Friday, November 25, 2005

paradise regained

I never would have believed it possible, but the unimaginable has happened.
Me, ben, die hard Modblogger has found a new home.
This one is comfortable and fits like a glove...no glove, no love!
It is warm and user friendly...even to uneducated non-geeky users like me.
I found my way around with no help and I am in love with the features...it easily rivals those of MB.

The community is still small and very personable. The leader (Keith) is friendly and responds quickly to questions queries and conundrums.
I am very impressed.

We have set up a MB refugee camp...that for some of us may become permanent residences.
I am a happy blogger again.
:)

http://blog.efx2.com/user/benthere/

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

there's something about karma

...or new heads on the block

Let’s talk turkey…and I don’t mean in the American Thanksgiving form of the bird.
I would however like to wish my friends in the lower 48 a happy day of overindulgence, Xmas shopping and football…because that was what the pilgrims had in mind.
I am not judging!
I think I got drunk and had wild sex to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving…though because I was drunk, perhaps I only imagined the sexploits.
Either way I did not consume bird…though I do have that fantasy too.

This is my last week of work at the sweat shop. It’s been below freezing here for several days now, so there isn’t a lot of sweating going on, but a shiver shop would likely not have quite the same connotation for painful employment.
I had every intention of spending this week doing fuck all. The bitches can’t exactly fire me. Unfortunately I have been charged with the training of the wife of boss number two.

The cliché says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but the truth is you can’t teach an old trick my job. I have no idea what that means. I may or may not be drunk.
The woman is a bout as sharp as a grape…and about as whiney…winey?...too.

Let’s call her Mary. This is not her real name; I am not protecting her identity. I am protecting myself from a slander suit…which coincidentally looks much like a zoot suit, but without those mutinous wide lapels. There is no riot like a zoot suit riot. I have no fucking idea what a zoot suit even is, but I wanted to work the letter “z” into this post five times.
The letter is seriously underused.
Ask not why…ask why not!

Mary is like a hummingbird on acid.
She’s nice enough, even kind of funny…as in to laugh with, not at…though both certainly apply. I like her, we get along pretty well and have had more than a few good chats and giggles this week…usually at the expense of others…which further endears her to me.
She just can’t sit still. She is always moving, if not her body then her hands or feet. When she is forced to stop for a moment her face begins to involuntarily twitch and contort.
It is freakish.

She has the patience and retention of an incontinent gnat. Mary has difficulty with the alphabet, filing causes naught but confusion. She has no concept of cash, change or numbers at all. She cashed out last night, she put the money in the box and into the safe, and this morning she took the box out of the safe. No hands touched it in the meantime. She counted the float as she put it into the till to find it was forty dollars short. Mary was convinced someone had messed with it…just to fuck with her.
I might have had I thought about it, but alas was not feeling particularly malicious this morning. We decided an error was made in petty cash and replaced the missing money from there. Tonight when she cashed out, the till was over by the same amount.
She is certain there is a conspiracy. She blames her husband.
I blame the fact that she can’t add in her head or use a calculator…I would buy her an abacus, but I fear even that would be beyond her…she prefers to count on her fingers.


I am like the queen of slackers; I could write a book about slacking. In fact I think at Modblog over the past two years I pretty much have. I keep saying I would love nothing more than to be paid to write, and the truth is I just quit a job that allowed me enough spare time and internet usage that I indeed was being paid while I blogged.
What kind of fucking moron quits that kind of job? Me.

I shake my head.

That made me dizzy.

Ok, once more…wheeeeee.

I really am not drunk…it’s just been a long anxiety filled week. If I had started the new job immediately upon accepting it I would be fine, this in between time has given me…not second thoughts so much as full blown raging panic attacks.
I am leaving behind a job that I, even when slacking, excel at. A position that some days is incredibly busy and stressful while many more are leisurely hours of reading, writing and internet. I am heading into the great unknown, the world of publishing, Macs and graphic design...and for the same money to boot!
Did I take this job just for the title?

“Hi, my name is ben, I am a graphic designer.”

This week training Mary the vunder-blonde has made me even more afraid.
Karma is a bitch, and she is knocking on my door.

Monday I become Mary.

I will be the one getting my nose rubbed in my pee when I make a mistake. I will be the one the other kids are laughing at when I do or say something stupid. I will be the one causing frustration and the urge to chug a bottle of Jack when they can’t get something through my thick skull. I will be the one causing my trainer to post a blog about what an idiot I am…”The dim-witted bitch thinks a ‘page break’ means she can go get a cup of coffee and a snack!”

I have earned every ounce of scorn and contempt my new co-workers will bestow on me.
I will own every snicker and guffaw made at my expense, and I will happily bear whatever sarcasm and mockery they send my way.
Still I move on with excitement and hope.
I will hold my head high, confident in the knowledge that soon enough someone greener than me will be hired and I will return to my rightful role of supremacist and scorner.
I hope.

This post really had nothing to do with turkey after all.
I don’t eat the foul fowl, but I do like chicken, and I love the occasional goose.
W00t!
Happy TG day land o’ Bush…and not the good kind.
Celebrate hearty and wear a fez!
Yes, five times!!

ben

Monday, November 21, 2005

satisfaction brought it back

I just received an email from my Goddaughter. Usually when I see that it has been carbon copied to everyone in her guestbook I delete it without bothering to read it. The kids are notorious for forwarding shit. I scrolled down out of bored curiosity to discover it was not a chain letter, but a petition.
Again, I never sign these things or pass them on, but I read the tale anyway.

"IF YOU DON'T SIGN THIS THEN YOU ARE SICK! This is so terrible. A site that we were able to shut last year hasreturned We have to try to shut it down again! (www.bonsaikitten.com) AJapanese man in New York breeds and sells kittens that are calledBONSAI CATS. That would sound cute, if it weren't kittens that wereput into little bottles after being given a muscle relaxant and thenlocked up for the rest of their lives!! The cats are fed through astraw andhave a small tube for their faces. The skeleton of the cat will take onthe form of the bottle as the kitten grows. The cats never get theopportunity to move. They are used as original and exclusive souvenirs.These are thelatest trends in NewYork, China, Indonesia and New Zealand. If youthink you can handle it, go to this site www.bonsaikitten.com and have alookat the methods being used to put these little kittens into bottles.This petition needs 500 names, so please put your one name on it!!! Copy thetext into a new email and put your name on the bottom, then send it toeveryone you know!"

I thought, yeah, whatever, another bullshit scam for spammers to find the suckers among us.
I went to the website. It was indeed what the letter had stated. I clicked on Gallery and was immediately mortified to see the pic of a kitten in a bottle. I heaved at the thought of this poor kitten doomed to live his life in a jar. I was disturbed and sickened. I close the window and set about writing to the SPCA and PETA or more likely to simply voice my outrage on my blog.

I began with a furious scathing line about the kind of sick twisted fuck would do something like this. How could something so disgusting be tolerated? Then I decided I needed to choke back my revulsion and vomit and inform myself completely before involving the pet protection authorities or looking like a complete moron for believing everything I read and see on the internet. I should know better.
I swallowed hard as I re-opened the page and began to read the method behind this madness.

"At only a few weeks of age, a kitten's bones have not yet hardened and become osseous. They are extremely soft and springy. In fact, if you take a week-old kitten and throw it to the floor, it will actually bounce! We do not recommend that you try this at home. The kitten may bounce under the furniture and be difficult to retrieve, as well as covered in unsightly household dust."

I believed it would be possible to feed a kitten in a bottle through a straw, but how would they remove the waste?
They had an answer for that as well.

"Left to its own devices, the kitten would quickly fill its vessel with its own urine and feces, leading to certain sickness and death, not to mention the inevitably unpleasant appearance and odor. The best solution is to seal the kitten's anus with Super Glue prior to insertion, and then insert a waste tube through a third hole in the vessel. As the kitten's body is still developing, a natural rectal diverticulum will soon form around the tube, which can be drained in any convenient fashion. It's just like a kitty colostomy bag!"

By the time I got to super glue I was laughing and beginning to realize this was indeed a joke. The more I read the more I laughed, as much at my own naïveté as at the actual content. I wonder if perhaps the email my Goddaughter sent to me was initiated by the Bonsai Kitty people themselves.
Sheer brilliance.
This whole thing has given me cause to ponder creating for myself a Bonsai hubby, perhaps in the shape of Vin Diesel.
Hmmm, now where did I put that super glue?

ben

Saturday, November 19, 2005

paper trial

Once again the fickle foot of irony has crept up behind me and kicked me in the ass.

I have been very honest about my feelings for my local newspaper. I think it is shit.
It is usually full of unnecessary and irrelevant garbage; there is little human interest…which in my opinion is what a small town paper should be…and too much politics and religion. There have been too many misquotes and blatant errors, the editing has been sorely lacking and there have been some bad judgment calls regarding what is newsworthy.

I have never been shy about voicing my contempt for the rag…online or off.
I do not subscribe, though on occasion when I stop in to visit my mother I will read her copy, but I never pay for it. Usually I regret doing so as I inevitably find something that irks me.

I have known the publisher of the paper for a few years. I was her daughter's Girl Guide leader, and she is friends with my cousin. I have always liked her, despite my thoughts regarding her paper. Recently I did a small job for her with which she seemed very happy. Apparently I impressed her more than I realized.

Monday she came to see me at work and offered me a job.
She wants me to be her new graphic designer. I told her I have no training or experience in the field. She said she knew that, but it is really not so different from what I do currently and she feels I am more than capable of learning the position.
She told me of the great benefit package, bonuses and perks…including a gym membership…HA! Like I will ever use that!
Financially it is a lateral move, with the promise of a raise within a year. It has been two and a half years since my last raise…I think I can wait a few more months.

As much as I have been hating my job lately and was excited by the offer, some thoughts held me back. I am good at what I do; I am comfortable, confident and more than capable. I have some trepidation that I may not be cut out for…paperwork.
The publisher warned me that people either love or hate the business. If I hate it I am back walking the streets…looking for work, not hooking. I am good at sex, but it would be much less rewarding if it became about money…like an artist who paints masterpieces for the joy of it, but loses his inspiration when he has to do it to pay the rent.

After two nights without sleep and two days hemming and hawing over the decision, I made an appointment to see her. I told her I was afraid that three months down the road she would be kicking herself wondering what the fuck she had been thinking. They use programs that I have never heard of on Macs which I have never used, in a field that is completely foreign to me. She laughed and said, “No, you will learn the technical stuff, it is your personality that I think will work well here. I can see you being one of my senior people in no time.”

Then she asked me if I wanted to write.
I had previously given this some thought. She knows I love to write and that I have a blog and a column, though she does not…and will not as I have bashed her paper there…know where to find them.
I told her, “No.”
She seemed surprised, but I went on to explain that I would rather learn the job she has hired me to do first. Once I am comfortable with the paper and all that my job entails then perhaps we can talk about it. She does want to read a few things that I have written, which is exciting and frightening for me at the same time. My blog friends are very complimentary regarding what I write and I appreciate their support always. I swallow hard at the prospect of being read by a professional, she will know whether I have any talent for real or if what I write is shit.

I have no journalism education, experience or aspirations, but suddenly I am overwhelmed with the excitement of the possibilities.
This was a wooly mammoth of an opportunity that was just handed to me.
I am terrified and uncertain of my abilities, but I could not let such an opportunity pass me by.

I took the job.

My bosses took it better than I expected them too. I guess I was hoping they would fall on the floor crying or start throwing money at me and beg me to stay. They were surprisingly supportive. There has been talk of selling the business and they realize that I am looking out for my own best interests and they don’t begrudge me that. They realize what a tremendous chance this could be for me and know that at the paper I will have room to grow and advance, where I am so proficient at my current position that I have been stagnating for some time. Still, boss number two made a crack about how I will come crawling back after a couple weeks, and they have both taken to calling me “Quitter”. There are certainly many things I will miss about that place, the music primarily, but there are so many more things I am thrilled to be leaving behind.

So yes, I am a total hypocrite. I have accepted a position at a newspaper that I have done nothing but “rag” on. My thought is that maybe rather than bitch about it, I can make it better from the inside. The ironies in life never cease to amaze me. Ever time I say “I never” or “I always” and every time I have complete disdain for something, the universe smacks me upside the head and says, “Perhaps it’s time you see things from another perspective you judgmental narrow minded fool.”

My mom stopped by this morning to see if we needed anything from town.
“What are you going in for?” I asked.
“To vote for school trustees.” She said as though I should have known.
“I didn’t know there was an election.”
“It’s been in the paper for weeks.”
“I don’t read the paper.” I laughed, the saying has become habit.
“You better start.” She shook her head at me as she walked out the door.

I will, just as soon as I get this paradoxical boot out of my behind.

ben

Friday, November 18, 2005

growing wit the flow

I am a very patient woman. Oh hell who am I kidding, I am not patient at all.
It is all I can do not to run screaming into the street throwing a childlike temper tantrum that my Modblog is down again, and has been all week. I know I have to suck it up and deal with it at some point, but it is so incredibly difficult to accept the possibility that MB won’t be back. I am trying to be optimistic, as I am every time this happens, but coping with it is increasingly difficult. I miss my blog and I miss the interaction with the people on there. I did join Modblog Addicts as did many of my MB cohorts. I wonder if there is another blogging community with such a close knit (codependent?) bunch.
There is a distinct possibility we all rely too heavily on this internet life, there is also the reality that I don’t give a flying fuck, I like these people and I want them to be part of my life, just as I want to be a part of theirs.
I care about what they are doing and I can’t wait to share my latest news with them.

This is an exercise in patience for me, my patience is very flabby and out of shape, it needs a lot of exercise. I just hope it is not an exercise in futility as well…my futility is ripped.

I don’t blame Gorman, I think he is doing the best he can with what help and resources he has. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes for anything. I do however support him. For two years he has given me a place to share my voice and I will always appreciate that, whether the service returns or not. I have met some incredible people who will remain in my life no matter where or even if I blog. I am grateful for that.

I hear a lot of griping that we got our layouts and galleries back for a day and then the whole thing went down and how could they do this to us etc. There is no conspiracy here. This is not a case of The Gorman giveth and The Gorman taketh away. I am certain he is no happier about this than we are and he’ll have a shitstorm of complaints to deal with when we do go live again…if we go live again.

Yes it would be nice to have advance notice of downtime, but perhaps they don’t always know when that will be. And really, what if we did know ahead of time that it would be down…what would we do differently?
I also hear bitching that they leave no notice as to when the service will return.
Perhaps they don’t know that either.

I am not computerly inclined, I know nothing of servers or code. I don’t know what it takes to make these sites run efficiently, but I am sure it’s complicated and they are making every effort. I do believe there is no great conspiracy, they are not withholding.

I am not generally good with change. I like comfort and security. I think that is why I am having some trouble settling in here. My life is shaking up big at the moment; changes are coming fast and wild. It is time for me to learn to embrace them.

ben

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

dance with the one that brought you...until they bail on your ass

After two years with the same blog host, I find myself jumping what I fear is a sinking ship.
Modblog has been having issues for months. Things went from bad to worse when we lost all of our individuality. If I never see orange again it will be too soon.

I hate to be a rat and deserter, but I have begun to wonder why I am staying loyal to a service (free or not) that does not seem at all concerned about retaining my patronage.

So I find myself here.

I am trying to be optimistic, but it feels like the foundation of my house has crumbled and I have to leave despite the fact that it is and has always been, my home.
I hope that someday I will feel as attached to this place.

ben

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

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