goodness, humor, school, work

Haiku, boredom assassin

good first try

good first try

Most art styles often take years of training to do well, but it’s not difficult to achieve a mediocre haiku.  Haiku is my preferred weapon in the battle against boredom in meetings or during class.  They’re easy to do in a short period of time; they don’t rhyme and they’re super short (three lines, 5-7-5 syllables), plus I look like I’m paying attention and taking notes (which, in a way, I am).  I lean toward critical or humorous haiku, usually regarding the people around me, but occasionally about myself.  Like so:

It hurts when I poke
myself in the eye, like this:
ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.

See?  I just wrote that.  Just now.  Super easy.

I’d like everyone to give it a shot just to see what a fun creative outlet haiku can be.  I keep asking my coworkers (and Dad) for them when they’re bored in meetings (and my coworkers definitely are), but to no avail.

I’ve taken to writing haiku about my classmates and sharing it in the classroom group chat.  My professor really enjoys it, so whenever there’s a technical issue or a delay of some kind, the professor (and sometimes my fellow students) will ask for a haiku about it to keep us entertained.  I keep it light at try to be funny.  It passes the time, and I like to see the smile on people’s faces after they read my little poems.

badness, humor, work

Haiku distraction: Motivational speaker

At an Office Job meeting some months ago, the invited speaker was a college football coach (for some reason).  He went to the podium and spoke enthusiastically (and endlessly) about the football players and so on, none of which had to do with the parents or their kids.  And yet on he went, giving me material to haiku about.


Facebones: the ultimate motivational speaker

Facebones: the ultimate motivational speaker

He’s got that gung-ho
attitude.  He’s a winner.
Euthanize him, please.

Coaches are basically motivational speakers with hundreds of sports plays smashed into their heads.

Coach Buck Bobby-Joe
Johnson has a story for
everything today.

“Lemme tell you about this one kid,” he said many, many times.  None of the stories were pertinent to the meeting’s purpose or its participants in any way.  But football is huge, and the players are mini-celebrities, so he had a pretty captive audience.

He says it’s “college
football, not football college.”
Why’s he our speaker?

Needless to say, I was unimpressed with his presentation, nor am I particularly enamored of any celebrity athlete-types.

For a football coach,
he sure is enthused about
education.  Right?

He kept emphasizing the football players’ scholarly pursuits, as if that’s why any of them attend college (or that anyone in the room gave a shit).

pointless pointless pointless

pointless pointless pointless

Then someone else stood up to speak, as if that’s what we needed: more monologuing.

This guy’s got a mouth
on him.  The crowd loves him.  These
parents are sold now.

This guy had started his own email/blog thingie about college sports, and could not stop talking even though he kept saying, “I’ve been speaking too long,” and “I said I was going to keep it short, and I’ll finish soon.”  Still, the crowd was with him, so he had no reason to shut up.

I’d had enough of listening to white men wax poetical about their hard-on for football.  It was time for dessert.

The vanilla cake
was apparently made by
Hello Kitty.  Yum!

The cake had lace and pink shit all over it.  I couldn’t figure out what was edible and what was decoration.  I think the point was to kill us with sweetness in more ways than one.


every attendee at the meeting resembled this guy

every attendee at the meeting resembled this guy

“The most precious gifts
are those unwrapped by the heart.”
Christ, what does that mean?

The time then came for the parents to endlessly thank each other for all their endless giving and “hard work.”  The speeches were the worst part.

So many awards!
How thankful can a group of
volunteers be?  Guh.

What a monumental waste of time.  So much money spent on gifts and certificates and crap, I could not believe the self-congratulatory nonsense my coworkers and I witnessed in just three long hours.  I felt like shouting, “Feed some homeless people, you rich, white bastards!”

On an unrelated note, my search for Facebones pulled up this “Jem” (pun very much intended).



badness, work

Haiku distraction: Crap noir edition

I made a more accurate poster for the play. you’re welcome.

I went to another student production from the theater department at the university where I work at Office Job.  Last year’s production was a total shit show.  This year was better, but not by much.

Today’s musical matinee show was the story of an author writing a screenplay, spliced in with the actual screenplay itself.  The screenplay takes place in Los Angeles cerca 1947, which means everyone chain-smokes and “needs a drink” all the time.  Needless to say, paying rapt attention was out of the question since I value my sanity more than my ability to give a coherent synopsis of some crap musical play.

But just like last year, it was a great source of angry haikus!

Oh my fucking god.
He’s gonna spend the whole play
looking at her “gams.”

The main character detective also annoyingly narrated the whole damn play in a poor imitation of Humphrey Bogart, and could not stop talking about some woman’s physical attributes.  Meanwhile, the audience consisted of mostly women and gay men, so who the hell is this guy appealing to?

Nothing like a missed
musical cue to kill a
shitty production.

The orchestra missed a cue!  They jumped into the middle of a scene and just started playing the next number.  Yikes.

Jesus Christ he can’t
stop talking about “figures”
or smoking to death. 

Apparently living in the 1940’s consisted of leering at women, doing anything for a dollar, and smoking like a chimney.

Here’s an idea:
Do something other than stand
still while you’re singing.

Each character gets their own chance to be more or less alone on stage and sing a little song to tell us their story.  One woman just sat and sang.  Then she stood and sang.  Then she moseyed on over to the edge of the stage and sang some more.  Fade to black.  She had the whole stage to herself, and couldn’t be bothered to lift a finger in the middle of a musical number.  I felt… disappointed, and… confused.

At some point I started keeping track of the number of times the main character demanded that someone “level” with him.  Final count: 6, but I may have missed the first few.

My favorite quote: “They’re closer than Denmark, and a whole lot more rotten.”

Toot toot!  It’s the failtrain!  All aboooooooooooooard!

badness, humor, work

Haiku distraction: Theater = masturbation

If I wasn’t able to write Bitter Haikus during boring meetings, I would go a little crazy.  Unleashing my intolerance for time-wasting, self-congratulating, fat-cat council meetings is all that keeps me from misbehaving just to see what would happen.

I had a 12-hour day at Office Job starting at 830am this week, and ending at a meeting where the dean of the school of theater spoke.  She brought an undergraduate student from her school with her.  They were just so pleased with their school and its purpose.

ah, theater. I have so much to learn from you.

The dean seems to say,
“Without theater, we would
all just die.” Huh. ‘Kay.

She started off her lecture by showing a video about what the school does, and how it’s just the best.  Naturally, every dean believes their school is the best, and that all students should take at least one of their school’s classes.  This got under my skin because theater is… how you say?… ridiculous.  I’ve seen one of their productions, and I was not impressed.  She and her student kept emphasizing how, in the theater school, students could “discover themselves,” as if the school of philosophy wouldn’t offer similar self-realization with the added benefit of a degree with some academic merit.  Poppycock!  Poppycock, I say!

“Being an actor
makes you a smarter person.”
Or… just go to class.

That is a direct quote from the theater student.  He said that researching how to play different roles gave him a wide range of knowledge about all kinds of people, as if he couldn’t get that exact education with greater accuracy and depth by taking any non-theater class.  He used playing a doctor as an example.  I scoffed aloud as I clamped down on the urge to throw my hand up and ask if he thought taking pre-med classes would have made him even “smarter” than his preparation for the role.  What a load.

Holy shit, he just
almost cried.  Be a bigger
stereotype, kid.

Yep, he got choked up talking about how great the theater program is.  Then he made fun of himself for it, and called himself a stereotype.  And he was right.

Don’t let the timer
meant for members go off while
the dean speaks, genius.

The presidents of the council for which the meeting was held have decided to bribe the committees to keep their presentations short by timing them (somehow the presidents themselves escaped this indignity).  While the dean spoke, the timer went off, and continued beeping obnoxiously in the co-presidents bag right in front of the podium for a solid minute before they figured out what it was.

Don’t ask the actor
if he wants to talk.  He does.
He will.  Always.  Talk.

The dean finished answering questions, and she asked her student if had anything to add.  Sheesh.  What kind of question is that to ask an actor?  Of course he wants to add something!  “What’s that?  A microphone and a captive audience?  Why yes!  I do have something to add!”

The dean also said something that ruffled my feathers: “What we know about ancient civilizations, we know through their theater.”  Now, I double majored in Art History and Philosophy, so imagine how rewarding it feels to listen to someone at the university where I got my degrees tell me that I owe every piece of knowledge I learned at a non-theater school to the theater school.  What an ego.  And it’s weird because I like this woman.  She’s very grounded and smart, but apparently when she’s selling her school, she goes balls-to-the-wall crazy.

badness, humor, work

Haiku distraction: Murphy’s law

The kind of haikus I write are either spawned from boredom, disappointment, or a severe dislike of the situation in which I’ve (usually forcibly) been placed.  I went to another late-night meeting, and naturally another set of haikus resulted because everything that could have gone wrong during this meeting did go wrong.  The AV wasn’t set up like it was supposed to be, and when it was set up it buzzed the whole time, and then it stopped working.  The man in charge treated me like his own personal servant…again.  There weren’t enough chairs, so my coworkers and I had to sit outside and eat at the check-in table.  The meeting could have easily been half as long as it was, but the people in charge couldn’t stop plugging their shit to make money for their organization.

Unlease the haiku beast!

"i'm really excited about this year's numbers."

Cheshire cat lady,
smile and grin and never frown;
whose trust do you have?

The woman in charge never stops smiling, even when discussing unpleasant topics.  It’s super creepy.  My coworker noticed and made a comment about how she never knew what to think of what she was saying.

Poor athletics guy.
Your report encourages,
but why are you here?

The guy from athletics gave his update about how the university teams are doing really well and he kept it short.  Then he sat down and looked neglected and bored for the rest of the next hour and a half.  Poor bastard.

Little disasters
know me by name.  “Be our friend,”
they say.  No thank you.

My office was not in charge of this event, but when things went wrong, we were the ones who worked to make it right because the people in charge were too busy milling around feeling important, not realizing that hosting means making sure things go smoothly, and not acting like the lord and lady of the land, greeting subjects and making long-winded speeches.

Stop talking, ladies
and gentlemen.  Eight o’clock,
and I miss my boy.

Around eight I realized that I could be snuggled up on the couch in my pajamas with Boyfriend watching Star Trek: The Next Generation instead of hearing reports on adorable new merchandise the hosting organization hoped to overcharge the population for.  My poems broke out of their calm haiku exterior, and became more biting.

There once was a man who would speak.
His speech is what made our ears leak.
It started alright,
but later that night,
he kept speaking and made us all shriek!

When I get bored, I can literally feel some kind of invisible plasma slipping out of my ears, making me stupider somehow.  I’m not bored very often; I usually find some way to entertain myself, but my stamina drains away at these meetings, and I can only play in Imaginationland so long without looking like a space cadet.

Marching cult of the Fluffy Hat,
you’re crazier than my roommate’s cat.

It’s clear why you’re so proud of yourselves:
you make earplugs fly right off their shelves!
Your drums go ‘thump,’ your horns go ‘splat.’
You sound just like my roommate’s cat.

You prance around like little ponies,
and act like musicians, you little phonies.
You’re rude and untalented and smelly and fat,
you’re nowhere near as cute as my roommate’s cat.

My coworker loves my haikus and requested that I write about the band, which we all agree is like a creepy religious cult.  Diminutive Roommate has a pretty severe dislike of the band; I was so excited to show her this poem, I called her on my way home last night to recite it to her.

I don’t know anyone who thinks these four-hour meetings are helpful.  It’s like elevator music: If everyone hates it, why play it at all?

humor, work

Haiku distraction: le food

My coworker (let’s call her Lisa) is really good at talking, and I don’t mean that insultingly.  It’s what makes her good at her job.  She’s a networker.  She can hold thousands of tiny details in the front of her mind, and uses a hundred words to get a simple idea across.  It wears down the other guy, and makes whatever she’s talking about sound more convincing.

I went to a  meeting yesterday with Lisa and our boss (let’s call her Ruth) regarding food for a big event we have coming up.  Lisa said this meeting would consist of Ruth and our contact (the Manager and Chef) discussing pricing, etc., and Lisa would spend the meeting listening and taking notes.  I thought, There’s no way you’re not going to say anything.  No.  Way.

Lisa said she would
sit and listen.  I think we
both knew that was false.

Lisa will not stop talking unless she hears what she wants to hear.  She can be pretty pushy, but again, we depend on that side of her to get her job done better than anyone else in the office could.  Having said that, there are some words that are such an affront to the English language (on which, as you know, I have a pretty serious crush) that infuriate me to the point of spontaneous haiku.

“Guestimate” might be
worse than the manager-chef
dynamic.  Awkward!

When we sat down for the meeting, Chef was AWOL.  Manager was very professional, and clearly quite experienced with the price points and practicalities of each dish for the location of the meal, the number of people we wanted to feed, etc.  He’s the right man for the job.  Very professional and reserved.  Then Chef joined us.  Chef is a hulking, overweight, laid-back possibly German man with a thick accent and some good ideas, all of which were shot down by Manager.  Manager had trouble hiding his displeasure for Chef.  At the end of the meeting, Chef wanted to go back to the kitchen while Manager finished up with us.  Manager disapproved.  He asked Chef to wait.  Chef did not wait, lol.

He’s so straight-forward.
I really like this chef.  I
bet he spreche Deutsch.

Chef came to the table eating a brownie, then got up and brought us a plate of them.  Score!

goodness, humor, work

Haiku surprise!

Remember this post when described how I discovered first-hand that all-day meetings do, in fact, exist?  I just found the haikus I wrote during the last meeting that day.  I’m pretty pleased with them:

I write haikus to
keep myself awake sometimes.
This is one of them.

I needed to demonstrate to my new coworkers that I was creative, playful, and overall the kind of person they’d look forward to working with.  I had told them about this haiku entertainment strategy, so I needed something to ease them into it.  After that it just snowballed into a poetic storm of sass and topical comedy. (names changed for the sake of my precious anonymity)

Hey, Elizabeth.
Guess what I’ll do after this.
That’s right: ICE CREAM, BITCH.

if only they were all this adorable

At UCC, the
kids can major in drinking.
Drinky, drinky, drink.

The issue at hand was obviously the kids drinking habits.  College kids.  And the parents are apparently appalled at the amount they’re drinking and how easily they can get a drink.  This discussion continued for about five minutes before I felt the need to point out that the best way to keep your kids from blacking out every Thursday night was to make them feel so good about themselves while sober that they didn’t feel the need to get drunk to feel good.  I pointed out that this was the responsibility of the parents.  The reception to that comment was… mixed.

I just feel so sharp
in my little white sweater
and silver bull studs.

I wore the most “professional” clothing I owned that day so I would represent the office well at all the meetings.  I looked like quite the little executive.

"we just want our kids to grow up into their own happy, well-balanced, totally terrifying adult basking sharks."

The power couple
could sell me a live gator,
and call it a purse.

The head of this parents group at the time was this married couple who had more energy and enthusiasm about this group in their left pinkie toe than I have in my entire body about most things.  They’re a tough act to follow, and hypnotizing to watch.  Like a shark attack.

The purple lady
is inconsolable.  Pull
yourself together.

I don’t recall what it was about, but it must have been great to warrant it’s very own commemorative haiku.  Wait, is a haiku commemorative if it’s written as something happens instead of afterwards?  Crap.

Basketball event
basket ideas: tattoos,
botox, lip piercing.

This basketball event required baskets of donations to raffle off and make some money for the parents group.  Wine, sweets and sports memorabilia were popular items.  Not very exciting.  The event went off without a hitch though, and everyone loved their baskets.  But seriously, imagine how fast the botox basket would have reached its top value.

humor, work

Haiku distraction

Tenmyouya Hisashi, ur doin it rite

Like anyone else, I get bored during meetings and classes.  However, as previously mentioned in an earlier post, I have the uncanny ability to entertain myself pretty much all the time. When I got bored in high school, I would write poetry.  I quickly discovered the best kind of poetry to write in class is haiku, due to its quick and easy format.

Today I was in a meeting at work, and found myself… less than stimulated.  Hence:

So comfortable
with your eyes shut, little Ruth,
mole-boss in the dark.

My boss (let’s call her Ruth for now, for the sake of maintaining the integrity of the poem) has a strange habit of closing her eyes while she talks.  I’m not sure why she does it, but she can deliver a whole, long, elaborately constructed sentence without opening her eyes once.  It’s bizarre, and a little disconcerting.

None of the women
seem surprised that the men have
huddled together.

Meeting attendance by gender: Male : Female = 3:23.  The three of them sat together in a little row of inadequacy.  Pretty hilarious.

The men struggle to
stay awake, while the women’s
eyes, bright, sharp, alert.

It was all the three men could do to stay awake.  Two of them were on their Blackberries most of the time, and the third had his arms folded on the table with his head nodding dangerously low.