Friday, May 28, 2004

I just sent my latest resume and cover letter (brief and concise of course) because you must always use words economically in this environment. I felt pretty good about it, but that rarely means anything. I just have to keep on practicing, keep on trying. It's been helping for me to imagine myself when I have been successful and when I've gotten past a big milestone. I hate that word. Makes me think of millstone and how in many cases some groups will have you dragging one around your neck if you're not careful.

I understand the value of hardwork, but often I feel like there has to be a point to what I'm doing, and that I'm helping my entire team be successful.

Our manager had a little talk to us today about how the upper-management is realizing that many people feel under-appreciated. For some of us, in some groups this is coming a little too late. Perhaps filtering down effective management/motivational style and sensitivity training to some of the managers here might have helped.

The most horrible thing has happened

The unthinkable!

My headset just broke! Now there is nothing to protect me from the cacophony of miscommunication and misunderstanding that fills the air in this three aisle radius (well this is only my perception of course).

SOME ONE HELP ME!!!!




I think I may have time at lunch to pick up a new one. Yes, it's true, I can't live without it... and can only be as productive as I am with it fixed firmly on my ears.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Prayer to the God of Employment

Hello,

I know that I have to have faith in myself and abilities because I can't expect anyone else to do so, but can I get some points here for working in a place where it seems that everything I do, unless I hide it from the people above me, is questioned? Do you think I could get some points for trying to keep my self-esteem intact despite this? Am I asking for too much? I know that there are tons of people out there who would tell me that I should just bite it and take it. Do you think that there is a place where I can work without having someone riding my ass because they've been trained to fear retribution from Schloki the god of micromanagement?

You know I've just about had it with this downer 'risk-aversive' environment I'm working in. I mean I don't mean to complain too much, but I know that there are better places to work. Sure, I may not get paid as much, and though I've been painfully afraid of becoming one of those poor souls who becomes so disenchanted with the corporate slave mill that she declares that she would rather work for peanuts for some non-profit organization... I really think that there must be a better place beyond this employment purgatory that I'm in right now. Am I too idealistic to believe that we can succeed and be happy in a career without becoming completely predatory or succumbing to the notion that we must have all of the Protestant Work Ethic for Nothing shoved down our throats.

I know that many of us are afraid to speak up and address the fact that in many cases that the ministries of hr and upper-management view us as expendable. They might even believe that they can hold the threat of outsourcing over our heads like an anvil, they might even realize that manipulating our fear to speak out to their advantage and push us to our limits. But I do believe that in the long run the bottom line only serves those people who sit at the top and maybe the few of us who remain after the bouts of cannibalism and downsizing. And though I know that there is reasonably a certain amount of darwinism in business, I still believe that this quest for the 'bottom-line' has become somewhat perverted to the extent that the powers that be cannot see the long-term consequences. This whole idea of only the strong survive seems like a plausible one, and I hate to sound simplistic and just as cold, but when only the strong are left, what will they eat? Each other?

I want to scream... DIDN'T YOU READ THE FUCKING 'LORAX' WHEN YOU WERE A KID?... but then again they would accuse me of being nothing but a liberal idiot. Somehow it just seems like common sense.

Thank you for your time.

Your humble servant,

Imogene

It has occurred to me...

Though working in this environment may have made me a little more paranoid that I normally am... (and this is only an assumption, mind you) that they continue to let the working environment deteriorate because they'd rather have us quit so they wouldn't have to pay for unemployment.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Hooray for Medford, OR!

Looks like the folks in Medford said no to 'Ball Mart' building another store in their town. Like Englewood, CA folks they finally put their foot down. I'm still looking for the article to confirm this, but I heard it on the OPB radio news last week. Small towns and suburbs should be afraid of companies that could boast an economy (if they were a country in itself) to rival Saudi Arabia.

Wal-mart sucks the life out of small-town America and much of the profits don't even get fed back into the communities they siphon. I'm sorry, I guess I've got an opinion about this (and apparently so do countless others).

In the mean time for your reading pleasure there are scores of others apparently who can't stand the large discount chain.

An interesting collection of articles and commentary:
http://www.walmartwatch.com/

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2001859432&zsection_id=268883724&slug=floyd18&date=20040218


In Fayetteville AK (in the same state as the company world HQ):
http://www.againstthewal.org/
For dignity and peace... though is b-mart a major contributor to the war machine?

The FAA against Tight Mart:http://www.faa.gov/apa/pr/pr.cfm?id=870

Fish lovers, even. Gold-fish abuse at Gall Mart
http://www.petlibrary.com/goldfish/walmart.htm

Jeezus, no one likes this company. In summary, I ran a few google searches on Small(head)Mart (the company not the shoppers) and I found
countless websites, blogs, essays and news stories that had less than positive things to say about the company. Many entries or pages are titled "I hate #!?@ Mart, or Why %$#( Mart is Evil, etc. Perhaps Maul Mart will be the whipping boy for America's anti corporate sentiments, who knows... but how can you look fondly on a company that abuses cute little gold fish? And I'm not even a militant animal rights supporter.

Medford City Council Hears Arguments Against the Ball Mart:
http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2004/0506/local/stories/08local.htm

And the answer is "Keep Wal... I mean Ball Mart out of our town:

http://www.katu.com/business/story.asp?ID=67544

Friday, May 21, 2004

Proud

to be American...and I'm not being facetious, because as a people we've got a lot to be proud of. I was reading through the same website for intercultural business and affairs that I referenced earlier and ran across the description of how credibility is established in the U.S.

I was really quite impressed when I read this because for the first time in a long time, I started to think of myself as an American and see many of the great points about our culture. Lately with all the bad press we've been receiving, it's been much easier to be embarrassed. Though people across the globe may see Americans as rude, loud, pushy precisely because they view the qualities describe above as being contrary or foreign to their own... and in light of what's been going on recently to put us once again in the ugly limelight, I think that we do need to think about our more positive points.

Yes, we do need to work on our manners, but I thought as I was reading this description. I am happy to be out-spoken, I am glad that confidence is a quality that we prize in people. That we value verbal communication. These are good things... not to say that what is valued by other cultures is worth any less.

I do think that many of the positive points listed above have their negative side, ie. how we rely on first impressions, and sometimes confidence and our need for it can become twisted into a billion dollar industries where women suck excess fat from their behinds or men feel that they need to stretch the crows feet from their eyes.
Credibility in the U.S. is based as much on how one projects oneself as on what one actually accomplishes. Of course, the results that a person achieves affect his/her credibility over the long term; however, relationships in the U.S. may be very short-term, so it is important to establish credibility quickly. The following are common ways that U.S. Americans try to establish credibility in business situations:


Project confidence. When meeting someone for the first time, smile and shake hands firmly and crisply. Maintain eye contact. Stand up straight, with shoulders back, but not stiffly. Speak with sufficient volume.


Speak up. People in the U.S. place a high value on verbal communication, and if you do not express your opinions, Americans will often assume that you don’t have any. Don’t always wait to be asked for your input – be assertive and articulate.


Let people know about your track record by making reference to your experience and expertise in appropriate contexts. Don’t go overboard – boasting and name-dropping are not appreciated – however, excessive humility is often interpreted as a sign of low self-esteem.


Take initiative. Americans respect those who have the ability to take independent action, without having to be told everything.


Treat people of every age, rank, and status with respect. Regardless of whether a person is a garbage collector, waitress, or CEO, Americans generally feel that everyone deserves to be treated equally. If you regularly treat people with disrespect, you yourself will not be respected - either by people of lower or higher status than you.


Building credibility and instilling confidence depends only partly on how you interact in face-to-face situations. It also depends on how you behave and communicate when working together via telephone, fax and email. Ultimately, a large part of your credibility will depend on whether you deliver results.

One thing you must never ever do...

Is install carpet in your home... earlier this week we just spent two days cleaning the filth from the thirty year old carpet left in our new house. I must have hauled away half a garbage bag of dust (which consists of anything from baking-soda to boogers and dead skin).

Never use those baking soda carpet fresheners because you can never vacuum all of it from the carpet.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

If Imo were manager

Sorry, I guess I've been into making lists lately. The following would occur... of course I'm only dreaming:

1.) The right people would be doing the right job... not other people's. No more engineers doing administrative work. No more excessive dumping of work on admins. Administrative assignments would be assigned to groups appropriately. Admins wouldn't necessarily be the first to be laid off.

2.) Teamwork is valued over despotism/or hierarchy. Leaders regularly communicate and share information with their employees instead of hoarding it. Employees can feel free to share their progress without the fear that the will be micromanaged. Effective teambuilding occurs in order to faciliate communication and build a healthy atmoshpere and culture.

As an added note to this bullet, I shared this list to a colleague and he noted that this wasn't a namby pamby communist environment that we work in. That leaders at times are required to make curt decisions and steer processes rather than guide and take input from their employees. While I tend to agree for the most point it seems to me that many groups including some of the groups I have worked with here have managers who are on one end of the controlling/micromanaging spectrum.

3.)Job-sharing and regular rotation would be encouraged as necessary measure for maintaining organizational health.

4.) Projects/Goals are assessed correctly</em>-
Project Goals are determined using the following basis:
-The overall return on investment (time, $, man(woman) hours).
-What good does the project do for the company/community?
-Are these goals realistic? Are more heads needed to achieve them?


5.) All cultural groups are respected and considered for positions.

6.) Employees get the tools they need to do their jobs. (Training, software, equipment, etc.)

I think that I've written this manifesto here mainly in response to what I've seen and experienced in working for this organization.


Food ala textures

I decided today, as i finished my portion of khir (Indian rice pudding) at Swaggath today that it wouldn't matter if I lost my taste buds when I am old and infirm. It wouldn't matter much because I adore many foods because of the texture. The khir that was part of today's lunch menu had tiny tapioca balls and little noodles. Though that may sound rather unappealing to many westerners, there's something to be said about having varied textures in your foods. Here's a list of some of my favorite foods that i enjoy for their curious textures as well as their taste:

  • Farfalle (bow-tie pasta)

  • Fresh figs

  • Caviar or roe (especially tobiko or flying fish roe)

  • Tapioca

  • Shredded filo dough (with rose syrup and pistachios)

  • Udon (big fat japanese noodles)

  • Hargow (dim sum shrimp dumplings)


The list goes on.

But for now, I've included my version of khir below.

* 1 gallon whole or 2% milk
* 1 cup uncooked basmati or other long-grained white rice
* 2 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped unsalted blanched almonds
* 8-10 cardomom pods whole
* 1 tsp (5 ml) rose water
* 1/4 cup (60 ml) pistachios, chopped fine

Bring the milk to a boil over high heat in a 5 to 6 quart (5-6 L) saucepan, stirring constantly to prevent a skin from forming on top. Reduce the heat to moderate and continue to boil for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook an additional 40 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rice has almost disintegrated. Add the sugar and finely chopped almonds and stir for 30 minutes over low heat until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon heavily. Remove from the heat, add the cardamom and optional rose water, and pour into a 7 by 12 inch (20x30 cm) baking dish, spreading it with a spatula so the top is smooth. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and refrigerate for at least four hours, until it is thoroughly chilled and somewhat firm to the touch.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Are you bored?

Do you know about that game "Sims?" It's a cute little electronic doll house game you can play on your average pc.

Here's a cool experiment and craftsy thing to do in your spare time in the vitriol reality world. All the talk on the 'scene' about reality television reminded me of this.

Homemade "Real Whorl"
1.)Pick the maxiumum number of people who can go in a house (I think the number is eight).

2.)Model each of the characters from people you've encountered in your life... that you can't stand. Make sure that at least one of them is a disgustingly sloven sloth and another is a super neurotic and controlling freak (male or female does not matter for either character).
3.)Create the smallest house possible and fit it with the following features:
- 1 toilet
- 2 beds
- 1 microwave
- 1 sink
- a few odd pieces of furniture.
- minimal lighting
4.)You cannot include the following items:
- a television
- a radio
- a bath or shower
- a bookshelf.
5.) Let the game run and check it in a few hours.

Of course there are countless variations you can try. I know, I'm awful. I shared this trick in a web/tech usage course I took one summer and I got a few exasperated sighs from some of the people in the class. One of them was from my place of work.

Lesson of the day: Learn how to play with others (from different countries)

I'm starting to wonder if it's not my job, but the context in which I work. I mean I don't hate my job, but the systems i work in and how the people respond to the system or me. Or maybe it's just how I see things. (Though I still think that they squeeze our little wills of every blessed drop around here).

I had to work with some folks on the other side of the planet, and I've been finding it difficult to communicate and gather information. I did some reading on inter-cultural communication and I learned a number of things about working with folks in SE Asia:

1.)Involve intermediaries, and get formal introductions. I had to reference my relationships with others in the group that my target audience was already familiar with and actually invite them into the conversation. This work out well, as my e-mails were suddenly noticed and responded to.

2.) Understand that there is a pecking order. Normally when I speak with someone I try to introduce myself and explain what I do and then what I want. This is how we're trained to work here, be concise (don't worry if people don't think it's not nice). And normally, I wouldn't think about copying someone's supervisor on an e-mail. I, as a western-raised individual, would see this as an insulting and micromanaging move. However, I think that in this case it may have worked because I explained the situation and how I was willing to assist and provide information if it was necessary. Also, I did try to make it clear that I wanted to get something done. It's a hard balance trying to influence without seeming pushy.

3.) Keep it short. I really did make an effort to make everything clear and concise in my e-mails as well as methodically setting up procedures.

4.) Ask questions and listen carefully. In a phone conversation I restated some of the questions I had in the e-mail. I did stop and let the person answer. I did restrain from making comments or redirecting, but I did instead 'share' my knowledge.

5.) Understand that you are working with a high-context culture. Less talk more background. In communicating the procedure I was setting up with the folks in SE Asia I made sure that I explained the consequences of improper set up (without being a neurotic freak... it helps to do this calmly and methodically) as well as some of our 'good known' methods.

I walked away from all of this feeling much better and collected... and actually quite proud of myself. By the way, before getting frustrated when you have to work with others overseas. I would suggest doing some research on the culture and how to communicate effectively as a foreigner.

I took this 'intercultural' quiz once which placed me somewhere between a Swede and an Israeli (culturally)... I'm really not sure what this means... I'm an outspoken broad who enjoys a broad array of potato salads? Kind of strange that a little girl who was raised in an extremely high-context environment where you say or challenge little becomes a brassy sometimes irritating gadfly. You know I'm too old and too f'in tired to apologize for this behavior anymore.


Some notes about High-context/Low-context:

http://www2.soc.hawaii.edu/css/dept/com/resources/intercultural/Hall.html

Monday, May 17, 2004

Of all things...

Ayyee... I took the train in this morning to work, which was a liberating experience by the way. I don't make it a habit usually to check out the people on the train unless I have nothing to write/read or I'm really bored. I did notice that there was this guy ahead of me who kept on looking back at me. I didn't make eye-contact I just kept on writing. On his way out the train he stopped near my seat and asked me... "Is your name, Imogene?"
I instantly recognized him as this guy I had an encounter with last year. Maybe I'll go into the embarrassing details of how I ended up in a fling with the SmarChucks counterboy later when I have the time. For obvious reasons, let's call him Joe.
"Hi, Joe. How are you doing?"

Now Joe is nearly ten years younger than I. The brief entanglement with him lasted about three weeks. Essentially, I ended up breaking up with him because he was terribly clingly... almost in a creepy way. While other women my age may take advantage of a twenty something guy fawning all over them. It was just a little unappealing to me for a number of reasons. In Joe's case it really creeped me out that he was taking too much of an interest in getting to know my friends or hanging out in my social scene...immediately.

"Uh, do you usually take the train at this time?" I asked wanting to note when I should take the train in the future.
Before he got of the train he smiled at me with creepy, spacy sort of grin and noted that I should come and visit him for some coffee?! Shit, I wish I had said I was married with twins on the way.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Buttermilk Pie

I haven't made this in quite sometime, but I think I'll take another shot at it today. I was not aware of the origins of "chess pie" until today.

http://southernfood.about.com/library/rec00/bl00510h.htm

Saturday, May 15, 2004

e-text and the bubble-girl

Yesterday, J. and I were looking up something on the internet. He asked me if I finally set up my printer and if it was working. I confirmed this, but then added, "I'm not really into printing stuff out anymore, I'd rather read it electronically." I then realized that I'd made a big jump from that world where tactile contact with words and paper was necessary into the world of e. To the chagrin of most friends of the eocology, even up to two to three years ago, I would print out whatever I received or read on the internet. In true Imogene fashion, I did discovered that again, my laziness required me to adapt and evolve to the whims of technology. I found that the more I printed things out, the more crap I had to throw away. I was becoming somewhat neat and organized, not because of some neurotic urge to keep my hands busy, but because I didn't want to expend my extra energy organizing to clean.

This whole e-world of blog is such a strange place. People are blogging like crazy. As I sift through the lists of blog titles I think wonder, "Does my blog title sound that inane?", "Does it matter?" or "Is it all about blathering, confessing, rambling?". I read other people blogs and see that they are just trying to make some sense of reality (just like me?). Actually, I set up this blog just so I could bitch, didn't you know?

Maybe all this blogging is countering the brain-crack distributed through the t.v., the traditional culprit of all of our society's ills. Though I think in some sense the blog is there to re-affirm our ego or even declare who we are, whether or not we support the war or what sort of movies, books, and videogames we buy. We may publish our words in 'public' and some of us may even hope that someone else is reading our thoughts as we relate them here. But keeping a journal of any sort is just a way to keep an inventory of ourselves.

Blogging has become a way of searching out others who may be like ourselves... or at least like-minded. Though I can't help but read the thoughts of a 'video game junkie' (for about three seconds), or take a peek at the 'underbunny,' I'm still out there like countless others searching for people who are, well, sort of like me. Maybe there's too much of a radical sociologist in me, but I can't help but hope that this is our response as 'social' human beings to a world where we're often isolated in bubbles: bubble of the home, bubble of myself, bubble of the cube. I want to pop all those bubbles... maybe others do too.

Nazook?

I stopped by a Middle-eastern Grocery last night next to the Lebanese restaurant to purchase some Turkish delight, and found this amazing pastry... Nazook! From what I can find on-line, it appears that Nazook is an Armenian pastry. From what I've eaten so far... they are a strudel-like exterior with a soft doughy filling. I'm guessing that this filling is high in dairy (butter and sour-cream), but what delight with strong black coffee.

Nazook or Choreg (an Armenian Sweet Pastry)
http://atlanticville.gmnews.com/News/2001/1115/Front_Page/028.html

And I finally found a recipe (here):

CHOREG (Armenian Sweet Roll)

7 cups flour

2 to 3 teaspoons salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon mahleb (see note)

1-1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup sugar

2 packages rapid-rise yeast

1/2 cup warm water

4 large eggs

Sesame and black seeds for garnish

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and mahleb.

In a medium saucepan, heat milk until hot. Add butter, shortening and sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add a bit of sugar to activate the yeast. The mixture should become foamy.

Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the eggs and the milk mixture to the flour. Pour in the activated yeast. Stir to blend well.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should be slightly sticky, not dry.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Pat top of dough with a bit of oil to prevent sticking to aluminum foil. Cover the bowl with foil and then a dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Break off a small amount of dough and shape into pretzels or braids.

Put rolls on a baking sheet and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or nigella (black seeds, see note). Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: Mahleb is a spice made from ground cherry pits. Sev gundeegs are tiny black seeds that have a faint anise flavor.

Both are available in grocery stores that sell Middle Eastern or Greek foods.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Late night with mental office girl

Excuse me but I've just had a triple latte, I've just finished f'ing with our purchasing' dept.'s shitty webtool... how can you take SAP applications and f' them up? Give them to purchasing.

My dear friend bought me the Bad Girls calendar for Christmas and while I do appreciate some of the humor and I did receive a few good suggestions for sick-day excuses (i.e. My toilet is backed up and it's flooded my aparment, I had some bad oysters last night, my car was towed and I don't know why?!) I do run across some ridiculous advice. For example 4/27 gave a tip on how to give a good interview.

Basically it's suggested that you approach the job interview like a late-night talk show appearance.

First, I think this technique would seriously freak out most of the managers in this organization... as they aren't too keen on extroverted behavior here. Also, that flirty-flirt action you see going on with Hollywood starlets and the late-night hosts... that wouldn't fly here either. I could flash my bra at these people and they wouldn't have a clue how to react. I mean they can't even respond to you (make eye contact and a verbal utterance) when you try to ask them (nicely) what floor they'd like to go to on the elevator. "Look, you spineless jackass, I didn't ask you to marry me. I asked you what floor you wanted to go to!"

There are days when I wish I had a giant can of Raid.

A few late-night appearances I would not like to emulate during an interview:

- Sandra Berhardt on Letterman
- Harvey Pekar on Letterman
- I can't come up with any more because I actually don't enjoy watching most late-night shows... maybe Conan if I'm in the mood.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Wax-on Wax-off

So I just had a television moment... (this is my way of having epiphanies, as a post-mod t.v. baby). Remember when Bart Simpson was shipped away on an exchange program to France (this episode was from years and years ago). Poor little Bart was sent to the French country-side to live with a slave-driving French family who forced him to live in misery and taunted him for his inability to converse in French. After weeks of abuse (in French), Simpson awoke one morning and finally realized that he could retort back in French, fluidly and effortlessly.

This is how I felt today after successfully completing my second animation in flash... with action scripting... See.. I told you I could program!!!... sort off.

I'll tell you one thing though. I would not have been able to successfully learn how to complete these items if I had had to follow the rigid scheduling and forced myself to learn in 'record' time. I had to force my time and make sacrifices of other items in my repertoire of things to do. I put my to do list on hold. I am fairly sick of being expected to effectively learn how to do complex tasks and skills which require some time to absorb and even experimentation to apply. Despite all of this, I was able to learn without too many impediments just lack of time. And I didn't have some irritating French people yelling at me along the way.

Kiss my brown ass .

Ooops... my dayplanner finally showed up. Someone brought it to my cube. He seemed pretty puzzled... I wonder if he or anyone else had read it because it actually took several weeks to get back to me...I'd nearly filled it out anyway before I lost it... I wonder if they read the doodle that I wrote in the quarterly meeting.

I'm tired of people telling me that things are a waste of time.

I'm tired of working with squares.

I'm tired of people using only concrete decisions and not making proper use of their intuition.


or from my written dialogue with a co-worker...

Most of the men in this building could qualify as contestants for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.


Ooops... can I get fired for insulting people in the privacy of my planner? well, I didn't give away any company secrets.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Skills: Operated Pitney Bones machine

Jeezus... could not stop laughing at this... I think I pulled a muscle, just trying not to make too much noise in my cube... my god, that made me feel so much better:

http://rinkworks.com/said/resume.shtml

Here are some of my favorites... (things people have written in resumes)

• "I worked as a Corporate Lesion."
• "Served as assistant sore manager."
• "Objective: To have my skills and ethics challenged on a daily basis."
• "I can play well with others."
• "Special skills: I've got a Ph.D. in human feelings."
• "My contributions on product launches were based on dreams that I had."
• "Reason for leaving last job: Pushed aside so the vice president's girlfriend could steal my job."
• "I am the king of accounts payable reconciliation."
• "Work history: Bum. Abandoned belongings and led nomadic lifestyle."
• "I like slipping and sliding around behind the counter and controlling the temperature of the food."
• "Reason for leaving last job: The owner gave new meaning to the word 'paranoia.' I prefer to elaborate privately."
• "My ruthlessness terrorized the competition and can sometimes offend."
• "Special Skills: Speak English."
• "Work Experience: Dealing with customers' conflicts that arouse."
• "Fortunately because of stress, worked in the cardiac intensive-care ward."
• "Typing Speed: 756 wpm."
• "Objectives: 10-year goal: Total obliteration of sales and federal income taxes and tax laws."
• "Exposure to German for two years, but many words are inappropriate for business."
• "Frequent Lecturer: Largest Audience: 1,351. Standing Ovations: 5. Number of Audience Questions: 30."
• "Accomplishments: Completed 11 years of high school."
• "Personal Goal: To hand-build a classic cottage from the ground up using my father-in-law."


For real... if you want some sane advice in how to write a good cover letter check out this link... which had some really good advice :http://www.accepted.com/resume/coverletterclues.aspx

1000 Acre Woodies

I have a good friend who feels that the character roster from Winnie the Pooh basically covers the gamut of personalities whom you will meet in your life. If you want a good story with a cast of characters that works you should include one of each of the following:

Tigger - peppy individual who has adult ADD, in your face type, individual who is always getting into trouble.
Eeeyore - sullen depressive individual whose mutterings like those of most cynics usually hit the nail on the head
Pooh- dumb, yet loveable protagonist who is the glue that holds everyone in the circle together
Owl- The smarty pants who stays aloof through everyone’s misadventures (though as far as I’m concerned the story could go on with out him, because who the hell needs a smarty pants around to tell you what you did wrong).
Rabbit- the neurotic busy-body who acts as the comic relief, to his or her chagrin (sometimes the gay character… now don’t get pissed at me for saying this, but it’s true: C-3PO from Star Wars, that guy from Will and Grace… not that I watch the show or anything)
Piglet – the annoying child-actor
Kanga- The mother-figure
Christopher Robin – you can fill in the blanks for him, personally I thought he was the most uninteresting of the cast and I could care less what happened to him.

Am I missing anyone?

Though… how does this explain.. Friends?!

Brian, you should like which ever character suits you. Of all the characters from AA Milne’s classic children’s story, I too could relate to Eeyore the most. I sort of like his thoughtful sullen behavior lightly peppered with cynicism. Those people who like the other characters? I'm not sure I can relate to them. I'm sure you've all known someone who decided that they identified with Tigger because he was the cool/daredevil character, who if he was a young man in his early twenties would probably be a boarder of some sort who ends up on a t.v. show like Jackass. I met a girl one time who decided to have the character tattooed on her calf... now how will she explain this to the orderly who's bathing her in the home?

What?! I guess I was asleep

But they got rid of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland!? This is old news I know! But Jeezus!?!... and they replaced it with Winnie the Pooh/1000 Acre Woods. I don't know about you, but those stories made me feel sort of sick inside in a creepy way, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because the neurotic rabbit character reminds me of the teachers I couldn't stand when I was in school or,now rabbit is just like too many of the people that work at this company ... and the story centers around a FAT dumb bear who can't make it out of his hole because he ate too much... jeezus, this is might make a perfect parody to what it's like to work here. Vinnie the Schmoo (blob) and the 1000 cubicle maze.

About Mr. Toad, what can you expect from a company that gives birth to mega-ho starlets from test-tubes. We've built the perfect pop-star... she will make 9-13 year olds shed their cash on slutty outfits and sparkly lip gloss like there was no end.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Evil Empire?

Last night I dreamt that I was working as a teacher in some old dilapidated school building. My students had just been released for recess and I was working on setting up for the afternoon lessons. The principal and some ‘district official’ had come to the classroom to inform me that I was being fired for leaking information about the school to the general public. I don’t think I felt anything other than mild annoyance and perhaps the fear that I would not be able to find work in the outside world.

Of course, all of this must have been highly influenced by my sentiments toward work. I might even have entertained the fear that I could be fired for writing in my blog. I write here because I feel like I don’t get little mental or creative recompense at my job. Even the building represented in my dream was old and dilapidated. The systems and bureaucracy that influence this group I work with in have begun to resemble the ineffectual and sluggish nature of the public schools. Perhaps I’ve discovered that I don’t like working in organizations where change is hard to push or near impossible.

I’m very aware, mind you, of the mentality that persists here… that one should be benefit from the rocky and parched soil of this working environment, and that only the paranoid survive. Somehow I believe that there IS life after the protestant work ethic. We can live past this Calvinist mentality that we can only work within the confines of the existence pre-determined by ranking groups, grade levels, and corrective action plans or that we’re doomed to working for the MAN because there are few or no other alternatives because jobs are not as plentiful as the government would like us to believe.

Personally, I can’t survive living in this environment governed by paranoia and fear, plus I don’t think it will serve this company well in the long run either. I wonder what sort of fresh hell the people at S-mart (remember I'm not using the 'real' names of companies in this blog) have to go through. Perhaps I’m just a spoiled (aging) gen-x brat stuck on the notion that we need to have and can still work in systems that work, and that management needs to listen to the people at the bottom. Maybe I’m just as wiley as Scott Evil, as his father asserts… that his son is astute in suspecting that his father is actually out to kill him… Similarly, I could be just as astute or correct in suspecting that the upper management doesn’t really even want to pay attention to the gripes of the employees below them because they’re planning to get rid of them in the long run.

We should not believe what we hear so readily when the media announces that more new jobs were released in the last quarter. As some just pointed out to me... we need to consider what kinds of jobs these are: http://www.vdare.com/roberts/no_good_news.htm

I am getting a little weary of all this bad news. Part of me wants to believe that there's hope despite the bleak outlook that many have about the economy. Part of me would like to feel that people in this country can have a little more faith that American innovation can prevail through these hard times. Though there's something that's paining me a little, and that's that we're not as educated as we once were at the beginning of this century... we are technologically skilled, but we don't have an education. No, the prevailing sentiment towards education is that if you can't find a practical use for knowledge, there's no point in learning it.

This sounds like an argument that every middle school student made when they were introduced to Algebra. The problem with this assumption is that at that point you have not experienced any of the situations that might render the knowledge of algebra useful. I think of the countless times I've used proportional equations at work and even in every day life. I wouldn't have been able to make that last recipe for potato pancakes if I couldn't reduce the ingredients using the proper math. I wouldn't have been able to project how much more I'd be paying on my loan if I accepted an ARM at a lower index rate. I could go on and on with the examples.

But what I'm more worried about is that businesses and employers and future employees including those who will apply for management positions. They don't see the need for getting an education where you are learning from traditional texts/and queries, that we find in literature and philosophy, even art. Now, I'm going to start spewing some junk here that sounds like an advertisment for public television, but when read poetry, we listen to music, we look at art we are challenged to think about the possibilities that lie in our imaginations. Often in the business world, assume that imagination and creativity are things only for people who use a pen, typwriter, paintbrush, or clay. We forget that some of the most innovative solutions come from the metaphors and comparisons we make or even from simply asking what would happen if? And if we are over-worked and only focused on finding solutions to bring about efficiency and productivity we close our minds to other avenues and possibilities.

Part of me which sees the evidence of lack of training and preparation of our supposedly educated class realizes that we're really poorly prepared in dealing with the extreme change that lies a head. Though I don't consider myself much of a scholar, I was raised to love and respect the past as it is recorded in history. And even as I was educated to be wary of the accuracy of recorded history, I was brought up to understand that we can better understand where we stand today by looking at the experiences of those before us.

In my historical eye, I turn to the pages of the Depression of the 1920's in North America. Prior to time America experienced some post-war prosperity and the world was just recovering from the Influenza Pandemic in which 20-40 million people had died from the disease. When the depression rolled around, many of the people who would have been involved in business ventures prior to the Crash became teachers, some became involved in the government reform that stemmed from the New Deal. I'm not saying that this is what lies ahead. Obviously we can only look back and the past and not re-create it.


What they should teach you in college is...

How to think?!

Because obviously the public school system and your parents are failing when it comes to this task.

I am very tired of seeing managers/employers complaining that recent college graduates don't have enough practical on-the-job training/experience. Or their skills are not specific enough to the tasks involved. More, I'm tired of hearing college students and employers being erroneously informed that four year degrees or liberal arts education programs are useless when it comes to training a work=force. (see this student's note: http://www.pbs.org/weblab/workingstiff/speakup/messages/857.html).This may be true of some jobs, but not all. I've seen too many people who have risen to the rank of manager who have plenty of good tech-skills but seriously are lacking in the critical skills/and influencing people departments.

Though there's something deep behind the surface of this whole debate over the usefulness of a liberal arts degree. There's something more that drives this notion that to be marketable in a working environment we must have come out of the soft, spongy womb of the academic world (college) with skills not knowledge or even the 'power to learn.' I believe that it's tied with some funny notion about time to profit.

Maybe I'm tired of hearing people say that knowing how to write and interpret (soft information)is not important to one's work. Maybe I shouldn't be working in an engineering industry then.

Have all jobs on the market evolved to the point where you must be able to understand office applications or networking/hardware as soon as you come out of the womb? Or are people just following hard coding/numbers/ and what's tangible instead of using their intuition or looking at a bigger picture. It's this sort of micro-vision that's been paining me lately about working here.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Loretta Lynn's Ode to Portland

I was just having a brief discusion on Maktaaq's site about Loretta Lynn (goddess...sorry, I have to add). She and Jack White (of White Stripes fame) have collaborated on a project which included a song called Portland, OR. The Oregonian (that fine well-written publication put out in our town) chided Ms. Lynn for painting an unsavory picture of PDX. Why she didn't even mention our greenery or the rose gardens! they proclaimed.

Well, I've got some proof (and I have many other stories of events witnessed in the past) that there is veracity to the depiction in Ms. Lynn's song. Portland is not only a town of two-bit gin joints and one night stands... it's a place (like many other cities) where the you will find many a waitstaff high on cocaine or people shooting junk in the bathroom of some afterhours joint. There are beautiful Rose Gardens but there are also homeless who may sleep on the park benches. I only want to remind these ridiculous and uptight dipshits (at the Oregonian and others with like complaints) that they live in a city, and every city has it's seedy underside. Urban life in America has both and attractive and an ugly side. We can learn and benefit from both. We can try to make things better, but for crying out loud we can't ignore one over the other.

Hungry after 11:00 PM on Thursday night we ended up at the Montage on 'Produce Row.' J. spent at least 20 minutes waiting for the bathroom. A line started to pile up behind him. The restroom's occupants seemed crowded and there was a constant and hurried scuffling behind the door. Finally, J pounded on the door and yelled, "Hey, -----, quit shooting up in there!"

Mothers Day Brunch

Today's only oops was that I got up a little late and was a bit behind with the food prep. The menu pretty much followed as described in my earlier post, but I had to skip the biscuits. Thank goodness I'd purchased a tea cake just in case. Also, I had to make a few substiutions to the sausage but everything came out well. Didn't have the fresh parsley for the sausage so I made do with some extra herbes de Provence I found lying around the house. The result was a slightly spicy, very savory and extremely tasty sausage. By the way, you can purchase herbes de Provence at most spice sections in the grocery or gourmet store or you can make it yourself (see here). I keep a small jar of the stuff around just because sometimes I'm bored and don't want to think about how I'm going to flavor a chicken breast or a pork chop.

Imogene's Healthy Sausage Patties (This came from scrambling and making up a recipe on the fly - I was actually going to make the version from Great Good Food by Julie Rosso)
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1 medium yellow onion chopped
4 cloves of garllic
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
3 tbsp. herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground all spice
1/4 tsp. white pepper
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Mix all above ingredients well in a large bowl and fry in a skillet lightly greased with canola oil. Cook each patty over medium high heat 4-5 minutes each side. Yum!

Sweet Potato Latkes (Pancakes) (feeds 4 comfortably)
2 large sweet potatoes
1/4 c. butter
1 c. fresh bread crumbs
4 Eggs
1/4 c. milk
1 large Vidallia (or other sweet onion) chopped
Salt and Pepper

Cook the onion in a skillet with some butter on medium high heat until the onion is carmelized. Set aside. Peel the potatoes then grate each potatoe with a potatoe peeler or shredder. Fry one half of the potato shreds in a skillet with as much butter as needed. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan while cooking. This will help speed up the process. Repeat this process with the other half of the potato. In a large cooking bowl combine the potatoe with the bread crumbs, milk, carmelized onion and four eggs. Mix well and fry over medium high heat in a generously buttered pan.

Serve with apple compote/sauce, extra carmelized onions, and some sour cream.



Saturday, May 08, 2004

Here's a tip for you when you're packing

Boxes... not heat.

Leave the packing tape dispenser in the same spot after using it. I must have lost the damn thing three times today. Duh.

I had to pack my books away, but there were a few that I decided to leave out:
1.) Lapsing into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That can Go Wrong in Print - and How to Avoid them - Bill Walsh
2.) Tom Jackson's Power Letter Express
3.) Famous Voodo Rituals and Spells - H.U. Lampe
4.) Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy - Jay Sankey
5.) Illuminations - Arthur Rimbaud
6.) King Lear

I have a few aimless moments on my hands, or at least I aiming to have them because I've decided that I can't live without moments that I save just for myself. So why not read.

Books I decided to toss:
1.) Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - (Shit, now they will probably advertise Covey Crap in the banner)
2.) Practically Married (I won't mention the author and don't ask why I have this).
3.) Java 2
4.) Building Applications with MS Outlook
5.) Martha Stewart's Just Desserts

I still am struggling with writing the perfect cover letter and though. I'm always a bit worried that when I really want a job I might write it in the sense that I sound over-eager, but then on the other hand isn't that near what they want.

I think I made a fox passe in the last letter I sent out because I was complimenting the work done by the company or their product line. I guess the 'bottom line' is that I don't yet know how to effectively give compliments without sounding like a complete dunkus. I really don't know how to speak corporate business speak that well; perhaps that's why I'm still an over-glorified secretary.

Too, I have this problem with imagining the words coming out of my mouth:

I believe the qualities you seek in a hum-ho-ho-diddy closely match the ones I've developed in my role as a ding-ding-doo-dah with one of the most prestigeous companies in the ya-ya-ya-mo industry.

A friend of mine asked me if I got some power by wriiting totally outrageous letters or resumes. I admitted I did, as in the example of my dumbed down resume which was inspired by "F that job.com." I really can't take this job hunt thing too seriously, because I'll tell you that every job I ever got happened when I was really relaxed and just being myself. I've had a history of loosing only two and that happened when I was really trying to impress someone. Now, I don't want to release this fallacious idea that you can succeed in life by being a half-ass, but the moral of the story here is that good things happen to those who work hard to their own beat.

And voodoo...(though I don't mean to be down on any one's religion) it seems to me that my adolescent pre-occupation with the stuff stemmed from the my attraction to exotica as a powerful draw to others that and I was just curious. As I was flipping through the pages of this booklet, I realized that much of the power that comes from this stuff came from the idea that you could fix your fate as you would a cup of tea or a batch of cookies. (I bought this book my Freshman year of college). If you read Mak's entry you can find out how long ago this was. Though I did read once that 'goofer dust' or the dust from graveyards could cause grave illness and for a reason, you know, dirt near graves picks up any sort of nastiness from the people buried there obviously... would you like some typhus with your tea?

Five people who inspire me...

Not in any particular order:

-Mel Brooks
-Gilda Radner
-Lenny Bruce
-My Mother
-Duke Ellington

(I must add my father... because he reminds me of the Asian version of James Garner in the Rockford Files)

Five things I still want to do (that I can list here):
-Write a sit-com pilot
-Visit Bali
-Run a diner
-Finish reading the Brothers Karamazov
-Watch the entire series McMillan and Wife from start to end




Saturday

Running some errands this morning, I walked to the Freddies nearby to pick up some packing tape and the ingredients for tomorrow's brunch. The mangoes were not so hot, so I had to make some substitutions with the fruit salad skewers, kiwi's bananas, apples and tangerines (I'll roll each skewer in a mixture of sugar, toasted and ground sesame seeds, and coconut).

Unfortunately my mother will not be here for Sunday as she's had to fly to Tahoe to visit my auntie who has fallen very ill. It was a bit hard watching my mother as I dropped her off at the airport because I knew she was worried for auntie as she had just lost her job as a hotel maid and had no money for the hospital bills. Perhaps too, she was reminded of her own mortality as she mused out loud about the legacy of health issues prevalent in her family. It has always seemed to me that her's was the happier side though they tend to be more short-lived that my father's relatives. I developed this belief that cranky/ornery/and worry was what kept the elders in my father family ticking. They would worry about everything from money to social appearance. If this is what it costs to grow old, I would trade in for a shorter and happier existence.
This aunt of mine has had a very hard life and through it all she has never lost her her sense of of kindness, compassion and understanding. She and my mother are extremely close and she is one of the few remaining of my mother's seven siblings.

As I was leaving the store, the rain started coming down pretty hard. Bad weather sometimes offers us opportunities to do the things we never get to do but always want to. I sheltered in the coffeshop and bought a Saturday times and read it front to back. Kerry looked rather Lurch-like, but I'm voting for him anyway. I wonder how many pictures have been taken of George with is mouth ajar... the one featured in the Times today is no exception from the monkeyed expressions he usually offers the press. Olsen twins and Eugene Levy in a film together? Unless they grow mermaid fins and swim away into China's chemically impregnated waters, I'm going to pass on this one. Brad Pitt's, Achilles is... heterosexual?? Hello... what happened to good old faithful and loyal Patrcolus? I did want to see this movie because I'm a fan of Illiad lore (yes, say it because I know I'm a... GEEK!) Friends is over and I'm celebrating! Hurray! Hurray and boombah! And their ratings still didn't surpass the last episode of MASH.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Driving Home

On the ride home the sky hung above me slate and brooding. I turned the radio to the classical station and found the last movement to that violin concerto (by Mendelssohn, I think) playing. I remember this piece from the final scene of that espionage movie with Natasjia Kinski and Rudolf Nureyev. Nureyev played the last movement in the scene preceding his bloody demise. His character was a terrorist violin player, as odd as that sounds. I really don't understand why authors of espionage-thrillers from the late 70's and early 80's always had to tie in terrorist spies with some sort of high-culture and the art world. Compare this with the terrorists of today. Go figure.

The Mendelssohn piece (if it really is Mendelssohn. If someone could actually correct me, I would be grateful) has always played a strong chord in me. This last movement struck me as a defiant and spirited dialogue, even the ending note smacks of "take that!" or "so there!" To hear this being played on the way home brought me relief from these hopeless doldroms that I experience from over-exposure to work that drains my spirit.

I've been thinking lately that we often overlook the importance of knowing what gives us strength, what drives us. Though I've just admitted to someone recently that we cannot avoid the influences around us when it comes to the power of or strength and will. Often we look towards the external, to others, or greater beings to give us purpose and drive, and we fail to see that we do hold some responsibility for having a will to do things. This has been one of my faults lately. I would allow myself to become convinced that I couldn't get past my job, former relationship, my situation, my credit report, my sketchy past.

I will note, that I don't think I would have ever been able to move past some of the darker moments in my life without the love of my friends, my family, any who were close to me.

Taking the right path

I felt rather damp and leaden today. I'm thinking that it was the constant grey drip that prevailed in the world outside the conference/classroom window today. Drip... huh? Maybe this whole place is riddled with venereal disease.

I sat there counting Powerpoint slides and recording the times for each. I had spent a few hours setting up the documents and illustrations/slides for this class and then found out that my efforts were futile because someone had made a mistake in the content. At least I didn't have to re-do the whole thing over again. They ate their mistake.

At one point during a class, a man/student asked me if he could leave in the middle of a class. I said that this was fine, but that he would have to wait for the instructor to take a break. I asked him if he knew that the class was being video-taped, and he said to me, "...and this is supposed to affect me in what way?" The tenor of his voice betrayed irritation.

To make things worse, when my supervisor introduced us all to the class she got my title wrong. I suppose that being called a specialist is better than being a coordinator, but to tell the truth all of these titles basically suggest that your role is purely administrative.

Other things went wrong today, other little piddly detail-oriented things which I could have had more control over if I had the time. I sat in the back of the room, feeling drained and hopeless, and for the first time in a long time I felt myself wanting to just let it out and start tearing up. I felt a malestorm of emotion welling up behind my my pale facade. The worst part of all of this for me, is... I don't like displaying feelings like this in front of people I hardly know, especially the people that work in this place, but in true 'company' fashion I kept my emotions in check and just resigned myself to doing my duties.

Mak sent me a quote today that gave me a great deal of hope... a turkish proverb. I read it over a few times through out the course of the day to help me keep my head.

It's better to go back and take the right road than to continue following the wrong road.

I'm going to add to my Litany (from 4/21)

I want to get out of here...
I want to get out of here...
I want to get out of here...

I don't want to feel like I restrained by the choices I have here.
I don't want to feel like my efforts are meaningless.
I don't want to be under-valued.
I want to use more of my skills and talents.
I want to feel like I'm making a difference in other's lives.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I figured the only way for me to truly purge my blog of the unmentionable ads that appear in the banner above is to return to writing more about food.

You know watch the people at work and I've been noticing myself lately, but people tend to shove food in their mouths when they're upset or bored. Food is the cheapest drug you can find (well maybe not the cheapest, but it's the most plentiful). You can eat and you can snack, but it still is important to do so wisely. It does sadden me and make me upset to see people shoving low-quality food in their mouths...and far too much of it. I know that eating for comfort is something that isn't just a female behavior. I've seen people in my own family gain weight because they ate to relieve their stress.

I found a recipe for baked tofu sticks recipe in one of the Moosewood cook books (the "New Classics"). It's a good healthy snack i've relied on a number of times.



I've learned something about myself in the past week or so, I'm not as outspoken and extroverted as I fancy myself to be. Maybe it's just because I work in an organization replete with people who would rather look at the wall or their shoes than look you in the face. I've seen people stumble and fall in the parking lot (and it's happened to me too) and two or three individuals will walk by the falling person without asking if they're okay. I've used the cockroach analogy to describe the motion and reactions I've seen in the hallways.

But I've found that I can be extremely non-confrontational and submissive. You might not think so after reading the earlier posts in this blog and for the most part, I'm known (at least at work) as a more outspoken, all right, loud person. I've caught myself apologizing for things that are beyond my control. Lately, it's been happening a lot more, because I feel pressed with the amount of work I have. Though you might argue that I'd have more time to work if I didn't write in this blog at all. My only answer to this, I that I feel empty at work most of the time. So no I will not apologize for writing here.

You look at people who make it in the corporate world, at least in our micro-universe at this company, and the people who make it (especially women) are the ones who can hide their feelings and who are very tacit about how they choose their words. Women and men who speak directly don't have too much of a place here, but after reading the definitions of Emotional Intelligence in people who are successful in business, it's clear that these people are better at assessing when they should speak and when they should hold their tongues.

One of the advantages of a company that houses it's employees in cubicles and doesn't offer a lounge area for it's employees are that employees are forced to socialize in the aisles. Their social activity is visible and audible to everyone including the managers and so basically you're forced to cut things short automatically because you know you're being heard. And this is fine, I suppose because you expect your employees to work hard.

I spoke earlier about La Perruque which is basically the poor or working man's revenge against his employers, by using company time and resources to their advantage. I've figured that the more people who are unhappy with their work situation. The more they will try to steal time back. Hence if they cannot fulfill the need to be social they will look for other avenues. I walk by a few people's desks and notice that they have "IM" or "Instant Messaging" devices on. I write periodically in this blog and check responses from others. This is social activity pure and simple.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Mass media pac-man

This post is a work in progress...

I heard that Tower Records is in trouble... which is a shame. I did appreciate the fact that they often featured local artists on their shelves... that and they had the best selection outside of those crap merry-go-round stores in the mall.

I've been reading this fab blog, infotechonomics... the author pretty much summed up my fears:

Media companies tended to be run by feisty entrepreneurs who were fiercely independent watchdogs of the public trust, purveyors of public taste, tabloids of public trends...they had to be, just to stay alive. Now they are not. They are run by bureaucracies, with more operating procedures and consultants telling them they cannot than innovative ideas for how they can, obligated to perform up to the expectations of their guidance and Wall Street's. Along the way, they became risk-averse, hits-driven PACman* players.

For the most part as a consumer I feel restricted by the tastes of the masses and corporations unslakable desire to quench their never-ending thirst (gee... I can't believe I said that... I just isolated myself from the rest of the population. This seems to be something that I"m doing well lately). i DON'T want to seem snide or rude, but I don't often want to be restricted to what that one sector of society wants. People would argue with me and say... you don't have to buy that crap, if you really want something 'different' go to Good Will or the garage sale down the street. I better get on the antique wagon soon to get the items I want, because it looks like the early 80's is next on the vintage tour (god, I hate fucking rainbows and turquoise). That's fine... but somehow it seems to me that we're loosing out the variety that we get from having more smaller businesses around. They might argue that large corporate chains automatically provide variety of choices because they can afford to stock variety. Though we all know that for the most part they are in for making large amounts of cash and the only way to do that is to aim at the larger groups.

I'm sure that there are still plenty of scouts sent out by companies... to the recesses of society, because every now and then mass-marketing hits a home-run with subculture. In a sense, I've always been fascinated with the ecology of consumerism.

Ran a search on google for mental office girl and I found an telling book(http://www.book.nu/0446531324)... Already from reading the reviews I can tell where I need to change. I need to take credit for my accomplishments as well as look for opportunities to get make new and better ones.

When I started writing this blog I had some really bad misconceptions about what it takes to be successful in business. I assumed that I had to be a certain way, fit into the mold of that perfect, perfect woman who wears crisp cornflower blue Ann Taylor shirts. This is someone who purchases her produce by what she will eat on each day (two plums on monday, one gala apple on tuesday, three apricots on wednesday...). I was reading the what is so funny blogger's post and he further illustrates what I'm taking about when he refers to his peppy Harry & David cubicle neighbor.

I was so sure that that was not what I was or wanted to become, but I had to respect that those women who made up that quintessential office girl were only being who they were- what they are. I should instead be happy with who I am (crazy office girl who grabs her produce with abandon) and realize that I can come to the table with many gifts/skills. Ultimately, I will be more content where I feel like I fit in... a smaller company, or some community or education-oriented business.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Hmmmm... I've been reading my blog and it seems to me that I'm just rehashing the same ideas over and over again. The theme of this blog obviously is I do not like my job... how unoriginal. Over the past few months. I've been dwelling on the idea that I cannot stay in the job, with all the lack it offers: lack of stimulation, lack of joy, lack of time, lack of social content with others I can relate to. I am not developing or learning any of the skills I want in this job. I'm not growing. I've run through many scenarios in my head of how I could cope with working here in the long term... and unless I've found a position where there's more opportunity to use my other talents, I would be holding myself back even longer. I would be driving myself further down into insanity. I've often thought that there's a fine line between simply living for work you don't like or enjoy and living in a sort of purgatory. Then there are moments where I feel, why can't you just take it like everyone else...

When I am faced with the prospect of continuing here, I become depressed. I have been trying to trick myself lately... into thinking that there are still many possibilities out there. More, I've been trying to convince myself that I can face the challenges of these possibilities. So many people around me are terribly skeptical of any further job possibilities in any industry. They worry for me.

But I cannot help but think that if I don't make a plan and make a break for it now, I will not have any more opportunities further down the line.

I am still at work

It's 9 PM and I'm still struggling with this version of Symantec Ghost 7.5 (we cannot use 8.0 because our IT department cannot cope with changing their processes) I just want to make a copy of an image I already have and use the CD-writer. However, I'm finding that I cannot execute ghost.exe on windows XP and must boot up in DOS... now this may seem like a stupid question, but how do you boot up a machine in DOS? I've tried changing my options at the beginning of the boot cycle to no avail... Like you care about all of this? I'm hoping against hope that I can search on google and find that some other fool has come up with the same connundrum. Isn't it strange that we can type a question in a box and sort of come up with the answer to it? Of course, just as with any query (be it regarding an abstract theory or hard facts) we must pick through the bones to find the meat... taking care not to ingest any rotten morsels.

Aye, someone help me!

Queen of Heaven

Speaking of pregnancy...

Do you ever wonder if that pre 1950 some mother of eleven who was expecting her twelfth child, ever sat in church and looked up at the statue of the Holy Mother and said to herself… Virgin birth my ass! She had it made having one kid. *

I wonder if Mary ever thought… Is that all? I don’t even think I had an orgasm.

I can imagine Mary speaking to god off-hand.

Uh, lord and savior… I really appreciate you picking me, I’m mean it’s quite an honor and all, but you see could you at least give me a little help and tell me how I"m going to explain this SHIT to my husband!

Of course if I believed in hell, I would probably be there right now.

It's not really right I suppose... making fun of Catholics because of all the stress the church must be under right now. In fact, I often think that they whole catholic schtick may be a little outdated or cliche. You don't hear to many bad jokes about Mormons.

*Supposedly some lesser know biblical sources claim that Jesus had brothers and sisters… meaning that Mary and Joseph did get it on… come on. Do you think that Joseph would have been… eh, my step-son is the son of god… so I think I can pass on the sex.. I mean I guess I can consider myself blessed.


Addendum...

More about the bads of the Church... I'm about as tired of hearing about the bad things that priests did as I am hearing about Michael Jackson's terrible exploits. More, I guess I'm a bit tired of the media ringing the dinner bell with every single tasty tid-bit that comes out. You know I'm not belittling the victims of the abuse and what they had to endure. I'm simply saying... that we all knew about this to some extent. It was not a big revelation... for years people have been accusing the Church and Michael Jackson of sexual abuse. It's not like it's all new news.(Well, you must admit the Catholic church sort of had a head start on Pop-tart king).

If anything good has come out of all of this (and with the progression of time and the changing of values) it's that we can actually talk about the abuse in public and that the victims can have a change to confront their attackers and begin to attempt to heal or even sue for the hurt that they endured. We often think that hearing about such horrible things is a terrible shock, and that our ears and minds were so unsullied to begin with, but to live in a world where you are so deaf and blind to the existance of all the unsightly horrors that exist in this world, to me, seems to be just as bad as knowing that they exist and doing nothing to stop them. Though in most cases we can do nothing. Why must we feel guilty if their is nothing we can do? Can we not just have compassion for the victims of any misfortune? Can we live our lives with enough consideration for the people around us, and be good citizens?

Saturday, May 01, 2004

The last straw?

Latest ads posted on this blog:

Chomsky
The band, the music New album coming Spring 2004

This pisses me off... though for a minute there I thought they were advertising on of Noam Chomsky's books along side the abhorrent duo's propoganda. I don't agree with everything Chomsky says but still it would be more than justly ironic for these two things to be posted next too each other.

Bush Cheney 2004 Gear
Bush 2004 Hats, Shirts, Magnets, Pins, Stickers
(Only if I get to stick those pins into the candidates themselves)... do you think some jack-ass in the cia is scanning blogs for people talking about doing un-holy things to bush and cheney. Oy, they must have their hands full!

Uhg... here's more... I've become an inadvertant bumper sticker for everything I disagree with. My only hope is that some fundy-winger is getting ads for porno and herpes meds on their blessed pages... For real, this is making me want to remove my blog from this vehicle.I believe that these 'others' have just as much right to speak or advertise whatever beliefs they have. Just not on my page.

Build a Stronger America
Support the RNC and the President's Compassionate Conservative agenda.

**Compassionate enough to send people to die in the Middle East? For a war motivated primarily by profiteers like boss cheney?
**Compassionate enough to turn their backs on upstanding gay citizens who only seek the right to be treated as the rest of us? Why anyone would want to actually get married though is beyond me.
**Compassionate and conservative? Who wrote this?!!!The only people who will believe that conservatives are compassionate are conservatives themselves... are the conservatives themselves. It may be a rallying point for them, but they're welcome to it.
**Compassionate to those many middle-class people who are loosing their jobs?
**Compassionate to those small business owners who have fallen victim to corporate giants such as Wal-mart?
**Compassionate to those businesses who must pay higher insurance fees (which exorbinant costs may threaten to drive them out of business) because of litigation spurred by large corporations and rich lobbies?
**Compassionate to the millions of people in this country who do not have health-care?

It's really funny how they assume that they can build a stronger America by stamping out what they believe to be deviant; unfortunately, they don't see that some of the ideas and innovations that our country is most known for come from people who were either seen as deviants or kicked out of their country because they were deviant in some way shape or form.


Don't get me wrong... I want a stronger America, but one where our basic freedoms are not compromised, and I don't have to hear these whiney jackasses complaining about how the fabric of their morality is disintegrating every day. In a sense when we complain about what we disagree with in these blogs the blogger is doing us a grave diservice by publicizing the very things we dispise. Why not advertise the things that we uphold. Normally people of like minds are going to read what we post... these ads that counter what we say and think may fall on deaf ears.

I feel like I need to cleanse this blog.. these pages...(hey, they're only words... I don't necessarily embrace all of these concepts whole-heartedly...not listed in any order of importance/priority or relation to each other!!!)

gay marriage; reproductive freedom;free-will; chains; whips; regulation of corporations; multi-cultural; joy of anal sex (not me); sexual ectasy; recycling; vasectomy; shoebox; obscenity; oral; minds; bi-sexuality; tubal ligation; boobs; ass; cock; pussy; pussy; profanity; IUD; cock-rings;KY jelly; Single women (independant); the pill; Mel Gibson is a psychopath and a meglomaniac addict; conservatives (fundamentalist christians) need more enemas; fuck; unmarried; paper-clip; bondage; hybrid cars; thought; power; dildoes galore; corporate tax; feminine hygiene; freedom of religion; concern for the environment; pocket pussy; enjoyment; atheism; abandon; hippopotamus; hedonism; bran; naked; boobs...boobies (mr. ashcroft)... big beautiful bouncy boobies!; national healthcare; ecology; condoms; consumer-power; crotchless panties; homosexuality; fork; kiss my ass; anti-marriage; nipple rings; non-stick spray; multiple partners; lust; depravity; sex-toys; orgies; buffet o' sex; black baby jesus; stick it to the man; fun; freedom; self-control; dinosaurs; abortions; small-business tax breaks; animal rights; glans; mixed racial marriages; bi-racial babies; freedom to choose; freedom to make one's own decisions; musical; deviant; happy; S & M; fellatio; respect for other cultures; anti-superstore meglo-chains; dental dams; support of one's country; lemur; separation of church and state; lube; fingering; People who shop at Bulk shops are doomed to have heart disease; sex; freedom of speech; clitoris; Jesus was black;
separation of church and state

Saturday's Breakfast- Stuffed French Toast

I know I haven't spent to much time lately on my culinary obsessions. I guess other obsessions have taken their place. This is a nice brunch treat and it amply feeds 4-6 hungry people. If you must you can substitute the half and half with low-fat milk and use skim ricotta cheese

7 eggs
2 c. of half & half
12 slices of challah bread
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp vanilla*
Cinnamon
1/2 c. pecans toasted and chopped

1 lb. ricotta cheese drained of any excess liquid
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 c. dried cherries chopped
1/4 c. raisins
1/2 a cinnamon stick
1/2 c. orange juice

Serve with real maple syrup

In a small non-stick pot simmer (low-heat) the raisins and cherries in the orange juice with the cinnamon stick. Watch closely to make sure that you don't get a sticky mess. You want to allow the dried fruit to soak up a good amount of the juice, so leave on the heat for about 20 minutes. Drain the juice and set these aside to cool. Reserve a two spoon fulls of the fruit to mix with the remaining nuts for a topping. When they've cooled add them to the ricotta cheese with 1/4 of the pecans and 1 tsp. of the vanilla. Combine well and refrigerate.

Beat the eggs well, add the milk and sugar and remaining vanilla. Pour into a rimmed plate and sprinkle ground cinnamon lightly on the surface of the liquid. Heat up a non-stick skillet and grease lightly with unsalted butter. Place your slices of bread on the plate two at a time. Allow the slices to soak up a generous amount of the liquid, but not too much. Turn over and make sure that they are soaked and coated evenly on both sides. Cook the slices on the skillet over medium heat until they are cooked on both sides. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Cut each slice in half and spread a generous amount of the cheese/fruit/nut filling. Place the other half on top to make a sandwich. Serve two sandwiches per guest with some nuts and re-constituted fruit on top. Make sure to put plenty of warm maple syrup on the table for your guests to enjoy. This dish tastes great with homemade turkey sausage patties and sliced apples.

*Use the best quality vanilla. Tahitian vanilla works well.

Some other tasty options for the dried fruit/cheese stuffing
*candied ginger bits
*candied orange
*dried mango or papaya
*bakers coconut
*almonds
*macadamia nuts