Saturday, 27 December 2008

Let's Twist the Shizzy Up and Get All Freaky Deaky

The holidays have been whacky busy and full of social interaction, so there hasn't been much time to blog, and I do think that blogging while on vacation in the east will be sporadic at best, so I thought I'd better drop a line now, while I still can.

Last Sunday, we attended a Solstice celebration hosted by our friends who I will call Virginia and Leonard Woolf. We were fortunate enough to have V and L come to our place on Christmas evening and entertain us with wildly amusing anecdotes, as they are both raconteurs of the first order.

At their Solstice party, Virginia announced that she had scored some "miracle berry" pills off the internets and was going to give them a try. The miracle berry pills have achieved notariety from being featured on CSI: Las Vegas--a woman ingested one and then drank some bleach, which killed her. This was possible (technically) because the miracle berry temporarily inhibits one from tasting bitter or sour flavours. It was Virginia's intention to pop a pill and then sample as many obnoxious/unpleasant foods as possible. She invited the rest of us to join her.

I was in there like a dirty shirt, as was Leonard (who referred to this experience as "dropping food acid") and another mutual friend, the Chic Librarian. After letting the pill dissolve on my tongue, the first thing I tried was a lemon wedge. I stuck it between my teeth and tore off the flesh, expressing all the sour juice into my mouth. To my absolute surprise, the lemon tasted very similar to a sweet mandarin orange. It was yummy!

Next I tried a fresh cranberry, which was more like a blueberry. Strangely enough, the 99% cocoa tasted more like chalk. The straight tabasco sauce licked directly from our palms was interesting: there was the sensation of heat, but not the flavour, so that was very odd. We also had shots of white vinegar, which was not precisely pleasant, but not nearly as vile as usual. In fact, if anything, it reminded me of sekanjibin, a Middle Eastern drink of vinegar and sugar combined.

It was an interesting experience.

Christmas was, too, considering it was the first one without most of the family around. My sister is honeymooning the Maldives, my brother and his wife are on Vancouver Island, and J's family, except her daughter, are out east. So we had my father, Junior, up for a couple of days and he behaved himself quite well. He didn't offend anyone and failed utterly to live up to any of the stories I've told about him. It was nice not have to have to kick the old man in the Jimmy Bubbles for being a crevice tool in front of friends.

Alas, I have a ton of shit to do before our flight at 8:00 tomorrow morning, so I am off to do that. I hope all of your holidays are relaxing and peaceful. The next time I write, it will be from the East Coast!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Medical Madness

My job is kinda whack. It's dull, repetitive, simple and pays poorly. To say that it is an "entry level position" is like describing The Phantom Of the Opera as a play about cock-blocking.

That's one of the reasons the Lazy Douchebag's lacklustre performance pissed me off so thoroughly. You don't have to try that hard to be good at what I do. Essentially, you just show up and do monkey work. It's not inspiring or exciting, but she agreed to do it, and at least she was a temp. She knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It's not like she had days and weeks and months of endless, soul-sucking boredom stretching out before her like a Saskatchewan highway...

Speaking of the Lazy Douchebag, S. and I were absolutely traumatized by our month with her. When our senior member returned earlier this week, S. and I regaled her with stories of L.D.'s incompetence and stupidity. (For example, on her last day in the mail room, L.D. was pulling claims. One of the requests had accidentally been printed off twice. She actually said to me, "Do I need to pull it twice?" Many of you who know me personally will be stunned and amazed that I did not reply, "Yes. I need you to pull it, photocopy it, replace it in the batch, pull it, photocopy it and put it back again." I confined myself to a long, confounded, "Nnnnnoooooooo...."). Unfortunately, we were overheard by L.D.'s mother, who works in J's department. So things in the mail room have been a little frosty this week. Oops. It was awkward, but I don't feel too terrible about it: it's not my fault, after all, that she raised a complete twatwaffle.

Anyway, I have heard of a new opening in another department at work and indicated to both Boss Lady and the head of the other department that I am anxious to try my hand at something else. Both of them were very supportive and encouraging, so I have that to look forward to in the New Year, after our return from Prince Edward Island.

For those of you who do not know, J and I will be spending New Years in Charlottetown, from whence she originally hails. There is a good possibility that we will actually ring in the New Year at the Legion (I've never actually been to a Legion!), in which case I might moon the webcam again. (Yes, I've done it before). If I do, I will let you all know and post the url here with an approximate time, so you can tune in to see the big event.

I'm also hoping to patronize the Pissy Pants Club. That's not it's real name, but it is a delapidated old trailer where the pensioners go on cheque day around noon and sit around drinking shitty maritime beeer until they piss themselves. I am under strict orders from my sister to get LOTS of pictures.

Oh, and I've been promised a trip to the bootleggers, too, so I might just get arrested on this trip.

On the down side, there is likely to be some kind of interaction with Skippy, since the little jerkoff lives there. I will be certain to keep you posted about what happens when Angry Dyke meets Junior Douchebag. If he has any sense at all, he will stay well away from his mother and I. This might be a stretch for him, so be prepared.

Anyway, my original purpose in blogging tonight (and how I've wandered off the path!) was to recount some of the few perks of my job. One of those perks is that I get to see a lot of really goofy and unusual names from people immigrating to our great nation, and those who provide them with health care. For example, I think it is law in Sri Lanka that everyone's name has to have a minimum of 16 syllables and use every letter of the alphabet at least once. There are no Bobs in Sri Lanka, unless it is a truncated version of Bobaramalamdamwhoopdefuckingdoo. Or whatever.

Other twacked out names? There is a health care provider in Canada named "Dat Dang Duong". I have a lot of fun with that one, let me tell you. I can often be heard to remark, "Dat Dang Duong sent me another health claim! Can you imagine? Who does Dat Dang Duong think he is?" Etcetera etcetera ad infinitum.

In Quebec, we have a Dr. Schlomo Grynspan. What do you figure his ethnic heritage is? Prizes for the most accurate guess!

Another thing I get to do is read some of the medical complaints. The best ones--for me anyway, and this will come as no surprize to many of you, kids--are the ones involving rectums and colons and bums. I read one medical report about some dude who had a history of hemmorrhoidectomy (an operation to remove your 'rrhoids, which cannot be comfortable, yo), and was back at the doctor's complaining about constipation and pain on the toilet. The physician counseled the man to avoid "straining at stool", encouraged him to drink more water and eat more fibre and finally, to spend no more than ten minutes on the crapper. You'd think that after surgery to clip the varicose veins on yer poop chute the first time, you'd avoid the behaviours that landed you there in the first place. But apparently not, which leads me to the conclusion that on some level, Buddy likes that kind of discomfort.

Call me crazy.

I also find medical terminology really funny sometimes. Tell me the truth: doesn't "transvaginal ultrasound" sound like a high-speed train? Seriously! "Offering sixteen runs between Krackow and Budapest daily, the Transvaginal Ultrasound is a convenient, economical and efficient way to explore Eastern Europe!"

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Political Douchebaggery Part Two

At the end of my last post, I included a link to an article on CBC Online I felt was an excellent summary of what had happened over the past week in Canada's Parliament. The CBC almost always leaves their newstories open to comments from the peanut gallery, and, despite my better instincts, I frequently read them. I really shouldn't, as it only serves to confirm my suspicions that most people are fucking idiots who lack critical analysis and talk before they think. It's the best argment I have for mandatory sterilization.

I kid. Mostly.

Anyway, there is nevertheless the rare occasion when a comment is left which is insightful, fresh and enlightening, and such was the case this morning when I logged on to read what Canada's unwashed masses had to say about Mr. Newman's analysis. A commenter calling himself "Gary Thunder" wrote this:

I heard from a well placed source in the Conservatives (anonymous of course) that the reason they included the measure to end public party financing was because they are in possession of knowledge that the First Nations people are in the process of forming a Federal Party with representation coast to coast and sit with the other Federal parties in the House of Commons. I think with a $1.95 per vote, Mr Harper realises the First Nations could do very well. He deemed it necessary to nip this in the bud.

Perhaps it is irresponsible blogging to comment on this apparently throw- away remark: certainly no-one else seized on it on the CBC forums. But a lot of people are talking about Stephen Harper's error in calling it a "separatist coalition", playing on anglophone Canada's inherent mistrust and resentment of the Bloc Quebecois' separatist agenda. The Liberals and the NDP needed the support of the BQ to introduce the vote of non-confidence, and Harper has been riding that one until the wheels fall off. He even talked about how Gilles Duceppe, the BQ leader, refused to sign the coalition agreement in the presence of the Canadian flag, a statement which was exposed as the bald-faced lie it is by footage of the event, which shows the flag very clearly in the background.

Harper's partisan tactics and divisive statements are well-noted and documented. I personally am not at all surprised by Gary Thunder's assessment, and am sorry that his source is not willing to go public with his/her information. If in fact part of Harper's motivation is to kill the potential for a First Nations Federal party, Canadians need to know, because that is simply racist. I frankly wonder that the First Nations haven't tried to do this before, although perhaps it is only recently that they've been able to get organized enough, or angry enough, to try.

Just as an aside, J. and I were talking recently about Barack Obama being the first black man elected to the White House (I even hate writing that statement: as I've said before, Obama's job would be a lot easier if people started thinking of him as a man and not a "black man"). Anyway, J. was musing that, for all of Canada's apparent liberal-mindedness, we seem a long way from such strides ourselves. Do you think, she posited, that Canada would accept a Prime Minister who was also an aboriginal? And the answer, for the most part I suspect, is sadly, "No fuckin' way, eh?!"

The point I'm making is that Canada is deeply divided and polarized in many directions. The most obvious, and the one getting the most press, is the anglo/franco divide. Many of us still remember with deep dread when Quebec very nearly won the referendum to separate from the rest of Canada. There are also regional divisions, such as east and west, in which certain Albertan douchebags bang on the separatist drum, to to mention the Maritimes, which is possibly the most economically disadvantaged area of the country. Anglos hate Quebec, Quebec hates us back, and everybody hates the First Nations, who are governed by white colonialism that forces them to live on reservations in conditions similar to that of developing nations. Tuberculosis, poverty and violence are epidemic on reservations, where inadequate housing and e.coli in the water are not uncommon.

Stephen Harper, as Prime Minister of this vast nation, strives only to widen the gaps between us. "Divide and conquer" is his motto. He spoke out publicly against gay marriage when he was the Leader of the Opposition and, once in power, only permitted the law to pass because it was politically expedient to do so. Philosophically, he is deeply against it, just as he is against furthering the equality of women, even going so far as to remove the word "equality" from the mandate of the Status of Women Canada, and closing 12 of 16 Status of Women offices.

That he introduced the motion to cut public funding to political parties to financially cripple his opponents is obvious. That he was possibly motivated to do so in order to forestall the formation of a First Nations party is scarcely surprising, given his track record with gays, women and Quebec.

Stephen Harper does not represent me as a Canadian. I distrust his Conservative, exclusive agenda, and I resent his bully-boy tactics. I want him out of office.

My only reservation is that I don't see anyone on the political horizon who is much better.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Political Douchebaggery Afoot

Okay, she didn't really say that, but she SHOULD haveThis morning when I got up, I wasn't exactly looking forward to another day of drudgery alongside the Lazy Douchebag (who I learned used to be an exotic dancer!). At the same time, I was just as glad to not be Governor General Michaelle Jean. No matter what she chose to do today, she was gonna piss off millions of people.

But, let me begin by saying that it's nice to finally be discussing Canadian politics for once. I'm not saying that the race for the White House was long, but even the Dalai Lama was overhead to say, "Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick: isn't it over yet?!"

Anyway, most of you already know the scoop. After the recent federal election, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives came back with a stronger minority government. I guess they felt that, having annihilated the Liberals, they could act like they had a majority government and started throwing their weight around. Harper tried to further cripple his political opponents by slashing the funding they would receive, make it illegal for civil workers to strike for a few years (!) and put a cap on amounts sought by women looking for pay equity in their employment. Meanwhile, he did nothing to address the current economic crisis.

Naturally, the other parties balked and formed a coalition. They felt the Conservatives had lost the right to govern and tried to introduce a no confidence vote to topple them.

There was a lot of carrying on, especially on-line. Possibly the most disturbing thing about the shit I was reading is just how uninformed Canadians are about the Parliamentary system. They have no friggin' idea how their government functions. This manouvering by the coalition is flat out power-grabbing, no doubt, but it is legal. It is not "undemocratic" nor "communist" (wtf?).

I frankly don't like Stephen Harper at all. Aside from his draconian politics, I think he has suspicious lips. They're too soft and femmy on a man. In fact, his face is a little too "doughy" for my liking. Maybe he knows it, and that's why he acts like such a raging douchebag asshole. I am utterly delighted that, even if he manages to survive the no confidence vote in January when he tables his budget (because all budget motions are confidence motions), his jimmy bubbles have felt the metallic grip of the vice. It's been great to watch the coaliton give him two in the dink and one in the stink. It couldn't happen to a nicer mysogynist.

I admit I was a little surprised to hear that the Governor General agreed to allow him to prorogue Parliament, but all in all, I think it was a sensible compromise. If the coalition is a strong one, it will survive the Christmas holidays. If not, we've been spared months of stupid bullshit leading up to yet another federal election. Also, the proposed Prime Minister under the coalition government is Stephan Dion, who, just weeks ago following the last election, agreed to step down as leader of the Liberal Party. I am assured by many people who are brighter and more informed and more astute than I that Dion is a smart man and a capable leader, and not nearly the douchebag the press consistently make him out to be.

But we won't have a chance to see that until late January, if it comes to pass.

Either way, it seems we live in interesting times. For an excellent analysis of this latest douchebaggery, see this article from CBC online.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The Lazy Douchebag--Chapter Two

Believe me, I had every intention of blogging today about the impending political crisis in Canada, although I also flirted with the idea of updating you all on the latest adventures of Tapeworm and the Little Sprout. I had/have any number of fascinating and thought-provoking subjects on which to write, but at about 3:30 today, something happened that put all of that on hold.

See, I have been very vocal at work about the shortcomings of the Lazy Douchebag. My boss can also see for herself how utterly lame LD is, and has already had LD into her office for "one of those chats" two or three times. After LD's second day off (in two weeks) yesterday, Boss Lady assured me that LD would be spoken to again about picking up the pace while doing the mail.

I went to work this morning, confident in the belief that this would occur. And the sight of LD weeping and snivelling in her mother's cubicle outside Boss Lady's office at 7:30 this morning certainly indicated that "the chat" had been as eviscerating as I could possibly have wanted it to be. Upon starting her shift at 8:00, LD was sullen and subdued. Well, except for those moments when she bitched and whined about having to finish all of yesterday's mail, which I had done all on my own with the help of K., whose regular job is Executive Assistant to the three CEOs of the company. We did this mail because, as you know, LD had yesterday off because her yard ape was coming in from the east.

(And just to illustrate how the apple never falls very far from the tree, LD's mother was also absent yesterday, despite having had a flex day on Friday and calling in sick on Monday. LD's mother's absences are legendary in the office: I could start an office pool and probably make a tidy sum by getting everyone to bet on which days she is likely to take as "sick days" or how many days in any given month, something like that. If she was honestly sick, I'd be the first one in line with sympathy for her, but this is the same woman who called in sick and got caught shopping that very same day. She's the Office Douchebag known as The Malingerer. But I digress.)

So imagine my surprise when at 3:30, Boss Lady called S., my colleague, and me into her office and had us close the door. S. is a paranoic, constantly worried that she is "in shit" for something, even though she never actually does anything to warrant getting shit. I wasn't worried because we in the Support Centre are AWESOME: we have both been busting our humps doing not only our jobs but LD's as well, on top of all the extra pulling of claims that the executive have been asking us to do AND the hours of overtime we've been putting in. I mean, when I say we're awesome, I mean it: we work hard, we're dedicated, we hardly ever complain, we're punctual, pleasant, fun, efficient and accurate. And the company shows its appreciation for us in lots of little ways: it's not a big company, but it tries really hard. We're there largely because we want to be, because lemme tell ya, brothers and sisters, it aint cuz the work is so fucking stimulating.


Once we are seated and the door securely shut, Boss Lady informs S. and me that at 10:30 that very morning, LD had appeared in her office, very upset because she feels she is left to do all the mail all by herself all of the time, and on days like Monday and Tuesday, this is very hard for her to manage.

S. and I sat there in silence, absolutely gobsmacked. Mondays and Tuesdays are our heaviest mail days, that is true. For example, this Monday, we got six bins, which is about three or four thousand pieces of mail. We got the same on Tuesday. It's a lot. No doubt about it. That's why every Monday and Tuesday, I personally do half of the mail. I open, sort, datestamp and count every piece of mail from every province and territory in Canada except Ontario. That's LD's sole job. To do Ontario. While I do the rest.

But apparently, that's still too much work for her to do, and when Boss Lady suggested that she needs to hustle her ass, and quit fiddling with her fucking mp3 player, LD was incensed! Outraged! S and I just stared open-mouthed at Boss Lady as she recounted the meeting.

Sadly, because LD only has another week and a half with us, it is too late to fire her lazy bedenim-ed ass, because even if she is still doing half a person's work, it is still that little bit we DON'T have to do. (We're already pulling her claims. The filing, alas, is piling up.) And, because we cannot force her to work faster or more efficiently, Boss Lady is pulling in someone from another department to help LD open her mail on Mondays and Tuesdays.

So: let's do the math, shall we? LD was hired to take up the slack during the temporary absence of another employee. Her tasks are simple: open half of the mail on Mondays and Tuesdays, and all of the mail the rest of the week. Now, because of her incompetence and stupidity, she has been relieved of all duties except this one and, instead of taking up the slack, she has now created work for at least three other staff members, including one from outside our department.

But she was quick to reassure Boss Lady that she doesn't want S. and I to be upset with her.

I'd like to propose a vote: How many of you think I can get through the next week and a half without saying anything inflammatory to LD? Something without using the word "cunt" in it (which might get me written up).


EDIT: Or maybe the question ought to be "Should I say something inflammatory to LD"?

Monday, 1 December 2008

Cunning Stunts - The Lazy Douchebag (Work Type I)

Okay, so there's this chick at work. She's there on a temporary basis while the senior member of our little mailroom is on the west coast for a month, helping her daughter who just had a child. This chick (and I use the word advisedly) is the daughter of someone who work's in J's department, is in her early 20s and has a young child of her own. She is also one of the stupidest, laziest twunts I've ever met.

She does not converse so much as she rambles on relentlessly, usually about celebrities (she admires Britney Spears's persistence in the face of such adversity), food (the list of shit she won't eat is long and exhaustive, but she talks about it non-stop) or her various neuroses (she doesn't do anything by herself, not even go to the store, because she doesn't trust people). All of this incessant rambling is expressed with a rising inflection at the end of each phrase--you know? Like she's always asking a question? Even when she's made a statement?--and a typical sentence will contain the word "like" several times.

She's been working in our office for two weeks. In those two weeks, she has called in sick once, left early once, taken a half-day off for a doctor's appointment and is taking tomorrow off because her crotch fruit is returning from the east coast where she was visiting relatives. While she is at work, her sole responsibilities are to process the mail (which involves opening, sorting and date-stamping), pulling claims (as requested by other departments) and filing.

I perform these tasks myself on a daily basis, and I can assure you, it isn't rocket science. Yet, somehow, it all manages to elude Princess PeaBrain. I have heard her say shit such as, "Okay, if the name on this file starts with DEV, I can't just stick it in with the other DEVs? I hafta put it in the right place?" While standing in the area of the files where the end of the alphabet occurs, she has asked, "Where are the Bs?" (The answer, of course, is "After the As at the other end of the room, you loopy cunt".)

Alas, the lazy gash doesn't like filing. According to her, it's hard work. That's not true. It's tedious and time-consuming, but it's not physically difficult (although it occurs to me, she may find it mentally challenging, as no doubt she finds blinking). Therefore, she spends her entire day fucking the dog with the mail (it took her a full day to not quite complete three bins, a job which should take even a brand newbie only four or five hours) so that she can avoid the other tasks she's been assigned.

She spends so much energy avoiding the work that I swear it would be easier to just do it and get it over with. But instead, she sits crosslegged and shoeless on her office chair ("Omigawd, this chair won't stop spinning!"), reading through the claims to see what the various medical conditions are, scratches her body parts, and adjusts her mp3 player. Today, I covertly watched her process five medical claims in fifteen minutes. Her speed, both physical and intellectual, is glacial.

It makes me mental, but I could even get past this, knowing that it's only another couple of weeks before she's gone. I would just grit my teeth and do my work and half of hers.

What I cannot ignore is her vast ignorance, her paralyzing stupidity, her crippling fucktardedness. Trained as an aesthetician, her every conversation is carried on as if she was applying acrylic nails. It's trivial, it's inane, it's vapid. It is largely inarticulate and finally, it is juvenile.

Last week, she was thrilled to get tickets to see the New Bumboys On the Block concert here in town. The next day, she was gushing about Donnie Wahlberg and how he came so close to where she and her bff were sitting, and omg, at intermission they went out and bought shirts? and then when they came back? they did this song she loves? and it was, like, so awesome.

The girl with who she was speaking asked, "Did you get the shirt with all four of their faces on it?" and Twatski replied (apparently oblivious to my presence in the room), "No, I'm not that gay."

I was so stunned that I didn't say anything at the time. I was completely gobsmacked, although why I should have been, I can't imagine. Given the relative stupidity of her conversations, I might have expected such a dumb remark. And really, going to a New Kids On the Block concert (and being excited, rather than embarrassed about it) is pretty "gay", if you ask me. Nevertheless, I vowed that I would not let it pass should it occur again.

And today, it did.

Out of the blue, Lazy Douchebag asked, "Do you need a permit to have a garage sale?"

My co-worker, S., and I assured her that one does.

"That kinda sucks, eh?" observed Lazy Douchebag. "I mean, what's wrong with just opening up your garage door and letting people buy stuff? I mean, once you buy the permit, you don't have much profit. That's so gay."

My head snapped in her direction so fast, I'm sure my vertebrae made a sound like popcorn exploding.

"That's so what?" I said.

"Oh, sorry," she mumbled.

"What the fuck does that even mean?" I demanded. "How can that be 'gay'?"

"Sorry," she repeated, and I left the room, since it was time for my break anyway. I had to leave the room because I was on the verge of saying things like, "Where do you get off, using the word 'gay' like that? Would you ever say 'nigger'? Would you ever describe how you got 'jewed' out of something? Because it's the same fucking thing, you stupid cunt. Now get cracking on that mail, or I'll pound it all up your ass, envelope by envelope, until the paper cuts are so numerous and deep that your organs will drop out of your gaping hole, and your torso will be as empty as your skull evidently is."

(Of course, J.'s comment on all this is, "Except that her hole is so gaping anyway, it would take the three bins of mail to fill it up", which, for those of you who haven't figured it out yet, is proof-positive that J. is much nastier than I. I just have a mean mouth.)

Anyway, my boss (who rocks the universe) is well aware of the situation and will be having a(nother) little chat with Douchebag when she's back on Wednesday morning. Me, I've got my eyes focused on a date two weeks hence, when she's gone.

On the plus side, she's excellent copy for a character in my novel.