shoebox_dw: (butterfly resting)

So I'm sitting here, and I wanna do a Bob & Ray post to cheer myself up, but I don't really have anything. (Other than some mild curiosity about what a 'magic lantern' might involve, in 1940's usage. In the new ep I listened to today, the organist asks Ray if it's true that Mary McGoon is selling them, and suddenly they're both giggling, and Ray-as-Mary goes off on a 'giddy' falsetto ramble that has nothing to do with anything and is clearly totally baffling Bob. It's all about as vaguely disturbing as these two ever got.)

I'm sitting here a week until moving day, in a bare-ish small room made ever smaller with a scatter of cardboard boxes. For the past month we have been living in this manner, oddly reminiscent of the
Collyer brothers only with less agoraphobia. Some of the boxes are full - mostly of my favourite things - but more are empty, and all are skewed oddly in and around traffic areas. I have tripped over more cardboard in the past six weeks than...well, than most people do in six weeks, anyway. Probably in their entire lives.

Which is about as long as I'd rather go without staring at cardboard. Hideously depressing stuff, all sort of blank and...beige. Except the ones from the liquor store. Even though this is only the third move I've made in the last dozen years, boxes with wine labels on the side still raise the hackles of the thirty-odd Shoe family shuffles prior to that. Endless cast-off boxes hauling the flimsier family possessions to...houses that were still under renovation by other people when we stayed in them...OK, actually just one of those. Still, random guy tromping across our kitchen for a couple months drinking beer and muttering, that was memorable.

*shakes self* Right, enough of that. Think of new furniture, in a new room - my new room. With a door. Also, a walk-in closet, have I mentioned that? There are new shelves in there now. And new bathroom fixtures, and new appliances. I mean, the appliances aren't in the closet, of course. They're in the kitchen. Which makes it even nicer. Think too of the friends next door, with whom I am (finally) going to see Star Trek next Tuesday. And the hot potato salad Shoemom is making for the painting party Saturday.

So I'm really having angst for no particular reason at all - she tells herself, firmly. I am simply tired and cranky and blocked on that last game level on the iPod and just got back from Wal-Mart. Before that, there was an entire workday getting nothing at all done, because of a missing sample that the vendor claims is the only thing standing between fit approval and production, and why the hell are they entrusting us with their only sample in all of everywhere to begin with, don't ask, because I don't know. I am at a low ebb.

So I have been spending most of my time out in the newly summery twilights lately. Hovering somewhere in the gap between wishing fervently that something - anything - might happen, and realising that even then it might not bridge the whole. I am thinking that this may be one of the things purgatory means.

shoebox_dw: (ratatouille remy caught)

I haven't been posting this week because, frankly, this week has been absolutely nutz in RL, up to and including trying to decide how much of it could safely be posted here.

First it got busy at work, then it got crazy at work...

....then there was a Big Huge Major meeting announcement at work....

...then some stuff happened that's very likely covered by the aforementioned Privacy Policy From Hell...

...and then I got my old job back. Now with some additional pretty shiny bits.

Essentially, they decided the changes that had removed experienced people from the buying offices were probably unwise in the long run, and are putting us back. Because no corporate restructuring is complete without jargon-juggling, I am no longer an Associate but a *drumroll please!* Buyer's Assistant, reporting directly to the new Suits & Dresses buyer, and am thrilled to little tiny bits.

Not least because, when they originally demoted me to data entry clerk, I had tried to apply for a similar assistant's position but was told I couldn't be recommended for it as I wasn't qualified or experienced enough. So I clenched my teeth - hard - put my head down, and listened to my old buyer's parting advice: just look for opportunities to show yourself off, wherever they may come.
Thus here I am, six months later...and let's hear it for plain ol'hard work and perseverance, after all. I'm being hailed as the Voice of Experience, just the person needed to support the incoming buyer for one of our more important and lucrative departments. For the first time in pretty much my entire corporate career, I've 'played the game' correctly, and come out on top...or at least, not on the bottom.

Really, I'm still trying to figure out exactly how much horn-tooting this warrants in Teh Big Picture - to this longtime Dilbert reader, it sits uncomfortably in a lot of respects. But hey, I do still have a job...unlike a few of the more hard-line militants for fairness in the same vicinity. As I've always believed, there remains something to be said for doing the task well that no-one else wants to do.
shoebox_dw: (gf enlightened)
...Just in case you were wondering.

Yesterday was a very odd day at work, as I imagine most of this type are. I don't want to say anything else about it, on account of this company has a privacy policy that makes North Korea look like Happy Fun Land, and wouldn't it be just too ironic if I got fired for blogging about layoffs? Ha ha ha...whoops.

(The best part was coming home to Shoemom, who informed me that - oh, she knew I would've called, but you know - she had 'the big speech all prepared - all about how it was OK, we'd get by, you'd find a better job...' I suggested she save it, just in case. She assured me she would.)

Anyway, other than that - Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how'd you enjoy the play? - I'm having a good time filling in for my supervisor. Except of course that I have to kill him slowly, with fire, for forgetting to leave me his network password, thus condemning me to painstakingly recreate his weekly Huge All-Important Financial Report from scratch over two nerve-straining days. (It was due on the first, natch.) 

On the plus side, as I mentioned to his supervisor - hi, tact, we'll really have to get together sometime! - I've never actually had the opportunity to screw up an entire company division before.  Hilights include the moment when, just before hitting send, I decided to double-check and found I'd accidentally reversed this year and last year's sales columns. X-Treme retail admin!

But that was only the first couple days. Since then, there's been time to look around, and it's gotten interesting. I've had my first taste of management, and find it agrees with me. I'd almost forgotten my flair for trouble-shooting and devising workarounds. Once, away back when I switched buying groups, a co-worker told me that I couldn't leave, because 'you're the one we all go to to explain things!'. It feels so good to have that working for me again.

And now here I sit, still employed, and the family is fighting and the cats are cranky and it's the coldest day of the year...and I don't mind. Because there are always possibilities, after all.


Jan. 25th, 2009 09:20 pm
shoebox_dw: (mythbusters problem)
As recorded elsewhere in these pages, I'm doing pretty well at my job lately. I may be only a glorified data entry clerk, but by God I am good at it. To the point where my co-workers call me 'Speedy' a little enviously, and my supervisors say things like "oh, [Shoe], we didn't want to assign you this [urgent project], you've done so many for us already..."

So when a couple of those same supervisors asked me if they could watch me in action, to help them put together a set of time-saving guidelines for completing tasks, I naturally said sure! and bridled just a little as they settled in. This was going to be good.

Except it wasn't. I don't think. It was like...we got into the thing, and almost immediately they started frowning and giving each other odd looks and just generally behaving as if they'd like to apply some best practices right then and there. Turns out my enviable record is based on a messy patchwork of workarounds and memory cues, all of them highly idiosyncratic and none of them even remotely suitable for teaching to new trainees.

The really funny bit is that I had no idea. It was all so intuitive I just figured it was the way it was supposed to be. Now, I'm sitting here deciding whether to be mortified or not. On the one hand, I'm pretty sure I've bounced hard off the Shining Example pedestal, but on the other...well, hey, it does work, right?
shoebox_dw: (gf amazing talents)
....Specifically, I am the proud recipient of a 'You Made a Difference' plaque for having completed the most 'tasks' - inventory records created/edited, basically - in the month of October. (Never mind that I pretty much only got it because the actual fastest guy was off for the last two weeks on paternity leave. I was running him really close before that, believe you me.)

The point to focus on here is that the honour came with a $50 gift card. This, as you might expect, tickled me no end, especially since no-one had any idea the prize was even being awarded in the first place. It was like the universe just suddenly went, "Dull, grey Wednesday? No problem! Here, have some free money!"

Catching the spirit of the thing, I immediately went out and blew it all on one DKNYC silk tunic tank. (No, not from Macy's. I work at the Hudson's Bay Company head offices here in Canada, and just occasionally we take off our parkas indoors.)

I loves me my tank, because it is kingfisher blue and twilight, and it makes my eyes look silver. It makes me look overall like the kind of person who has occasion to wear such stuff on a regular basis. Just admiring myself in the bathroom mirror @ Shoe Central I am inspired to tackle any remaining obstacle to getting it outdoors. After all, how hard can working up a social life be, anyway?
shoebox_dw: (peanuts afraid)
Cool random linkage of the week: From LJ-friend [ profile] rpk  comes this lovely clever little time-waster, riffing off famous fantasy first lines. (In the inevitable guess-the-source game, I made about 75%.)

Speaking of random postings...when I chortled at that PBS strip below, I had no idea it would prove prophetic. I probably should have, given I was about to deal with Bell Canada, but there you are - I'm ever the naiive trusting type when it comes to telecommunications giants who have my Net access in their hands. It's my own personal kryptonite. "Oh, yes, please please please take wads of my money! You need a firstborn? Hey, fork over that list of approved adoption methods!"

The coherent version of this story begins when we recently tried to switch phone carriers while retaining our internet service with Bell. After all, we'd had no complaints...until now. I do not at all wish to denigrate the inhabitants of whatever fine Southeast Asian nation now handles their phone support, so let's just say there is apparently no close translation for "Yes, we are switching phone carriers and would like you to set up a dedicated phone line for our DSL service", let alone (a day or two after this was supposed to have happened) "No, we didn't want to set up a new account, we wanted a new phone line for the old one!"

Anyway, after several phone-hours of runaround, we called the new carrier, all humble-like, and said "Um, can we please have an internet connexion?" and they said "Sure, take this setup CD and expect the guy at 11am tomorrow [Sunday]." And lo, without further fuss or pother, it was so. Thank you, Rogers Communications; you may be an equally uncaring, slipshod monopoly as a cable carrier, but as a Net provider, I have nothing but praise to heap at your feet. P.S. - Shoemom just lurves the new AOL-style customisable browser, too. After I spent an entire evening customising it for her, but still. The 'Mountain' template is "so relaxing!"

My other major excuse for not posting as much as I should this month involves the office situation. No, not The Office situation, although I freely offer myself as a consultant next time they want to explore the depths of the complete and total chaos that results when a six-person admin pool is reduced through various comings, goings and crises to four, then three, then two, Sorry, there is no short version of this one. If I had to suffer through it, you have to read it, capisce?

Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (garfield schweitzer)
 So I'm typing this from my Granshoes' ancient 256MB Random Small-Town Computer Store Build, which gets no further attention from year to year except when my preteen cousins are jonesing for the Jones Brothers.

It's not that my grandfather is afraid of new technology; simply utterly, serenely conscious of having lived 85 years without it. A snappy young salesman managed to entice him with the prospect of on-demand photos of the grandkids, but repented in tears and ashes upon trying to explain the concept of 'opening email attachments' shortly thereafter. 
At which point the [theoretically] adoring eldest grand-daughter was hauled in ('[Shoe]'s so good with computers!'), apparently just because the Creator has a quirky sense of humour. The number of times I've tried to explain, say, Media Player to this man, only to be greeted with a stone wall of "Yes, dear...hmmm...why, that's a good idea...hmmmm..." would surely make Bill Gates cry.

Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (i need a hug)
 Man, it’s quiet around here (the office) today. Boredom is when you start checking Statcounter every hour-on-the-hour to see if anyone’s responded to your blogging brilliance.
Wednesday is when you keep seeing zeroes.
Seriously, what do we need a midweek for anyhow? Why can’t we skip straight from Tuesday (still pleasantly engaged and proactive) to Thursday (almost the weekend, yay!)? I mean, I’d still be carefully organizing order worksheets in a binder and calling it meaningful employment, but at least it’d be over way faster.
…Yeah, sorry, the work thing is starting to poke thru the distraction thing again. Awhile ago, my boss came back from HR to tell me that there’ll almost certainly be a spot for me come August; the trick was keeping myself at the top of the waiting list. In short, while I was of course free to explore my options at any time, the current best option here was that I should just stick my nose to a hard substance and wait it out. Come August, if it didn’t work out, the market would still be wide open.


Apr. 16th, 2008 03:28 pm
shoebox_dw: (lucy)
So I haven’t been spending all my time lately extracting double-entendres from perfectly harmless comic media. I’ve also been very busy trying to avoid calling stores to make sure their contest signs are up.
…Long story. Let’s just say the boss is on vacation and left some makework projects for when things got slow, and this is the last one. I’m not one of the people for whom the prospect of spending lots of time on the phone is an ideal morale-booster at any time, and especially not while trying to figure out if I still care about this job generally.
The past few weeks my imagination – while not otherwise occupied with ensuring my resume gives the impression that, when an employer says ‘Call those stores,’ I immediately hop to - has been soaring pleasantly afield from retail, to publishing or library science or similar academia…especially since an HR-type friend told me I could probably substitute experience for actual halls of ivy in most cases. Maybe I could just print out this blog and go from there…
Which reminds me, thank you much everyone who offered those nice comments to my original post on the subject. I hadn’t even thought about a history-related job before that, and you see where it’s led? (No, not there! Geez.)
shoebox_dw: (self discovery)
So I got far enough in my grand scheme of revenge - you remember, the one where I flit back onto the Kalan Porter fan forums just long enough to post a link to the PopMatters article and "Who's unreadable now, hey?! Hah-hah-hah-hahhhhhhh!" - to try and sign back up. But the confirmation email hasn't come thru after two days, so I guess I've been fairly thwarted.
Probably this is a good thing, as choosing the username 'shoebox2' indicates I'm not exactly cut out as a master criminal anyway. I feel a little bad, thinking of all the people whose nominations I've now permanently scotched just because they might think some variant of 'shoe' would make a cool username. Sorry, guys.

As penance I will just mention that I did finally check out the most recent video on [personal profile] shing 's blog - the one that offered Single, tambourines and Michael Jackson all in one go - and boy it did not disappoint. In fact I submit this to be the most original piece of film ever captured of an ex-Idol anywhere, unless somebody can finally unearth that long-promised footage of Clay Aiken kicking puppies.

Frankly it has the potential to revive my Porter fanhood in something very very close to its former glory... assuming he fulfils my fantasies of performing it just once more, this time without lyrics at all, just the tambourine and that half-interested smirk. After which he becomes a practitioner of Kabbalah, also a vegetarian, and upon returning from retreat - having made headlines by dragging with him a girlfriend whose name he has tattooed on his bicep, and who was trying to sneek controlled substances through Customs - records a CD consisting of  the most whacked-out pretentious electronica ever, the kind where the videos involve ironic homages to classic children's stories, and I will promptly march right out and buy fifteen copies I do solemnly swear.


Meanwhile. It's been quite a week here @ Shoe Central. Thus far I've been concentrating on the good bits, which have been mindblowingly good no question...but there comes a time at which you have to put aside pleasant daydreams and start focussing on the stuff that matters. Either that, of course, or you have to find better daydreams. In an odd way, the current job situation promises quite a bit of both, over the next while.

shoebox_dw: (holly hare)

So I've spent the past few days (when not curled up in the foetal position, whining and wheezing) exploring one of the bigger problems you encounter writing a weekly column - or at least, a weekly conglomeration of thoughts you're pleased to call a column. Namely, coming up with things to conglom about.

It's not a shortage of ideas, per se; I've started up any number of promisingly thoughful trains...only to have them fizzle and die not much further down the tracks. Clearly I need to come up with more interesting concepts, or possibly just be more interesting period. The quest to find out which it was naturally led me back around to my many and varied influences.

Didn't work. Or rather, worked all too well. By the time I was half-way through the list of workaday idols, it became clear that all of them had either had or were in the process of having really interesting-/exciting-/amusing-incident-filled lives, to the point where my own random irritation with movie posters in the subway was starting to make even Arthur Black look like a raconteur on par with Twain. The only major exception was Dave Barry, but I'm really not into either booger jokes or beer, strong indulgence in the latter I suspect is necessary to make the former that funny anyhow.

I found myself spiralling down through the depths of recall, calling forth every random regular bit of newsprint I'd ever read, finally landing up back in my pre-teen-hood. We had a subscription to the Toronto Sun for a few years...

That's when it hit me. Potpourri Guy.

shoebox_dw: (Default)
What a fabulous Winter Games this has been.

And I'm not just saying that because Todd Bertuzzi was the goat in the men's hockey disaster. (Yeah, he's done the NHL time for his crime. That still doesn't make it right that he should be gunning for world gold while Steve Moore's still struggling to focus on the telecast.)

No, it's because, as I feel compelled to remind the readership at least once a week, I work for Hbc - OK, the Hudson's Bay Company. They're hoping to tactfully ditch the full name, thanks. On the same basic principles as KFC, except our coolness-preventing stereotypes are named Pierre instead of Sanders.

Let’s face it, ordinarily this job never ranks high on the Forbes 500 Coolest lists. I don’t even get to work on the potentially glamourous projects; all those are over at the Bay. Tell people you work for Zellers, on the other hand, and you inevitably become the sounding board for years of consumer gunginess, not infrequently involving bodily fluids.
 “Oh, Shoe, it’s OK…” you are now thinking sympathetically. “At least your family and friends are supportive and proud!” Yeah, well, all props for thinking positively. At least remote acquaintances feel the need to murmur ‘I’m sure it’s not your fault, but…” before launching into the epic tale of Aunt Millie’s New Caftan and the Mystery Stain: “…we had to ask the girl twice before she’d get off the phone and tell that man to put the rottweiler back on the leash!"

Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (i need a hug)
I’ve decided I want some sympathy. Oh, nothing dramatic; I’m modest that way, and besides, I don’t have the budget for a really spectacular fundraiser. No lawsuits, no Dateline stories, no theme weeks at the UN.

No, all I’m looking for is some simple assurance that it isn’t my fault, I’ve been so badly done by. A few pats on the back, tsk noises optional but most welcome. Favourable relisations/comparisons re: how good you have it. Maybe a touch of awe over how well I cope, considering…
Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (Default)
...and the cats are bored.

They express this in inimitable feline fashion, sitting with their backs to us, staring out the balcony doors. Stymied not only by multiple snowdrifts - hey, even wet paws are acceptable if you're desperate enough for quality prowling time - but by the glittering green shards of Perrier bottles sticking up out of the grimy whiteness.
After a recent trip to Costco, you see, Shoemom obeyed received wisdom and stuck her six-pack out there to keep it nicely cool. Forgetting, in her enthusiasm, that other wisdom she'd received about carbonated beverages and sub-zero temperatures. In February, apparently, even fizzy water is too exciting for the universe to handle.

So the cats sit and stare. Except that every now and then they glance back and give one of those mews that indicates all-encompassing bewilderment with the state of their existence, and more pertinently, human inability to fix it. "No," we patiently explain, "in the three minutes since the last time you asked, spring has not arrived." Patiently explaining things to life-forms who routinely drink out of the toilet is another standard feature of February.

But it isn't enough, eventually, because we are members of a higher race, and thus it is our duty to keep our brain cells from their ongoing attempts to hibernate. So we open the paper.

News item: 'The Santa Barbara International Film Festival to present Leonardo DiCaprio with lifetime achievement award".
Quick check of the IMDb. Yes, Leonardo is still thirty. He still is the star of Growing Pains, and Critters 3. And he still has that mouth that looks like a particularly spoiled sixteen-year-old-girl's.

We glance at the paper. The cats glance around, and mew. We glance at the paper again. Then back at the cats.

"Move over."

February wins for another year.


As a former book superstore employee I can testify to the incredibly common practice of parents dropping the small kids off in the children's section, saying something dumb like "OK, now, Mommy's going to look in the grown-up books, you stay there," and heading off to an entirely different section of the store - completely out of eye- or even ear-range - without a backwards glance. It took a rash of incidents involving pedophiles in our chain for 'concerned caregivers' to get the message.

Some other $tupid Bookstore Customer Tricks (which of course nobody reading this would ever stoop to): Read more... )


shoebox_dw: (Default)

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