Friday, February 25, 2011

Week in review

Are you familiar with the Judgmental Bookseller Ostrich? I wasn't, but some of them are quiet amusing.


I don't have much interesting to say lately. Same old, same old--got a job, makes my eyes/head/hands/arms/feet/back/everything ache. Still looking and applying for better jobs. Still not pregnant. Things are better if not great. Booooooring. I'm working 7:30 to 4, which is great. Traffic is better, and I feel like I have time when I get home to hang out and do stuff, rather than get home, eat dinner, go to bed. Plus on days when traffic is really good--like Fridays, which always seem to be lighter--I get there early and therefore get to leave early. I don't work for free.

I've considered jotting down and sharing with you the amusing things said by Stereotypical Black Lady, but is that maybe offensive?  She's hilarious, though! She declared Mondays "Talk like Oprah Day" but she makes every day talk like Oprah day, and she doesn't even realize it. "JAAAAAAAAAYSOOOOOOON!" Anyway, the stories aren't as funny without the accent.  Like yesterday, when they were discussing breakfast burritos and she was pronouncing the Spanish words so hilariously. "This one is way-voes, jam-moan, why pappas." Huevos, jamon, y papas. Even the Korean kid pronounces Spanish better than she does.

There was a great line the other day, though it still isn't as great in text as in person. The manager had asked if she should bring in bagels the next day. "Only if you can find one with no carbs," says the woman on the ridiculous no carb diet. "Girl," says Stereotypical Black Lady, "When they're free, they're all no-carb!" It's true, though. Diets seem to go out the window when someone else is paying.

Anyway, we didn't end up having bagels. Instead she brought croissants from Essence Bakery, and holy cow it was so much better. I know most of you, dear readers, don't live in Arizona, but they are so amazingly delicious that should you ever come to town, might I suggest you stop and get a croissant? Even No-carb Girl couldn't resist. At first she just cut one in half, but after she inhaled it, she went back and finished it. Mmm. So good.

In other news, I think I need to stop eating ice cream. I've had it thrice in the last week, and twice it resulted in what I like to call "Troubles." I've always been somewhat intolerant of lactose, but now I appear to be entirely intolerant. It's sad. So, so sad. Maybe I'll just have to replace it with croissants....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Never satisfied

Our office at work is basically all windows. It's awesome. We overlook the freeway, and sometimes I can't help but look at the cars going by and wondering where they're going. I like to make up stories for them. Somehow, their destination is always better than where I am. It's kind of sad.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Let the fools have their tartar sauce!

In an early episode of the Simpsons, Mr. Burns asks Homer how he would improve the worker problems, and Homer explains that on fish stick Tuesday, they never get enough tartar sauce. Burns figures if giving the people an extra three cents of tartar sauce would improve morale, it would increase productivity and reduce accidents. "Let the fools have their tartar sauce!" he says.

At work there is a "morale table." I'm not really sure what's on it; I've never really gone near enough to investigate. It is inconveniently located right next to the manager's desk. It's probably for giving kudos and/or suggestions, but when everyone can see you approach the table and the boss is right next to it, it isn't particularly helpful.

We don't get President's Day off, which is pretty bad for morale. Someone asked, "Since Monday is a holiday, can we wear jeans?" No, came the reply. HR policy is jeans on Fridays only.

But why? We don't interact with clients. Ever, really. No one sees us but our coworkers. What does it benefit the company that we have to wear fancy pants? Here they have an easy way to improve morale--let the fools have their jeans! flip flops, even!--and it wouldn't even cost them anything. Do we work any less efficiently because our trousers don't need dry cleaning? Are we any less professional because our shirts don't need to be ironed? (And were we really any better students because they forced us to write in cursive for so many years?)

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in policy, conventional wisdom, tradition, whathaveyou, that we miss simple opportunities to make life better. But mostly I don't like to iron.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New jobs

You know what I love about new jobs? It's always like they're surprised to see you. Even though they told you when to show up, they're invariable ill-prepared. "Oh, you're here. We don't have a computer for you yet."  "Here's your new email address, except that's not actually your email address; turns out username is not your email. Whoops!" "We're going to have this person show you what to do, even though she's actually not really good at training people." "No one will explain the dress code, where to park, or attitudes about personal cell phone use to you." "Here are some more acronyms you're sure not to understand!"

My job really isn't that bad. Everyone is super nice, and it's a fun environment so far. People even invite me to eat lunch with them! It's so weird not to eat alone. There have been some hiccups, but it's pretty good, considering that the work itself is kind of supremely boring. At least there's pretty much always something do to. Being bored sucks.

It's weird, though, because I'm The Temp. (Although it seems like a couple other people are also from staffing agencies.) They could let me go at any time, which is an unsettling impermanence. The girl I'm kind of taking over for was there for six months before they made her permanent. The benefits through the staffing agency are crap. ($250 a month for ridiculously low insurance coverage? You could practically self-insure, as long as you stay out of the hospital.) It's...not ideal. I even warned one of them at lunch that I was there until a better offer came through. I still have a lot of outstanding (recent) applications that I haven't heard back on. Some have been long enough that I don't think I will hear back, but a couple I still hold hope for. One I'd like because of the shift, one because of the benefits. Free flights, anyone?

Anyway, I'm not feeling crushing panic, so that's good. Little successes can be big reliefs. Not exactly carving one's niche on the edifice of time, but that'll do, pig. That'll do.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A man has dreams...

So I got a job. I was supposed to start tomorrow, but the manager is sick, so I'm not starting until Thursday. It's temp-to-hire, so if they don't like me (or I don't like it/find something better) we can part without too many hard feelings.

The interview process was a little ridiculous, considering that it's essentially a temp data entry gig. My favorite question at the second interview (really? two interviews?) was something along the lines of "what do you want from a job?" Um, a paycheck? Just hire me already! You want me to say that doing this job is my one dream in life? Just hire me already. I don't know if you read The Oatmeal, but I was laughing pretty hard at today's comic, the six crappiest interview questions.  I'm pretty sure I've been asked five of them in the last month.

It's kind of frustrating. I mean, at this point a job is a job is money. But it's starting at a third less than my last job, which wasn't exactly throwing thousand-dollar bills at me. The thousand-dollar bill apparently bears the mug of one Grover Cleveland (and Alexander Hamilton on older versions). What's funny is that throwing a thousand-dollar bill at someone is actually giving them far more than $1,000. But I digress. Point is new job does not pay splendidly.

And of course, there's that whole "I can do more than this" feeling. Most jobs are boring and most of us are just average, but still. It's quite a bitter pill to take.

But. At least I have a job and we won't be carted off to the workhouse. Now we can breathe, figure out what we want to be when we grow up, etc. Speaking of which, I need to go work on my snarky picture book for today's disillusioned adults.

Friday, February 4, 2011

terrorism, stoicism, whiny hipsters, etc.

Last night, I purchased this poster:

Perhaps you've seen it before? I love its story. In case of impending disaster, the government says "Don't panic!" This is quintessentially British--stiff upper lip and whatntot. In America there'd be some kind of color-coded panic-inducing system.

And isn't this the best response? If the Germans invade, don't give them the satisfaction of panicking. (Sidenote tangent: Some of the whiny hipsters who frequent the comments at Apartment Therapy seem to think it's wrong for the government to tell the people to keep calm. Because "EVERYBODY PANIC!" is much more effective? They also think the poster is cliche, although I've never seen it in actual reality. It is popular on the internet, though. But the whiny hipsters also use "cliche" when they mean "widespread" or "popular." You know what else is popular? Ansel Adams, Monet, that French poster with the black cat, etc. Does it really make them any less enjoyable, just because other people enjoy them too? Bah. Hipsters.)

It reminds me of when I was a kid; I must have been in second or third grade, and I got glasses. One of my relatives thought it hilarious to call me "Librarian." Drove me crazy. What's wrong with glasses? Or librarians, for that matter? So the advice my dad gave me was to stop responding. If he doesn't get the reaction he's looking for, he'll stop doing it. Not that the Germans would have turned around and left if the Brits had kept up the appearance of being calm, of course, but...you know. They didn't really throw around the word "terrorism" in the 40s, but wasn't that the point of the Blitz?

Anyway, I love this poster--its aesthetic, its message, its story, everything. I really could have used it lately, as things have been so crappy. Sometimes you just gotta keep calm and carry on. (Although sometimes you just need to be dramatic. [I really like the one I once saw that said "Go crazy and throw things."]) I could have gotten a "Keep Calm" poster on etsy, but not only was it cheaper to order it from England, even with shipping (whaa?!) but I wanted to support Barter Books, since they found the original, and they're a second-hand bookshop in an old train station! You can't beat that.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

They say "you had to be there," but even being there I'm not sure how funny it really was

The other night, it was pretty late and I was goofy-tired (which is far preferable to crabby-tired) and Fabulous Husband said something, addressing me as "Woman." I told him, "That's offensive."

"Jesus would call you Woman," he said.

"Jesus ate fish," I told him.

"So?"

"So you're not the same."

Sadly, this was the high point of the conversation. It only got less coherent from there. I thought it was hilarious though. I really enjoy occasionally being so tired that everything is side-splitting funny. It's a different kind of laughter, somehow.