aural identification

it’s been noted previously that i have a strange affectation when it comes to people and their sneezes. it most often comes up at work because there seems to be a significant number of particles in the air. i hear at least 30 sneezes a day. seriously.

i only use my regular retort with close coworkers, so as not to confuse those who aren’t familiar with my ways… this leads to me having to endure several sneezes after which i have to stop myself from blurting out “MASTERBLASTER!”

i’ve one co-worker, who sits fairly close by, that covers at least half of the sneezes for which i cannot answer. i’ve got the sound memorized, and i imagine it looks a lot like the following:



another co-worker sounds like he’s trying really hard to cover up… as i’ve memorized the first sneeze, he, too, cannot be wished good health, or even acknowledged:



and there is yet a third, who tries with all of his might to hold that sneeze in.



but, eventually, his body wins and he has to let it out; through his nose.



this leads me to the conclusion that, if given the chance, i could identify several people in my life solely based on their sneeze. and if needed, i could be a witness in an audible police line up.



what business is it

i’m generally not a fan of expressing one’s individuality with stickers on a car or political lawn signs. the ones i don’t really mind, tho, are ones that remind us of laws… like, sharing the road with motorcycles, or slowing down cuz kids are playing.

there’s one that *always* tricks my eye and every time, i think, “what makes giraffes so special?!”



when, in fact, it actually reads as follows:




it happened again… except this time, it’s worse.

my boss came over to my cube and leaned over the stark, brown wall that i’ve recently come to loathe. he uttered the following:


imagine my excitement when i was told that i would be responsible for copying some 200-odd open bug tickets for a website that we launched in july from one vendor’s bug-tracking system to a new vendor’s.

by hand.

but! not before having to deal with our own tech support IN INDIA to get access to the website that WE RUN.



so i get to spend the next two weeks dealing with an excel spreadsheet and some archaic bug-tracking system.


personal fan

we all have relationships with the people that we have the pleasure to work with… after a while, the origin of said relationships can sometimes get fuzzy and fade away from memory. i have one particular relationship at work whose beginning (and subsequent continued existence) is far from faded. allow me to tell you the story here.

in november, 2008, we lost quite a few coworkers to “workforce reduction”… it was a long, sad afternoon. most of us sat around waiting for the unpublished, secret list of 40+ people to make its way around the building.



by the time 5 o’clock rolled around, those left standing were exhausted and more than a little deflated. i took my sorrows to the neighborhood pub while wondering if the coworkers i’d never see inside the building again would be ok.

later, as i was on my way out, i ran into someone who works in the warehouse on a forklift, and also drives one of the company-owned trucks. he’d always had a smile on, but this time he looked concerned. it should be noted, at this point, that he has a rather remarkable way of styling his hair and dressing.


we confirmed that we were both still employed, and right before i left for the night, i reached my right hand out to offer a shake. instead, i got a kiss.


ever since then, whenever he sees me at work, i get a particular type of wave and a smile.

it’s kind of become a joke with me and another coworker… especially when we run into him in the warehouse on one of his lifts.


recently, while he was obviously the b.m.o.c. concentrating on t.c.b., he managed a wave without skipping a beat.


and, that’s the beginning and middle of my awkward work relationship.

the webinar

i usually start my day off with about 15 tabs open while i slowly weed through news of the day, techy crap i missed last night, and user experience junk that i can save for when someone finally lets me redesign our checkout.


when i hear my boss’ familiar steps coming from 5 feet away… he sits down in my guest chair and says that he has a favor to ask. he prefaces it with, “cuz you’re really good at typing…”
with slight trepidation, he asked me to transcribe a webinar* that he watched recently.
i gladly obliged… and as it sunk in, it became clear that this was ridiculous. though, i kept it to myself and dutifully typed what i heard, verbatim; practically with one hand.


so, after mixing up my dailies with the transcription service i now apparently run, i hand off the document, all wrapped up in a neat little package of information, and receive a “thanks! this would have taken me all day.”
at lunch, i revealed that this had taken place and we made an interesting observation. it is as follows:
in the past, a fellow co-worker has shared fond stories about his old-timey shaving apparatus, and has a deep affinity for beards and general traits of manliness. we all know this about him and it’s become sort of revering.


we decided that the equivalent experience in his case, would be if my boss declared co-worker’s skill in self-grooming and asked to be shaved by him.


laughter ensued; until reality set back in.
*i positively abhor corporate-speak and the words people make up to convey simple thoughts and ideas that make the person saying it sound ridiculous.

come on, guise

there are few things more annoying to me than having to use a public restroom… especially when it’s compounded by the fact that you *know* the people since it’s you probably also sometimes have to use the restroom at work.


here’s a tip for everyone… there are several visual indicators that a stall is occupied; especially when it’s the *only* stall occupied. a quick glance does a pretty good job of helping you pick your 2-minute throne. or rather, which one *not* to choose.
in case you missed it, or are otherwise unable to see, i’ll help:


there is no reason, earthly or otherwise, for you to choose the stall directly adjacent to the only other person in the whole, sterile, brightly-lit, echoey room.


at work, there’s a couple of water fountains by the bathrooms. they’re good for grabbing a sip on the way to a meeting.


but they’re too shallow for filling a nalgene more than 8 ounces because you can’t get the angle right.



additionally, if someone flushes, the water pressure decreases to the point of almost nothing and then comes back a second later, so you stand there getting your hand wet and none of the water gets in the nalgene.


it’s highly frustrating.


we live next to this really great park… people without dogs barely use it, and people with dogs frequently do (even tho they’re not technically allowed). we took them over a couple nights ago… it was kinda late for all of us, so it was extra dark.


once we crossed the bridge, they both took off into the forest. normally, this isn’t a huge deal, but something seemed a little off.


moments later, i could hear rustling and jones making a couple choice noises.


so, we ran toward the trees yelling for them to come back out.


eventually, they both ran back toward us and i could tell jones had been sprayed by a skunk before he even got close. he was shiny and disgusting.


if you’ve never smelled fresh skunk spray, consider yourself on the left hand side of luck.


we spent the next what seemed like forever figuring out the chemistry of hydrogen peroxide, shampoo, and baking soda washing the poor guy off.


invert yourself!

we recently purchased an inversion table in an attempt to remedy back troubles. i’ve had a pinched nerve since october of last year, and recent stressors haven’t helped any.



you basically get on, clamp your ankles in the holder and lay down. if you put your hands above your head, the table falls back further and pressure is released from the spine. this is supposed to be done twice a day and at the same time each day, preferably.



so, you lay, suspended by your feet, for five to seven minutes and then pull yourself back up when you’re done. but, not too fast! the instructions clearly state that if you get dizzy upon standing, you’re doing it wrong.



terrible customer experience

so, i had one final package to mail off to the judge after my divorce hearing. it’s required to be in his hands within 30 days, so i promptly made copies in triplicate, prepared the packets of said copies, and headed over to the post office on my lunch break.

of course, everyone and their mom had something to mail today. but, i was relieved to see that the world of automation has been extended into the realm of postal options. i interacted with a very polite little touch-screen, and received first-class postage for my 1lb 7oz package (incidentally, it set me back $2.07).



i proceeded to the left where the huge metal box was positioned to receive the package; not unlike a book repository.



i slipped my envelope in its anthropomorphous mouth and slid the drawer up with a satisfactory thump. unfortunately, i was presented with an alarming message!



immediately, my brain tried to recall how many ounces made up a pound and in the second that i realized my package had to be more than 13 ounces, i figured some haz-mat post office guy would discard this very important package and i’d get perjured or held in contempt or have a warrant issued.



luckily, my paranoia got the best of me and i called when i got back to the office and was assured that if the machine issued postage, my package was safe.