May 2013 Archives

eeza sucks

Like many, I work with people who live all over the world. In just the last month I've dealt with people in India, China, Israel, and even the wilderness of downtown Vancouver. Saying "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Can you repeat it?" is a fundamental part of my job.

Of my job. As in I get paid to understand English spoken as a second language. When my work-day is over and I want Chinese food and the money is flowing the other direction, I am far less interested in linguistic wrestling.

Imagine my delight yesterday when I discovered that my local podunk Chinese restaurant allows for web orders. No more yelling slow, over-enunciated English at people on the phone? Sign me up. I placed my order and hopped in the car. Click click click click vroom.

Then my phone rang.

"Hello?"

"alloeezadisJohn?"

Uh-oh.

And so we struggled for five minutes, me impatiently practicing the same strategies I do at work, only now I was paying for the privilege. From what I could tell, he merely wanted to confirm that the order hadn't changed in the 48 seconds since I clicked Submit. It was excruciating.

When I picked up my order, it was obvious from the fish stench wafting out of the bag that he had, in fact, changed my order during that phone call.

"Eezaokay?"

I considered the conversation that would ensue.

"Eeza fine."

Some headlines catch my eye. Others snare my eye, stuff it, and mount it on the wall.

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i'll be chewing my own leg off at 11am

My profession attracts more than its fair share of frauds. Failed lawyers and failed burglars and dropouts wake up one day and decide that they're writers. Clueless bureaucracies, who for some reason think there are no qualifications for writing jobs, hire them. This is why you hate user manuals. They were written by failed mall cops.

Lest they be proven frauds, these people cannot get into management fast enough. Thus is my line of work stuffed with managers of managers of documentation managers. I'm not kidding. This is a career goal for these people. They want to manage documentation managers. I've heard exactly this goal declared countless times at Microsoft. I don't know what the exact opposite of "curing cancer" is, but this is an excellent starting point in the search.

I've managed to avoid these people for the last four years, but they're seeping back into my life. Bereft of capacity for original thought, they think and speak in bumper stickers. Our languages are mutually unintelligible. When they lapse into buzzwords that they heard in some meeting somewhere, I have to ask what they mean. When I speak of common industry practices, they have to ask what I mean.

I am not cut out for this. I need to hire someone just to suffer fools. Someone deaf.

my new personal assistant

I snuck away from work last week midday, to see Iron Man 3 at the local theatre. The audience was the usual daytime smattering of the self-employed, the unemployable, and escaped convicts. All male. I was just starting to wonder which asshole would ruin the movie first when long-haired-punk asshole, resplendent in arm and neck tattoos, stood up, turned around, and addressed the rest of us.

"Turn. Your phones. Off," he ordered, dripping menace.

And then a miracle happened. An audience let me enjoy a movie. They actually behaved themselves. Under implicit threat, but it counts.

I want to put this guy on my payroll. I want him representing me at every social situation.

To waiters: "Write it. The fuck. Down."

To staff: "Google. It. Yourself."

To parents: "Parent. Is. A verb."

The possibilities....

compensating

My bachelor weekend in the honeymoon suite was not without its statements. I thoroughly enjoyed watching what I wanted to watch on TV, for instance.

Cough

Okay, but I did enjoy driving around pastoral San Juan Island with the Jeep's top down, blaring Nine Inch Nails, smoking a cigar, and aiming at happy couples.

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#FreeJahar

Far be it from me to say I told you so.

So I'll delegate.

Says longtime Stank troll John: "I believe you called this in the first 24 hours after his capture."

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friend Troy Crossley is believed to have started the movement, but it has since gained traction largely thanks to an 'army of teenage girls' who say he’s too 'cute' to be guilty. (Video)
"You just don't KNOW him like I know him!" I imagine a crying, hysterical, fantastically stupid 13 year old girl screaming at me as she slams the door I paid for in my face.

That reminds me. Gotta make that vasectomy appointment.

"john"

Shopping for beach vacations and looking all the beautiful couples featured therein has me bracing.

"Just one tonight?" I imagine the maitre'd asking.

Yay, it can count. Yes, motherfucker. Same as last night. And he'll grimace and sadly shake his head, and then he'll show me to the shit table scarcely bigger than my plate, next to the server station.

I will read. Reading in a restaurant is one of my favorite activities ever. More booze, more food, please! Note the absence of "more you." Yet someone will feel compelled to fill the void and chat me up. They doubtless think they're doing me a courtesy by noticing my solitary state and alleviating it with their company. Meanwhile, I will nod my head politely as I google what the penalty is in this country for stabbing a chatty waiter with a soup spoon.

The worst such vacation was after a breakup. I'd booked and paid for a bed and breakfast, and darn it, no breakup was going to stop me from using it. This was an excruciating exercise. It was car shopping after losing your license. It was going to the prime rib buffet after your lap-band.

I weathered the doilies and floral arrangements and the his and hers slippers, but each made me feel just a little more the abject failure. Then I walked into the communal kitchen and I saw the whiteboard. There, in our host's lovely cursive, was my monument to futility.

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wither fau?

My search for beach waiters continues unabated. Yes, I know about Cancun. I don't do Mexico. I've looked at everything else, though, from Greece to Belize to Hawaii and back.

The gold standard was set when I googled the most expensive thing I could think of: "four seasons bora bora." It did not disappoint. For a mere $2100/night, plus wifi fees, I'm sure, you too can dive off your bungalow deck and climb the ladder back up to your lovely overwater home-bigger-than-my-house.

But even here, there is no Fau the heavyset beach waiter, no drinks, no club sandwiches. You'd actually have to go inside and order room service.

Four Seasons. Feh! I spit on your Faolessness.

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senhor testiculo

I was about to rant about the lower primates who make entire careers out of running documentation groups and utter things like "I need to manage managers." But then I came across Senhor Testiculo. Stop the presses!


except as noted

This unintentionally funny footnote comes courtesy of the Charles Schwab website, not normally known for its interest value to readers.

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charles ramsey: my new hero

This is the best variation on the "he was such a quiet neighbor, we had no idea" interview you will ever see. Watch it all the way through.

I want to road-trip with Charles Ramsey and Uncle Ruslan. I'll just sit in the back seat with my McDonald's and listen to them discuss the issues of the day.

stupid is

Flo and her child were here, and the kid immediately took to Fredo.

"Sit, Fredo!" she said, while Fredo stood there and panted. Next to me in the other room, Dex sat down.

"Lie down, Fredo! Shake hands?" Nothing, nothing.

"He's a moron, honey," I said. "If you want to shake hands, try Dex here." Instead, she grabbed a tennis ball and took Fredo outside.

"What's the deal with him?" Flo asked. "Don't they have the same parents?"

God knows that was my thinking when I went back to the same well a second time. Dex is my smartest dog ever; I figured so long as I was getting a second dog, I should dip into the same gene pool. But then again, my sister Nadine and I have the same parents, so in retrospect I'm not sure what my point was.

I looked out the window at the child and Fredo. She was trying to teach him to fetch. She sure was picking up her own throws a lot. And as I worked my way to the door so that I could puncture the kid's fantasy, I saw Fredo learn to fetch. And then he did it again, and again, and again. And I was forced to reconsider my estimations.

Flo's kid is wicked smart.

"i is tired, junior."

And with that overdue admission to Darcy, I said aloud what everyone in my presence has known for a year.

If you are a small-business owner, you understand. It is not like other jobs. There is no one else on whom to slough work. If you don't do it, mortgages don't get paid, only one of them your own. The business runs you. I haven't had a planned day off since 2010. I cannot remember the last day that was completely untouched by work. And sliiiiiiight cracks in my psyche are starting to show.

"I double-dog dare you to fire me, motherfucker!" I said to the client.

"I double-dog dare you to quit, motherfucker!" I said to the staffer.

So yeah, I'm looking at beach vacations. I have something very specific in mind. Just me, on a shaded lounge chair, on a hot beach, my only human interaction with Fau, an agreeable, heavy-set beach waiter who barely speaks English and who endlessly brings me booze and club sandwiches. I don't want fucking volleyball, or fucking snorkeling, or fucking couples massages, or fucking hiking. Beach. Fau. Club sandwiches. That is all.

Anyone know if this actually exists?

no go, you go

I've had a few people call me a fair weather fan for not wanting to spend 20 grand and a year of my life following a team I'm fairly certain will stink. To this, I say "Be my guest." If you show me the receipts, I will a sign an affidavit acknowledging that you are indeed the better fan.

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