Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another one bites the dust...

News from work... there is no work.

As you can see from One Path (you do read One Path, right?), I was laid off today.

Deja fucking Vu...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How big business works against us...

Look at this.

If you want to know why big businesses should not be protected for our benefit, look at this.

If you want to understand what we're up against, look at this.

If you think that big businesses are only there to help us, look at this.

If you believe that big business is your friend, look at this.

If you've bought into all of the anti-union propoganda, look at this.

Listen to their own words.

And remember.

Monday, January 26, 2009

100 pushups - are you crazy?...

That's what I said.

"One hundred pushups? Are you crazy?"

But why not?

This website is supposed to help you do 100 pushups, that is 100 at once, within six weeks.

I don't normally go for much more physical activity that putting the spoon in the ice cream and raising it to my mouth but this might be a cool experiment. Why not? It would be great to be able to say I can do 100 pushups!

First.... the pre-test.

See how many pushups you can do.

Hmmm... okay. That doesn't seem to hard.

I'm doing your standard pushup. Toes touching the ground - no knees. Arms bringing you down and pushing you up again.

So, I did the pre-test last night. The magic number was... 27. Twenty-seven pushups.

After twenty-seven, I felt like my arms were going to reject me and find another body. But, after a few minutes of panting, I also felt... pretty good. My arms felt buffed, my torso felt tight.

Hey, I might like this!

I'll let you know how week one went next Monday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Meanwhile, back at work...

One of my coworkers got yelled at today. That part isn't really news-worthy. You get dragged into offices and yelled at quite a bit where I work. It's motivating.

Or, at least, I think they think it is.

Because my coworker was yelled at today for something outstanding. He was yelled at today... for being negative. Let me repeat that. He was pulled into an office with our boss who yelled at him for 15 minutes because he, my coworker, doesn't really like his job. Mind you, we were all lied to when we interviewed, we're treated like crap, our educations are going to waste as we do busy work...

... yelling at a guy is just the thing to make him forget that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Interns and Execs...

That's all they hire at my company now. Interns and Execs.

They've created a whole new level of middle executive: Senior Director. He oversees the Directors and report to ... well, nobody. All the other positions are quickly being filled by Interns. Need an engineer? Hire an intern. Seriously. I applied for a Marketing Communications Writer position but they filled it with an Intern.

And so it goes.

I met one of the new interns today.

"Hi. I'm Angela," she said.

"Hi, Angela."

"No, Dangela."


"No, Gangela."


Later, I found out her name was Dan-jor.

She's from fucking Krypton.

A note from the terminally unhip...

Make what you want of this but I'm not entirely comfortable with how forcibly hip the country is suddenly becoming. Seriously. Did you catch some of the Inauguration Celebration? It was like they were trying to forcefeed hipness into Washington, DC.

And I say forcibly hip because Washington, DC is one of the least hip places in the world. And it should be. Washington is a place for doing the country's business, not for to debut new national anthems! What's next? A new flag with every color ribbon you can imagine?

I'm just about reaching my limit to all this painfully hip celebrating. Yes. Hope. Great. First African American President. Understood. But pardon my cynicism while I wait for you to start prosecuting torturers and illegal wiretappers and war criminals and people who just generally cornholed the Constitution... then, I'll happily accept how hip you are.

Fessin' up...

Obama's being inaugurated tomorrow. Vicky's very excited. For my own part, I thought I'd look back to see what I said about him on this blog back when the election season first began, what my first impression was... and it's kinda sad. But I've decided to practice a little bit of intellectual honesty and own it, anyway.

Here's what I said after the first debate:

Obama. Where to start? I can’t begin to guess why he is so loathed by Republicans – you know, aside from being a wise black man, something can no more understand than a moral gay man. Yes, they exist, too. I wish he’d done better last night but he’s too easy put on defense and doesn’t have his talking points down. Does he have time for that? Ordinarily, sure. But not when the primary season begins this early. He needs to get strong NOW. He could be a great president… but, again, nobody’s going to vote for him. Why? Because America does not elect a black man. Call me cynical but it’s true and the Repugs are going to get repugnant and we know that.

Okay, let's see... Typos? Check. Repugnicans? Check.

Aside from the obvious gaffe - America does not elect a black man as President (MY BAD!) - two things stood out to show how much Obama grew during the election season. Early on, he was quick to play defense and he didn't really have his story, or talking points, down. Now, you can see how he really grew to control the narrative and got his message out. As a political junkie, these things are really interesting to me.

I'm glad I had faith in him even back then. (This was August of '07!) And I'm glad so many of us had faith (and, if you'll pardon me, hope) that a black man could be President. It's obvious Obama was elected for more reasons that just his race but it's good to see we didn't let that stop us.

Now, it's time to make predictions about his term in office... which I'll leave up to someone else, thank you very much!

Oba... ie the way...

Tomorrow is the big day. Vicky is taking the day off work to see the historic event. Two thirds of the country is going to pack itself into Washington, DC. And the oceans will part.

I swear. It's like the third coming of Jesus or something.

So, I figured I should comment... after all, that's what I do.

Here's the thing. Obama is just a guy. People seem to forget this. He's just a guy. A smart guy? Sure. An able guy? Of course. A perceptive guy? Honest? Hard working? You bet. You'll hear no argument from me.

But he's just a guy.

I keep hearing people talk about Obama and all the HOPE he's bringing, as if he's bringing Utopia - and I don't mean the band! Hell, even Mannie has caught Obama fever! And I'm afraid of what's going to happen the minute he fails at something. Or when he makes a mistake. Or when these hyperbolic expectations fail to get met.

People. Listen. He's just a guy. He'll do some good. He may do a lot of good. But he'll also screw up on occasion. Okay? Can you deal with that?

Because I'm afraid you can't. I'm afraid of what the Republicans are going to do the minute they see a chink in the armor. Oh, they're all bi-partisan now - they have to be - but the minute the see an opening, you and I know they'll go for blood. That's how it works.

So, do me a favor, stop putting him on a pedastal. He didn't ask to be there. All he wanted was to be President... not God.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Welcome to 1967...

I couldn't believe it. I even had to ask.

It was true. At my place of employment, people have started putting post-its on conference room doors. "This conference room is reserved by Bob's team for Thursday, 1/15 2-3pm." "This conference room is reserved by HR for Monday, 1/19 10-11:30." And on and on.

Turns out, this is my company's new - and, sadly, official - method of reseving conference rooms.

Boy. Just think how easily this will be once they invent computers!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kitten of the Sea....

Okay, listen, I understand PETA wants us to start referring to fish as "sea kittens" in an attempt to make people eat less fish.

Fine. I get that.

But, I wonder… if fish are “sea kittens” does that make cats “land fish”? Have they considered the possibility that instead of eating less fish people might start eating more kittens.

Mmmmm... kittens....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Some things you just don't do...

And this entry will tell you how.

Seriously, I was in traffic school this weekend. You should never feel guilty about traffic school. Ever. But here I am. Ken... married... guilty...

I wouldn't even mention this except, well, I figure this is My Side - emphasis on MY - and I should be able to say these things somewhere, right?


Is it wrong to fall in love with your traffic school instructor?

Her name was Carla, and I didn't even notice her until she started speaking. Hell, I hadn't slept for three nights before; I was half asleep as I plodded in. But then, this little latina women, appearing like a cross between Vicky and Lisa Nelson (my first crush back in second grade), started talking about how a good perspective can create a positive attitude. She used the first half of the traffic school class like a motivational speaker! And, when I noticed her, I realized she was... making me think things a married guy wasn't supposed to think.

Listen, things between Vicky and I haven't been perfect lately and it's easy for me to think about insurance in case things get worse. But I wasn't going to make my admiration for this woman what this was going to be about. Because we have options. I can go right from "She's amazing" to "Let's see if she's single" and ruin my marriage in the process, or I can just stop at "She's amazing". And she really was. Beautiful, smart, funny... amazing... everything Vicky was when I first met her.

And the fact is, Vicky still is these things. Sure, I've got some issues with her aversion to exercise. There are some things I wish she'd work on. She isn't quick to give affection and she's often cold. And I'm starting to realize that I had some of these same problems with Rosa. But that doesn't mean I should hope Carla's going to be standing behind Door #3. Instead, I need to invest in the relationship I've got. So, I watched Carla do her thing and enjoyed watching Carla do her thing and actually enjoyed my day at traffic school.

Then, I went home to Vicky.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

What is this thing called FRAUD...

And here's a follow up to the story of our very depressed engineer who moonlights as a writer (see below) ...

We finished the datasheet. Now, the sales department can begin selling it.

One problem: The product doesn't exist. In fact, it can't exist. The company can't afford the investment required to make it.

So, they're going to sell it and delay shipment (because they don't have it) until they have enough orders to justify actually making the product.

Hmmm... they're selling a product that doesn't exist... where's my dictionary? I think I want to look up the word "fraud".

Defeatism as Corporate Culture...

As I might have mentioned, my position here at work - in fact, my entire team - is pretty unnecessary. Our job description is to create datasheets and product packaging but nobody lets us write and the graphics and layouts are done elsewhere.

But sometimes, something slips through... and sometimes it gets scary.

So, yesterday before I left, I was given a datasheet to proofread. I was given it by an engineer who had written it from scratch. I asked, "Do you want me to correct it?" He said, "No. I just want to make sure all of my writing is in there as I wrote it." Right.

So, I went over it this morning. It was for a product that has been stripped down because my company can't afford to make it with all the bells and whistles the engineer wanted. Here's what it said, "While most ____ have (features we don't include), (our product) keeps it simple." Seriously, it said "keeps it simple" to mean "just can't do it". It went on to talk about all the features we won't be offering, one paragraph at a time...

So, being stupid, I went over and asked the engineer if he was sure he wanted to go this way. (I know they'll eventually blame me because I'm supposed to be the writer, even though they won't allow me to change what the engineers write.) He said, "What's wrong with it?" I replied, "Usually, marketing writing tries to find the virtue in a product and emphasize that." His answer, "But this isn't marketing writing. It's for sales!"

... at which point, my brain imploded...

I gotta find a new job.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How to know when you work for the insane...

This was actually said by my employer today with regards to business development:

"It's not just that you're supposed to guess. The trick is that it's a good guess."

Come the Revolution...

You know what you don't hear about any more? Revolution.

Used to be that you'd hear people talk about it all the time. There were black revolutionaries, hippie revolutionaries, radical revolutionaries - plenty of people wanted to change the world in a revolution. Then, sometime during 1980's I think, it just went away... during the Republican Revolution, I think.

I was thinking about revolution the other day and how that's the one thing folks in power want to avoid. They want to keep their jobs, you know? The Romans had a great way of supressing revolution: shows and 'ho's. They gave their citizens the finest competitive sports of the day, gladiators, along with plenty of booze and fun. The Nazi's gave people bread; that's all it took.

And now, I think we've been silenced by iPods and cell phones and pcs and satellite radio, technology has lulled us to sleep. The poor can be ignored, the hungry silenced, the homeless unseen, and the disenfranchised tuned out like magic.

Now, of course, the Republican Revolution is over and they're left with the doomed figureheads of Palin and Jeb Bush, Mitch McConnel and Limbaugh. And I wonder... It was never the Republicans who shut us up even though they benefitted from our greed. I wonder if now in a time when people are losing their jobs and their homes and their savings, when digital media is less of a priority and food to eat more of a necessity, I wonder if we'll hear that word again.


I pity Obama if that comes to pass. It won't be his fault.

It's all about timing.

Monday, January 05, 2009

War for Peace...

When I saw this headline today, I was struck by the irony - Isrealis will keep killing Palestinians until there's peace.

Now, there's a valid argument either way as to who shot first. We'll never know. But it says something about how easily we humans can rationalize murder on any scale that things like this can be said with a straight face.