Friday, June 26, 2009

Tough As Nails

I've always been a nervous individual. More so in the past then the present. I like to believe, or at least I tell myself, that I have it relatively under control. When I was in elementary school I remember I developed some bad habits.

Some annoyingly bad habits. I would bite my nails. I have weak nails. It runs in my family. They are very thin and fragile. So if they get too long and they snag on something they usually rip. Not break, RIP. Never all the way, just deep enough to get to the delicate flesh under the nail but not deep enough to get to the other side of the nail therefore making it easy to rip off.

It would force me to slowly yank off the nail and for the next couple of weeks suffer with a painful, not yet bleeding, wound on the tip of my finger.

It hurt.

So I developed this habit of constantly "maintaining" my nails. The white part is very thin. Just long enough to not leave too much space between my finger and the nail so it can't snag on anything. My fingertips are round. I don't have those pointy fingers some people do where the nails look like tips on blades.

Someone, most likely a girl, made me feel stupid and gross for biting my nails. I would never do it in public mind you. It was always at home and I wouldn't "eat" them. They would go in the trash. I wouldn't gnaw on them either. She made note of how short and un-manicured they were. I would, whilst doing homework or reading, start the break with my teeth and slowly rip the nail off. It may seem gross to you but this was as natural to me as running fingers through long hair is to you girls blessed with long hair.

Where was I? Oh yes, a girl was once again making me feel stupid for being me. She made me aware that it was a gross habit and I tried to remind myself to stop. My mother noticed as well. In order to stop the habit she forced me to put nail gloss on so when I would instinctively put a finger to my mouth I would gack at the taste. Yes, I just made up a word. Gack. Feel free to use it. (Half gag and "ack" vocal response.) Gack.

The nail polish didn't work for its intended purpose. Instead I was humiliated at school and learned what it meant to be "gay." That fluorescent green with the black "Wake me up before you Go-Go" lettered sweater didn't help either.

I tried stopping cold turkey. That didn't work so I created an alternative. I will stop with one nail and work my way up. The most painful one was my pinky nail so I stopped. I NEVER bit my right hand pinky nail. It worked. Then I told myself I could do the left hand pinky nail. That worked too.

I was in the 5th grade. That's as far as I got.

Since then I have had long pinky nails. The only ones that I cut with nail clippers. I've been made fun of and some females still express disgust over typically pompous assumptions about what my long nails are for. It no longer has any effect on my ego though since the older we get as humans the more transparent peoples insecurities become.

Recent events though have led me to change this long standing counter-habit. I have to cut my pink nails short. My family was blessed with little babies everywhere so I must cut them so as not to accidentally scratch them. Like I mentioned before, my nails are frail but razor thin. If they hit at the right angle, baby flesh will cut deep. I can not risk that so I cut them.

How do smokers not stop? "Maybe they won't know it was me that gave their child lung cancer."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Area 51

This is Area 51.

For decades it has been the butt of all conspiracy jokes and alien crash landing rumors. Though I thoroughly enjoy the thought provoking conversations spurred by the topic the realist in me doesn't allow me to believe any of it.

What I DO believe is a little scarier.

The map itself isn't too interesting. Some weird road markings on the dry lake bed but that can be explained away by what I really think used to go on over there. Experimental aircraft. That theory has been kicked around a lot and I tend to believe that since it is the most likely. They had the Stealth airplanes over 60 years ago. I wonder what they are playing with now?

So I start zooming around on the map and focus on other nearby easy to spot lake beds. I scroll around one that is relatively the same size. At first it seems pretty boring until I scroll up. There are rows and rows of little artificial sand hills. Some with roads leading up to the top and some without.

Whatever it is, something is being dug up over there. Unless they are just sweeping up the desert. The farther up you go, the stranger they get. Some appear more like uprising then dumping zones. You know, like anthills? Take a look at this one and better yet the ground around it. It looks different, almost burnt or sunken under the immense weight of the large mountain piled atop.

...and what is with that huge circle road? One crosses it and offers a shorter path, why take the long way?

Feeling sidetracked I decided to get back on track. I zoomed out and back into the nearest, largest dry lake bed I found.

I don't know if you can see what I see but here's a closer shot of it.

I thought that looked like a target. Those square areas with what look like water pools may be just that. Why? Who knows. Perhaps they are trying to find out why the bed dried up and if it could still hold water?

Again I zoomed out and across what I lovingly refer to as burnt hill to the West where there is another dry bed and yet another "target."

Now they COULD be digging for water...but I don't see any trails leading to or from the little scorches. My theory? I think they are testing high powered space based weapons.

Think I'm far off? Here's a quote from Boieng's website. "Boeing Tests Entire Weapon System on Advanced Tactical Laser Aircraft."

Northrop Grumman is also in the race. "Laser weapon design hits 100-kilowatt target."

We're all toast.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Randy Cougar

This is the other story I mentioned in the previous blog post.

This is a 100% true story though when I retell it, it always sounds like a stupid teenage fantasy. It's not, I promise.

First a background on this lady, lets call her "Tramp" from this point on shall we? So Tramp had been at the company where I worked for years before I even arrived. One of my responsibilities at this company was setting up and managing the NAS which is too put it really simply, a computer on the network where everyone can store and share files.

Our company had frequent social events and would often hire a photographer to record those events. So when I was transferring all those files I came across a public folder of previous events that I started sifting through.

It was a relatively small company, only around 400 to 500 employees. I was also responsible for creating and maintaining all the network user accounts. Which means I knew almost everyone by name. Especially those that were local.

There was one particular female I was warned about by my coworkers. She had previously had a hand in firing some guys from maintenance. Apparently, I was told, she had a habit of flirting and when people would flirt back, she would file a complaint. She was an HR nightmare. I can only assume she was looking for the opportunity to sue. Well in a particular file folder I found images of everyone but more noticeably, was a particular image of her years ago. With wedding ring, sans implants.

Three HUGE warning signs right there.

Somewhat familiar with HR traditions and protocols I immediately set myself on alert and prepped for her special case. Whenever I would help her or walk by I would be only cordial and very distant.

I was very obvious about not being there for fun. It got to the point where she even said, with all her girly talky-talk buddies listening, "You never talk, why are you always so quiet?" To which I responded, "It's in my job description to be antisocial." My statement was meant partly as a joke but mostly true. I CAN'T be friends with anyone doing what I do. Sometimes I am forced to lay the law down and people may take it personally if they see me as a friend or acquaintance making my job more difficult. Especially if they start asking for "favors."

She unfortunately found my statement witty and laughed which was not the reaction I was looking for. *Danger. I figured she thought I was "playing" her game.

Time and time again she would call for assistance for the most redundant things. Issues that I was completely aware that she could resolve on her own. When we hired more employee's in our group I would send them to go help her instead.

Alas the day came when I had no alternative but to go work on her machine. I scheduled it during her lunch so she wouldn't have to be there but just as I suspected she came right on back while I was there.

Now I need to paint a picture so you can see exactly why I suspect this was intentional. Her cubicle was an "L" shaped desk with the computer right in the corner. Plenty of room on the left and on the right.

I "scooched" up close to the desk so she could have access to either side when she returned for "something she forgot." She could walk behind me to get anything on the right and the left side was accessible from the aisle.

This all happened in a matter of seconds.

For some unknown reason she felt the need to reach across in front of me, from my left, to my right. Completely awkward and uncomfortable. I have a look of annoyance not only because she's blocking my view of the computer screen but because I am doing work that should be done by the employees I was covering for when BLUB! I get hit in the face with a clothed saline sack.

I kick the wheeled chair back and immediately look down at the floor and lift up my fingers and hands up thinking, "OK, what the *fff am I supposed to say right now." I was more scared than anything. Of course she did the whole "hand over the mouth OMG I'm so sorry *tee hee" thing but I was thinking, "Say ONE wrong thing and your job is gone."

She said some other stuff unrelated but I don't remember the rest. Probably something like "Contact me when you are finished working on the machine."

I was at first afraid to tell my supervisor, also a recently divorced female who also happened to be feminist. Fortunately she and I were on relatively good terms, until much later but that's another story, which is boring and I won't tell here. I did tell her at one point. I softened up the story a bit, so to speak, so I wouldn't have to be as graphic in her presence. I told her I didn't want to file a complaint and gave her my reasons for not wanting to assist that particular person any longer and if we could still notify HR in some way.

Well, I didn't get her fired directly but I did start an investigation which eventually led to her lay off. She was a liability and they let her go in the most pleasant way possible.

Be careful out there!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Dangers of Coed Cubicles

I finally catch a break and escape to the lunch room. As I approach I hear a cacophony of voices. I figured it must be another useless birthday distraction.

Oh. That's why. I guess there is a new Office "hottie" and all the stupid horny men are all surrounding her. Even the suits were in the tiny little break room. (They never eat here.)

I have worked with her before and since been completely courteous. I happen to be luckily married to an office "hottie" myself so the presence of another is not that shocking or outstanding to me. Just for the record though, I did not give the one at my company this title. The way the "hunters" stalk her gave her that title.

To be honest, she's not my type. Short blond hair+waif=Meh. These old men though...seem to be starving. Not for lunch of course but maybe just a quick snack. (Fishtail?) As a younger man of 20 I would have felt angry for this girl. Why does she have to deal with that? I would feel a strange combination of disgust and pity for her. This time though I realized that I felt pretty different. Not exactly indifferent but more understanding of her situation.

My wife has helped me realize that some women like this sort of thing. They feed off of it and get as much of a thrill toying with men as men get fantasizing about them. That seems to cast a bad light on her but look at it this way. She COULD stop that quickly. Because she hasn't then she is welcoming it. My company looks down upon that sort of thing, QUICKLY. Even if someone else complains they will all get a warning and penalties would quickly follow.

As I stood there waiting for my food to warm up, (standing room only at OGLE-2000,) I overheard the gist of their conversation. Well, more like her conversation. They were all captivated by the intricate way she weaved her work stories. She cracked a joke and they all laughed. I wasn't really paying attention and that seemed to bother her.

Then she turned her attention towards me. greeeeaaaaat.

She says something to the other guys. I didn't hear the details. I was scrolling through tons of Facebook messages from a much more interesting photography group but it was something about "never talks" and "boring."

Just then one of the guys apologizes for having to go back to work, (fancy that!), gets up, says goodbye and enjoy your lunch only to her and leaves. Right away another dude takes his place in the chair. (He must have been waiting in line outside the lunch room.)

The new guy says, (he was pretty loud so I heard every word,) "I gotta joke for you" to one of his buddies. After a moments thought he adds, "But I'll tell you later, there's ladies in the room." Obvious bait for her curiosity.

Still reading my messages and without looking up I say, "HEY!" as if offended at the remark.

It took everyone a few seconds to recognize it as a joke but after she laughed all the stupid Viagro's aching to impress quickly jumped in. "Yeah hey!" they said all laughing and looking towards her for approval.


I grabbed my food, nodded to the joke-less jokester and walked out. I have learned that sometimes not giving people the attention they crave makes them desire it more which is why I threw them that bone of a social token. I figured that was a good compromise since I didn't have to direct my conversation at her directly nor did I ignore their presence completely luring them to believe I was playing coy.

Some women can be dangerous at work. So I put a LOT of though into the way I act around them. I have another story to tell. The most unbelievable of them all, but 100% completely true.

Next time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Whale of a Tail

I started writing this blog post and it got really lengthy. I decided to scrap it, start over and if need be save the full version for another project I have in mind for a much later date.

For now I will get to the point.

When I was younger, a female friend asked me to describe my preferences in the female form to put it kindly. The subject of female behinds came up after a while and since I wasn't exactly a derriere connoisseur after some extensive, purely observational, research I came to the conclusion that I preferred ones that moved.

As opposed of course to the hard, gym muscle man-butt type female behind.

My friend was shocked and confused by this admission. Since I was in High School I immediately felt self conscious and thought I was weird but I argued my point. I attempted to explain to her in a way she could understand that my justification for this was because I appreciated the fact that when there was movement, you were made AWARE that there was a live person there. The hard muscled ones may as well have been mannequins. She replied after the laughter died down that she understood when I put it that way.

What about you? Do you have a preference of palate with your partners petuckus?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Official Holy War

I find stupid humans entertaining. I myself have been known at times to be one of those stupid humans.

Today though, the stupidity is not my own.

People love sharing/shoving their opinions with other people. Hence the incredible success of web logging. Sometimes though they feel the need to share with people that don't care to know. Or to share with those people who couldn't possibly disagree with them more.

Human Resources.

For this and many other reasons companies rely on their Human Resources department to deal with all the "dirty" social messes humans create. Some companies expect you to act like a mindless automaton but people break out of those cages.

Without further ado, today's office squabble. :)

We have various lunchroom break areas in the buildings where I work. Many of these break rooms have stacks of magazines selflessly provided by the employees themselves when they signed up for the free 6 month trial they forgot to cancel in time.

Newsweek, in an obviously desperate attempt to save itself from the fate of many other failing publications, decided to fan the flames of the gay marriage debate, so to speak. Today I will not take or fake an opinion for the sake of argument. I mentioned before that this blog was an observation of office socialization and it will remain that.

I walk in this morning and right on top of the stack of magazines is this cover. Having seen my share of Yes on 8 stickers bumper stickers in the parking lot I knew this would not go uncontested. Low and behold less than 30 minutes later when I walked by to one of my appointments I decided to take a look.

The magazine was now on its face and a little booklet of Psalms was placed atop.

I couldn't help but smirk as I continued towards my destination. A few hours later I return to pick up my lunch bag from the refrigerator and the magazine is right side up, on top of the stack and ... oooh what's this? The sword and been drawn. They placed the book of Psalms teetering on the edge of the garbage bin. They didn't drop it into the can mind you but left it there as a reminder of how unwelcome those opinions were.

Every single time I walked through that break room, it was dead silent. Not a person in sight. Yet somehow I felt like I was in the middle of an old west stand off. I nuked my chicken cacciatore and sipped my soda pondering the secret identities of these two crusaders.

Minor events in human history no doubt and perhaps even a bit over dramatized by my imagination but I find the human psychology aspect of this passive war immensely entertaining.

Alas, they both kept their secret identities hidden.

It just goes to show you that no matter how hard you try,
nor how much you spend on an education you buy,
you will never truly abolish the ignorance of days gone by.