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7.25.02 - Food for Naught

Say what you want about my current temp assignment (really, go ahead, say what you want!), but we sure eat well here. 

I'm on the floor with all the executives, and all they do is have meetings, all day, which are catered.  Catered breakfast meetings, brunch meetings, lunch meetings, after-lunch meetings, dinner meetings, snack meetings... you name the meal (really, name the meal!), they'll have a meeting during it.

As a result, there is always lots of extra food around.  And once the execs have picked through it, it is turned over to the ravenous admins.  This is kinda lame, in a way.  I mean, can I really eat this stuff?  The leftovers of a people I despise?  It feels kinda scavengery.  Like those fish that follow the sharks around, eating whatever scraps of prey the sharks don't swallow.  Or like those birds that pick food out of alligators' teeth.  Or like Clint Howard.

Still.  There's some damn good food, and I eat as much as my poor belly can stand.  And, despite all the leftovers, a lot of the admins bring in even more food and snacks.  Popcorn is always being made.  Cookies and donuts are aplenty.  Hell, someone even brought in some jam the other day.

The jam baffled me a bit.  If I were to make a list of goodies I might bring to work for people, and the list had 350 slots to fill, I still don't think "jam" would make it on there.  What are we gonna do with jam?  Who even thinks about jam?  Ever?  You don't.  I know you don't, or when I asked to name the meal earlier, you would have said "jam-eating-time", and you didn't.  So don't even try to bullshit me.

Anyway, the jam sat in the breakroom for a while, and then someone put out crackers.  Jam and crackers.  Wow.  Really excited about that "snack".  Gosh, why not set out decaf and rice cakes?  Why not unflavored oatmeal and tapwater?  Thanks so much for the jam and crackers, really.  So, anyway, I ate about 700 jam-covered crackers.  The jam was really good.

Speaking of food.

I was recently contacted by a reader of this website.  Seems he works nearby, and offered to buy me lunch, along with one of his friends.  I agreed, thinking that a free lunch is better than a not-free lunch and much better than jam (although the jam, again, was really good), and way much better than eating sandwiches that had been briefly fondled by a Marketing Director.

We arranged, via e-mail, to meet on Thursday and go to a local restaurant.  The deal was, we'd meet outside a burger place on 15th and Broadway at 1pm, and walk to the restaurant we'd be eating at. No problem.  I knew the burger joint, and I knew the restaurant was only about a block away.

So, 1pm rolls around, and I head out to the meeting point.  Where I wait.  And wait.

And wait.  I pass the time smoking, reading Baseball Weekly, and watching people approach out of the corner of my eye, thinking "Oh, man, I hope that's not the guy.  He looks weird.  Nope, not him.  Okay, that dude's, like, 75, it can't be him.  Nope.  Oooh, she's cute, I hope she's him.  Nope."

1:35 comes, and still no sign of anyone who looks as though they want to buy me lunch.  Well.  How lame.

Finally, I get sick of waiting, so I circle the block a few times, mostly to make things harder for the panhandlers, then head back to the office.  Am I pissed?  I'm pissed.  Mostly because I'm hungry and most of my lunch hour is shot.  I'll grab a quick bite somewhere, the breakroom, probably, then fire off an angry e-mail.

Eh, maybe I'm not so pissed.  Could be a reason they didn't show up.  I don't know where they work, maybe they had to drive, and got stuck in traffic.  Maybe they couldn't get away from their jobs.  Maybe they just forgot?  Hell, it could happen to anyone.  Frankly, it's a minor miracle I didn't forget or screw up somehow, the way my brain has been working these days.  I decide I'm not pissed so much after all.

And, well... am I sure I had the details right?  Yes, I'm sure.  I know today was the day, and 1pm was the time, and the burger joint was the place.  I know this.  It takes a while for things to wriggle into my head, but once they do, fortunately, they're stuck there.  So I'm sure.

I head back up to my desk, find the last e-mail he sent me, and start writing a reply to it.  I'm not really mad, but I figure I can pretend to be for a few lines before letting them off the hook.  Just out of curiosity, I scroll down to double check the plans we had made.  Yup, there it is, Thursday, 1pm, burger place, 19th and Webster.

Um.  Oh shit.  19th?  And Webster?

No.  No!!!  This can't be my fault!  No, no, no.  I look at the clock and it's just about 2pm.  Too late, they'll be gone by now.  Shit.  Shit!  I totally stood up some readers of my site!  How did I get this mixed up?  How?  How?

Basically, I think I just got it into my head wrong.  The burger joint I waited at is one I've walked by dozens of times, and it's in view of the restaurant we were planning to eat at.  I must have read "burger" and just figured it was that one, despite the fact that the address provided was completely different.  Dumb mental thing.  It takes a while for things to wriggle into my head, but once they do, sadly, they're stuck there.

I'm a huge putz.  Ugh.  I sit there for a bit, my face burning at what a schmuck I was.  I'd started writing my faux-angry e-mail, so I leave the angry stuff and then switch over to the apologetic stuff more or less in mid-sentence.

Ah well.  Sorry, dude.  He took it well, though!  Seemed perfectly understanding, and he didn't wait too long before getting himself some lunch.  So, there's that.

As for me, a big meeting had let out, so not only did I get lunch, but I smuggled home dinner in my bag.  Yes, it's lame.  Yes, I'm a bottom-feeder, a vulture, a scavenger.

But it's free food!  Eat me!


7.24.02 - Yeah

What follows is part of a conversation between three women I overheard today, as I was walking along the sidewalk behind them.  Enjoy.

Woman #1:  I want what I want!

Woman #2:  I hear you.

Woman #1:  That's all I'm saying.

Woman #2:  I hear you.

Woman #1:  That's all I'm saying.

Woman #2:  I hear you.

Woman #1:  That's all I'm saying.

Woman #2:  Mmm-hmm.

Woman #1:  I want what I want.

Woman #2:  I hear you.

Woman #1:  That's all I'm saying.

Woman #2:  I hear you.

Woman #1:  That's all I'm saying.

Woman #2:  I hear you.

Woman #1:  That's all I'm saying.

Woman #2:  I hear you.

Woman #3:  Yeah.

Woman #1:  I want what I want.

Woman #2:  Mmm-hmm.

That was it.  I did not change that conversation in any way whatsoever.

In other news, how are you?  Doing well, I hope.  Say!  If you're thinking about starting your own business, or your own company, or your own multi-national corporation, I have a favor to ask of you.  

When setting up your corporate offices in a shiny skyscraper, allow enough room in the floorplan for filing cabinets!  Don't forget to do this, please.

Otherwise, you will wind up putting all the filing cabinets in the company kitchen, which means the temp you hire to file things all day will have to do so while employee after employee enters the kitchen to microwave their lunches, which will mean the temp has to do his filing while breathing in the thick fumes of what smells like Vegetable & Hobo-Feet Soup.

Please.  I beg you.  Leave room for file cabinets.



So, I went to work this morning.  Did some filing.  Took a smoke break around 10:30am.  Went back upstairs, and did some more filing.  It was really lame.  Around 12:30, I went out for lunch, and th--


Around 12:30, I went out for lunch, and was suddenly grabbed by strong hands and forced into an alleyway.  Shoved against a wall, I was roughly spun around to find myself looking down a gun barrel.

"You're a temp here, right?" the ugly man with the gun demanded.

"OH JESUS PLEASE DON'T KILL ME SIR!" I wailed pathetically.

"Answer the question."

"OH NO PLEASE I DON'T WANNA DIEEEE!" I shrieked, feeling my bladder let go, completely soaking my pa--


"You're a temp here, right?" the ugly man with the gun demanded.

"Didn't your mother teach you it's not polite to point?" I asked coolly, knocking the gun out of my face.

The ugly man glared at me.  "Well, from now on, you temp for the mob.  Got it?"

I lit a cigarette as if I were unimpressed.  It wasn't hard.  "How are the benefits?"

"The benefits," he growled, cocking the pistol, "are that I don't blow your brains out."

"Go ahead.  Don't need 'em anyway," I said, blowing smoke in his face.  "I'm filing all afternoon."

"Listen, you punk," the ugly man with the gun said, "I'm--


"Listen, you temp stud," the beautiful woman with the gun said, "I'm putting you to work right now... on me."

She let her trench coat fall to the ground, exposing her smooth, supple body, barely covered in a lacy black negligee.

"But I'm on my lunch break," I said, gazing at her through the smoke of my cigarette.  "That'll cost you extra."

She pressed herself against me.  "Consider it overtime, because that's what I'll expect from you.  Overtime."

"Oh, I dunno," I said, "I don't think I can do overtime.  See, I don't last long in bed.  At all.  It's, y'know, kind of a problem I have, and, um... well, I just... I think it's from being insecure or something, see... I j--


"Overtime," I said.  "Not a problem.  Show me the clock, baby, I know where to punch it."

"I just hope you-- oh my God!  Dinosaur!  Over there, a dinosaur!" she screamed.



"Follow me!" I yelled, grabbing her hand and running from the alley, as the claw-footed Deinonychus raced toward us, gnashing its powerful jaws in ravenous hunger.

"Quick, onto my magic carpet!" the woman with the gun cried.  "We'll be safe if we can only reach the moon!"

We leapt onto the carpet together, uttering Migglebee's Chant of Wonderous Flight in unison, and--


We collapsed onto the carpet together, pulling at each others clothing, limbs entwined, while I wept and offered preemptive apologies for failing to please her, as I knew I surely would.  She to--


I collapsed onto the ground, begging the man with the gun not to kill me.  "OH NO PLEASE DON'T A-SHOOT ME IN THE FACE NOT MY PRECIOUS FAAAAAAACE--


After lunch (I had Wendy's), I went back to the office, did some more filing, and came home.

Kind of a boring day.


7.22.02 - Trading Spaces

So, I'm sitting there at my temp job, typing a document up on the computer.  Nothing thrilling, just some notes someone took at a meeting that they want a document created for, and I'm taking my sweet time with it so I don't have to get back to filing.  I finish typing it, print it out, and check it over.

I find about 46 errors.

Weird.  I mean, I wasn't being particularly careful or anything, but I also wasn't rushing, and I usually do a much better job.  Oddly enough, most of my errors look something like this:

Speak to Alan Flappypants abouCapital Spending Budgeand meet with Thomas Rufflebum froAccounting.  Maksure Lisa Spanklehorner is briefed on alphaseofSpendinPlan.

Hm.  Wha?  What the hell?  Am I being careless?  I mean, more careless than usual?  Am I on drugs?  I mean, more drugs than usual?  Is something wrong with my keyboard?

I go through it again, and discover the problem.  Something is wrong with my keyboard.  Namely, my spacebar.

Or, I should say, spacebars.

Yes, there are two spacebars, right next to each other.  Basically, it looks like the creators of the keyboard snapped the regular spacebar in half.  The right half is still a spacebar.  It makes a space, like this: .  (I underlined the space so it would be easier to see; it doesn't really make a  , it makes a  .  Hm.  Maybe I should put it in quotes?  " "?  I guess that's better.  Anyway, you should all know by now what a space looks like by now.  Right?)

The left half, however, doesn't make a space.  It makes a backspace. (I'm not sure how to show you a backspace, but I'm hoping you know what that is as well.)

I've never used a keyboard like this before, and I guess when I type, I just hit the spacebar with either thumb.  If it's the thumb on my left hand, it now hits what is a giant extraneous backspace key, which erases the last letter I've typed.  Hence all my errors looking the way they did.

This backspace bar is, as we say in the office biz, a very stupid thing that is stupid.  And dumb.  Who the hell needs a backspace where the regular space is?  I've typed up a few more documents since discovering the new stupid backspace bar, and now that I know it's there, I seem to hit it twice as many times as normal.  Lame!

I don't know what kind of thinking brings something like this is about, but I suspect the satanic ritual know as the Brainstorming Session.  Every idiot idea ever has come from a brainstorming session, I think.  The idea for brainstorming sessions probably came from a brainstorming session.  Someone said "I know, let's get all the idiots in this company in one room, and let them feed off each other's idiocy!"

Having attended these sessions in the past, mostly for note-taking duties, it is of some relief that very few ideas actually get accepted.  However, when an executive attends, and spits out some random thought, that's when you've got trouble.  Executives love saying "I'm just throwing out ideas, here", as if they don't care if their ideas are used, but a) they do, and b) no one can actually throw out (literally) the ideas the executives have thrown out (figuratively).

So, you can guess how a brainstorming session would go for a new keyboard.

Developer #1:  Okay, let's talk about the new keyboard, while I write what we say on this giant oversized pad.  Anyone have any ideas?

Developer #2:  Well, I was thinking maybe a height or slant control modification, so, ergonomically, people could alter the--

Executive:  You know, I'm always forgetting the "I before E" rule.

Developer #1:  Um, okay.  Great.  Thanks for the--

Executive:  And when I guess, I always guess wrong!  Ha ha!  Don't you?

Developer #1:  Well, uh... not really.

Executive:  I know!  Why don't we switch the locations of the I and the E keys, and that way, when I guess wrong, they keys will be in each other's places, so it'll turn out right!

Developer #2:  What?

Executive:  I'm just throwing out ideas here.  Write them down, though, or you're fired.  Also, you know that Control-Alt-Delete thing?  What's with that?  If I'm supposed to press them all at the same time, why don't we just make one single Control-Alt-Delete key?  We could call it... the Contraltelete Key!

Developer #1:  Um, sure, good idea.

Executive:  You could make it real big, too, so people will see it.  I mean, you don't have to, it's just a thought, just an idea, no need to take it to heart, unless you want your kids to attend college.  Oh!  I know what I wanted to mention.  You know those little bumps on the F and J keys?

Developer #2:  The home row locaters?

Executive:  Yeah.  Why don't we have those on all the keys?  That way, you know where all the keys are, instead of just the F and J!  I mean, what makes the F and J so damn special?

Developer #1:  I'm going to kill myself now.

Executive:  I'm just spitballing.  Just thinking outside the box.  Don't pay attention to me unless you want your bonus this year.  Also, we've just signed a deal with an a London distributor, so I think the pound key might need to be converted to metric.  We don't want to offend them.

Developer #2: (struggling with Developer #1) My cyanide!  Mine!

Executive:  I thought up the Scroll Lock Key, you know.


Also today:  More comix!  #15 / #16 / #17 / #18 / #19 / #20 / #21 

And Diversions!  For fans of the Mini-Putt game I posted a while ago, there's a sequel!  Hooray!  Mini-Putt 2.  Just make sure you turn the music off before you play.  And, we've got, um... some kinda dancing walrus thing.  Don't even know what it's called, but it's amusing.  Also, Poke the Bunny.  It's not like you have anything else to do.  Links in the bottom left-hand box.


Cripes!  Stuff to read, some comics, and Diversions?  Is this the coolest, most bestest website in the world or what?


Last Week on Not My Desk!

Alas, Alack, Alarm
Bag Reel
A Hyena ate my Dingo Baby!
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Donkey Kong
Space Panic

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Mary Jo Pehl Interview
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All material 2000 - 2002 by Christopher Livingston, except for this statement.

The opinions posted on this site are not necessarily the opinions posted on this site.