Posts Tagged ‘work


Brave New World

Weegie Thompson has nothing to do with this post, but I figured hey, picture of Weegie Thompson.

Apparently the secret is now out: After almost 11 years of copyediting and page design, I’m leaving my current job. And not only am I leaving my job, but I’m (hopefully) closing the book on that era of my career. It’s not that I hated what I did, but quite honestly, I hit the point where I knew it was time to move on.

So, as of Jan. 1, I will be entering a new field: IT technician at my current place of employment.

Now, for some, this seems like quite a jump — but in reality, it’s not. I’ve been involved with computers and fixing things for most of my career. I’ve been ripping apart copiers and showing people how to use their computers since I was 18 and a student employee at Pitt. In South Florida, I was always fixing things, whether it be computers or printers or the network or whatnot. In the current company, I’ve had administrator access to most of our systems … and I think I was the only copyeditor who ever had the secret push-button code to the IT room when I worked in Tarentum. In fact, when the IT guys needed a little help, I was one of the guys they turned to.

So when the IT guys mentioned that they had an opening, I knew I had to take the shot. And I think for all of us, this is a great move. I, for one, am excited about the opportunity to learn new things and undertake a whole new career. The IT guys are excited because they get a proven commodity: someone who understands the print business/process, understands the newsroom needs, understands newspaper personalities and isn’t afraid to tackle any of the problems that arise. Believe it or not, at my workplace, that’s the stuff that makes or breaks most techs — newspapers aren’t for the weak. The newsroom is excited because finally there will be a tech who understands how little stupid problems can really screw up workflow, and understands when they are on deadline, things need to be fixed NOW.

There’s a lot of other pluses to this move for me, personally. I won’t have problems getting time off anymore. Apparently, I’ll get one weekend day off. I’ll still be working primarily nights, but during my training, I’ll be working dayturn with you normies. I won’t be doing the same thing day in and day out. Really, I’m super excited about this. I mean, yeah, I’m going to be dealing with a lot of knuckleheaded calls and questions. I’m going to feel like slamming my head off a desk from the retardedness of people. But it’s going to feel so much better than having guys hovering over my shoulders telling me to send a page that isn’t ready, or having to explain why I was late despite getting all of my copy 15 minutes before deadline.

The other part is there’s a general excitement about me going over from the IT and pressroom guys, and for me, that’s just weird. Honestly, in my current department, morale is really low. We have fewer and fewer people who seem to be doing more and more work, and then we get yelled at for leaving words that certain higher-ups don’t like in a story. (Mind you, these words aren’t wrong, but it’s said that they are “overused” and that we must avoid them at all costs.) I imagine that this is what going from a abused dog to one that is valued is like. It’s awesome and scary and unfamiliar all at the same time.

Right now, it’s as though the doors of opportunity have been flung wide open. Chances are I’ll be returning to school to learn more tech stuff, and the company will reimburse my education. I’ll have a little bit more of a life, or at least the opportunity to spend more time with my family and friends. This isn’t just a change in job … this is a change in frame of mind for me. I’ve been waiting for a chance like this for a long, long time. You can damn well bet I’m going to grab it with both hands and not let go.


I wants it

Recently, a friend posted a link to a site called “Home Decor for Absolute Geeks.”

And I browsed through it, laughing, but not really seeing anything that was a “must have.” I mean, yeah, the Space Invaders wall decals were pretty funny, but I couldn’t see myself slapping them in the walls of The Geekatorium. I mean, I love me some video games, but not exactly that much, where I want to see them on my wall.

But then I saw something that changed everything:


I told my friend that this desk made me want to open my own company, just so I deal with people over it. Imagine the possibilities:

  • Interviews:
    “So, what makes you think your ideas are any better than, let’s say, HIS.”
    “Do you have any questions? And I advise you to answer this question carefully.”
    “What do you think of our health care plan?”
    “Your jedi powers won’t work on me, boy.”
    “As you can see, there’s always room for advancement.”
  • Employee reprimands:
    “I advise you to work harder … for your sake.”
    “Remember, your HMO won’t reimburse you for damage sustained from carbonite freezing.”
    “Remember Solo? He liked to call in sick when he wasn’t, too.”
  • Evaluations:
    Form has boxes “Excellent,” “Good,” “Average,” “Below Average” and “Wall Decor”
    “I really think your smuggling skills need to improve.”
    “Quite frankly, your work on this project stunk worse than Bantha poodoo.”
    “You’ll get a bonus of $2500. No more.”

Oh man, it could actually make being a boss somewhat fun.

Now to find a product or service worth forming a business for ….


Ask a stupid question

The other day at work, PPJ emitted the longest, most vulgar littenany of cursing that I’ve heard in a long, long time.

After I got done laughing (if you’ve seen Betty White’s performance in “Lake Placid,” you understand why — it’s that same effect), the conversation went something like this (at about the 15 sec mark):

Maybe it’s time I cleaned up my language ….


Grammar Nazi moment

I edit for a living. It’s what I do. Not really by choice, mind you, but sometimes you’re desperate enough for a job that you’ll do just about anything. That basically describes my entire work history.

Grammar uber alles
My current position is what most people call a “grammar nazi” — meaning I edit things to ensure that they are at least in the ballpark of being readable. (And to answer the FAQs, yes, if you send me an e-mail, I’ll edit it as I read it. Yes, if I pick up a menu, I’m edit it as I read it. Yes, I edit anything and everything that I read. And yes, sometimes it sucks gigantic ass.)

Some call me anal, but really, I’m fairly easy going about this stuff compared to some. For example, I don’t get bent out of shape over common usage errors, such as your and you’re, or there, their and they’re — it’s fairly easy to fuck up and use the wrong one. And typos don’t freak me out, either. We all make them, so no sense getting worked up about them.

Too good not to use.

Too good not to use.

But there are some things that irk me to no end. Geekhand is one (“NE1 there?” Seriously? You have a keyboard, right? How many more keystrokes is it to spell out “anyone?”), but I can at least understand its use when texting. However, other errors make me want to go running, screaming into the night:

  • Preregister. Oh dear God, I cringe every time I hear or see this word. There is no such thing as “preregistering” for something. If you had to preregister, that would mean you have to register in order to register. Make sense? You just register for stuff. That’s it. No “pre-” needed.
  • I simply call them delicious.

    I simply call them "delicious."

    Donut: There is no such beast as a “donut.” There is a thing called a doughnut, though — and they tend to be very tasty.  Homer Simpson eats them by the truckload. But “donut” is basically part of a brand name — Dunkin Donuts, Donut Connection, whatever. If you mean what I posted to the right — that, my friends, is a “doughnut.”

  • Entitled: Did you ever see that “Three Stooges” episode in which Curly would go nuts and beat the crap out of everyone when Larry would play “Pop Goes The Weasel”? Well, that happens to me when I hear “entitled” used incorrectly. Books, plays, CDs, pieces of artwork or whatever else that is named is not “entitled.” It is simply “titled.” Entitled means that someone is owed something. For example, “The artist who created the painting titled ‘Killed My Landlord’ is entitled to $50,00o from the painting’s sale.”
    (And for you Stooges fans, the fun begins around the 4:20 mark)
  • The apostrophe: I can’t understand why people can’t seem to grasp the proper use of the apostrophe. Instead of trying to explain when it is used, I’ll make it easy: An apostrophe doesn’t make a noun plural. Ever. For example, a friend of mine said she saw a warning sign on a park bench that read “Bee’s.” When used like this, it means that one bee owns the bench. If there is more than one bee lurking about (and they don’t own the bench), then it should read “bees.” Seriously, folks — this shit ain’t hard. I mean, grammarians have already been browbeat into accepting the use of “s’s” (so the “Hoss’s” sign is now allegedly correct), so just slap an ‘s on to anything possessive, and you’re good to go. And the worst part about this particular error is that I see it spreading into titles of stuff — meaning it’s happening so often that editors are missing it.
  • 12 noon. OK, let’s take a quick look here: What’s the definition of noon? 12p.m. Can you have a 3 p.m. noon? No.  Can you have an 11am noon? No. Can you have a 12:01 noon? No. And if you try and be smart and say that you can have 12 nooners, I can only salute you.
  • Quotes: Be “courteous” — use quotes “correctly.” OK, this sentence makes me want to punch babies. Quotes shouldn’t be used for emphasis — just titles and quotes. (And yes, I know I’m being hypocritical since I used them for emphasis throughout this blog entry.)

Friends also pointed some of their irritations:

  • Forewarn: To warn means to give advanced notice. Fore- means “before.” So, like preregister, you’re essentially warning someone about an impending warning.
  • ATM machine, PIN number: Do you know what each stands for? ATM = “Automatic Teller Machine.” PIN = “Personal Identification Number.” So, “machine” and “number” are redundant. Just say ATM or PIN. That’s all that’s needed.

There’s no way to talk about these things and not have grammatical errors in whatever you write, so don’t bother pointing out my mistakes. I know I make them. However, I know you won’t see the ones that I pointed out here, because basically, they cause me pain.

In the end, most people will agree with the following sentiment:

But if you find yourself communicating through the written word, being able to express yourself appropriately through proper grammar is vital. There’s nothing worse that someone who has a great idea, but can’t write well enough to fully express it.



Normally, I won’t write anything about work. If you know me, you know that my job can be a royal pain in the dupa, so why go on and on about it? Work can really suck. Deal.

However, this was too good to pass up.

Weve all had a bad boss or two...

We've all had a bad boss or two...

We’ve all had that one boss who is outstandingly bad. From Mindbling’s genius former boss who wanted to make “the meat horn” to one of my ex-bosses who was a former meth addict (hired into his job by his dad, go nepotism!), they can be trying.

Currently, one of the managers at work is well-known for not exactly being what one would call a “good” manager. Every solution usually involves the employees in the manager’s charge “working harder” while the manager sits in the office, watches TV, occasionally naps, clips his nails and does crossword puzzles.

It is also kind of well known that this manager isn’t exactly good at crossword puzzles. And by not good, I mean “laughably bad.” People have discovered them on the desk and just burst out laughing when they see the answers.

Today, apparently one of the questions was “Planet circlers.” The answer is a 5-letter word.

The manager’s answer?


I’m fucked, aren’t I?


When worlds collide

As I’m sure you all know by now, the Burghosphere’s most popular blogger, Pittgirl, is back. She has a new site called That’s Church. And the first thing she did was out herself as to her real identity, where she worked, her family — all the stuff the we readers always wanted to know. Oh, and when I say “worked,” I do mean it in the past tense. She was fired because of her blog.

Now, I’m not breaking any news here about her return or about her getting fired, which is why she remained anonymous for years in the first place.

But it is rather irritating to see someone get fired for writing their opinions, views and such in dealing with public figures at their place of employment. I mean, it wasn’t like she put the nuclear stockpile launch codes on her site — it was more like she was talking like any of us talk about work after a couple of beers to our friends. Except her friends were on the Internet. And her comments were easily accessible for anyone to read. And they were good reading.

On the other hand, I think her employer had no choice to do what they did, especially since she would have to continue to deal with all of these figures. Obviously, those politicos wouldn’t feel particularly endeared to her, or want to deal with her, which would impact them significantly. It’s quite a quandry.

Well, can I help it your desk is a mess?

Oh, this gnome's desk is a mess! How quaint!

Blogging is such an odd little world, where an entry can have epic, life-changing consequences. I’m not sure if I’m expressing what I really want to get out about this topic, but, you know, you’ll have that. I haven’t even had my morning caffeine yet. But those consequences are why I try not to blog about work, or about stuff that is work related. Not that I actually get to meet anyone famous in my position as “Shoemaker Gnome III” — though I’m sure when Hillary Clinton walked past my desk, she was all, “This boy is a P-I-G pig!”

I’m sure Ginny will be fine. I’m sure she and her husband planned a worst case scenario when she knew she wanted to come clean as to her identity. I’m sure she didn’t take coming out lightly. At all.

But it’s definitely a good reminder to us that sometimes our work and writing worlds just aren’t compatible — and that our freedom of speech comes with a hidden word — responsibility — and that we can be held accountable for what we choose to talk about.

Of course, now that Ginny is unfettered by things like employment, I wonder if she’ll just run amok for a little bit, like a dog that’s been cooped up too long in need of stretching its legs — or if she’ll be a little more on the conservative side, because she knows employers could fear that she’ll be airing a little dirty laundry about them should they hire her.

I guess only time will tell.

But I am happy she’s returned, and that I have something to read (again) with my morning tea.


The Quirkening

Today has been an offbeat kind of day, and I’m tired and drinking a beer (Sam Adams Cherry Wheat), so I’ll just sum it up brief-style.

And we wore an onion on our belts, which was the style in those days...

"And we wore an onion on our belts, which was the style in those days..."

1.) Listen to your elders: My iPod battery went loco again, so I was forced to go without it today in the gym. My co-worker Huggy Bear came strolling in, and introduced me to a couple of old-timers who were BSing the entire time I was there. Turns out the one guy had a great story about how he stepped on to a small commuter plane (years ago), and pretended he was a drunk pilot. (Any attempt to tell the story here would be useless — it was a definite “had to be there” thing.) Immediately after he was done, someone said, “There’s no way in hell you could do that today.” Yeah, of course not. But now I’m wondering what will fall into that category when I hit “old Coot” status. Hell, I can think of things now that I did that would be absolutely frowned upon in at least 39 states.

2.) Weight training: OK, when you haven’t really gone at the workouts hard, it really hurts when you do. I woke up this morning and was like, “Why am I sore? Oh yeah…” My left elbow is giving me all kinds of grief, which is odd when you consider it was my right one that I dislocated.

Dammit Trixie, wear a goddamn seatbelt one of these days, will ya?

"Dammit Trixie, wear a damn seatbelt one of these days, will ya?'

3.) That guy: You know that jackhole who flies past you on the highway when there’s mildly inclement weather afoot? Yeah, that’s me. You know why? It’s not that you’re a complete and utter idiot — that’s only a secondary reason. The first is that if I stay behind you, you’re going to cause me to die. You see, it’s not that I enjoy being a jackhole driver, but you know, your random braking for no reason is going to cause me to hit my brakes and spin/crash Speed Racer style, my little Gobot car exploding and mildly irritating my skin. I’m not going down with Spritle and Chim Chim in the trunk — at least not until I find out that Racer X is really my long lost brother who left home many years ago. I’ll take my chances and go around you. And yeah, I’ll be flipping you off as I do it. Do us both a favor and stay home, will ya?

For the love of God, make it end.

For the love of God, make it end.

4.) Now just how lost are you?: For the past two weeks now,  a certain co-worker has gone cell phone crazy. Last week, her sister got lost after dropping her off at work, and instead of going a few blocks back to the co-worker’s home, somehow ended up in Saxonburg. I don’t even understand how this is remotely possible, since Saxonburg is like 45 minutes outside of the city. But talking her back took in the vicinity of 3 to 4 hours. Super Mario and I were ready to just shoot each other in the face to put an end to our pain. Last night, the same co-worker had the speaker phone turned on, even though she was holding it up to her ear as she spoke, not realizing that everyone else in the office could hear her entire conversation. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such pain, but I’m seriously considering launching people out windows. Srsly.

How many God-damned chances did you want, dumbass?

"How many God damned chances did you want, dumbass?"

5.) Badger’s Return: Long-time readers (from my myspace blog days) may remember a different co-worker I call Badger. A few years ago, Badger, a notorious smoker, had spots on his lungs and quit smoking. Then, when everything cleared up, he started smoking again. A few months ago, the same thing started happening again, and he quit smoking. Today, he came over to talk to Huggy Bear, and he mentioned that the docs gave him a clean bill of health, and he’s thinking about starting to smoke again. Dear mother fucking God — you’ve dodged the big C 2 times. You already cough more than a 1950s farm tractor that’s being fired up again after being stored away for winter. You’ve successfully kicked the habit. I’m sorry, I have no sympathy anymore. If you start, you’re an idiot, and you get what you get.

I assume you want another beer, assclown.

"I assume you want another beer?"

6.) The Tauntening: I really started going after Super Mario with that taunts today, because for whatever reason, the ridiculousity of the day has just gotten to me. She mentioned how tonight when she got home how she was gonna watch Season 4 of “Lost” and get drunk. So every hour or so, I went into my “swave” voice (a story for a later day) and was all, “Man, I’m goin’ home, gettin’ drunk, and watchin’ ‘LOST’!”, to which she loudly called me a dick and asshole. Sadly, no one in the office even budged, because her calling me that is such a common occurance. The other sad part is that when Season 5 starts, I’ll be over at Mike’s, drinking beer and watching “LOST”. I’m such a hypocrite. LOL.

How YOU doin?

"How YOU doin'?"

7.) Food run: Since I fell asleep this afternoon, I didn’t have time to cook. I’ve been starving all night at work, noshing here and there. I stopped at Taco Bell (no lectures on how it’s barely above edible — I simply don’t care), and sure enough, since the High Mojo cycle is still in effect, I got a “How YOU doin’?” from the drive-thru girl. Let me tell you, she disturbed me. I will never understand the hoop-lip piercing dead-center of the face, especially on a woman that I thought was a man when I initially drove up. For the love of God, those forearms on her were HUGE. So, you know, I got her number and am givin’ her a call later. (The things I’ll do for free chalupas.) You betcha!

Sweet, sweet booze.

Sweet, sweet booze.

8.) The Shoppening: In a tactically deft move that I’m sure will be shrewdly compared to the German “Going around the Maginot Line” maneuver, I’m knocking out my Christmas shopping AND grocery shopping tomorrow. I’m sure this will involve much gnashing of teeth, many anger-fueled, steel-toed Doc Marten back kickenings, lunch at Uncle Sam’s Subs, a couple James Harrison-style hits, followed by a little unwinding with some fantabulous enchiladas at the Iguana Grill on the South Side. Thank God that place is open again.

Oh, and there will be boozing. Much, much boozing. Just look for the Unabomber looking guy that’s grumbling to himself. That’ll be me.

And I’m yours for a couple of chalupas.

([9.] And for you bastards that were whining because I haven’t been curmudgeoningly lately, are you happy now?)

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