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Diversions Archive

8.1.02 - Key to the Shitty

So, to stave off my filing duties today, I started reading everything I was supposed to be filing.  I know, reading it doesn't sound much better than actually filing it, and it wasn't, for the most part.  Until I found... it.

Okay.  The company I am working for has a number of facilities, and over the course of the next five or six years, they will be building more facilities.  One way to insure that these new facilities are planned and built well is to inspect and evaluate the existing facilities.  So, some people go out to these old buildings and poke around in order to create a report, a report I came across today.  A report titled: "Key Findings."

There are some basic things you might expect in this report.  For instance, poor planning may have led to the creation of a conference room without enough room for a large department staff to meet in, or possibly a copier room with not enough counter space to collate documents, hallways without ample lighting, delivery bays with low clearance, the sorts of things you've probably encountered in the building you work in.  Things that annoy everyone, but cannot be rectified since the place has already been built.

Thus, you can see the usefulness of the Key Findings report.  By finding out the problems before the new place has been built, a great many of them can be avoided.  This isn't rocket science, of course, but if you dig a little deeper into this report, as I did, you'll find something fairly amazing.

A typical entry will display the details of the fault in the existing facility, and then add the "Lessons Learned" to state (fairly obviously) how this can be avoided the next time around.  And I (sort of) quote:

Amenities Room
Amenities Room did not include drawers for utensil and condiment storage.

Lessons Learned:  Amenities Room should include drawers for eating/serving utensils.

Okay.  Duh.  Basic stuff there.  Let's move on.

Reception Area
Pencil drawer under desk does not leave enough room for knees to be placed comfortably if chair height is adjusted.  Reception Desk is also too deep to comfortably pass papers across; a lazy susan is used.

Lessons Learned:  Reception desk should allow enough knee space so chair height may be adjusted for proper comfort and ergonomic positioning.   Desk should not be too deep to pass papers across.

So.  Now we're peering at pencil drawers and scrutinizing desk dimensions.  Good.  Good.

This corridor is 164 feet long and alcoves (for art or plants) were not provided.  Corridor is long and sterile, lacking softness and interest.

Lessons Learned:  Adjustments to the hallway can create a feeling of warmth and alleviate an institutional feeling with the use of soft or tone-on-tone colors, artwork, special lighting, and by breaking up long corridors with alcoves.

Who the hell ever thinks about a corridor?  It's a freaking corridor!  Damn, these guys are thorough...

Public Lav
The spout on counter mounted soap dispensers does not project into the sink bowl.  The end of the spout stops short of the bowl and is 1 inch above sink rim making it difficult to insert hand and dispense soap.

Lessons Learned:  The spout length on counter mounted soap dispensers must be coordinated with the sink size.

Now we're getting somewhere.  They're in the bathroom, noting the problems with the soap dispensers.

Do you see?  Do you?  They're in the bathroom, noting the problems with the soap dispensers.





I need this job.  I was born for this job.  I could bring meaning to this job, and this job could bring meaning to me.

Just think.  I would get paid to bitch.  To criticize.  To look at things and find fault.  To investigate, evaluate, and HATE.  My God.  I need this.  I need to be able to walk into a building and immediately begin passing judgment on everything in my sight.  

To find everything.  Lacking.  In something.

And not only that, but to be paid to do it!  My reports would be hundreds of pages long, I feel.  Nothing would be safe.  Potted plants, keyboard trays, bulletin boards... nothing.  And not just the bulletin board, but how the bulletin board was hung, and by what, and the condition of the cork on the board, and the things hanging on the board, and the things holding the things hanging on the board...  I would find something wrong with all of it.  The facility that was built after my report was handed out would be perfect!

And if it wasn't, well, I'd just pay it a visit with my humongous clipboard in hand.

Of course, pessimist that I am, I already see some drawbacks.  First of all, I assume much of the information in the report is gleaned from the staff who inhabit the building being reviewed.  Do I really want to listen to a bunch of secretaries bitching about their pencil drawers and light fixtures?  Even for pay?  I don't think so.

The other problem would be:  could I turn it off, this critical eye?  I once did continuity for television, and I had trouble not doing continuity after getting in the habit, would this be any different?  Would my everyday life be affected?  Would I be able to, say, meet a dog on the street and not find fault with him?

Dog met on street is not happy enough to see me.  Tail not waggly enough, does not slobber convincingly, nor does he appear to be my best friend.  Bad breath.

Lessons Learned:  Dogs met on street must be overjoyed at being pet by me and must respond positively to words such as "Who's a biggie wiggie woogie doggie?  Who is?  Who is?"  Altoids must be administered before dog attempts face-licking.

What about (and this is purely hypothetical) if I went on a date?

Woman on Date With Me
Woman on date with me does not throw herself at me within the first five minutes of first meeting me but instead wishes to make hours of conversation.  Much money spent plying her with drinks that could be spent elsewhere, such as at baseball games and on honey barbeque wings.  Once inebriated, woman insists I give it to her "hard" and "all night long."  Woman is obviously confusing me with someone who has more (or some) sexual prowess.

Lessons Learned:  Woman on date should instantly drag me off to bed without the need for talk/money spent.  Once there, she should be aware that I can only give it to her clumsily and for a duration of 25 to 45 seconds, maximum.  Lower woman's expectations or possibly subcontract more durable replacement(s) for all-night giving-it-hard-to duties.

Hell, I might even turn my scathing gaze upon this very website.
Site colors displeasing to eye.  Daily updates not presented daily as claims indicate.  Self-deprecation grows repetitive (see above (and current)).  Entries often end with "See you tomorrow" or other such cop-outs.

Lessons Learned:  Only allow blind people to read website.  Stop claiming to update daily.  Do not deprecate self so much, you pathetic, short, balding asshat.

See you tomorrow!


7.30.02 - File Pile

I think the worst part about filing all day is that it's very hard to goof off.

Normally, my goofing off takes place on the computer.  I read websites, send e-mail, follow ballgames online, play games, etc.  It's not hard to look like you're working while you're doing these kinds of things.  But all this filing is really throwing me off.  It's hard to look like you're in the filing room, filing, while you're sitting at your computer on the other side of the building.  It just isn't convincing.

"Chris, what are you doing?"

"I'm filing."

"No, you're sitting at your desk looking at busty webcam girls."

"Nope.  I'm over there, in the filing room.  Filing.  Honest."

So, what can I really do?  I mean, I can fake it easily enough.  I can shuffle through papers and open cabinets and pretend to look for folders.  But that's not fun.  If I'm gonna do that, I might as well file.  If I'm gonna stand there all day anyway, I might as well actually do the filing, right?

So, I spent the day shuffling through papers and opening cabinets and pretending to look for folders.  I wrote updates in my head and then quickly forgot them.  I accepted a few imaginary writing awards.  And took a ton of smoke breaks.

The other worst part about filing all day is that it's hard to write about.  So, um...

NMD Comix!  #22 / #23 / #24 / #25 / #26 / #27 / #28


7.29.02 - TempCon!

Wow.  What a weekend!

As you all know (I've sure been hyping it long enough!), this weekend was TempCon 2002, hosted at the sprawling Anaheim Convention Center!  The Temp Convention, now in its 14th year, was bigger and better than it has ever been before.  And of course, I was there, as I always am!

This year, though, I wasn't there merely as a rabid temping fan, but as keynote speaker and celebrity!  Man, was it fun.  Thanks for the seven or eight hundred of you who showed up for the NMD events!  Great turnout!

Here's how the Not My Desk portion of the weekend went.


7:00pm:  NMD Meet & Greet!
Visitors and fans were all given stick-on "temp" badges, which read "Hi, My Name Is:_______", and underneath said "TEMPORARY EMPLOYEE!  DO NOT TRUST ME!"  Everyone had a good laugh, and some people even put their stickers on upside-down or wrote fake names on them!  It was a hoot.  Cocktails were served and everyone mingled while I hid in my room.

8:00pm - Keynote Address... by Me!
This just went smashingly, and thank God, because I was truly worried about it.  Speaking really isn't my thing!  I delivered my keynote address flawlessly, however, a speech littered with jokes and anecdotes which everyone enjoyed, or at least would have enjoyed, if I hadn't had still been hiding in my room, reading the speech into the bathroom mirror.  Sorry you all missed it, it was great!

9:30pm:  Costume Contest
To look over a crowd and see hundreds of Carol Feltmans, a few dozen Spencer Johnsons, a cadre of Facebuilding Ladys, several Smurfs, one confused Klingon, and even a few people dressed like me was simply amazing and slightly stomach churning.  The winner was Samantha Mathis of Wisconsin, who dressed as a desk... but not my desk!  Ha ha!  Seriously, it was a great costume.  You could even open and close the drawers, although Samantha would shriek in pain when you did so.  What a good sport!  There were also two runners-up, Mary McMaple of Michigan, who dressed as a nude woman with hiccups (citing a very old site reference) and Tom Farley from Detroit, who dressed as my "Field Guide Archives" Link!  Very creative!

11:00pm: Temping History:  A Reenactment In Sixteen Parts
I missed this event while Mary McMaple and I went to my hotel suite to cure her hiccups, but I'm told a great time was had by all!

12:30am:  Tempfiction:  The Erotica Hour
Original fictional tales of fictionally steamy fictional temp sex were read by several people, none of whom had ever had sex or so much as touched another human being in an erotic way, from the sound of things.  For instance, Chad Matthews, reading his speculative story about sex with his sexy temp agent, spoke the line:  "And then I removed her dress, revealing her Wonder Woman outfit, and then we rubbed against each other, making noises, and then we made a baby, and then we smoked cigarettes."  Well, nice try anyway, Chad!  Just do a little more research next time!


7:00pm: Meet & Greet -- Again!
Everyone had a lot of fun with the stickers!  Again!  One guy stuck his on his forehead, but it kept falling off.  But still, it was funny!  I hid in my rental car.

8:30pm:  The Not My Desk Interactive Office Experience
Who says virtual reality never caught on?  Everybody!  Because it never did!  Anyway, this was basically a replica of an office that people (kids included!) could run around in, getting their legs stuck in office chairs, riding the ultra-slow elevator and making uncomfortable small-talk with paid actors dressed in business attire, and sending out e-mails about moving boxes over and over again!  The event ended with a (simulated) smoke break, where participants could set trash cans on (simulated) fire with (simulated) cigarette butts.  It was (simulated) fun!

10:00pm:  Temp Weddings
Temps dressed like temps got married in these fun and yet moving rituals.  The Justice of the Peace presided, dressed and acting like a rude CEO, and wedding vows were broadcast over a faulty intercom.  Instead of rice, everyone threw staples (we didn't really think this one through).  All surviving participants get a PowerPoint 97 presentation featuring the highlights of the ceremony!

12:30am:  Dance Party - Temp Style!

We didn't really think this one through, either.  God, you people are all complete dorks.  I hid in a box in the kitchen.

But hey!  What a great Con!  See you all there again next year!


Diversions this week:  Snowcraft lets you experience the gruesome conflict of a snowball fight.  Heptathlon lets you experience the gruesome conflict of a heptathlon.  Breeder lets you experience the gruesome conflict of bunnies fucking while being bombarded by meteorites.  Really!  Links are the last place you'd ever expect to find them (in the bottom left-hand box marked "Diversions").


Last Week on Not My Desk!

Alas, Alack, Alarm
Bag Reel
A Hyena ate my Dingo Baby!
Missed Connections

My Desk Archives

Smurf Rescue
Donkey Kong
Space Panic

More VotF

Mary Jo Pehl Interview
Kids Page
The Temp Test

Hall of Henchmen


Art Page
Message Board
Publishing Progress
NMD On Paper
Chapter One

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.