The Infected Papercut

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I'm done with Blogger. DONE! It's over. I'm out of here, folks.

Instead you'll just have to catch up over at the new blog. That's right: I have my own dot com now. So update your bookmarks annnnd I'll see you over there!
9/12/2005    |        |    Perma   


I'll Tell You Where You Can Put Your Policy

I'm not much of a talker around people that I don't know well or have nothing in common with, and around people that I do know well I'm usually comfortable enough to sit in silence for long periods of time. I'm a quiet person. It doesn't mean I'm depressed, angry, or need to be poked and prodded into talking.

Two things to be discussed here.

First, there's this guy I work with. We'll call him "Jacob." Because that's his name. Jacob likes to talk. There could be a robbery underway where the robbers lined all of the employees up at the front of the store and told them to shut up or they were "gonna get it."* Jacob would be the guy leaning over to whisper, "Did I ever tell you about the time I ran naked through a Walgreens? It was f'in AWESOME." or "Gwyn? What are you thinking right now? This very second. Tell me." or "Hey.. is the duct tape chafing your wrists too? Because mine are gonna need some moisturizer. I'm not even joking." And I guarantee you, just before they 'gave it to him' he would say this, "Gwyn? Why are you so quiet? Talk to me. Please?" Okay, listen. I don't care if you talk. Talk all you want! I'm listening, I promise! But for the love of all that's sacred, stop trying to make me talk as well.

And secondly, work has this policy called the "10 Second Rule." I'm supposed to acknowledge someone within 10 seconds of them coming into my field of vision. Unless I'm being mauled by wild dog, I'm supposed to execute the following steps in rapid succession:
  1. Smile
  2. Approach the customer
  3. Ask the customer how they're doing today
  4. Try to start up small-talk about the weather and the plight of the East African Lungfish
  5. Ask if I can help them find anything
  6. Escort them to the product
  7. Maintain small-talk while escorting the customer
  8. Thank them for coming to the store today
  9. Tell them to come back and see us soon
Umm.. hell no. First of all, I've got a small-talk disorder; I can't do it. It's Florida: the weather is hot and humid. It's been that way for months and if I have to update you on the situation, you're going to need more help than just finding the spaghetti sauces. As for the lungfish, they're dying. You get the gist.

I hate when other stores' employees do this to me. Hate. Hate. Hate it. Leave me alone, Bubs! I'm looking at green beans!

As a result, I've come up with my own version of the 10 Second Rule.
  1. I smile at them when I see them
  2. If they don't look thoroughly confused already, I wait for them to get close enough that I don't have to scream at them
  3. To those that don't seem lost I say, "Let me know if you need help finding anything."
  4. If it's obvious they don't know where they are or if they tell me they need help finding something, say, dried cranberries. I give them directions: "They're on Aisle 2. If you come from this end of the store**, it's not quite halfway on the right. The dried fruit is right after the canned fruit." Or something similar.
  5. If there's still a look of utter confusion, I give them a hug, tell them it'll be okay, and walk them over to the product like the store would like me to do in the first place.

* Why do robbers always have to scream that? I mean.. at least try to be creative.

** You have to emphasize "from this end of the store" (back or front of the store) otherwise they'll go to the opposite and have no idea that the direction has switched with the orientation. Usually we're talking people with 3 teeth, no shirt to their name, and twelve kids clinging to their limbs. You've almost got to tell them they're going to need to breathe while they're walking or they'll pass out before they get to Aisle 2.
9/07/2005    |        |    Perma   



I still can't seem to find the words to adequately recognize everything those in New Orleans have gone through, and the subject of anything else pales in comparison. It's a bit surreal to me because I was just there. A few months ago I was walking down Canal Street on my way to get a cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde. Now, I'm watching footage of people wading through the two feet or so of water on the same sidewalks that Anna and I walked. An electronic Red Cross donation just doesn't seem like enough to me.

We're about 160 miles from Biloxi, Mississippi, here and I've seen dozens of license plates of people driving around town from the Louisiana and Mississippi counties which were hit hardest. Right after the storm most of them were sleeping in a sort of homemade tent city on the Walmart parking. They've since been moved to a Red Cross shelter set up at at least one local church.

My Social Problems class had decided to sponsor the local Coalition for the Homeless in the day or so following the hurricane. It seems like the Coalition could definitely use the help now more than ever.
9/06/2005    |        |    Perma   


Temper Tantrums

Let's talk about Buy Blue, shall we? It's a website that lists well-known companies in a number of different industries and advertises which political party they have endorsed in past elections. The idea is assist progressives in shopping only with the companies which donated toward the Democrats or didn't donate at all.

I'm not a big fan of the idea. Why? Well.. it has a lot to do with the reason that the site was started in the first place.
Why was started?

On the morning after the 2004 election, half of the country woke up in disbelief and disgust. Shortly afterwards it turned to anger and bitterness and many were entertaining moving to another country. It didn't take long for all of us to collectively realize that we had lost our country to the other side and we wanted, no needed to do something about it. It was at that moment that the original idea for was born.
It's a genius marketing plan, to be sure. I was definitely in the mass of people that were pissed off and looking for something to do to exact a sort of revenge for losing. Buying blue sounded like an awesome idea, but now that I've had the past few months to cool off and reflect I'm not nearly as angry.

Just because a company gave money to Bush doesn't make them any more evil than a company that gave money to Kerry. The problem is that they're paying off politicians, period.

Starbucks is "blue" company. Does that mean they're a good company? No. Levis may pay Democratic candidates, but it doesn't change the fact that they stopped producing jeans in the US. Last I checked they closed their last two plants here in 2004. So much for being better than the other side. At the same time, Publix is a company that pays out primarily to conservative candidates. It's hard to talk bad about the company when you consider how well it treats its employees (especially compared to Walmart) and how it supports most community projects.

It's just irritating to see that the side that's supposed to be about being fair to everyone turn something into a matter of black & white, right and wrong, and politics where there should be none.

This isn't Star Wars. There is no dark side. If you think that companies shouldn't be putting money in Bush's pockets the thing to do is to get behind campaign finance reform instead of exacerbating the problem.
8/31/2005    |        |    Perma   


74 Years to Go

Two Academics from the University of Pennsylvania have created a mortality calculator. My results prove with cruel irony that the more boring your life is the longer you'll be around to drudge through it. As long as they develop dentures that function through Twerpz consumption I'll have no complaints.
Life Expectancy Results
Life Expectancy: 94.31
Lower Quartile : 87.96
Median Lifetime: 96.43
Upper Quartile : 103.90
103 years old!? I'm happy to learn that I'm in no rush, but I think I'll pass on reaching the century mark.
8/29/2005    |        |    Perma   



My last class of the day was canceled, I figured out how to trick the wifi monkey, and my sorethroat is gone! It's gonna be a good day.

Friday Random Ten - Mellow with a pinch of Spastic
  1. The First Single (Cause a Scene) - The Format
  2. It's a Hit - Rilo Kiley
  3. Trouble Sleeping - The Perishers
  4. Move On - Mike Doughty
  5. I'd Rather Dance With You - Kings of Convenience
  6. Breakin' - The Music
  7. Shuffle Your Feet - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
  8. The Cactus That Found the Beat - Missy Higgins
  9. Maybe Tomorrow - Stereophonics
  10. Built for Speed - American Hi-Fi
8/26/2005    |        |    Perma   



It seems the college library has wifi. I sat down at a laptop table, reached for the cord resting next to the subtle "LAPTOP PORT ACTIVE" sign, and before I could plug it in AirPort screamed to life. "Do you want to join the wireless network 'library'?" Well.. of course! I clicked the appropriate button and I've been going crazy ever since. It's 4 bars one second, 1 bar the next, 2 bars, and then it's dead. It doesn't like Google or the college homepage, and it's showing particular dislike towards Dooce's daily photo link. I've come to the conclusion that the college couldn't afford a hi-tech wifi system, so they've strapped a cheap one onto the back of a monkey whom they've paid to run back and forth on the roof all day.

So to anyone else visiting the O'Dub library, I'll probably be the dork walking around with laptop on her arm, freezing every time the bars jump.
8/25/2005    |        |    Perma