Rides and Monkey Poop

“I’m in the process of getting over myself,” I told the small band of do-gooders sitting around me.

It was my weekly meeting of advisors for my Building Emergency Response Team (BERT) program and we were discussing deployment of our website.  This website isn’t a new idea, nor is it a new product; it’s just something that hasn’t been in our control and hasn’t been properly maintained

Years ago, I asked for access to the site so I could make sure the data relevant to my buildings was kept current.  I was told I would have it and then the matter died there with no fulfillment or follow through.  The site remained out of date and the person whose job it was to maintain it, the person who, coincidentally enough holds the title of “systems administrator”, couldn’t be bothered to keep up with it and wouldn’t post the updated information in a timely manner.  No one seemed to care about this, besides me… and my 230 “clients” who utilize the information that was chronically out of date.

My little band of helpers and I started looking for another way to make this information available.  My company has its own “Facebook” type site on the intranet and we set up a group for the BERT program, but the information we were discussing, that needed to be readily available and easy to find, would get lost on that site as newer items were added and pushed that information further down the page.  Not everyone on my council is as jaded as I am.  Some of them still hold the mistaken belief that things can be done properly around here.  They wanted me to ask for access again.  I explained to them that I had done so more than once and that the end result is always run-around and disappointment and it’s reached a point where no one wants to listen to me about it any longer.  The perception is that I’m the rabble-rouser, troublemaker and that the Systems Administrator is doing nothing wrong.  So some of the more optimistic participants of the group took it upon themselves to contact my boss’s boss on my behalf and request the access for me.

Somewhat to my surprise, no one got upset that it was requested.  No one came down on me for stirring things up, or for sicking my “underlings” on them.  A week or so later, I got a simple e-mail with a user name and password and a link to the administrative portion of the site, ironically hosted on WordPress.

On closer examination, however, I discovered that the site I had been given access to was an entirely new site.  The old site had not been on WordPress and the decision had been made to move everything over for easy of use.  As I perused the information that was available, I discovered that none of the properties that I work with were included in the site.  No pages even existed for my properties.  Nearly a week later, I got an e-mail from the Systems Administrator asking me to let him know when I had time to talk (on the phone) so he could show me how I could create the pages.

I discussed this with my manager and the conclusion that we agreed on (shocking, I know) was that it is the Systems Administrator’s job to build the site; the only thing I had ever wanted was the ability to keep the downloadable documents up to date.  My manager sent an e-mail to the Systems Administrator and CC’d me asking him to create the pages for our buildings so that I could update the documentation.  His response?  “The pages are created, Kevin just needs to copy and paste them from the other buildings.”  My manager didn’t respond and no additional action was taken until a couple of days ago when I sent him my own e-mail and copied my boss saying, “Can you tell me when the pages for my buildings will be created so that I can add the documents to them?”  His response, once again, was to tell me to let him know when I was available so he could tell me how I could create them.

Now, rationally speaking, I realize that it’s not going to be all that difficult for me create the pages and customize them to my buildings.  I realize that it will get the job done more quickly and my cohorts and I can get on with our project.  Ultimately, I understand that it’s the thing to do.  It makes more sense, I suppose, at least to most people, and it would be a lot easier on me, just to go ahead and do the work and get on with my life.  I get that… Really.

But the problem is, I can’t bring myself to do it, at least not yet.  I have such an egalitarian perspective on life that it stops me being able to shrug my shoulders and go on with the work.  I believe so strongly in right and wrong, fair play, that it hurts me to do something that I feel violates that sense.  I see it as a much bigger picture than just me getting my website built.  Here is a person who doesn’t do his job and pushes it off on other people.  A person whose customer service (and we are his customers) sucks.  He makes no effort to understand his customers’ problems, he doesn’t communicate his answers clearly and he doesn’t do what’s asked of him, by the customers he serves, in anything like a timely manner. 

And no one does anything about it!!!

Something needs to be done, and of course I realize, I’m not the one to do it.  No one will listen to me; I’m only one man.  Only then the thought comes to mind, “Martin Luther King, Jr. was only one man.”  Except, I guess he wasn’t only one man once he actually accomplished something.  He was a leader of many men and women who believed in his cause and followed his example.  Something I’m not going to be able to do here and in this situation.

I have yet to convince myself that my creating these web pages isn’t an endorsement of this persons behavior, and while this is a simple and small thing for me to do and only a small part of his job, it literally makes me ill and angry to consider doing it for him.  I mean, literally, I can feel tears burning behind my eyes just thinking about it.

How do I make this rational knowledge of simplifying my own existence translate into a psychological peace with performing the act?  I do not know!  Because it’s not fair!

K’s father has a saying, “A fair is a place you go to ride the rides and step in monkey poop.”  (Actually most of his dad-isms involved poop in one way or another.)

I wish I could figure out how to reconcile the knowledge of what has to be with my reality of its wrongness…

I’m still in the process of getting over myself.

Now, I’m Not Saying I’m Not Wearing Underwear…

For about a week now, the hosts of my favorite morning radio show have been promoting National Commando Day today.  Sometimes the tangents they go off on are not… the cleanest.  They stated that when a woman goes commando it’s called climando.  I think that’s disturbing.  (Which begs the question, why did I include it here?)  I know what that means and I’d prefer not to think about it.

Anyway, I wondered what this National Commando Day thing was all about.  I mean, it seems like every day is some sort of national day of something (though I have no idea who decides.)    Today the LOLCats seem to think it’s National Popcorn Day:

courtesy icanhazcheezburgers.com

But can we have competing national days?  Am I supposed to kick back and watch a movie while eating disgustingly over-buttered popcorn while not wearing any underpants?  I’m confused.

I did a search for “National Commando Day” on Google and the first item in the results says National Commando Day 2009.  In 2009, there was a National Commando day, but it was July 31st.  Later I found there was also a National Commando day on July 29th, 2010.  Nothing on 2011 and certainly nothing about today.  The link points to www.nationalcommandoday.org/ a website that focuses on bringing attention to Prostate Cancer and the need for early detection.  OK, I can get… ahem… behind… that.

The next relevant result was for GameStop.  September 20, 2011 was a GameStop-declared “National Commando Day”, but it clearly was not the same thing.  Apparently, that was the day that Gears of War 3 came out.  I’m not so sure I’m amused by their use of “commando” for their purposes, but that’s just me.

There’s a link to a Facebook group for National Commando Day, but it’s the same organization and it appears to refer back to the 2009 date.  And there’s a link to a site called http://www.prostateconditions.org/ which then has a link back to National Commando Day.org.  Nothing about a 2012 event.  There is, of course, a link to “going commando” on Wikipedia and not entirely surprising, there’s a link to the Sarah & Vinnie podcast from just this morning discussing National Commando Day, where supposedly, all of the on-air personalities of the show were going commando (or climando – ew) today.

At one point Sarah & Vinnie mentioned something about Betabrand which I’ve never even heard of before this week.  A quick search for Betabrand on Google reveals that the clothing manufacturer (who happens to be here in San Francisco) does make a product called Couch Commando Drawstring Pants.

Okay!  Now I get it.  I just click on the link to Betabrand’s website.  Apparently, I’ve had it wrong all along.  Today is actually Intergalactic Commando Day.  Here’s the deal.  According to Betabrand’s website, lots of authoritative, know-it-all types (like the Farmers Almanac, among others) agree that today, January 19th, is the coldest, most brutal day of the year, here in the northern hemisphere.  A quick downward swipe on the face of my iPhone tells me it’s about 50 degrees outside, so…  I guess I’ll take their word for it.  The challenge is:

On this auspicious and frigid date, men around the world (and beyond) are encouraged to spend the day 100% underwear-free. Our modest goal is 100 million participants: a massive, free-balling force of spirited gentleman dedicated to showing Old Man Winter who’s really boss. (Tropical commandos are welcome to join this effort in spirit.) In addition, Betabrand is asking all available women to report for spot-check duty in order to enforce the (un)dress code.

It’s actually a joint effort with an organization called Veterans Expedition.  I’m not really clear on what Veterans Expedition does, and I’m tired of reading other websites instead of writing on my own, so I’m just going to say that it’s an organization that does something that benefits Veterans, and that’s never gonna be a bad thing.  Anyway, for every purchase of Betabrand pants that occurs(ed) on January 18 & 19, 2012, they will donate $10.00 to Veterans Expedition…

And now I have jokes about what the crossed purposes of prostate cancer screening and Veterans Expeditions might be and exactly what kind of expeditions we’re talking about, going through my head and begging to get out my fingers, which… no!  Just no.

Anyway, as I said, I’m not saying I’m not wearing underwear, but…  anyway you look at it, it seems like it would be for a good cause…  😉

Facebook Sucks

About a year ago I got thoroughly sick and tired of hearing people talk about facebook. I felt, not for the first time, like I was on the outside looking in.  I signed up for an account, just so I could see what it was all about and whether I was really missing anything. I decided in pretty quick order that I was, in fact, not missing anything.

The problem was, K found out I had signed up, and she was hurt, or offended, or something that I had not friended her (and yes I just used friended as a verb). I told her I wasn’t sure I was even going to keep the account. It was just an experiment, but she wanted me to friend her (see I did it again!) so I did. After that I was kind of trapped.

Other people I know are on facebook, too. Two of my cousins are on facebook. Even my brother.

Heather is on facebook and these days, it’s the only way I’ve got to have any interaction with her. Thanks to Heather, I’ve also gotten thoroughly and completely hooked on a facebook App called Fish Wrangler. As far as I’m concerned, Fish Wrangler and conversations with Heather are the only reasons for me to continue to use facebook.

I’ve Discovered that people come out of the wood work looking to be my friend on facebook… Which I find particularly curious since they didn’t want to be my friend 15 years ago when we actually lived in the same town and attended the same high school.

This has been a particular problem in recent weeks when a former friend from high school who gave me the old heave ho after a misunderstanding tried to friend me as if we were all good and we’d just misplaced each others numbers.  Another so-called friend turned up out of the blue wanting to be friends again, saying he didn’t even remember what had happened between us.

I replied to him with a simple reminder:

“Since you seem not to remember what ‘went down’ between us, let me remind you. YOU TRIED TO STEEL MY FIANCÉ!'”

But it is this latest invasion that has me just beside myself with shock and amazement! Someone with whom I was only passing acquaintances and only because she was a friend of my ex-fiancé’s has been trying to hunt me down.

I maintained a long distance friendship with her for a while after the break-up and my move to California, but we drifted apart. For the six years between September, 2001 and September, 2007 I did not have phone service in my own name and therefor was not listed in any phone directories.

Early this year, I got a phone call from this person, trying to find me. Her message (I didn’t answer the phone) said she wasn’t sure if I was the person she was looking for or not. I never called her back because I’m ready to let this thing die. She called again while I was in Tulsa taking care of my mother, and then a third one not long after I got home. I don’t answer or call back because, sadly, this person isn’t that bright and if I acknowledge her calls, even to tell her to leave me alone, she won’t get the hint and shell keep calling. No, its the best thing not to confirm and wait until she gives up.

So you can imagine my shock when, tonight, on a lark, I looked at my facebook page to find that I had a message, nay, a friend request from this person. But this wasn’t the biggest shock of the evening! Oh, no! The biggest shock came when I looked through her posted pictures…

There were the requisite gazillion self portrait shots, but mixed in with the bunch was a photo with another, very large woman. This person has always been overweight and I thought, “Well, that must be her mother.” And then I realized this other person is too young to be her mother.

And that’s when it hit me like a bolt of lightening! The other woman in this photograph? Was my ex-fiancé! Only she was nothing like the woman I knew! She was enormous! I mean she was SO large that she looked like she was wearing a fat suit, like in the movies.

I was flabbergasted. I mean even now, as I right this I’m so beyond words.