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Temporary Insanity
What Color is My Parachute, Dammit?
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Field Guide:
Turn Your Head and Temp
The Replacements
Fitness Week
My Desk:
Bag Reel
Vision of the Future:
Diversions Archive
Other Features:
Interview:  MST3K's Mary Jo Pehl
Kids Fun Page!
The Temp Test
Hall of Henchmen
The Word of the Day
Office Playground
6-15-01 - My Biggest Fan

Wrote an essay.  'Bout temping.  What are the chances?

You can click here to read it.

That's it for this week, and next week will be an off week, actually, since I have family coming to town for a visit.  I'll see if I can put up some new Diversions at least, but otherwise, there probably won't be an new material up until a week from Monday.  See you then!


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6-14-01 -

Hey, cool!  Someone made me something!

This is an mp3 from Tom Stone.  He created a little promo for my site, a funky kinda audio mix dealie.  I think it's totally -- and I only use this word in extreme situations -- boss.

Crank up those speakers and click here to listen!

(You can also right click and choose 'save as' to download it.)  Thanks Tom!  Makes me feel like I have my own radio show or movie coming out or something.  Rockin'.


My main responsibility at my assignment this week is to call up Bay Area architectural firms and obtain their e-mail addresses.  The construction company I'm working for is going to be sending out an informative presentation packet illustrating their construction history and current capabilities (spam, in other words).

I do as little calling as possible, since I think there's enough unsolicited e-mail out there already.  I mean, just today in my inbox, I found e-mails with subject lines like:

Lose 80 pounds by June GUARANTEED! (First of all, it's already June, and secondly, I only weigh about 80 pounds anyway.)

ITALY - NEWS NEWSLETTER (Wow, a newsletter with news?  Newsy news???)

Act Now Before They Start Climbing #5951 (Before what starts climbing?  Prices?  Temperatures?  Monkeys?)

So, I'm not in a hurry to find an audience for something I imagine could be like:


Still, I have to call around a bit, just to keep up appearances.  Most of the larger firms have their own .com domains, but some of the smaller ones or single-architect businesses have yahoo, hotmail, or AOL addresses.  They usually business-it-up a bit, like ''.

Just before lunch, I call a one-woman firm, and when the woman answers, I tell her the name of the company I am with, and ask for her e-mail address.

"Oh, sure," she says.

(Let me point out, what I'm about to reproduce here is not her actual e-mail address, but it is, in spirit at least, her exact e-mail address.)

She says, "It's ''."



"Um... I'm sorry," I say finally.  "I didn't quite get that."

"My e-mail address is ''."

She says this without a trace of embarrassment or self-consciousness, slowly enunciating each syllable.

"And... this is... I... we... it's okay to send business correspondence to this e-mail address?"

"Yeah, it's fine."

I can't resist.  "Would you mind spelling it for me?"

"Sure.  S-P-A-N-K..."

Well, whatever!  Some people bring their work home with them.  Other people, I guess, do the opposite.


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6-13-01 - Return to Blahs

First off, I set up a l'il message board for the site, which can be found at:

If you feel like sounding off about temping experiences, commiserating with fellow office slaves, sharing ideas and thoughts in general, or just reading what others have to say, head over and check it out.

Speaking of temping, I did some last week.  I was actually personally requested by an office I had worked in before, a construction company (while I was there the first time, it had had an embezzling problem and I spent most of the assignment sorting through checks, and archiving).

Well, they needed someone for about a week, so they called my agency (my old agency, not Kelly Services, who have found me nothing so far), and asked for me by name.

Being requested by an office I've worked for in the past is always flattering, relieving, unnerving, paranoia-inducing, and depressing.  It's a quick cycle of thought, and goes like this:

First:  "Hey!  They liked me!  They want me back!  I did a good job.  I rule.  I rule the entire universe."

Then: "Hey, this'll be easy.  I know the people, so I won't have to learn a bunch of new names, and I know the office set-up and software, so I won't be in over my head, and I know there aren't any attractive or available employees, so I can dress like a slob and not worry about my breath."

Followed by:  "Um... wasn't that the office where I spent four days of my last week goofing off, and then hastily misfiled half of the archives on the final day in an attempt to appear that I had actually completed my workload?  And didn't I steal a dollar out of the receptionist's drawer so I could take the bus home that last day?  And didn't I forget to delete my web-browsing history before I left?  And didn't I run up a big phone bill?  And didn't I kill that one guy and stuff his body in the supply closet?  And aren't they, by now, aware of all these things?"

And then:  "Maybe they just requested me so they could yell at me the moment I walk in the door.  Maybe they'll make me go back and re-file all the stuff I crammed into random drawers, while they stand over me, watching, their arms crossed and their lips pursed.  They wouldn't do that, would they?  Would they?  Like... would they?"

Finally:  "Huh.  You know what?  Last time I was there, I went through everyone's personal e-mail, and there wasn't any good dirt.  I poked through everyone's computers, and no one had downloaded any weird porn.  They made me do those lame, boring expense reports and go to lunch with them.  And they even made me work sometimes.  Sheesh.  This job is gonna suck."

Of course, these jobs always suck.

But I like a little mystery.


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6-12-01 - Author 2: On The Rocks

Okay, got another e-mail from an author, this time one completely unconnected from the Felt-fest.  Her name is Arlene Harris, and she writes:

Dear Chris:
I really enjoyed the impromptu Theme Week. I really wish now the Cheese guy would write in so we can all have a therapeutic interactive theme week cleansing of THAT aberration...

Yeah.  Unfortunately, I think I'm gonna have to be proactive to get that one rolling.  And I'm not big on proactivity.  It's Tuesday morning and I'm not even done with this update yet. 

However, to answer your question ("What is it with authors? Are they all insane? Don't any of them make sense?"), you're dealing with nonfiction authors there. Nonfiction authors are under the mistaken assumption that everyone gives .95 of a rat's ass about whatever their pet subject is, and anyone who dares not to be is either ignorant, stupidly blind, or a potential convert. Diet books make a great example of this.

Ha!  Yeah, stupid non-fiction writers.  Sheesh!  Er...

Wait, I'm a non-fiction writer.  And my pet subject, temping, is something I can't imagine anyone would ever be interested in, and yet I post (roughly) five times a week about it, and somehow expect people to keep showing up.  Consider me insulted, author-pants!

Fiction authors, on the other hand, are generally reasonably coherent people who like making shit up. Some of us are insane, but it's more funny ha-ha than funny whatthefuckwasthat? I mean, who would you rather sit next to in a bar, Mr (or Ms) "I wrote a book about management tactics" or "I wrote a book that Julia Roberts just optioned"?

Um... neither?

And no, I'm not going to ask you to plug/mention/review my book. There is no point; there are no temps in it. 

Cool, I won't mention it then.  Mainly because that seems to be a passive-aggressive attempt at making me mention it... kind of like reverse psychology... manipulation without appearing manipulative... I mean, if you're not going to ask me to plug/mention/review your book, that's best accomplished by not asking me to plug/mention/review your book, rather than mentioning that you're not going to ask me to plug/mention/review your book.  Unless I'm just being paranoid, which is entirely possible.

But you should definitely think about putting all your columns together and submitting it to a publisher. You're too funny not to be in (traditional) print.

Aw, thanks... but I'm still not mentioning your book.  Neener!

Again, I'm confused. She slams non-fiction authors, then suggests I get my non-fiction published... I don't get it.  Authors, fiction or non, in my opinion, are still a confusing lot.

Thanks for writing, Arlene!  And, hell, I'll mention your book after all.  First of all, maybe all this attacking of authors just stems from some feelings of jealousy and inadequacy that I myself am not published (ya think?).  Secondly, I'm thinking about sending some stuff out to publishers soon, and frankly, I'll need all the karma I can get.

The book is called Pont-Au-Change, and the author (of the book and the e-mail) is Arlene C. Harris.  You can visit her site by clicking here.  Thanks again, Arlene!



6-11-01 - Knipple Ring

(New Diversions this week:  I remember playing Snake on my Apple IIc com-pu-ter way back in the day.  The game put you in control of a snake that can't stop itself from moving and eats apples and gets longer and longer.  This version has the snake chasing moving mice, so it's a little trickier, but still fun (makes noise, though).  Also, I remember some restaurant we used to go to when I was a kid, and there was a peg game called Hi-Q, where you jumped pegs over each other and tried to wind up with only one left.  Boy, did I suck at it, but it kept me quiet (I think) until the food came.  This online version is cool, it has different board configurations, an auto-solve if you get stuck, and even a reverse mode, where you add pegs.  It's just darn cool, and you should kiss my feet for even showing it to you.  Links where they always are.)

(Also, I made a page for all the past Diversions, so you can all stop bitching and writing to me about old Diversions you can't find.  It's a pretty boring looking page, but I just kind of threw it together this afternoon, and I'll try to gussy it up a little later.  You can reach it by clicking right here, and there's a link on the sidebar too.)

So, no, I haven't heard back from Ms. Feltman yet, and I don't expect to (yes, that's a dare).  Oh, and if you missed the whole Feltman thing, here's the link to that, and I added some navigation dealies, because it turned into kind of a Theme Week.  So, although Ms. Feltman is mum for the time being, I did hear from someone mildly connected to this whole thing.  Let's see if I can get this all into one "sentence":

Last week, a reader named Tom sent in a link to a site which was promoting a book called The Harnessmaker's Son or something, which was a collection of stories about an old Russian dude I guess, and on that page was a rave from Ms. Feltman, who mentioned in her blurb that she used to use a knippel to decide things, and everyone said to themselves, hey, what the hell's a knippel, anyway, which was also answered by Tom, the resourceful bastard that he is, in another link, and the definition was kinda weird and gross, but anyway, the guy who wrote that book e-mailed me, asking me to review his book, the knippel book, in exchange for a free copy of it, since he got a lot of traffic from the link that Tom sent in, which I posted.

So.  Here's some of that e-mail, with my comments (and notice he spells it knipple, although Feltman spelled it knippel, so I don't know who's right about the knippels/knipples).

Hi Tom,

Okay, my name isn't Tom, that's the guy who sent the link in, but whatever, innocent mistake.

I wanted to thank you for drawing so many visitors to  You have an incredibly loyal following... And your link was just an incidental mention. What happens when you actually recommend a site? Or trash it?

I get long, confusing e-mails from fusspots, that's what.

You can trash my book anytime...

'Kay.  Your book sucks.

[He goes on and pitches his book for a while, then gets to the knipple talk.]  In the 1880s, in a poor Russian town, my great grandmother had twins. She didn't have enough milk for both. One had to go to a wet nurse, and would probably die. Which one would she keep? She made her decision with a knipple.

But what is a knipple?  How does it work?  Do you flip it?  Toss it?  Spin it?  Tweak it?  I'm disturbed that it was mentioned in close conjunction with milk and babies, ya know?

The surviving twin thought she had a hard life and cursed her mother often, raising her hands and saying "Me she kept!" I'm sure you know ungrateful people like that. If you step back a little, it can be funny.

Ha ha ha!  Yeah...

I know that's probably more than you want to know, if I read your newsletter correctly. I hope you enjoyed it anyway.

Newsletter?  Newsletter?  Is that some kind of slam?

If you do want to know more, and absorb some elder wisdom, read about how my father used to tickle the bottoms of people who used their outhouse in the 1920s.

Well, it certainly sounds enticing.  I was just thinking the other day that I need to get out there and tickle more people's butts while they're crapping.  I mean, if you can't make time for some dump-interrupting butt-tickling, really, you're working too hard.

Let me know if you'd like to review the book. There's a comp here with your name on it.

My guess is that it has Tom's name on it.  Anyway, while I'm all for free books, this is a temping website, er, newsletter, so I don't think it's the place for a review of your book about fun outhouse pranks.

Thanks again for the link, and congratulations.

Huh?  Congratulations?  For what?

What is it with authors?  Are they all insane?  Don't any of them make sense?  SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!





Please note:  any e-mail sent to  may be republished, reproduced, excerpted, 
and/or mocked on this site as the circumstances require.

All material 2000 - 2001 by Christopher Livingston.  Yeah.  That'll hold up in court.