Blockages: The Tony Vlachos Story #Survivor
There are two things I like. The reality TV show Survivor and the reality social show Twitter. These are a few of my favorite things.
Survivor is a delight as a little microcosm of humanity. An animated diorama world of greed and bad behavior inside the magic box. What’s not to like?
Twitter, with its 140-character limit, is a short and sweet. In the right hands it can be art form. In the wrong hands? “I’m on the can” or “I’m drinking a smoothie.” Often in the very same tweet.
I’ve been religiously watching Survivor since day one when Richard Hatch won the inaugural season in Borneo. I never miss an episode.
Earlier this year, when Survivor Cagayan, the 28th season, was announced, I did something new. I used Twitter to interact with some contestants on the show. The worlds of Survivor and Twitter collided like chocolate in my peanut butter.
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Frying Off The Handle
As a man of science, you think I’d be comfortable with a microwave, a device handy for exciting my molecules.
I placed my mug of cold coffee in the microwave and closed the door. Using my trusty slide rule I calculated the optimum time. As the seconds ticked down I watched through the meshy window just in case things came to a boil.
Thankfully they did not.
The microwave chirped a friendly beep beep beep so I opened the door and took out the mug. I examined the dark fluid closely.
All seemed well. I stroked my chin thoughtfully. “Hmm,” I said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a flat calm.”
I put the mug on the counter, ensconced the sugar bowl in my loving arms and cued up a teaspoon of sweet heavenly goodness.
As the sugar cascaded into the mug it exploded I was knocked on my ass by a shock wave of exactly 1.21 gigawatts. Covered in burning liquid, I staggered to my feet. Only a crater remained where my mug had been moments before.
I realized I was crying. “Hot water burn baby!!!” I yelled.
Experts later determined the blast was equivalent t .42% of the nuclear device set off my North Korea just last week. So I’m in good company.
Can Do Fire Spirits
I can admire the “can do” spirit. I usually do it from afar. I, of course, am a master practitioner of the “no can do” spirit. You may have seen the fictionalized version of me in the movie Aliens. I’m talking about Pvt. Hudson of the Space Marines portrayed spot on by Bill Paxton.
I’ve long extolled the virtues of negativity. So much so that I’ve achieved guru status.
Today I wish to bring you news of a story you may have missed. It wasn’t exactly the top story of the latest news cycles. But it does offer a rare glimpse into the murky and mysterious world of positive thinking.
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Yesterday, during my exclusive coverage of the Yahoo baby flap, I neglected to cover a key point. So exclusive team coverage continues today. Besides, most of you didn’t even notice I posted. Perhaps if I cover the same topic two days in a row I’ll have a shot.
This week, Yahoo announced the selection of their new CEO. Marissa Mayer, a long-time Yahoo employee, takes over with a compensation package that will reportedly pay her more than $100 million over five years based on performance.
Marissa takes over as CEO of the troubled company and fills the position vacated recently by former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson. In January 2012 Thompson became the CEO. By May 2012, Thompson was shown the door after questions were raised about discrepancies on the resume he provided. On the resume was a computer degree that Thompson did not actually have.
In other words, he lied. Or in modern parlance, he “padded his resume.” Or, for the cutsey among you, “resume malfunction.”
The reaction from Wall Street was interesting.
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Boss wants it when?
What’s a boss? Someone who does a lot of shit you hate. Repeatedly. And does it a lot.
An example is getting pounced by the boss the exact nanosecond you walk into work. As the door swings shut behind you and you begin to walk across the room, the boss patiently counts to .1 then lets it fly.
“Oh. Um. Hey. I have some prices and stock changes for the website for you I need done.”
“For you.” What a quaint way of putting it.
“They need to be entered and saved into the website.”
No shit? I was going to try sticking them in my ear. I have no data to suggest that would work, but I figured what the hell. I’m just a blubbering idiot compared to glowing brilliance that is you.
“I need it done right away.”
What? You’re not giving me five years lead time on this grand project of yours? I’m literally shocked.
You can guess what came next. Yep. I took an additional 15 seconds to walk across the room and reach my desk. I paused to savor a feeling of accomplishment. Wow, I sure accomplished a lot in my first minute at work. Team building? Check. Project management? Check. Blood leaking out of ears? Check! That’s why I keep tampons in my desk.
The boss was watching and waiting expectantly. I put on a little show consisting of setting my coffee down, sitting in my chair, adjusting my chair, turning on my computer display and lots of exciting stuff like that. I could feel the boss’ beady little eyes drilling into me. Creepy. How many minutes left in this day until quitting time? I already feel like I’m roasting in Hell while demons with tongues of flame lick the flesh from my bones.
Finally I turned to face him.
“Sure thing,” I said, being careful to speak to him as if he was a small child. Bosses respond well to that. “Let me know what you want changed and I’ll be happy to take care of it. I’ll make it my top priority.” Bosses like words like “priority.”
This response excited him. He peed himself a little.
But first there was a day full of important boss stuff to get done. This included things like buying stuff on Woot.com, taking 42 phone calls from his wife, reading news stories, playing with his Ameritrade account, “cooking” multiple meals in his disgusting microwave, playing Plants vs. Zombies on his iPad while sitting on the toilet, and, of course, a nap on the office sofa, his Hobbit-like bare feet sticking up in the air.
Several eternities later, it was quitting time. I got up out of my chair. I gathered my things. I slug my backpack over my shoulder and headed for the door.
The boss looked up and said, “What? Are you leaving?”
“Afraid so, old chap. Quittin’ time and all that. Cheerio!”
“Wait,” he cried. “I was just about to send you those changes.”
There followed a long and pregnant and awkward pause. I swallowed my bile and spoke The Question, breaking the silence.
“You don’t want that done now, do you?”
“Yes, I need it now. It has to be done today. My wife has been riding me hard on this one.”
Ah, fear. That’s why it was so damn important you fucked around on it for an incredible eight and half hours. Top priority, indeed.
Like a boss.
It’s not that I minded that much getting a little OT. But seriously. Is there any possible way this grown person with firing power over me could act any dumber? I think not. He’s perfected the art.