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7-3-00 - Review - Office Playground
Well, here it is at long last. This review would have been up earlier, but my computer was having issues. I guess it realized that other items in my apartment, such as the couch and the barbells, were doing nothing but sitting there collecting dust, and decided to throw in with them. Everything seems to be working now, and by working, I mean not really working at all. Kind of like me at my temp job.
Anyway, here's the full review of Office Playground, a website that sells various office toys and desk accessories. Click here to read it, or check it out from the main reviews page. Click the Office Playground logo below to check out the official site.
6-29-00 - Not My Deck
Ah, computer solitaire. Nothing like it. As I sit here I wonder, in all of the office buildings in the world, within all the cubicles inside the buildings, on all of the computers within the cubicles inside the buildings, on all of the monitors connected to the computers within the cubicles inside the buildings... I've lost my train of thought. Oh, solitaire.
How many people are playing it right now? On their computers at work, in their office or cube, trying to wake up with a cup of coffee and a quick twenty or thirty games of computer solitaire... I figure if the average floor of an office building has, say, a hundred computers, and the average office building has, oh, fifteen floors, and the average United States of America has, maybe, a trillion businesses... well, the numbers speak for themselves.
Of course, some of them are cheating, using the "Undo" feature when they flip the cards to fast and need to go back for the seven of clubs. And "outline dragging?" Big cheat. All you have to do is pull each card along and it it'll glow if it can fit anywhere.
And when someone actually wins, and the cards bounce down the screen in that beautiful, bounding dance, they quickly look around to see if anyone can see that they won. They push back their chairs, giving the screen plenty of room, so anyone casually glancing in their direction can see just who can kick some solitaire butt.
At least that's what I do when I win.
6-27-00 - One Lump or Two?
Yesterday, NASA reported the discovery of a simple sugar molecule in space. The sugar molecule, or glycolaldehyde, was detected by the NRAO (National Radio Astronomy Observatory) 12 Meter Telescope in West Virginia. Identified by its faint but unique radio emissions, the sugar molecule was determined to be in a giant cloud of gas and dust near the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy, some 26,000 light years away.
Today, I made a sugar-related discovery today as well.
For weeks now, someone at my current assignment has been using the spoon in the sugar bowl to stir their tea, then placing the wet spoon back in the bowl. This annoys me more than anything has ever annoyed me in my entire life, with the possible exception of those Red Bull Commercials. First of all, by the time I get into the break room for my morning coffee, the culprit has already been in there, the spoon is already wet with tea, and the sugar in the bowl has formed itself into soggy brown clumps (and I could tell it was tea and not coffee by sniffing the brown lumps. Yes, I am getting professional counseling). Second of all, the frikkin' wooden stirrers are right there, man. Three inches away from the sugar bowl, in a little cup. All the stirrers you could possibly need.
I took it upon myself to discover just who this person was and give them a piece of my mind, or, knowing my non-confrontational self pretty well, glare at them when they weren't looking. The problem was, the sugar was sodden by the time I got there every morning.
Today, however, I somehow got to work a little earlier than normal, and instead of having a cigarette I went straight upstairs and grabbed my coffee cup. Heading into the break room, I caught the culprit red-handed. Turns out it was Drake Worthington, heir to the Worthington Family Oil Fortune!! Actually, it was just Madeline from reception. I watched her dump sugar in her tea, stir it, then plunk the spoon back into the sugar.
"There are stirrers right there, you know," I pointed out.
"Oh, I know," she said brightly. "Save a tree!"
I guess she didn't notice that the tree was already dead, carved up into slim wooden stirrers. Besides, she was drinking tea, which comes from leaves, which come from trees. I think.
The point is, maybe NASA shouldn't be so intent upon a lone molecule of sugar in space, when we've got our own sugar problems back here on Earth.
6-26-00 - Proactively Activating Active Activities
Whoo-hoo! Got a box 'o' goodies in the mail today. It seems Bill Ross, President of Office Playground is as good as his word. He sent over some samples of his office toys, and I sprang into action, feverishly playing with them while the faculty payroll update went un-updated. Thank you, Bill Ross, President of Office Playground! I shall have a full report by the end of the week. While I'm playing and neglecting my work, click on the Office Playground logo below and check out the goods for yourself.
Today is also my Dad's birthday, so I'd like to wish him a happy one, as well as wish him luck at his new job. Seems the old man is following in the footsteps of his son. Working a desk job, pushing pencils, making copies, sending faxes, and pawing through people's desks when they're not looking. Congratulations, Dad! Glad to see you're finally with the program.
Had a possible entry for the Memo Gallery cross my desk today. It contained the words proactive actions. Just like that, underlined and bold, as if to call attention to the embarrassing choice of words. Sadly, the rest of the memo was unremarkable and so incredibly long and boring I had no desire to retype it here.
Once again, if you come across any memos that make you laugh or shake your head, send 'em in! There just might be a prize in it for you! Probably not, though.
6-23-00 - A Banner Day
Huge thanks go to Shawn (http://mdxi.collapsar.cx/) who made a Not My Desk banner! It's up at the top of the page, and I'm absolutely thrilled with it. While I realize it's silly to put a banner for a website on the very website it points to, I'm going to keep it up there for a while because I like looking at it. If anyone wants to stick it on their own site, I will be much obliged, and I plan to shop around for some (hopefully inexpensive) advertising space on other sites as well. Thanks, Shawn, we here at Not My Desk are very grateful and impressed, as well as far too lazy to make our own banners.
Since I'm unashamedly kissing ass anyway, I owe a long-overdue nod to Rob (http://www.best.com/~rgm/) for answering a great many of my stupid questions and offering suggestions on how to clean up my pathetic, FrontPage-generated HTML, which I still haven't done (but I will, soon, I swear).
Thanks, guys. Your valuable help and selfless efforts have made me realize there are lots of wonderful people out there to take advantage of.
6-22-00 - Mail Bag
Yesterday I ran a bit on office toys I had spotted on Office Playground. Imagine my surprise when, this morning, I booted up and found an e-mail from Bill Ross, President of Office Playground! It seems Mr. Ross was quiet riled about my disrespectful treatment of his office toys, and demanded I remove any mention of his website and product from my site. That bastard!
Actually, that's not true. As much as I would welcome some controversy at Not My Desk, Bill's e-mail was very kind and complementary. An excerpt:
Bill, as it turns out, is a nice guy and not at all interested in threatening me with legal action. Oh well. Some day I'll manage to piss someone off, of this I am sure. In the meantime, Bill has added a link from his site to mine. Thanks, Bill!
He also wondered if I might consider adding Office Playground to my Reviews section, and I agreed. Of course, in order for me to do the kind of knowledgeable and fully comprehensive review that Not My Desk regulars have come to expect, I will need to obtain some of these office toys and play with them firsthand. Bill agreed, and immediately promised to send me some free samples (this is not true, actually, he made no such promise, but now I figure he'll be obligated to).
At any rate, I hope to have a full review of Office Playground and its products sometime early next week, so free up some time on your calendars!
6-21-00 - Toys
We here at Not My Desk were feeling kinda nutty at Update time, so the text is green! Green, I say! And in a slightly different font! We were going to bold it all too, but luckily we came to our senses. Sorry to spring this on you, but when those creative juices are flowing, we don't fight 'em!
Anyway, I was looking at a website called Office Playground, where they sell various office accessories and toys. Some fairly inexplicable ones at that (you can click on the little pictures).
Check out their "Backwards Clock." The pitch reads:
Imagine starting your day at the end of the day and working backwards to morning! Now that's deep. Put simply, this clock turns backwards. You can TOTALLY mess with your co-workers and boss with this classic office novelty clock.
As simple-minded as most of my co-workers are, I think they would accept a novelty clock before believing that time was actually running backwards. Then again, a girl I sit next to at my current job rings a "zen chime" to "balance" her "chi" whenever she gets "stressed", so you never know.
They also have "Ear Memo Clips."
Huh? Why "ear" memo clips, exactly? I don't really see the relevance, unless I'm missing something. I mean, maybe a clip shaped like little hands, or one like teeth (which they have, see the "Bite Me" Clip). Not funny or anything, but seems a bit more pertinent in regards to the motif of holding something together. It's fairly obvious from the copy that they don't understand it themselves:
Ear Memo Clips are great office fun. Just act like it's no big deal when you whip out a stack of papers held together with an ear.
Um, okay. Act like it's no big deal, which implies somehow that it is a big deal. So, while my co-workers are staring, amazed, bewildered, completely shaken at the sight of a ear holding some papers together, I play it cool. Gotcha.
They also have a "Nose Pencil Sharpener", which is a pencil sharpener shaped like a nose.
People from all over the office will come looking to stick their pencils up your nose! You should let them.
Of course, you can get a "Potato Pen". It is suggested that one might give a Potato Pen to a favorite client. Perhaps after sharpening his pencil with your nose. And just what is a potato pen?
It's a potato and it's a pen... it is a potato pen.
Can't argue with that.
Got any ideas for wacky office accessories? Well, have a drink and try to forget them.
6-20-00 - A Staffing Situation
There are many titles that have been given to those that temp: economic nomad, wandering specialist, retard, etc. Now I would like to add my own: professional prostitute.
It really does fit, if you think about it. Consider my temp agency. They find me jobs, or "tricks" and they keep about half of my money, so you might call them my "pimp." Think of the different companies I work for as disgusting greasy men I have to have sex with. And think of me as a ten-dollar whore. Well, nine-dollar whore, anyway.
I could also add that my butt hurts at the end of each day, but I won't.
I realize this analogy is not going to win me any loyalty with the proud, veteran temps who might be reading, and it might tarnish the enthusiasm of any young beginners out there. But I, for one, find it quite funny and endearing, on the days I don't find it demeaning and insulting.
It hit me one day while I was working reception for a credit card company. It was about my fifth temp job, and I'd been there a few weeks. As I was sorting mail, I came across an envelope from my temp agency. After holding it up to the light for a few minutes, I couldn’t help noticing that the contents had my name on it, and upon opening it, I saw it was the invoice for me. For sixteen dollars an hour.
Not a bad rate, really. Of course, I was being paid nine.
I guess I’d never really thought about it before. The agency has to get paid, and get paid a lot. They need to pay their staff, their office leases, airline tickets and ski vacations and expense accounts for their executives... it has to come from somewhere. But it just doesn’t sit right.
Sure, they provide an invaluable service. Where else can I find someone to call me at the crack of dawn, give me bad directions, the wrong contact name, and the wrong job description? Who else is going to notify me that I am eligible for benefits three days after my eligibility has expired? Where else can I find an agent so dedicated that she triple-books me for the same week in May, and so concerned for my future that although I routinely ask for short term assignments, she consistently assigns me on temp-to-hire positions? Why, I’d gladly give her forty to fifty percent of my paycheck!
Okay, I know I’m being incredibly cynical. After all, how else would I get work? Search the yellow-pages? The classifieds? Not bloody likely. Temping is the only way I know of that an socially awkward, unemployed college-drop out can call in at eight o’clock and be sitting at someone else’s desk at nine.
Still, I can’t help the feelings of hopelessness. This means in order for me to get sixteen dollars per, I have to be working a job that pays about thirty. A thirty-dollar an hour job would net about sixty-five thou a year. And if you’re making that kind of money, I don’t see them bringing in a temp to replace you if you’re on vacation.
Prostitute. That’s what I am. That’s what we are. And hey, it’s supposedly the oldest profession, right? And if it’s a profession, they’re gonna need temps.
Plus, it gives the term "staffing" a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?
Anyways, a short essay has been added. Click on this here word that is highlighted: here. Oops, you passed it.
6-8-00 - Take This Job and LOVE It
If you're anything like me, you're shy, have bad skin, and run a temping website. You're also wondering, "What can I do to get better temp jobs?"
Well, there's no easy answer to that, so let's look a few ways to make your current temp job more enjoyable. What follows is the first installment of the Temp's Guide to Job Enhancement.
1. Professional athletes sure look like they're having a lot of fun, don't they? If you think it's because they are earning millions of dollars to run around chasing a small inflatable ball, you're right. But something else is at play here, namely: celebration. So take a tip from the pros and celebrate every little thing you do. No matter how common or unexceptional the task, rejoice in a blatant, obnoxious display of happiness. After typing up a memo, dance around like complete fucking moron. Did that fax go through okay? Grab the fax machine and spike it into the carpet as hard as you can. Hey, you've entered the correct coding on a purchase order, why not drop to one knee and thank the Lord? Did you deliver that file to the secretary in Marketing? Get right in her face with some good-natured trash-talk. Sure, you aren't earning millions, you're not even doing anything exceptional. You're just doing what's expected of you, but that's no reason not to celebrate.
2. Words are fun! Make a real effort to use interesting and exciting words every day at work, and give yourself a new word each day to incorporate into conversations and phone calls. Here's a little list to get you started for next week:
3. At some point during the day, take a break outside, sit on a bench, and bitterly smoke a cigarette. Eventually, someone with no day job will come along, walking an enormous dog. The dog will come up to you, sniffing like mad, and you should put one hand on either side of his huge head, squish his face up, and say "Who's a big doggie? Who's a biggie-wiggie-doggie-doo-doo?? Who is??" And he'll look up at you and pant happily like you're the greatest person he's ever seen in his life. Then, with a wag of his huge, coffee table-clearing tail, he'll lumber off, dragging his hapless master with him, and you'll sit back on the bench, your shirt-sleeve damp with doggie drool, and feel better.
Got some suggestions for the Temp's Guide to Job Enhancement? Send 'em to email@example.com and I'll post 'em!
6-4-00 - Essay
6-1-00 - Aftermath
First off, if you haven't seen the memo I posted last time, click here to see it or just scroll down a few inches to the last update (5-22-00), and then come back here. Do it now!!
The response to that memo has been overwhelming, and this site has been bombarded by almost two dozen hits, topping my traffic record for the first time since both my parents looked at the site in the same day.
Lore from The Brunching Shuttlecocks (http://www.brunching.com/) decided to examine the syntax of the memo without the distraction of all the misspellings, so he replaced all the misspelled words with the word "smurf". You can take a look at his document by clicking here. Do it! Do it now!
We can see two things: First, the word "smurf" appears more times than it was actually spoken on the animated cartoon series.
Second, the memo is still horribly structured and written, and no amount of Smurfs (Smurves?) will change that.
I would like to thank four people for this memo. Of course, I can name none of them, but three of them were involved in delivering this memo to me, and of course, I need to thank the person who actually "wrote" it.
5-20-00 - The Horror....
Some changes have been made to the Memo Gallery, it looks a little nicer and there's two additions. Hopefully it will grow a little more in the weeks to come. Check it out here.
And once you've done that...
I have another memo to show you.
WARNING. This memo is not the type of thing normally posted here at Not My Desk. This is HARDCORE. This is HORRIFYING. The Not My Desk staff does not recommend that children under the age of 18, nor persons over the age of 65, view this memo. Moreover, Not My Desk is not responsible for any damages, be they physical, emotional, or spiritual, caused to any human being upon viewing this memo. This memo may hurt you. It may cause you to doubt your current belief system. It may make you cry. It may make you raise your fists to the sky and scream "Why, [insert name of omniscient deity], WHY???" You may not be able to finish viewing it, but believe me, this does not make you a weak person. If you're wondering why the word "viewing" is being used instead of the word "reading", you will soon find out.
A few things to keep in mind:
1. The author of this memo is an American. English is NOT a second language for the author. You will understand the relevance of this upon viewing the memo.
2. The author of this memo was an assistant-manager of a bookstore at the time the memo was penned. This implies that the author, at some point, was promoted from an entry level position.
3. Being the assistant-manager of a BOOKSTORE, one would expect that in the course of the author's daily life, the author was called upon to LOOK UP BOOK TITLES, something that requires, in my opinion, THE ABILITY TO SPELL.
4. The quality of this memo does not seem to suggest a hurried, no-time-to-proof-it approach, for the same misspellings occur over and over again.
5. The author deemed this memo ACCEPTABLE TO GIVE TO THE AUTHOR'S BOSS.
6. I am by no means very good at spelling myself, but DEAR LORD.
7. THIS IS A REAL MEMO.
If you dare.... click here. And peer into the very face of evil.
5-18-00 - Kids
Jeez! It's been almost a month since this site has been updated. Anyone still there?
For part of the reason for the delay, check this out.
Also added: a review of Clockwatchers, a long, slow movie about temps.
Speaking of delays and slow things, children in the workplace have really been slowing me down this week. On Monday, when I was sneaking downstairs in an attempt to take a fourth cigarette break, I was stopped short in the stairwell by a young tyke and his parents. The grown-ups were each holding one of the toddler's freakishly small hands as he slowly, one stubby-legged step at a time, descended the stairs, and the three of them together were impossible to pass without shoving one and taking them all down. Not that this didn't occur to me. I cleared my throat as loudly as possible, hoping one of them would move, but the proud mom simply turned to me, her face crinkled with pride as her almost ridiculously maladroit offspring struggled along. In case you were wondering, impatient glares have absolutely no effect on parents who are witnessing their tots exhibit any sign of even rudimentary motor skills.
Now, don't get me wrong. I do grudgingly admit that children are our future, and when that future comes, I suppose it is important that they be able to walk capably, but is the stairwell at work really the place to give them their first tutorial?
The very same day I headed to the soda machine for my caffeine fix, and there stood another child, expectantly pushing the "Pepsi" button, over and over, saying "Gum. Gum. Gum." I stood there, once again denied my cravings for legal stimulants, until the little girl's father wandered over, and explained to the child that it was not a gum-dispensing machine by saying "No gum. No gum. No gum." This went on approximately forever, until at last the little girl spun around and ran headfirst into my crotch.
Now, don't get me wrong. I hate kids.
4/22/00 - Changes
Some minor changes have been made to the site, including a reformatting of the main page. As of right now, when viewed through Netscape, the main page looks, well... interesting. I hope to have the problem solved soon, but right now it's very late and I'm going to bed.
I've also given Reviews and Memos their own sections; though they're fairly empty now I plan to beef them up a bit in the next week or so. Also, a Miscellany section has been added, to catch all the random stuff that doesn't really belong anywhere else.
4/19/00 - Review
You know it had to be done. Read my ridiculously long review of the1993 "suspense" film The Temp, starring Timothy Hutton.
4/16/00 - New Essay
An essay called Stinging in the Rain has been added, mainly because I'm tired of staring at it on my computer.
4/11/00 - Links & Thanks
Just want to thank my pal Dave, and his pals Oliver & Todd for letting me be a part of BottomEnd. Check out their band, Oxen, either through BottomEnd (http://www.bottomend.net/) or at http://www.oxen.net/. They rock, so give 'em a listen! You can download some MP3's or order a copy of their first CD, Animal Study, at their site. Tell 'em Chris sent you, and they'll say "Who?"
Also want to thank Mark (aka: Zompist, aka: Horselover Fat), who suggested I join the Spinnwebe Spiral. Check out Zomp's site at http://www.zompist.com/. I particularly enjoy The Zompist Phrasebook, which translates helpful phrases such as "I know I'm naked, could you just tell me how to get back to the hotel?" and "So far as I can see Heinlein is just a second-rate Ayn Rand" into French and Spanish. And of course, check out Spinnwebe itself at: http://www.spinnwebe.com/.
Thanks guys! Feels good to be a part of something, and I'm happy to send some web-traffic (read: my parents) your way.
I was feeling strangely productive at work the other day. I just felt like doing something, some actual work, you know? So, I left early, came home, and got a couple more essays ready for posting. You can read "Chairman of the Bored" and "Printer of my Discontent" either by following these links or from the main Essay page.
I'd like to reiterate my desire to get a memo gallery going. If you come across any sort of ridiculous official office correspondence, be it company-wide memo or e-mail, please send it to me, because I'd like my li'l gallery to grow. Check out what I've got so far here.
Additions to both the Essay section and the Field Guide today. The essay, "The Temppe That Tyme Forgotte", deals with an office that is a little outdated as far as current office technology goes, and the Guide section illustrates the downside of sitting at the desk of strangers for a living. If it ever turns out that there's an upside to it, I'll let you know. For now, check out "Not Your Desk" and get ready to shudder.
Also, and I'm very excited about this, I've made an exciting deal with a half-dozen temps across the country. They have agreed, with a minimum of begging, cajoling, and exaggerating my site's popularity, to set up webcams at their jobs. Not My Desk now brings you LIVE FEED of six temps working hard at their temporary assignments! On the off-chance that one of them is at lunch or away from their desks for some reason, you will find the reason for their absence typed into the terminal below their camera image to help you keep track of them all. The camera images update automatically every 15 seconds, so you won't miss a moment of the excitement! Check it out by clicking here!!
Got another memo. This one just blows me away. When you look at these things, remember that it was sent to everyone at work. I mean, I e-mail stupid shit to my friends all the time, but this was sent to everyone. Executives, directors, department heads... and temps. Thanks a lot to the good friend who sent it to me, it made my tail wag.
Wow! A new section has been added after only ten short days! Check it out either here or from the Field Guide page. It's titled "Two if by Bus" and it's about the horrible task of commuting, something I know a lot about because my limo broke down the other day, and I was forced to take a Towne Car. How frightfully bourgeois.
With any luck, some "information" about résumés and interviewing will be up soon, and maybe an essay or two. Also under consideration is some sort of interactive thingy, where people can send in ideas and I can pass them off as my own. Suckers!
I'd also like to start a memo gallery. If anyone gets any weird or ridiculous memos or company-wide emails at your temp jobs (and I know you do), send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like your name or e-mail address withheld or posted, be sure to let me know, and please don't send them as attachments if at all possible. Just include the memo in the text of your e-mail. I posted a memo last week and it's along the lines of what I'm looking for, just something that makes you wonder how the person who wrote it got hired in the first place, and how they got promoted, and how much more money they make than you, and how depressing that is, and how you will ever manage to get anywhere in this cold, meaningless, stifling world.
Okay, so I have some actual content now. Perhaps the blank pages were better?
Thanks for the kind words of those few "lucky" enough to participate in this, the "beta testing" period of notmydesk.com. Despite my immature material, my complete lack of web design skills, and the absence of any downloadable hardcore pornographic movies, everyone has been very supportive and encouraging. Go ahead, give yourselves a big round of applause, pat yourselves on the back, grope your buttocks, whatever makes you feel good. The feedback I've gotten has really made me want to work more on this site, and I plan to, just as soon as Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is over.
Speaking of porn, if I could find some I'd post it, but I think reports of adult material on the internet have been greatly exaggerated. I can't find anything but websites devoted to family pets and Rainbow Brite.
Check out this memo I got at work today. This is from the Dean of the University I am working in. You'd think the Dean of a University would have, oh, important things to worry about.
Coming soon: A color!!!
What's new? Well, this website, for one. Yes, I have joined the elite group of absolutely everyone on the planet and gotten my own website. Despite the fact that I have no web-publishing skills to speak of, after only three days of constant toiling I have managed to publish a number of blank pages.
These pages are lovingly rendered with nothing, the graphics, of which there are none, are not present. The text, after much debate, has been presented in the delicately ornate Junior Helvetia Brush Script Minor font, sized for optimum readability, tested against several backgrounds, then omitted completely. Speaking of backgrounds, initial focus groups voted unanimously that they did not actually exist, but if they did, they would certainly prefer a plain white background.
Hopefully there will be some more content within the next seven or eight months, so stay tuned!
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