Monthly Archives: September 2004

Monkey Stickers

This is one of the newest street art sticker memes hitting Capitol Hill in Seattle, and I really like it. It isn’t as omnipresent as the bald man or the coldkillr ghost (I’ll rant on why I dislike the ghost soon), but the monkey stickers are spreading fast around the neighborhood and their variety is their strong point. Here’s a sampling (click for a larger version with the monkey in context)…

The Joys of Temping Part II

Continuing what I started here.

Character refresher… President (Pres), Uber-late-term pregnant coordinator (Coord, who has now had her baby after two days of prelabor and then 6 hours of labor), the bookkeeper (Book), and the cats…

Sophie Jcchiizzzelle

Computers…
Book does not understand them, and especially not the internet or e-mail. Now, I agree it’s a little mean to make fun of people not having the same technical knowledge, but it still makes for a good laugh. One day Book started asking me for advice on buying computers. She only knows of two types of computers, Dells and Macs. OK, that’ll keep things simple.
BOOK: I saw this really cool flat screen monitor in the store the other day with a fish screen saver that looked so real. It was like there were really fish in there. Do all computers come with flat screens now?
ME: Yeah, most do.
BOOK: Cool, I really want that screen saver. Can any computer go on MSN or Yahoo?
ME (sigh, there is no internet or world wide web, there is only MSN): Yes
BOOK: So if I connect to MSN, can I not get to Yahoo?
What transpired was a very awkward, and very messy explanation of internet service providers, the internet and websites. I know she didn’t understand a bit. She now insists that I can’t leave before she gets my contact info to help her with her eventual computer purchase.

E-mail…
BOOK: Is it possible to forward an exact copy of an e-mail you received, to someone in your address book?
ME (staring at the open e-mail on her screen and the “Forward” button above it): Yeah, just click that button.
BOOK: That won’t erase the message from my computer?
ME: Nope.
BOOK: Wow, that’s so cool.
I’ll spare you the virus conversation we had next, but I will guarantee that her computer gets a virus in the next month or two. She then gave me a printed out copy of the e-mail forward she had gotten (and forwarded on to her friends (and nearly the person who sent it to her in the first place)). I took it back to my desk and spent a good half-hour reading the snopes.com debunking of it. I didn’t have the heard to tell Book.

Survivor…
Book and Coord both watch a lot of TV. A ton of TV. The amount of TV they watch every night really makes me want to ditch our cable. Every day for the two or three weeks prior to the Survivor premiere, I would hear, at random, a shrill countdown resonating from Book’s desk, such as, “Two more weeeeeeeeks…” or, “Neeeext Thuuurrrsdaaayyy…” And then the night came. Survivor premiere (yes, I watched it). The next morning at work. Nothing. Book hadn’t mentioned it yet. It was driving me crazy. Why hadn’t she brought it up yet? It was nearly noon and she still hasn’t said anything. And then, nearly shouted over the cubicle walls to both Coord and I, “Soooooooooooooooooooo!!!???” The next half-hour exploded into the most fanatical analysis of Survivor and reality TV. This might have been the moment that sealed the deal for me. I think I’m done with Survivor.

Coord is pretty cool. She and I had formed a sort of kinship, when we exchanged knowing glances during one of Book’s more notable monologues. Once Coord was out of the office, alternating between home and the hospital, with an 8+ pound baby kicking to get out, I ended up spending more time at her desk, taking on some of her regular tasks. One day, while opening up one of her lower desk drawers, looking for printer paper, I found a book titled, “Dealing With People You Can’t Stand.”

Papercuts are a part of any office job, but I think temp workers deserve hazard pay. My hands are littered with little red lines of scabs from scrapes and papercuts in various degrees of healing. But as bad as the past month had been, this past Tuesday was my Waterloo. I was ten minutes away from leaving, with just one large manila envelope to seal up. As I folded the flap over to seal it, I ran my fingers along the edge to crease it. Needless to say, my middle finger was on the exposed edge and I got a nice deep papercut. I went and washed it, stuck a bandaid on, and went back to finish the envelope. It was an oversize envelope that had been folded, so I needed to use some packing tape to hold it together. I used the handy packing tape gun contraption and taped it, but the cutting edge didn’t cut the tape. You know where this is going… I stupidly put my fingers (other hand) close to the edge and got my other middle finger caught in the jagged cutting mechanism. There’s probably still a chunk of my skin in that thing, and I was now left with two bloody middle fingers. Manila envelope: 2. Chazz: 0.

Last but not least is Brendan Fraser. That’s right, the actor. Well actually, his parents. I filled out the deposit slip for the homeowner’s dues check from Brendan Fraser’s parents. They live in a swanky town house on the outskirts of Seattle (Recently the site of a fire. Who puts a lamp on a couch?). Coord also mentioned to me that Pres knitted Brendan and his wife a blanket for their newborn baby, and got a nice thank you note from Brendan. Small world.

If anything thrilling happens in my last two days next week, I’ll be sure to share. And until I’m jobless again, s0 long temp work.

The Joys of Temping Part I

For the past month and a half during my job search I’ve been temping at a small property management company to pay the bills. I’ve done the temping thing before, and while it’s usually mind-numbing work, it can be fun to meet some really interesting people and see a business environment you might never have seen otherwise. Here is some of what I’ve experienced recently (This is gonna be long. WordPress needs to allow extended entries. Might do this in two parts instead.):

(For most of my time at the company, there were three other employees regularly in the office: the president of the company; her 8+ month pregnant daughter, the coordinator; and last but not least, the overly made-up, late 50-something bookkeeper. They will be referred to as, Pres, Coord, and Book.)

My main assignment is to help the bookkeeper with some regular tasks. I arrive the first day…
BOOK (opening the door): Hi! You must be Chazz. You’re not alergic to cats, are you?
ME: It’s Chase, and actually, I am.
BOOK: Oh, they probably should have mentioned that. We have two.

Names I was called multiple times during my first two weeks: Chazz, Chance, Scott, Todd.

The two cats in the office (Sophie and Jszciizzchellle (always pronounced in an exagerrated French accent)) run the place, and also frequently vomit/hairball wherever they want. The carpets are rarely cleaned more than once every two weeks. The office smells bad.

At one point I walked over to Book’s desk to ask a question, not realizing she was on the phone, so I did some filing nearby, waiting for her to finish. I noticed that she had a fully cream cheesed bagel on her desk and the phone cord was in danger of hitting the exposed surface of the cream cheese. She noticed this too, and slid her bagel further over on her desk. Then, with phone on her shoulder, she reached down across her desk in the same direction for a piece of paper. The phone cord, of course, landed right in the middle of the bagel and cream cheese. I was amused by this and went back to filing. A minute or two later, I hear her finish and hang up the phone. As I turn to ask my question, I witness her holding the stretched phone cord up to her lips, voraciously licking the cream cheese off the cord, coil by coil.

The sound of White-Out. Numerous times during the day, I hear the click-clacking of Book, shaking her bottle of White-Out. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems a little odd for a bookkeeper, the person who is supposed to be most careful and make the fewest mistakes, to be using her mistake-eraser, so often. But hey, at least she’s catching a lot of them.

To be continued…

Heroes and Fables

This past weekend I got out to see Hero. It was beautifully shot and it used color in some stunning ways. I was also impressed by the way the narrative was presented. The storytelling aspect, and the delivering of plot twists by different accounts of the events. It all sucked me in and made for a great Chinese epic.

Last week I picked up a copy of Fable last week. This game was pretty much the biggest reason I bought an Xbox two years ago. Unfortunately it fell a bit short of it’s original goals. Peter Molyneux is a genius when it comes to game design, with past games such as Black & White and Populous, but he couldn’t deliver his original vision with Fable. It’s biggest strength was supposed to be in it’s open-ended world, where you could be as good or as evil as you wanted. This is still there to some extent, and it’s pretty neat to see your character grow and change in either direction, but it isn’t nearly as open as it could have been. There’s a lot more I want to write about it, and role-playing games in general, but I think I’ll save it for another post.

Nearly Employed Again

Update 9/16:
After getting a number of clarifications and some more details on the offer, I was quite happy with it and accepted. I start on the 30th.

A letter:

We are delighted to offer you the full-time position… As you know, people are the key to our business, and we are very excited about having you on our team. Outlined below are certain terms and conditions of this offer of employment…

I haven’t found any reason why I shouldn’t accept the position. It isn’t the first job I interviewed for at the company, but it’s doing pretty much the same thing in a different department.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped me out. Drinks on me… sometime in early October.

Photos and Politics

I’ve really been digging Flickr lately, and I’ve been posting more photos there than on my own site (I’ll catch up one of these days). To view my photostream, just head here. I really like these two utility fixtures I found recently. I’ll get a feed for my Flickr photos set up soon in one of the side columns.

On a completely unrelated note, I had a political revelation earlier today. There is only one man worthy of winning the election for President this year. All of the mudslinging, name-calling and smear campaigning that continues day in and day out… One man has already proven he can handle any negativity that is thrown his way and take it in stride. That man is Bill Clinton. Write-in. Third term. Clinton ’04

Night of the Living Gila Monster

Woke up after the nice long weekend on Tuesday with a cold/flu thing, complete with sore throat and body aches. That didn’t stop me from hitting two more interviews this week and collecting 5 new business cards for my collection.

But what I really wanted to write about is something really annoying about being sick. The sickness-twisted dreams you have. I mean, the tossing and turning in order to fall asleep is bad enough, but man, the dreams… Last night involved a remote western saloon, where I was hanging out with a few friends, and my cousin Andy. The reason we were at this saloon? It was the only place in the country that was brave enough to play the new Jessica Simpson single. I have no idea what the actual song was, but the reason nobody else was playing it anywhere in the country was because it didn’t fit at all into the rest of Jessica Simpson’s crap. This song was actually good. It was such a perfect blend of so many genres, we could all find something we liked about it. At the same time, we all understood exactly how nobody else in the US or the world could get it. The strangest thing about this place wasn’t the song, or the collection of people listening. It was the parking lot. It was full of gila monsters. As I was about to walk outside to check on my car, the bouncer-type guy put his hand on my chest and said in a horrible Texan-meets-Scottish accent, “Careful o’ them things ou’ there tha’ looks like speckl’d piles o shite. I done stepped on one once and I swears I ain’t never felt a more painful, poi’snous, bitin’ piece o’ shit since.”

And then the worst part of the sickness-induced dreams kicked in… the endless loops of anxiety. It felt like hours that I was walking around this parking lot, carefully stepping over gila monster after gila monster. When I realized I was dreaming, I would force myself awake and try to shake off the dream, but as soon as I drifted off again, I was back in the parking lot. I kept trying to get out, but only after getting myself out of bed, taking an extended bathroom/drink of water/stretch break, could I get back into bed without falling into the dream again.

On the plus side of getting sick, in the past week I’ve rediscovered tea and honey (left over from the Admiral and his world traveler), which has helped my throat immensely.

Liz Oughta Know

We miss you already, Liz. It’s been great hanging out with you in the past two years, all the way from 1010 to the Summit, and never too far beyond.

Goodbye Liz

But before she left, Liz managed to Lynndie most of the gang.

Liz Lynndies Ken Liz Lynndies Jeremy Liz Lynndies Alex

Last but definitely not least, there was the performance at the White Horse… Liz performs You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette (1 minute, 17mb. I recommend turning your bass all the way down to hear the vocals better).

Job-related stats

Haven’t been updating too much because 1) we’ve been giving Liz a 3 week long going away party and 2) I’ve been working a part time temp job while interviewing non-stop for full time work. Here are some statistics to summarize the job crap in the past few weeks:

Phone Interviews: 9
In-Person First Interviews: 8
Second Interviews: 2
Business Cards Collected: 11
Job Offers: 0

Songs on the “light favorites” station at work that make me want to kill myself:

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
Celebrate – Kool & the Gang (how did this end up a light favorite?)
Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx
Kiss From A Rose – Seal
Hero – Enrique Iglesias (but thanks to the Admiral‘s rendition, I always burst out laughing when it starts)