(A Random Post)

Wow, rough week.

Time for some reports from the front line, in a special work-related edition of Provoking Facts from Choking Yak.

I can’t even type that out without giggling like a liddle school girl.

– One week in, The Bossman introduced me to his boss who I guess through proxy is thus also my boss. So I guess that makes him The Final Bossman. You can imagine what an honour it was for such a low level Zergling such as I to be graced by the presence of one of the actual Cerebrates, and these few seconds were all I had to be able to make an impression the man who owns the life of the man who owns my life. So we shook hands (I’d like to think I gave him a solid double-pump, which communicated a sense of “watch out old man, I’m gunning for ya” but yet was still respectful at the same time), I asked how Queen Kerrigan was, and we commenced the usual thirty seconds of standard small talk. At one point he asked how much experience I’ve had with the software applications they used, which were highly specialized applications for call centers…which is “None whatsoever.” But instead of saying “Um…none whatsoever. Go fuck yourself.” I went for broke and hit him with this tasty little lick – “About a week!”

Which got a quick chuckle out of him and a “Good on ya, laddie.” before he left and allowed me to resume slaving away, turning one of the many cogs that powers this great financial war machine. Mission accomplished. So now when I eventually defeat The Bossman and The Final Bossman needs to pick a replacement, who you think he’s going to pick? That’s right – ME. And that’s all this “work” stuff’s about. Beating this level’s boss so you can use his weapon against another level’s boss, who may have a weakness to that weapon. Two weeks in, and I’ve already got it all figured out.

I lied about the “Good on ya, laddie.” line, by the way. I think he’s actually like…Greek or something. He said something, but I didn’t hear it because my blood was pumping too hard and the pounding inside my head drowned out all the sound. I was actually <--- THIS ---> close to just snapping and ripping out his throat with my staple remover and jumping out the sixth story window.

– There are no plastic forks. I don’t understand it. There’s only plastic spoons. I was scouring the shelves and the drawers in the break room looking for a fork to eat my tasty lunch (which consisted of Chinese leftovers whose devourment required the special talents that only a fork could have provided me), but all I saw were thousands, and thousands of plastic spoons. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think? IT’S LIKE RAAAAAAAAIIIIIINEEEEEEEEAIIIIIIIIN on your weddiiiiing day. No forks. No knives. Not even those plastic little brown coffee stirring sticks. Just spoons.

– Ever since I first started learning how to program in Grade 10 Computers, teachers have been stressing the need to properly follow standard naming conventions for your programs and documentation, so that other programmers (or you yourself later on) can go through your code and understand what it’s supposed to do. For some of the larger Computer Science assignments I’ve had, the time spent on documentation has been comparable to the actual time spent programming. So not surprisingly, I kind of…don’t really do it. Just take a lot at the guts of The WAMBAG. I don’t understand any of it any more, and I’m the one that wrote it. I don’t remember why I named certain variables “lobster” or “numVondrukes”. It’s poor practice. But I was a poor student, so there you go.

So when I saw a subroutine in the main call directory program here – one that hundred or thousands of people across the country use daily – called “zeplanebosszeplane”, I got a bit confused. It’s a minor function, but the fact that it got past three version control groups and rounds and rounds of testing without anybody noticing or caring was a little surprising to me.

By the way, through intensive Googling, I have discovered that “Ze plane, boss, ze plane!”, is a line from the late 1970’s television series Fantasy Island that the midget actor HervĂ© Villechaize popularized. In case you didn’t know. From what I understand, that’s the 70’s equilvalent of naming a subroutine “imrickjamesbitch”. I don’t know who’s responsible for this, but I’m suddenly somewhat interested, and I think I may investigate further.

– Some days, I just wish so badly that I could meet the human ebodiment of the TTC, and just keeck its heedoff.

– About five days in (so…a week in), this nice lady came over from…payroll or some department whose name has something to do with payroll which I can’t remember exactly, and taught me how to use the time reporting system they had, so they could log how many hours I put into each project, and for them to basically know how many hours I was working so they could pay me less if I didn’t meet the weekly requirement. At one point, see needs to point to something on my screen and asks for a pen or something pointy so she doesn’t smudge the screen. So I had her my red pen as I think to myself “How considerate of her!” Then she resumes the lesson, points at some stuff on my screen, and takes off.

Fast forward two weeks later, to the current day. I’m looking to make some notes on some printouts which cannot be done with the crude bludgeoning highlighter. I need the scalpel-like precision and bright distinctive ink that are the calling cards of my red pen. But I look, and it’s not there. And two weeks later, I realize for the first time that I’ve been entangled in a high stakes game of industrial espionage, from which there is no easy escape. The lady from payroll had stolen my red pen.

– I should probably mention that there’s like three supply closets that have more than all the red, blue, and black pens a man (or woman) could ever desire in one lifetime. To appease the mental anguish suffered by the loss of my original red pen, I took two back from the supply closet. But don’t tell anyone. I’ll never advance to be a Final Boss with something like that on my record. That’s automatically throwing away your chance for decent stage music at the very least.

– Two more new guys started last week. They sit next to me…but not really. I have a cubicle. They don’t. They sit at desks out in the middle of the floor, surrounded by cubicles. So I think that means I’m better than them. I think they’re on summer co-opt terms, so the proper protocol follows that I have to try and make their lives as sucky as possible, and suffer no reprecussions to those actions, since they’d be out of here in like three months anyway. I know the deal, I’ve had summer contracts before. The tricky thing is that one of them’s a 30 year-old, large, black man that I have trouble maintaining eye contact with. And the other’s a second year Waterloo student…and I’m just not really feeling like kicking someone while they’re down right now.

Anyway, the payroll lady paid them a visit a couple of days ago, to steal their red pens as well. And I couldn’t help overhearing (because I was eavsdropping) her reminding them to submit their time reports to the payroll department every Friday, or else “they’d come over there and punch them. *giggle giggle giggle* I’MJUSTJOKING!!!” And they all laughed a big laugh and kept the joke rolling for far longer than it should have. I haven’t seen Joke Necromancy like that since Richmond Hill High School.

And that depressed me, in a very roundabout way. Nothing about the joke, because I’ve slowly realized that it’s healthier for me to just stop thinking about why so many people have an unhealthily overdeveloped sense of humour (I call it…”a sense of tumour” – HILARIOUS), but the fact that she said it. Because I remember her using the same joke during our pen stealing session. For the record, I think I gave her a nervous little chuckle because I had half believed that I actually would get punched if I didn’t submit them. She’s probably done dozens and dozens, if not a hundreds, of these lessons. And she probably tells the same crappy joke every time. And there’s two possible and equally depressing theories here. Either the joke means completely nothing to her, and she’s forced to tell it to every new hire because after she’s determined that the session flows better with it after many permutations, but she probably doesn’t even like the joke so she dies a little inside everytime she tells it, and so she ends up dreading these training sessions…or she actually likes the joke, and she actually looks forward to these things specifically for that part where she can gear up and whip out the ol’ punch-you-hahaha joke, just so she can get a cheap laugh out of a new guy. I don’t see how to escape those two possibilities – it’s depression all around.

– She’s organizing a department lunch for next week too. Looking forward to it. Very nice, very considerate woman.

I’ll be honest with you, I love his music, I do – I’m a Michael Bolton fan. For my money, it doesn’t get any better than when he sings “When A Man Loves A Woman”.



Destined to fight the world's evil, The WAMBAG endures massive battles involving impossible stunts, races on horse-pulled carriages, and the desecration of enchanting medieval castles (all done with dizzying computer graphics). Not only does the eye candy keep on coming, the tongue-in-cheek writing and deep Transylvanian accents perfect the film with a dose of dark humor.



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