September 19th, 2014

Work-related suspension of disbelief

In my almost completed first week of this new job I have:

A: heard what I only knew as buzzwords used in a competent, earnest fashion.

B: watched a PowerPoint about company values that didn’t make me want to scratch my eyes out.

C. was told I didn’t need to eat lunch at my desk because missing customer calls wasn’t the end of the world.

Oh, D: WAS WILLING TO EAT LUNCH AT MY FUCKING DESK.

C’mon, no work place can really function like this. What’s the catch?

May 13th, 2014

Since high-fiving strangers in traffic is at best weird

Yesterday while driving to watch the Blazer game I ended up behind a Franz Bread triple trailer. When we got to the bakery it had to make a laborious right turn. As a person considerate to strangers and a friend of several truckers I know to hang way the fuck back and to make sure I’m not in the driver’s blind spot.

So did the bicycle rider in the bike lane next to me!!!

She had stopped right about at my passenger window and I was so pleased to see a pedaler who’s not an asshole it took a lot of willpower to not run around the car to high five her. Like I said in the title, weird, and probably condescending.

May 8th, 2014

Four plaid shirts aren’t enough?

I’ve been watching all the Blazer games at my boys’ bar The High Dive. Getting ready for my day I grab a shirt to change into from my work uniform and I realize I’ve worn that same plaid shirt to a few of the games. So I grab, my other plaid shirt instead.

My wardrobe is hella small. I sweat too much for cotton but wicky tees are all solid colors and I do NOT have the body for that. Get with it, funny printed t-shirt makers! I’m looking at you, Woot.com!!!

And NO I’m not wearing fscking polos.

March 15th, 2014

You know this talk is AWESOME because normally I DGAF about TED.

Plus, I’m embedding it. How often do I do that?

[ted id=771]

h/t NPR: Is The Law Making Is Less Free? (spoiler: Yes!)

(use that link if the embed doesn’t work, WordPress seems to be doing something weird with embeds)

Some juicy bits:

Law has to be simple enough so that people can internalize it in their daily choices. If they can’t internalize it, they won’t trust it. And how do you make it simple? Because life is complex, and here is the hardest and biggest change: We have to restore the authority to judges and officials to interpret and apply the law.

and

As you’re going down, and walking down the sidewalk during the day, you have to think that if there is a dispute, there’s somebody in society who sees it as their job to affirmatively protect you if you’re acting reasonably. That person doesn’t exist today.

And to reassure my politically correct/progressive fans that this guy’s not some tool (and believe me, I was waiting to hear “tort reform” presented as a solution, it’s not)

… because we got into this legal quicksand because we woke up in the 1960s to all these really bad values: racism, gender discrimination, pollution — they were bad values. And we wanted to create a legal system where no one could have bad values anymore. The problem is, we created a system where we eliminated the right to have good values.

Damn. Can I get an amen?  Hopefully this guy doesn’t turn out to be some sheep humper.

 

 

March 12th, 2014

It’s almost enough to make me believe in curses

We, all three of us at work, spent 20 minutes looking for a special screwdriver bit so I could once again do something I’ve had no training in.

I opened the machinery with the special screwdriver with the special bit and it’s just plain borked. Boss tells me to deal with it.

Now I’ve lost the special screwdriver bit. One minute it was in the driver, the next minute it’s nowhere to be found.

I knew this line of work was a mistake, but holy shit it feels like somebody’s nailing that point home hard. I wish I could get word back that I just can’t afford to quit.

January 31st, 2014

Smart teacher, silly parent

The system described in this blog is a great one and it would be smart if it were implemented in every classroom.

The writer has some unfortunately dangerous ideas about what teachers are and do. She describes teaching as a “sacred trust” and the teacher concerned as a “love ninja”.

Purple prose aside, teaching isn’t a sacred trust, it’s a job. An important, no, critical job of possibly unrivaled sensitivity, but it’s just a job.

Systems don’t achieve anything. People do. If you built a system that requires “love ninjas” instead of “paycheck cashers” that system is doomed to fail. And schools are failing. There are bright spots where good souls doing hard work achieve greatness but these do little more than show off how bad it is everywhere else.

We’ve got to stop looking at teachers like miracle workers and start building them a support structure that realizes a lot of them are not divinely inspired to illuminate eager minds. They’re doing a job, just a job. A critical job of unparalleled sensitivity, but a job nonetheless. They’re not superheroes. Let’s stop expecting them to be.

(h/t Kari M)

ps I’m experimenting with WordPress formats. Hold on.

January 16th, 2014

Bums > Yuppies

Steve Duin blog: Right 2 Dream Too is the Portland City Council’s ongoing nightmare

Frustrated when former Commissioner Randy Leonard shut down his adult bookstore on Fourth Avenue, Wright invited the homeless — in October 2011 — to squat indefinitely on the lot.

I like a dirty Old Town. Bums, junkies and dealers are in every respect superior to snotty yuppies and the mooks and hootchies, douchebags and woo girls who are trying to turn the area into whatever the fuck an “entertainment district” is.

I know that makes it a rough place to live and work. I’ve never worked in Old Town but I’ve lived nearby and I’ve spent a lot of time in those bars, where several times duty called to back up a bartender.

At any rate, NW Third never felt dangerous compared to SE 99th & Harold until Dirty opened up.

Give me bums and hookers any day.

(h/t @maxoregonian)

December 26th, 2013

Not that there’s a good day for a death in the family….

Sometime on the night of Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning, my sister died.

Eulogies are supposed to be about the deceased, but I think they’re always about us.  I’ll try to talk about my sister.

She was born December 17th, 1976.  She refused to have more than a finger length’s of her hair cut off because she’d promised our paternal grandfather she wouldn’t.  She showed the door to a boyfriend who demanded she have dinner on the table by the time he got home from work.  She inherited (or learned) the quick, cold temper that my mother, her sister, their mother and I imagine her mother all had.  She was one quarter Canadian (naturalized).  Our parents called her Toad.  I have no idea why.

She liked frogs, though.  Her cell phone made some kind of jungle frog chirp when it rang.  It made gift giving easy, frog = success.  She didn’t get hangovers, but one day she called me to ask about my previously mentioning I was starting to get mild headaches after a night of drinking.  Getting old sucks.

I turned her onto Bushmills Irish Whisky and she claimed she drank nothing else.  Brotherly duty fulfilled.

My dad was supposed to pick her up for presents at our stepsister’s house.  She (sister, not stepsister) had a seizure about four months ago and thus couldn’t drive.  He called me when she didn’t answer the door to see if I had a key.  I didn’t, and neither did my mother, who he’d already called.  Mom called some time later to say Dad called 911 and the police were going to break in.  It “didn’t look good.”

He didn’t go into her apartment.  The police told him he shouldn’t, but they said she looked like she was just sleeping.  People always say that and maybe sometimes it’s true.  The one freshly dead body I’ve ever seen sure looked dead.

We were in a friend’s borrowed car, the GF was driving and she went all Dukes of Hazzard to get to my mom’s house.  Except the jumps, we didn’t jump anything.  Upon arrival I asked her to stay in the car for a few minutes while I went inside.  Mom knew.  Of course she knew.  She, wailed is the only word for it, while I held her upright.  The GF said she could hear it from the street and came in before the “few minutes” were up.  She’s better at people than I am.

Mom went outside for some fresh air and I had to call her sister, my aunt.  I went with Mom to tell the neighbors, who fortunately can be relied upon to keep tabs on her.  Aunt arrived with some well-meaning platitudes.  Our fortuitous possession of a friend’s car was taken for divine intervention.  Mom’s getting fatalistic in her old age to think God sent a couple from University Park to Utah to make killing my sister more convenient for the family.  Me, I think we’re a giant TV and God’s munching popcorn and laughing.  I knew it wasn’t the time to mention that.

Mom didn’t want to go to my sister’s apartment (I try to stay out of Vancouver myself) and Dad left before the body was removed.  It was taken to the closest funeral home the Vancouver police had on their list.  When we can arrange it we’ll take her ashes to a little town in northeast Oregon called Athena.  I remembered at some point she always wanted to be buried there.

Can I talk about me now? Thanks.

I’m okay.  Okay doesn’t mean great.  I get waves of sadness but they pass quickly.  Kid Me resented her for being the favorite.  I didn’t realize that at the time, I just thought my parents should have quit while they were ahead with just me.  As I got older I equally subconciously realized it wasn’t her fault.  I can’t say I liked my sister.  Like every other person I share DNA with I probably wouldn’t have associated with her voluntarily.  She was okay, though.  I kinda wish I’d gotten drunk with her at least once, but that was always unlikely and the feeling will probably pass.

Will it hit me? Maybe.  Maybe this is the benefit to being a realist (I won’t be offended if you spell that “pessimist”).  My dad broke down a little when he told me she’d died, but I had no immediate physical reaction.  Once I accepted the GF was going to speed all the way from Jantzen Beach to Lents to tell Mom my mind was in neutral.  Defense mechanism? Clock cycle conservation? I don’t know.  I’ve been thinking it, I’ve even said it out loud a few times.

My sister is dead.
I don’t have a sister any more.
I’m an only child now.
My sister is dead.

It hasn’t hit me yet.

Tomorrow we’ll make arrangements.  Decisions about last paychecks and cremations and property and hopefully I can get into her apartment before my parents find anything embarrassing in there.  Maybe I’ll go to pieces when I see the bed she died in.  I doubt it, but it’s possible.

She was 37.  She smoked menthols.  She chewed with her mouth open.  She’ll never go to Scotland, but maybe in July when Athena has its Caledonian Games the bagpipes and the yips of the sheepdog trials will carry to the old cemetary in the brown hills where our grandparents are also buried.

November 25th, 2013

Happy Monday to me!

So far, at least.

Before I even get to work I have an email from the boss. I normally don’t look at these, in fact my work iPhone is set to do not disturb when I leave work. So I don’t actually see this beautiful, wonderful, golden brown delicious email until I’m already at work.

It says, Jerk Boss needs me to go to the semi-abandoned building and do various near useless things. Then I may as well go to the Vancouver AND Troutdale buildings as well.

That’s at least three hours there.

Oh, darn.

November 22nd, 2013

Happy Friday to me!

I get to work and Jerk Boss is in a meeting. Coworker says he has to take me to the 3 other small buildings we maintain to familiarize me with them. I’ll have to cover them while he’s on vaca next week.

One’s in Troutdale.
One’s in Vancouver.
One is abandoned but we’re contractually obligated to spend 2 hours a day there while the boiler is for some reason running.

Yay!