Sunday, June 22, 2008
TMI is my TM
Today's stupidity comes from a certain tech support rant forum. Yesterday there was a person in the Internet Relay Chat channel who stepped in and first thing said, "I just got done sleeping with my ex-boyfriend's best friend." Why getting on the computer after sex was the first thing she thought of doing is beyond me, but I understand the concept of bragging about shagging an ex's bestie well enough. (Not that I've ever had the chance, or that I care to discuss in this particular entry.) So we're all talking about how weird the conversation between her friends could get, as well as how weird the stuff in her head was starting to get (she admitted she was starting to think things she shouldn't), and I said that the older I get the more I sound like a tired old man when talking about polyamourous relationships and that friends like that are why we no longer host our yearly barbecues in Portland. A private chat window comes up from one of the channel operators, asking if I was referring to him. Uh, what? He starts telling me all this stuff about his own personal life, which contains him and his girlfriend and his girlfriend's husband, which I have no use for. I tried to find some way to politely let him know that I not only didn't know about his private life, I don't care about his private life, and that he wasn't a subject of that conversation in any form. He just kept going on, talking about how this had all been discussed in the channel (apparently before I came in) and how people must have figured things out so the cat's out of the bag. How can I tell this guy to shut up and not put his ego in places where it isn't? A guy I went to college with, Victor De Long, had a theory: When you hear information that you have no need for, it gets stored in your brain, filling up space that could be taken up with information you do want. So the De Long Theory was applied here. (And for the record, I thought it was ironic that he was a big fan of Batman comics. Wouldn't that be useless data?)
Not much else to report about my life -- work is okay, home is okay (and the kitchen hasn't changed), everyone so far as I know is okay. Will say that I took down this heap of old fence the other day into lengths of wire mesh and chunks of wood, and after the garbage truck came half of the contents (all of the household trash in bags) were still in the can because some wire mesh got snagged and held stuff in... But that's a different kind of garbage retention. The latest update to Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul should be up by the time you read this.
Friday, June 13, 2008
stupidity history lesson: the electronics repair shop interview
Once upon a time there was a chain of repair places in the area called Martha Lake Electronics. They would take most anything in, mostly TVs but whatever required electricity and needed fixing, and they were based out of Lynnwood (where you find, duh, Martha Lake) but had a shop on 38th in Tacoma. They were hiring for counter people, so I turned in an application and was called up to Lynnwood for an interview. I got dressed up in my interview clothes and drove Sputnik there to meet the owner of the company.
The first thing I noticed about this champion of industry was that he had a very tall bookcase in his office that was completely filled with management books. Some people are born leaders, others need a little guidance, and then there was this guy who had a hundred or so different manuals on how to lead people. Knowing that no two management books give the same advice, in fact some give contradictory advice, I suspected that this guy knew a lot about management but did not know how to actually do it cohesively. But hey, I've just met the guy so let's just see what kind of interview questions, likely culled from said manuals, he throws at me. He started with the standard ice-breakers about past experience and education, threw in the interview oldie of "where do you see yourself in five years?", and after this period of getting to know all about me as a person and student he then picked up my résumé to go over my work history.
One of my previous jobs, which lasted all of two weeks but I put on the list anyway because it was one of the only things I'd done parallel to what I was applying for (that and my seven months at Radio Shack, their competition), was with a computer store in Olympia. The owner brought up this job and asked, "what was the manager's name again?" Since it had been awhile, I had forgotten the man's name so I said something that was pretty close -- "Rhinegeld" became "Ringgold" -- and the owner said said slyly "Oh, yeah, I know him," before asking me more about my duties. Okay. You lose the Jedi mind game, sir. I figured that this was a trick from a management book, that if the interviewee thinks the interviewer knows a past employer personally the interviewee isn't going to tell any lies. Which is true, if the interviewer doesn't blow all credibility by proving he doesn't know the person by not catching the name error.
So his next manoeuver is to ask me to do this personality inventory, the kind that requires filling in ovals with a #2 pencil on a scan sheet while reading a thin quiz booklet. This is the kind of test where you know what the answers they expect are ["If you found a $5 bill under the till and the money in your till was balanced, would you: a) keep the money, b) report it to your supervisor, c) put it in the till, d) leave it under the till"], but you're a horrible person if you either answer every question "correctly" or if you answer them completely honestly, because either of those reactions proves you're a shifty untrustable dishonest person. He told me that the results would come in later because he would have to fax this answer sheet to Chicago. Okay. You're now full of shit. I've administered enough of these tests during my stint as a tutor to know how an overlay answer key works -- put this stiff paper with holes across it on top of the answer sheet, line up the dots, and mark on any spaces that aren't filled with pencil lead, then tally up the marks. That, and there's no way a faxed copy of anything is going to be gradeable with a scanner.
The final nugget was when he leans back in his chair and says something about me applying for a management position. Hmm, no, the sign said counterperson and I was by no means (at that moment) qualified to supervise a store. He wants me to agree to apply for a management job. The catch, though, is that if I don't make the cut to be a manager, I am removed from consideration for the job that I was qualified for and had applied for. Interesting double-or-nothing situation there. I figured this was another management trick, looking for the people with leadership ability and aspirations, which seems counterproductive to me because why would you want a whole building full of people who think they should be in charge? As the old and totally un-PC notion goes, "all chiefs, no braves." Someone's gotta quietly do the work, you know.
So I left the interview after being told it would be a couple hours before the personality test was graded by someone in the Windy City, so I went to an abandoned house on the Martha Lake waterfront, sat around on the dock for a long while until some construction guys showed up (and since I was dressed in business uncasual, I strode out without a word like I was a Realtor or county building inspector and no one said a thing about me trespassing), then went back to the office to be given the expected bad news that I failed my personality test and thus could not work in any capacity for Martha Lake Electronics.
They went out of business within a year. [contents of the auction of their assets in 2001]
Thursday, June 05, 2008
a cocoon in the butterfly effect
I have one less sister-in-law in my home, and the best of luck to her in Arizona where she's taken a temporary nursing job for the next couple weeks. Nothing new has happened with the kitchen improvement juggarnaut, and it could be a little trouble to get that fire engine jump-started since now my workdays are swingshift on Thursday through Monday; my wife's are Sunday through Thursday, thus we do not have any days off together. Not that we were all that motivated to act when we both had Saturdays off, of course, but any excuse will work. :-D Life otherwise is pretty much there, and if the volume of blooms on the bushes in my front yard are any indication this year looks like it may be quite rosy. Yeah, that was bad, but I'm serious that my plantlife looks better presently than it did last year. I am loving my Sansa Clip MP3 player, which arrived two days after I ordered it. Notice that "Sansa Clip" means it has a clip, and "Sansabelt" means the pants do not require a belt. Ugh, sorry. Too many Lillian Vernon et aliis catalogs as a youth... I was the only kid in the seventh grade who got the joke when the English teacher said, "The only kind of 'constant comments' I like is my tea." (My grandmother knew that woman well, and hated her.)
Not much of a blog entry but it will do for the moment. I haven't really been keeping up very well (I'll blame work) but you do get entries. And the latest update to Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul was posted several days ago so I'm not yet behind on the important stuff.