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8-10-01 - Antarctica?  It's a Little Chilly.

Any temp worth his salt knows to never, ever trust the directions the temp agency gives you.  It's always best just to get the street address, and plan your own route.

Still, sometimes we're just too lazy for that.  I started a new assignment today, and since I didn't need to be on the premises until 11am, I figured I'd have plenty of time in the morning to figure out how to get there.

Naturally, I overslept, and while I was scrambling around trying to get ready, I thought I'd just call the client themselves for directions.

My agent had only told me "I think they're located near the Oakland Coliseum."  So, I called the client and asked if they were, indeed, close to the Coliseum.

"Oh, yeah," the woman on the phone told me.  "It's right across the street."

Unfortunately, as I found out when I got off the train at the Coliseum, by "the street" she meant "the interstate."

Now, I don't want to split hairs, but I wouldn't refer to the interstate as a "street."  When I think of streets, I think of quiet, tree-lined, two-lane affairs.  You know, something you can cross on foot.  Calling the interstate a "street" is like calling the Grand Canyon "a divot" or Bill Paxton "an actor" or my charm and good looks "charm and good looks."  It's just a little misleading.

I wouldn't have a problem crossing the interstate during rush hour, because none of the cars would be moving, and I could just leap from roof to roof, like Pitfall Harry crossing a pond full of alligators.  But it's 10:30, so the traffic is both thick and moving very quickly.  I spot an overpass about a half-mile away, and trudge off, grumbling.

As it turns out, the woman who told me the interstate was a street has some other conceptual problems, because after crossing the overpass, I wind up walking almost two miles to find the office.  By the time I actually get to the job, I'm twenty minutes late and not exactly smelling like a rose, unless it's a rose that smells, for all intents an purposes, like an armpit.

I wind up being trained by the very woman I spoke to on the phone, which means: a) before we even get started, I'm already angry and annoyed with her, and b) I don't exactly trust her judgment.

I mean, if by "right across the street" she meant two miles over the interstate, what other misleading statements will she make?  By "make a copy of this" does she mean "make three hundred professionally bound copies"?  By "take care of the phones" does she mean "install a fully integrated wireless phone system"?  By "there's a great Italian restaurant around the corner" is she, in fact, referring to Italy?

"So," she asks me after a few hours, "what do you think of the job?"

"It's great," I say.

Two can play at that game.


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8-9-01 - Free To Good Home

Whoo!  It's always exciting when I hit a new low in terms of either personal or professional life!

Today, I had a one-day assignment at a property management office in Oakland, my favorite town.  At about 4:30pm, my supervisor said to me:

"Why don't you get out of here?  Go home early."

"Okay," I agreed.

"Oh, and let me know if you have a timecard or something, because we're not paying you."

"I'm sorry?" I asked.

"Well, we're not paying you, so let me know if I have to sign something."

Up until this moment, my supervisor had been a completely intelligible person.  Nothing she said didn't make sense.  This, however, didn't make sense.

"I'm sorry," I repeated.  "You're not paying me?"

"No, we're not paying you.  You're working here for free today."

After some discussion, she managed to get her point across.  It wasn't that I wasn't getting paid, it was that they weren't paying for me.

See, it was 'Free Wednesday' at my temp agency.  Rent a temp for the day, pay nothing.  My agency would pay my rate, the client wouldn't pay a dime.

This, I find, is humbling, and not a good sign for those in my line of work.  Available temp work has gotten so meager lately, agencies are having to compete with each other, offering discounts, free days, and, yes, even coupon deals.

At one of my recent jobs, I picked up a fax from a rival temp agency that read "Present this coupon and get eight free hours off your next temp order!"

Anyone else feeling like a Happy Meal toy?  

It's simply not a good sign if your strongest selling point is 'Buy one get one free.'  I'm starting to feel like a prize in a scratch-off game.  The only way this could be more of a blow to my dignity and self-esteem would be if I actually had any dignity and self-esteem to begin with.

Anyone want to adopt a temp?

How about two for the price of one?


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8-8-01 - VooDon't

Hello!  Welcome to a site that is not Not My Desk!  It's a different site!  Totally different, since the guy who was running Not My Desk is dead.  Yes, dead.  He died.  It seems, um, he was trying to catch a bus and was instead run over by the bus, and was also chewed apart by a police dog and choked to death on a ColecoVision cartridge.

So, he's gone.  You can't find him here.

So, just in case you happen to be an IRS auditor, to reiterate, the guy who runs this site is dead.  So, no reason to poke around here, or ever come back here, or bother him in any way, since this site is no longer his, and since he is, as I say, dead.

And, definitely no reason to, for example, scroll down a bit past this part.  No reason at all.

Okay?  Bye now!  Remember, he's dead!









Okay, so, that was a little smoke-screen, because I am being audited.  By the IRS.  Crap.

It seems that on my 2001 California State taxes, I claimed something I shouldn't have claimed.  Not out of malice, mind you, just out of general cluelessness, which is the manner in which I do almost everything.  You think they'd be a little more understanding, but nooooooo.

So, the IRS is after me, something I simply just don't need at all at this point in my life.  Not that anyone would ever need the IRS after them, but I really don't need it.

I went down to my mailbox this afternoon, and there were three things in it.  First, my paycheck (whoo!), second, my phone bill, which I haven't paid in about four months, so it eats up about half my paycheck (booo!), and third, an audit letter from the IRS (arrrrrg!).

And, do you want to know something really weird?  I had planned to spend most of my day cleaning out my closet, which I did, though in a much fouler mood than originally intended.  As I was going through some old, dusty boxes, I found this novelty voodoo doll: 


I can't even remember who gave this to me, or when, but it's been a few years, at least.  Anyway, as you can sort of see, there are little words written all over its body, and I guess the idea is, you stick the pins into the words, and that thing will come true.

One pin was stuck into the words 'START SMOKING' in his left shoulder.  I figure I started smoking long before I ever got the doll, so that's no biggie.  One pin is stuck into the words 'LOSE HAIR', which I've been doing at a steady rate for some time.  Well, I can probably blame genetics for that one.

However, there were a cluster of pins jammed into the doll's lower abdomen.

You can't quite see it in this picture, but all those pins are stuck into the words "IRS AUDIT."

Huh.  While I certainly don't believe a small doll with pins stuck in it caused the IRS to audit me, it is kinda weird I got the audit and uncovered the doll on the same exact day.

Still, I'm no dope (except when it comes to filing my taxes). I've redistributed the pins.  One is jabbed into 'NEW CAR', another into 'FIND GOLD'.  The rest?  Where I need them the most right now.


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8-7-01 - Why Can't Johnny Clap?

The other day I took a visit to the Winchester Mystery House!  This weird and spooky mansion was constructed by Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester Rifle fortunes.  Sarah believed the deaths of her husband and child had been caused by restless spirits of all those killed by Winchester rifles.  A fortune-teller told her she could foil these spirits by building a house.  And by building, I mean building and building and building.  And building.  She kept a team of architects and carpenters building around the clock for about thirty years, creating a labyrinthine mansion that has turned into a tourist attraction.

While the mansion was interesting, I'm not sure what the real mystery is, to be honest.  I mean, clearly, the woman was batshit insane.

Much like when I visited the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz.  The tour guide would say things like "In the cabin, see how you're standing at a 45 degree slant like that?  It's a mystery!  No explanation."

Well, I thought, one explanation might be that the cabin was built at a 45 degree slant.  But I didn't want to be rude.

Still, there are some real mysteries out there, namely:

1)  Airplanes:  How do they fly?  And don't gimme that crap about aerodynamics and lift and thrust and viscosity.  I ain't buyin' it, because airplanes are HUGE.  They weigh, like, a WHOLE LOT.  In my opinion, they CAN'T FLY.  It's IMPOSSIBLE.  I mean, I weigh about 55 pounds, and I can't stay airborne more than a few minutes.  It's a MYSTERY!

(Same goes for really huge boats that somehow float.  IT AIN'T RIGHT.) 

2) That little flap in my underpants... what's that for?  Am I really supposed to pee through it?  How come some underpants have it, and some don't?  MYSTERIOUS?  YES!!

3)  You know when you see a bunch of people clapping, like at a performance or a concert or something?  And there's always that one dude who looks like he never learned how to clap properly?  Like, his arms are all bent up and crooked and his hands look rigid and weird, and he's got that strained look of concentration on his face, like a dog does when he's taking a poo?  And, like, he's clapping way too hard and it just looks very awkward and unnatural, like he's trying to crush a very durable yet invisible can in his hands.  And instead of a 'clap clap clap' noise, his hands make a 'clump clump clump' noise?  What's his deal?  I think we have a MYSTERY here!

4)  Neckties.  Hi.  I have a strip of cloth tied around my neck.  The nicer and more expensive this strip of cloth is, the more professional I am!  Do you know why?  I don't!  Set sail for MYSTERY!

5)  How can a show like Big Brother exist?  I mean, who wants to listen to people blather on endlessly about themselves?  You can get plenty of that on public transportation, or on line at the bank.  Or on this website!


This weeks Diversions:  Games I'm not smart enough to win!  First, Fiver, which is annoyingly hard (for me).  I can do the first two board sizes, but that's about it.  Also, try the Q-Puzzle... it's like a scrambled picture, but I'll be damned if I can figure out how I'm even supposed to start putting it back in order.  It's all mathy.  And finally, something I think spinn posted a while back, Theses and the Minotaur.  Progressively more difficult mazes to solve, all involving the damn Minotaur breathing down your neck.   Them's hard!

Last Week on Not My Desk


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