| zompist | brunching
4-13-01 - You've Got Emil
Our latest nod to movie henchmen, just a few days late.
Henchman of the Week: Emil Antonowsky
Featured In: RoboCop (1987)
Degree in: Economics
Demeanor: Damn cheerful
Preferred MS Office Assistant: The dancing paperclip
Termination: Mutated by toxic waste, then splattered and decapitated by boss's car. The usual.
Temporary Assignment: Tune in to this website every day, and what do you see? A lot of bitching and griping about temp jobs. But there are temps out there who like their jobs. Love them, even. They're positive, energetic, vocal, and they really seem to be enjoying themselves. Take Emil Antonowsky, for instance.
Emil is henching for Clarence Boddiker, crime lord of the futuristic dystopia that is Old Detroit. We first see Emil after he has participated in some sort of heist, driving the getaway truck while being tailed by a couple of pesky cops. Realizing he can't outrun the fuzz, Emil asks his boss for input, and Clarence tells him to slow down. Emil says, "What are you crazy, man?" and Clarence unleashes a stream of profanity and begins hitting and kicking him.
There's nothing too odd about this; we sort of get the impression that they have been working together for a while. Over time, a temp and his supervisor may develop sort of a conversational short-hand, in which not every thought needs to be spelled out. For instance, instead of Clarence saying "I am displeased by your suggestion that I may have lost my mind, and I would like you to trust my judgment in this matter," he simply kicks Emil in the arm.
Later, at their hideout, Emil can be heard explaining the gang's current business model to another henchman.
"Takes money to make money," Emil says wisely. "We steal money to buy coke, then sell the coke to make even more money. Capital investment, man."
"Yeah, but why bother to make it when we can just steal it?" the other henchman asks.
"No better way to steal money than free enterprise," Emil wryly points out.
It's nice to see henchmen conversing in such a manner, but sadly, a cop named Murphy interrupts, shooting Emil's partner, then threatening Emil by saying "Dead or alive, you're coming with me." Emil mulls over whether he'd rather be alive or dead, something all temps wrestle with on a daily basis, but the decision is made for him as more goons show up, disarming the Murphy (in more ways than one). The gang members laugh and pump the cop full of lead, Clarence puts a bullet in the cop's noggin, and a wonderful time is had by all. It's one of those impromptu parties that are always more enjoyable than planned affairs.
One night, Emil robs a gas station, taunting the clerk, who is a college student, by asking him if he could "outsmart a bullet." Again, he's quite cheery, until an awkward, big-butted robotic cop shows up, and threatens Emil with a familiar: "Dead or alive, you're coming with me."
"I know you," Emil says. "You're dead. We killed you! We killed you!"
He's both right and wrong, for this is RoboCop, a cyborg, metal on the outside, human on the inside (coincidentally, the same human, Murphy, that Emil and his pals pumped bullets into). Emil opens fire, then hops on his motorcycle and zooms off, pausing to set the gas station on fire with a cigarette butt. The slow-moving RoboCop fires a few shots into Emil's bike, sending the henchman careening out of control, into a parked car and then headfirst into the street.
Luckily, Emil's boss Clarence has a boss as well (the org chart for this film is pretty extensive), and a powerful one at that. Emil is released from prison to help hunt down and destroy RoboCop. Boddiker asks him how he enjoyed his stay in prison, and Emil replies "Not bad. They let me keep the shirt. Nobody popped my cherry."
(Kids, if you're reading this, he means no one hit him in the face while he was in jail. "Popped" means "hit", like to "pop" someone in the face. And "cherry" is, uh... what they call "face" in the future. Kay?)
Clarence arms his lackeys with high-powered weapons that fire explosive shells. After testing it out on a local convenience store, Emil declares:
"I LIKE IT!"
(You can hear him say this by clicking here, if I've done it correctly.)
For temps and henchmen alike, perks are few and far between. To witness Emil relishing his new toy with destructive, childlike glee is heartwarming. They head to the steel mill to take care of RoboCop, who gets the drop on them. Emil fires at him, but misses (Robocop is slightly harder to hit than a convenience store).
Emil, driving the van, attempts to run Robocop down, but slams into a vat of fast-acting toxic waste in the process. Hideously deformed, he seeks assistance from one of the other henchmen, but the fellow looks at him as if he were some kind of disfigured toxic freak, which he is. Emil staggers away, now seeking help from boss Clarence, but seeing as how Clarence is in a car traveling at around sixty miles per hour, Emil is simply splattered into goo all over the windshield.
Performance Review: Well, I'll say it again: it's nice to see a temp enjoying his job. It's hard to find a moment in the film where Emil isn't laughing, cracking jokes, or grinning. His only flaw is looking for help from his fellow henchmen and his boss when he is down on his luck. Most co-workers are simply fair-weather friends, it seems. If you're successful, they're more than happy to pal around with you, but if you get a bad review, or a bad reputation, or all your flesh is sloughing off your body from toxic waste, they're considerably less available.
Emil was played by Paul McCrane, a short, bald actor who still manages to be a real tough guy. I can dig that.
4-12-01 - I Have No Mouth And I Must Ice Cream
Henchman. Tomorrow. I swear.
In the meantime, I just realized I never mentioned the fact that I'm temping for an ice cream manufacturer. A major ice cream manufacturer.
Picture this, if you will: You are a temp. You get a temp job, and at the office, on every floor, are two big kitchens.
In each kitchen? Two big honkin' refrigerators.
And, in each fridge, ALL THE ICE CREAM YOU COULD EVER WANT TO EAT.
And it's FREE.
Pick a flavor! Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Rocky Road, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookies 'N Cream, Cookie Dough, Butter Pecan, Almond Praline, Cherry Vanilla, Banana Split, Strawberry Cheesecake, Pistachio, Rum Raisin, Double Chocolate Fudge, Butterscotch, Coffee, Chocolate Walnut, Banana Fudge, Coconut Almond Fudge... the list is endless (well, not this list)!
And it's all FREE!
And, of course, if you don't want ice cream, there's always about twenty different flavors of frozen yogurt! Also FREE!
And, of course, if you want a little something on your ice cream, they've got plenty of whipped cream for you to add! Completely FREE!
And, of course, if you're lactose intolerant, like I am, then this perk is completely wasted on you! DAMN!
4-11-01 - The End?
Well, I'm pooped. I need to take kind of a mid-week break. Henchman of the Week will be pushed back to either tomorrow or Friday.
In the meantime, let's look at a few signs that the world is coming to an end, sponsored by Reuters and the Associated Press.
1) Look! An Asian dude in the NBA! What's next, a white heavy-weight champ? A black hockey player? Synchronized diving in the Olympics? Oh, wait, there is synchronized diving in the Olympics. Do I hear thunder?
2) This tool is our President. Our President. Chilling.
3.) Eminem shut his big fat cake-hole for about five seconds. Even more chilling.
4) Dogs and cats, living together... mass hysteria!
(Okay, a plane crossing a bridge isn't a sign that the world is ending. But remember when you were a kid? And you saw a plane crossing a bridge for the first time? And your parents drove right under the bridge while the plane was on it? And the plane was right over you? That was about the coolest thing ever.)
5) Yes, it's Kevin Costner meeting with Castro. I don't know what it means, but it can't be good.
(Special bonus #6 for Mets fans: Ordonez is hitting! ORDONEZ IS HITTING! Even Reuters doesn't have photographic evidence of it, but it's happening! Pack your bags and say your prayers, kids. We ain't got much time left.
4-10-01 - "T" is for Temp
A Not My Desk Mystery
It was a gray, blustery day in the city. The cigarette smoke was torn from my mouth like the jet-stream of Cessna Skyhawk. Except that a Cessna Skyhawk doesn't have jets, it's a turboprop. So that doesn't really work.
I'm a temp. It's what I do. But it's not all I do.
I also steal office supplies. But that's not all I also do. I also make analogies that don't really work. But I think we just covered that.
But I also also solve murders.
Call me a P.I. Call me a sleuth. Call me a gumshoe, because I often step in gum. I step in dogshit a lot, too, now that I think about it. If they ever want to find life on other planets, they should just drop me off in a spacesuit, and within thirty seconds I'll have stepped in some steaming alien scat. I step in things. It's what I do. Also.
But I'd stepped into something bigger and squishier than I ever had before at my current temp job. I'd stepped into a little something called...
His name was Brett Worthington. He was young, 23, and a high-level executive. His net worth: $790 million. He had been found strangled in his enormous office at 2:26pm this afternoon.
Strangled. So, I knew the how. Now I needed to know the why, and the who, and the how. Oh, wait, I already knew the how. Oh, and when I say who, I'm referring to the killer, not to Worthington, since I knew him. He was the dead guy. So, to sum up, I needed to know the why and the who and the how -- ah, I did it again. Man, I need coffee.
I examined Worthington's neck. He'd been strangled by someone possessing freakish strength. But not freakish brains, provided I'm using "freakish" as a synonym for "abundant" or "ample". The killer, in his haste, had left evidence. Whoever had killed Worthington had done it with copier toner on his hands, as evidenced by black smudges on Worthington's neck. I knew that when I found the toner... I'd find the killer. Provided he was still hanging around with the toner, that is. I can't imagine why he'd be doing that, but it would really help me out if he was.
I questioned Worthington's secretary, one Janet Nonnenmocher. After I asked her a few preliminary questions, and made fun of her name for a bit, I asked her what she knew about the murder.
According to her, she last saw Worthington standing in his office at 2:14 that afternoon, practicing his golf swing while discussing his stock options in a loud voice over his cell-phone headset.
Poor bastard. He was just asking to get murdered.
She said she'd received a call from Marketing, and that a temp was on his way over to deliver some PowerPoint presentations. She had left her desk shortly to retrieve some e-mails Worthington has asked her to print out.
Yeah. He was begging for it, definitely.
When she came back, the presentation was on her desk and her boss was dead.
I scowled. All signs pointed to the temp. I hated to see a fellow temp get mixed up in something like this, but still, I had a job to do, and that job was typing up stuff for a guy with carpal tunnel syndrome. But who the hell wants to do that crap? I headed over to Marketing to pick up the trail.
I examined the desk the temp had been sitting at. Uncomfortable chair, no space for his jacket or backpack, his computer monitor facing the office so he couldn't possibly check his e-mail or play FreeCell during the day... sure, that would have made him mad... but what was it that pushed him over the edge?
I tried to put myself in the killer's head, like the detectives do in the movies. The frustration, the discomfort, the isolation... I knew it all too well. Plus, he'd had an incident with the copier that left him with toner on his hands. That always pisses me off. As I thought about this tense loner, this temp gone bad, a picture began to form in my head. It was a picture of Christina Ricci wearing nothing but my black mesh Mets Jersey. I filed it away for later.
Then, I spotted it. There. In the trash. And suddenly it was all clear. The temp's supervisor had bought a big, greasy, onion-covered burger for lunch, eaten half of it, and chucked it in the trash, right next to where the temp had to sit all day. The smell of onions and congealing cheese and grease, wafting up at him all afternoon... it was the final straw. I'm not saying he had a right to snap and kill someone. Okay, I am saying he had a right to snap and kill someone. But he should have at least gotten his timecard signed first.
I was close, now. I had evidence. I had motive. I had a watch that read 4:58pm. Damn, I had a bus to catch. The case would have to wait. I don't miss syndicated reruns of The Simpsons, murder or no murder.
On the way out the door, I got my timecard signed. Then I stopped in the restroom and washed the toner off my hands.
4-9-01 - Irkonomic
Made another linking button, as you can see. Although I guess it's more of a static banner. A few people have been making buttons for me as well, and I'll be posting those later this week, because I love when people make me stuff.
Okay! New in Diversions this week: Everyone loves celebrities! So, take the Celebrity Death Test! It's not really that hard, but you may start feeling guilty when you get one wrong and mutter "Damn, James Arness is still alive?" Also, which celebrity is your perfect match? Find out on Celebrity Matchmaker! And, why not check out the Celebrity ID Quiz? It's seriously easy, but it'll kill a few minutes at least. Links are down on the sidebar as usual. Word!
So, like I said last week, I'm working for a guy with severe carpal tunnel syndrome. My main worry, of course, is since I'm doing his job, I'm going to wind up with severe carpal tunnel myself.
Luckily, there's little chance of that, thanks to some thoughtful ergonomic products that have been set up at the desk. These helpful products lower the chances of carpal tunnel to almost nil. Take a look!
For anyone who spends a great deal of time typing, this keyboard is a must-have! It's easier on the wrists because it keeps the hands in a more comfortable, natural position. Of course, if you've never had proper keyboard training, and rely on a high-speed hunt-n-peck technique, you'll be in hell! The embarrassment as you try the right-hand reach-over for the 'T' key will only be matched by the frustration of trying to use your pinkies to type for the first time! All in all, this keyboard will slow you down by a factor of ten! And slower means safer!
Sliding Keyboard Drawer
Speaking of keyboards, they are often placed on the desktop, which is too high to reach comfortably and can cause strain in your arms, wrists, and shoulders. This drawer will do a lot to prevent carpal tunnel, because as soon as you lean any weight on it, it will slide back under your desk at roughly seventy-five miles per hour, making enough noise to cause everyone nearby to glance at you, as well as making typing impossible! No typing = no carpal tunnel!
Lumbar Support Backseat
Sitting in an office chair all day is rough on your back, so why not try our backseat? This durable cushion is as hard as marble, and has been expertly crafted from incredibly dense foam found only on other planets. It's so firm, in fact, that when you sit down and try to lean back, it will not give an inch, redirecting your momentum so you slide right off the front of your chair! Sure, you look like a total ass, but if you can't sit, you can't have lumbar support problems, right? Right?
Well, since your backseat keeps shoving you off the front of your chair, shove back by finding purchase on this heated footrest! Your supervisor is some sort of thin-blooded freak and will keep this heated footrest on at all times, blowing hurricane-force gales up your pants legs at a soothing 800 degrees, making your legs uncomfortably hot and itchy all day! You can even take off your shoes and let the massaging nubs work wonders on your feet! Oh, wait, you can't, because your feet have been sweating all day from the hot air and you dare not take your shoes off! Sorry, sucker!
Of course, as soon as you put your feet on your heated footrest, you will notice that your chair is rapidly rolling away from the desk. No, it's not magic! It's simply this vinyl floormat, which is so hard and smooth it won't cause any of that pesky friction needed to keep your wheeled office chair in place. In fact, making contact with just about anything will cause you to roll briskly away in the opposite direction. Just try to get carpal tunnel syndrome when you can't even reach your desk! And while you're at it, just try to get any work done!
All material © 2000 - 2001 by Christopher Livingston. Yeah. That'll hold up in court.