| zompist | brunching
the temporary home for permanent temps
4-6-01 - Crap
Just a quick thought:
While I am certainly appreciative of the inventor of the restroom stall for having the foresight to put coat-hooks on the insides of all the doors so that I may hang my coat while I attend to my bodily functions, I am most certainly not appreciative of the inventor of the restroom stall for leaving a NICE BIG THREE-INCH GAP between the door of stall and the wall, so while you're sitting there, in the stall, on the can, door closed, and your supervisor walks into the restroom, you can look up and make eye-contact with him through the RIDICULOUSLY WIDE AND COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY GAP between the stall door and the wall, thus creating an uncomfortable moment, because you're sitting there honking one out while looking directly into the eyes of the guy you work for, which leads to an even more uncomfortable moment, occurring the next time you see your supervisor outside the bathroom, and you're really afraid he's going to ask you how it all went, much as he asks you how your cigarette was when he sees you outside smoking, or how your book is, when he sees you outside reading, only this time, he's seen you doing something you have no real interest in discussing with him.
4-5-01 - Click Here!
When my agency called me about my latest job, they told me what my responsibilities would be, what sort of skills I needed, who I would be working with, how long the job would last, and the usual sort of info.
But every temp knows, it's not what they tell you, it's what they leave out. In this case, it was some important information about my supervisor, a guy named Tod.
When Tod came down to meet me at the front desk, the first thing I noticed were these braces on his wrists. The braces had velcro straps and ran from his palms to his forearms. They are, he told me, necessary, because he is suffering from severe carpal tunnel syndrome, and possibly tendonitis, in both arms.
"You're going to have to be my hands," he said.
And I am. I'm his hands.
My job consists of sitting at his desk, in front of his computer, using his keyboard and mouse, while he sits or stands next to me, telling me what to do.
Exactly what to do.
At any job, there is a period like this, and it usually lasts at least a few minutes, sometimes a few hours. This is just the training period, however, and once you're up to speed, they leave you alone, you forget everything, and start surfing the web.
I am not being trained. I am being his hands. All day long, I listen to this:
"Click there. Now click there. No, there! Click that! Widen that cell. Click that button. No, the other one! Mouse over to the left. Now click that. Scroll up. Save as. Highlight that part. No, not that part, that part. No, that part! Click that! Open this up. Drop the menu down. Now highlight that part. No, the other part. Hm. That's wrong. Close that. Okay, open that other one. Not that one, oh, wait, that's the right one. Hm. Drum your fingers on the mouse thoughtfully for a minute. Okay, now stop. Open that. Open it and minimize it. Click that. No, that!! Hey, there's Suzy. Wave to Suzy for me. No, not like that! Wave harder. Where did you learn how to wave? More wrist action! Not that much wrist action, are you gay or something? Never mind, she's gone now. Back to the database. No, the other database. Click that. Save it. Open that file. Click it. Now move it. Click there... no, THERE! THERE!!! Scroll down. Open that thing. Click it. My leg itches, scratch it. No, the other leg. Scratch it! No, there. Higher! Not that high, are you gay or something?"
And so on.
This will all end badly.
Actually, I'm not sure who this is worse for. It must be frustrating for a guy to not be able to use his hands, and have to sit there giving explicit instructions for every single mouse-click. Whenever I have to train someone on the computer (even though I'm a temp, it happens a lot), I'm only able to give them so many instructions before I want to slap their hand away from the mouse and do it myself.
On my side of things, it's annoying enough having someone look over your shoulder, let alone look over your shoulder ALL DAY. While barking orders. And when he takes a phone call or talks to someone, there's nothing I can do since I haven't been trained. So, I just sit there like a vegetable until he is done. Sometimes I sit there for almost an hour, unless he needs me to gesture or something.
I had a thought today, between clicking the thing (no, the other thing) and scrolling down (no, not that far), that we were in Fantasia. He was Mickey Mouse, the Sorcerer's Apprentice, and I was a broom, the lifeless, mindless drone he puts into action. Maybe, eventually, he will set me in motion, and I won't stop. I'll keep clicking. And scrolling. And clicking. And saving. And scrolling. And clicking. And nothing will stop me, until the Sorcerer (or the Director of Human Resources) comes back and fires me.
Anyway, place your bets on who will snap first. I'm too slow for him, and he's too annoying for me, so it's gonna happen. At least I'll see it coming, I mean, he can't strangle me without his hands.
And I'm his hands.
4-4-01 - Femme Fatality
Nearly all temps are female, and nearly all movie henchmen are male. Still, there are exceptions to both rules, and here's one of them.
Henchwoman of the Week: Helga Brandt
Featured In: You Only Live Twice (1967)
Essential Accessory: Exploding lipstick
Fashion Faux Pas: White shoes after Labor Day
Fortune-Cookie Fortune Taped to Monitor: "You will meet a tall, dark stranger with a speech impediment."
Termination: Skeletonized in under thirty seconds
Temporary Assignment: Temps, have you ever had a boss who blurs the line between administrative assistant and personal assistant? Supervisors that don't see any difference between you taking dictation and picking up dry-cleaning? Or between writing a memo and chopping firewood? Or maybe between light filing and assassinating secret agents?
Our henchwoman this week, Helga Brandt, certainly seems to have that problem. When she first appears, she is piloting her boss's helicopter onto a landing pad on top of a building, and moments later, she is serving drinks to her boss and his guest, the dashing Mr. Fisher.
Miss Brandt is henching for Mr. Osato, the owner of Osato Chemicals, a company deep into dealings with S.P.E.C.T.R.E., an organization even more evil than Microsoft (but slightly less organized). S.P.E.C.T.R.E. wishes to trick the world powers into starting a war by capturing their satellites, or something (the screenplay for this film was written by Roald Dahl, the guy who did Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, so although the plot is convoluted, just be happy there are no disturbing, chanting midgets).
And Mr. Fisher, as it turns out, is actually the insufferably smug British secret agent, James Bond.
Brandt is introduced as Osato's "confidential secretary," although, as mentioned, she is soon schlepping drinks and enduring lecherous leers from Mr. Bond (his eyes crawl all over her while she retrieves champagne from a small refrigerator). Osato and Bond make small talk, Osato stating that "Cigarettes are very bad for your chest."
"Mr. Osato believes in a healthy chest," Brandt purrs, arching her back to better display her cone-like bosoms. While most certainly a looker, Brandt isn't much of a dresser. She wears a bright orange blouse, an off-white skirt, and white pumps. It's okay, though, for Bond has no doubt already undressed her in his mind.
Osato, meanwhile, is not fooled by Bond's cover as Fisher, a man looking to obtain a chemical manufacturer's license, and after the government-paid psychopath leaves, Osato barks "Kill him!" to Brandt.
So, in the space of a few minutes, Brandt has been a pilot, a waitress, and now, a hitman (woman). She picks up a phone (we assume to call her agency to get a higher rate) and moments later Bond is dodging bullets fired by some thugs in a car.
At least she knows how to delegate.
Bond escapes the attempt on his life, only to have more thugs try to kill him at a shipyard. They fail, utilizing the age-old thug practice of "If he's far away, try to kill him, but if he's right next to you, just knock him unconscious." They do, and he awakens aboard the Ning-Po (pronounced Ning-Poo), a luxury yacht. Tied to a chair in Brandt's private cabin, Bond spews sexist remarks while Brandt, dressed much more seductively now, slaps him around and threatens him with a scalpel. We get the feeling Bond normally pays for this sort of thing.
Slaps and threats give way to tepid, stiff-lipped kisses and an agreement to fly to Europe together. Brandt frees Bond and gives him the scalpel, which he uses to cut the straps of her dress. Of course, he still has to unzip her dress to get it off, making his strap-slashing seem pointless and amateurish, not to mention a waste of a perfectly good gown.
On board Brandt's two-seater plane, Helga throws some exploding lipstick at Bond's feet, pins his arms under his tray-table (now you know why they must be in the upright and locked position during take-off and landing), and parachutes to safety. Bond frees himself with a lame karate chop, and lands the plane, nonplussed.
Later, Osato and Brandt are called into the office of Number One, the faceless CEO of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., to answer the question of why Bond is still alive, unharmed, and free to kill thugs, blow up helicopters, and degrade women.
Osato, knowing full well that shit rolls downhill, points the finger at Brandt. Using a footpedal (his hands are busy stroking his cat, and that's not a euphemism), Number One drops Brandt into his piranha tank, where she is quickly skeletonized.
I bet even Bond wouldn't want to jump those bones.
Performance Review: Helga Brandt certainly has a wide array of marketable skills, but sadly, like most henchpeople, she is lacking in the one she was primarily hired for. Bond was unconscious and tied to a chair, but before doing away with him, she just had to do him.
Women. All they think about is sex.
Helga Brandt was played by Karin Dor, a German actress who has starred in over fifty films and television shows.
4-3-01 - Button For Punishment
Ooooh! Lookie! Some artwork from Lance of lanceandeskimo.com! Whoo-hoo! Nothing makes me happier than extremely talented people wasting their time by making me something cool:
I think he captured the facebuilding lady quite well, don't you?
Thanks, Lance! That inspired me to work on some linking buttons, since people have been asking me for them recently and I don't really have any. Of course, inspiration doesn't give me actual skill, so these are pretty ugly (and not as cool as spinn's button at the bottom of the page), but it's a start, anyway.
Oh, and I had the marketing department from the movie RPM work up a catchy one too (if you're wondering what that means, scroll down and see yesterday's update):
Also, if anyone is wondering why there hasn't been much in the way of temping humor here lately, it's simply because I haven't been temping. I was sick for a little over a week, and then couldn't find an assignment for a few days. But I'm starting something new today, so hopefully I'll have some new temping skinny soon.
Tomorrow: Henchman of the Week? Hmm... sorta...
4-2-01 - It's a Temping Website
(New Diversions this week: In honor of baseball season starting (and the Rangers getting whomped by the Jays on opening day), there's Home Run Rally (requires Shockwave 5). It's a little tricky at first, but it's fun. Also, Othello is more than just a board game, it's also a play by Shakespeare! But the game is way cooler so I linked to it (it's an applet). And finally, for some hot 1980's action, try the Rubik's Cube applet! Links are down on the sidebar, peeps.)
(This week, I'll make a page for the past Diversions, so no one has to dig for old ones.)
(Also, Henchman of the Week has its own page now.)
The other day, I was browsing through my local video store, and I spotted this movie called RPM. Just by looking at the box, you can see it reeks of cheesy, straight-to-video crap, but my favorite part is the tagline:
They're addicted to stealing fast cars.
Okay. Sure. It's straightforward, it's easy to understand. Not much of a tagline, though. Even for a David Arquette movie, it seems a little uninspired. In fact, it seems like just a description of the movie. I mean, they could have at least done something like:
RPM: They've got the feel for stealing the wheels!
RPM: Rack and Pinion Stealing!
Okay, both of those suck major ass, but still. Just a little imagination can work wonders for your tagline (and lower back pain).
Just imagine if the marketing department for RPM had created taglines for a bunch of other films... hmm... I wonder what what would that be like...
(*the pictures on the left side of the page contain the original tagline**)
(**there are some big pictures, so it may take a little time to load. Sorry)
All material © 2000 - 2001 by Christopher Livingston. Yeah. That'll hold up in court.