Friday, December 30, 2011

The Big Move. Or, Another Day At Sirius Cybernetics

After a particularly difficult few months at work, I called in a pile of favors and managed a transfer to another department.

There was much rejoicing.

Then it came time to move my desk.

I have a great collection of tech manuals, and these bricks are the most difficult when doing a cube move. However, I never brought them into this office. The programmers in my department were the kind of psycho-weenies that memorize every line of our code base, and think anyone who uses books is a cretin. So I gave in to peer pressure. Besides, why haul books around when Professor Google can produce it for you?

My spartan cube consisted of a few toys, pictures, magnets, pens, dust, etc. Barely enough to fill a copy paper box. Plus, I didn't have to move my computer monitor. Every cube has the same one, so they're left in place. It's not like they're heavy anyway. I'm not talking about those those giant, forty pound, boxy things from ten years ago. This was a slim-line, flat monitor that I could pick up easily with one hand.

Other than my box of cube detritus, the only other item to move was the docking station for my laptop, which weighs about one pound. 

Now, everywhere I've worked in the past, a cube move is not a big deal. You pick up your shite and go. Apparently that's not the way it works here at Sirius Cybernetics.

Welcome to the world of bureaucracy and unions.

So, when I started filling my copy paper box with stuff, my cube neighbor, Daphne the Socialist, informs me I can't do this by myself.

“Do 'what' by myself, exactly? Throw some photos and toys in a box?” I said.

Daphne is super nice, and extremely good at her job. A real go-to person when you've got an application functionality question, but all of her conversations gravitate to national healthcare or that the President is going to give everyone a free college education. 

“The desktop IT department has to move your stuff. It's their job!” she exclaims.

“That's silly, I don't have much to move... ”

She cuts me off. “It doesn’t matter. It's a union job and they're supposed to do it. I can't believe you didn't know that! You can get in big trouble! Just put in a work ticket and assign it to their group. They'll come over with a hand cart and move your things to the new cube.”


Okay fine. Whatever. I relent, and put in my ticket.

(As a side note: This procedure was put into place back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, because computer equipment was made of rocks, and too heavy for programmers to lift. Now that technology made everything smaller and lighter, it seems nobody thought to change this rule.)

I waited all day, then called the help desk for a status. They told me the ticket would be completed in the order it was received. I begged and pleaded. No dice.

The next morning, I returned to my old desk - since that's where my stuff was, and waited. Called again. No status. It could take a while, they said, depending on how busy they are.

I tried doing some work. New job requires a bit more concentration, and a bit more quiet. Unfortunately, my soon-to-be old cube is in the middle of a high traffic row, across from the men's room, and was apparently constructed of leftover partitions. Half the walls were full size, and the other half being a mismatched pair of four foot high slabs that left an unusually large exit/entry point. This meant that the flow of screaming, cursing (in several languages), sneezing, bellowing and giggling floated through my cube like a hot cabbage fart. Violent and noxious.

I decided I'd had enough. This was stupid - I had work to do, and this was holding up my productivity.

I grabbed my copy paper box in one hand, the docking station in the other, and slid out. I just needed to get past a few conference rooms and one of those key-card doors. Once I reached the door, I tucked the docking station under my arm, and with my free hand, pushed the door open.

Sadly, I was unaware that our department head was also opening the door from the other side (I swear, I think I only saw this guy twice in all the time I'd been there, but there he was). I fell through the doorway, and somehow managed not to sucker punch him in the gut with my Box O' Crap.

“Where are you going with that?” he asked.

At that point, something in my brain snapped. Nothing was going to make me stay in that adjunct ring of hell for another second.

“Whaaa? Nowhere. Stuff. Box for new cube....moving. Bye!” Then I ran.

With my two measly items, I reported to the “Facilities Engineer”, “Floor Plan Artist”, “Cube Farm Controller”, or whatever they're calling the person who assigns the human stalls these days. She also lectured me on moving my own cube-shite, tickets, union, etc. Aargh.

Finally, she lead me to my new digs. No window, but hey, no noise or weird smells, either. Desk was filthy, but that's fairly normal – I'm probably the only person who actually mopped off my scungey desk when I vacated.

However, in the middle of my new cube sat an apparently dead old laserjet with the plastic casing busted, two monitors and giant ball of cables.

“Oh dear,” says Cube Lady, “I put a ticket in for Desktop IT to come and pick those up a week ago. I'll have to give them a call.”

“ do that.” I sighed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sometimes You Get Pee With That Karma

I work with a bunch of passive-aggressive jerks. Specifically, they love their 18 hour day so much, they whine about anyone who actually has responsibilities outside the office. Like raising children and feeding them before 9pm.

Logging in from home to get a little extra work done won't get you anywhere, because these lunatics can't actually observe you working. It's like working with overly caffeinated, psychopathic kindergarteners.

The superstitious part of my brain says it's karma. I've been so cranky and stressed about office politics, that I may have inadvertently grown a crusty, bitter layer over all this awesomeness.

After months of holding it all in, some squirted out the side and splattered everything with bad karma.

To illustrate:

I spent lovely evening in our veep's office due to a crisis, only to find it was a non-issue. The person who created the crisis, lied about it - in order to get his problem looked at sooner. A complete waste of time, which meant I couldn't pick up my daughter from her friend's house, or make dinner for my family.

So last weekend, in order to try and relax a bit, Hubby and I had a daylong “date”, only to find numerous angry messages from work when I got home. During this time, daughter was tasked with reading a 300 page book for a report due at the end of the week. Since I was going to be out most of the day, this was her one and only job for the day. She opted to sleep for the entire time instead.

Between getting yelled at by work for not having my cell phone on me, then trying to pry out of a 16year old why sleeping suddenly became a moral imperative with a major assignment due shortly, I think I snapped.

Broke down in tears, had temper tantrum, threw a few things, then stepped in pee.

Apparently during the maelstrom of stress, Meatball needed to go out, and no one noticed him bouncing up and down in front of the door. Bouncing as well as a Giant Papillion Moose can do.

So I cleaned up the pee, grounded the daughter, logged into work and fixed the problem, then had a nice, fat vodka martini to compliment the swelling on my mascara-stained face.

And yeah, other than having a puffy face the next day, the sun rose and life was fine again. Well, except for the work thing. I ended up working all day Sunday.

I think I need to consider a new career path. Something that provides a bit more satisfaction, and involves less screaming.

I wonder how long it takes to get through Beauty School?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Not Now Cato !!!

In my last post from March, I believe I made the statement “Meatball is only going to grow to about ten pounds, so Leo will still be bigger”.


He's four times the size of Leo.

He looks like a Miniature Collie with elephant ears.

If he didn't have those official papers, I'd swear he was a mutant sheepdog.

He's the biggest Papillion in the universe.

Giant Papillion. GP, for short.

GP and Leo still have their daily wrestling match, usually with Leo getting his bladder stepped on by a moose, and the dog getting his neck chomped by vampire kitty. Lovingly of course.

The cat usually instigates it. He launches himself off the windowsill like a flying squirrel, and rides the dog halfway into the kitchen before GP shakes him off.

Those are my boys. Cato and Clouseau.

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I've missed you so, please forgive me.

I realize it's no consolation, but I've thought about you every day since that last post in March. Really, I have. I miss commiserating with you after some idiot nearly kills me on the way to work, or when I tell you I have no quiet time in the bathroom, or write about the cat and dog's last smack down.

Ah, those were the days. *sniff*

I've begun so many posts for you, but they always fizzle, sounding hollow and forlorn.

Life is still throwing me the finger, but I'd like to give it another shot. I can't promise I'll have something clever every day, but I'll sure as hell give it try.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

On Top Of Spaghetti

Last night, we brought home the newest member of the family. His name is Meatball:

Apparently his "fetch" mechanism is built in. He wiggles and bounces everywhere.

He's a two month old Papillion puppy, and the funny thing is, his marking and coloring is almost identical to Leo's.

Meatball is only going to grow to about ten pounds, so Leo will still be bigger. So far we're working on housebreaking. He's had a few accidents, but a few successes as well. It's to be expected. He cried a little last night, but only for a few minutes before passing out.

Leo is taking things slow. He's not sure what to make of his little brother yet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Head Pigeons

Just like milk that's gone bad, one always has to share: “Does this taste weird to you?”

So I'm sharing.

I've always been told shampooing your hair every day is very drying, so you should give it a break and wash it every other day. Apparently, this is not an option for me.

A few weeks ago, while I was working days AND nights, I didn't wash my hair every day. No big deal, I wasn't going into the office since I was chained to my laptop at home. Tied my hair up in a clip. When I did wash it, I tied it up as well.

Woke up a few days later with a weird, oily patch of hair. About an inch in diameter, oilier than normal, but not particularly noticeable. Seemed to wash out.

The next day, the patch grew to cover a three inch area, and was beginning to be very noticeable. I looked like I was smacked in the side of the head with an olive oil water balloon. Or that paste my daughter uses to make her hair stick-straight. It was wet, waxy and STICKY.

I couldn't figure out what I got in my hair. Did I accidentally get paste in my hair? Was there something weird in that new bottle of conditioner? Is the cat somehow to blame? He's usually guilty of something...

I polled some relatives, figuring this was another death-inducing ailment passed down through the family. Everyone told me to go to the doctor. Sound advice, however, it requires taking time off work, so I tried Dr. Google first.

I was surprised to see how many other people had this problem. The most common diagnosis seemed to be seborrheic dermatitis, but more likely a fungus.

We're talking FUNGUS here, people.…...FUN-gus. FunnnnGUS.

Evidently this is fairly common, and occurs when you TIE YOUR HAIR UP WET, REALLY, REALLY OFTEN.

Why is it that you can do something perfectly normal, a zillion times, then suddenly you get “head fungus”?

I know....yuck, right?

So I found two solutions, aside from investing in hats: Nizoral and T-Sal. Salicylic acid in T-Sal to break up the waxy, sticky crud, and the Nizoral to eradicate any FUNGUS!

It's been about five days now and I think I've killed it. Or stripped every drop of oil from my head. Either way, it's looking mostly normal, albeit quite dry.

So no more air drying or tying it up wet. I will embrace technology and utilize the tools available - like the hair dryer.

Can you imagine how people handled this 100 years ago? You know they didn't shampoo every day. I don't even know if there was shampoo back then. That's a whole lotta fungus going on.

I just can't get over the fact that this was so random. Out of the blue. I suppose the combination of work stress, hormones, and general oiliness left me open to it.

Either that or the cat was dragging his ass across my pillow.

Because he's usually guilty of something.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Murphy's Law Applied To IT

When you're on call, there's large swathes of time – literally hours and hours that go by, where no one calls. Nothing's broken, and the business is chugging away at full steam.

However, if that burrito you ate for lunch suddenly needs to make an exit, you can guarantee there will be a network outage at that exact moment.

When you need ten minutes to get your child to the school bus stop by 7am, your servers will sense this and burst into flames.

If you run to the shop for milk - only five minutes down the road - the database will eat itself.

On the other hand, maybe you've had an extremely busy on call week. Maybe you've been awake for 48 hours straight, and those fluffy, bunny-like spiders crawling up your arm don't want to listen to Kylie Minogue on their very tiny iPods anymore. You need sleep.

Five minutes after settling into a cozy cocoon on the couch for a power nap, your cell phone rings. It will be the crisis team informing you that every user on the East Coast can't log in.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Digging Out

We didn't get the eight inches of snow. More like three inches of sleet, with a glossy topcoat of ice. Lots and lots of ice.

Click to enlarge photos:

And the driveway's probably had it. We had to chop the crusty mess off with shovels, then go over it again with the snow blower.

We've had so much snow now, that there's nowhere to put it anymore.

I call this: Surrendering To The Avalanche:

Then, out of the white, desolate winter, Mother Nature does something amazing. She gives us the double finger:

Or maybe they're peniscicles. Who knows?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I guess everyone's heard that “Snow-mageddon” is upon us.

It blanketed the Midwest, and now it's headed for the Northeast.

Part One hit last night and dumped about four inches on our little hamlet. Not much, but that's on top of the 20 inches we've already got.

Now the weather nerds can't decide if we're getting eight inches more of the fluffy white stuff, or just several inches of ice. New Jersey is expecting the ice storm of the century, so I doubt I'll be driving there tomorrow. If it's as bad as they say, we'll be without power at least part of the time. Hubby's outside bringing in firewood as we speak.

So.....what else?

I feel obligated to acknowledge the fact that I've been among the missing for three months, but that gets kinda old, doesn’t it? Every time I fall off the planet, I show up again with some crappy excuse.

Where was I? Oh yeah...

Does the job and commute still suck? ...check and check. But I'm employed.

Employed, but still looking for something better. A job that doesn't give me nightmares. Like the one where I'm chased by angry business people, screaming that the application is done in the wrong shade of chartreuse, and they can't find the "save" button.

There's also this strange dream where I'm working in a small, smelly stall, and no one speaks my language. When I ask them a question, they just smile pleasantly, as if to say, "How adorable you are, trying to understand our cryptically written code. I'll just smile at you and hope you go away.".

Oh wait. That's real-life.

Anyway, I also wanted to mention that I finished watching The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie trilogy. Last year I wrote about the books, which were fantastic. The movies did not disappoint.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was true to the book, with great acting and action sequences. The Girl Who Played With Fire was also good, but not great. Point is, it'll get you to the finale: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. The last movie in this trilogy was simply superb. The book was huge, so they had to cut back what went into the movie, but the writer's did an outstanding job. Plenty of intrigue, plenty of revenge for Lisbeth Salander.

Of course, I'm speaking of the Swedish production of these movies, and not the upcoming travesty that Hollywood is putting out in the near future.

The Swedish versions are worth renting. Seriously. I never thought I'd be saying this, but rent them – and don't use the English dubbing. You lose the feel of the movie, and it belittles the acting. Just use your brain, suck it up and read the subtitles. Trust me. It's worth it.