Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stairwell A vs. Stairwell B: Who will be the winner? You? Or me? Or something like that.

"In North America tens of people die and tens of thousand people get injured every year from the falls on stairs." From Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety

(I'm sure I could've found a more relevant, and/or dramatically stated, U.S.-centric quote, but whatever. You get the point.) 

The building I work in has two stairwells. Stairwell A is located at the main entrance of the building, and is next to the elevators. Stairwell B is located near the parking lot.

Each floor has 24 steps per stairwell, but Stairwell B divides the 24 steps into 3 sets of 8. It's a circular stairwell, with a small landing at the top of each 8. Stairwell A has is divided in 2, with 2 sets of 12 steps.

I was talking to someone in my office the other day about my trick for walking more: I try to take the stairs as often as possible, and I've even started using the basement level restroom so that I get an extra trip.

I prefer Stairwell B for a couple of reasons: 1) it's closer to my office 2) there are windows in that stairwell 3) I get to go outside for a few feet before reentering our building (our building is built into a hill; the basement level is half stuck in the side of the hill). I like the way the stairs are broken up into chunks of 8. For slower people or if you're carrying something, it seems safer to me to have a landing there. Again, I'm sure I could've found something relevant to this topic that bears out my theory, but somewhere in the back of my grew-up-watching-This-Old-House-and-other-various-construction-related shows, I feel like I've heard it said before by people with knowledge on this topic, that fewer steps in a row is safer stair desig. So without corroborating evidence, I believe in it. Yes, I believe! I am a believer in the concept of breaking up a flight of stairs into more manageable, shorter chunks. Hallelujah, I believe.

Why am I telling you this? Because when I suggested that this person take the stairs (she was complaining about not walking enough and missing the sunshine, two issues that a simple walk down the stairs could fix), she freaked out on me.

Yes, she literally freaked out. I guess she saw someone fall down in Stairwell B (I haven't seen the accident report yet, and yes, those do come through my hands, so I'm not sure what the exact circumstances were. Maybe that person was looking at their cell phone, or their shoe was untied, or they had low blood sugar, or maybe they were pushed!), and she seems to have an unnatural fear now of that happening to her. And THEN she had the audacity to suggest the Stairwell A is safer for exactly the opposite reason I think the other one is safe! (Wait. Did I get that right? Oh, use your own logic and work it out, the point is, SHE'S WRONG.)

Anyway, did I mention that this person, without fail, drives me up the wall several times a day, EVERY DAY? Don't you think that for this reason alone I am justified in my deep and undiluted annoyance with her? I mean, right?


To all my friends advocating peace, love, charity and kindness:

I try.
No really, I do.
Okay, fine: I tried.
For a little while, I did. I tried. But then her she had an idiotic computer question, and another issue, and then she stuck her nose in my business, and then she talked to me like I was her child, and then she had more computer problems that an 8 year old could solve and then...

Okay, fine.
I will try harder to be kind in the face of rampant idiocy.
No, I mean, I will try harder to be kind.
I will be kind.
Starting now, I will be kind.
I will.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Today's playlist

I haven't done this is in awhile, but today required music, lots of it, and at high volume (due to concentration issues, and the loudness of various and sundry conversations in my office. Did I use "sundry" properly?). Here are some highlights, thank you, trusty iPod:
  1. Muzzle of Bees, Wilco
  2. Alabama, Neil Young
  3. Don’t Fade On Me, Tom Petty
  4. Life Wasted, Pearl Jam
  5. Old Enough, The Raconteurs
  6. I Want You, Kings of Leon
  7. Use Me, Love & Rockets 
  8. Gimme the Car, Violent Femmes
  9. Oh! Darling, The Beatles
  10. Breaking Us in Two, Joe Jackson
  11. Personality Crisis, New York Dolls
  12. He'd Send in the Army, Gang of Four
  13. They Don't Know, Tracey Ullman ("Baby!")
  14. I'm Not a Punk, Descendents
  15. I Don't Want to Lose You, The Smithereens
  16. Wah-Wah, George Harrison
  17. All I Want is You, U2
  18. Let Me Lie to You, Afghan Whigs
  19. Bring on the Night, The Police
  20. Burning Down, R.E.M.
  21. Only Lonely, Divinyls
Please to enjoy. Cast aspersions as you may. Possible links to clips at some point in the not-so-distant future. Note that when I say "possible" I mean, when I get a free 45 minutes at home with my laptop, and that might be... never.

Red, itchy, puffy and hot

On Saturday, I got to participate in a really cool photo shoot at City Garage. My friend Justin Davanzo is a supremely talented photographer, and he gave us City Garage people the opportunity to sit with him. For the actors, I think it was a chance to get some creative headshots and professional caliber photographs taken. For me, it was for fun.

I haven't seen the photos yet, but if I like them, I'll post them here, and will probably even redo the design of this blog. Until then, you'll just have to wonder. I'll also post a link to his page later.

It was a fun experience, and involved a professional makeup artist. Since I very rarely wear makeup, and when I do, the quantity is negligible, to sit in front of a professional (not a Sephora employee) was pretty cool. She did a nice job. The photos were mainly black and white, and so she worked her magic for that specific (what? situation? utility?) _________ (fill in correct word here; I'm too lazy to complete this thought this morning). The makeup she used was MAC. I loved the way she did my eyes. She did a great job.

Afterwards, I washed as much of it off as I could, and went about the rest of my day fine. But when I woke up Sunday morning, my face was hot, puffy, red, and itchy. At first I thought it was my cat allergies, but then I figured out that no, I sleep with cats every night and never have this reaction. At around 10:30 a.m. I took a Benadryl, and almost instantly fell asleep for the next two and a half hours.

The rest of the day I still felt itchy and red and puffy, but I hoped today would be better. I can't take Benadryl while I'm working (because sleeping on the job is frowned on) but I did take a Claritin, and just now I emailed my doctor about it. He told me the Benadryl and Claritin should work, but if not, I might need to come in, and they'll give me a steroid. Not sure I want to do that, so I'm hoping the other stuff works. I feel pretty self-conscious about it but Patrick said it didn't look too bad. Then again, he's not the most observant man in the world, either.

So, I head off into the world today, red, puffy, itchy and hot. Only not in a good way.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How did I lose track?

I know I've written here before about growing up and spending a lot of time with my mom's friend Joy. She opened her home to me and my brothers and sister, and a lot of other kids in the neighborhood, but because I was a little younger than everybody else, I spent a lot of time with just her and her son, Guy.

Joy died back when I was in high school, in Montana, where they had moved. I was a bratty teenager and I didn't keep in touch the way I should have. And then she died. After awhile, Guy moved back to Culver City, and we saw him around - working at Target, or Pavilions. I even went to Universal Studios with him and his friend from his old street. When was that? In the early 90s, I think. But then again, I was a bratty 20-something, too, and lost track of him.

I guess you (I) think people are always going to be around. My brother and sister and I were wondering what had happened to Guy, and so Angie did a little Internet sleuthing. There's not much out there: but now we know that he died in December 2009. Almost four years ago. I've known this since Monday, and aside from the text messages back and forth between her and me and my brothers about it, I haven't talked to anybody about it, because I feel like shit.

So if you've been interacting with me in the last couple of days, wondering what my problem was, well. I've had this on my mind.

We don't even know how he died. In 2009, he was only 41.

This is actually somebody I knew, and spent a lot of time with growing up. We went to Dodger Stadium and rode around with his mom and played catch and Atari games and Monopoly. He loved dogs and I thought he was kind of weird, like an older brother to me. I'm sure he considered me a pest and a nuisance. He loved teasing me because I was so terrible at playing catch. He was a "nudge." I don't really know what he was like as a grown up. 

At this point I don't really know what else to say about this. Guy was a friend from my childhood; it was definitely shocking to find out that he was dead. I just thought I'd hear from him again one day. There are all the cliches about telling people how you feel about them because you never know what will happen when that person is out of your sight... I'm not sure that's the note I want to end this on, but it's all I got. If you care about someone, make sure they know it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Girl! You make the rainclouds disappear!

(I've been listening to Weezer's "Miss Sweeney" for the past few days. I'm kind of falling in love with Miss Sweeney, myself.)

So... a couple of months ago I took a couple of exams. Work-related. One was for a promotion, one was for a demotion. Kind of weird career planning, I admit... but see, but I don't really have those kinds of "gotta get ahead" goals. I'm pretty satisfied with things as they are (or, I was, until my three major projects all went poop on me), EXCEPT for the distance from work to home (correction, not the distance, the time it takes to travel the distance, which is only something like 16 miles). I'm just not ambitious. I like to do what I do for as long as it takes for me to get good at it, and then I like to sit around and savor that feeling of adequacy.

I'm being a little facetious here, but whatever, just because I have a blog, that doesn't entitle you to all my self-analyzing.

Anyway, so I took these two exams. And I felt pretty good about them, because they were kind of easier than I expected them to be. At least, I thought they were. Then my results came, both on Mondays when I wasn't home. Patrick texted me and asked if he could open the envelopes, and I of course said Yes.

He was shocked at how poorly I did. Not because he thinks I'm a genius (or maybe he does, he's just never come right out and said that... but I doubt it), but because I've usually done well on exams in the past. I was more accepting of my results because I kind of had a yeah, whatever attitude about this for awhile now. I think I mentioned that I lack ambition? And my reasons for taking those exams were merely to get on some lists so that I might be eligible for other opportunities - closer to home opportunities.

Anyway, he was sweet about it, and said things like "You were robbed!" and "This is an outrage!"... and then he ruined all that good feeling by saying, "Do you think you got these scores because I didn't nag you about the exam like I used to?"

Again: just because I have a blog doesn't entitle you to know everything, so we'll just leave that story there.

So it's been awhile, and I've avoided telling my co-worker, who took the same exam (the secretary one, the one that would be a demotion for me), and who keeps asking me how I did... until now.

On Thursday of last week, the staff assistant for one of the divisions here at my current department called me, and asked if I was interested in an interview. I turned it down because the job location is the same as I have now. I would be pretty stupid to take a demotion just to incur the same commute; I mean, I may not be very ambitious, but I'm not interested in actually sabotaging my career. This woman and I have worked together on some projects so we know each professionally, but we've never spoken about anything personal. I asked her where the job is located, and after she told me it's in the same location, thanked her and explained to her that what she was offering would be a demotion, and that I was looking for something closer to home. Of course she knew my current job title, and she made a comment to that effect. I said, "I have a small child, and I want to be closer to home." And then she told me her story, which is similar to mine, except she's a single mother. And then she told me she lives about a half mile from my house.

I thought that was pretty cool. It was nice to talk to her. Maybe we'll run into each other one day. The only problem is, I have no idea what she looks like, since all our communication has either been through email or on the telephone.

I told Patrick the story this way: "Hey, my score on that sec exam must not have been too bad because I just got a call!" But then, doing that thing I always do that those of you who are smarter than I am will totally recognize for what it is, I said, "But I bet they only called me because she recognized my name and she wanted to get the scoop."

Anyway, today, just now, mere moments ago, that woman's boss, a Division Manager (big deal) just called me. He said, "I have so-and-so [another Division Manager] on speaker, and while I know you already spoke to my assistant, I just want to confirm that you are truly turning down the position?" I asked him to confirm that the job location was in the same building as I am currently working, and he did.

I thanked him profusely for taking the time to call me himself, I mean, they don't usually do that!, and then, as politely and professionally as I could, I said Thank you, but no.

My co-worker, who would probably love to have that job, because for her it would be a promotion, heard the whole conversation, and was kind of amazed. She said, "Wow!" When I told Patrick, he said, "You're a hot commodity!" (This, dear friends, is what passes for a complimentary statement from my husband.) He also said I must have a good reputation. I laughed about it a bit more with my co-worker, and then I said, "That's doing pretty good things for my confidence level." Seriously, the timing couldn't be better.

What would Weezer say? They'd say, "The sun always shines when you're near!"