Category: Office

Weekend Links: Quarantine Week Two

Hi there, kittens. Here’s you weekly batch of goodness, take some time to rest today if you can. Let’s all meet back here tomorrow for a proper catch up, eh? Love you all, truly.

Respect the bean!

How NOT to be an ass in the time of COVID-19.

Beware wildlife #fakenews.

Surely these people have assistants who will take their phones away!

Here’s a way to “go outside” even if you’re not able to at the moment – responsible social distancing, people!

At a loss of what to cook? Bon Appetit is here to help.

OH LOOK, MORE PROOF THAT WE CAN HAVE AN EFFECT IF WE PUT OUR MINDS TO IT. I’ll be the first to admit that the petri dish is not exactly ideal, but as a forced experiment it is telling.

For me, the idea that my role in this situation largely consists of staying home as much as possible seems on its face to be egregiously fortunate…And more than simply being a luxury, it’s more than that: It’s a duty.”

In case you’re in need of a disco-y bop, Childish Gambino has got you.

SOLIDARITY.

More solidarity. This is going to get worse before it gets better.

As for the rest of you, stop doing brand adjustments and start paying people living wages with sick benefits.

The left gets accused (sometimes rightly) of virtue signalling, but we need to have a real investigation into the defiance signalling of the right. Whether it’s guns, anti-science or any other thing, the fact that we have allowed one of these things (an over abundance of caution or self righteousness to the point of ridiculousness) to be seen as equivalent evil to its counterpart (an overabundance of contempt to the point of public endangerment) is ludicrous. One of these things is annoying. The other is dangerous.

We stan a maximalist queen.

Never have we all been so obsessed with hand sanitizer, and Vanity Fair knows what #content we want right now.

How do we just lose stuff like this, part five million of a continuing series… (ETA: part five million and one)

Ah yes, Leyendecker and his impossibly beautiful men. We heteros aren’t immune.

I would very much like to be a part of this trend.

Meanwhile, in Britain

Weekend Links: A Bad Week

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” 
― Benjamin Franklin

Guys, it’s been a bad week.

Patriarchy and just plain bad faith and political machinations have struck a victory this week in the US Supreme Court. The last remaining bastion of the US political system that could at least claim a veneer of being apolitical has lost that veneer in this week, and we are all the worse off for it. This wasn’t an appointment process, it was a political campaign of a political operative. And it worked.

The Trumpification of the Republican party is complete and they have solidified their power in shockingly short time. This is, I believe, the 4th Justice nominated by a president who has not won the popular vote. In partisan times where we are increasingly defaulting to scorched earth politics and tirbalism, I think it’s not unreasonable to feel that this could lead to some kind of crisis of legitimacy for the court. The executive is currently unchecked, the legislative branch is out to lunch, and the legitimacy of the courts could fall into question. That feels an awful lot like a constitutional crisis.

Meanwhile, in personal news, our bedroom ceiling collapsed last night. This, after a long week of work, has been something of a final straw to my sanity and I’m logging off this weekend to deal with the subsequent cascading problems and issues required to deal with this scenario. Good luck out there, kittens, and be kind to other people.

IT BEGINS.

How great is this townhouse?!

So…the Kavanaugh investigation was an ass covering sham. Shock. Surprise. This is after the President mocked Dr. Ford at one of his rallies, which is cruel and tasteless in the extreme. Again, shock. Surprise.

Senator Susan Collins was the deciding supporter. A Crowdpac is already raising funds for her eventual seat challenger in response.

Speaking of cruel. What purpose does this serve except to be awful?

Count me among the many who cocked her head to the side at the new creative direction of the Celine brand, and said “WUT.”

Who gets to be a “good” refugee?

Whoa. I feel a bit better about my beauty habits now, but still…whoa. The statistic that Britons spend nearly £4,500 on average doesn’t actually surprise me anymore, even though I’m grateful to say I’m nowhere near that amount. I had a conversation in the last month with a bunch of women who it turns out spend just as much money as I do, but in different ways. Most of the women I know get haircuts more regularly than me, they self tan, get regular manicures. Some wax,  some get semi-permanent services like eyelash or hair extensions, some get fillers, some do absolutely none of the above. But however way you slice it, whether it’s products or procedures, it’s frighteningly easy to overspend in this category and it’s clear to me that as a society, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Caitlin Flanagan hits it out of the park again, with Henry V references, an examination of the 1980s, and how Dr. Ford’s story may have gone differently in a different age. And yet for all that… “But, for what it’s worth—probably nothing—more and more outside observers are starting to believe Ford. And more and more of Kavanaugh’s supporters are starting to move to the quiet position that he might have attacked her, but that he should not pay a price for it…

Give Indonesia a break, Mother Nature! Here are a few ways to help the victims.

Toxic masculinity is not new, not by a long shot, but this particular moment seems to have been building for a long time. This article traces some key roots to MTV’s Pick Up Artist, and the connection makes more sense than I thought when I first heard about the piece.

Reminder there are STILL children in camps and cages.

I am already on the library waitlist for Rebecca Traister’s latest book which explores female anger as a catalyst for change. This interview got me even more hyped up! This other Vox piece really spoke to me. Yes women are angry. But it would be an error to mistake that for being confused or flailing. Women’s anger is often considered a private matter, but it’s becoming permanently public.

A member of the Mormon Feminist Blogger and Literati Set wrote a powerful, personal post this week about the confluence of our shared religious heritage with the current cultural moment. It hit me RIGHT in the feelings… “The weirdest thing about writing is that I am so conditioned to not believe women, that even I don’t believe myself when I write my own stories….We don’t like to talk about those things. Nobody does–even though every single family has them. I absolutely do not blame the women of my blood for their trauma, but I do bitterly denounce them for letting white male supremacy pass on–like a genetic trait, blue eyes or impossible hair–to their children, as if it was their destiny. ”

The New York Times published a year long investigation into the realities of the Trump family’s money. It is a fascinating read and, were we living in normal times, should probably prompt investigations or at the very least calls from Congress for the president to release transparent financial information. I’ve written before about how working in a certain level of the property industry for several years made me much more aware of the shades of gray that the wealth of this world moves through–the shady but often technically legal practices and loopholes that exist and are used by interested parties to shield their money. I wasn’t at all surprised to read about the streams of income that Fred Trump used to channel wealth to his children, nor am I at all surprised to read that President Trump has probably lied about that money flow over the years. And I will not be surprised if there are next to no consequences or actions taken as a result of this reporting, I’m very sorry to say.

In purely trivial news, the Duchess of Sussex stepped out in a look that is Extremely My Aesthetic (right down to the Gabrielle Hearst bag that I loved and secretly longed for for years and can NEVER afford). The Fug Girls are on the case!

I’m not the first to make this observation, but can you imagine the political right’s reaction if President Obama had this capability? The conspiracy theories and comparison to 1984 would have been through the roof. In related news, never have I been as glad to not have a US mobile phone!

Banksy did his usual thing.

And finally, fuck right off, Senator.

Wild Woman (Kind of.)

If you have a job without any aggravations, you don’t have a job.
~Malcolm S. Forbes

Uh oh.  My time at the PD is winding down and my inhibitions are loosening their grip on me.  Either that or the early hours are already affecting me…

A patron came in to contest a ticket, and I went out of my way to try and help him craft an appeal, at his request.  I even directed him towards some student groups that are working to change the policy if he wanted to voice his views more broadly.  While answering his questions as best I could this 18 year old kid seemed to decide to make me the focal point of his frustrations.  He gave me a lecture on the subject of university policy, call me dumb, and interrupted and snapped at me several times.  Even the front desk officer was taken aback by this young man.  I really hate patrons like this, but I kept it together.  Until…

He asked what tone he should strike in his appeal, and I recommended, “Well, I understand you’re angry but I wouldn’t be argumentative with the appeals officer about the policy, just lay out your facts as to why this ticket is undeserved.   ”
“Of course I’m not going to talk to him the way I’m talking to you,” he said and rolled his eyes with a terrific sound of disgust.  That brief hacking sort of noise teenagers make when you do something “lame.”

My eyebrow shot up.  “Then why are you talking to me this way?  Why is it appropriate for you to be rude to me, especially since I’ve been trying to help you get out of paying a ticket, but not him?  Frankly I don’t appreciate that. ”
His eyes stretched and he sort of mumbled something before he grabbed the map of campus (I’d provided) and marched off without another word.  The desk officer gave me a discreet thumbs up.

I’m not proud, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a brief rush of satisfaction!  I may turn over a bale of paper next, or run barefoot through the office.  The Revolution has arrived!  But you know, a sensible sort of one.  Properly managed and not too violent, we don’t want to make a fuss.

Memory, All Alone In the Moonlight…

“Every man’s memory is his private literature.”
~Aldous Huxley

Yesterday was a weird day in the office.  Months will go by without incident and then, suddenly, after a series of unfortunate events, a person runs out the doors screaming and hotly pursued by various officers.  It happens.

After the fireworks show yesterday, everyone who watched it go down was asked to submit a witness statement and as I composed mine, I was a bit disconcerted to realize that piecing together events in their proper order (not an hour after they originally happened) was difficult!  I spent nearly a full minute trying to remember if I called someone on the phone or went back to their office to talk to them in person.  I had a great general view of what had happened and could probably tell several good stories from it, but when it came to putting down just the facts, in strict chronological order, every possible detail that I could remember included – I struggled.

An acquaintance told me a story along the same lines a couple weekends ago, about how one of her cousins bore a hatred for a another cousin from childhood.  Cousin number three flat out refused to have anything to do with cousin number two until confronted about it one day in their late teens or early twenties when an explanation was demanded.  Cousin three said that she hated cousin two because when they were very small, two had locked three in a closet.  After a moment of stunned silence, cousin two exploded, “My sister locked both of us in the closet, you idiot!  I was trapped in there with you!”

A near twenty year hatred based on a false memory.  Three remembered the terror of being locked in the dark, and remembered that two had been there, but time (and possible trauma, I suppose) had warped her from co-victim to perpetrator.

The process of trying to tell a story and struggling so much with it had got me thinking: what exactly is floating around in my head that’s either or gross misrepresentation or a flat out lie?

My family, though close and pretty impressive, have had our share of issues to muddle through, several of which hit their peak during my early childhood.  As a result I carried a lot of bad memories into adolescence (where everything is hormonally magnified anyway), but as an adult and in a healthier place personally, my grip on those bad memories has lessened and my good ones are more evenly mixed in.  I’m not sure if this is the result of reality reasserting itself, or if the hard times don’t define me so much anymore and thus are less critical to my sense of self and so have been shoved onto a back burner somewhere.  Maybe both.

Or maybe I just don’t remember things very well.  I honestly don’t think of my childhood too much, unless someone brings up the topic and even then I find I’m embarrassed at how little I can recall.  I have to concentrate hard to pull up things I haven’t thought of in years, and even favorite memories are surprisingly full of holes.  This bodes not well for my twilight years, darlings…

In any case, I now have a renewed respect for my officer coworkers who have to pour through untold numbers of these usually sloppy, often badly spelled, and (as I can now probably personally vouch) less than reliable witness statements.  People’s memory banks are messy places to work!

Are You There, God? It’s Me, C.

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
― Albert Einstein

Minions?  Are you still reeling from that happiness bomb that J. dropped on us collectively?  Is your soul still singing with glee?  Are visions of crumpets and home dancing in your heads?  No…just me?   Well, thrills happen but ridiculousness is eternal.  I’ll update you on plans soon, but in the meantime, here’s a cheap laugh at my expense.

In my current fog (plus the fact that I’m a bit thrown off since I worked yesterday on the holiday and my coworkers and I are running on different mental timelines), I answered the phone today to a perky voice declaring, “Hi, I’m Jane Smith, calling from The Universe.”

I’m horrifyingly embarrassed to tell you this tale, but my brain didn’t compute this one very quickly
“The Universe.”  I repeated stupidly.
“Yes, I think I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for a while now.”
“Ah.”  Praise Odin my backup generators didn’t fail me.  “How can I help you?”
“Well we’re working on something big right now, and we’d like some police involvement.”
“Of course.”
“Could I set up a meeting with Lt. Citrus for next week for a brief interview?”

In the area there are multiple newspapers, some of them with laughably grandiose names: The World, The All The News That’s Fit to Print Times Gazette Post, and…The Universe.  I was not, in fact having an existential crisis.  I’m still beating my head on my desk at how long it took my brain to catch up to that.  Wonky holidays and happiness, kitten, make a potent combination!

I’m not proud of this one…

Office Food Chain

“If you have a job without any aggravations, you don’t have a job. ”
~ Malcolm S. Forbes

Things that make me sigh:

When an officer stands at the copy machine for several minutes staring at it before turning to me.
“C., it says open drawer one and add more paper.  Why isn’t it printing?”
“Because you need to add more paper.”
“Ok.”
He stands and looks at me for a long moment before I realize what he’s really asking.  At which point I have to leave the dozen files on my desk, the background check, and the wage changes, to walk ten feet to a cabinet labeled, “Paper,” and put a few handfuls of paper into drawer number one.

Things that make me raise an eyebrow.

Said officer watching me do the whole spiel before saying, “Well, that was easy.”

No kidding.

Sense of Humor Restored

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.”
~ Coco Chanel

Sitting at my desk, I asked one of the officers to review a background check I was running for him.  As I reached for the file I was suddenly arrested by a sound of heavy sniffing behind me.  Puzzled, I turned around and found him with an embarrassed look on his face.
“Sorry,” he said, “I just caught of a whiff of your perfume.  It smells really nice.”
I felt my eyebrows lifting.  “Ah.  Thank you.  But-”
“That was more than a little awkward, huh?”
“Yep.”
“Let’s never speak of this again,” he said firmly.
“Sorry, I fully intend to tell the ladies, which pretty much guarantees you’ll be hearing about this for a couple of weeks at least.”
“Damn it.”

Yes, awkward, but really funny if you know the man, and not nearly on the creep scale of this guy.

*For the record, she-minions, Chanel.  The classics (apparently) never go out of style.

I’ll Have the Usual

“This guy’s insane.”
“Well, he thought he was the subject of a secret government mind control project. As it turns out, he really was being given daily doses of LSD for 11 years.”
“Well, in that case he looks great.”
– R.E.D. (2010)

It’s going to be one of those weeks, minions.  Know how I can tell?  Because Lt. South came to me and started a conversation in this manner: “Remember this guy?  The one who we arrested naked in the sauna and who tried to set fire to the student center?”

Keep off the drugs, kids, they get you banned from respectable universities.

Casual Friday

“He looked around slowly at the grimy, squat white monolith, and that was the exact moment at which he realized without a shadow of the doubt that his fridge had begun seriously to lurk.”
– Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Don’t you love it when tiny little jobs that nobody wants to do, allow you to wrangle  subversive concessions?  For example, lacking anything else to do, I volunteered to clean out both of the department fridges, and asked if I could dress more casually in order to do it.  Our department’s dress code is very professional, even student employees dress nicely, and exceptions are almost never made.  But when one volunteers to exorcise/disinfect the more horrid lairs of one’s office, one can usually negotiate.  Thus I’m sitting pretty in jeans and topsliders on this lovely Friday afternoon, feeling pretty good about it. Heck, I only put on mascara this morning!

I’m also in a bit of a mischievous mood today, so throwing away a lot of things (that could probably be successfully used to teach the theory of evolution…) is a little sneakily gratifying.  The more so when some teenage student officer asks what happened to “that sour cream I had in there one time?” and I am able to retort, “Ah yes.  As it turns out, it went bad in 2009.  I may have just saved your life.”

As per usual, though, I fell into a bit of a scope creep vortex when I finished.  My desk has been reorganized, everything I work with has been wiped down with antibacterial cloths, and I’m currently tackling some of the unnecessary files clogging up our server disk space (I’m not sure if that’s the techie term for it all).

So!  I’m going to take a break from that and share some fun links from around the web.  There is nothing like the internet to take your mind off of serious things, now is there?

New favorite tumblr: dogs riding trains around Britain.  J. and I spend an inordinate amount of time wishing for a dog, so this doesn’t help, but we can all agree they’re pretty cute, huh?

Miniskirts and fascinators have been banned at Ascot!  But what will we judge?!

And, in more Downton Abbey news, I may be cheering for the reform minded Lady Sybil and her Irish bolshevik chauffeur (and I may tear Julian Fellowes from my love and bury him forever if screws this one up), but my heart belongs to the Dowager Countess and her fabulous one liners.

We all judge some people on Facebook.  Here’s a list of some of Those Types.

One of my favorite TED talks, a theory on the origin of pleasure, in which a Nazi discovers there’s evil in the world.  Enjoy.

Mob. Mentality. [Repost]

“People are a problem.”
– Douglas Adams

[Dumplings, it’s that week of the year, when the campus is invaded; it’s also the week that I am processing nearly 200 raises.  Ergo, I’m dead to the world.  Please enjoy this re-post of this time last week, and be assured it’s just as relevant this year.  Upon reflection, this is also the week where my optimism about humanity at large takes a beating…]

As if we were not already desperately busy, especially with Fall semester looming, this is also when the University hosts a conference open to the public. For a mere $44 dollars, you can come spend week going to classes about academic topics, theology, personal development, and probably basket weaving for all I know. This wouldn’t be so bad if it were not for the people.

And we're not leaving without our commemorative mugs!

It is impossible to convey how boorish these invaders are. You’d think they owned the place! Office supplies go missing, we have to lock classrooms so that they can’t get in, they knock people down rushing to classes, they yell at everyone…genuine menaces to society. However, it’s their propensity to complain about everything, usually consequences they’ve brought on themselves by their rude behavior, that really bleaches us of all sympathy. Some favorite complaints:

I couldn’t find a parking space so I had to park in the road against oncoming traffic.
No. You didn’t. That’s like saying, “There were no cigarettes so I had to smoke crack.” Not at all. The circumstances are probably aggravating and cause withdrawals and make you irritable (not unlike frustration with parking), but the solution you propose is still illegal.

We paid good money to come to this conference, get out of our way!
We pay much, much more money to go to school here for four years. Full time. And do you think any of us get our way?

We paid good money to come here [again, please note $44], so we should be able to park wherever we want.
Hm…not really. This is, in fact, a fully functioning university 365 days a year. Which means that we have anywhere between 20,000 and 60,000 people here on a daily basis who are actually working and taking classes who need to park. To put it simply, we trump you. You are visitors, we are permanent.

We can’t find anything on this campus of yours. Don’t you label anything? And where are we supposed to park?
Yes. You will find them on those handy maps you were given on your first day. And you can park in any one of the half-of-the-entire-campus-lots we took away from those mentioned in the complaint above this one and gave them to you to use. For a week. For free. Ingrates.

The bishop encouraged us to come so, since the bishop sent us, you should give us food for free, because of the bishop.
This is not the parish potluck!

We drove a long way to come here, why can’t we leave our car in a handicapped stall?
I don’t care if the Vatican called you personally and declared all your sins would be forgiven if you invaded campus. I don’t care if we get an email from Mecca declaring this the site of this year’s pilgrimage. I don’t care if St. Thomas a Becket re-capitates himself and orders Chaucer resurrected to write another masterpiece about our humble university town. You do not, under any circumstances, get to get away with such unpardonable behavior!

(Cutting in front of whole lines of people, including one in a wheelchair, to buy things at the campus store and then snapping at the people who ask you to move to the back of the queue, “We’re with the conference!”)
Who raised you?!