Monthly Archives: July, 2010

Despicable Me

Okay, it’s game on. The makers of the movie Despicable Me stole the name of my memoirs. ๐Ÿ™‚

Based on the commercials I’ve seen the movie is about two Twinkie treats who get into a fist fight. One is a cyclops and the other has two eyes. What does this tell us? At least one of them is a freak within his own kind. ๐Ÿ™‚

The point of today’s post is about the humor of this scenario. How many jokes can you crack about the commercial based on the premise that the characters shown are Twinkies and are engaged in a fist fight?

Here’s my entry:

What could have started the fight? One Twinkie said to the other, “Your mother is a Ho Ho who eats Ding Dongs!”

Trust me. There is plenty more where that came from!

Youth to battle elders on Survivor

Well, it has been confirmed. Survivor announced that the 21st season, Survivor Nicaragua, will be a battle of young vs. old.

18 contestants will form two teams. One tribe, Espada, will be comprised of those older than 40. The other tribe, La Flor, will consist of those younger than 30. As I surmised earlier, the game won’t have any contestants who are “30-something.” That’s just downright weird.

If the game is intensely physical like it has been in recent seasons (even roughing up players like James) this would seem to put the older folks at a disadvantage. It will interesting to see if any effort has been made to come up with challenges that will make the outcomes more uncertain. Or will the elders be left to sink or swim?

A photo of the contestants was also revealed, but with their faces concealed. The cast is expected to be announced mid-August and the show will premier on Wednesday, September 15th.

The Rage Against The Machine alarm clock

Those of you who have dared (to waste your time) and look at my id page may have noticed that there is seemingly no limit to the number of titles I’m willing to shamelessly apply to myself.

One of those titles is “inventor.” No, not in a literal inventing sense of the word. Much like scientists will often engage in thought experiments I also like to have my fun. I guess you could say I engage in thought inventions. These are things that are “invented” (note the air quotes) but only in my head. They never exist unless made my someone smarter than me who has much more energy. Basically I just sit a lot.

Are we there yet? No!

Yes, I’m the guy who invented Google Windshield. This is a augmented reality app that is displayed on the windshield of your car as a heads-up display. Yeah, just like the fancy technology that was previously enjoyed exclusively by heroic fighter pilots. It’s an amazing powerful app that can answer questions like, “Are we there yet?” If you want to know if you’ve arrived at your destination just ask Google Windshield to display your trip’s progress bar. There is your answer in graphical form. “36 percent? Aw, what the hell?”

It can do fancier things, too. Ever see a mountain far off in the distance and get curious about it? Just point at it and Google Windshield will tell you more about it than you ever wanted to know.

Another gadget I invented I call the Mobile Serenity Enhancer. This device is worn just like a wristwatch. What does it do? It is a mobile phone jammer that finally allows you live your life in peace. Going to the movies? Just sit in the center of the movie theater and activate your own personal jamming field. The 75′ radius will ensconce you in a peaceful “circle of silence” for the next 2-3 hours. Sure, the idiots will punch their little buttons but nothing will happen. Eventually they’ll give up and those little glowing screens will go bye-bye. And no incoming calls, either! Mobile Serenity Enhancer works equally well in tons of other locations like the office, restaurants, walking down the street, standing in line at the grocery store and much, much more!

The real announcement for today, however, is the Rage Against The Machine Alarm Clock. This state of the art beauty is designed to take you from blissful slumber to a ready state of alertness in no time at all. Are you overly in love with the snooze button? RATM AC is here to help!

Our patented Morning Escalation Awakening Technology (MEAT) will wake you up in style at the pace that is right just for you.

Here now is an overview of our cascading snooze progression that can greet you every morning but only if you act now!

Initial Alert: “Ah, shit!!!” Our researchers have found that this is the optimal message to get most self-starters right out of bed on the first try.

First Snooze Alert: “Who controls the past now controls the future!” You’ve now slacked off for nine whole minutes but this is still a great way to greet the day that the Lord hath made. Get your lazy ass out of bed now, before it is too late, and you can still control your own future!

Second Snooze Alert: “Come on! Ugh! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!Okay! Seriously. It’s been 18 minutes. Play time is over. You’re probably already late for something important. It is now time for a more direct approach.

Third Snooze Alert: “And now you do what they told ya!This alert is repeated 11 times then looped without end. Perhaps the time has come for you to evaluate why you even set an alarm in the first place? Presumably to satisfy the requirements of some external forces that have been placed upon you. Yes, you have free will, but if you exercise that free will inappropriately (like not getting out of bed) there will be consequences. After 27 minutes it is time to flip your feet on the floor and do what they told ya.

Fourth Snooze Alert: “Pistol grip pump on my lap at all times!!!” Really? You’re still snoozing after 36 minutes of RATM bombardment in hi-fidelity stereo? The time for direct threats is at hand. This is the alarm clock’s final warning that you are about to be shot if you fail to get up. Every unit comes equipped with a pistol grip pump in a secret compartment. Arise NOW!

The Final Snooze Alert: “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! Motherfucker! Uggh!” 45 minutes. You are truly a world-class snoozer. Stop your grinnin’ and drop your linen. Time’s up. Prepare to die. ๐Ÿ™‚

Congratulations on the purchase of your Rage Against The Machine Alarm Clock. You are either now wide awake and ready to seize the day or you’ve been shot sleeping in your bed. Either way our product has done its job!

Now that is customer service

A visual representation from our last office staff meeting. I'm the one on the far right.

I’m going to admit to belief in an amazing premise. This might be the only time I ever say something remotely like this so pay attention! ๐Ÿ™‚

The premise is this: I assume that even those of us who hate our jobs with every fiber of our being and think customers are obliviots still make the effort (in vain) to actually help and provide service to our customers.

It still surprises me so much every time I realized that in spite of everything I actually cared! I must try harder.

Even so, some amazing situations can still develop. This is a story about one of them.

Our store’s web site has a feature that will send an automated email message to customers when we are running behind on their order. It’s a cheesy system but at least it pings the customer and lets them know something is still going on.

Sometimes, though, that system bites us in the ass and makes us look like fools. And, as far as I’m concerned, I can always use a good belly laugh like that! I’m not personally invested. The system sure as hell wasn’t my idea!

In regards to the particular order in question a customer had ordered four widgets. Three had already shipped. A fourth widget, however, was backordered and the fulfillment date was the ever-popular “unknown.” The customer chose to call in and exercise his right to cancel the widget and have his money returned rather than wait for some nebulous date. For some odd reason customers don’t seem to think “it’s on a big boat somewhere in the middle of the ocean” is specific enough information.

Now here’s the fun part. Because our accounting department takes so damn long to process refunds, our system has been emailing the customer the automated “sorry your widget is late – we’re working really hard on it” bullshit email every few days for a product that has already been canceled!!!

Why the hell should it take over seven days to refund a customer money? Search me! That’s just the way we roll here in the shithole. “Quick to charge but slow to refund” is our motto!

Every cloud has a silver lining (or so I’ve heard) and this one is that our own incompetence and lack of caring makes us look especially idiotic. I just love happy endings!

Hyppo and Critter: The Great Debate

Boss tutorial: assigning tasks

The boss is a nitwit fool. Daily I’m amazed that he actually somehow had the intelligence and competence enough to create and run this company. It’s simply mind-boggling.

I’ve blogged plenty of times about how he routinely sells items for less than what he paid for them because he doesn’t feel it is worth staff time to update prices on our web site. Riiiiight. Now you hopefully understand the mentality we are dealing with here.

If there is one thing above all else that the boss loves it is handing out we. He just loves assigning “tasks” as he likes to call them.

This morning he assigned me one. If your goal is to Destroy Your Employees you can’t be just all willy nilly about it. Using task assignments to damage, confuse and demoralize your employees is much like revenge – it’s a dish best served cold. And it also takes a bit of planning to be done properly. Task assignment shouldn’t be wielded like a blunt instrument. It should be subtlety finessed so that intestines will splay over the greatest possible distance following employee disembowelment.

I struggled to come up with a workable example of this morning’s task fiasco and this is what I came up with. I’ll tell you right up front it’s a lame example. But it works.

Boss: Tom, I want you to take 26 blocks, one for each letter of the alphabet, and put them on this shelf here, all in row.

Me: Aye, Captain.

The boss’ instructions sound simple enough, eh? Amazing I was trusted to count up to 26 all by myself. (For once no micromanaging.) And I even had one of each letter. Being a fairly intelligent fellow I had no problems so far.

But then I realized that his instructions fell short. The bosses around around here often fail to provide enough detail to properly complete their tasks. You either have to stop and seek “direction” or fill in the gaps on your own.

In this particular case he failed to specify if the order of the blocks made any difference to him. Since he didn’t specify, I thought about it for a moment, and said to myself, “Might as well put them on the shelf alphabetically.” It seemed like a logical way to do it to me.

My task done, I moved on to other important matters like having the phone shoved into my ear and shaken James Bond style to completely scramble my brains.

Some time later the boss looked me up and said, “Hey. You did that task wrong.” He always put things so nicely. I can tell he really cares about my feelings.

“Eh? ORLY?!?” I screamed into the abyss. Which is another way of saying I didn’t say a word and silently accepted his thrusting.

“Yeah, I wanted ‘Z’ to be the first letter and ‘A’ to be the last letter.” Try to imagine these words being said with the petulance of a small child, especially the “I wanted” part.

Well holy fuck shit dip wad! If that is what you wanted, why the hell didn’t you say so right up front? It’s almost like he’s playing with me. There is overhead involved in this task and now I get to redo all that overhead … again. Is that efficient? Hardly. So I returned to the shelf and swapped the ‘A’ and the ‘Z’.

Problem solved, right?

Nope! Then the boss hunted me down again and said, “I also wanted the ‘J’ to come after the ‘V’.”

Could there possibly be a more inefficient way to go about this? It is sure hard to imagine. So again I redid all the overhead involved in the task, grabbed the ‘J’ and stuck it directly after the ‘V’.

Of course, at this point, there will typically be at least one more directive from the boss, usually one that completely reverses an earlier order. I imagine this takes place even if everything is to his liking if only for the sole purpose of fucking with me. In this case it was something like, “OK, now reverse the ‘A’ and the ‘Z’. I want the ‘A’ to be first and the ‘Z’ to be last.” This is usually accompanied by some sort of sneer, as if to imply, “Geez, what a friggin’ moron is Tom. What the hell was he thinking? Having the letters in that order didn’t even make sense! I better put a reminder on my iPhone to micromanage his ass more for awhile. Good thing I personally checked this out or everything would have gone completely to shit.”

The real icing on this cake, however, is that either way wouldn’t make one bit of friggin’ difference. Not in a million years. The only difference it makes is in the imaginary world the boss has created in his mind. But it makes the boss feel important to decide things and, not only that, to make me run around implementing his decisions. I imagine he goes home at night, kicks offย  his shoes, and thinks to himself, “Wow. I really managed those employees today!”

I’ll abandon my dumbass example now, but I think you get the point. And the sad thing is, I’m not exaggerating or making this up. Not one little bit. And I’ve got the chat logs to prove it. Maybe someday when it is no longer necessary to give a shit about protecting my job at this company I’ll publish the boss chat logs in a book. I’ll name that book “Required Readings for the Extreme Masochist.” Subtitle: “The Machiavellian Workings of the Little Boss Brain.”

Yeah, I rather like the sound of that. Perhaps his idiocy can be used for something good after all!

One of these days…

Update: Here is the direct link to the video on YouTube just in case the video above is feeling indisposed.
Video: One of these days…