Dang it All
Trials and Travails of a 20-something
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.
- Doug Larson
Music playing right now: The Subdudes - Morning Glory

My job at work is made for two people working 15 hours a week each. Unfortunately, there are three of us who each work 20-25 hours a week. This overscheduling has two main results for me. First, it is very rare that I actually work a full day. Most of the time, such as today, I get off anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours early. Secondly, because much of the time we're just standing around with no clear idea of how to employ our talents, we're given any random job around the store that comes up.

I went in today at 8:00, took a look at the schedule of deliveries and found that I had nothing concrete to do until 1:00. Bad news. The best thing to do in a situation like this is to find one activity that you can perform for two or three hours without much real effort or energy. One of my favorites that I can usually only pull off for 45 minutes or so is going upstairs to "familiarize myself with the plasma TVs." This is especially important work when Jeopardy or The Family Feud is on.

Unfortunately, today I was caught with my pants down (figuratively), wandering around the store with a blank look on my face. Consequently, I was drafted to replace lightbulbs, assemble an office chair, empty all the trashcans I'd just emptied two days before, and vacuum all the workbenches. Boo.

An hour later, I was still bereft of gainful employment. Worse than bad news. When all the obvious crappy jobs have been done, even worse jobs will be found. Saddled with the challenge of finding something to occupy my time, my boss came up with a doozy. I was very proud of him. He chewed on his fingernail for a minute or so, glanced outside at the big truck that we deliver big screen TVs in, and had an epiphany. "You know what needs to get done? The lift on the back of that truck is getting rusty. I've got a steel brush around here somewhere. It would be great if you could scrape all that off, clean it up, prime it, and repaint the whole thing. Thanks!"

Luckily, I was able to avoid most of the actual steel brushing. I managed to locate an electric drill with a steel brush head, which made the work much easier. Hooray for electricity. But I did have to spend most of my day outside working on scraping off ten years of accumulated rust. It was worth it though, if not for the paycheck, than at least for the discovery of how packrat-ish my employers actually are.

I've always known that they save absolutely everything. The basement has twenty or thirty record turntables that haven't moved since I started working there. There's a barber chair sitting in the garage covered in plastic. My boss opened up a random drawer today and found fifteen picture tubes from the 60s that he'd forgotten he'd put in there. But it was while working on the truck that I found the true treasure.

The truck is kept parked next to a group of storage units also owned by my boss. As I had an electric drill, I needed an outlet. So I procured a key and started opening doors in the hopes of discovering an outlet. It was in the midst of exploring these that I came upon an X-Ray machine from the 1970s. It had an ancient post-it note stuck to it with a date in 1979, so I can only assume it was made earlier than that. Attached to the top was a list of the different settings to use for infants, adolescents, chests, legs, etc.

Personally, I can think of absolutely no use for having my own x-ray machine, unless I was making an extremely low budget sci-fi movie and needed some extra parts. But hey, I guess it'll be cheaper in five years when they move into that assisted living place. Won't have to pay so much for all that darn healthcare. Work is fun.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

My advice to you is get married. If you find a good wife, you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher.
- Socrates
Music playing right now: Willie T and Doctor X - Christine, You're The Queen Of My Dreams

A small announcement to all of you blogging fools out there:

The chica and I have decided to be all committed-like and get married. Congratulations to me! Nuptials are tentatively set for the last weekend of July '05, so still a ways off, but you can all count down with me using my brand new counter on the right -->, replacing the date counter I will never need again.

In the immortal words of Ren and Stimpy: Happy happy joy joy!

Friday, August 27, 2004

I was browsing through the produce section of the commissary yesterday, determining whether the peaches were fuzzy enough to merit purchase, when a mother/son duo caught my ear. Standing over by the watermelons, the 10-11 year old son apparently asked her a question. Not being a professional eavesdropper, I came in late.

Mom: Those are called lunchbox watermelons because they're smaller than regular watermelons.
Son: But they're bigger that lunchboxes.
Mom: I know, they're called lunchbox watermelons anyway. It's just one more example of how the world is a confusing place and everybody says one thing and means another. Get used to it.

I was a bit taken aback at first by the mother's pessimistic, downtrodden attitude, but then I realized that it was probably a good thing. We could use a few more untrusting, low self-esteem, scared people in the world. Couldn't we?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I'm only going to one of these if there's a licensed Cuddle Lifeguard on duty.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I think I need to shave:



Monday, August 23, 2004

When in doubt, tell the truth.
- Mark Twain
Music playing right now: Guster - Two Points For Honesty

As part of this online class I'm taking we're required to introduce ourselves to the rest of the students (yet again), this time by using that time-wearied method of revealing three facts about ourselves, two true and one false. So here's your one chance to make believe that you too are in ENGL 13A at Shasta College. Don't waste it. Just the facts, ma'am:

1. The middle finger of my right hand is 1/8" longer than the middle finger of my left.
2. I can fit an entire popsicle (intact) inside my mouth.
3. I had a pet parakeet named Larry Bird when I was in 4th grade.

Buena Suerte.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Concert was pretty good. At least the Bleach part. Opening band sucked old flabby ass.

I've decided that moshing is the adolescent male form of cuddling.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.
- Turkish proverb
Music playing right now: The Pixies - Dig For Fire

mmmm....coffee coffee coffee.

Started my first college class of the semester yesterday, an online one from some tiny community college in Redding, CA. The whole thing is pretty much conducted over discussion boards and email. We were asked to introduce ourselves to the rest of the class yesterday. I was tempted to tell them I'm from Kansas and then casually mention my pig farm and the straw I was chewing on.

Going to see Bleach tonight, a band that I've heard of by proxy, that is to say I've heard them, but not enough to know any lyrics or song titles. I've been assured that they're pretty damn good however. We'll see.

I've been feeling a little guilty lately. I've been neglecting my literary and blogging pursuits in favor of playing Quidditch World Cup on Kelsey's gamecube. You know, you wouldn't think so by looking at it, but that game is incredibly addicting. Although I am reading a very good book at the moment, recommended to me by miss Danielle, a girl who has a bad habit of starting blogs and then quitting after one post. If you get a chance, and you're at all anal about punctuation or grammar, you should get yo'self a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Good stuff. A must for any English major.

Friday, August 13, 2004

A similar pox on hotmail for giving me the "The server is too busy" message nine times in a row.

A pox on all college professors who choose the newest version of a textbook to use, making it damn near impossible to buy a cheap used copy online.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

What's brown, hairy, and carries a briefcase full of papers?

A coconut disguised as a professor.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

"I do think the mighty stir about scribbling and scribes, by themselves and others -- a sign of effeminancy, degeneracy, and weakness. Who would write, who had any thing better to do?"
- Lord Byron, 24 November, 1813
Music playing right now: Cake - Comfort Eagle

(I've been reading a lot of diary entries lately, from my wonderful book The Assassin's Cloak, which is probably influencing my current writing style)

Went to Bible Study last night at the O_____'s. Never really enjoy those things. Not that I object to studying the Bible, just always feel I don't have much to contribute and don't learn much either. Night was plagued by those awkward silences that infiltrate the valleys of conversations like cat-footed fog. Invariably when pressed to make some response, I introduce whatever obscure thought was currently thinking of, usually some reference to long dead philosopher I'm currently reading about for a class. Mentioned Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, C.S. Lewis, and quoted the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus last night. My outbursts of semi-scholastic minutiae are always met by whitewashed faces and a heavy quiet. Only encourages me to stay silent. Always leave feeling that I've come across as uppity, snobbish, and patronizing. Probably am.

Mental note: Watch more Nascar.

Friday, August 06, 2004



"I spent the whole evening sitting before a mirror to keep myself company."
- Cesare Pavese, diary entry of November 6, 1938

Monday, August 02, 2004

There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either.
- Robert Graves
Music playing right now: Drain Bamaged - The Devil Went Down to Georgia

I applied for a new job today. I'm not even particularly sure what the job is, I've just got a couple of friends that work there who told me I should stick my name in. Assembling piston parts or something grandly exciting like that. At least it would pay more than delivering TVs.

I surprised myself a bit by actually applying. It's not that I'm scared of jobhunting or talking to new people or anything, I'm just terrified of filling out job applications themselves. Not all of it, mind you. The home address and phone number part I've got down pat. It's that pesky "Expected Salary" box that always scares me. First I worry that the amount I write is too high and the demonic, overworked, grumpy HR person who reads it will immediately throw it out on the grounds that I'm incredibly unrealistic and would never be satisfied with their paltry wages. Next I get nervous that I'm going to write an amount so low that they'll either just laugh at my naivete or exploit me as cheap slave labor. Half the time I just leave that whole spot blank. I'd rather have them just assume I forgot a box.

The only other part of job applications that really terrifies me is the Personal Reference section wherein I am supposed to list three people who will testify to my unblemished integrity, goodstanding in the community, and hard work ethic. And these three people all have to be unrelated to me, an acquaintance for at least a year, and I have to be able to produce a phone number and address for them. Don't get me wrong here, I've got plenty of friends, even a few that might be great references, but I am not the type that actually takes the time to prepare for this sort of thing. Which means that I am always faced with the reality that I can't think of anybody's last name, phone number, and their street address is out of the question. I think I ended up putting the only three people whose information I could actually remember. So if by chance any of you get a phone call, I'm sorry. Just say I'm perfect.

Anybody want to just start sending me money monthly in the mail?


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