Monday, May 27, 2013

I thought the bazinga was implied

Sometimes the way people think really makes me laugh.

A while ago, while I was on the train back from Virginia actually (a trip I fondly documented on this blog), I submitted an application in response to an advertisement to 'work graduation' at the university I attend. I assumed this meant that I would work during graduation weekend doing things like setting up, handing out programs, etc, etc. I also foolishly assumed that this would all be coordinated by experienced adults.

As I wandered through the somewhat extensive application process, I learned that jobs would span what I expected, as well as babysitting, "camp" counseling, van driving, and preparation as far as a week in advance of graduation. Pretty much everything but installing the kitchen sink. I was a little weary of being seen by certain graduating assholes working like a dog, but I reflected that I'm a working girl and need all the help I can get.

It was only after I applied that I learned that my normal pay rate for hourly tasks (minimum wage + $2) would not be honored. Also I would have to work at least 15 hours, or face a penalty that the interns hinted was worse than death.

Oh yeah, the interns. Who ARE the interns? What are they interning for? I'm still not sure. All of the emails I was sent in reference to the job were signed "The Interns." That's when it dawned on me that my bosses were a group of undergrads not even responsible or professional enough to add their individual emails to the end of their messages.

The fun continued when I received an email stating that my information had not been filed with HR and that I could not be paid if I did not file it ASAP. This seemed someone suspicious to me, since I've been issued a stipend from the university for the past... five years. When I called HR they reported that everything was in order, and that it was probably a mass email listing all the other  recipients as bccs. Which is probably true since I received still another similar email two days later, and when I sent a message pointing out that this was probably a mistake, I got no response. Of course. "The Interns" were probably busy.

Maybe I missed something along the way. But I was surprised when I started getting emails for job requests during the week of finals. Now, it's not really written anywhere, but I treat my job as a full-time endeavor. It's true that I'm flexible in my hours and that no one really minds if I don't have classes and come in and work the afternoon and evening instead of the morning and afternoon. Sometimes I'll take a walk downtown for an extra-long lunch. But I don't generally leave lab for six hours to work another job. So I declined to take those jobs. I was ok with working the shifts that I'd get for the actual weekend. Or so I thought...

The plan was to have a short orientation the Wednesday before graduation and give out the shifts that everyone had been assigned through the thoughtful planning of The Interns. I had stated in my application that I would be away at a conference during this time, but The Interns assured me that this would be fine.

Again, I might have missed something. But the week between finals and the orientation was rife with emails from The Interns asking for help. I knew that they required undergrads to work 15 hours minimum in exchange for providing them with housing, but I also informed them on my application that I live off campus and don't need housing. I guess the key was that they totally ignored this fact, and since they were deducting hours from the other workers' quota for their work pre-graduation, they felt that they needed to smash my hours into the weekend. Smash. That's the only word I can think of to describe it.

I might add that no one even emailed me my hours, or sent me any of the information that I missed during orientation (even though it was REQUIRED), until I asked, but at this point that just sounds redundant. When I finally did ask, I was informed that I would be a camp counselor (without any instruction, mind you) from 4 pm to midnight on Friday. And then, lucky me, from 8:45 the next morning until 4pm.

Again, I might be missing something, but it seems less and less likely. Why would you assign someone all of their hours in a single block? Isn't it a little excessive to ask someone to care for a camp-full of children for 16 hours in a 24 hour period (the real irony on this point is that there was a question on the application specifically designed to determine one's qualification as a counselo- but how much does this matter when you're working all those hours in a row)??

I freaked out, calmed down, freaked out, and calmed down again. After Tuesday afternoon I had started getting emails from other workers asking to switch shifts. At this point, I was still away, and was sifting through dozens of emails on my phone. I got thirty emails the first day.

Finally I found someone who was looking for time on Sat and giving away a shift on Sunday. Ah, that's more reasonable, right? I knew all this would work out. I emailed the girl and she said she would inform The Interns ASAP. After almost a full day, The Interns responded.

Turns out that I wasn't allowed to switch with a non-camp counselor, not because The Interns wanted to make sure that everyone taking care of the alumni's precious children was responsible, but because there was a special list of camp counselors' emails in a secret place that the parents could access and use to find babysitters. Finally, in response to my request that an exception be made, with the promise that I wouldn't take any babysitting jobs that weekend, The Interns responded that it would be inconvenient (yes, that was the actual word they used. Inconveninent. @Q$#@@##$$$).

So for the first time ever, I quit a job. And without ever even having worked a single minute! In my resignation email, I pointed out that the entire endeavor had been very different than what I had expected, and hinted that it just MIGHT be a little more organized if everyone weren't simply assigned a random shift. (After all was said and done, I got about 90 emails asking for shift switches. There were only 120 people on the listserv.) Notably, the interns The Interns informed me that this was the only reasonable way for them to assign shifts to so many people. Which totally makes sense, because they use the same system to assign seats to people who buy tickets to concerts, and to assign campus housing to college students, and even work shifts in the real world. Oh wait...

I have no idea what they ended up doing to cover my shift. I didn't really pay attention to the emails from that listserv after that point, but I don't think there was one asking to cover my shifts. Instead, they were probably just one camp counselor short. Which isn't like a big deal or anything, and is definitely more convenient than editing some emails on a list somewhere.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Defend the earth

Yesterday when I was outside spraying the mosquito nymphs with windex (their wings get wet and plastered to the walls and they die lowly bug deaths on the outdated vinyl siding), I detected a chilling shape out of the corner of my eye. I would know that creature anywhere.A chill ran down my spine as I whipped around, realizing that my fears were true, and one of the world's most despicable insects clung to the wall, plotting and brooding, only a few feet away. This was the vile, decrepit, hairy creature know as....the house centipede.

It was just hanging out on the wall in the shadows, gross and eerie and with its grossly long and uneccessarily numerous legs. Probably waiting for an opening to jump on me and cause me to have an anyerism.

My first encounter with a house centipede was while in a study session for organic chemistry. It crawled across the rug at such lighting speed that it made my skin crawl. The fact that my first encounter with this creature is forever linked with organic chemistry forever curses it in my opinion (and vice versa, I suppose).
Later in life, I occupied an apartment that was also occupied by countless stealthy house centipedes. (Needless to say, this was the first and last time that I rented housing from my graduate institution.) At first they only came out from under the rug when I vacuumed, but as my first year in grad school wore on (and on, and on) they became bolder, coming out and sticking on the walls just for their own amusement at my panicked horror. I remember one night having already taken my contacts out, subsequently rendering me effectively blind, and seeing a shadow on the wall just the right size and shape.... when I alerted my then-boyfriend of the pest, he knowingly denied that's what it was, just because he knew he'd never be able to catch it and thus there would be no consoling me.

I'm not this creeped out by all bugs. I don't mind bees, or spiders (I know they're not INSECTS but 'bugs' is a less specific, more colloquial term and so I hold to it). House centipedes are just so darn FAST, plus they move like something out of a horror movie. Actually they're somehow reminiscent of the gross alien bug in the first Men in Black. Do-gooders have told me that these monstrosities are good and hunt and kill other bugs, but unless they're taking on and munching on, say, child pornographers, I don't think its worth having them around.

I've surmised that this demon does not lay eggs, but that adults instead ascend directly from the fires of hell. Not only is the house centipede abnormally large for an insect living in a temperate climate, its extremely resilient and is known to survive uo to five minutes of frenzied stomping. Although entomologists inform ne that this many-segmented creature is harmless, I'm understandably distrustful of entomologists and suspect that house centipedes not only have poisonous bites, but also heat seeking missiles (how else would they catch and kill all these bugs they allegedly eat??)

On that fateful night when I came eye to eye with the beast, I mustered my confidence and my window cleaned and sprayed the bejeesus out of it. Unlike the forsaken mosquitoes, the centipedes was unhurt and merely fell off the wall in fright. I was unwilling to stomp it as it lay curled on the porch, lest it have its fangs ready, but I sprayed it several more times, and with trepidation, went inside. The next morning, the bug was gone, leaving behind only a memory and the faint scent of Windex cleaner. But I know it's out there somewhere, watching, and plotting its revenge.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Star Trek

OMG. Star Trek: Into Darkness was sooooo awesome. I only had two problems with it.

1- Why is it still acceptable in our society that James Kirk have a threesome with two alien women when it would be unacceptable for a woman protagonist to have a threesome with two alien men?

2- Klingons are supposed to smell. No one complained about the Klingon's smells!

Over and out.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Proof

Using theorem method I learned in high school geometry, I will prove here that gummy bears are a non-caloric substance.

First, we must know what Gummy bears are made of.

1. Transparency is an inherent trait of Gummy Bears.
2. Candles are transparent when a light is shined through them.
3. Candles are made of wax.
4. Therefore, Gummy bears are made of wax.

We now know the composition of Gummy bears. Next we will determine the body's reaction to them.

1. The human body is made of muscle, bone, hair, blood, eyeball fluid, gratuitously fat cells, and some vomit.
2. The human body rejects materials it cannot use to add to its composition.
3. The human body rejects wax.
4. Gummy bears are made of wax, and therefore humans cannot incorporate them into their bodies as fat.

I hope this gives many of you the mental freedom you need to consume mass quantities of Gummy bears.

Special thanks to JW for her inspiration for this procrastination post.

Monday, May 6, 2013

One for all and..

If it takes a village, then why is everyone afraid to take a risk for a friend?

"It wasn't my place."

"I thought they knew."

"Nothing I did would have made a difference."

I'm lucky that my closest friends tell me the truth. They criticize, they question, and they disagree. Those aren't things that are characteristic of most friendships portrayed in the media and are often criticized as being selfish and unkind.

But the most caring thing a friend can do it be honest. It doesn't mean being unkind. I value a compliment from a friend who's honest because I know they mean it. And just because a friend disagrees with you doesn't mean that you have to follow their advice; but it does give you something to mull over.

I've experienced examples of well-intentioned dishonesty in various forms. I've seen people honestly criticize a peer's presentation in private and make a point to praise them in person. I've had people lie about liking foods and then make awkward excuses for not eating when I serve them (gosh, if you don't like the cookies then don't eat them- all the more for me!). Recently I went on a date with a man who was significantly less attractive than his profile photo (which, I discovered, was taken by his publicist), which is a dishonesty which was obviously going to be uncovered. (My friend's comment on this: "What do these people think? That you're going to go on the date and say, 'Wow, I was really nervous since you're so good looking in your photo, so I'm really glad that in person you're not that attractive'? Come on!")

Have you ever let your interactions with a person be influenced by positive things you heard from a friend? Maybe you put trust in someone before knowing them well enough or asked them for a favor because of "good reviews" passed on by someone else. I've experienced this and been burned as a result. I take responsibility for my decisions and wouldn't blame them on someone else, but it's pretty frustrating when, after a bad experience with a third party, the person who gave you the false endorsement in the first place admits they had the same problem with the person. At that point you have to wonder if the endorser is really trying to be polite or if they're just saying nice things about everyone to stay in everyone's good graces- ie, looking out only for themselves.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to place the blame on others. On the contrary, I think that we should all step up and take a little responsibility by sticking to the truth, even when there might not be anything in it for us.

Portrait of a cat burrowing under her blanket:

A series.

No cats were harmed in the making of this post. was spoiled, though.

posted from Bloggeroid