badness, humor, work

Just say no to drama, gurl

wait... we have a kid?

wait… we have a kid?

I work with parents at Office Job, and over the course of the past year they’ve really been misbehaving.  As a direct result, their PTA has been disbanded by order of the school, which will effectively eliminate all the problems and ensure that the parents who really want to focus their efforts on the school and their students will have every chance to do so without all the selfish politicking and unproductive complaints.

You’d think this would chill out Hollywood Coworker, who dealt with a big chunk of the drama.  You’d think she’d be happy and relaxed now that our office can focus our efforts on helping parents feel connected to the university and all the other work we have to do (because dealing with the PTA isn’t even 10% of what we do, much to the surprise of the majority of the PTA).  You’d think she’d be just fucking jazzed about this change, and excited about taking the reins of an organization that has gone badly off-track.

And yet.

She approaches my desk at least once a week since the disbanding and says something like, “I just have this really bad feeling that there is plotting going on behind the scenes, in the shadows, y’know?”  “I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the problem people.”  “I just know the drama isn’t over.”

And I just look at her like:

Wash knows what's up

Wash knows what’s up

Because come on.  Seriously?  At this point she’s stressing about imaginary problems.  How am I supposed to commiserate?  I’m feeling really positive and optimistic about this coming year, and she’s dragging all this fucking baggage around from last year like, “Oh no, what will we do with all this fucking baggage?”  How about letting it go instead of proudly displaying it like a white-collar battle scar under the guise of preparing for the next impending (read: non-existent) disaster?  Cus… that might work.  So… maybe do that.

I realize she wants to feel useful and important, and dealing with drama can be addictive for some people, but it’s not healthy, and more importantly, IT’S OVER.

save it for the drama llama, gurl

save it for the drama llama, gurl

goodness, life

Secret friends

super gay 🙂

I got pulled into Little Mole Boss’s office today to get an earful about how she’s heard that I’m not “friendly” enough, and that I’m not “giving 100%.” She recognizes that my part-time position here is not super mentally stimulating, but she still expects top-notch work, which is an enigma as far as I’m concerned.  I was also instantly annoyed at the assumption that women should be ‘friendly’ all the time.  There’s a guy in our office who is terse and occasionally downright rude, and he’s worked here for six years or so.  I’ve never said an unkind word to anyone in this office in the two years I’ve worked here, so why… *sigh*  It was not a good start to the day.

But then it got better. Grabbing lunch around noon, I noticed the black woman running the register had two linked female symbols tattooed to her arm. I’m a huge supporter of gay marriage and the gay community in general, so I said, “I like your tattoo.”
She froze with her arm out so I could get a better look. “Thanks, you know what it is?”
She smiled back, “Are you one?”
I gave her a big smile and said, “Nope, but I got your back.”
She gave me a tiny salute and said, “Thanks for your support.”

And that is why today was a good day.

goodness, life, martial arts, work

I love you, Fiat

I hit 12,000 miles in my Fiat the other day, and I’m as much in love with it as ever.  My little Fiat is the best.  I’m such a fan.

But I’ve only had it eight months, which means I’ve been driving 1,500 miles per month.  Of course this is probably because I live on the Westside, work near downtown in the morning, and in Redondo Beach in the afternoon (about 50 miles) an average of three days a week, plus the weekend Redondo Beach drive (35 miles round trip).  That’s almost 750 miles per month just for work.  And that’s assuming I’m not covering for any other Sensei’s, or attending an event on a day off at Office Job.

This is part of the reason why I bought this car; I was doing a ton of driving, and hating every second of it because I hated my car.  Now, driving is a pretty pleasant experience.  Thank you, Fiat.  I love you.

driving home from karate job

badness, life, work

Homeless and dependable

I walk under the freeway to get to Office Job from my parking structure four days a week.  Half the time there’s a homeless man who has taken up residence on a street corner that I frequent on my jaunt to work.  When it rains he goes under the freeway to stay dry, takes out the big sheet of semi-transparent plastic he keeps his stuff under, and hides under it himself.  I’m not sure if he does this to make sure he doesn’t get wet (despite the fact that the freeway does a stellar job of this already), or to stay warm.

I pay special attention to homeless people, having spent every Friday for six years (middle school and high school) serving at a soup kitchen.  I’ve become somewhat fascinated with the homeless people I see on a regular basis, most of whom have some kind of mental defect.  I watch them, hoping to figure out the oddly logical justification for their strange behavior.  This man in particular seems very organized.  I have never seen him so much as make eye contact with anyone, let alone ask for money (or even speak for that matter).  He never stands completely erect, and is very much in his own mind, which is  in and of itself, kind of fascinating.  I wonder what he thinks about.  I wonder why he seeks refuge under that thick sheet of plastic while the freeway keeps him dry.

Today it rained.  Per usual, he was under the freeway and wrapped in plastic.  Per usual, the visual he creates freaked me out a little.

amorphous blob incoming

To the untrained eye, he looks like a trashcan whose bag has been blown out of the can by heavy winds.

wait... is it... moving?

But those of us who take this route during the cold season know better; it is alive, and it is a man.

does he... see me?

I’m never really sure if he sees the people who walk past him, if he’s paying attention to them, or if he’s focusing on something else.

omg there really is a person under there

The first time I saw him under there, I didn’t know it was a person.  It wasn’t until I was dangerously close that I figured out he was under there and by then it was too late.

oh jesus what if he's not friendly

I had no choice but to keep moving.  All evidence demonstrated that he was harmless.  A few people had already walked past him with no effect.  I figured I was safe, but kept an eye on him regardless.

I wonder what he's doing under there

Now when he kinda scares me by hiding under there, I take photos of him to put in my blog.  I find it therapeutic.



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, life, work

No warrior, no war

It’s about a half-mile walk from my office at Office Job to my car at a parking structure a couple of blocks away.  Typically when I walk through any parking lot, I make it a point to keep my eyes up, and stop fussing with my phone, or stick my head in my purse, or otherwise distract myself from… whatever.

paranoid parrot knows what I'm talking about

I’ve come to realize that “whatever” really means imminent attack by some asshole who wants to steal my car/accost me, etc.  I’ve never been attacked by a sober person, so this would be a new experience for me.  Still, I can feel myself tense up a little when I step off the elevator to the third floor of the parking structure.  I’ve finally given in to reading The Hunger Games on my Kindle, but as the doors open, my eyes slip up from the screen, and I step forward, full of caution and confidence, ready for some hidden enemy to pounce.

There have been men working to replace all the lights in the structure every day this week, and yesterday was no exception.  As I walked away from them toward my car, I thought about how I could probably read my book right now instead of keeping an eye out since there are people around.

My mind goes to work.  I calculate how many times I would have to scream for them to realize what they’re hearing, and how long it would take them to arrive to help me.  At least one of them is overweight; he would never arrive in time, and probably wouldn’t be able to do anything useful, so I subtract him from the equation.  Then I calculate how likely these men would be to help a woman being attacked by a man a) with bare fists b) with a knife c) with a gun.  Anything worse than a pocket knife would probably scare them off.  On the other side of the equal sign I’m left with one not-overweight maintenance worker who wouldn’t jump in front of a knife to help me, which means I shouldn’t depend on him at all.  I decide I can probably trust them to ward off any attacker with merely their presence.  “I’m probably safe,” I think as I slip my Kindle in my bag and pull out my keys without breaking stride or dropping my gaze.   My eyes pan across the floor between cars for shadows and feet, then back across the windshields to see if anyone is lying in wait.  I’ve given myself permission to relax,  but I can’t stop preparing for… whatever.

Whenever I teach a women’s self-defense class, I try to calm them down: I say something like, “I just want to point out, and I don’t mean to sound callous or hurt anyone’s feelings, but you are not a special snowflake.  You will probably never get attacked.  I hate to break it to you, but you’re just not that special.  Relax.  You’re here to learn something potentially useful, not to safeguard against the inevitable.”

Where did this hyper-cautious impulse come from?  Did my training make me crave an attack so I can test my skills?  I could’ve sworn I had grown out of that phase.  Or do I worry about an attack because I know all the ways a person can cause injury to another with their bare hands?  Did the two fights I’ve been in make me like this?  They turned out well, what am I worrying about?  I’m no warrior, and there is no war going on.  Why am I like this?  What am I doing?  It feels like such a huge waste of time to be this tense every day… then again, if the alternative is getting blindsided by some asshole in a ski mask, I’d rather miss twenty seconds of whatever novel I’m reading to make it to the car sans violent encounter.


Run, Ichabod, RUN!

holy shit where's his head?!

It’s not often my mind is BLOWN by something I’m working on Office Job.  Today was an especially awesome exception.

I hope I’ve made it perfectly clear how much I love old-timey spooky stuff.  I was editing a list of addresses for our mailer today when I found the following address mixed into the bunch:

### Ichabod Lane

WTF ICHABOD LANE?!  So I looked it up and SLEEPY HOLLOW EXISTS, PEOPLE (in New York).  Let your imaginations run wild.

I loved this story as a kid.  And poor Ichabod!  We all watched the disney cartoon version, but I wanted something darker out of this story, something sinister and inescapable.  The Headless Horseman has some pretty neat origins in old folktales, and is the best kind of bad guy: inexplicable, invulnerable, inconceivable.  There’s no explaining how he can exist, there’s no killing him, and there’s no understanding him.  He just is and always will be, a specter watching every bridge, an untraceable, unstoppable, bloodthirsty ghost.

Like I said, he’s the best.  I also completely love Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow.  I may have to watch it when I get home tonight.

Initiate countdown for when I visit Sleepy Hollow, NY!