My office family got bad news yesterday: a motion we had filed with the personnel review board was denied. Roundly and soundly denied. It's the end of our appeal process, too. I can't go into any detail, but I will say that decision painted my boss in the worst light I've ever read. And I've read a lot of legal decisions where my boss is concerned. She's had, to put it mildly, a career fraught with controversy.
Fast forward a few hours: one of the businesses we oversee had this company send the usual Christmas package - a four pound box of assorted chocolates.
Folks, you should have seen my boss then. I thought she'd inhale a good half pound in one visit. Every time she'd return to graze in the box, she'd call us all to join her. "Come on, Pam, I see one I think is maple-flavored - your favorite. Enjoy them while they last." If she's as upset by the decision as I think she is, they won't last long.
So what are all the gifts going for this year? If they were bought repeatedly on each day as the song suggests, they'd hit $66,334, up from $65,264 last year.
The nine ladies dancing would leave the largest dent in your wallet this year — coming in at $4,400. The eight maids-a-milking are a bargain at $41.20.
Outsourcing, alas, factors into the equation.
"As a result, the cost of skilled dancers has steadily increased, while the unskilled milk maids haven't managed an increase in pay for many years," said Jeff Kleintop, chief investment strategist for PNC Advisors.
I am outraged at this unfair wage discrepancy. They deserve a place at the bargaining table! Milking maids, unite!
Thanksgiving vacation couldn't have come at a better time. I got so much sleep last week! I've been working myself into a nice little homegrown psychosis with four and five-hour nights, every night for a month. I'd pretend like I was studying all that time, but ... there comes a point at which you're so tired, you don't even feel tired anymore. And you only think you're studying, but you have to go over things multiple times to have a hope of retention.
Getting enough sleep should be a RULE. I have many such RULES kicking around in my head. If I collect them all here, I'll open the floor for naming them. They'll become the definitive guide to living, for middle-aged people who don't know what they want to be when they grow up, but know beyond a doubt they're tired of Carl's Jr. burgers every day.
Some comic once observed that twentysomethings brag to their friends how much they drank last night, while thirtysomethings brag to their friends how much sleep they got. I always remembered that; it's perfectly true.
I've got comics on my mind, right? So for my daughter's bedtime story, I tell her the origin of the Fantastic Four. And she starts to laugh. She laughs every time a character is introduced. "That's just like ____ in 'The Incredibles'!" she says. This gets to be a mantra. Completely ruined story time for me, I must say.
Now, I haven't seen this movie yet, but it sounds as if the two families are very much alike in their collection of superpowers. A strong man, a person who is stretchy, someone who can turn invisible, and someone else who controls
fire ice. And they're all (extended) family, trying to lead a normal life. Hmm! One wonders how Marvel feels about it, seeing as how FF is in production right now.
At my mom's, everybody joined in a rousing game of hide-and-seek. (Willingly or unwillingly -- ::cough unca dan::) On one of my turns, I carefully half-inserted myself into a closet in my old room, then nearly killed myself when my feet slipped on something in the dark. After the kids found me, I realized that what I'd been stepping on were old comic books, bursting out of their boxes. Then later, it dawned on me that the kids were crouching in my brother's old closet on top of ... an even bigger box of old comics.
"Geez," I said to my brother, "you think we ought to go through all these comic books?"
"YES!" my mom replied.
You always hear stories about parents who threw out valuable comic or stamp collections when their adult children left home. Here's the other end of the spectrum: a mother who by all rights could have cleared out those junky comics years ago, yet left them for us.
I promised my brother (and my mom, obviously) I'd look into how best to pass them along. Thinking about the piles, I can't remember if any particular comics are worth any serious money. I do know that by and large, their condition is "fair" to "poor". And they can't smell very good after all these years in the closets. What does one do with such comics? Bundle them by title and sell them on eBay? Take them to a store? Tie a ribbon on them and ship 'em to a landfill? Maybe in January, I'd better devote a weekend to pulling those boxes out and seeing exactly what we're working with here.
Bunny and I threw caution to the wind and visited the overcrowded mall this afternoon. But we were only there to get haircuts! I swear! I don't know where this bag came from!
We passed a long queue to meet Santa Claus, and briefly speculated what this mall Santa must do to prepare for his sometimes arduous job. Well, we shall wonder no more.
[The] mall Santa gig has traced the ever-rising educational bar affecting a growing number of fields. Which explains how I came to be a proud graduate of Santa Claus University, a little-known school located in the hallowed halls of Richmond's Hilltop mall.
... [W]hile Santa should never have a cell phone ringing in his pocket, he should otherwise be every bit the modern man.
He may have smoked a pipe at one time, for instance, but certainly wouldn't set such a bad example for hundreds of mall children today, Zink advised. He also understands that some kids have a mom and dad, while others have two moms, two dads or just grandparents. Santa knows it's safer just to say "folks."
It's occurred to me before that Santa has to be at the forefront of p.c. these days. A few years ago, some mall Santa got into huge trouble for calling a black child a "little monkey". The parent took offense, the employer got into trouble, it hit the news wire, etc. So it's no wonder today's prudent seasonal worker wants to take a sensitivity training course or two. It's not easy being a holiday icon.
Day one of our annual Thanksgiving Trek was Thursday. We visited BB's dad, and dad's lady friend, up in the foothills. The lady friend's adult children were in from out of town, braving a strange kitchen to prepare the turkey and trimmings. They did a great job, I must say. And it was very nice meeting them. BB and I, perennially guests and never the hosts, knew to bring lots of Thanksgiving dinner side dishes - non-alcoholic wine, french bread, pumpkin pie, and the ingredients for whipped cream - so much better than stuff in the can.
Day Two, Friday, was a trip to my hometown. Bunny and I visited my mom, my little bro, and my nephew. (BB has a major cold. His job today was to do laundry. And sniffle. A lot.)
More side dishes were brought, except I forgot to make whipped cream from scratch, so we swung by the supermarket. Oh well. Mom made a delicious winter stew. What do you mean, that's not traditional? I bet it is, but nobody references the stuff the pilgrims ate the day after Thanksgiving. Besides, Mom doesn't bake. All cooking is done on stovetop or in microwave.This is because her oven is old as dirt and hasn't worked in a long time - rather than have it replaced, she chained it shut. Literally.
While some of us played Trivia1 Pursuit, my daughter and her cousin made off with my digital camera. When they came back, we found they'd taken pictures of the things that are really funny to the elementary school set. Or maybe these are things that they are thankful for ...?
The Slang Dictionary. Just what I needed, being back on campus and all.
Maybe I'm the last to have seen this Google Easter egg catching game. It's tricky; that little rabbit isn't easy to move around.
Do these guys look like party animals, or what?
From now on, whenever you think "extreme biking", remember Biker Fox. I don't think I'll ever be satisfied by another man again ...
Does this look legit to you? It's supposedly a universal remote you carry like a keychain, which you can use to turn off TVs wherever you go.
Our mission: use technology for something useful! TV-B-GoneTM universal remote control is our first product, and is, in fact, one of the first truly useful uses of technology. We hope you will enjoy it, as well as the vast amount of energy that it opens up in your life.
Even if it isn't a real product, the message is worth taking to heart.
1. To the surfer who came to my blog through a search for "Plot of Are You My Mother P.D. Eastman":
Um, just so you know, in the time it took you to sit down, type that phrase, and click 'enter', you could have read the silly book for yourself. Still, if you felt out of your league as you made your way through the intimidating world of children's book plot outlining, you could do no better than to follow the link I originally posted: Book-A-Minute.
2. To the many people (seriously) who want to know "How do you pronounce Proust", the answer is PROOST. It rhymes with roost. My mother made me learn that, so I would sound edumacated.
3. To anybody who searches the word 'beancounter': this blog you hold in your hands is now the "I feel lucky" link for that word on Google, both US and UK versions. It's like a little piece of the Internets belongs to me. [Update: well, not anymore. I fell in the ranks. Life is capricious.]
I really wouldn't have posted this, but it just came out so perfectly.
So, if I can't date Eddie Vedder (preferably Vedder circa 1992, thank you), I can be him. And, it appears, get all the lattes I want, too. Not bad.
Which band would you want to be in? Past or present, it doesn't matter here. Who is your dream band? What part would you play?
"If you're cramming more and more power in a small space, what you're making is a small bomb."
Imagine if your cell phone just exploded. Obviously the worst thing - apart from the, you know, injuries - would be the taunting from all those people you once mocked for not getting cell phones.
My Intro to Policy class syllabus includes a class session scheduled during this Thanksgiving week. Still, my professor verbally rearranged our course work so that we would not have to meet, and made it sound like it was all the students' idea. Funny how that happened.
"So," said my Intro prof, apropos of nothing, "Would you really prefer to save our discussion for Nov. 29, and not meet on the 22nd?" She did everything but wink-wink and nudge-nudge. Huh? we thought, gee, we didn't say anything about skipping a class, though now that she mentions it, that might be nice ...
But rest assured, all of us will be working this week. Our prof required us to e-mail her the rough drafts of the group projects by last night. She'll go over them and shoot back the critiques. My 3-person policy group met last night to go through what we have so far. Then we hit the computer, gave our draft one last going-over, and e-mailed it. Gotta love the computer age.
In one section, I indicated the place where a visual aid will eventually go. I labelled it "The Timeline of Doom". Do you think my fellow analysts will let that label remain uneuphamismed?
So the draft is out of our hands for a while. I feel a weight temporarily lifted from my shoulders. This weight will return, of course, when she writes back with her critique. Especially since the critique is bound to include such helpful phrases as "weak", "lame", and "were ANY of you paying attention in class?"
But until then, it's Christmas in July!
Bunny: In the future, we’ll have computers inside our glasses, so we can look at the Internet when we walk.
* * * * *
Me: In the future, fabric stores will carry big bolts of undyed cloth. You will go in, pick out the pattern you want, and the fabric store will print it on the cloth right there on the spot! They’ll have a gigantic selection of patterns. You'll be able to make clothes in any print and colorway you want.
BB: Or you’ll be able to order the fabric online.
Me: Online would be preferable. Then the fabric company could mail your fabric to your door. Because the fabric will still need time to dry and maybe be treated for color-fastness.
Bunny: Unless they make it so that stuff isn’t necessary, in the future.
Me: You mean the treatment?
Bunny: No, I mean clothes.
* * * * *
Bunny: In the future, you’ll be able to watch TV, but just fast-forward through the commercials.
BB: I think they have that technology now. It’s called TiVo.
Bunny: Oh! [makes a mental note to demand TiVo the next time she and her dad are at Best Buy]
When I was in college, the first time around, I worked at a small local bookstore. I can't tell you the number of times I heard this from a customer: "Yeah, I'm looking for a book ... it just came out ... it has a red cover ... you know the one?"
If I'd been working at Adobe Books last weekend, I could have replied, "Was that scarlet red, or more of a maroon?"
Last weekend, an artist and his crew were given permission to take over the bookstore and rearrange all the titles by color. Barak, who attended, took some excellent photos. A very cool concept. If Bob, Eileen and I had thought of this, back when we were staffing at my old job, I swear we would have done it.
With the holidays approaching, I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes. Enjoy!
Festive Keyboard Crud Stuffing
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/3 cup margarine or butter
1 teaspooon poultry seasoning or ground sage
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 cups dry keyboard crud
1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken broth or water
1. For stuffing, in a medium saucepan cook celery and onion in margarine or butter until tender but not brown; remove from heat. Stir in poultry seasoning or sage, pepper, and salt. Place keyboard crud in a large mixing bowl; add onion mixture. Drizzle with enough broth or water to moisten, tossing lightly. Bake stuffing alongside turkey for 30-45 minutes or until heated through.
1. If you're a light snacker at the computer, you may not be able to collect 8 full cups of keyboard crud on Thanksgiving. You may need to collect it for a month or so before the big day. Store crud loosely covered at room temperature.
2. To keep the keyboard crud from being wasted, but your keyboard into a brown paper bag, and gently tap on the underside to loosen the best chunks of crud.
3. Depending upon what you've been eating at the computer, you may need to adjust your seasonings.
[originally culled from the now-defunct TeamFat blog]
Eventually, this could be a help manual of serious use to me, if I don't remember to unplug myself more often.
What Should I Do If The Internet Goes Down?
8. Go Outside
The idea of leaving your workstation may seem a little extreme, but you can perform errands that you normally get parents or spouses to do: grocery shopping, drycleaning, etc. Leaving your dorm room, basement, or above-garage apartment suite, may be risky, but again, the time may afford an effective distraction from your Internet woes. NOTE: Be careful to avoid the sun, because your pasty white skin will not be used to the exposure.