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Git yer ass off my desk…

16 Dec
How do they get any work done?

How do they get any work done? There are acceptable levels of clutter – especially when there’s a lot of work going on… this is not in my acceptable range! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey coworker! Yeah, you! The one whose desk is right next to mine in this open office hellhole. Get your fucking ass, and your shit, off my desk.

I work next to a woman who keeps her desk in a state of, well, shall we say, “creative disarray” and therefore has no room on her desk to do things like open a package, or wrap a package, or any number of things you use an open desktop for.

No problem. She just uses mine. It’s only four feet from hers, and that end of my desk is clear and clean. What’s the problem?

So she parks her projects in process, and sometimes her ass, on the end of my desk. Without asking. On a good day, she’ll make some comment after she’s already encroached. It’s always along the lines of “Oh, sorry, you don’t mind do you…” or “I just need a desk space for a moment, sorry.”

Busy Desk

There’s a lot going on here, but it’s neat and tidy. (Photo credit: Russell Heistuman)

Unfortunately, this is not an office environment where I could say, “actually, I do mind. Please move…” Nevermind that I keep my desktop neat for a reason – I like it that way. Nevermind that clutter and mess drive me nuts. This is an open office, we’re all expected to blend in with the lowest common denominator.

Maybe I should start decorating my desk with spiky sculptures, or thumbtacks. Or a desktop trebuchet. Or a giant electrical pad to administer a jolting shock to an errant ass.

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Epic Fail on Corp Meatless Monday Planning

18 Jun

Our company, like so many, has jumped on the Meatless Monday bandwagon. Wheee! We all pledge to go meat-free every Monday! Yay.

Uh-huh. No one asked me if I wanted to participate in this. Seriously. I’m not interested in going vegetarian, even for a day. My diet is already essentially pescatarian, with occasional chicken, and even less frequent pork, and rarer still is beef (as in, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had beef in the last 2 years).

So, giving up meat on Mondays should be easy, right? Yeah, fine, you’re right. I just don’t like the idea of being stuck doing it.

The company sent out a big email – “Hey, we’ll even have someone from the Aren’t We So Cool Committee select a restaurant that has vegetarian offerings and take lunch orders.”

That was a great idea! It meant I didn’t have to think about packing up a vegetarian lunch, or trying to find a healthy vegetarian option in a non-scary part of the city that was also within a reasonable distance from our office in a scary part of the city.

And it worked. For a month. As in for four Mondays.

And then came today.

“Oh, y’all didn’t pack a lunch? Oh. We’ll have to take lunch orders? Oh. So. Um… Where does everyone want to eat?”

It fell apart. Suddenly six people took four cars to go to three different places for lunch. Not quite the “healthy for us, healthy for the environment” impact our company was looking for methinks.

Hey, when did we all get old and fat?

7 Jun

Pardon me, I’m having a moment!

Not too very long ago, I decided to cease my anonymous blogging in favor of a completely transparent system where everyone knew my name.

Turns out, the whole “Cheers” vibe is just not so cool. I don’t wanna go where everyone knows my name!

The downside of everyone knowing who you are is, well, that everyone knows who you are. The other downside is suddenly, crawling out from the woodwork are people you hadn’t thought about in years. The former boyfriends, the girlfriends you quit hanging out with, the boyfriends of your girlfriends that you never could stand. Yeah, they all come out and say “hi.”

And since you haven’t seen them in a long time, you think, “Holy hell! Do I look that old?!?” So you look in the mirror, you ask a few friends who you know will be honest and  you find out that no, in fact, you do not. Then another comes along and you think, “Holy hell! Did I get that fat?!?” So you look in the mirror and you ask a few friends and you find out that no, in fact, you did not.

OK, I know that sounds just evil and mean and totally… wait. Fuck that. This is the blog where I get to let all my catty, bitchy, nasty thoughts out to play. Would I ever say these things to anyone? NO! I’m not cruel! Would I ever really, seriously judge someone for such superficial reasons? Again, hell no. I am not stupid.

But let’s admit it, we’ve all had that moment.

Take Hottie #1 who, back in the day could best be described as Greek Godlike – 6’2″, trim and muscular, thick curly sandy-colored hair, icy blue eyes and chin and cheekbones that looked as if they’d been chiseled by the hands of the gods. Yes, he was that fabulous. Imagine your shock when you look at his profile and see a bad comb-over (dude, bald is sexy! Accept it!) a round face with no sign of cheekbone or chin, and a good 100 pounds over what he used to be. He’s big enough that the tall, willowy woman he married can no longer get her arms all the way around him. Add in the fact that the guy who used to hang out at techno clubs now seems to be a member of the beer-swilling, tractor-hat-wearing, country-music-listening, gun-toting, deer-hunting, git-in-the-truck-bitch, redneck club and it just makes it even better.

I’m sorry, it was a shock.

Hottie #2 was another tall specimen.  He was clean cut with just enough funk to be edgy. As a teenager, that meant he was parent-safe but still fun. He was attractive and charming and adored by most women who met him. Today, he looks like Dog the Bounty Hunter’s younger brother. A shaved head and long goatee grace a scowling face and tattoos of all varieties trace pretty much all visible skin. If you saw him on the street, your kindest thought would be “motorcycle gang member” and you’d give him a wide berth. This one also underwent a personality shift, going from a sweet, gentle kid who was a slight mama’s boy with a terrific sense of humor to a surly, gruff, staunchly conservative asshole.

Yeah, that was another shock.

Of course, every coin has a flip side.

Hottie #3, another tall, trim youth with dark hair and piercing green eyes and the personality of an artsy, troubled poet hasn’t changed much at all. Today, his hair is tinged with gray and he tends to forget to shave. His body has softened and he put on a few pounds, but carries it well. He can still light up a room with one of his rare smiles and most women still go gaga when they see his picture. And the troubled poet hasn’t changed either, meaning the women who go gaga at his looks still get very fed up, very quickly, at his morose personality.

Seriously, if you ever need motivation to take better care of yourself, stop smoking, go on that diet, start exercising, or do any other self-helpy/improvementy sort of things, there’s an easy way to get motivated.

Start looking through Facebook and find your high school class page. The former stunners who let themselves go, and the average kids who now look amazing should be enough to keep anybody’s ass on the treadmill and their hands out of the cookie jar!

And if you’re like Hottie # 3, who still looks good but needs some therapy. Well, get some therapy!

Who the fuck crossed Godzilla with a chicken and calleed it food?

6 Jun

OK, so let me get something straight here… I am not a healthfood nut – nor do I buy into any strict food philosophy be it vegan, vegetarian, raw, or whatever.

Chickens

Do these look like monster chickens to you? (Photo credit: Allie’s.Dad)

What I am is a woman who grew up eating natural, fresh, farm-raised foods, and who prefers those things. I’ve actually gone back and forth over the years – sometimes economics or convenience still wins out over farm-raised and organic. I have a preference, but not an insistence.

However…

Chicken is kid of an odd duck, so to speak. Generally, I buy a whole chicken and disassemble it into it’s various parts. The times I’ll buy pieces, I’m usually opting for higher-quality, organic, farm-raised, whatever because I dislike the extremely bland flavor of most supermarket birds.

Every now and then, I wind up buying a plain ole boneless, skinless chicken breast at the regular market. And every time I think, “Holy fuck! What did they feed this bird?!?”

Yeah, I know hormones are illegal. As are steroids. Yeah, I know it’s selective breeding and all that happy crappy.

But seriously. Really? Have you seen chicken breasts lately? They’re gigantic! I swear they weigh 10 to 12 ounces per half breast.

Please tell me people aren’t serving an entire half to one person! That’s a ton of meat! (yeah, I know… people do… it’s “one” breast)

I’m really surprised that the average consumer actually seems to prefer these gigantic, and comparatively bland, hunks of meat over things that taste better, are easier to work with (because they’re smaller, they’re the size most recipes are calling for), etc.

Seriously, next time you wonder why Americans are getting so fat take a look at serving sizes. Betcha the average eater isn’t looking at the Godzilla chicken boob and thinking, “hey, maybe I’d best cut that in half.”

Know what I mean?

Teen suicide…

6 Jun

I’m about to be really, truly, horribly politically incorrect and insensitive. Seriously. This is not a humorous rant… In fact, it’s rather serious.

During my time as editor of a couple of small, local papers, I saw more funeral notices due to teen suicide than I care to think about. That charming little town had an amazingly high number of teen suicides. And I mean amazingly high. It was actually creepy.

Like most small town newspapers, we didn’t announce that a child had committed suicide. We danced around the subject in order to be sensitive to the parents and loved ones. Every now and then, parents would request the information be public – to help spread the word, or raise awareness, to attempt to reach other kids before they made such a horrible and final choice.

In the wake of any suicide came vigils, prayer meetings, etc – essentially, it amounted to a lot of post humus attention.

Bear with me, here’s where I get insensitive…

While I understand the need for closure and healing, and I understand the need to provide an outlet to other teens and grieving family members, is that amount of public attention really a good thing?

A hurting teen, one who is in so much pain that they are considering taking their own life, is going through hell and often feeling unloved, underappreciated and even ignored. To a hurting teen, all of those things can seem attractive, desirable.

There is a strange, macabre glamorization going on after a teenager commits suicide. They become the center of attention, lavished with love and affection, remembered with fondness and talked about incessantly. Add in that many teens romanticize death and you have a potent combination.

To a hurting teen, none of this is a bad thing. The fact that they will not be here to receive the accolades doesn’t make an impact.

Am I suggesting that suicide should return to being some shameful thing that is spoken of only in hushed tones? Of course not! Suicide is a terrible, permanent solution to a temporary problem. It hurts everyone. It’s never the right answer.

What I am suggesting is that perhaps, instead of hosting community-wide candlelight vigils where everyone is invited to share their memories of the deceased, schools, churches, families, whatever, make an effort to keep memorial services small and restricted to family and close friends.

I am suggesting that schools provide counseling services (which I know they already do) and keep their “celebration of life” restrained.

While I understand and respect the need to mourn and celebrate the life of a lost teen, I truly believe that providing a community-wide event, inviting anyone and everyone to share their fond memories of the departed child creates an atmosphere that is attractive to some hurting teens.

By all means, provide counseling and help with grief management and a safe environment for friends and family to mourn. They will find strength and healing in each other. But is it really necessary to open these things up to the entire community? Is it really wise?

Perhaps the real lesson we need to learn is that we should never miss an opportunity to share with those we love – tell them how much we love them, appreciate them, respect them.