December 20, 2006

i used to be by the window, where I could see the squirrels and they were merry

I've found in the 10 odd years that I've been working in corporate America that the best way for management to look busy and effective is to inconvenience their underlings. Boring, senseless meetings are scheduled in Outlook on a weekly basis even though nothing is ever accomplished in those gatherings other than annoying the attendees and the poor admin who had to arrange the thing on behalf of the organizer. Productivity is measured by pissed-off expressions it seems. The more annoyed people look, the harder management is working. It's all very Costanza-esque.

The office move is another tactic brand new management likes to unleash to make its mark in an established department. By moving people hither and yon, the powers-that-be look effective and definitive and powerful. Flowcharts and floor plans are the weapons of choice. Their executive assistants know VISIO and they are not afraid to use it. Mark.their.words.

I believe you have my staplerSo, if you couldn't tell already, I fell victim to a reshuffling of sorts at my job. Long story short, I no longer have an office. It wasn't a demotion, mind you, but I along with a few others in the creative department (read: non-revenue generating employees) are back to the 1-1/2 fabric wall arrangement. Gone is my closeable door and that highfalutin sheetrock I had grown so accustomed to. Sigh.

Yesterday was my first day in a cubicle. To say that the new feng shui didn't agree with me would be an understatement. With a little help from Meg, I started a little list of ways to revolt. Passive-aggressively, of course, 'cause that's how I roll...
1) Display symptoms of a permanent cold or infection of sorts that leads to lots of coughing, sneezing, nose blowing, etc.

2) Eat lunches at my desk that smell like farts, i.e. Hale and Hearty's Cauliflower Cheddar Soup.

3) Listen to music loudly and sing along, in particular the orgasmic wailing parts of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and the "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!" portion of Rage Against the Machine's "Killing In The Name."

4) Use speakerphone always and often.

5) Call my gyno and talk about oozing sores, rashes and bumps.

6) Explain my BMs in excruciating detail to my gastro doctor.

7) Discuss the various fungi plaguing my nether regions and feet.

8) Ask my shrink if eating one's own dandruff is cause for concern.

9) Call my doctor to see if the results of my TB tests are in. Then say, "Oh."

10) Use my blog to solicit job offers. Seriously, hook me up.
More to come as my frustration levels rise.

December 08, 2006

they do know... they just don't care

In addition to brilliant writing, The Sheila Variations also boasts a band of regular commenters who excel at providing hilarious commentary. The tangents that often ensue are delightful. In fact, I was inspired to compose the following letter thanks to a wonderfully off-topic comment thread that began with talk of a deflated Santa and ended with a lyrical analysis of Band Aid's earnest yet erroneous "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Please read the post and comments to see how that transpired. In the meantime, here's the byproduct of my hijacking. Enjoy.
Dear Messrs. Geldof and Ure:

Thank you for your noble famine relief efforts. On behalf of the African people, I would like to convey our appreciation for your selfless dedication and desire to "feed the world." Although, truthfully, as non-Christians we could do without the accompanying relentless proselytizing about Christmas but still, we are nevertheless indebted to your tireless humanitarian pursuits.

However, I do believe it is incumbent upon me to clear up some misconceptions you seem to hold towards our beautiful continent. Firstly, I dare say the agricultural industry would beg to differ with your statement that "nothing ever grows" in Africa. In fact, my garden alone sprouts enough weeds to choke an elephant.

Secondly, the good people of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia who were recently displaced by flooding would most certainly disagree with the notion that "no rain or rivers flow." That, kind sirs, is sloppy and irresponsible reporting on your part.

And, lastly, I think you do our bell makers a great disservice by describing the melodic and resonant tones of their craftsmanship as "clanging chimes of doom." While not one of our bread-and-butter industries, our bells and percussion instruments in general are no better nor worse than your own continent's. Frankly, we feel this is yet another case of xenophobia rearing its ugly -- and obviously tone-deaf -- head.

Again, we are grateful for the money you helped raise and we are most thankful for the prayers you solicited on our behalf. But, to reiterate, we really don't need reminders that "it's Christmastime again" as we don't really celebrate it. At this point, it has become nothing more than intolerant badgering and we are weighing our legal options.

But, in deference to your season of good will as well as our desire to not contribute to your alarming paranoia about living in "a world of dread and fear," we would like to avoid litigation if possible. Perhaps you can pen a follow-up single to retract some of the falsehoods about our climate and topography as well as your cruel and slanderous claims against African bells, of all things. I'm certain the members of Bananarama, Ultravox and Spandau Ballet, in particular, would jump at the chance to help right these wrongs.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Nala Simba Mufasa
President, African Board of Tourism
Watch the video here.