Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One of Many

When your stomach starts to ache as you drive to work, aches all day long, and stops aching when you drive off grounds, it's time to find a different job.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I am an uncle:

Her name is Sophie.

The world welcomes her.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This Little Bugger

It's me, writing from work. I don't, however, remember the e-mail address to my blog, so this is going to be (has been?) e-mailed to my regular Gmail and then posted. What a convoluted way to do things.

Anyway, I'm really not a fan of my job.

I was talking to my uncle yesterday, one of the two who work here as officers, and told him that the thing that made working her depressing wasn't the inmates, but the staff that I work with. He told me that as long as he's worked as an officer the joke has always been that it's the staff that's crazy because we choose to come to prison. Doesn't matter that we get to leave after eight, or so, hours and have weekends off. We choose to be here.

Which isn't to say that all the people I work with are horrible, some aren't. At least one is pretty great. Many want too much from me because they don't want to deal with their supervisors, but I keep pointing them in that direction anyway.

The toughest part of my job, so far, is that I have to depend on people to do what they say they're going to do. I call them and set up for them to fill a shift. They tell me yes or no. If it's yes then I put them on the schedule and they are supposed to come in for that shift or call, in a timely manner, and say they can't make it. If they don't show I'm not quite blamed for it, but I hear about it and there are, often, subtle hint in voices that it's partially my fault. As if I should have known whether these people are dependable. I'll be finished with my fourth week on Friday, how can I know if these people are dependable or not?

The most annoying part of my job is the equipment. I have a chair that won't always stay up when I sit on it, but it stays up enough to give me hope so I keep raising it and it keeps sinking. I don't have a stapler or tape dispenser or drawers. The widescreen monitor I've been supplied with takes up nearly half the width of desk space and feels too close to my eyes.

And then there's my boss, which I really shouldn't get into. It makes me upset just dancing around the subject in my brain.

Well, that it from me at 1:30. Maybe more when I get to a computer at my parents' house and finally post the bugger.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Letter

Dear Ira Glass,

For years, I have heard your voice during pledge breaks asking people like me, people who haven't sent money into their local NPR stations, to please, pleeeeeeease, pick up the phone and offer support. I've heard you call and embarrass people who had listened to NPR for years, but had never pledged. And I've heard you interview people who listened to their NPR stations for years and how they felt when they weren't pledging (like enough people must pledge because the station goes on no matter what) and then how they felt when they finally did pledge (good, like they were part of something important). I've heard all of it and still scoffed and figured that if you were ever unlucky enough to call me I'd tell you the truth: I'm a selfish person. I'd like to see you put that on the radio!

Then came a change to my life. I left my old job that wasn't good but was comfortable for a new job that's in many way's worse than the old one, and I'm getting paid the same. I'm living with my parents, again. It's not horrible and it's temporary, but it's not at all where I want to be. I'm supposed to be an adult, right. Things are just... unsettled. I figured that I deserved to feel good about something... anything.

So, on Friday, after donating some money to NaNoWriMo, I went to my current NPR station's website and pledged some money. (About 12% of my current paycheck. I did it monthly to make it easier on my wallet. That's 1% of my money each month. (For the record, I did that math on the drive back from work this afternoon, during a pledge break.)) I'm not paying rent and I quit buying comics, so I had money to give. I filled out the information they wanted, address and such. I choose not to get any of the gifts; I'm not a fan of jazz. I hit the send button, or whatever they labeled the button, and waited.

I didn't feel any better.

I didn't feel like I was part of something bigger than myself or part of something good.

I just felt like I'd felt before I pledged.

Where was my moment of elation? Where?

Maybe, I thought, the good feelings took a while to settle in. Maybe on Saturday or Sunday.

Nope. Nothing.

I'm not angry or bitter or upset or anything like that. I had a little extra money and I spent it on something good, something very valuable. I'm just disappointed.

Thought you'd like to know, Mr. Glass.

Your pal,


Friday, October 15, 2010


Feel like a tool for not really blogging and never posting comments on other peoples' blogs and then I go and do something like this:

NaNoWriMo starts in about 16 days, depending on where you are in the world. I'm going to attempt it once again!

Will I finish 50000 words this year? If the growth in word count over the last, uh, four attempts is any sign, then yes!

Even if I don't accomplish it, though, I did send them a donation and would like to solicit any of you, who still pop by once in a while, to send them some bucks.

You can donate money. (Which is what I did and have done for the past three attempts.) Or you can buy stuff.

I'm sure the question is something along the lines of "Why should I pay money to a website that encourages failures who think they can write a novel in a month when they've never done it during the other 335 days in the year?" That's not the reason, though.

The reason to donate is the Young Writers Program. It helps to create a curriculum for teachers to set of a classroom version of NaNoWriMo and I think that's a good goal. Why? Well, here's a bit from the A Letter to Families section:
Some of the skills novel-writing builds:
  • Fluency: Writing so much in so little time boosts students’ proficiency in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and will help them approach future writing assignments with ease and confidence.
  • Confidence: When creating so much text in such a short period of time, students realize just how much they can accomplish when they put their minds to it. NaNoWriMo leaves young writers asking themselves, “What’s next?”
  • Creativity: Creating characters, situations, dialogue, and even whole planets from scratch helps kids think, but it also teaches them how to apply their fanciful ideas to a full project.
  • Time Management: Our curriculum teaches students how to tackle a huge project by breaking it down into manageable bites!
Even though it's not mentioned, I bet that at least a few students out of every class that's part of the Young Writers Program will become readers, too. It seems to me that the USA, and the world, needs more people who read things, other than forums, on a regular basis. I wish the Young Writers Program had been around when I was a kid.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

That Lunch

My brother requested knowledge about that last (and technically first) lunch I had with my co-workers in the North Bay. Here goes:

My normal lunch back then was at 11:30, but the ladies didn't think they could get out of the office until noon, so I had to wait and explain to the other employees, without actually explaining anything, why I hadn't left for lunch. Me and three others was all I wanted. When asked, I dodged the issue and vaguely suggested that I had to do something but it couldn't be done before noon. Got some looks, but no one asked me anything else.

Noon finally rolled around and I watched the pair of court reporters head out. I waited a little before getting up myself, didn't want to make it look like I was heading out with them to keep some of the others from joining in on their own. The PJ's secretary, who invited me to the small lunch, joined me and we walked out together. One staff member watched us. I'm pretty sure she knew what was up. I didn't care for her anyway and the other people I was going out with either liked her less than I did or pretty much outright hated her. (At lunch, on in particular seem happy that the not-so-great woman knew she wasn't invited.)

As we stepped out the front door of the office I was informed that three more people had been invited to lunch, the three other clerk guys, and asked if it was okay with me. A large part of me wanted to bolt, but I said it was okay.

At lunch, he guys had some beer and sandwiches. The ladies had wine and two had a salad and one had a sandwich. I had iced tea and a sandwich and these spectacular homemade potato chips the brewery makes, really the only reason to eat there if you're not getting beer. The chat was idle and mostly about work and what a pain in the ass it was. Some bitching was made about the woman no one likes. (I made a comment that got that woman in some trouble the next day, which was my last day there.)

When the check came, I pulled out my wallet just like everyone else and made sure to be told that my lunch was on them. Then I admitted I only pulled my wallet out to make sure that they insisted I didn't have to pay. I didn't want to seem like I just expected a free lunch from them.

Back at work, no one made a comment about lunch and how we all came back in as a group.

In general, the lunch was painless. I didn't say much, mostly listened. The chips were wonderful, the sandwich just okay. The guys liked their beers, where were very pale, and that gals like their wine, whites with a rosy hue.


Monday, October 04, 2010

You Are Now Entering Week Two

The sky was beautiful when I got to work this morning. It was a dark, dark blue with huge, dark clouds cutting swaths through it and a sliver of moon barely highlighting a dark hole in the sky. Off to the east, above the first building, the sky lit up as lightening streaked down.

The rest of my day, not so great.

See, I've been at my new job a week, now, but I haven't been trained to do much of anything.

Yes, I've been taught how to sort of fill out one report, but that's it. Still, lots of people seem to think I know how to do the whole job I've been hired to do. Even the two women I share an office with and who both know that they were gone most of the week and didn't do any real training!

*deep breath*

The problem is that people keep asking (actually telling in too many cases) me to do things for them that will be part of my duties when I learn how to do them. This would be okay if it were only two or three people coming to me, but it's more like twelve to fifteen and I have to explain each and every time that I don't know, yet. Who should I ask? they ask. Your supervisor, I say. She's not here, they say. Well too fucking bad you shit, I want to say, but don't.

Word spread fast that the person who was going to be handling the schedule from now on was there. Now they're all trying to convince me to let them get around the "chain of command" in the nursing unit. Fuckers. I didn't get the job because I'm an idiot. Do it the right way, god damnit. And while you're at it leave me alone for at least a week so I can actually learn what I'm going to do.

(Also, lucky me, one of the women who I share my office with likes it to be a "safe" environment. She wants everyone to feel like they can come in and chat (i.e. vent) with her. I think she just likes being in on all the drama. And there's a whole lot of drama goin' on there. All of it bullshit, of course, and I have no choice but to be in the center of it.)

On the plus side, they got me a computer logon. Still no e-mail, though. For some dumb-ass reason they want to import the data from my old e-mail into this new one. I'd rather they killed the old one dead and started me a fresh one. I'll get enough shit clogging it up from this job, why would I want the old stuff, too.

Somewhere near the end of my day I made a comment to my other cell -- You'll have to pardon me, jokes like that aren't supposed to be funny while actually working at a prison. -- mate, the one who doesn't encourage drama, about transferring to a different unit. She said, "Already?" I said, "Well, since there's no room for advancement for me here." She gave me this odd, surprised look and said, "You already figured that out?" "Yeah," I said, thinking that I got the scheduling position because of a glowing letter from my last supervisor saying that I'm a smart guy, of course I figured it out.

Oh, I just remembered something:
I saw the drama queen, who's the "lead" because she's a bump above me although she's not my supervisor, putting together a table in Excel this morning. Across the top she put her name and the names of the eight OTs (that's my classification). On the left, she listed the reports that people turn in, let's say there were fifteen to twenty. She put exes in the boxes of the people who completed the reports. I keep hoping it was my over active imagination, but I'm pretty sure that I had exes in half the boxes under my name. Everyone else seemed to have two or three.

Fucking great.

One more thing before I really get depressed:
My job will have me doing a lot of calling on the phone and waiting for people to call me back. I don't have a phone, though, and it seems unlikely that I'll be getting my own phone.

Smart, right?

Hope the rest of you well.