Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yeah well, review THIS

You know it's going to be a great morning when the following three things hit you in succession:

1. You wake up late for work because you're knee deep in a dream wherein you spot Barbara Walters hyperventilating in the middle of a suburban street. Instead of running to her aid, or calling an ambulance, or even asking her how she can even STAND TO BE IN JOY BEHAR'S PRESENCE EVERY MORNING, you swoop down and steal her dog. That's right, YOU STOLE BABA WAWA'S DOG.

2. Once you wake up and shake off that monumental weirdness, you pull into the parking lot at work...where you promptly drop your company laptop on the blacktop. No one's going to notice that dent in the right corner when you turn this thing back in on the day of your inevitable firing, right?

3. You get to your desk, plug in the machine, and, mercifully, it works. But then you get this unwarranted, unsolicited, and frankly UNCOOL email from a co-worker. Not even a boss... just...a co-worker:

"Hi,
Just a heads up (some information from our Test Case creation guidelines):

  • Analyst e-mails Client at least 48 hrs prior to the Test Case Review Meeting to notify Client that the test cases are ready for review
  • Documentation will be committed to shared folder; Client will pull documentation from shared folder
  • E-mail identifies the shared folder and filename(s) of each test case document
  • E-mail may be the meeting invitation or may be a separate e-mail
  • Documentation includes the following – all should be submitted at the same time:
    Test Matrix (if applicable)
    UC Test Cases
    UI Test Cases
  • Client reviews test case documentation prior to Test Case Review Meeting
  • Client reviews for test case coverage and content issues (inaccurate/incomplete test cases)

    Also, you should reserve a meeting room for the Test Case Review Meetings. That way anyone else that would like to or anyone else that is delegated to attend the meeting besides those you invited can come to the meeting.

    This is just a bit of advice for you. If all of the analysts are following the same guidelines it works out better for all of us as one team. I know it is sometimes hard working in an environment where we are not employees but are contractors and therefore need to handle ourselves more professionally and differently than if we were employees. I liked it better when I was an employee and felt more comfortable but having been working for this company for almost 16 years, I have kind of gotten used to having to handle things a little differently.

    Take Care. "


    WELL GUESS WHAT. IF I WORKED HERE FOR 16 YEARS I'D BE DEAD.
    Because I would have hung myself with a projector cord in said meeting room.

    Everyone complains about how busy they are - how overloaded and overworked they are and how our managers micromanage - and then my own teammate sends me something this nitpicky, obviously taking the time out of her morning to check my schedule, find fault with the way I'd set up a meeting (at the client's desk...because that's where she prefers to have them), take the time to find these archaic guidelines NO ONE uses, and email them to me.

    I admit I've never taken direction very well (Sorry Mom. Sorry Dad). But if I were going to start, it would not be because someone sent me this kind of email.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Unlikely Friendship

I have a friend from the interwebz.
I can’t tell you her name, because it’s exactly the same as mine. First and last.
…which is the only reason we are friends:
We have almost identical email addresses.

For a while a couple years back, people would mention that they had sent things to me and I would have to tell them that they were crazy because I was not receiving anything.
And then one day, the mystery was solved.

A friend at the time, Michael, emailed “me” something. But it went to the wrong email address, and a girl responded saying, “Hey- just wanted to let you know you have the wrong person. This happens a lot.”
And he responded indignantly, “Well, what do you do with all her emails?”
And she replied, “Uh…nothing?”
And he actually chastised her and said, “What if those were important! What if it were life and death! You should have tried to find her on Facebook!” and generally just made her feel terrible, and after getting ahold of me via other methods, provided my correct email address to her.

So now, this darling girl from New Hampshire, who happens to share my first and last names, forwards me my errant emails diligently.
Thus far, here are a smattering of emails she has been unfortunate enough to have to read, and then pass on:

  • A girlfriend’s conversation with her mother, that I should date her brother.
    (“So we were in the middle of my birthday dinner enjoying some tapas when my mother piped up ‘What about that ____ for your brother?’ Not only did my mother like you, she wants you to date and then marry my older brother. Think about it.”)
  • Strict instructions on bridesmaid duties and festivity planning.
  • Mass announcements of new email addresses.
  • One announcement from an amiga who is back in the states from teaching abroad, followed by a multiple paragraph analysis of her time spent there.
  • A less tactful request for guests to volunteer to help decorate a reception hall between the wedding and reception. (When forwarded, she said, “Thank god this is for you and not me. I first had a heart attack that I had forgotten a wedding (I already have 5 this summer!!) and I have been roped into special volunteer activities for 4/5 weddings!!”)
  • Pictures of me (at bars, usually drinking).


And last, but certainly not least:

  • A labor and delivery series of announcements from my married friends who included, in detailed fashion, information on cervical dilation in quantifiable measurements.

    This poor girl, my name twin, has been not only subjected to these nuisances in her Inbox (which I would be terribly miffed about- I take my Gmail very seriously) but then takes the time to forward them on to me, and often times will reply to the original email for me, gently informing them that the intended recipients middle initial is missing from the address.

    And then I feel bad for my friends, who have spilled their guts, their plans, their rants and schedules to a total stranger.
    My name twin could be a stalker. She could be a baby killer. An identity thief. A powerful businesswoman with hiring power. A Facebook addict, religiously hunting down offenders and memorizing their Interests and Favorite Quotes. An online serial dater … Any number of personality types you wouldn’t want to have your email address coupled with personal information about your life or cervix.

    But more likely than not, she’s just irritated that when she goes to check her email, sometimes her only unread messages are spam, coupons, or intimate details about people she doesn’t know.


Let’s respect the name twins of the world and double-check our emails before we send them.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What I Really See When I Read Emails

Here is a screen shot of my email at work (my thoughts are outlined in vivid color):







Yes, it's true... we have a FOUR HOUR LONG "Ambiguity Training" tomorrow morning at 8AM.

Is this a training on how to BE ambiguous? Or are we being versed in how to NOT be ambiguous? If that's the case, wouldn't it make sense to practice what you preach in scheduling such trainings?!
This obviously makes me want to scalp someone.

Especcccially because this meeting is to be held in the Shasta room at the buildling, which is entirely unfair as some of my best memories of life entirely have come from time spent on Shasta Lake:



Siiiigggggghhhhhhh

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Black Keys - Tighten Up

Music videos are hard to make, because, they're usually stupid.

This one is kind of stupid, but, the song is so good I already posted it here a few months ago, and at least the concept is cute and doesn't take itself too seriously.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Training Wheels

My good friend is dating a new guy. Well, technically, he's a man, as he's 35 - 11 years her senior.

She is adorably gushing to me about him over our favorite snack - popcorn and red wine- specifically his maturity, confidence, and ability to articulate his feelings for her so boldly and honestly.

I make a face.
"You know," I say, "I'm sure he is WONDERFUL, don't get me wrong. But, do you think that maybe part of the reason he's so great...is that he's 35? Like, he was probably a complete idiot when he was in his early twenties like all the other guys we've dated, you know?"

"OH," she says wide eyed, "I KNOW. That's so true."

"I mean, give our ex-boyfriends until 35 and I am sure they'll somehow end up as perfectly functioning, respectful, restrained, smarter men... at least, I certainly HOPE they'll have their acts together by then."

"No, you're right." She continues, "He has even said, 'I want my future wife to be able to write my ex-girlfriends a Thank You letter, eventually, since they've absolutely made me the man I am today.' and if it's me, I am totally going to do it."

I shake my head, with a tired smile.
"I better be getting a BIG thank you letter...maybe a giant cardboard check, too, since basically I feel like what I've got right now is a t-shirt that says 'I Made ____ a great boyfriend for someone else and all I got was this stupid therapy bill.'"

We have a good laugh about it, and then I add, "You know what, though? No. If I was that ex-girlfriend getting that letter, I would be PISSED."

We finish our glasses, and lick the bowl clean, and hug goodbye.

While falling asleep, I think about what that letter would look like, what it would say. Whose handwriting it would be in, or if it would be a Facebook message, full of exclamation points and little smiley faces.

"Thank u sooo much for being such a good sport for all those years and taking all the crap that ___ gave u. I think he really learned how to be a kind, loving, honest person from u and I can't thank u enough. All ur tears were totally worth it!! LOL We r sooooo happy :) and it wouldntve happened without u! Love u :) :) :) P.S. U are coming to the wedding, rite?!?"

I stifle the urge to throw up, and just decide if I ever get a letter like that, someone's getting anthrax for a wedding present.
Hypothetically, speaking, of course.

But seriously: fair warning.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Slightly Less Official Summer 2010 Cut

In honor of the only real sunny day of the year we had on Saturday, which happened to be The Redhead's unparalleled birthday bash, here's a fun, saccharine dose of summer for you:



"Watch the Sun Come Up (Fred Falke remix)" - Example

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stalker Stalking

I think I've contracted my Dad's "Everday Hero" syndrome.
It could be hereditary, or an unfulfilled niche in my life.

We like saving/helping/fixing, and the more bad-ass the mission, the better.

Our latest (self-assigned) assignment was what drove us both to our laptops, frenetically but methodically poring over public records, social networking sites, and sex offender registries at 12:45 AM Wednesday night.

It all started in church on Sunday, when the newest class of New Members was applauded and introduced. One of the men was in his early 50s, gray at the temples, but not unpleasant looking.

My mom thought of her similarly single friend at the church, and leaned forward to whisper to another friend in the pew ahead of her.

"Hey, maybe there's someone for Sara to date?"
Her friend whispered back, "No. I don't think that would be a good idea."
"What? Why not?"
"Well, he's Tami's stalker."
"WHAT?!" she whispered hoarsely.
"I'll tell you at breakfast!"

So over breakfast, my mother's friend related how her daughter-in-law, Tami, had acquired the attentions of this man.

Tami works as a manager in a local coffee shop.
This man, whom we will refer to as SAM (Suspicious And Malicious), frequents this coffee shop. He is one of those people who actually works from the coffee shop as a consultant or some such nonsense job he can perform while taking up space in someone's business, arrogantly assuming his $2.50 Americano will suffice as rent payment for the day.
He is there so much he's a Regular, now.
And Regulars get to know the baristas, and the managers, and the other Regulars. But no matter your interminable presence, it is not polite to cross privacy boundaries in getting to know these people. You occupy a shared public space during the day; you buy coffee from them; you annoy them with your animated cell phone conversations, but other than that, it is generally acknowledged you keep to yourself.

SAM takes to talking to Tami. Further, he takes to hitting on Tami.
Tami makes it very clear that she is not interested: she is married, and happily so.
His passes persist.
She is more firm with him, and then he takes to hitting on one of the young baristas.
Tami consults with her own manager, and gets permission to start documenting incidents involving SAM.
His attentions get so aggressive that after enough recorded events, Tami has corporate permission to tell SAM he is no longer welcome at that location.

A few weeks later, Tami hears that he has started frequenting the shop again, but only on her days off.
She catches him one day, and he says to her, "Okay okay. Well, I've joined Mark's church. "
Tami balks. She narrows her eyes, tenses, and asks, "Excuse me?" This is the name of the pastor at our church. She presses him, "You mean Lakeview Christian?" He shakes his head, "No, Pastor Mark's church."
Tami processes this information with a steely exterior, betraying no sign of recognition or disturbance. She walks away.

Later that evening, she and her husband make a non-emergency call to the police.

"Oh, that guy? Ohhh yeah. We know about him. Lotta complaints about him. Thanks for letting us know, and please inform us of any further developments."

Then, Tami emails Pastor Mark.
She isn't quite sure what to say or insinuate, and doesn't want to falsely accuse or point a finger, but she also wants to feel safe in her own church, and relates the events to Pastor Mark.
Minutes after sending the email, he replies: "Can I call you?"
As soon as she writes back, "Yes," with her number, the phone rings.

Apparently SAM had raised the hackles of Pastor Mark and staff as well, and there was a sort of uneasiness about his new membership, as well as the rapidity with which he had gained it by taking all of the classes and commitments in a very short and intense timeline.

So with all of this information divulged over breakfast (at which I was not present), I can only imagine the fervor with which the wheels were turning in my Dad's head.
I can imagine them because they were turning in mine, as soon as he told ME all of this.

"I think we should check to see if he's a registered sex offender," Dad says.
"I'll check Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn....see what we can drudge up on him," I say.

We sit, typing and murmuring.

"OH!" I exclaim, "Got him! Is this him?"
Dad scrutinizes the face in the profile picture. We scan his About Me and Quotes sections, which are public, and full of slightly off-putting things for a grown man to include in a summation of himself:


"I have loved to the point of madness, that which is called madness, that which
to me, is the only sensible way to love"

"The moment people fall in love, they become liers" [sic]

"Life is short…………. Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile."

"Ewwww" we both groan, rolling our eyes. This guy is officially a weirdo. Plus, of his 54 Facebook friends, 90% are single women with names like, "Sweet D," "Ava Chanel," "Baby Gurl." Their profile pictures are not safe for work.

Upon further searching, we find a Flickr account full of pictures of his dogs. We search sex offender registries in Oregon and California.

My dad admits he actually went into the coffee shop where Tami works to see if he could spot the guy and get an ID on him. He found one obnoxious and aggressive guy, but decided it wasn't SAM... but that he didn't like that other guy, either.

Ultimately, we find nothing incriminating.

I think we're both a little disappointed, and sheepish about it.
But make no mistake, the world is safer because of our efforts.

At least, we'd like to think so.