Monday, April 27, 2009

Manic Monday #2

I have decided to see how long I can go without voluntarily consuming sugar. Not for any medical or dietary reason but because I feel the need to spice up my life with a series of pointless self induce dares.

These new pens I bought are just the thing I needed to finish my screenplay. Well that and a plausible third act.

Am I a party popper because I refused to go and sing “Happy Birthday” to a co-worker?
Absolutely I am.

4345798 – The number of times I have heard the phrase “swine flu” used today. I expect it to become a major excuse anytime a co-worker wanted to take a day off this spring.

I never think to order Jimmy John’s myself but if someone around here mentions it I start flinging money at them while screaming “Get me a #7” at volume 20.

Every foreign office of ours seems to be off this Friday but that doesn’t bother me because I already took that day off.

Today is Samuel Morse’s birthday. Have a slice of cake in honor of the man who turned the bored drumming of fingers into a whole language.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Calling All Fans Of The Written Word

As a person who holds a degree in Creative Writing I always think it is amazing when someone finishes a book and starts down the road to getting it published.  So when I saw that Diesel who runs Humor-Blogs had written a book and was searching for a publisher or agent or whatever people do once that actually finish a manuscript I thought, "Excellent, someone who wrote something that wasn't associated with James Patterson*".

So if you are interested in learning more about this yet unpublished piece of fiction head over to the website for Mercury Falls and sign the list so he can get this thing published.

Why am I asking you to do this for someone I barely know?

Two reasons:

1) I hope that once I finally get my book (or screenplay or pamphlet or haiku) finished I hope that the fine people of the Internet will help make a success out of it.
2) I don't think it will hurt my rating over at Humor-Blogs.

~ The Office Scribe

* For those of you unfamiliar with the world of popular fiction James Patterson is the author of such gems as "Kiss the Girls" and "Along Came A Spider".  And while I am a fan of his writing (his chapters are like 4-5 pages each) the man somehow manages to publish 2-3 books a year and co-author as many more.  He must have a warehouse full of monkey's typing in order to produce that much work.

I wonder if he rents them out...

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Great Paperweight Debate

You’ve seen them on sale at museum gift shops and on eBay. In the movie “After Hours” one of the characters made them in the shape of a bagel. They are pretty and nice and nowadays serve absolutely no point what so ever.

I give you: The Paperweight

Like a crystal ball it beckons you to purchase it at the swap meet or yard sale. You think “how fantastic, this would add a touch of class to my otherwise un-noteworthy cubicle”. But stop and think for a moment.

Back in olden times, when buildings were drafty and windows were always open due to a lack of modern temperature control, people needed paperweights. If they didn’t use the glass orb with a flower inside or the brass bulldog then their papers would go flying all over the place and a day’s with of productivity would be lost.

Nowadays though they are nothing more than dust collecting tchotchkes.

But I wish I had one today. Actually, I wish I had two of them.


Because it is currently 83 degrees in Chicago right now and I am stuck in an office building with windows that don’t open. And it sucks.

So I want one to chuck through the nearest windows and one to put on the stack of papers on my desk to keep them from blowing away when the sweet, sweet spring air drifts in and makes me content with life.

Vandalism in the name of fresh air it totally justifiable.

~The Office Scribe

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Balloons May Be Evil...

As part of a way to get everyone in the office to know their co-workers better the Fun Committee, of which I am a member, decided to do a little forced Meet and Greet.  Each employee was given a balloon with another co-workers name on it and they were supposed to find that person and introduce themselves.

Most of the people I heard from thought it was a really cute idea and they likes getting to meet people that weren't in their department.  Points for the FC, always a good thing.

But then a few co-workers started to inform me of the darker side of the balloon exchange.

- Apparently one obnoxiously crabby person came in, saw the balloon on their desk and popped, never giving it to the person they were supposed to.

- Someone on the other side of the building didn't give the balloon away because she was, and I quote, "scared of those people from the other side."  May I mention that I am one of these people?

- There was a piece of candy attached to each balloon as a weight.  Some people were keeping the candy and just giving the balloon away.

Seriously, sometimes I feel like I work with a bunch of pre-schoolers.

At least this group is potty trained.

I think...

~ The Office Scribe

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The AATU – Anti Amish Terrorism Unit

We have a lot of committees and groups in my office, but none is more important than the Anti Amish Terrorism Unit. Well, no group WILL be more important when I decided to actually recruit members for the AATU. The reason that I feel the need to create this group is because of what I found in the lunch room yesterday.

Casually sitting next to the coffee maker were two bags of what looked to be liposuction fat from the human body. And how would I know what that looks like? Like all the information I have stored in my head I learned about it from the movies. Remember that scene in Fight Club where Pitt and Norton are chucking bags of fat over the fence in order to make soap? That’s the first image that popped into my head when I saw what lay on the counter.

Turns out that I have a twisted mind and what it actually was were starter batches of Amish Friendship Bread. For those of you unfamiliar with this what I can only assume is incredibly suburban custom, here is the story behind it:

Apparently the only way the Amish can express emotions is through baked items. So when they want to be friends with someone, they give them a bag of this soupy, foamy mixture and then tell them to add some ingredients and BAM! you get some delicious bread that makes an excellent breakfast.

The downside is that when you make your batch of dough, you end up with three extra cups to then pass onto your friends. And so the circle continues until some lazy schmuck like me comes along, makes my bread, but never passes on the starter packs to others. Why? Because I find the concept creepy. Sure the end result is amazing and tasty but in order to get to it you have to spend 10 DAYS working on the starter, which includes letting a combination of yeast, sugar, flour, and milk sit out on your counter and ferment like cheap beer.

I am the kind of person who is a firm believer in the 5 minute rule and sharing cups and using things that are a little expired, but the thought of leaving things out to bubble in a Ziploc on the counter gives me the willies. Which is why I am convinced that the Amish are intent on some sort of world domination by making everyone eat bread that is made from sour milk. When we all keel over they know they won’t have to worry about cars spooking their horses as they drive to a barn raising or tourists gawking at the prices of their exquisitely made quilts. Or people shoving ice cream in their face or asking if they are bowling protégés.

And the best part of start the AATU? The Amish themselves will never know about it because it will be completely technology based. We can operate like a black bag ops group and sneak in when they least suspect us.

Who’s with me?

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Extreme Employee

Remember that group of extreme sports guys who were all amped up on Mtn Dew and Doritos that they made life hell for Harold and Kumar while they were trying to find a White Castle? Well if my office parking lot is any indication then those dudes work somewhere in my building.

I first noticed the banana yellow Toyota FJ Cruiser about a month ago.

Though it wasn’t the color that made it stand out (shocking, I know) No, that honor went to the two neon-colored kayaks securely strapped to the roof. In Chicago. In 30 degree weather. In the snow.

Recently the kayaks were replaced with a couple of sweet mountain bikes.

Oh, and I noticed, welded to the spare tire frame a metal box, painted in the same noxious yellow color, complete with bottle opener. It made me really want to know what these awesome extreme sport enthusiast living in the Midwest could possibly have in the magic yellow box.

The thing that really gets me is why is this mystery person hauling all of this equipment around with them? Do they kayak in the decorative pond with fountain located next to the building? Do they do some biking on their lunch hour on the frontage road that flanks a major highway?

Or do they possibly just think it makes them look edgy and trendy by showing up at their corporate job with a truck full of toys but really makes them look like giant tools?

I’m going with the latter.

~The Office Scribe

(And before your judge I will tell you, yes, I drive a POS Kia Sportage which I am getting rid of in the fall. If you would like to contribute to The Office Scribe's New Car Fund I'll let you know where you can send the check, or brown paper bag full of unmarked bills, to.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Manic Monday #1

I am stealing the title of one of my favorite songs from the eighties and a concept from some of my favorite blogs and starting a regular feature called “Manic Monday’s. See, my brain is still so often in an addled state from the weekend that I couldn’t possibly come up with something coherent to blog about. So basically every Monday I will record my random thoughts for the day and share them with you, in list form!

Why do we associate the color orange with decaf?

Sometimes I wonder why my vision has gone all wonky and then I realize my glasses are just dirty.

Hot tea does weird things to chewing gum. It makes the gum take on the texture of a dead slug. (Note: I have never eaten a dead slug. Earthworm – yes. Goldfish – yes. Slug – no.)

Yes, I know it’s 4-20 but I can think of any fun, creative jokes to go along with it.

I was on hold with Kitchen Aid today checking on the status of an order and the hold music was “Suicide is Painless” (aka the theme from M.A.S.H.). Good thing they had shipped my mixer because otherwise I would have ended it all.

The Chicago White Sox went on a tour of the White House today because the President is a fan. This inspired me to tell a Cubs fan co-worker of mine that “Sox Fans go to the White House while Cubs Fans go to the Big House (our former governor). This did not make her laugh.

The song “Donald Where’s Your Trousers” has been stuck in my head all day. Luckily I don’t work with anyone named Donald so if I am caught singing it out loud people will just think I am crazy and not sleeping with one of my co-workers.

Today I was asked to add “Crazed Fan Video Maker” to my ever expanding resume by a co-worker because she knows I own a video camera and spent some time in film school. Education – this is what it will get you.

~The Office Scribe

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dear Ron Howard, I'm Sorry

As I have made it know I have recently become obsessed with the service that is NetFlix.  It might possibly be the best thing since pre-slice mozzarella cheese best used in caprese salads.  I have been watching movies and TV shows as fast as the USPS can pick them up and deliver them. Actually I recently took a quiz on Facebook about how many movies I have seen in my life and I should probably venture out of the house more, but where is the fun in that?

So a few weeks back I got the first season of "Arrested Development" on DVD, a show that I did not watch while it was on but that friends and c-workers all told me I would love.   I watched the first seasons and damn if they were right.  It is possibly one of the best shows of all time.  I couldn't wait for NetFlix to deliver the following seasons to me so I went and watched them on Hulu (an absolutely wonderful sight for those of you who haven't discovered it yet or didn't see Alec Baldwin pimping it during the Emmy's).

I can't believe this show was cancelled after only three seasons.  And I can't help but feel like I am to blame for it.  Not others like me who should have been watching the show to keep is alive, but me personally.  I could have been the savior of "Arrested Development" and I blew it.

So Ron Howard, as executive producer and un-credited voice-over of the show, I am so sorry for not watching while it aired on Fox and waiting until it came to a DVD subscription service and a free website until I watched it.  It is brilliant and funny and I think I want to kidnap Jason Bateman and keep him in my basement (note: my condo doesn't have a basement, make that linen closet).

But I am happy to hear that a movie might be in the works and I promise, as an AD convert I will go see it opening weekend with my "MR F" t-shirt on while eating a frozen banana (not the second thing because I don't actually eat bananas).

I wonder what other TV shows are out there that I might be able to single handily save by tuning in?

~ The Office Scribe

P.S. - Since this is a blog about work I feel like I should tie this post into work somehow, so let me add an additional apology to my co-worker who I was passing the DVD's off to and then didn't order the second and third season because I watched them on Hulu which means he didn't get to see the other two seasons of comedic genius.  I guess I will have to track those down in order to keep a happy work environment...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Books

My co-worker and I were yelling over the cubicle wall* earlier today about books and reading and smart things like that and she said she had to return a book to the library. I then shouted back that I don’t like libraries, never have, never will. It’s one of those illogical fears we all have.

Personally, I love books. I currently am reading a few and have two or twelve manuscripts in the works. I could camp out for hours in a Borders with a latte. And I love librarians. One of the best neighbors I ever had was a librarian (and a substitute bus driver!) and my one aunt is currently a school librarian.

So why this absurd fear?


Yeah, you read that right. I have figured out that the reason I break into a cold sweat whenever I enter the “stacks” is because of the opening scene from Ghostbusters where Pete, Egon and Ray go into the New York Public Library and proceed to see floating books, ectoplasmic residue, and finally a ba-tshit crazy ghost librarian than goes all nutso looking when Ray tries to speak with her and sends the boys running like scared little girls.

Yeah, this chick scared me for life.

Though on the brighter side Ghostbusters also encouraged my love for all things paranormal and noxiously colored citrus fruit flavored drinks…

~The Office Scribe
*Because it's so much easier than walking the twenty feet around to speak to her face to face. Oh, and because my boss won't let me take a sawsall to the wall that seperates us to make a window.
Party pooper.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Black Is the New DB*

According to Wikipedia, the term blacklist refers to a list or register of persons who, for one reason or another, are being denied a particular privilege, service, mobility, access or recognition.

Anyone who has ever studied 20th century American history (and didn’t fall asleep during class) remembers celebrities and people of note being blacklisted in the 1940’s for possibly being Communists.

We actually have a blacklist here at work for clients. Can you imagine what it must be like to be blacklisted? And not because of your radical political or religious views, but because you are such a righteous pain in the ass that every single salesperson in the company refuses to work with you. That’s over 30 people who flat out decline to accept your multi-thousand dollar sale because you are a complete jag.

And I don’t think it is easy to get on this list. We deal with a lot of high maintenance people that need to be coddled more than a colicky infant. We hold their hands (not physically) and walk them through e-mails step by step. We explain everything which a normal person could figure out by using something called common sense. But it just comes to a point where enough is enough and your money is no longer good here.

I’ve never done this process myself but apparently a note is made on some secret (okay maybe I just can never find it) section on someone profile and like that *poof* they are dead to this company. How awesome is that?

I am never sure how a person is informed of their blacklist status but I like to imagine that one day their door bell rings and a barbershop quartet is standing there, singing a jaunty and harmonized tune about how horrible of a person they are and how they should be ashamed that they are the way they are. And then I want then barbershop quartet to track down the blacklisted clients parents and tell them what a crappy job they did of raising their children. Should their parents no longer be around a giant erected on the client’s front lawn should suffice.

Sorry, my imagination seemed to run away with me.

But it makes me wonder what other companies have lists like this. Like one day will I be denied my latte at Starbucks because I always complain about the temperature of the milk?

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here…

~ The Office Scribe

* Notice I did not type out what “DB” stands for. I like to keep my posts somewhat clean. And if you can’t figure out what it means, ask any 15 year old. I am sure they will be able to define it for you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Now Know Why The World Is Weeping

Today is not a pretty day. Huge fat cold raindrops are falling from the heavens like the tears of cherubs. I assume no one is smiling though it is hard to tell because everyone is hidden under the black nylon of a sensible corporate friendly umbrella. Though I know the sun is technically somewhere in the sky above me it is impossible to see beneath the heavy grey clouds.

And I know why this weather haunts us like specters of lovers past…

No, it’s not because it is April and the old adage of “April Showers bring May Flowers” decided to kick in half-way through the month.

Nor it is because the weather gods know how much I like baseball and want to postpone as many games as possible due to inclement weather.

No, the firmament is drab and dreary today because my lovely Walt Disney World Resort cup lid cracked and I had to throw it away.

A deal for anyone who stays on the property at $13.95, this cup allows unlimited refills from the canteen in each resort. When I was there last October in the morning it would be filled with steaming hot tea in order to wake me up for the fun filled day ahead. At noon it was a Diet Coke to quench my thirst. In the evening a simple hot chocolate which would help lull me to sleep in preparation for the next day.

And when I returned home it came to the office and acted as my tea cup, keeping it the perfect temperature for casual sipping as I progressed through my work.

But now it sits sadly in the trash next to the sink in the lunch room and the world weeps for its demise.

~The Office Scribe

* Sorry about the overly descriptive, flowery writing. I was talking to my cousin at Easter yesterday and he was making fun of me having a degree in Creative Writing and I felt like I needed to justify that diploma in a post today.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday? Make That Great Friday!

Each year we as employees are given a choice: Take Good Friday off as a paid holiday or work Good Friday and get another paid day off during another time of the year.

Since I never have any special Good Friday plans I always opt to work. My logic is why take a gloomy (Good Friday is always gloomy, ask Jesus) day off when I can work and then take a nice, sunny spring day off and go and visit the monkeys at the zoo?

So even though today might be the most mind-numbingly boring work days on the calendar (since every other person on the planet has it off) it has had its perks:

- My VP bought us all pizza for lunch. And no day, no matter how crappy it is, can’t be made a little brighter with a slice of pizza.

- There was NO LINE AT STARBUCKS this morning. Which means I got my Iced Venti Quad Non-Fat Latte in 7 minutes as opposed to the normal 15…

- Again, since no one else is working I was able to park in a spot only three away from the door, even though I started at ten which usually means I am parking in a spot closer to the office building next door

- I’m headed to my aunt’s house this evening to participate in one of the oddest holiday traditions aside from decorating dead foliage and encouraging children to take candy from strangers; egg decorating.

- Tomorrow night is the annual television broadcast of “The Ten Commandments” and I am trying to figure out all of the rules for the drinking game that accompanies it.

So to those of you who are like me and are part of the .0002% of the population that are stuck working, don’t fret, it could be worse.

You could be working at a job where you are abducted by pirates. And I don’t mean the hot Disney ride inspired kind…

~ The Office Scribe

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fish Out of Water (please throw it back)

We all know one. A certain co-worker who is a bit awkward. Wait, awkward doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what kind of person they are. “Socially retarded*” might be a better choice.

There are a few people I work with that fit this category but no one so much as, well, I’ll call her Cathy.

Cathy is generally a nice person but I have about as much in common with her as I do a can of Diet Cherry 7-UP. She is one of those people who I find myself trying to avoid at all costs because it is just painful to have to interact with her. Here are some of the reasons that I will duck into an empty cubicle instead of speaking with her:

- She is one of those people who likes to go on tangents. For example, you may mention that you saw a robin this morning. She would reply with something along the lines of “My grandson loves Robin and perhaps even Batman more. Did you hear about how he died of a drug overdose? My grandson doesn’t do drugs. Except his asthma inhaler. Poor things wants to play football but he can’t. He’s got a metabolic imbalance that probably won’t make people want to date him either. Hell, you’re single, right?”

- She gets easily confused by technology even though she works with a complex computer system every day

- While in group settings she likes to randomly shout out things which she thinks are funny but just make people squirm awkwardly instead of laugh

- She owns more Christmas sweaters than any other person on the face of the planet

- One of my biggest pet peeves – she has no common sense. She likes to make grandiose suggestions while planning fun activities. If we have a budget of $100 for a party she will want to get everyone custom made shoe horns with the company’s logo on them.

- If she hears someone say something like “I think most people would want that” she makes a point of saying how she has never liked the item – be it alcohol, water, breathing, motorized transportation, modern medicine or a paycheck.

Sadly since she works in my office I can not cut out communications with here completely.

But you can’t fault a girl for trying.

~The Office Scribe

* I know, the use of the word "retarded" is not really PC. But sometimes it is the best word for certain situations. Don't beieve me? Head over to Mattress Police to see what the wise Diesel has to say about the topic.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Office Equivalent of Your High School Yearbook

I have a vivid memory of sitting at my high school graduation, decked in my cap and gown with the other students who last name ended in “M” feeling pretty excited that I was finally done with that chapter of my life. I didn’t have a car in the world, until some kid marched across the stage and accepted a diploma as a fellow graduate of the Class of 2000. The problem was I had no idea who this kid was. And it wasn’t like I went to a large high school. I think there were about 300 kids in my graduating class. So why was it, after four years of schooling I had no idea who this kid was?

It was at that moment I decided I needed my year book. I have always been one of those people that if I don’t know you or can’t figure out where I know you from, I need to answer immediately. Otherwise it prevents me from sleeping at night and slowly drives me insane. (On this note: thank God for IMDB. It stops me from having to call my mom at 2AM to find out who the actor is in the movie I am watching…)

Flash-forward nine years and I still have this problem. Every once in a while a name is mentioned in a HR newsletter and I have no idea who they are. Or I call about a problem and I am told Joe can fix it which leaves me wondering “Who the hell is Joe?”

So when these situations pop up I turn to my handy company phone list which is broken down three separate ways – by first name, by department, and by region of the world that they represent. It is sometimes a lifesaver when I pretend that I know the person and then have to dash back to my desk to figure out who I just promised to e-mail the information regarding the Fun Committee to…

And once I have figure out where they work in my office, I can get a visual to go along with it because it is company policy that every employee have their photo taken and stored on out shared drive for all to access at anytime. So instead of wandering around looking for someone based on nametags we can wander the office looking for someone who was wearing a really hideous shirt on their first day at work.

~The Office Scribe

Thursday, April 2, 2009

First Annual Cluster F%#@ Competition

Well, it’s official – The past week and a half have sucked harder than a Hoover on shag carpeting. Everyone I talk to, from co-workers to old friends, seem to be caught in some whirling tornado of chaos that is driving them mad.

So in honor of the earth being off its axis (and my friend Maggie for using the phrase “cluster f%#@” in an e-mail to me) I have decided to have the First Annual Cluster F%#@ Competition.

The rules are simple: In the comments section tell me why the past 10-14 days of your life have been hell on earth. The winner won’t actually be the person who submits the most pathetically depressing story, but those of us who can sigh at the realization that someone out there has a life in a deeper bit is crap than our own.

And let me just tell you there is already some stiff competition out there; from relatives dealing with inept mortgage brokers, friends having witnessed the aftermath of someone who thought they could fly off the 40th floor of the Civic Opera House, to co-workers threatening to drink themselves into an early grave if it will stop the procession of idiots they deal with on a daily basis.

I’d say things can only get better from here but I’d probably be cursing myself and all of humanity with a dumb statement like that. So I’ll save us the impending Armageddon and keep my mouth shut.

~The Office Scribe

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools FAIL

I don’t know what it is about the first of April that makes me lose all sense of comedic timing and general snarkiness. Perhaps it is some kind of internal mechanism that says “Don’t try and be funny today. Leave all attempts at joking to the amateurs.”

Or maybe these are the reasons:

Fear Of Losing Job – In this economy, no one is safe. (Unless you work for the Unemployment Office). So people in offices are too timid to pull off great pranks like those seen on “The Office”. Sure, it would be awesome to hide someone’s cell phone in the ceiling or convince a co-worker that the CIA needs them for a secret mission, but chances are the epic nature of the prank would lose its meaning when I was fired from my job for inappropriately using company time.

Fear of Losing Job (2.0) – Because of this all “you’re fired” humor isn’t so funny anymore.

I Fell For It – People seem to have the ability today to convince me of things which aren’t true. For example, one of my co-workers* had me convinced for about 3.2 seconds that Jim Thome of the Chicago White Sox had retired. Sure, it was only 3.2 seconds but on a normal day I would have said “Liar” and saved myself the heart palpitations.

The Expectation – For the past couple days people have been asking me what I was going to do for April Fools Day. Sure, I toyed with the idea of making super salty cupcakes or adding warning to everyone’s name tags, but I just didn’t want to do it because it was expected of me. (Which is why they should be really cautious in August…)

I Overslept – Oh so true. I woke up at 8:20 when I was supposed to be at work at 8:30. So it was like my subconscious played a trick on me and that just isn’t cool.

~ The Office Scribe

* Oh, yeah, you suck Dan.