Friday, July 29, 2005
Q: You know how Penthouses have the entire top floor and the elevator opens up inside the apartment? Well, is there a word for that if it were any other floor, more specifically the basement? Is that like a reverse penthouse? Because penthouse literally means "top floor", so if that occurs on a different floor, it wouldn't be the penthouse....
Thursday, July 28, 2005
How Crochet Makes The World A Better Place - One Delinquent At A Time
So, one afternoon, Brian came to work to hear the news that a volunteer would be coming in to work with the boys. Always a fan of volunteers, Brian asked what this person would be doing with the boys. She would teach them how to crochet. You can imagine Brian's skepticism that a group of rowdy boys would sit and listen to a woman as she taught them one of the most feminine crafts known to man. Yet, the boss was adamant. Ginger would come and teach the boys how to crochet.
Brian dreaded the day that Ginger would come. He realized, as his boss evidently could not, that these boys who love basketball, hip-hop, etc. would eat this poor woman alive. He was pleased, therefore, that Ginger's first (and he predicted her last) day would be on his off day.
However, the following day Brian returned to work, and the boys weren't outside playing basketball, they were sitting on the couch.... crocheting. Brian assured himself that this was a fad and that the boys would forget about. But the next day, upon arrival, Brian found the same scene as the day before. It was the day of Ginger's second visit. Brian was not surprised (as you likewise will not be) that Ginger was a fifty-something lady who wore brightly colored capris, wild tie-dyed or flowered shirts and had red hair. But what did surprise him was how these boys reacted to her. Bounding to the door, they thrusted their crocheted patches in her face and demanded her to inspect them and teach them more.
This was over a month ago. The fad has not only not worn off but is now running rampant as Brian is now making special trips to yarn stores to find yarn for these boys to use. Sometimes he takes them with him, and when he does they'll explain very calmly to the clerks that they have recently learned to crochet and want such-and-such color and such-and-such weight for a blanket for their sister/brother/mother/etc. Apparently they're getting pretty good at crocheting, and have been easier to live with likewise. Since Ginger, the red-haired fifty-something, showed up the boys have been better behaved and are now encouraged to crochet when they start losing their tempers.
SURVEY: Is this story
A) The fantasy of the people who wrote the song "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing"
B) The truth (whereby proving the old adage: 'Truth is stranger than fiction.')
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Day Two And Counting
Today, July 26th, 2005 is my first year anniversary at my job. Looking back at it, I'm about to be setting a record for how long I've stayed in a job. I think another six months will do it. I have to admit, though, I thought the longer you worked at a job the more acclimated you became and the less confused you were. Well that's not true at all, I'm even more confused and less acclimated than I was my first day. Our agency is going through the largest reorg of it's existence. By Christmas our work-force will have gone from 1,100 to 800 and that's the good news.
But in the meantime, happy anniversary to me. It's hot and humid and there's no air conditioning... do you think that's an omen?..... :)
Monday, July 25, 2005
- I paid $2.05 for gas in Lansing (for future generations: that's pretty impressive and yes, I owned cars that required gasoline).
- It's over 80 degrees at 8:47 in the morning.
- The air conditioner is out in the HDI Federal Center.
- They're starting 7 new interns today (they are gluttons for punishment).
- The metal detector at the back door was broken, so I had to wait for them to look through all my stuff.
- I forgot to eat breakfast.
- My car is making a rattling noise (it's the heat shield - nothing important).
- I have a bug bite on my wrist and it itches like crazy.
- I have to pay all my bills some time today.
This is like my own personal time capsule. These are the particulars of my life at age 24, at 9:00 on a Monday morning in July.
Friday, July 22, 2005
FED Files - Volume VII
A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Governmentium."
Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311.
These 311 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes**. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Mormass."
When catalyzed with money Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element which radiates just as much energy, since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons.
*As much as I would love to say that I created this myself, I did not. I actually recieved it from one of my co-workers.
** This is my favorite part.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
FED Files - Volume VI
Since socializing (by socializing, I of course mean networking) is such an integral part of a federal employee's existence, it is necessary that each FED takes measures to be the most popular. Much like homecoming queens, FEDs will shamelessly campaign for poplularity. Since FEDs are not 17 year-old air-heads, they have devised other methods to be "most popular".
Just as in High School there are many benefits for people to obtain this coveted level of esteem. But it is most useful when a FED is passed up for a promotion. On this occasion, the din of the general out-cry is typically so great and lasts so long, that person who received the promotion will be unduly discouraged to the point of either early retirement or will be demoted after a particularly nasty EEO (Employee Equal opportunity) scandal.
As one might surmise the methods of attaining this popularity have indeed been updated since high school. No longer do these popular individuals pass out buttons with catchy slogans like "Jenny has lice, but Sarah is nice." No they are much more sophisticated now. Now they have numerous methods to employ to gain the esteem of their peer. A few include
- Being the birthday organizer (these people plan lunches for birthdays)
- Playing Santa Clause at Christmas time
- Going to every single event (even those that they're not invited to - it shows "initiative")
- Being a Floor Monitor (yes, we really do have floor monitors - they're for "emergencies")
- Be lenient with vacation time when "acting" ("acting" is a FED word for being in charge for someone who isn't there. Everyone takes turns at "acting" when their boss is out of the office.)
But the most effective way to make really good friends really quickly is to have what is lovingly referred to as a "bait pile". "Bait Piles" are usually cans, cups, etc on your desk filled with candy. I have seen Bazooka Bubble Gum, Life Savers, Smarties (that's my favorite), Tootsie Pops, miniature candy bars, Sugar Daddies, etc in people's "bait pile". Some people will even kick it up a notch on certain days of the week and have boxes of donuts, bagels, or cookies. Usually on Fridays, you can walk down the hall and get so sugared up you can barely stand yourself.
The purpose of the "bait pile" is, of course, manipulation. When people come to your "bait pile" they have to pretend like they have another reason for being there, since no one wants to look like a mooch. And people like me (who is addicted to Smarties), has to derive at least 6 such reasons per day. So we become very intimate acquaintances of our "bait pile's" owner. The "bait pile" that has baited me, is Jenny's. I know both of Jenny's children and husband (I even have a picture of them in my cube), I know Jenny's daily schedule, have helped Jenny with her knitting projects (yes, I knit), and will do any project Jenny suggests. I am like her slave because she has an unlimited supply of Smarties at her desk.
Undoutably, you are all wondering what my "bait pile" includes and more importantly who is attracted to my "bait pile". Sadly enough, my "bait pile" consists of one piece of Big Red gum, and a half of a container of Salted Sunflower Seeds. (I wasn't that great at being popular in high school either. I obviously never learned that skill.) The people who have been attracted to my "bait pile" is the mystery people who take my gum after I leave (probably the janitors, since I'm usually the last person on the floor to go home), and my boss's boss who comes in to talk about "running" and eats my sunflower seeds. Obviously, any lack of promotion for me will not only be not noticed, but also completely ignored.
Yes, the "bait pile" is one of the best investments for any FED. For $2.15/lb of Smarties you can buy the love and attention of numerous co-workers, many bosses, and even several peons (like me).
Things That Confused Me Before I Went To School
- I thought that Michigan was the country and the "America" was the state (Brooke, how's that for state spirit?).
- I thought that age was dependent on how soon your birthday was in the year. With my birthday in January, why were my parents (whose birthdays were in June and July) still older than me??
- I thought that in the chorus of the song "Rock of Ages", the words were, "all other ground is sinking sandals." (I think I picked this up from one of my older cousins, who was laughing about how much it sounded like "sinking sandals" one day and from then on all I ever heard in that song was "sinking sandals".)
- I thought that if babies really came from Heaven, they should remember it. (I was actually a little miffed that I didn't remember Heaven. -- Skepticism starts young.)
Little kids are pretty funny. There's more rattling around up there than we as jaded adults realize.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Things I'm Pretty Sure About
I'm pretty sure that:
- When I leave my place on the wrong side of 7:15, it takes me 50 minutes to get to work, but if I leave my place on the right side of 7:15, it takes me 40 minutes to get to work.
- A pen with a Koosh ball for hair, and huge googly eyes that says "We're WILD About Our Staff" is not a good indication that DRMS is, indeed, "wild" about their staff.
- My co-workers have been stealing my gum (I tricked them, I put Big Red in my cup, instead of my normal Orbit. That seems to have cut back on how many pieces I have left when I come in).
- I have enough 1 cent stamps in my drawer to send out a letter with just those (our stamp machine downstairs doesn't "deal" with pennies, so you have to put in 40 cents and then you get a 37 cent stamp and three 1 cent stamps).
- Carmex makes my lips weird and peely.
- The rule "I before E, except after C" is complete bunk.
- The project that I am "currently" working on is the most miserable waste of time (I have rolled my eyes over this contract more times than I can count. I think they give me stuff to straighten out that is totally sloppy because I'm a "details" *insert eye roll here* person).
- I have gotten less personal phone calls at work in one year than my cube-mate has gotten this morning.
Maybe tomorrow I'll write about things that I'm sure about. :)
Friday, July 15, 2005
Why I Boycott Certain Movies
That being said, here is what I thought was sweet about the Matrix. Well, pretty much it was an incredible film. It had a good story and was pretty clever.
Things that annoyed me about the Matrix: That there's a third one (I mean seriously, is that a money-making scheme or what), and that the volume was weird and sometimes I had to turn it all the way up and sometimes way, way down (which was probably more Blockbuster's fault than the film's).
Other movies/films I have have one-man (in my case one-woman) boycotts about:
- Titanic (yes, I still haven't seen Titanic).
- Star Wars (Episodes I-III)
- Anything by a singer who thinks they can act (like the new Dukes of Hazard movie that's coming out... I will not watch anything by Jessica Simpson).
- Anything where the book has been changed so much it's completely unrecognizable (H.G. Wells's Time Machine is my classic example - that I actually suffered through, but now hold a firm line that no one else should have to subject themselves to it).
I can't think of any others, I'm sure there's more. Amazingly, I have sat through and even somewhat enjoyed some really stupid movies (the Pacifier for example), but the above rules are where I draw the line. :)
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Things I LOVE (I mean LOOOOOVE)* About This Summer
- It's been hot (with an accent on the hot) which is great because I haven't warmed up enough to make it through the winter for a good 3 or 4 years now.
- It reminds me of 1999 which is the year I graduated from high school (a.k.a. the best - and I do mean best - year of my life) because 1999 was the last year with more than 5 days over 90 degrees.
- I get my first raise this summer.
- I get to play ping-pong on "breaks" at work.
- We got our air-conditioner cleaned meaning (so now we don't have mold being consistently pumped through our vents and making us cranky and our apartment stinky).
- The Michigan cherries rock this year (I get pounds - as in POUNDS - every single week, and been eating them ALL).
So that's why I LOVE (yes, love) this summer.
*Obviously the heat has been getting to me.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I think it's important to tell you the line of tremendousness of the superheroes. Superheroes, as we all know, are people just like everyone else, only - of course - more fabulous. But even Superheroes have levels. It's kinda like a caste system. There are
- "Baaaaaad" Superheroes (like the Incredible Hulk). FSS** Rating: 2
- "Pointless" Superheroes who although they're not bad they still don't seem to have much of a purpose (although the X-Men are my absolute favorite, I can't tell that they actually do anything except save their own existence). FSS** Rating: 5
- "Champion of the Underdog" Superheroes (pretty much Spiderman is their main attraction). FSS** Rating: 9
- "Champion of the Champions" Superheroes (**Adia** - me). FSS** Rating: 17
As you can plainly see, **Adia** is pretty stinking fabulous. That's why she has such a neat outfit. **Adia** 's outfit consists of:
- A silver sequined cape something in the fashion of Superman's. (At first the sequins kinda choked **Adia** when she flew because they were so heavy, but **Adia** designed new sequins designed out of a light polyacrylamide, and now **Adia** glitters as she flies across the sky.)
- A Cerise leotard (made from material that her alter-ego the mild EPS for DoD Julie wove with threads of gold).
- Around her waist and wrists are enormous bands of silver, encrusted with diamonds, garnets (Julie's birthstone), and kalastits (a rare gold-colored stone from the the planet Xorbill - a planet from the next galaxy over). The buckle of the belt says "**Adia**" (in the original Swahili) written in kalastits.
- A pair of six-inch gold heals that have a strap around the ankle and a strap around the toe (in which she can run at the speed of sound - she can only run at the speed of light in tennis shoes).
It now is perfectly clear, that besides being a fantastic superhero, **Adia** (Julie by day) is also the best dressed superhero.
More tales of **Adia** to come....
*I don't actually have a double-life, I'm just undercover for the CIA.
**FSS (Fabulous Superhero Scale) is a measure of amazingness, general coolness, super-powerness, and authority-ness. Superheroes are rated by this scale from one (least fabulous) to ten (most fabulous).
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
New Names For My Aaron Friends
New York Aaron
Aaron P (from Detroit)
Possible Names (in alphabetical order):
Johann (for a classy flare)
Reynaldo (for a Spanish flare)
Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is for entertainment value only and will not be used. Henceforth the Clarence previously known as "Nebraska Aaron", will be called by his true name, A-Ron Hoff-A-Meyer (or A-Ron for short).
Things I Haven't Done In A While
- Seen my dog (he's been at my parents for the summer)
- Cleaned my room (or maybe I should say unpack because I haven't unpacked for weeks, I'm starting to get confused about which stuff is where).
- separated my laundry by color (I've been throwing everything that I need for the next two days in together and now all my whites are just a little bluish from my jeans).
- Vacuumed (for some reason this is just not the first thing that I think of)
- Cleaned out the empty bottles in the shower (have you ever just squirted shower cleaner around stuff and leave all the bottles there?.... Yup that's what I've been doing).
- Gotten my oil changed (I'm due).
- Gotten my car washed (it's literally been 9 months and it still has salt from the winter on it).
Moral: I need a weekend off (or maybe since the work is really starting to pile up, two, three, or four weekends off).
Monday, July 11, 2005
Things That Make Me Happy
- A good, brainless movie (My roommate came home before I went to bed, and our friend Aaron [Nebraska Aaron*] came over and we watched "The Pacifier").
- A Big Mac (oh, oh, and greasy fries).
- Fast semi-trucks (every time I get behind a semi-truck on N Drive North I about flip out because they drive so stinkin' slow, and you can't pass them for 10 miles. But the guy I got behind this morning was really movin).
- My huge, eighties sunglasses.
So there you have it.
*"Nebraska Aaron" has asked to not be referred to as "Nebraska Aaron" anymore, because he's from Michigan, not Nebraska, and he just goes to school there. So, henceforth, "Nebraska Aaron" will be referred to as... "Nebraska Aaron" since I can't think of anything else to call him. :)
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Kinda Like A Train-Wreck
This charming group is "the interns" and one of our three bosses, De. Front (Left to right): Dan, Sarah, & John. Back: Me, Aaron B (the one who got demoted instead of fired a couple of weeks ago), Casey, Lawrence, & De.
Aren't we a lovely and promising group? This photograph is the one that will be appearing in the DRMS World (our agency's newsletter) accompanied by an article discussing the intern program and such notable quotes as:
- "I like the intern program because I have no responsibility."
- "I'm like a used-car salesman, I make no guarantees on my work."
- "One of the biggest challenges of the intern program is getting up before 10."
- "I've traveled all over, Columbus, Ohio, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Warren, Michigan..."
- "The intern program is fun because mostly we have nothing to do."
You can plainly see how the retirees of DRMS will feel that they can retire now that the agency is resting in the very capable hands of the "next generation."
In the words of De after the interview, "Uh.... can I read that before it's published. I just want to make some quick edits..."
It's Been One Of Those Days
I woke up to slam off my alarm clock, and the shoulder that was hurting last night cracked very painfully and very loudly. If I hadn't already been laying down, I would have buckled it hurt so much. I woke up about 6 minutes late (which when you only give yourself 30 minutes to go from bed to door - 6 minutes is a lot), and my hair wouldn't dry (now it's kind stinking up in weird places). When I finally made it out of the bathroom, I couldn't find anything to wear, eat, etc. And on my way out the door, I noticed that Jaime brought in the mail. Shuffling through the mail, I found a personal letter from a last name I didn't recognize, so I snatched it and bolted out the door.
On my way to my car, I opened the envelope, it was a typed letter from my friend, Rob's, fiance. It regretfully informed me (and I'm assuming many others) that I had been "de-guested." Although I don't necessarily mind, I was still shocked that they had actually sent out letters de-guesting their closest friends and family. Incredible.
Once I got to the expressway I noticed that all five of Michigan's slow drivers were driving in front of me in the "fast" lane. Grr. I have quite a little commute to work, so I call people. This morning, it was my mom. Mid-story, I wandered into a bubble where I don't have a good signal. Lost the call. Double grr. Got to work late (...er. Than usual). When I got to the elevator, I noticed it was on the ground floor, and feeling smug that I wouldn't have to wait for 5 minutes, I reached over to push the "up" button. In slow-mo, my index finger moved towards the elevator button... Simultaneously, the elevator moved up to the second floor....
It's going to be a long, long day.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
When Extraordinary People Meet Less Than Extraordinary Circumstances
I’ve actually have been wanting to start this series for quite a while but was faced with several challenges in the conception of it. A significant part of my quandary is that the entire premise of my blog (or web log for Doug) is “nonsense” (which by definition is “a message that seems to convey no meaning”) and this new “series” definitely conveys some sort of meaning and doesn’t follow the general focus of my blog. Another predicament I found myself in was that I couldn’t find a worthy subject. So, that being said, please humor me on a random “emotional” post from time to time.
It has occurred to me in the recent past that there are some extremely brave people out there, who never receive merit badges in war, save children in peril, or rescue entire countries (albeit small ones) with their bare hands. These people are those who have to wake up and face an unpleasant reality and are brave enough to confront it every day. Sometimes takes a lot of courage to stand while the wind and rain is pelting you in the face and threatening your very existence.
The first individual that has struck me with this “ordinary” kind of bravery is my Uncle Forrest. Forrest married my dad’s oldest sister, Betty, about 45-50 years ago and has been a member of my family ever since. About 3 months ago, while I was still in Kansas, Forrest went to the doctor. Diagnosis: Stage 4 Lung Cancer. Prognosis: 3-6 months.
One of the biggest perks of being a member of my dad’s family is Wally World. Since my grandparents died, Wally World has become something of a legend with all the magic of Christmas, all the warmth of July, and all the relatives one could want. This year 3 months into a prognosis of 3-6, my Uncle Forrest and Aunt Betty flew from Pennsylvania to Michigan to attend Wally World.
Courage does not begin to explain what my family witnessed. Refusing to nap during the day for the fear that he would miss something, he sat in a lawn chair with baseball hat resolutely pulled over his head, and watched as children 70 years younger than him caught frogs in the pond and played at the beach. It dawned on me that he hadn’t come to Michigan as “one last trip” or as one of the thing to “cross off his list,” but he came to Michigan to say good-bye. A very arduous task for even the strongest individual.
And he did. He said good-bye. He hugged and kissed everyone, wished God’s blessings on us, thanked us for being part of his family, and said good-bye. He didn’t make a spectacle out of it. It wasn’t a show, or a toast at the end of a meal, it was just a quiet farewell.
So, good-bye Uncle Forrest. It breaks my heart to see you go. I love you so much; you have almost been a grandfather to me. Thank-you for be brave enough to say good-bye to me in person, because I was barely brave enough to look you in the eye. God bless you.
Even so: “Oh death where is your victory? Oh grave where is your sting?”
- Phil and Dawn Bahr (who let us invade their house)
- Michelle and Kristi
- Brooke, Ashley, and Tommie (who drove all the way from Manhatten, Kansas just to visit)
- Dan (who put up with the "slap-happy" girls)
- Donna and Wally (for another great Wally World)
- Uncle Joe, Aunt Jane, and family (who drove up from Texas. I like you even though you wore Spurs attire - the entire weekend)
- Forrest and Betty (who came)
- Aunt Helen (who I beat in H-O-R-S-E)
Now, here's some pics of the first half of the weekend.
link 2 (kinda like Thing One and Thing Two - see I told you the slap-happiness hasn't worn off, I'm just awake enough to tell really bad jokes that probably aren't funny to anyone not here.... er... *glance over my shoulder*... anyone but me.)
To all a good day.