Sunday, May 31, 2009

Resting On Your Laurels

My boss has one of those cheesy motivational-style posters on her wall that says "Don't Rest On Your Laurels". It's a large poster, in a frame, with no accompanying picture. It's just written in script across a nice mountainy cloudy scene. I was never quite sure what it meant, and without a picture to explain it to me, it was just one of those quasi-mysteries i always meant to investigate, but never remembered to do so until the next time i was sitting in her office looking at the poster.

I rather discovered the meaning the hard way.

Back around October of last year, i hit my 50 pound weight loss milestone. I was intensely proud of myself, and was just beginning to not mind the way my body looked in the mirror (i wouldn't go so far as to say i liked how i was looking, but i was getting there), when something happened. I'm not sure what it was, or how it happened, which means it must've crept up on me gradually. I do remember how it began, though. It began with a piece of pie. Lemon supreme, in case you're wondering.

There it was, sitting on a smallish dish in front of me, flaunting itself in all its tangy, lemony goodness; daring me to eat it. I was eyeballing it, and it was returning my gaze steadily, good old fashioned Western show down style, right there on the table.

"Eat me," it reasoned, "You deserve it after how hard you've worked. I'm just one piece! You even know i'm only ten points! Cut me in half, eat half of me for five! Come on, i'm your FAVOURITE!"

The pie was right: it WAS my favourite. What's not to love about a tangy blanket of lemon, gently snuggled over a thin mattress of cheesecake, with a button of whipped cream sitting like a little semi-sweet pillow at the head of the wedge? I had worked hard! I'd lost FIFTY pounds! And it took me almost a year to do it! If anyone deserved a piece of lemon supreme pie, my friends, i was most certainly that person! And if i only ate half of it, i could enjoy the flavour without the guilt!

Did you see that? That was a prime slice of rationalization i was having as an appetizer to the pie. Because if i had the pie sitting on one shoulder, whispering this insidious bullshit to me, then there was a bound and gagged miniature lump of fat sitting on my other shoulder, pleading with me not to go there, desperately trying to remind me what pie looked like once it'd found its way to my thighs. That "angel" on my other shoulder knew good and well that there was no way i was only going to eat half of that pie. As soon as i put the first forkful onto my tongue, that pie was as good as eaten; and if i hadn't been in public, i probably would've licked the plate. I was a good girl, though, i counted the ten points and faithfully crossed each one off of my bank of thirty five weeklies.

Over the next couple of months, that fifty pound milestone justified all sorts of bad eating behaviours. I completely ignored the fact that the milestone was starting to pass over the horizon back into unseen territory. Several months, and fourteen pounds later, i was sitting back in my boss's office, pondering the laurels. It occurred to me that i knew what laurels were, and that they were given out in wreathes as a prize in ancient Greece. I'd rested on mine, and the extra fourteen pounds was crushing them.

Success isn't a destination, it's a process and it requires a bit of effort to maintain. My problem was, though i hit a nice milestone, i was still miles away from my goal. If i was a marathon runner, it would have been the equivalent of hitting mile twenty, and then going home. So now i'm sitting here, pondering the lesson i've opted to learn the hard way. I've already been down on myself about it, and now i'm going to stop, dust myself off, and start looking back toward the horizon. The goal may no longer be in sight, but i've been there before, and i remember what it looks like.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Exacted Revenge

I was reading Loren's blog about pranks and such (just gonna put the url here, since I seem to have lost the ability to link in a blog, and i was putting some thought into one of her questions: Any stories in which you pulled a prank or were prank'd?

And i realized there hasn't been much pranking in my life. It's kinda weird to think that i've managed to dodge acquaintance with pranksers all my life, and that i, myself, am not generally given to such behaviour (not because i frown on it or anything, but because i'm really not a very funny person). But nobody lives an utterly prankless life, so i dug deep and finally remembered one! Unfortunately, it's going to require my going into specifics about my job (sorry for that, but do try to bear with me).

I work in a nuclear pharmacy. The drugs we dispense are radioactive, for use in different kinds of organ imaging, mostly cardiac (if you've ever known someone who's had a stress test, then chances are they've received drugs from one of our pharmacies). The tricky part of working in a nuclear pharmacy is that EVERYTHING has to be shielded in lead or tungsten, and we work in fume hoods that have lead and leaded glass blocks to protect our torsos and faces from receiving too much exposure to radiation.
Here's a photo of a hood similar to the ones we use, to assist your imagination:


Ours have less glass and more lead than this one. Anyway, on with the story:

A few years ago, we had a pharmacist we'll call "Bob". Bob was your typical know-it-all, you're-just-a-tech-so-you'll-do-all-my-work-for-me kind of schmuck we all love to hate; the kind of professional who liked to plant his ass in the chair, and let those who collected less than a third of his salary
see to the proper running of his profession while he dicked around online. This guy literally thought the sun rose and set on his pharmacist greatness. Unfortunately, due to his dodgy work ethic, he fucked up a lot because he was hoplessly out of practice. In short, all the technicians hated him because he had no idea what sort of cock-up he really was.

But we did!

One Friday morning, after one of his more relentless weeks, we decided we'd ruin HIS day for a change. He was running about 20 minutes late, as usual, so we went to the hood he liked to work in and began our plots.

Bob was a tall fellow. He had difficulty looking through the tiny shielded window on a good day, so that's where we decided we could inflict the most inconvenience. The shielded glass area is pretty small, maybe twoish square feet. We started taping strips of lead to the inside of the glass shield, which is standard procedure for covering up contamination. We managed to obscure all but three or four inches of viewable space with lead, down at the bottom of the shield. Plenty of visibility to get the job done. . . if you're 5'3.

Then we hung more lead in random places on the inside of the hood, strategically covering up the more convenient working areas, and on the bottom, so that it was nice and bumpy. We stood back and surveyed our handiwork, but something seemed missing. We needed a final insult, the proverbial cherry on top. A stroke of genius on my part: a note taped to the glass, explaining that a vial had ruptured during the previous shift, guaranteeing that he wouldn't attempt to remove any of the lead.

We took up our places in the other two available hoods, so that he'd have no choice but to work in the "contaminated" hood. He finally strolled into the lab and began preparing for third run (and by "preparing", i mean delegating everything but the actual drug compounding to us). He turned to his hood and his jaw literally fell open.

"What the fuck is this?!"

One of the techs, "Jane", pointed at the note and said without the faintest trace of the smile that was threatening to crack my face in two, "Didn't they teach you to read in pharmacy school?"

He snatched the note off the hood and read it quickly. "Who did this?! Was it 'Joe'?!" ("Joe" was rather famous for being sloppy in the hood, and luckily, had already left for the day). Jane nodded and turned back to her hood and continued pretending to work. I had the other hood turned off, and i'd taken out the HEPA filter and was tinkering around with the motor. I probably don't need to mention that there was nothing wrong with it.

He tried to bump Jane out of her hood, but she wouldn't move. He told me to quit fucking around with the motor and put the hood back together. "I can't work in this shit," he griped, gesturing at the lead-draped hood we'd so lovingly prepared for him.

"Find a way, this one's got a busted belt," i retorted.

After about twenty minutes of haranguing and trying to throw his authority around, my boss finally came in to find out what the hold up was. He showed her the pharmacist hood and told her he wouldn't be able to work in it. She told him she payed him a rather nice salary to figure out shit like this, and that if he couldn't, she'd be perfectly happy to hire someone who could.

We spent the next hour snickering at this 6'8 guy hunkering down to his little eye hole, cursing and sweating up a storm as he struggled to get the run out the door. Every "Fuck!!!!" and "Goddamnit!!!!" brought a fresh fit of silent laughter and belly clutching. My face was literally sore from too much smiling xD

My boss thought it was hilarious, but she still wrote us all up for it. It was COMPLETELY worth it, though i doubt he learned his lesson: do not fuck with the people you rely on to make you look good.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dear Tom,

You've been toying around with the blog interface off and on for a few months now, and i just have to say that i cry a little on the inside every time you put out the latest incarnation of Blog Home.

There's one feature i enjoy, and that's the one at the end of the current blog i'm reading that says "Previous blog title" and "Next blog title". I do enjoy that for those days when i don't get the chance to read my favourite blogs, and that person's posted multiple blogs.

The cosmetic look isn't much different from the old Blog Home, so i have nothing positive nor negative to say about it.

But here's the internal tear-inducing thing about the new Blog Home. It may be a simple thing, but it still just bugs the crap out of me: clicking on a blog title no longer spawns a new tab. So here i am, reading a blog, minding my own business. . . Okay, so i'm not minding my own business. If i was, i probably wouldn't be reading the thoughts of someone else, right? But i think you know what i mean here. Anyway, i'm reading along, i post my comment/kudos, i close out of the tab from force of habit, expecting to go back to the blog list and select something new to read.

Only now i can't, because the blog didn't spawn a new tab, and i just closed it, and now i have to log in all over again! Annoying, annoying, annoying! Sure, it's only one thing, and i did list a positive and a neutral aspect, so statistically speaking, that'd give you a solid C if this were a letter grade; a three out of five stars, if you will. All in all, not bad, right? Well, let me tell you, the crappiness of this far outweighs the occasionally-used previous-next blog feature you gave us to compensate.

So what exactly was the goal here? You messed with Blog Home, but didn't really DO a whole hell of a lot; certainly not enough to justify messing with it at all. So here's a list of features i'd like to see, since you're already fucking around with the interface anyway:

1. More font options, please! I know i could probably browse around and find a bit of code to change it to what i want, but i'd much rather select from the ole drop down menu, seeing as how there's already one there.

2. It'd be nice if you could access a sortable index for each person's blog. For instance, right now you can click on a person's blog title (if you're subscribed) from the Blog Home list, and it takes you to that particular blog. Wouldn't it be nice if you clicked on a blogger's name on this list, it would take you to a table of contents for that blogger? It'd also be nice if i could sort it by category, date, time, mood, whatever. So if i'm reading Bob's blog and i wanted to read all of his political blogs, i could click his name, and i would be taken to his blog table of contents. At the top would be something like a title column, date column, category column, etc. Maybe the category column could contain a dropdown box, and i could select news and politics, and it would show me all of Bob's political blogs. Or maybe there could be a side box containing all the categories underneath the box that has Bob's picture and details, and clicking one one of those categories would display everything Bob's written in that category. You've got several options, plus, you're a creative guy. You could make that work.

3. My Preferred List. This thing isn't really easy to use. Instead of searching through all the Myspacers to add someone to my preferred list, how bout starting a little more locally? Why not pull up a list of my friends, and i could check the ones i want to add? Or click their face and select add to preferred list? I mean, chances are, if i'm looking to put someone on my preferred list, it isn't gonna be some random schmoe, it's going to be someone i already know.

4. My Readers. I should be able to decide if i want someone to be subscribed to my blog. Right now, i can't edit that at all. If JohnBoy and i have a falling out, and we can't mend fences, i should be able to remove his subscription to my blog in the event he chooses not to unsubscribe just to irritate me.

5. My Subscriptions. Some people here (i'm not one of them, but i figured i'd bring it up anyhow, seeing as how ideas are being bandied about) have literally thousands of subscriptions. Let's pretend for a moment that i'm a top blogger, and i'm a nice girl and try to subscribe to everyone who subscribes to me. Now let's say i stopped enjoying some of the blogs i've subscribed to, some have stopped posting, and some are those irritating post-dating assholes who put their stuff up at the top of the list for the next eight fucking months, and now i want to clean house. It sure would be nice if My Subscriptions had a search field so that i could just type in the names of the people i no longer want to read, and i could unsubscribe from there. Yes, i know, i could always just click on the blog and hit 'unsubscribe', but what about those people who've been struggling with estalkers and now have private profiles? I'm not on the friends list, and now i've got no access to the blog, because everytime i hit the blog, i get the annoying "This Blog is set to private and only their friends can read it. Sucks to be you." message. I can't ditch their subscriptions now, even though i REALLY want to. So consider a search field in the My Subscriptions page.

6. Speaking of irritating post-daters, please disable the ability to post blogs in the future. It's Myspace, not time travel, for fuck's sake.

7. "Rich text is editor currently disabled. We're working on a fancy new one". I call bullshit here. You've been working on a fancy new one for the last twoish years, and from what i can tell, you've either stuffed it on the back burner and turned off the gas, or you've hired some really incompetent fucks to work on the rich text editor. How bout instead of mucking around with the Blog Home interface for no discernible reason, you deliver the fancy new text editor? Personally, i don't care if it's fancy and new or generic and old; i'm just sick of the message. So please, Tom, don't be a cocktease with the promise of better things to come, and then leave us hanging with the same old crap.

I think that's a good enough list to start with. I hope to see some actual improvements with all the muckings about happening with the blog interface. After all, what good is changing things simply for the sake of change? If it's not you, but one of your code monkeys you've hired, then i'd look at how that guy spends his day, because it looks suspiciously like he's jerking off and trying to look productive at the same time.



"It's An Acquired Taste"

Smoking. Coffee. Beer. Red wine. Dissonant music. Dark chocolate. Raw Oysters. Someone ever convince you to try something that you ended up disliking? You look at them enjoying their nasty, slimy globs on a half shell, and wonder what it is they're getting out of it that you're not. Ever ask? I bet the answer was "It's an acquired taste".

I wonder about acquired tastes. I wonder what it is about something a person could place in their mouth, hate, and then think, "Hey, i gotta get me some more of that! I gotta get more, and continue forcing myself to eat it until i like it". Typically, the more i try to force myself to do something i dislike, the more disinclined i am to do it in the future. It becomes like an anti-habit for me.

What motivates a person to want to do that? Maybe it's a palette broadening thing? Smoking's an obvious one: you just do it till the addiction kicks in. Maybe it's a social thing - someone wants to appear sophisticated, so they choke down the wine until they don't mind it anymore. Maybe it's to learn to find something pleasing in things we find distasteful. It seems like that'd be a good skill to be able to apply to people ;)

I don't usually do the question thing, but i think i will this time. Do you have any acquired tastes? What made you want to acquire it? Do you have anyone in your life right now that's an acquired taste?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Random Bits

My Random Bits:

1. People fight with me to get things done. If someone asks me to do something, and i answer that i will, then i will. But i will do it in my own time, which frequently doesn't coincide with the time frame of the person who asked me to do the thing. But the more someone bugs me to do it, the less inclined i am to do it. So if you're going to ask me to do something, be advised that you're best off asking me WAY in advance, and then not mentioning it again.

2. I am a closet lover of "chick flicks". They have to be good ones, though. Nothing starring Jennifer Lopez or Julia Roberts.

I think it's tragic that orange is a Halloween colour...It looks great but cheesy with black all at the same time.

4. At this moment, i have a paper cut on my lip. I have no idea how it got there, seeing as how i haven't licked an envelope or mogged down on a ream of paper any time in recent memory.

5. I think Diet Coke is superior to Diet Pepsi, not because one tastes better than the other, but because i can crack open a can of Diet Coke, let it sit over night, drink it the next morning, and that shit will STILL be plenty fizzy! Diet Pepsi, on the other hand, starts losing its fiz almost immediately, and an hour later, i'm pouring the damn thing out.

6. Every morning when i first wake up, for the last several years, my brain picks up on the exact same spot in Michael Jackson's "Beat It". Specifically the part where he says, "No one wants to BEEEE deFEEEated!". Then i have to fight for the next hour or so to banish it. My goal is to have this done by the time i exit the shower, but it seldom works out that way.

7. I consult my Magic 8-Ball on matters that're probably too important to be consulting a Magic 8-Ball on.

8. I'm fascinated by palindromes.

9. I recently donated all of my boring, generic looking mugs to the Salvation Army. Then i set out on a quest to replace them all with interestingly shaped cups from thrift stores.

10. I really like big, unattractive looking purses. My prize purse is a purple bowling bag-looking aberration. It's awesome.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


A girl at work came in yesterday and gave me a bunch of her black tea. She said she wasn't going to drink black tea anymore.

Why not?, i asked.

I'm only drinking red, green, and herbal teas now.

. . . But why?

It's too bitter for me, she replied. Then she took a big ole swig of her convenience-store coffee.

I didn't understand how black tea could be too bitter, but coffee was just fine. I personally don't drink coffee because it's too bitter. But i didn't probe too deeply, because she'd brought some really good flavours, and i really wanted that tea.