Daily Archives: December 31st, 2010

The Abyss 2010: Year in Review

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2010 was much like any other year. Like many others in the media today, we now endeavor to “review” the year.

This is an appropriate activity that is seemingly enjoyed by humans when our most favorite planetoid has completed yet another circuit around our most favorite star.

Depending on IQ, if it is low enough, most will celebrate by crashing pots and pans at what they incorrectly deem to be “midnight.” Others will blow things up and shoot their guns in the air.

Because I’m cursed with intelligence all I can do is write this post and be in bed by 8:30.

2010 started like most any other year. Jan. 1, 2010 at midnight (GMT) was the first second of the year. In “epoch time” that is also known as 1262304000.

Epoch time, also known as Unix time, is a system of used by computers to keep track of the date and time. It counts the number of seconds that have elapsed since midnight Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of January 1, 1970, not counting leap seconds. (If you really want to blow your mind you can read the Wikipedia article on Unix time. It will make your head feel funny.)

A “second” is a unit of time most of us are very familiar with. It was originally defined as 1/86400 of a “solar day.” There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours a day. So if we multiple those values, 60 x 60 x 24, we get 86,400 seconds. Viola! Therefore, 86,400 is the number of seconds in a day. Don’t believe me? Count to 86,400 and see how much time has gone by. Go ahead, try it! It’s fun!

But wait. It turns out that the rotation of the Earth, known as a day, is not always exactly 86,400 seconds. It turns out that the solar day is 1.7ms longer every century due mainly to “tidal friction” and “glacial rebound.” I don’t know about you but that scares the shit out of me. Our planet is getting slower!

The year will end on December 31, 2010 at 11:59:59 pm (GMT). This is 1293839999.

Now that we know the starting and ending epoch times of 2010, we can do the math. Simple subtraction on those two time values shows there were 31,536,000 seconds in 2010. That translates to 525,600 minutes, 8,760 hours and 365 days.

Wow, when you look at it that way, what an exciting year! I hope you all enjoyed those 31.5 million seconds as much as you possibly could.

A dog’s work life

Ready to help push the button, Fluffy? Woof, woof!

I’ve been in the ecommerce business since the year 2000. I’ve got a little experience under my belt as far as that goes. Since then I’ve enjoyed a bit of an education in the ways that ecommerce companies can lie, cheat and steal.

And I think I’ve documented fairly well my work history as it pertains to my proximity to toilets. My current position happens to be a personal best. My workstation shares a wall with the bathroom. As I like to say, this office layout is “good to the last plop.” And I just found out yesterday that the network cable that connects my computer to the internet physically wraps around the toilet. Win win!

But there is another aspect of my work history I’ve neglected to mention. It is the phenomenon of dogs in the workplace.

Oh joy.

Did you get that? Dogs! In the motherfucking workplace! What the hell???

No, I’m not talking about legitimate service dogs or even dogs that belong to customers. I’m talking about dogs brought in as a matter of routine by either the business owners or fellow employees.

It seems my career (ha!) is destined to remain entwined with that of dogs. Seems only fitting, though, since my place on the employment food chain is actually lower than that of canines.

Since 2001 I’ve primarily had three jobs in this small town. They have turned out to have some surprising and remarkable similarities.

Now I can add one more similarity to the list. Dogs. I guess I could call it “Dog Wars.” At last, including my most recent change of employment, the circle is complete.

In 2001 I accepted my first job in this small little town. The owners brought their dog into the office. Every day. The dog had a little bed, food dish and water dish in the owner’s office. The dog would often crawl around my feet. Ugh. When customers came in, the dog would run around the counter and greet them. How professional. Some customers ignored the dog, some others would make whoopie with the dog. “Oh, look there! Aren’t you adorable?” Blech.

In 2005 I switched from that company to another local company hoping to improve my situation in life. It turned out to be a huge mistake. The exploits of that particular job have been fairly well plumbed in the annals of this blog. The added bonus, of course, was the owner’s little dog, who was given free reign over the entire facility. My boss, control freak that he was, extended that control over his dog, too. To levels that were frighteningly sick. He was one of those dog owners that expected perfect obedience to the Nth degree. You know the type: Placing food on the floor and making the dog wait for permission, etc. He was always testing the obedience of that animal. He took great pride in it. The dog seemed to be, above all else, a way for him to demonstrate to the outside world, the sheer extent to which he could control another life form.

The dog had a bed on the boss’s desk and little steps leading up the desk. The boss would talk to the dog all day long and let the dog lick his lips. Ugh.

You want to talk about smell? One day the boss arrived with the dog. In under a minute the dog had pooped right in the middle of the retail floor. By coincidence that was about six feet away from my workstation. Such a lovely odor. No doubt the customers loved it, too. I was ready to quit on the spot if ordered to clean it up, but, this once, he actually did the deed himself.

The part I found funniest was that every time he left the front door open (because he was too cheap to turn on the air conditioner) that dog would run for the hills. When the boss finally became aware his toy was missing, he’d desperately dash out the front door to look for his fleeing friend. Always hilarious! “Run Fido, run!” Maybe you’ll find the dream of freedom this time!

And now, here I am, in my new job. And guess what? My coworker brings her gigantor dog into the office. For the life of me I can’t understand why this is even allowed.

She actually asked me if I minded. I said, “Well, I’m sure you must have a good reason.” Then she blew my mind by saying there was no special reason. She just wanted it near. WTF?

I love my cats. Mind if I bring them in every day, too? Meow motherfucker! I wonder how we would determine animal precedence and interactivity in the workplace?

Alas, no, my cats are forced to deal with a little something I like to call “reality.” Namely, when I’m gone they have to be alone. And that’s not just for work, either. That even includes things like shopping, dining, and going to the movies. For some strange reason I don’t take them with me to places like that and make them wait in the car while I’m out living my life.

Did I mention I’m allergic to dogs? Who gives a fuck? It’s only a place of business, right? If I don’t like it I guess I should switch jobs, right? Perhaps to the next place where the odds are 99.44 percent likely there will be even more dogs.

Once, when I was a kid, I was bitten by a dog while walking along the street, minding my own business, on the way to school. That may have tainted my opinion of dogs. But then, later in life, I had a bit of a realization. The owner of that dog did absolutely nothing to restrain his animal. He wanted his animal to roam free. As usual, it’s all about selfish wants and damn everyone else. “My dog is too good for that!” I walked by, the dog sprinted from the porch of a house, and the dog bit me on the leg.

Good times.

Later, still a kid, I asked for a puppy for my birthday. Yeah, I hadn’t learned my lesson yet. My parents took me to meet Estes, a German Shepherd who was a retired police dog, and decidedly not a puppy. I did not like Estes. When asked my opinion about Estes, I said, quite clearly and distinctly, “I do not like this dog. I do not want this dog.” Therefore, of course, we got him anyway. “Happy birthday to me!”

Upon reflection it’s almost like that birthday wasn’t about me at all. Go figure.

Estes was the worst birthday present ever. He peed on my parent’s bright white sofa, leaving a nice yellow stain that remained until the end of time. (Sure, he had some redeeming qualities, too. Hilarious! Maybe karma still existed back when I was a kid.) The dog didn’t listen. He wasn’t fun. Then, shortly after we got him, I was out taking him for a walk and he got away from me (he was very hard to control) and ate the neighbor’s poodle! Mom and dad had to pay a lot of money for that one and that was the last we ever saw of Estes. (Who was, by the way, my only birthday present that year. There would be no others to replace him. Tough shit, kid. That was your birthday. Now go run outside and enjoy your nothing.)

Later in life, my son was also bitten by a dog. (Like father like son, I guess.) He was at a friend’s house sitting on the floor playing video games. Suddenly, out of the blue, their dog went batshit crazy and mauled my son’s shoulder. (It wasn’t merely a “bite.”) I was called from work to find my son at the hospital where they needed my help to physically hold him down on a table while he screamed and they gave him some shots. (He was super freaky about needles.) More good times!

The dog owners, of course, said, “Fluffy has never bitten anyone before.” Well, gee whiz. Of course not. There’s waa chance that statement is even true. (Assuming they weren’t lying, a distinct possibility.) Now I’m going to go way out on a limb and express this thought: Every single dog who has ever bitten a human had a “first” time.

Seems pretty simple to me.

So now, here I am, dealing with a dog in my workspace for the third consecutive time, thus completing an entire decade of employment dogness.

A whole decade? Wow! That must be some kind of record for dealing with dogs in office settings. Someone please tell me what I’ve won.