I'm listening to the 80s channel on cable as I write this. It's some of the worst crap I've had on in a long time. I'll update you as new songs appear. Right now, it's REO Speedwagon, "Keep on Loving You".
Guess what? No Flash today!
I'm sure you're all disappointed, but I didn't have any time today, even though for the first eight hours, I didn't have any billable work.
Just before I went to work, I got really motivated and wrote a three-page update on the status of the projects I've been working on so far. The image project, the website project, the cleaning up documents for content project, my learning so far in Excel...
And then I thought of two more projects that I could take on. Yes, I'm becoming obsessive, but I might as well become obsessive about something that might eventually turn out to make me some more money, and improve my skill set for something bigger down the road.
One of the projects is something that I'd never expect to take on. I surprised myself when I thought of it, due to my history with avoiding such things.
I'm planning a party. A company party.
I'm as shocked at myself as anyone else would be, but the Consulting Company has had monthly parties since I've worked there, each sponsored by a specific case team or department. And since I've worked there, the design department hasn't sponsored a party at all.
Each party is encouraged to have a theme, and usually the themes are kind of interchangeable. We'll have a Mexican party, with pinatas and burritos, or a Caribbean party with steel drum music. The only real theme party that has impressed me so far was the last one, sponsored by a department in which a woman named Bernice works. She had tons of ideas of how to promote it, including postcards and posters. It was a sumo wrestling party, with those big air-filled suits. Everybody got into it. I would have tried it, if Dan had stuck around for me to clobber. (He's an athletic guy, but I have a good couple of inches on him, and I'm heavier, too.)
Anyway, I got to thinking about that party, and thought it might be fun to have an open-mike stand-up comedy party. Have everyone who wants to participate write their favorite joke, their worst joke, a great anecdote about work, or even a whole routine. Since I did sketch comedy for so many years, I know how to put something like this together.
I brought up the idea with Ellen and Mark Z., both of whom love to participate in the annual holiday parties, and they got very excited at the concept. We've decided that we're going to serve "happy hour" food: Buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, beer nuts, and the like. The party will be set up like the cheesiest comedy club in town, with personalized coasters, napkins and door prizes for best and worst jokes being beer steins that I can have made up at CafePress.
I called Bernice, and she was so terribly excited over the concept that she invited me to come to the next Morale Committee meeting. There, we'll discuss the kind of budget I'll get, and how other departments (like catering and operations resources) can help out.
Me. On the Morale Committee. For the Consulting Company.
I don't know whether to be pleased at my progress or shoot myself in the head.
Laura Branigan, "Gloria." I didn't know she died in 2004. Sad.
Dana scampered up to me (inasmuch as Dana can "scamper") and wanted to discuss the image database with me. She's the only person I know who would get excited over finding keywords to match pictures. We discussed it for awhile...I showed her Portfolio and how easy it was to add in new pictures and keywords. We talked about the best file format for images to put into PowerPoint.
I told Dana that she should work for our knowledge archiving department, because she's such an archivist. She looked really uncomfortable and said that she didn't know if she could handle a different job at this stage in her life (she's in her mid-50's, it's not like she's about to retire anytime soon). I said it was worth looking into, as it might mean more money and a quieter environment. (Dana is the one who can't stand to have the stereo on during the day because it distracts her from her work.)
Air Supply, "All Out of Love". These people grew up in a different 80s than I did.
During our conversation, Stephanie called me and asked where she could pick up her check, as they haven't installed her nameplate on any of the mailboxes yet. I said I'd check with Dan to see if he had it. He didn't, but he called Payroll, and the woman up there said that she'd cut a check right away.
I told Steph to come right in and continued musing over the perfect keywords with Dana. Dana glared at some other folks who were talking too loudly for her taste, and I once again reiterated that she would make an excellent archivist.
I then had a big discussion with Walter over mapping software. I'm scared of the mapping software, because it involves lots of Excel formulas, and I'm really bad at Excel formulas. He assured me that he was working on a solution to that, and that "even [I] could do it!" Scary.
Pure Prairie League, "Let Me Love You Tonight". They have a "best of" album. Is it a CD single?
When Stephanie arrived, I asked Dan if we should go up to Payroll and pick up the check. He said that he'd call upstairs. I chatted with Steph for a minute, and Dan said that the payroll woman was heading down with a check "right away."
Five minutes later, no check. Stephanie had to catch a train, so I once again asked if we should just go upstairs and pick up the check. Dan said no, the woman would be there right away. Steph complained a bit about school, and I told her things would get better. Still no check.
Finally, I called out, "Is she delivering the check on the back of a goat?" Dan said, "I'll go see what's up!" and scurried out of his office and up to payroll.
He came back with a check. "She got distracted by something," he said. (Probably something shiny.) I don't know why I ever asked Dan for permission to go up to payroll. I know where it is, and it's not some sacred managers-only area. Next time, I'll just go with my gut and tell him what I'm doing, rather than ask him.
Debbie Gibson. "Out of the Blue". They couldn't find one of her fun songs? What's wrong with "Shake Your Love"?
Work was pretty quiet for awhile after that. Dan left, or so I thought, until he arrived back in the office, asking for cab vouchers. I said, "Oh, fine. You can take cab vouchers, but the employees who work until midnight can't!"
"Whoever said you couldn't take cab vouchers?"
"You did. Back when we stopped working until 1am. In fact, we stopped working until 1am so that we could take the T home instead of a cab. You said it cost too much."
"I don't remember that."
"So we can give out cab vouchers, then?"
"Well, you guys get to take the T now."
(Oh joy! We get to take the T! At midnight! Alone!)
"There's a 19-year-old girl working in the department until midnight, and you're saying that it's a good thing that she has to take the T home alone?"
"Oh, fine. You can have cab vouchers."
I can't believe we ever listened to someone named "Pebbles." That's all I have to say on this particular selection.
Mind you, all the consultants take cabs all the time. And rent out 4-star hotels. Hell, they even cab documents to their houses on the coast. If we acted like reams of paper, do you think they'd let us go home in a cab every once in awhile?
I think I won that round, but Dan will swear that we didn't have this conversation on Monday, when I see him next.
"Take On Me" by a-ha! My favorite 80s song ever! It's about time!
After Dan left, work was pretty good. We have a new contractor who is working out of her home in New Jersey named Taymar who used to work for design out in L.A. before she decided to quit. I thought it would be good to send her a long document that involved recreating tables, so she'd be busy all night, and I wouldn't have to constantly find things for her to do.
All was well until Laurie and I went to watch Joan of Arcadia. When we came back (a good episode...I even ended up liking Hillary Duff), there was a document in the design in-box. It had been there since 8:15 (we left at 8), and neither Denny nor Jan bothered to do anything with it. When I asked why, they said that they didn't know whether it was part of Taymar's document or not (it was from the same consultant). I told them that they could have asked Taymar over our instant messaging system, but of course neither of them ever have the system on. They then promptly went to dinner, leaving me and Laurie with that document and part of Taymar's that she didn't think she could finish by the end of the shift.
It was a nightmare. I took the new thing, and gave Laurie the table recreates (because she has much more patience than I do). What I got was something that had a template on page 1 which didn't translate at all into the information that was supposed to go into it on the subsequent pages. I called the consultant (who is in Johannesburg) and asked what I was supposed to do with this non-matching set of things. "Do the best you can," he said.
I just love that answer. Takes all the responsibility off of me, because maybe "the best I can" is piss-poor.
Johnny Lee, "Looking for Love." I may have to poke out my ears with a knitting needle.
The last-minuteness of that request totally busted my good mood. I felt like angry, depressed, anxious Patrick for awhile there. I snapped at Laurie and was short on the phone with the consultant. I worried I might be slipping into bad habits, but I realized that I could just be mad for awhile and look forward to getting the hell out of work. Everyone feels that way sometimes.
At last, the night ended and I elevated my mood with the soundtrack to Run, Lola, Run in the car as I drove home. And now here I sit. Listening to "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler.
It may be time for bed.