Monday, April 28, 2008

"Would you like to eat or screw?" It all depends upon how hungry I am.

Hello, my two to four readers. I've been reading Stick To Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain! by Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert", of late. The title of today's entry is an example he gives of how to sum up the universe in one sentence. Apparently there was this empty drawer at one of his jobs years ago, and a debate was initiated as to how to use the drawer -- keep the shop's tools in it, or a place to store snacks (ergo the "eat or screw?"), and when one particular person was asked for his opinion of the drawer's purpose, the title was his thoughtful response. As verbose and explanatory as I am much of the time, which I credit to my parents because "why did you do that?" was always meant as a rhetorical question and they weren't after any actual information no matter how much the context of why something was done was necessary to state (don't you hate it when people interrupt you while you're answering their question with demands that you answer their question?), I like succinctness when I can find it in me. My history professor in college said many a time he'd like to award me the "Golden Shovel Award" because I'd fill out the answers to his quizzes on the back of the quiz paper, rather than going on for two separate pages like my classmates. (This is where I have to note that I never bought lined paper while I was in college, thereby necessitating that I write on the test papers.) In retrospect, it's amusing that the name of his award was the opposite of what it was recognising, that my quiz answers were not stacking the bull like everyone else's. Back to the book, it's mostly compiled from his blog (which I don't read) so it's very observation and witty, with only a handful of cartoons; the strips are ones that either didn't get run at all, inspired some debate by viewers about intended meaning, or were edited for newspaper publication so he shows us the Before and After versions. I'm not used to reading so much at a go so I've been tackling it in 50 page chunks several days apart.

I try to be green (as in earth-friendly, not like Kermit The Frog since as he said "it's not easy" but neither is being earth-friendly in our disposable society), which suddenly became a big word a week ago even if most people or businesses flaunting it were totally misusing it. One of the Sunday insert papers, possibly Parade, had an article with six or seven items: things that sound green (like using paper bags instead of plastic when shopping), and things that actually are green (like bringing your own canvas bag). So the place I'm about to start working at -- first training day is Wednesday, but I have an orientation tomorrow (Tuesday) which, like I said in the previous entry, "who is paying for the gas?" -- claims that they try to be green. Which would be why they handed me a plastic cup of water that went into the garbage when I was done with it, rather than a paper cup that may use renewable tree products but actually will biodegrade and/or go into the paper recycling bin. Anyhow, here's a stupidity that came up a day or three after the previous post. I was emailed these forms in MS Word and Adobe PDF format to fill out, the standard stuff when one starts at a modern business, and told to fax them back. That sounds like an all-electronic method, sparing some trees, right? Uh, for most it really means you print the form onto paper, fill it out, then fax the pages over, so now there's a messy-looking paper copy on that end too. I attempted to save some paper on this end and took screenshots of the forms' pages, pasted my scanned signature and the date onto those images, then used a fax program to send those over. [This is why my dialup modem is still attached to my computer, for whomever asked.] So I sent the stuff over, and didn't put breaks between the pages so 9 pages arrived there as 6. I got an email asking to resend. I inserted the page breaks, sent again, and now 9 pages arrived as 10 pages. But then I got an email saying that they couldn't be read, so she asked me to email the image of one form she needed immediately (this I had, it's what I put into the fax document!) and print out the other documents to bring to work on Wednesday. So the end result: Earth-friendly company goes through 17 pieces of their paper before deciding that they really wanted one email and 7 pieces of my paper. The fun never ends.
And on that note... click the cartoon to enjoy this Retail strip from last Wednesday larger:
Retail, by Norm Feuti - 4/23/08
In other stupidities, perhaps I've mentioned this cabinet available at Crate & Barrel that I've been wanting for a month or two. Every time I'm there, I want to get it but get the spousal statement that we need to wait because of my employment situation, despite the facts that a) we have the money, b) we're going to buy it anyway, c) it's on sale now, and d) merchandise selection gets changed regularly there so if we dawdle it's not going to be available any longer. This is the same spouse that will open up a new container of milk when there's still one glass or bowl's worth of milk left in the old container... she won't finish it but she won't throw it out, or until a week later once it actually does go bad. Anyhow, so I had the weekend to myself and I thought, "I'll surprise her by going and buying that cabinet on Sunday." I checked the website, it's still listed and still on sale, and the shipping data screen says it's in stock at the Bellevue store I always visit (there are only two stores within 500 miles). So the next day I clean out the car, put $10 of gas in for the trip, and drive up there to buy it. Cute Michaela with the cute accent checks the system. Their computer says there's one in stock. Their stock manager, however, can't find the damn thing. Michaela checks the computer to see if the Seattle store has one I can go get, and they don't have any of them there at all. She offers to do a backorder, so I'll be able to come get it in 7-10 days. Since I now work about three miles away and my car is cleaned out, sure, what the hell. I hoped she'd call today to say "oh, we found it!" so I can have it now but that didn't happen. Like I said, we should have bought it before but no...

I cracking up over that cartoon clip. They kind of defeated the purpose, didn't they? I think company's like to do a couple of small things and then proclaim how green they are.

My mom just returned from Chile this afternoon. They've had huge volcanic eruptions gong on there.
She was not near the volcano, thankfully.

I hope your new job is one you enjoy. I'm sure there will be stupidities to be found there.
Most definitely. Some are even people within the company...
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