Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Song of the Day: "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Garrick ... here's one for you. Wow ... poor dental hygine and creepy clown all in one photo. Good times!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Song of the Day: "Running Down A Dream" by Tom Petty

To be honest, I had a whole host of songs to choose from to properly convey my emotional state right now. A sampling:

"I Don't Want To Drive 55" by Sammy Haggar
"Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benetar
"Crash (Into Me)" by the Dave Matthews Band
"Another Hit & Run" by Def Leppard

So ... there I was, minding my own business, driving down scenic Briar Forest Road in Houston on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Houston, thanks to local businessman Jim "Mattress Mac" McIngvale, hosts the ATP Men's Clay Court Championships tennis tournament. Bajillions of well-heeled Houstonians drive over, park their cars all higgledy-piggledy in pay-for-the-day parking lots, and enjoy such luminaries as 2006 Champion Mardy Fish, Janko Tipsarevic, Luis Horna and Ivo Minar who show up to battle it out on the red clay of Houston's 17th best public tennis courts. But I digress ...

What this is really about is not tennis but the dangers of drinking and tennis. Friends don't let friends drink and serve-and-volley.

If one were driving past the tennis courts, they'd see an orange-cone marked crossing had been established across the divided four-lane road for people to safely pass from the tennis complex to the main parking lot. Pedestrians would cross two westbound lanes, wait on the concrete median, and then proceed to the other side once traffic was clear.

Note the lack of a mention of safety personnel.

As I was approximately 200ft. from this crosswalk, a woman had just made it to the median at a casual pace. She was resplendant in a tropical print outfit wearing enough bling to blind even Jay-Z and Nelly.

As I was approximately 125 ft. from this crosswalk, she sprinted as fast as a late-forties socialites can (which isn't very fucking fast, mind you) across my two lanes of traffic.

Being the multi-tasker that I am, I simultaneously cursed, honked my horn in a sustained burst and slammed on my brakes (thank you Ford engineers for your working ABS system!) and even had time to pray not just to the Judeo-Christian deity but to Buddha, Lao-Tse, Bill Gates and Zathrustra. Good times.

I had slowed to approximately two miles per hour (screw you and your Newtonian physics!) by the time I crossed the crosswalk ... and she ran face first into my driver's side window, her elbow slapping at my driver's side mirror as she fell in a boneless heap onto the macadam of Briar Forest Rd.

Oh yes ... good times.

Already, no less than seven bystanders (hereafter known as "witnesses") helped her to her feet and assisted her as she staggered over to a handy lawn chair being used by the parking lot superindentant. After moving my truck into a parking lot, and hearing her scream for an ambulance, her attorney so my ass could be well and properly sued, and police to cart me off for running her down in cold blood, I noticed four distinct things:

1. Her only visible trauma was a scratch on her knee that appeared to have been made by a kitten.
2. The keys to a nearby Lexus LX470 (a $65k sport utility vehicle) clutched in her hand.
3. A pronounced slur to her voice and glassy eyes.
4. The unmistakable scent of some of the finest products of local breweries.

One by one, the witnesses began to chuckle as she railed against my callous disregard for human life. At this point I was still completely freaked out ... "oh crap, going to jail, cellmate will be a psycho, I'll hear something about pretty lips ... oh crap" ... and waiting for the police and paramedics to show up.

Now, the woman had steadfastly DEMANDED medical care. Upon arrival, I quietly asked the paramedic to gather information about her perceived sobriety. He chuckled and began to examine her. After a very thorough 20 seconds she loudly and repeatedly began to assert her lack of desire for treatment and/or transport to the nearest medical facility.

Enter the 5-0. Two of Houston's finest appeared on the scene and began to assert order. After being asked if I was the man who "hit" the "victim", I again asked for the officers to perform a field sobriety test upon her. After speaking with the paramedics, and talking to the woman for roughly 15 seconds about how much she'd had to drink (one beer, by her estimation), handcuffs were whipped out ...

I nearly soiled myself ...

and they slapped them on this obviously drunk tennis aficionado and asked her to come quietly, repeatedly explaining that she represented a serious threat to herself and to others. She began to protest and their laughter didn't do much to calm the situation. Finally, one of the parking lot attendants called her husband on her behalf so he could pick up her Lexus and she went quietly (or at least less loudly) to the back of the squad car.

Now, it was easily 80 degrees on a bright sunny day. The excitement of the day, her "one" beer, and being handcuffed in the backseat of a car (which I only do on special occasions!) as thousands of curious tennis tournament patrons file by to their own cars ... well, the excitement much have gotten to her.

Because she vomited. A lot. I think she had hot dogs for lunch. And "one" beer.

Needless to say, the officers were not amused.

Enter the next actor in our little drama: the woman's husband arrives on scene. He begins demanding my arrest and execution (though not necessarily in that order) ... until he spies his wife covered in her liquid lunch, nearly passed out in the back of an HPD squad car, mumbling to herself in a voice understandable only by Dean Martin, Ulysses S. Grant, and the denizens of parties in Dublin on March 17th. Following this epiphany, he refuses to look me in the eye from then on, speaks quietly with the officers about the prospects of getting her out of jail before Easter Sunday, and quietly packs up her belongings and leaves ... with his wife still in the back of the squad car ... still smelling of Bud Light and Oscar Meyer.

After 90 minutes or so, the paperwork done, the threat of litigation still in the air (as was her most malodorous gift in the back of the squad car), and four bottles of Gatorade provided to me by the parking lot staff who repeatedly assured me that it wasn't my fault, I got to leave this place ... and head to the office.

A woman ran into my truck. With her head. She survived a collision with a Ford F150 with little more than a single scratch. The paramedic noted that she was lucky to be so drunk because she fell to the asphalt without injury.

My vehicle and I are safe and sound, the drunken socialite is relatively safe and sound (unless jail really is like all those Cinemax movies starring Shannon Tweed ... then she might have a little chaffing) ... and I still have to worry about being sued.

Holy shit. Seriously.

Remember ... the next time you have a beer at a tennis tournament ... look both ways before you cross the street.

Then, stop ... drop ... and roll.

And always play it safe around powerlines.

And never take candy from strangers.

Not good times ...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Song of the Day: "All You Zombies" by The Hooters

Zombies shall be the theme of the day ... since I feel like the walking dead. I spent all last night working ... and working ... and eating inexpensively delicious Chinese food. Ah, General Tso ... I sleep better every night knowing that your existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible, saves lives. I want you on that wall ... I NEED YOU ON THAT WALL. YOU'RE GODDAMNED RIGHT GENERAL TSO ORDERED THE CODE RED!!!

Sorry, I digress.

So, anywho, I am massively tired. Did my duty to my company. Observed a gaggle of students deliver speeches which, luckily, weren't too shabby. Then, went on home to start working again.

And I find myself asking this question: why?

The nature of work is to make sufficient funds to cover one's debts and to enjoy life. John Locke wrote that we have the inalienable right to life, liberty and property which Thomas Jefferson, being oh so cutting edge, amended property to mean "pursuit of happiness" (which, being a wealthy landowner, he had the luxury of making the delination).

That being said, at what point does the pursuit of success actually retard these pursuits. All work and no play makes Joe, God of Marketing Communications, a dull boy.

Studies have demonstrated for years that employees who balance home life and work life are more productive. So why can't I achieve that balance?

At some point, my work will begin to suffer (if it hasn't already) and that will inhibit my utility as an employee. If that proceeds too far, I will be terminated. Thus, my inalienable rights are jeopardized by my pursuit of the vehicle to achieve those rights.

Holy Conundrum, Batman.

Maybe I should have just gone to law school. You don't really need a soul to survive.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Song of the Day: "Spies Like Us" by Paul McCartney

I'm feeling subversive today, hence the "Spies Like Us" reference. So another weekend wasted, more to go. The printing rep is on site today. All the things he promised us (digital photos, tagging of item numbers to automatically generate real time numeric indexing, etc.) have gone undone. And now it is my job.

But all is well ... becuase I've been given three of our non-English speaking warehouse workers to help me with the task. By teaching them to use Adobe software ... in two days ... and installing said software (illegally) on multiple machines ... so they can operate independently ... by helping build an exhaustive index for a 550 page catalog ... all through the cunning use of the Cntl+Y command!

Behold, I am Joe, God of Marketing Communications! Revel in the shimmering glow of my framed Masters Degree! Kneel before Joe!

I teach college students as an adjunct. It is fun, it is therapuetic, it is moderately interesting, it pays almost nothing (but still better than nothing). So I'm used to instructing others. But these ad hoc catalog folks look at me as if to say, "Pour quoi?". Acutally, they don't speak French ... but if they did, that is what they'd say ... and since I don't speak Spanish that is all you're getting. Get off my back, they're both Latin root languages ... so bite me.

But, seriously, this is a new challenge, one that makes no logical sense from any perspective. Now I know why the Minutemen are so damned cranky.

I'm not racist. I'm not elitist (okay, that is a damned lie). But if you are going to cede staff to a project should they at least know that a mouse isn't necessarily something that cats eat? Now, not only do I have to keep up with my work, I have to supervise a poorly trained, poorly selected group of individuals who quite literally don't understand what the outcome of their work should be.

So, how does this whole morass of idiocy (mine included) result in subversive behavior on my part? I trained these folks for an hour, spent another installing illegal copies of software. I then spent two hours applying for other jobs. I spent one hour setting my fantasy golf teams up for the Masters.

And I changed the setting on the thermostat for the CEO's office. Burn, baby, burn! Kneel before Joe!

I'm so money ...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Song of the Day: "Can You Hear Me Running" by Mike + The Mechanics

I've just discovered that I will be asked, via voicemail, for the fifth consecutive weekend, to spend my days off quite literally living in my office so that a 550 page catalog can go to press two weeks early. When it isn't ready. Not by a long shot.

The CEO of this fine organization has bought himself a woman (imported, not domestic) and intends to spend as much time with it as he can. Bully for him.

Yet the net loss is not his time but mine, as I will spend roughly 30 hours over Saturday and Sunday trapped in a windowless hell attempting to proofread Spanish translations (and I am monolingual), take digital photographs (using technology that would make George Eastman disgusted) and fighting the urge (unsuccessfully) to make everyone else conned into coming in as miserable as I will be.

Sadly, the whole "life, libery and property" thing promised to me by our Founding Fathers and the Englightenment philosophers apparently doesn't apply to Marketing Communication Gods like myself.

Woe is me.

Maybe I'll just make long distance calls all weekend on the company dime. Or go randomly rearrange the files in the Credit Department. Or drive the floor sweeper machine around the warehouse recklessly.

Or, most likely I'll be spending the time shackled to my Windows 98SE supercomputer trying to keep Adobe Pagemaker from crashing, still trying to sublimate my aesthetic sensibilities over this trainwreck of a catalog and ask myself:

WWJD ... What Would Joe Do?

The magic of that statement shall set me free. After 30 hours. With no television. Or hot food. Or sleep. After I realize that "Joe" would likely be doing the same thing, and thereby coming to grips with what could well be latent MPD, I'll be fine. And maybe I'll splurge and have a smoothie.

Sigh ...

Stupid evil puppets ...

Not really a rant ... more of an observation. Not that I encounter evil puppets on a daily basis. Unless my coworkers count.

So I'm using this as online therapy, trying to vent frustration before I go all postal and start lobbing Liquid Paper grenades at the people I work with. I love the smell of Liquid Paper in the morning. And the sound of purchasing agents and customer service representatives screaming in mild agony as the white liquid slowly glues their eyes shut, effectively eliminating the errors that make up their petty little lives. It truly is "correction fluid" since I'm simply choosing to enforce natural selection. I consider it my divine right.

Because I am Joe, God of Marketing Communications.

Beware my wrath or I shall smite you. With venemous press releases. And a memo that requires you to fill out forms. Or ... god forbid ... a survey.

I've become determined to do two things during my regular work day: use no less than 50% of my time to seek other employment via the Interweb that is actually intellectually and spiritually rewarding (or just lucrative ... I'm little more than a common whore at this point) and second ... to use the other 50% of the time hiding in the server room, unused offices, under unused furniture ... possibly the bathroom depending on my biological needs.

"Will Market For Food". Ahh, good times.