Friday, February 29, 2008

The Last Glimpse

I so much would like to relate the rather delicious details involving Little Monster's last minutes at Tokyo, but after some consideration I've decided it would be a low and unworthy pursuit, with no good reflection upon me. However, I'm not in contention for sainthood. I distinctly heard Bosszilla do a whole "Apprentice" thing on Little Monster, including several repetitions at escalating volume of "You're Fired." No, I'm not kidding.

The last glimpse I had of Little Monster, he was being escorted from the Bosszilla Lair and out of the building. I suspect he put up some sort of fight (big mistake). Possibly he tried to tell Bosszilla that he couldn't be fired for some reason or another (honestly, I was not listening in, and I could only hear Bosszilla's roars when they penetrated the walls. Little Monster was not audible.) He looked, indeed, as if he'd met up with some big hedge sheers in a most unfortunate way.

There are some interesting rumors floating around, too. Because they are rumors, I won't repeat them, but they ARE interesting. Nose Hair Spiders do not frighten all women, it seems, especially if the price is right.

After all was said and done, and Little Monster was declared persona non grata on the property, I went to clean out his desk (it defaulted to me). WHAT A SLOB. I shan't detail, but it is apparent how little he really did care. Then he started making phone calls to Tokyo -- wanting to talk to The Husband, to The Dragon Lady, and to me. I would not speak with him, and Dragon Lady eventually would not. I don't know about The Husband.

I hope this episode is finally over. I expect that I shall recall Little Monster in the future, however, as a Really Bad Example.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Here is Where We Say Goodbye

Word has come along the secret network to confirm what I already suspected. Little Monster has been declared useless and will be evicted from Tokyo before the end of the week, or at least moved to some other area where I won't have to deal with him. But I think the general attitude is all bu-bye!

This means I do NOT have to have another useless training session with him tomorrow. I will leave him a note. Yay. I spent time today doing what I had assigned him to do. It took me about 10 minutes with a pen and a single sheet of paper. I doubt he did it that way, if he did it at all. Now I don't have to care. On the good side, I now have a very, VERY complete training document for writing work instructions. It is a thing of beauty, or will be as soon as I reformat it.

As I discussed with Quality Guy today, we both have a certain amount of pity for Little Monster. He obviously did not consider the place he was moving or the job he was taking before jumping. Now he's going to be stuck and stuck hard. It's sad, really, and I'm sure it will be an ego blow as well as a scary moment for the man, stuck in this area and having to find something else really fast.

But that's about as far as I'm willing to feel sympathy. A good hunk of this was brought on by his own actions.

Bu-Bye! Bye now! Watch your step!

Who Knew Bottled Water Was So Dangerous?

The storm passed without mishap. I turned the weather radio off when the newscaster/robovoice guy began to sound bored. Lots of sticks and some small branches down in the yard, but it's still windy so I'll wait before going on patrol. Everyone's house seems to be where it was yesterday.

I saw a commercial for Snapple's new Anti-Oxidant Water. Normal cute guy drinks some magic water and the world is sudenly covered in bubble wrap so no matter what he does, he can't get hurt. He takes an elevator to the top of some high rise just so he can cannonball off the roof.

And, as he's heading for the edge, words pop up on the screen saying "Do Not Attempt". You know, because some idiot out there will drink this stuff and jump off a building, and his widow/ mother/ girlfriend will sue Snapple because, well, the guy on TV did it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weather has a Voice and an Annoying Buzz



I bought a weather radio today. It was a bargain, too -- a nice Timex alarm clock radio, regularly 24.99, but because the store computer said the store didn't actually have them anymore, I got it on closeout for $17.99. Not bad. I need to find a place for it where I can hear weather alarms but not have to listen to the droning voices all night.

But why, you might ask, do I need a weather radio? Especially after some 43 years of living in Florida without such a thing. And well you might.

We have a severe weather alert today. All that snow and cold you guys up north got today is heading south tonight. It's been warm and humid here for a week or so. Typically, when warm, moist air meets cold dry air, they argue. We call these little disagreements tornadoes. They've been hitting rather close to home in recent years, almost as if circling around trying to find us. The winds have already picked up quite a bit out there, and the clouds are rolling in for tonight's entertainment.

So, a weather radio that will feed my paranoia and scream at me if a tornado happens to head in my direction, hopefully early enough for me to grab cats and crouch in the closet. In fact, I might just put the cats in the closet ahead of time, or at least my laptop and my cell phone. (Yeah, those would be two things I'd really hate to have smashed in case of emergency).

It's a nice enough radio -- small and the controls were not too difficult to figure out without the instruction book. I have it set to the county's channel, I checked for the droning voice, and I'm probably going to turn the glowing orange face to the wall or something. I do not really care for anything to glow orange at night.

Monday, February 25, 2008

No Hammer, No Corkscrew

Little Monster did show up. He did write the instruction. He didn't bring the object so I could test the instruction, so the session went pretty much no where fast. A quick look over what he wrote showed me that he Just Doesn't Get It. A more careful look showed me that he Just Doesn't Care. I mean, if you are opening a wine bottle with a corkscrew, does it really matter which hand holds which item (as long as you can hold them) as much as it matters how to make the damn corkscrew work?

So he got a short lesson, the last bits of wisdom I'm going to share, and I'm done. I spent a little time beating on his high opinion of himself (in a round about, indirect, careful way). 10 minutes, one hand out, one assignment for Thursday, and then I'll be done. He's into his 6th week of this. It's just not that freaking HARD.

It's just not funny anymore. I don't see this man keeping his job. He irritated another manager today, who came within inches of just writing the instruction for him, handing it to him, and telling him to go away. All his education and he can't manage this really simple task. It's sad. It's really, really sad.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Need a Maid

Someone wants to look at the house tomorrow. So, my lazy Sunday now has an interlude of Panic Cleaning. I'm not going crazy -- the house isn't that bad on a relative scale. I need to pick up the library and bedroom, vacuum all the floors, and take out some trash. The kitchen is already clean, as are the main rooms of the house. Oh, and I need to throw in a load of laundry, but that's because I need some clean pants.

We really dropped our price, almost 50k lower than we started, which puts us close to what we BOUGHT the house for (before the addition and the floors, the new A/C unit, and other improvements we've made) But the market is so bad right now we don't have a lot of choice.

I'm trying not to be excited with the idea of selling. There is a LOT of choice in this area right now, including new homes. If the house sold in March, it would also mean some panicky rearranging of our lives to make the move. Bosszilla would be VERY unhappy -- I more or less promised I'd be here until the end of April, and if we got a good offer in March, I'd be trying to get myself out of here with speed.

But I'm just borrowing trouble with those thoughts. I want this house to sell. I want to get my life started in a new town. I want to be back with my husband all the time. So I need to vacuum.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

High Heels

At least if the Bookslut can be relied upon, I need to get this book. I just read her review in The Smart Set: How to Shop about The Meaning of Sunglasses.

My favorite quotes from Jessica Crispin (the Bookslut herself)

It’s a stereotype, yes, but it’s constantly reinforced by intelligent women who should know better. Germaine Greer rallied women to taste their own menstrual blood in The Female Eunuch and then attacked fellow feminist writer Suzanne Moore by stating that “so much lipstick must rot the brain.” Feminists must reject the male gaze and use those ten seconds it takes to apply lip gloss to bring down the patriarchy. (Why sensible feminists have not figured out how to band together and write press releases to disassociate ourselves from the crazy women who pretend to speak for us, I’ll never understand.) Fashion magazines don’t help much either. Elle talks to Ashlee Simpson. And writes down what she says. To be recorded for all time.

I used to think that there was a wide chasm between being intelligent (which I like to make others think I am) and being fashionable. I knew the truth -- that I would have liked to like clothes, would have liked to like MYSELF in clothes I liked, and would like to keep my 'smart girl' credentials at the same time.

I'm reasonably fashion impaired, because I have a lifetime of negative body image and a thick waist to force me for years into a shapeless wardrobe of mostly black clothes. In late 2006 I took a huge leap forward (a leap usually made only when I managed to drop pounds) when, after watching Tim Gunn's Guide to Style on Bravo and picking the good bits (in between the show-making snark) out of What Not To Wear, I bought two pairs of brown pants that actually fit, and some blouses that were not t-shirt and were fitted! That lead to an entire year of hunting for well fitting, fashionable clothes, shoes with HEELS, and an attitude that even if I'm not exactly fashion magazine model material, I can look good and dress with some self respect. Also, my clothes can be fun even if they don't have a picture of Godzilla smashing Tokyo on the front.

Another Crispin quote

If more fashion writing was done in the tone of smartypants Freeman, we could avoid the fear that caring about our appearance makes us a vain fool or a victim. A work colleague recently took one look at the four-inch peep toe heels I was wearing and snarled, “Don’t you know why men invented high heels?” I doubted anything I said would deflect what was coming next, so I just shrugged. “So you can’t run away when they want to rape you.” I understand. I used to be a humorless feminist, too, complete with shaved head and my father’s combat boots. Then I discovered Charles David heels and got over it. If only The Meaning of Sunglasses had existed sooner, I could have spent less time being a self-righteous twit.

Ya know, like a lot of women's fashions, I've read that those high heels were actually created for men land popularized by the likes of Louis XIV, (Charles Panati blames him for a lot of interesting stuff). Just sayin'.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Guest Appearance

I'm guest blogging today over at Temporary Trouble Spots. Go for the rhinestones, stay for the company.

Why I Don't Take a Ball Peen Hammer to Work


I did the Guru things again with Little Monster today. I think it went better. It's hard to tell. If nothing else, he is scared now. The Husband spent a great deal of time informing Little Monster that not only was his penis insignificant, it could be cut off very easily. Boszilla and The Husband did a long round of 'Good Cop, Bad Cop" on Tuesday.

Bosszilla told me this morning that he doesn't usually get to play the Good Cop. He isn't used to it.

I've never had such difficulty being the Guru of the Work Instruction. Oh, I've dealt with the "But I don't WANNA do it" and the "Here, you do it FOR me" attitudes, but I can usually work through those. Dealing with "I already know this but I will tolerate your little meanderings because they are amusing and then I will not demonstrate my great knowledge because I want to see if anyone will notice" attitude is perfectly designed to make my hands itch for a ball peen hammer.

I prefer to teach concepts using simple things. Today we worked on writing an instruction for putting batteries into a flashlight. I bet you don't think about putting batteries into a flashlight, but if you have to write an instruction for someone else, you can't assume they know anything other than what you tell them. And, as Little Monster found out, if you don't tell them to put the batteries in with the positive pole toward the lightbulb, the flashlight won't work.

It's all in the details.

But that's only a portion of it. It is also in the RIGHT details. One of the work instructions he's done is about applying an emulsion to a silk screen to make a stencil. From what I've been told about it and what he said today, he spent a good paragraph on where to find the paper buckets and how to pour emulsion from the can. He spent almost no time on the more technical actions of how to spread the emulsion on the silk to get the right coverage and thickness and none on orienting the stencil once it is made (there is a distinct "up" and "down", as well as a "front" and a "back"). In other words, he spent the most time on the details that had the least effect on the final product.

Mind you, this is the process he spent an hour or so watching and then declared he had learned to do it. Maybe he has a thing for paper buckets. I don't want to know.

I keep hearing stories about how he annoys those who try to help him. He's getting rides to and from work, but he won't be at the morning meet up place on time, so either they have to wait on him and be late to work, or they leave without him and he doesn't make it in. It isn't as if he has to do something extraordinary -- just walk about a block to the McDonalds by a quarter of 8. If it were me, I'd be standing there at 7:35, because I'm like that. Paranoia breeds consideration.

What annoys me most in this whole guru process is how obvious he makes his dislike and distaste for the process. I pointed out today how his body language indicated he wasn't very interested. I've pointed that out before to him. What's funny to me is that he SHOULD be interested, or at least really interested in faking it. I'm writing a report each session that will directly affect whether or not he will retain his employment. This was told to him very specifically (I was copied on the email).

Although he has been told directly to stop with the "correct, correct" thing, he still has a hard time NOT TALKING when someone else is talking. It isn't that he's saying anything (he's replaced "correct, correct" with "right, right"), or that he doesn't have opportunities to talk. I think he can't stand to hear anything that might imply he isn't Very Smart, so he's using a sonic defense. It's the business version of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing LA LA LA.

There's also a whole issue with Eye Contact. I realize this is probably cultural, but, damn, it's annoying. I gave him a sheet of notes today outlining everything we were to discuss so he would not be writing notes. I asked him to put his notebook aside. I wanted to do everything I could to assure he was listening which means occasionally making eye contact. I then made a point of reading the notes with him to be sure there were no questions, pretty much just saying what was on the page. He picked up his pencil and began to write what I was saying on the page next to the typed words I was reading out loud. I should have just taken his pencil away, but I suspect he would have bitten his finger and written notes in his own blood out of desperation.

I dunno. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm too nice, or not authoritative enough, or he doesn't like women who are taller than he is. If I brought in the hammer, he might pay attention to that.

1/2 hour is all I could stand. He won't ask questions. When I ask him questions, his answers are circular and vague. When I try to elicit feedback from him, he starts into a demonstration of How Smart He is -- which might be a form of feedback, but so far it hasn't related to what I asked him about. I can't concentrate on what he won't admit he doesn't understand so I compensate by going over everything in detail. He then does the little "I am so much Smarter Than You" eye roll. Maybe it really means "I am checking my frontal lobes to be sure I have memorized your every word and gesture", but I don't think so. So, either he got it or he didn't.

I ended by giving him a simple assignment to pick some item that could be taken apart and reassembled, and to write instructions for both tasks. Each instruction should have at least 4 steps. He's to bring the item and the instructions for Monday. Somehow I expect he will "forget" on Monday or he will miss his pick up at McDonalds.

Anyway, I poured a little more of my wisdom on the ground before him. We will see what he soaked up. If he learns what he needs, he's good and he'll keep his job. If he doesn't, he isn't so good. In fact, he's unemployed, which might be just like getting hit with that hammer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And now

Well, last week was a lot of fun, and all fun comes to an end eventually. I put The Husband on his plane north this morning.

The birthday was very successful, even without the cake and candles (I'm kinda ok with that). I got cards from people, some cool presents, and several free meals. Valentine's day was a little odd without my husband, but we chatted online, played a little City of Heroes together, and while not a perfect night out, it wasn't too bad.

We've lowered the price on the house yet again. There are only 200+ homes for sale IN OUR ZIP CODE. We go back and forth on the idea of renting -- yes, it would let me move north, but renters are a chancy lot, and we would still have to look out for the house and pay expenses for it. On the other hand, we are going to be renters, too, and we could hold on to the house until the market improves, or in case we actually do move back here (not likely, but anything is possible). We keep going back and forth on the issue -- as soon as it seems settled, something else comes up.

In any case, I have to get even more stuff packed up and moved into the garage. Then everything must be vacuumed, dusted, polished, mopped, swept, picked up, hidden, put away, or whatever else until the house looks JUST this side of lived in. I don't really want to -- I'd like to save all that energy for actually moving, and I miss a lot of the stuff already packed up. Nevertheless, everything I box is one less thing to box when we actually back the truck up to the house.

In other news, I've been ASSIGNED time to work with Little Monster each week until he learns to write a work instruction, is moved into another department, or is told he should check job opportunities at Wal-Mart. Yeah, two weeks later and he has not only continued to irritate everyone, he's underwhelmed even Bosszilla with his abilities. Now, when he walks into a department to talk to anyone, the supervisor is hovering -- apparently he took one of his work instructions to someone ON THE PRODUCTION FLOOR for review and proofing. This was wrong for two reasons: first, he has clear instructions that only The Husband is supposed to be reviewing his work; second, the people in production are producing, and they don't have time to proof his work. One of the supervisors interceded in this case and offered to review the thing, only to report back that even with 20 years experience he had no idea what Little Monster was talking about in the document.

Add to that Little Monster's "initiative" in starting instructions he hasn't been asked to do while not doing the ones he has been asked for, and you get some idea what I'm up against. I already have plans, though. I'm going to take in a flashlight, take it apart, have him assemble it, and then have him WRITE about how to assemble it. If he can't manage that, I'm gonna try Legos. Either he will get the idea or he will get tired and go away. But he's been assigned to me and I am not just 'helping' him -- my position as Work Instruction Guru has been reinforced in his Very Smart brain by Bosszilla himself. He does what I tell him when I tell him and to my satisfaction, or my reports about him won't be positive.

The funny thing is, I don't want Little Monster to fail. I feel kind of sad for him, a fish swimming in a new pond. He really seems unfamiliar with how to work in a private company in the US. The cultural differences between the private sector and academia are large enough. Add in cultural differences between his homeland and the US (especially Florida) and I grasp where he might feel the need to prove himself somehow.

My sympathy, though, it only about an inch deep. What I'm trying to teach just isn't that hard to learn. If he's really the smart guy with the big degree from the Very Good School, I would expect him to pick up on this skill set pretty quickly. I've asked him directly if language was a barrier, and he denies that it is. So...there ya go.

I'll tell you all about it on Friday, after my second session with him.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Announcement

My very most favorite husband in the whole world is home. More later.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sub

This morning I came within 5 seconds of vomiting into my garbage can at work. I hadn't eaten or drunk anything unusual. It came on suddenly and after about 30 minutes the nausea went away. I couldn't figure it out.

Then the news came on (again) talking about the latest college campus shooting. And I started feeling sick again.

My logical brain says death can come in any form, at any time, no matter where you are or who you are. My not-so-logical brain looms up from the dark briny depths to remind me that my husband is now at a collage campus every day, in the particularily gun-rich environs of the Deep South.

And I feel sick.

Amazing. Through all the shootings, even though I felt sympathy, I never felt danger. Oh, I'm a paranoid bitch, make no mistake -- without my husband at home, I won't even wander my house without at least my pajamas on, and I lock the silly door from the bathroom into the family room when I shower.

But I've never wanted to throw up before. Maybe I should have.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Feel the Luv

Ah, there is happiness.

Last Saturday I visited with a friend in St. Pete. That's about a 2 hour drive. Right as I started home I noticed my engine light was on. It was just glowing, but the car ran fine, and I made a nervous drive back. I didn't drive the car Monday (due to certain Cats being out of the Bag) but Tuesday I pulled out my owner's manual and read up on possible reasons for the light to be on (and also read that if it wasn't flashing, there was no immediate danger). I checked all the simple ones -- the electrical system seemed to work, the gas cap was on, temperature appeared ok, no unusual noises or shimmies. So it had to be something "more complicated" aka expensive.

It was still on Wednesday, so I called for an appointment at the dealer (another good hour away -- this is Florida. EVERYTHING is 'away'.) I had to get gas, and I noticed the gas cap wasn't in tight. I put it back, but the light was still on. So, since I was due for the regular oil and maintenance check, today I made the drive across 2 counties to the dealership. I was really dreading what might possibly be wrong with the car. It's not even a year old, so there was the warranty, but right now we are trying to stock up a sufficient fund for the eventual move, and for however long it takes me to get a new job.

I had arranged for a friend who lived close to the dealer to pick me up so I could spend some time with her instead of sitting on a bench in a garage. We bummed around a while, hitting the mall where I picked up two pair of on-sale PJ bottoms (at under $6) and to Barnes & Noble where I resisted much temptation. I'm feeling poor. I'm worried. What if my car has to be there over night? The Husband is supposed to be back this weekend. We'd have to rent a car and pay for the repair. Fret, fret, worry, worry. What could have happened? It's not that old. I am still under 10,000 miles on it. Fret, fret. Worry, worry. I wasn't even listening to half of what my friend was talking about.

About 2 hours later, my cell rang.

"So, what was wrong with my car?"

"Well, we replaced the gas cap, changed the oil, balanced the tires -- it's ready to pick up."

"The GAS CAP?"

Grand total $47.52.

It's a good Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Not worried

Once again, the Ben has returned -- rather, I rescued him from the cruel cruel world that had him trapped in the shed.

He is now napping, exhausted from the trauma.

I have a headache. I think I might nap, too.

Worried

Ben has done it again. Another window screen worked and worried until it tore free and now he's somewhere in the neighborhood. Pooty went out, too, but this time he was just at the side of the house waiting for someone to come get him. Ben hasn't returned home.

No more open windows. I had it down to 4, each opened only a few inches and held with a frame lock, but even that is too much. Ben is part cockroach.

History indicates he will be back, yowling at the front door with indignation for being on the wrong side. Only not yet. It's been about 2 hours since I discovered the defection at 6:30 am. No Ben. Several walks around with name calling (including his usual one). No Ben.

I'm most worried about him being hit by a car. Drivers around here are not in general given to slowing down for living things in the road. Some take it as target practice. Roads, after all, are for CARS (or giant useless pick up trucks). Ben doesn't really know much about cars. Generally, if he's been outside with me, a car doing by sends him dashing (usually up my back). That doesn't mean he can't miscalculate and dash in front of a car instead of away.

Damn cat. Get back here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A little bit of Rant

Swiped from Bookslut

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats explains that craft and passion aren't at odds: If I say a band is "dedicated to their craft," that sounds boring and staid, right? Well, fuck you, then, Jack, with your antiquated half-recycled notions of how craft and intensity are somehow at odds. Craft is the path to the damn palace, and the palace's windows are all ablaze with the fire that's constantly raging in all the rooms, and it's not even uncomfortable for the people who live there, because they have become accustomed to the heat.


I've had this particular discussion recently and many times before when the topic turns to writing. Sometimes folks get it, and other times they look at me with the expression reserved for highschool cafeteria mystery meat. "Craft" is boring. "Craft" is dull. "Craft" is knowing verbs from nouns, how to use a semicolon, and what an infinitive is before you split it. There's no blood in "craft". You don't need "craft" to write.

Of course not. You don't need craft to write anymore than you need craft to play piano, compose a symphony, paint in oils, sculpt in marble, or -- hell -- build a deck in the back yard. You don't need to know HOW to do something in order to do it, right? You just DO it because of the 'talent' or the 'art' or even because you have a 'passion' inside you.

That's not talent, art, or passion you're feeling there, bud. That's gas. One good fart and you'll feel better.

If you have a passion for something -- if it eats you up, consumes you thoughts, obsesses your nights and fills your conversation to the point no one will risk saying 'hello' to you anymore -- then you want to know all there is to know. You may have this brand new thought, but after the adolescent thrill and hubris of "I am the only one EVER" has passed, you might gradually realize that people have been working on stuff like what you want to do for some hundreds or thousands of years. You'll realize there is a huge body of work where most of the mistakes have already been made, and you can look at that work and those mistakes for yourself. You don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Here's the kicker. Someone says "Well, I don't want to USE wheels." That's great. But the concepts that go along with wheels or wings or rocket propulsion are the foundation stones for your great idea. If you insist on building your marvelous machine without those foundation stones, it will fall over, and either you'll have to start from the bottom and reinvent foundation stones of your own (which, really, is sometimes necessary) or you'll go back and learn what you wanted to skip because it was tired and boring and oh, so basic.

Or you'll go watch TV and fart in the couch cushions.

Friday, February 08, 2008

From the You're Shitting Me File

For the inner lawn Nazi in every suburban home.

Lawn Paint - Paint your grass - lawn care


With instructions for How To Paint Grass


I'm not sure which is scarier -- that someone thought this up or that someone might be USING it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Non Sequitor

Why does Imogen Heap's song "Hide and Seek" sound like it should have been on the V for Vendetta soundtrack? I mean, I'm convinced that it was, but every time I look, it's not there. It was on the sound track for the OC (which I've never watched). Where does my brain get this stuff?

Safety Warning

Don't drink anything when you read this one.

Death By Children


I wonder if I can use his picture in my yearbook for blackmail purposes...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Little Monster at Tokyo

Bosszilla hired someone to "replace" the Husband at Tokyo. (This is Bosszilla-speak for "Well, he can't really do the position I have open, but I think I can use him somewhere else in a few months and his resume impresses me. Rawr.") The Husband is attempting to train the new hire remotely, mostly by having him learn processes by observing and writing work instructions.

Up to now this has been a complete failure.

You see, the new hire (whom I will name Little Monster) is a Very Smart Person. He might as well have it embroidered on his shirts. He has some combination of engineering degrees from a Very Good University, but was working under contract as some kind of software engineer. He's also a foreign national on a work visa with apparently every intention of returning to his native land at some point, now that he's gone to school and worked a while. There are Cultural Differences, you see, to be considered here. I am not contemptuous of Cultural Differences. I have a good deal of respect for the diversity of the human species.

However, that's not this story. This story is Little Monster Cannot Write Work Instructions. He cannot apply his Very Smart Brain to the task of observing a process, asking questions about it, and then writing it down in such a way that the process is explained. Apparently this isn't something taught to engineers at the Very Good University, or he skipped those days in class.

His first attempts have caused much gnashing of teeth for The Husband and our Quality Guy (who is, I should point out, someone I trained and a friend of mine). Quality Guy, being the helpful fellow that he is and also being the one in charge of reviewing and authorizing all work instructions used (and writing a lot of them), offered to help Little Monster by reviewing the work instruction he was currently writing. Quality Guy managed one page before realizing the only way Little Monster would create a worthwhile instruction was if Quality Guy wrote it for him.

Quality Guy was not disposed to do that. In fact, he has now asked not to be involved in the whole process until it comes time to label and authorize the finished work instruction.

Since in my glorious history at Tokyo I was once the Go-To girl for all things documentary, I am also the Guru of the Work Instruction. Usually I like to remain undisturbed in my mountaintop retreat, far above the bustle of Tokyo and only occasionally shaken awake by the roar of Bosszilla, but The Husband, in despair, asked me to allow Little Monster into my cave for some words of wisdom and possibly a whack in the head with a ballpeen hammer. "Something," he said, "must get into that Very Smart Skull."

Reluctantly, I agreed. Last week I gave Little Monster some instructional material written during my active period of Guru-hood and planned to meet with him today promptly at 9 am. At about 9:10 am I went to remind him that we had an appointment. He did not have his materials with him, either. He wasn't particularly enthused about this training thing, because he did not understand that I was the Guru of the Work Instruction. Gurus, you see, cannot be female.

(That's one of those Cultural Differences. Now, I know perfectly well my own culture is full of devotees to the Cult of the Penis (Penis, Penis uber alles, as it were). I'm quite used to it, in fact. When I feel particularly upset about being considered a lesser being because I lack a penis, I reflect on how easy an operation it is to remove said penis and render one of the Devotees as penis-less as myself. In fact, I think that the very simplicity of that particular operation is a driving force in the Cult of the Penis, but that is not this story.)

So began our training session. I've taught this to engineers before, in a 4 hour class that included several hands-on examples and some interesting stuff about communication. Little Monster, of course, had no interest in anything like this, nor was I particularly determined to perform them. When I asked him if he had questions about the materials I'd given him, he said no, but he had "looked them over". This is Very Smart-speak for "tossed under the desk and forgotten because they aren't important", which I learned later when he admitted that, no, he had not actually "read" them. He had "TOUCHED" them and apparently was depending on some kind of tactile osmosis to convey the information into his Very Smart Skull. Perhaps the information was diverted to some other Very Smart portion of him.

I began my explanation with examples taken from every-day life, as I have found when dealing with concepts it is usually better to get them away from the work, because the work itself can cloud the concepts (this was learned the hard way, trust me, in my Pre-Guru-hood). I use simple things like making a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and opening a locked door with a key. Those have worked well in the past to convey the ideas. However, I fear there may have been another case of Cultural Differences, because Little Monster has apparently had little experience with either peanut-butter or locked doors.

I persevered. He responded to my lessons with constant repetitions of "Correct, correct!" This amused me, because apparently he thought he was testing me on the information I was trying to teach him, and thus required constant praise of this kind to continue. Or he wanted to encourage my vagina-weakened mind to greater heights of intellectual prowess in the magnanimous manner of the Penis-blessed. I'm really not sure. He also nodded a lot and smiled a strange smirk of a smile at odd junctures. At one point I asked him if he thought this was rather simplistic, to which he readily replied "Oh, yes!" Undoubtedly, his Very Smart Skull was already full of the exact information I was trying to convey. He just hadn't found it with his Very Smart Filing system. Perhaps he had his brain set to 'shuffle'.

I should include that Little Monster had, in three weeks, already developed a reputation as He Who Does Not Listen. He can't listen. He's much too busy telling everyone they are, in his Very Smart estimation, correct. He is also able to learn a process at lightening speed (being Very Smart and all) and then, within a few hours, write a completely useless and unrelated instruction for it. It's most impressive. He Doesn't Listen the most with women (we have several women in key manufacturing positions with whom he had to work to write his instructions) but he also Doesn't Listen to those he considers to be lesser penises, or having less penis swing, or something. In short, he's pissed off a fair cross section of people. Those he hasn't pissed off he's made uncomfortable. Those he hadn't made uncomfortable he hasn't dealt with yet.

With this in mind, about halfway through my little exercise in futility, I pointed out that I had no personal vested interest in whether or not he learned to write a work instruction. I had the information, which I would convey to him, and he could do with it as he liked from that point on. I did not add, although I know this to be true, that these work instructions are being used to rate his job performance. They are not great literature; these work instructions. However, a college graduate with a master's degree and some other degree and the title 'engineer' must be able to write them to work at our company. I didn't say that part.

Some 45 minutes later, he was trying to move to the door. I think he captured perhaps 50% of what I was telling him. He was far more interested in how to format the document than in how to write it (the formatting is automated and done by Quality Guy anyway, which was explained in writing a week or so ago by The Husband). I gave him some final, simple instructions about how to go about redoing the mess he'd tried to pass off before, and then he was gone. I was happy to crawl back into my mountaintop retreat.

We shall see what happens with Little Monster. Knowing Bosszilla as I do, I'm reasonably sure Little Monster will maintain employment with Tokyo. If there's anything Bosszilla hates, it's admitting he was wrong about a hire. He will move Little Monster around from position to position. If Little Monster plays the proper sycophant (which he already seems able to do, recognizing of course that Bosszilla swings a much bigger penis around Tokyo than anyone else) he should be able to find a comfortable level of incompetence from which to annoy all and sundry.

With luck, by then I and my mountaintop retreat will be in another state.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Don't Phone Home


About six years ago, after another tussle with our local phone company concerning things like fees we didn't understand for calls we didn't make, and cutting off our service for paying our bills on time instead of, I dunno, six months in advance, we chucked our phone service and went completely cellular. It wasn't so bad. The only real drawback was that we couldn't easily watch PPV movies (oo noes!) and our home alarm system was no longer monitored.

Now that I'm alone here, we reluctantly reconciled with our local (now renamed because the old name had SUCH A LOT OF HATE) phone company and got the alarm system monitored again. I still use my cell for all my calls and it is the number I give out.

So, why does that land line phone keep ringing?

First, the phone company sold our new number to every telemarketer in the Southeast. We were going as cheap as possible so we didn't get any of the lovely 'extras' like an unlisted number. I'm not even sure what the number is. We wrote it on the plastic cheapie phone we bought with a Sharpie, just in case.

Second, the number apparently had a previous owner with serious credit problems, which is probably why the number is no longer his.

The cheapie phone doesn't have a "bell off" option -- it's cheap -- and I kinda have to keep it on the OFF CHANCE I hit the panic button and the security company misses the note to call my cell. So, I bought a cheapie answering machine for the phone. And I recorded the following message.

This phone number does not accept telemarketing sales or solicitation calls of any kind. Please remove this number from your listings.

I still get the occasional confused person leaving a message (which is how I know about the number's previous owner and his credit problems). Since no one I know and want to talk to (and even some people I don't want to talk to) has the number from me or The Husband, I have no guilt about not answering it, nor do I respond to the messages except by giggling evilly.

I hate phones.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Why Do I Want This?

FM01SW20/00 - USB Memory Key - USB flash drives - Accessories - Philips


Cuz iz shiny AND it is 1 gig!

Observation

Cats, like small children, do not care where or upon what they vomit.

However, cats can climb higher and get into smaller, less accessible spaces than the average small child.

Visitation

Da Jammies came to visit yesterday. She's on her way for a week long cruise with family, and she had a few hours on Friday to spend with me. She was also completely ragged out from crack-o-dawn (actually, middle-of-freaking-night) getting up and getting to airport and waiting for delayed flights and missing flights due to weather and changing flights and all that fun travel stuff.

So, she met the menagerie and we laughed and ate Experimental Cake and she collected a little cat hair to take home to the Foots. It was fun. It didn't last long enough. I'm waiting on Jammiefest2008.