The Blog Gods Are Angry!#$%@&*!

First of all let me just say this is all Bill Gates’ fault! The dawg!

Okay, I’ve been blogging for a little while now- I think I’ve learned the ropes more or less. Know how not to crash my hard-drive, or blow up my computer, can’t write code but sort kinda know what it is, right? Right. Got a photobucket account, just like my mentor told me to – learned how to download pics so they don’t look like you’ve just had a hit of acid or something. Can tag surf, check my comments, response to readers in bold, add links and blah, blah, blah. Right?

So suffice to say that given the glorious ease that WordPress gives you in blogging – I can function within the normal confines of blogging. I’m not a blackbelt or anything – but I know my way around the ol’ blogosphere. And yet….

In my adventures as a blogger I have had to actually shut down a blog and reopen it under a different name because one day I just couldn’t add categories to my posts. For you layman out there, those are ‘tags’ ‘keywords’ that people use to find subject matter on the net. I tried and tried. But there was clearly no way to trick the system – even tech support was baffled. So – okay, no big deal transfer the blog over and start again.

Then I’ve had posts just disappear. Now you see it now you don’t. Again, some sort of glitch in the cyber universe, as I’ve commiserated with others whose posts have vaporized as well.

I’ve had code that simply refused to be deleted and finally won because after two hours you just say uncle. Which resulted in half the post being in one font and the other half in another.

I’ve had regular readers end up in the spam box, rather than having their comments posted and spammers doing pingbacks, making nonsequitor posts and happily running down the halls, spraying graffitti everywhere.

Not long ago, I added a bright new blogger to my blogroll. He’s bright, funny and a pleasure to read. And I thought, what the heck, I like this guy and I’m linking him. No problem, right? Well the weird thing is that whenever I click on the link I get redirected to some weird admin link and one of those insipid messages that says basically ‘screw you, you’re not getting in.’ I’ve recently discovered that if I’m logged out I can sometimes actually access his page. Sigh. So, I’m trying Chris.

Then today – well I had this cute little post all set up about snow in L.A. and a great little vid to go with it. But nope, wasn’t going to happen. The last two hours have been chewed up trying to make it work and it just goes into download hell and never arrives.

Poor tech support, I’ve emailed them so much lately that surely I’m in their permanent spam list – and pain in the ass file. And who could blame them? I feel like that little old lady who is always bringing stuff back to the store insisting it doesn’t work but of course it works for everyone else.

So, now I’m sure of it. It is simply the Great Blog Gods in the sky. They are pissed at me. They are making me pay. They got an email from Bill Gates telling them I refuse to download yet another version of his piece-of-shit IE browser and they are conspiring against me. They’re all up there smoking cigars, counting their money, drinking beers and laughing their asses off. Trying to figure out how else they can screw with me. The rat bastards!

Well, I will not relent! I will not download that hideous browser. They can torment me all they like. I still refuse to be herded like cows into their mindless one-world order composed of all of those who must obey! (Can you hear the trumpets now?)

Give me liberty or screw you! I have not yet begun to bitch! I will prevail!

Phew…I feel better now. Have a nice day. 😉


Burn in Hell Saddam

May he burn in the fires of Hell for all eternity. Saddam is dead. And may this be the end of rape rooms, mass graves, mass murder and genocide in Iraq.

Read it here.

Although there are many more monsters in the world – I can still be thankful that this monster is gone. Amen.


Retail Sales & 12-Yr Old Chivas – 12 days of xmas #8


Unencumbered and foot loose and fancy free and…unemployed….I agreed to do one of those Christmas sales stints. It sounded very good during the talking part. 30% of the sales, they provide the space and the goods and after 6 weeks I’d be about 5 grand richer. It sounded VERY good.

Now, I don’t know if any of you out there have ever worked in a mall during Christmas…but if you want my advise…DON’T. Frankly, you’d probably do better washing windshields in the 7-11 parking lot and the hours are much kinder.

This particular group of yahoos had a system are taped out. They’d been doing it for years and they knew just how to make it work for me. First I started ‘training’ under another guy so I could learn the ropes (read that as working for free). Since he was a friend of mine – a british chap and fellow writer, Giles, was pretty easy to work with. Of course there was that working for free part which I didn’t care for, especially since any sales I made went into his pocket but I agreed anyway because I’d passed up a couple of jobs for this adventure so now I was committed (or I should have been).

So for about 10 days (straight, no time off) I worked Giles’ stand and made some pretty good sales. Of course the company was real swell and paid me a ‘draw’ from my future sales at my own stand, just to help me get by.

Anyway, I finally got my own stand – in West Covina. Which may sound nice and everything but it was about a 30 mile drive from my house and it was a particularly cold and rainy winter season – oh and I really hate to drive the freeways. Oh and I had to go through downtown L.A. to get there. Yeah, that was really great – especially since my heater decided to quit on my and I had to keep a steady supply of napkins handy to wipe away the fog on my windows.

Anyway…I got my own stand in the mall and honestly it was a pretty nice mall. And to be fair to Giles he did come and help me set up and hire some high school girls to do some selling for me – and the sales, well they were smoking. I was able (because of my desparate financial situation) to justify selling gold and silver plated jewelry by just completely ignoring the fact that it was junk. But if you put anything sparkly in front of a person during Christmas they just want it. Truth.

So for 6 weeks, 16 hours a day (not including drive time), no days off I sold. I sold and I sold and I sold some more. I learned how to take naps with my eyes open and while talking to staff and/or customers. For a release I would walk the mall and buy things. Once a week I made a field trip to the company office to restock and get my ‘draw’. Happily gas prices were dirt cheap at the time and with as hyped up as I was on coffee I hardly ever thought of food.

Forget the fact that I didn’t know what I looked like without the pallor and blood shot eyes, that I ended breaking up with my boyfriend over the phone and quite frankly, if I was even conscious by Christmas day there really wasn’t anything to remain conscious for. The minutes, hours, days, weeks went by in a blur of Christmas muzac and the eternal hum of hundreds of shoppers.

Finally came Christmas Eve. The mall was closing early and so I’d only have to work ten hours that day. My girls who had worked for me were so sweet that they pooled their money to buy me a plaque to commemorate an ‘in’ joke we’d developed over those few weeks. And honestly, it was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got because it was so unexpected and it spoke of true affection and good times from some girls who probably should have spent their money on clothes, make up, jewelry and their boyfriends.

Finally, six o’clock rolled around. The big boss came by and congratulated me on my sales which apparently was WAY over what they expected and told me to roll around on the first to pick up (what was left) of my commission check. I gave him the keys to the safe and the receipts and off to home I went.

Giles and I had planned to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together since we were both on our own for the holidays. So I got home, showered and changed, plastered on some make up and went over. I looked like I’d been on a 12 year drunk and didn’t know my name (see picture above).

When I got there Giles was all smiles, wished me a ham sandwich and a happy Christmas. Then he whipped out the big surprise he’d been holding back on for weeks. A 12 year old bottle of Chivas. Now, from what I’ve heard that’s some pretty impressive stuff. I believe it is scotch but maybe it’s whiskey but really I couldn’t tell you the difference anyway.

So me and my pal Giles drank off that bottle of Chivas for the next two days. Occasionally pausing for ham sandwiches or an old movie on the telly. We were so exhausted I’m not sure we even spoke all that much. It was more on the order of grunts and groans and “I’ll have another.” By December 26th we had finished that bottle and were ready for the New Year. Sometime in the next couple of days we got some sleep and finally I went to get my commission check.

Sadly, Santa didn’t have much leftover for me. Just enough to pay the coming months bills and maybe a little extra if I was strict. I actually sat down and computed my hours against what I made and it turns out I made about $3 an hour. Who knew? I could have worked at Kmart and done the same, plus I woulda had that 10% discount. Live and learn and don’t do mall sales! 😉


What a Life

You know, I have this talent for pulling in the most annoying people on the planet. I’m not sure if it’s that I’m bored and need fodder for this blog and other writing endeavors or if I have royaly crappy luck.

And usually this talent manifests itself at work. I’ll give you three examples:

First there was know-it-all-Nora. We needed an admin assistant – a nice name really for a gopher. Somebody to do all the stupid crap that nobody else wants to do. Get my drift? So we decided to hire the daughter of a friend of mine. Though I hadn’t seen her in many years she seemed to have matured quite a bit and I was happy to give her a job. Within about 48 hours it started to become a problem.

I would ask her to write a letter. A no brainer activity since we have templates we use for various types of letters to clients and prospects. You simply plug in the name and the job into the template, print it out – print an envelope and you’re done. Well Nora didn’t like that at all. No, she felt that a different font was in order and that for some reason we needed to print the postal bar code on the envelope. And then there was the wording which she felt she could truly improve upon. No matter how many times I told her that the owner wanted things the way they were and wanted the letters done as I showed her she would not relent.

Out of frustration, I let it slide. I just rewrote the letters when she wasn’t around. I asked her to update the database. Call past clients and verify addresses, make any changes and let me know her progress on a weekly basis. Instead I discovered she was simply calling people and having nice long chats with them. The database was never done and I ended up having to verify everything she’d reported as done.

It got unbearable when she started issuing orders to me. Now, you don’t really know me but if you’ve read this blog for any length of time you probably know I wouldn’t take kindly to this sort of thing. The fit hit the shan as they say – and after lots of stupid touchy feely, let’s just all get along crap from the owners, they finally saw the light and gave Nora the boot. After a couple of weeks my jaw unclamped and harmony returned to the universe.

A few months later, our bookeeper who is a heck of a gal had a death in the family and was quite understandably overwhelmed by the loss. She gave her notice and left. We scrambled but managed to find another bookeeper who had all the markings of a damn fine replacement. Well that illusion lasted about two weeks.

One of the owners started coming to me and showing me the many emails Sylvania was sending him. She was advising him to fire employees who had worked for them for years (literally), insisting they had to join a businessmen’s association or she could no longer work for them, taking it upon herself to compose marketing letters and campaigns and basically refusing to have anything to do with the books and the keeping thereof.

She was so intimidating that the owners were scared of her and kept at me to do something with her. I of course recommended firing her, which they just couldn’t do. No they, being the bastions of bravery that they are preferred people to fire themselves. Yes, that’s the ticket. If you just let them stay on and wreak havoc with your business until they are as miserable as they have made everyone else then they will finally just leave.

I must admit, that in a way it sort of worked. Suddenly she was cutting back her hours and confiding in me that the owners were crazy. I had to agree with her but for reasons she was unaware of, like the fact that they were still signing her paychecks for example.

Suddenly the other job she managed to land wasn’t as rosey as she thought it would be and voila she increased her hours again.

She had all manner of advice for me. What I should be doing, who I should be marketing to, how I should be handling the employees and the owners and what we would have to do to put the place in order. Not to mention the fact that she had the resident carpenter in a rage over completely manufactured maniacal intent on the part of the owners.

Little did she know that the previous bookeeper was a neighbor of mine and she and I had had several talks. And I was quietly working on getting her to come back to work.

Well, finally the bosses had had enough of her when she sent them over 10 emails on the same thing. They begged me to tell them how to handle these incessant emails (now mind you, her office was but 25 steps from theirs and an email was completely unnecessary) and I told them to go and talk to her about them in person. But they were afraid.

I’ll admit Sylvania from Transylvania was creepy and had that kind of smile that made you wonder if she carried a big knife behind her back – but the two of them could have taken her.

Finally I told them that the previous bookeeper was interested in coming back to work for them. Overjoyed, they told her that they were laying her off. They volunteered to write a letter of recommendation – but she left so fast they had hardly started to compose it. With good reason, we later discovered – as she had messed up the sales tax – tax report, hadn’t recorded the income properly, had all the files mixed up (which took weeks for our returned bookeeper to sort out) and apparently had no idea to use Quick Books. How we managed to avoid bouncing checks and screwing everything up completely during her tenure, I’ll never know.

Now to our current jerk in residence. Rodney the genius. Now Rodney is a crackerjack craftsman and that’s good since that is what he was hired to do. He makes amazing models and props and works efficiently and ably. All good, right?

Not so much. Apparently Rodney has too damn much time on his hands because he is constantly making ‘suggestions’ as to what marketing should be done, how we should handle clients, and the ways in which we can drum up some business. Did I mention this is a guy who makes props and sculptures and so forth? And that he wasn’t hired to do anything administrative whatsoever? I mean I don’t know when he does all that prop making since he is constantly in my face about who, what, where and why. And he absolutely must interupt the morning meeting to ask questions that could surely wait.

But today took the cake – literally. It happened to be one of the owners birthday. I’ve worked for these guys for 2 1/2 years and we’ve become friends to say the least. I decided that I would do a little something for him and made brownies and got birthday hats, noisemakers, etc. – all silly stuff – just to make him feel good, you know? No big deal.

I let everyone know and at the prescribed time we all gathered. Well silly other boss got some very quick burning candles and they started to melt all over the brownies -so we stepped up the singing. And I told birthday boss to blow out the candles. But old Rodney screamed “No! We have to sing right first.” So they like the goofy bots that they are did. And of course the brownies were covered with wax.

Which I have to say really pissed me off. I mean, who the hell is he? This was my party, I made it, literally, I paid for it – he had no place to open his big yap about anything except to stuff some brownies in it.

You may think I’m being petty and maybe I am – but this shit really pisses me off. I mean what is it about my stupid-ass job that has people lusting after it? Surely it isn’t the fame. Definitely not the pay and from the looks of things, not the respect. So WTF is it? Do they know something I don’t know? Am I about to win the fricking lotto? Am I about to become the most famous lucky person on the planet? Is my measly, insignificant job so fricking appealing that they are staying up nights trying to think of ways to take it from me by using their exemplary intellectual and strategic skills? Or are there just a lot of pathetically insecure people who think that the grass is greener?

I’ll tell you what though…if Rodney or anybody else pulls this crap again, I’m handing them my clipboard and phone and going after their fricking job. If I screw it up, so what? They didn’t want it anyway in the first place right?


Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Given the Senator’s propensity to botched jokes – I’m thinking he doesn’t have a future at the Comedy Store. Don’t quit your day job Mr. Kerry. 😉 WC

Dear Senator Kerry…

(photo of U.S. Troops expressing their gratitude for Kerry’s recent remarks)

Dear Senator Kerry,

I wanted to thank you for your earnest statements at Pasadena City College the other day. Imagine my surprise to discover that only the lazy, non-homework-doing idiots of our society serve in the armed forces. To say I was shocked doesn’t begin to describe my amazement. And of course, it goes without saying that those of us who support these poor excuses for dna are even bigger idiots.

Now, I know you’ve been getting lots of heat for this harmless and totally true statement. And that because of that you are telling people that you were making a bad joke about President Bush. Because after all, a guy who had better grades than you, was elected to office twice, can fly a fighter jet and has kept this country safe for the last five and a half years certainly deserves to be insulted publicly.

And then there are the evil Republicans who are trying to frame you for your own words. Jeez, what’s up with those people? I mean who can believe a bunch of people who believe in God, are against killing unborn babies, expect people to be accountable for their own actions, want taxpayers to keep more of their paychecks, thwart terrorists, liberate others from tyranny, give billions of dollars to AIDS research, create the Environmental Protection Agency, end slavery and win the Cold War? How dare they not believe you when you say you didn’t mean what you said when you said it and that you now mean something completely and totally different.

Well, I for one want to applaud you. I for one, want to thank you. I for one, want to encourage to continue doing what you are doing. With any luck you will repeat the history of 2004 and lose the shooting match once again for your party.

God Bless!


My Dinner With Zelda

Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon working out some technical difficulties I was having with my blog. I became so engrossed in solving the problems that I completely forgot to eat. Well…I did manage to polish off a half a bag of cashews and a bottle of soda – but even I know that’s not really food.

So when Zelda called and said “Let’s go eat.” I was jumping into a decent set of togs and off we went. Since Zelda and I both have the bad habit of not eating when we should or sometimes eating at all, we were both nearing zero blood sugar – which made the ride to the bistro all that more exciting – so we needed to eat right away.

We opted for a neighborhood Italian place we both like and had dined at many times in the past. It’s one of those cute little places with the fake Tuscany ambience, red checked table cloths and oozes that incredible Italian aroma of cheese, garlic and fresh dough. My knees nearly buckled once we entered the place.

Happily we were taken to a table right away, given menus and quite close (we thought) to a lovely dining experience. Well the first thing we noticed was that all the waitresses had been replaced by waiters. My radar went up and I said to Zelda, “is this a waitress-free zone now?”

She wondered the same thing too but we reasoned that it looked the same and smelled the same, so again, we were in for a delightful dining experience. A pony-tailed waiter approached with a kind of phony, hi-how-are-you attitude and I just knew we were in for an experience – though not the one we wanted.

We ordered after continuous prodding by our smarmy friend. Zelda had her usual eggplant extravaganza and I ordered the chicken parmesan. Since I’m trying to reduce the size of my fat ass, I requested vegetables instead of the usual pasta. He gave me a fake smile and said, “okay but there may be an extra charge for that.”

“Really?” said I – surprised since I’d made the request before without any such charge.

“Yes, well…” he condescended, “you know that vegetables cost more than pasta.” I suppose since he didn’t know that I have 15 years experience in the food business that I would know that what he just said was a crock.

“Oh, alright,” I said – believing that if it were a significant difference he’d come back and tell me.

Then he remained out of our reach. He zipped this way and that. Took orders at other tables. Brought out food for other patrons. Yet there we sat with water and bread – but no salad. So we waited some more. And waited. And waited. Finally the salads arrived but were brought by the busboy not our waiter.

Of course, not halfway through the salad our dinners arrived. So we either let dinner get cold and finished our salads or just gave up on our salads and ate dinner while it was hot. When Zelda asked for more napkins he smirked, grabbed a stack and tossed them on the table (now crowded with our salad plates that needed to be taken away, etc.) as he rushed past us.

I asked Zelda if she was liking our little waiter friend and she surely wasn’t. The odds were stacking against him. He never came by to see how dinner was (not as good as usual – and the veggies, inedible) nor if we wanted more water, bread, drinks or well…anything.

Eventually, I got his attention and asked for a container to take the rest of my dinner home. He was annoyed but got the boxes and again tossed them onto the table. Zelda gave me the eye and we were definitely not enjoying our dinner. Our dirty plates sat on our table for about 15 minutes despite the fact that he passed our table several times, saw them and ignored them.

Finally he came by to ask if everything was okay and did we want anything else. We asked for the check. When it arrived I almost screamed. The extra charge for my inedible veggies – $5! Five fricking dollars for a half a handful of veggies. He charged me as though I was ordering ala carte.

Well that was it for me. I figured he didn’t want a tip for me but preferred to pay for my veggies instead. So, I let him. And apparently Zelda felt that he had paid for her napkins as well.

And so the charge slip was signed and totaled with no tip for our smarmy, jerk off waiter. Who apparently didn’t realize that he screwed with two women who both tip on average 25%. I’m not even sure we’ll ever go back to that eatery to be honest. I mean if I want to be harassed during dinner I can stay home. At least Roomie is happy to bus my dishes and even eat the leftovers if there are any. Plus he’ll put the dishes in the dishwasher.

So…if you’re a little, I’m-too-cute-for-words waiter and you see two women sitting in your section for dinner – you may do well to not decide they are lousy tippers and not worth your time. Or you may just have a self-fulfilling prophecy.