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 did not include drawers for utensil and condiment
Amenities Room should include drawers for eating/serving utensils.
Okay. Duh. Basic
stuff there. Let's move on.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Only allow blind people to read website. Stop claiming to update
daily. Do not deprecate self so much, you pathetic, short, balding
See you tomorrow!
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
"Chris, what are you
"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
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 &
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
8:00pm - Keynote Address...
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!
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!
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!
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 --
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 -
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").
Week on Not My Desk!