband's name] [new last name]

January 1st: Changed my name on Facebook in the hotel's business center (FACT: My frenemies from high school can still find me by typing in my old name. Huzzah!)

January 5th: Got a new gmail address ( and forwarded the mail from my old gmail address (

January 6th: Changed my signature in Outlook at work.

February 19th: Left work early to book it to the DMV (I didn't speed Mom, promise). My grandfather's wife, when booking the tickets for our trip to California, had asked which name she should put on my ticket. I answered, confidently, "My new name. My license will definitely have my new name by then." Cue epic fail. Only the photo center was open, so I brought my marriage license with me to California (asking my husband about 100 times during the trip "do you have the license?"). For the record, the folks at LAX care way more than the folks at PHL do.

And that concludes our timeline. Oh, did you notice a problem? Like, how I still introduce myself by my old name? Still sign my old name? Have changed nothing official, unless by official you mean Google rather than the government? How my old name still is my name?

Yeah, I should really get on that... except, what's that shiny thing over there?

Friday, May 29, 2009

where was i?

Every now and then when I'm entering data, I find that my eyes have come unfocused, and I've been thinking about something (I rarely remember what) for some unknown amount of time.

I read what's on the screen, but I don't recognize it. I don't read this stuff, I just type it.

So I scroll to the bottom of the list and find that yes, two or three or five minutes ago, before I started thinking about what I'd make for dinner or the book I'm reading or the tone of that email I just received, I did enter that project.

I'm hoping it's just extreme boredom and not some slow mental decay that's causing me, more than once a day, to find myself staring at a corner of my screen, unaware of what I've just been doing or thinking.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

all of our agents are busy helping other customers...

You know you've spent too much time on hold with Egencia (that's the new Expedia Corporate Travel - isn't it corporate-y?) when you're walking around the office humming their light jazz muzak crap.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

who brought the cupcakes in?

Yesterday afternoon, brownies emerged in the break room. I didn't go into the break room yesterday afternoon, I know that the brownies were there because I heard the women around me asking where they came from. Not idly wondering, mind you. These women were on a mission, because if they didn't know who brought the brownies in, they weren't going to eat them.

This morning, a cake and a tray of cupcakes joined the brownies. And at least two dozen times today, I heard the question "who brought the cupcakes in?"

Here's the thing. I don't care who brought the cupcakes in. I don't work with anyone dirty enough that I wouldn't eat their cupcakes. But if I took a cupcake back to my desk, these women, dying for a cupcake, would ask me who brought them in. And I'd have to admit that I was willing to eat dirty cupcakes from unknown origins.

So I put a piece of cake in a styrofoam cup and took it to my desk. It was delicious.


Today, I got someone fired. There was no way for me to do my job without getting him fired.

Technically, he was fired because he did something wrong. But I can't deny the basic cause and effect that if I hadn't brought it to someone's attention (and if that person hadn't forwarded the matter to freaking everybody, including the Executive Vice President), he would not have been fired.

And that is a bummer. It was really fun researching the answers to all these little puzzles, until one came along to which I didn't want to know the answer.

Monday, May 25, 2009

facebook fail

Before I friended all those people from work, I probably should have removed "job hunting" from my list of activities...

the awesomeness of exclamation points

I was writing Michael a text message to let him know that Josh Groban is going to be on Glee. I wrote the following sentence: It's going to be awesome

and then I hit the "1" button to add some punctuation. And I was really just looking for a period, but the first thing my phone came up with was an exclamation point. And I realized that my phone had no idea what I was saying, but that when I end a sentence in the word "awesome," that must be the punctuation I usually choose.

Short story way longer than it had to be, the completed sentence read: It's going to be awesome!

Also, it makes me sad when I hit "111" and instead of bringing up a smiley face, a frowny face comes up first.

farhad manjoo hogs all the fun jobs

So, I've had a crush on Farhad Manjoo for a while. I like reading, and he is by far my favorite writer there (sorry Emily Yoffe!)

And then he wrote an article titled "Kill your RSS reader, and use my amazing system for browsing the web." And it is amazing, even though it made me feel dumb for not having an RSS reader yet.

RSS was always something that I saw at the end of articles and ignored. I knew RSS readers put all the stuff you wanted to read on one page, but I didn't know how exactly you could "sign up" for one, or if that was even the right terminology. I read a Wikipedia article that could not have been less helpful if it had tried, and kind of gave up for a while. Scrolling through pages looking for content was therapeutic, kinda.

Then, right after reading Farhad's article, I signed up for Google Reader, which he had oh so helpfully noted in his article. Was that so difficult, Wikipedia? Of course, he noted it while, umm, rendering it obsolete. In my defense, I have a crazy old version of IE on my computer at work that doesn't have tabs, so his amazing system would not work for me. (What? Shut up! I read stuff during lunch...)

But there was a bigger take-away point to the article than my finally getting an RSS reader or learning Farhad's amazing system (which totally sounds like a real estate get-rich-quick scheme, when I put it like that). Because Farhad just had to go and say this:

And that's pretty much how I spend my day—opening up a lot of tabs,
middle-mouse-clicking all of their pertinent links, and then going from tab to
tab in a never-ending quest for new news. I'm telling you, it's totally fun.

Farhad, you do not have to tell me, I know that's totally fun! And you get paid for it, and now I want to go all Freaky Friday on you. Because there aren't any job descriptions out there that go "Tab through the internet for 8 hours and then write something pithy about it." And that picture of you, from the beginning of this post? That was from a University website. And you have a book. And since there's no way I would qualify for your "totally fun" job, now I have to research body-snatching. Are you happy now?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

fake it 'til... it's 5

2:44: Start a log of my inactivity for my blog.
2:44: Recreate spreadsheet someone sent me. She thinks we have a credit and I think she’s wrong. Let’s fight about it.
2:47: Boring! Order business cards instead. I know how to use a fax machine!
2:58: Look for french onion soup on the cafeteria menu for next week (I ♥ sodium!) Search ends in disappointment.
3:12: I’m one incorrect login away from locking myself out of a program for which I’m the administrator. Remember I have a new password and type it in very carefully.
3:31: Paying bills: it’s more fun when it’s not your money.
3:49: OMG someone’s inane ringtone has been playing nonstop for like 15 minutes. Someone really wants to talk to someone.
3:50: The phone just made a noise that I can only guess means there’s a new voicemail. Does that mean it’s over?
3:51: No, no it does not.
4:02: It’s still ringing, and now it’s harshing my data entry mellow.
4:03: Panic. There is no scanning for today. If I can’t pretend that removing staples, scanning, renaming files, and moving them into a folder takes an hour, what will I do during that hour?
4:19: Work is falling out of the sky! I am so oppressed!
4:41: Did my left armrest just get lower?
4:43: The Controller & Treasurer just printed something to the printer behind me, collected it, and said “Yes!” Is that usually a more difficult process for him?
4:53: Read news articles about people killing people and look at the clock in the right-hand corner a few times per minute.

nice prediction, predictive text!

Yes, cute little razor phone, I'm trying to ask my husband if the chicken is eefropuff. Thanks for really getting me!


absurd, self-referential title - CHECK!

Exchange between myself and a co-worker (we'll call him Milton), as I fill a cup at the water cooler.

Milton: You drink a lot of water.
Me: I try. It's good for you.
Milton: Like a camel.
Me: *blink*
Milton: *walks away*