Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bravo 2-Squeaker

"Jimmy, you gotta go. You're our best climber & we need to know how to get from here to the kitchen."

"But, there's three of them - three! I'm gonna need someone to run interference or cause a diversion."

"Sorry, we have to send you alone. We're just getting set up down here & need everyone else focused on finishing the nest."

Jimmy spent all night prepping for his mission. He planned to set out just before dawn. Climbing the furnace would be the easiest part. There was no way to plan for what might happen when he made it above ground.

He'd smelled three of them and listened closely, trying to identify patterns of movement. In the early morning hours they were usually quiet - not near the floor furnace. He'd have to be quick - the fastest he's ever been - to scale the furnace and get above ground before they were on him.

Just after 6:30AM, Ronald wished him good luck and god speed. Jimmy said goodbye to his rat family and darted towards the gas pipe leading into the furnace.

Leaping onto the gas pipe, he sped across the pipe into the furnace, up onto the steep metal plate and sprinted up the side of the old metal box. In seconds he was at the top and popped his head out of the grate in the floor.

All was quiet - they hadn't heard him. If they had, they were slow to respond and he would have time to stay ahead of them. He darted up from the iron grate towards what he thought must be the kitchen, towards aromas of peanuts and food - and in moments realized his critical mistake.

He'd found the birdcage - many yards from the kitchen - and now he heard trouble quickly approaching. Suddenly a black & white was on him and he started running. He ran blindly towards what seemed like refuge with the black & white close on his heels.

Jimmy was cornered when he heard someone coming - maybe this was the diversion he needed! He was trying to find somewhere to hide when a door opened and he was able to run for cover. The black & white quickly followed, but now he had plenty of cover and time to figure a way out of his predicament.

By this time, the other black & white joined the pursuit, but Jimmy found a good place to hide. He could wait it out for a while. He hoped the boys would soon lose interest. The third furry one approached and began circling his hiding spot. With three of them, he knew one would always be watching.

The someone he'd heard moments earlier was the woman - she was now engaged in an animated conversation with the man. They were talking so fast Jimmy couldn't keep track, but he had more important things to focus on.

The black & whites and the other one were still out there... waiting. Jimmy didn't know exactly where he was, so he couldn't plan his escape. He needed time to explore & find a way out. He needed to wait, but now it was fully light out and he was anxious to get back underground. Waiting would be excruciating and he was dehydrating.

Every hour waiting would bring him closer to death and he could wait all day and still be nabbed - he might die regardless. Jimmy decided he'd rather die trying to escape than from dehydration.

He tried to remember the approximate path he took when he started running and very slowly peeked out to see if he could start making his way back to the furnace. He ran, but they were close by and spotted him. He darted under a storage trunk and waited for the next moment to make his move.

He had good cover under the trunk, but the trunk itself was out in the open with clear vantage points from all sides. This was not going to be easy.

Jimmy waited. Hours slipped by until in his gut he could tell dusk was approaching. Over 12 hours since his mission began. He was wildly off course, nowhere near a water source, with hostiles on all sides, and no clear way to safety.

Resigned to his fate, Jimmy relaxed and dozed. He hadn't been asleep for long when he was startled awake - the trunk had been moved and he was now completely exposed. He froze in terror and before he could make a move, a box descended on top of him, trapping him on all sides.

Suddenly the box was moving, dragging him along with it. He protested but the sliding continued. The box stopped and he tried to stand up and get his bearings. He'd been hiding for hours in a space as tall as a pancake - this was his first chance to stand up since 8AM that morning.

Just as he was finding his balance again, the box began sliding again, this time, up onto a platform. Moments later he was moving. The whole thing was moving - the box, the platform - everything. Whatever was happening, while frightening, seemed much better than dying of thirst or being eaten alive by the enemy.

He could hear the woman again - she was talking, he thought to the primary black & white, and she didn't sound happy. The movement continued and moments later he could smell the outdoors - he was outside. Still trapped in a box, but outside.

Jimmy was exhausted. There was no way to know what was going to happen to him. He'd never been trapped in a box before - he could dig or chew his way out of anything, but he couldn't try escaping until the movement stopped. And suddenly, it stopped.

He was no longer moving forward, but the box started to drop. Seconds later the box was lifted and Jimmy was deposited onto the entrance of the sewer drain. Water. He could smell water. He might live through this after all. Unsteady, but on his feet, he climbed up the ramp and into the underground tunnel.

Monday, May 29, 2006

New Ice

Got my ring rebuilt. The new Ring Man did a terrific job. It's a bit more compact and has a lower profile so I'm not crashing it into things as easily.

Other than puttering around the house & taking care of chores, it's been a quiet 3-day weekend. So relaxing that I can't bear the thought of going back to work tomorrow. I think I'm overdue for a long vacation.

Did some yoga over the weekend - I'd forgotten how great it feels. I read about a spa in Arizona where you can go & do your own thing - you don't have to socialize - you're free to participate in all they have to offer, explore the area, putter around the grounds - do whatever you like. I'm ready to go.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


My chiropractor recommended the Zand Quick Cleanse - a liver/system cleanse & detox that only takes a week and doesn't require fasting.

So I started my Zand adventure this morning, downing a handful of "fiber" pills and later, a liver cleansing tablet full of all sorts of barky plant herby goodness. If nothing else, the pills and four gallons of water sure staves off hunger.

But I was apprehensive about going to the movies in the early afternoon, not sure what could happen while out & about. Would it be like that scene in Pope of Greenwich Village when they give the cop the horse laxative? I had to hope I wouldn't be caught running around the street clutching my pants.

So far, all is stable... but it's only Day 1. In the next few days I'm supposed to increase the number of fiber pills. Thank goodness we have a long weekend. At least when fasting, you don't have to worry about suddenly blowing a gasket and making sure you're always near a toilet.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Almost Lucky

Left late this morning fore an eye doc appointment, but managed to find a non-metered parking space and made it to the appointment in time.

Then I cruised over to the financial district and found another sweet parking space, though it was a 30-minute meter. I felt lucky, so I plugged the meter and grabbed lunch. I checked the car after lunch - no chalk and the meter had run out, but no ticket.

From there I headed to SOMA for another errand and found ANOTHER cherry parking spot, non-metered. Finished that errand and went to meet a friend for coffee. I parked my car a couple of blocks away, had a nice chat and a lovely cup of tea.

By about 4pm we decided to start our weekends & said so long. I headed back to my car and on the way, a strange feeling came over me... I'd gotten cocky. My luck was about to change.

I turned the corner at 1st and Mission and sho-nuff, she was gone. Baby Volvo had been dragged off to City Tow. Dammit! So close to a perfect parking day! They didn't even need that lane today - there was hardly any traffic! Shitty shitty bastards!

I hoofed it to 7th & Harrison and wow, it sure is easy now to buy your car back from the most secure lot in town. The office is clean and they have a high-tech Take a Number robot - a touch screen kiosk.

You touch the "button" - a tiny button on a 20" screen - and out pops a big number on a piece of paper you could put a grocery list on. What's all that extra screen and paper for?

A very nice man helped me right away and kindly put $189 on my Visa card. A few moments later I had my receipts and he told me where to retrieve my car.

About ten minutes later I was back in my car and ecstatic. Nothing had been stolen - everything was in order - I was just out $189, the cost of being stupid.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Man alive, I am *sleepy* these days. Every day at 2pm I am ready for the deep, deep sleep of a professional, gold-medal-winning sleeper. I'm barely awake now. I'm typing with my forehead.

Maybe it's time for Geritol or Ensure. Or maybe I could just stop going to meetings.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Faux Ziti

A ziti for Carmella. My version of ziti, anyway. I must say, it was tasty. Good comfort food on a rainy night and perfect for a Sopranos night.

Carmella was a main focus of tonight's show. I don't know how anyone could come back to New Jersey (to that life, and big pig Tony) after a week in Paris. Doesn't Carmella have a bunch of money stashed away from a few seasons ago? Invested wisely, she could live in Paris for a long time.

I could live in Paris. Maybe I'd run into Johnny Depp at the market.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Earlier this week I had the pleasure of exchanging emails with former coworkers - people who made it incredibly easy to find humor in every minute of the workday. We used to laugh all day long. Even our emails to clients were laced with humor.

Laughing at these emails made me realize how incredibly lame I am now. My emails at work are all businessey and no fun at all. Nobody needs all that dryness. It's chapping. What a drag.

But this is what we get to work with: I supplied a requirements outline to project manager in another group so she could give us the details of her project. It's a basic excel spreadsheet of questions, designed to make it easy for folks who have never documented requirements to simply fill in the blanks.

What I got back was a spreadsheet full of one word answers:
June 30

We're all very excited about this project. From the requirements alone, it sounds amazing. Can't wait to see it go live. Seems the person who filled it out, instead of putting the answers in the column labeled "Description," replaced all the questions with their answers.

Then there was the time a month after I started when HR sent me an urgent email telling me I needed to supply proof of citizenship ASAP because they didn't have copies of my driver's license and SS card in my file.

I called them and asked what happened to the photocopies that were made the day I started. "Oh, we don't know, but we're sure nothing's happened to them." Seems the woman who hosted our orientation on my first day abruptly left the company and they couldn't find any trace of the photocopies she made that day. Of our driver's licenses. And social security cards.

A few months ago we decided we should ask Facilities to install blinds in the window of our usability testing lab as it's very distracting during testing to have people walking by, gawking at our test subjects. Facilities told me that room had not been approved for blinds.

Apparently there is a Blinds Czar and this person did not deem this small room worthy. I asked how we could obtain a favorable decision from His Lordship, but before I could press the Send button on the email, a large black bookcase was delivered and set up in front of the window, almost blocking the view, but not quite. Why bother installing blinds when you can just block the window with a bookcase?

In an effort to obtain a good ergonomic set up, a coworker wanted to bring in his Aeron chair from his home office. He emailed Facilities for information and instead of supplying, say, a form to fill out to document this chair as his own, they told him not to bother. They ordered a brand new Aeron chair for him.

Another coworker enrolled in the 401k program and set up automatic deposits into the account. Except the money isn't in the 401k account, nor is it still in her paycheck. Much like the photocopies of our driver's licenses & SS cards, HR is sure everything is fine. They don't know where the money is, but they're sure everything is fine. Not to worry.

There's more - much more - but if I told you everything, you'd start to think I was making this up.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Like the Jeopardy category, though I don't like the word "potpourri." Pot-poorey. It's weird. Other words I don't like:
- meal
- enhancement
- timebox
- meet
- meeting
- schedule

This morning I realized I want to be Jack Bauer. All he needs is a hoodie and a satchel and he can do anything. He yells a lot. It must be cathartic. Maybe it would help if during the day I could start yelling at people at the top of my lungs. Restraint is tiring.

Monday, May 01, 2006


This post is for Brenda, a lovely friend from my days at HP who sent me the nicest email - thank you!

Brenda and I enjoyed many fine days in the Service Contract area of HP. I'm not really sure what that department was. It was many years ago. I remember using an HP 9000, which may have been a robot.

I was a temp, Brenda was a "full timer." Normally, full time employees do not interact with temporary help. There are rules about this. All temps and full time employees understand this and no one questions it. We keep to our own kind.

But Brenda was different... Brenda has a fantastic sense of humor. Before too long we were chatting it up and laughing til we cried. Hard to believe I was there for over a year - I remember so little. That was 13 years ago. Wow.

Thanks again for the email, and dude, congrats on your new baby and for surviving the Caminator! Dude, I don't know what it is about "dude." Dude comes home from work and suddenly I'm "dude," which is kinda sweet that I'm like one of the guys, but after the 10th or 12th dude, it's like, dude, enough already. Dude. Doooooooooooooood.