Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Our amphibian friend...and also his little amphibian friend

Sis works in graphic design, also in the computer industry. It's like our skill sets were neatly split along some genetic line: I have an obsessive-compulsive eye for the written detail but couldn't draw so much as a map to my own ass, while Sis has designed business logos and user interfaces and elaborate media content.

Today, though, she is in what she described as a career valley. Her employer is hosting a Take Our Progeny To Work Day event tomorrow, and trying to come up with fun activities for the kidlets. One of their corporate mascots (or a client's? I'm not clear on just what represents who, here) is a sort of deranged, animated toad creature. He originates from somewhere in Europe, so he is, you know, alternative , and edgy, and, apparently...anatomically correct.

So. This afternoon, Sis was asked to apply her artistic talents to removing a cartoon frog penis. They're going to distribute the newly neutered logo to the kiddies as a Color Me! handout.

That there? Is a real resumé-builder, I tell you what.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Your mother works neither here nor there

I am, at best, an indifferent housekeeper. It's not Whitney Houston's bathroom or anything, but a) I have two cats who shed so copiously, I can't understand how they have anything left to hork up in hairball form in the laundry basket, and b) I suffer from, and am aided and abetted by all friends in, an addiction to the written word. I dust, I tidy a little...and then the piles of books and magazines and newspapers begin creeping across every flat surface again, like plate techtonics.

I do have a healthy degree of respect for shared public space, however. I've long puzzled over the kitchen messes at NerdCo; not a day goes by when the countertop isn't littered with half-finished beverages, blops of unidentified casseroles, milk souring in the carton 26 inches from the refrigerator. People pour god-knows-what into the sinks, which have no disposals; they mark their path with damp wads of paper towel, like the hatch-marked trail of Little Billy in Family Circus. We had a popcorn machine on this floor that I am sure had not been cleaned in a decade, its glass walls opaque with an electric-yellow film of Butter Flavoring. (One of the writers at last took it upon himself to disassemble and scour the works, with mixed results: some of the crud was baked on there like space-shuttle tiles, plus the machine was...rather harder to put back together than he'd anticipated. Whoops, no more popcorn, kiddies!)

I'd made the default, sexist assumption that most of this kitchen slobbery could be blamed on boys. There are so many of them at NerdCo, vastly outnumbering the fairer sex, wandering around with their Mountain Dew and their foosball and their Y-chromosomes.

However. Through Fat Club, I've been spending a large percentage of my time at the gym, and a good segment of that in the women's locker room (not quite as Alyssa depicts it, though God I laughed), and I have to say: Ladies, YOU ARE PIGS.

Seriously, chicks, what is up with that? It's crowded, we're all in a hurry, I get that...but how hard is it really to pick up your towels and your water bottles and your 87 ponytail bands before scurrying off to the rest of your day? If you accidentally squirt lotion across the dressing area, or crumble a cake of pink eyeshadow onto the counter, take two seconds to WIPE THAT SHIT UP. Perhaps with one of your many many towels? The ones that you do not seem to be using in the shower stalls, considering that some days I have to wade across the tiles? How do you even GET the surrounding area that wet, outside the shower? What kind of sprinkler attachment are you dancing around with in there?

(Side complaint about towels: I don't have a problem with the periodic nakedness in the locker room. People dress and bathe there, both tasks that are easier to start from the default clothes-free condition. But on the other hand, enough with the Nudes On Parade routine for a few of you. I read Our Bodies, Ourselves, I too am proud of my womanness, but this isn't a runway. Wrap it up.)

I think that, in either locale, it's that root sense of entitlement that bothers me most. Do you wander around your home, a trail of sodden terrycloth and assorted garbage in your wake? Surely not. Just because there are people whose job it is to clean, to collect the towels and take out the shouldn't extrapolate that to mean that said people are your Personal Filth Assistants, you know? I seriously don't understand someone who can drop their crap on the floor and walk away, secure in the faith that "someone" will pick it up. It's no excuse to trash the place.

The gym features weird giant ceramic urns as both its trash cans and towel bins; they are similar, but different. The other day a woman marched right up beside me and flung her towel into the trash by mistake. "Oh, no," she said, and we laughed.

"I hate it when that happens," I said.

"I know!" she said. Then...she left.

This is why the gym costs a million dollars, folks. I wrapped my own towel around my hand (because surely that is antibiotically protective, yes?), dug her towel out of the trash, and deposited them both in the correct giant ceramic urn. Had I not, that little karmic wrinkle would have bothered me ALLLLL DAY.

Must be easy, to be some other people.

I suppose it could always be worse. A friend's mother was famously forgetful, twice accidentally leaving her prosthetic breast at the pool. (She had another, for day use; I guess this was a regulation swim boob.) That would be a fun one to retrieve from the Lost-And-Found bin, no?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Three things that vexed me today, one with slight mitigation.

1. Vanity plate, MANOWAR. Being a progressive pacifist pinko, I probably would have just stuck to my initial thought--"Like, a giant jellyfish?"--and been on my way...but for the big clipped-to-the-window American flag also flying from the automobile. Then I was given to wonder. Man-o-war as in your car is an armed naval vessel? Man-o-war as in you're a veteran? Or...Man-o-war 'cause you just think war is...kind of awesome? There was some sort of pro-Dubya, God Bless the USA, bomb-Eye-Raq-now vibe hovering over the whole thing that unsettled me, war as a spectator sport. CNN, ESPN, quelle difference?

Though there were not any visible Bush stickers or magnetic ribbons. Perhaps he is just a proud patriot who also happens to be fond of the 80s metal band.

2. Safeway. They were piping in innocuous lite hits, as you do...but as I patrolled the aisles in search of my Fat Club-approved lean proteins and frozen blueberries, I gradually became aware that the song playing overhead was...the theme to the Mickey Mouse Club.

First, buh? That doesn't turn up on your average Time-Life compilation. If there was some sort of promotional tie-in going on, I missed it. Second? I'd never thought about it before, but that song consists primarily of CHILDREN YELLING. At ten o'clock in the freaking morning; what gives, Safeway?

3. Here at NerdCo we are subject to a perpetual onslaught of internal marketing. Lavish banners and posters appear in the night, urging us to check out this or that new Awesome Product TM; glossy fliers are thrust into our thousands of mailboxes. I've never understood this because nine times out of ten, I have been looking at/working on Awesome Product TM all damn day and I KNOW ALREADY, NerdCo! Just who are they trying to reach?

Anyway. New poster in the hall this week, touting something or other, with the bold, bright headline: More Firepower. Less Firedrills.

No, no, NO! Wrong! Bad! FEWER. "Less" goes with numbered items, "fewer" with abstract quantities. (Yes, I am one of those people who wigs out in the grammatically incorrect express checkout lane.) Perhaps they could have spent less dollars on posters, and tapped one of the HUNDREDS of NerdCo editors before this thing rolled off the presses, maybe?

So. Grumpy, I marched back out there with my red pen to correct/vandalize corporate property. Imagine my delight to find that someone else had beaten me to the punch! Editors--we are everywhere, bub, look out.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Reading between the lines

Just got e-mail at work announcing that the parking garage for my particular building at NerdCo is being repainted over the coming weekend: fresh stripes for the drivers of Hummers and other penile enhancements to callously disregard come Monday.

I liked the name of the company they've hired, though: Straight Line Striping. Apparently, Half-Assed Crooked Striping didn't underbid it nearly as much as you'd think.


Yesterday was the Seattle Mariners' home opener. I'm third-generation in the Church of Baseball, and for over a decade the fam and I have observed Opening Day like a religious holiday, trucking down to the Safe (and the Kingdome before it) to slowly grow numb with cold (well, that's new to open-air ball in Seattle), savor the last of the hot dogs left over from last year, and oftener than not observe the M's lose.

Which they did, yesterday--but we were not in attendance. The openers are usually day games, scheduled at weird hours, and Mom couldn't make yesterday's 2:05 start all the way down from Mukilteo. We're going tonight instead, probably a wise choice because the sun is out, for a change.

My reputation precedes me, however. Yesterday at about 1:30, Boss burst into my office brandishing this year's M's schedule. "WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?" she fretted. I had to explain myself, and reassure her that I had not lost my faith. Heh. I'm loyal; they still have 161 chances to prove me wrong, this year.