Tedium – Got the Jimmy Legs

Tedium

Sending out an SOS

I've spent all morning downloading applications of dubious utility to my company-owned Blackberry. The reason: the company has seen fit to start blocking all manner of websites AGAIN. They did this before, blocking nearly every site that one might find entertaining or distracting. But then they relaxed the restriction and allowed some site, like Gmail (though they blocked the gChat feature). Then a few months ago, restrictions seemed to really relax, and we had unfettered access to all but the most offensive and evil sites (ie, hotrepublicansex.com, etc.) But over the last few days, they have been systematically clamping down again. I have a theory that you can gauge how well a company is doing by how much leeway they allow their employees online. So I guess the company is hitting the skids again. Oh well.

I now have Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Flickr and the Opera Mini Browser installed. It's not as easy to use as their Web counterparts, but at least I don't have to feel marooned at the office. Honestly without these distractions (plus selected blogs), how could I be expected to survive a day at this Mediocrity Factory? Well, I could probably live without Twitter but maybe I'm just not following enough interesting people. Story of my life.

P.S. Don't forget! See SPIKE the Angora cat at the North Shore Adoption Van this SUNDAY in Park Slope, outside NYC Pet, 5th Ave @Union/President, Brooklyn.

There's more to life than books, you know

A woman I used to know once told me, "I used to read books all the time, for years. And I loved it. But in the past year I figured out that all that reading didn't do anything for me. It didn't make me a better person, it didn't illuminate the human condition, it didn't do anything except take me out of my life for a few hours. I don't read at all anymore. And now when I think about it, I think … I want that time back."

I'm paraphrasing/rewriting history, of course, but you get the idea. At the time I sort of agreed. I too had spent a lot of valuable time reading books and whether I liked the book or not, it still took up time. After a few years I got back into reading and now read with some frequency. Part of why I feel like I wasted time is due to my revelation that I was reading a lot of highbrow stuff and darn it all, I just don't like that stuff. So most of what I read now is a bit further down on the pulp scale: nonfiction mostly, with an ear for the lurid, some educational (true crime, how to survive in prison, etc.) That helped a lot. But I also tend to read only when I'm on the train or before I go to sleep. As Charlie Brown once commented, "When I have absolutely nothing else to do, I enjoy reading." It's something like that.

Anyway, my point is, I think I used to read because I thought it would elevate me somehow. Maybe it did, but I don't think I liked the person it was raising me to. That is, I think I wanted to be a pompous doofus; I may have been a pompous doofus in many cases. Possibly this was not reading's fault, but a lot of the time I think my choices in life have been based not on what I truly wanted, but what I thought I should want. My friend's comment about books just put a fine point on that thought for me. And it makes me wonder how many other things still dictate my decisions (for instance, do I really care about nicely finished hardwood floors?) I suppose societal pressure is a necessary force to keep us from going cannibal or something, but when I think how much of my time has been spent in its service, I get annoyed. I want that time back.

But then again, who's to say if left to my own devices I wouldn't spend 23 hours a day on the couch, watching King of Queens marathons? Maybe I can't be trusted to run my own life. Not completely. Maybe there's a nonfiction book on the subject.

And I don't know where I am going to

I bought my first blazer since my bar mitzvah days today. What Century 21 could not provide, I found at TJ Maxx. What a store! Actually it was a minor miracle, they only had one in my size and it was just the sort of discounted, innocuous design I was looking for. I take a 38-long, which apparently is rare in these venues. They let me keep the hanger so I'm just gonna leave it in my office all the time in case I need it.

Next: pocket squares?

Sunset at the End of the Industrial Age

I usually post during the weekdays here, but I have been stymied in my efforts lately. As you may know, my company was bought out by another company some months back and we are finally being switched over to their network. This has been pretty annoying all around, but everything has been hammered out now and I enjoy full access to the many wonderful opportunities that await me at the new company.

Sidebar: I'm getting so sick of the way office people use the word "opportunities" when they really mean "failure." Instead of saying they screwed something up, they always say they see "areas of opportunity" like they did somebody a favor.

Anyhow, one unfortunate opportunity in this regard is that the new company apparently thinks blogger is dangerous to productivity and has it blocked. This will either have the result of finally, after 5 years at this, to move this operation fully to the server instead of using Blogger's infrastructure. Or maybe I won't bother.

Even worse for me, Flickr is also blocked. I hate that. Half the time I spend during the day is checking to see if anybody has posted new cat photos! Hey, to thine own self be true. So I'm thinking maybe I'll get one of those nifty iPhone things and write it off as a business expense.

In any case, all this upheaval will culminate with me moving offices yet again, a little further downtown. For some reason, nobody is able to tell us when exactly when we will move, but I hope they give us at least a few more days; my cubicle is full of cat food I need to lug home still.

On the home front, I am happy to report the Mugsy (pictured above with perennial worrywart Freddie) is feeling much better and is back to looking like his usual disheveled self. Thanks to Empty Cages Collective, I got some Lysine gel to add to his food, which appears to have helped him fight off the infection. He still could use a good powerwashing but this is about as good as he ever looked.

But the dark is working overtime

Here's a nice half-assed post! I'm totally busy with my stupid job, full of stupid people asking stupid questions for jerks. It may get better at the end of the month, or way worse. It remains to be seen.

We had a bunch of relatives over the house for a week. It just so happened they showed up for exactly the same duration as the horrible heat wave, and I didn't remember until the last day that we do in fact have an air conditioner that sort of works. Oops! But it was fun anyway, they brought duty free liquor from the Virgin Islands, we went to Brighton Beach, and they availed themselves of the local fish market, the little diner down the street, and Lincoln Chicken and Pizza, all places we never patronize. It made me realize if we were non-vegetarians, this little corner of the neighborhood does all right food-wise, assuming you're not that interested in being healthy. The diner sounded really good, too bad they're closed by 6pm every day. And Lincoln got all-around good marks, except for the fish. But for wings and pizza, you could do worse.

Despite our macho claims that we had neutered every cat on the street, we found a few more. We've trapped one so far and gotten him fixed (he has his own interesting story). There's at least one more out there, not to mention the local Gawker cat who is pretty clearly Marbles' daughter! Cat adoption is rolling on, very, very slowly, but we did get Shaolin a new home. Four more to go! Frankly I just want to get this batch moved out before the next charity case shows up!

Meanwhile, I hemmed and hawwed about joining the Bushwick CSA for so long that when I finally decided to do it, it was too late and they were all filled up for the season. This is why I'm a bad vegetarian, you'd think I would have been first on the list, but fear of too many vegetables spooked me into reticence.

I doubt anything interesting will happen here until the end of June, when my workload will lighten a smidge. Unless you all wanna hear about how the tech team returned us a sizing for a project fully 10x what they initially estimated, and have the chutzpah to think we will agree to fund the project at this level, when everyone knows there's a perfectly-functional javascript workaround that would take nearly no effort to implement. Suckahhhhhs!