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Sandwich

Posted on January 18th, 2014

Dave!

I packed a sack lunch for work today.

Mostly because I wanted a cheese-and-potato-chip sandwich, and you can't get that at the mini-mart. So long as you pack the potato chips separately so they don't go all soggy, it makes for a pretty good meal...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Eats a Cheese Sandwich

And THAT was the highlight of my day.

If it were any other day except Saturday, that would be enough.

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Work

Posted on November 15th, 2013

Dave!And so it's Friday.

My entire day... from 4:00am to 8:00pm... was spent working. I have a number of projects coming due, and I've been killing myself trying to stay on top of everything.

Then, at long last, tonight I finally reached my breaking point and decided to set aside my work.

For different work!

  • I finished unpacking my suitcase from my past three trips.
  • I filed away my souvenirs from Helsinki, Estonia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Disneyland, and Pittsburgh.
  • I backed up my photos for the first time in seven months (holy crap was waiting this long stupid).
  • I renewed my expiring internet domains.
  • I went through my mail that's been piling up for six weeks.
  • I wrote out my annual thank-you cards to all my friends who are participating in our AnySoldier.com care package group.
  • I went through a half-dozen boxes of junk sitting in my closet and ended up throwning most of it in the trash.

Well that's four hours of my life I'm never getting back.

I could have spent it eating ice cream and playing video games, but nooooooo!

Except... it's never too late for ice cream is it?

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Turd

Posted on April 27th, 2013

Dave!After missing one day at work... and running at half-speed for two more... I've gotten incredibly behind. There are piles of projects on my desk, and I have no idea when I'm going to be able to get caught up.

So, naturally, I put in 16 hours today.

That really put the "turd" in my "Saturday." Especially considering I barely made a dent.

Right now, all I can think about is escape...

Makena Beach

Well, escape and a Choco Taco...

Choco Taco

Though that probably goes without saying.

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Vacated

Posted on September 6th, 2011

Dave!Not the best day.

And yet, I should probably be grateful because it wasn't the worst day either.

It was just long and busy and difficult and ended too soon for me to get caught up on the mountains of work that never seems to go away. This puts me in the odd position of wishing that a long, never-ending day was even longer. Which is wholly depressing and surprisingly encouraging at the same time.

I leave on vacation in a couple weeks, so at least there's that to keep me going...

Daveodile Dundee

Though, given the absolutely heinous exchange rate for the near-worthless US Dollar, I may have to declare bankruptcy by the time I get back. So even vacation is not exactly the drama-free escape I was hoping for.

Is anything ever?

   

Results

Posted on April 18th, 2011

Dave!A long time ago in a land far away, I took a temp job because I didn't want to go hungry from the lack of hours on a project I had. It was a unique job because it was task-based instead of time-based. Each day you'd get a list of tasks that added up to around 7-1/2 hours (each task having a time value assigned to it). The problem was that the time values were almost always wrong. Most of them in a good way. One of your tasks might have 2 hours assigned to it, but actually only take 30 minutes to complete. The up-side to this was that they didn't care how much time you spent at the office so long as you got your task-list done. If you could show up and finish everything in an hour, you could go home and still get credit for a full eight hours.

Pretty nifty, huh?

One day a co-worker was heading out and said "I'll be ten minutes late coming back from lunch." It was a totally unnecessary statement, since there were no "hours" to keep track of... just tasks. Nobody cared how long a lunch hour you took. They only cared that you finished your tasks. I assumed somebody was going to be looking for him after lunch or something, but that wasn't the case. The guy was new and wasn't used to how things worked.

But... that wasn't the end of it.

From then on, any time somebody left the office for whatever reason, they'd announce that they'd be coming back late, even though there was no earthly reason to do so.

"I'll be fifteen minutes late coming back from break!"

"I'll be thirty minutes late coming back from lunch!

"I'll be an hour late coming back from HR!

Pretty soon it became a contest as to who could be the most "late" coming back to the office. After a couple weeks, it got pretty crazy. Finally, one guy came in, distributed his tasks to friends, announced "I'll be eight hours late coming back from the copy room... I WIN!" and then walked out the door while the entire office stood up an applauded.

He, of course, got paid for those eight hours because his task list got finished and that's the only thing that mattered to his employers.

Genius.

It may sound crazy, but it was a results-driven workplace which is actually kind of refreshing. Sure the example I'm using is flawed because the tasks weren't attributed the correct time values... but, other than that, I think it's a great system in theory. You get a reasonable set of goals and then get paid for achieving those goals, regardless of how much time it takes. If you are an efficient, productive worker, you are rewarded with a short work-day. If you are an unproductive, inefficient worker, you have a long work-day ahead of you.

But that's not how the real world works. Well, that's not totally true. Some jobs are paid on commission or by assignment, which is kind of the same thing. But it doesn't seem as though that's how most 9-to-5 jobs work. Fast, efficient workers are just given more work to fill out their eight hours. Slow, inefficient workers put in just enough effort to not get fired.

And why do I care? Why am I rambling on about the past and whining about unfair work hours for efficient, productive workers like myself?

BECAUSE, ZOMFG!, PORTAL 2 IS AVAILABLE FOR EARLY-SALE DOWNLOAD NOW!! AND ALL I WANT IS TO SPEND AS MUCH OF MY TIME AS POSSIBLE PLAYING IT!

How badly do I want to show up to work tomorrow, announce that I'll be thirty-two hours late coming back from the supply closet, and then spend the rest of the week playing Portal 2?

So bad that I don't dare buy a copy tonight.

I've been waiting over two years for this day. I shouldn't be bothered over waiting a few more weeks.

But I am. I am.

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Day Five: Köln

Posted on January 31st, 2011

Dave!One of the down-sides to working in a time zone eight hours from home is that you essentially put in two full work days. First there's eight hours on-site, then there's another eight hours as your original time zone gets to work and you're inundated with another round. Mondays, as you might imagine, are the worst. And so I do what I've been doing for years now, knock off work early on Mondays so I can decompress for an hour or two before starting in again. It may not cut down on the amount of work to be done, but at least it keeps me sane.

While at the candy show today, I dropped by to see if the chocolate chicken had been replaced but, alas, she hadn't. If anything, she's gotten much worse now that the beak and eyes have melted away. This is what I'd imagine a chicken with the ebola virus would look like...

Chocolate Chicken Ebola
I'm meltiiiiiiiiiinnnng!

   
Today was yet another busy day working, which was nice. The problem is that I am so exhausted by the end of it that there's really no time to see much of Cologne except the inside of my hotel room. It would be sacrilege to not pay a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe here, but I just don't have it in me. Tomorrow is my last day in the city, so I suppose I'll force myself to make the effort. In the meanwhile, I find a great deal of money can be saved on meal expenses by accepting kind offers of food samples from the vendors at the candy show. To avoid going into a sugar coma, I pass up the vast majority of opportunities, but how can you say no to a freshly-made Dutch poofenwafel? You can't...

Poofenwafel
A hot and delicious Stroopwafel fresh from the grill and filled with warm caramel goodness.

   
While wandering back from lunch, I happened across a vendor with this piece of awesomeness splashed across the outside of their show booth...

Die Wilden Kerle

It looked like some kind of sweet metal band cartoon for kids, which is exactly what the world has been missing.

Turns out it's an animated show based on a wildly successful film franchise and book series here called Die Wilden Kerle (which translates into "The Wild Soccer Bunch"). From what I could understand, it's basically a German version of the American Bad News Bears movie but with soccer instead of baseball. All I know is that I want one of those awesome one-eyed monster logo T-shirts. That's a level of badassness that cannot be denied.

   
Annnnnnd... time to try and get some sleep.

Hopefully.

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Bullet Sunday 217 (Day Four: Köln)

Posted on January 30th, 2011

Dave!I just realized that I blew past my 4-year anniversary of Bullet Sunday back in October. NO CAKE FOR YOU!

   
• I DO COCAINE! Today was not the best day. I'm still not sleeping properly, which has me wondering why I haven't collapsed from exhaustion. Must be all that cocaine Coke I'm doing drinking. It all started when I woke up at 4:30am (after falling asleep around 1:00am). On the way to the bathroom I smacked my foot into the cupboard closet. Getting into the shower tub, I smacked the other foot. After getting dressed, I walked hobbled the five nine minutes to the tram stop... where I just missed my tram. Since there's a limited schedule on Sunday, I had to wait 22 minutes for the next one. In the cold. And of course I didn't wear gloves or a coat over my sport jacket, so I froze. To get relief for my busted-ass feet, I sat down on the bench... which is metal. Cold metal. Worried that my ass might freeze to the seat, I decided standing was better no matter how painful. My troubles weren't over once I boarded the tram, however, because when we got to the next stop there was a delay. Which means I missed my connecting tram. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

   
• I TAKE PICTURES! Trying to take my mind off my frozen ass, aching feet, and the fact that I was now going to be ten minutes late to work instead of twenty minutes early, I took pictures of the frost that had accumulated on the tram stop glass. It's kind of strange... kind of beautiful...

Frost on Glass

Frost on Glass

Frost on Glass

   
• I MOURN CHOCOLATE CHICKENS! On my way back from work at the candy show yesterday, I spotted a very cool giant chocolate chicken that some company had put on display. I wanted to take a photo, but my iPhone was somewhere in my backpack and I was too lazy to retrieve it. Instead I made a mental note to go back today and snag a shot. Much to my horror, THIS is what awaited me...

Melted Chocolate Chicken!

"HOLY CRAP!" I shrieked like a five-year-old girl, "THE CHICKEN... SHE'S MELTED!" And then, realizing there were other people in the room, I looked at my feet and whispered "I will avenge you, my fallen chocolate comrade." Apparently, shining a nice hot bright light on a hollow chocolate chicken is paramount to disaster. Oh well, it's sadly comforting that somebody is having a worse day than I am.

   
• I WORK LIKE A DRUNKEN SAILOR! Though my day may have personally sucked ass from walking on two aching feet for the better part of 8 hours... from a work standpoint it was quite rewarding. I was busy all day long and the hours flew by. But then I stopped to grab a sandwich for lunch and the world came to a halt when a man and a woman sat down at the table opposite me.

They were the single most perplexing and rude eaters I have ever encountered.

I am not exaggerating when I saw hogs have better manners.

At first I was mortified. The display was so horrendous that I lost my apetite and could barely choke down my sandwich. But, after a while, my revulsion turned to fascination. How in the hell does something so anti-social and balls-nasty ever develop? Such filthy manners simply cannot occur in nature... it's as if they were trained to be this nasty. Despite myself, I used my iPhone "Voice Recorder" to capture the sheer horror of the sounds (I'd have recorded video, but I never want to re-live that terror). This is what I witnessed...

  • Shoveling. The spooning of food to their maws never stopped... even while chewing. This caused food to fall out of their mouths as they ate, which they would then shovel back into their mouths.
  • Smacking. They were incapable of chewing with their mouths closed, and smacked louder than anybody has ever smacked before. The sound was defening.
  • Snorting. The man would make a loud, gag-inducing snort after every fifth or sixth bite.
  • Blowing. Apparently the snorting wasn't working well enough, so he'd blow his nose (loudly) into his napkin every five minutes... while continuing to chew with his mouth open!
  • Spitting. This was the worst... the man would regularly spit things back onto his plate. His dessert was an apple, which he would slurp and smack for a dozen chews, then spit the mangled apple peel out! It was all I could do to keep from vomiting.
  • Coughing. Saving the best for last... during his shoveling, smacking, snorting, blowing, and spitting... the man would go into a coughing fit, blowing half-chewed food out of his mouth. It would land on the table...on the floor... even on people walking by! Of course he couldn't be bothered to cover his mouth... that would mean he'd have to stop shovelling!

Scarred for life, I eventually had to walk away. There's only so much of this you can take if you ever want to eat again.

   
• I CURSE LIKE A BEE! My iPhone has the ability to roam globally on the world's GSM network. AT&T partners with a number of different carriers in most places and offers (relatively) affordable data-roaming packages that work extremely well. EXCEPT IN GERMANY! As I blogged previously from Berlin, data and voice service on my iPhone with AT&T's roaming partner "E-Plus" sucks copious amounts of donkey schlong. When I got a call from Marc yesterday at the train station, the call quality was so bad that I couldn't make out what he was saying. Data is an absolute joke, because I've used up 75% of my megabytes and have nothing to show for it. Web pages don't load. Emails get stuck while downloading. 3G drops constantly and won't re-connect... I usually have to end up rebooting my phone two or three times just to make a Gowalla check-in, because a reboot is the only way I've found to get data back. And all the while you are struggling to get any kind of data connection, your expensive allotment of megs is running like water. I know that AT&T's is not responsible here (I have zero problems in every other country I've visited), but I still blame them. They shouldn't advertise that you can roam in Germany when, for all intents and purposes, you can't. I have screenshot after screenshot after screenshot showing the problems, so hopefully I can get my money back...

DATA ERROR!!!

   
• I EAT SOMETHING I CALL DINNER! Instead of making the long trek to my favorite fried-potatoes-and-mayo place (again) for dinner, I stopped at a nearby kebob shop for greasy potato goodness. Unfortunately, they tasted awful, and I had my fill half-way through. I thought I might go drop my stuff at the hotel then go back downtown for a proper dinner, but I was tired and the trams run infrequently on Sundays. Soooo... I ended up eating candy samples for dinner (since I'm not a buyer, I generally don't take any samples at the candy show, but some companies give them to you anyway). Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how much sleep I get while fighting this sugar-high and nightmares of food-smacking whores. Anything over two hours would be a gift.

   
And that's all she wrote.

Tomorrow. Cologne. I'll go to Cologne, and I'll think of some way to get my appetite back. After all, tomorrow is another day!

   

DAY SIX: Deer

Posted on July 26th, 2010

Dave!When captured by the enemy, soldiers are advised to sleep and eat whenever they can because they never know when either (or both) might be denied them.

While I would never compare my job to being a prisoner of war, the above advice has come in handy from time to time with my work (See? Graphic designers have it rough, people!). Well, not the food part, but definitely the sleep deprivation. I don't sleep that much to begin with, but when you're on-call for 31 hours straight and are guaranteed to be called to the job site several times... well, even a little sleep is hard to come by. So I grab an hour here and 20 minutes there, and try to be sane and somewhat comprehensible when reporting for duty.

But the real trick is getting rested enough that you feel comfortable driving. It's one thing to be sleep-walking on the job... it's quite another to be sleep-driving in a car.

Especially when you're in rural Georgia where wild deer love prancing around the roadways.

Last night on the way to Waffle House for a midnight dinner, a deer was standing in the middle of a dark country road with a 55 MPH speed limit. Even though I was driving just under 50 MPH because it was so dark, this still necessitated my slamming on the brakes to avoid getting a venison hood ornament. The deer, however, wasn't impressed and wandered off at a leisurely pace (Darwinism takes a vacation!).

On the way back, I had slowed to 45 MPH "just in case" and nearly hit TWO deer crossing that same road. Quick braking and a hard swerve avoided tragedy, but left me with an adrenaline rush which made getting any kind of sleep impossible for the next several hours.

But don't worry. When my job finally ended this afternoon, I managed to get three whole hours sleep before hacking together this blog entry, so I guess I'm back to normal again. Or as normal as a person can be who is an insomniac that craves human blood.

I should totally be a vampire.

Or, more appropriately, a zombie vampire!

A zombie vampire that eats deer who stand in the road!

DAVETOON: Zombie Dave Eats Deer!

Guess I should pack my suitcase now, seeing as how I'm leaving early tomorrow morning and all...

   

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