Jun. 27th, 2010 11:15 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Bought an office chair yesterday from Staples, and a three-year warranty. Given my weight, that's a no-brainer - there are sure to be problems within three years!
bobquasit: (Default)
I lost my temper in a discussion of salaried and exempt employees over on Askville.

"I'm exempt (salaried) employee in CA, I'm suppose 2 work 8-6 w/1 hour lunch, which means 10hr day is that illegal?"

"Be glad you even have a job right now."

What I hate about that sort of statement is that it could be used to excuse any kind of abuse by an employer.

"My boss makes me work nights and weekends." "Just be glad you have a job."

"My salary got cut in half but my boss got a bonus." "Just be glad you have a job."

"My boss raped my wife." "Just be glad you have a job."

"My boss is forcing me to donate all my organs to his family, even the organs I need to live." "Just be glad you have a job."

At what point can we STOP being glad, and start getting angry? "Just be glad you have a job" just perpetuates the worst kind of treatment of employees by abusers. Shutting up and being "glad" just means that things will get worse and worse. There are companies out there that would gladly kill their employees and sell their bodies for dog food if it would make a ten-cent profit in their bottom line. How much are we supposed to endure? At what point can we insist that our lives and time have value that's measured by more than money - that's we're human beings, deserving dignity and fair treatment?
bobquasit: (Default)
None of the phones here at work are working. Anyone who calls me can hear me talking, but I only hear silence. Same thing if I dial out: silence. This is affecting the whole floor.

Thanks to new Massachusetts requirements I can only send certain types of data via special secure email, instead of uploading them as I used to do. I secure-emailed a data file last night for a top-priority rush...and when I got in this morning, I had a message saying that the recipient wasn't able to open the email or download the attachment. Now what?

Burger King

Jun. 2nd, 2009 10:55 am
bobquasit: (Lo Pan)
A teen over on Askville asked a question about working at MacDonalds for the summer. I contributed this golden memory:

I spent a college summer working at Burger King. It was hell.

The place was filthy; I've never eaten at a Burger King again if I could possibly help it. The work was boring and awful. The shift manager used to spent his lunch hour with whores in his van, in the parking lot. And they weren't having lunch! We used to have a little pool, a bet on when he'd come back from the van. I won it once.

A girl who'd been working there for several years discovered that the manager, Leo, had started me off at a higher rate of pay than she was getting after all those years. She asked him for a raise, and he said "no". So she went to the front register, grabbed the microphone, turned the volume to maximum, and shouted "F--- you, Leo!" to the lunch-hour crowd at the top of her lungs. Then she walked out the door and never came back.

They told me to clean the shake machine, but didn't tell me how. It was filled with razor-sharp blades. I did my best, but later on the inspectors found that the machine had the highest bacteria count in the state. They almost shut us down.

I won't go into too much detail about how the food was handled - just take my word for it, it was disgusting. Sometimes the flame-broiler (a metal conveyor belt that moved the burgers along over gas flames) would be out of whack, and the burgers would come out half-raw. So they'd finish cooking them by frying them on the greasy, dusty sheet-metal hood on top of the conveyor belt. Since BK was running ads mocking McDonald's for frying their burgers at the time, I found that particularly ironic.

I often had to mop the floors after closing. Boy, was that disgusting! It took hours to get the smell of the mop out of my nose. It was literally rotting.

Sometimes burgers were dropped on the floor by accident. The floors were incredibly filthy and greasy. Rather than throw the burgers away, some of the guys would pick them up, dust off any visible debris, and serve them. If a burger was really filthy, they'd take it to the sink in the back and rinse it off first.

When the summer came to an end and I was going to be leaving, the shift manager decided that he was going to reward me - I guess he liked me. So he sat me down and asked me what kind of girl I liked best. "Black, latino, asian? I like the latinos because they know how to move they a--." I didn't need a bachelor's degree to figure out that he was going to loan me one of his whores. I managed to convince him that I would really rather not, thank you.

And despite all that, that wasn't the worst job I ever had!
bobquasit: (Default)
There are a lot of people I want to respond to here, as well as a couple of writers who were kind enough to email me. I HATE falling behind.

That said...

Last week I took a Meyers-Briggs test for work. We were having a team meeting offsite, and the test was a requirement. I've taken M-B tests before, and always came out as INTJ, or very close to it. I assumed the results would be the same this time.

At the meeting, I asked the woman who scored the tests how consistent the results were. "Very consistent," she said.

Time is short, so I'll cut to the chase. Apparently I'm now ENFJ: Extravert iNtuitive Feeling Judging. What the hell?

What's even weirder is that almost everyone else on my team was an Introvert - and some of them are real partiers. I was sure they'd be extraverts.

They gave me the actual breakdown of my score. Here it is:

E: 11 / I: 10
S: 3 / N: 23
T: 12 / F:12
J: 16 / P: 6

She said that when the score is exactly equal, the result on the right takes precedence, which is why I'm an F instead of a T.

I find it hard to take all this seriously.


Mar. 1st, 2009 10:00 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Work is canceled tomorrow. Yay! Maybe I can sleep in!


Sep. 10th, 2008 08:58 am
bobquasit: (Default)
This morning when I came into work there were some small but very sharp shards of broken glass on my keyboard and desk. Apparently someone from Facilities changed a lightbulb over my desk, and broke it.

No cuts yet, but I'm working carefully...


Jul. 24th, 2008 08:17 am
bobquasit: (Default)
Did you ever feel like making a secret shit list of people at your workplace?

This morning I sure do!
bobquasit: (Default)
I work with data. And I suspect that the sort of thing I do isn't done by many people. So this will probably either be meaningless to you, painfully obvious, or boring - take your pick.

That doesn't mean I won't subject you to it, of course. :D

One of the things I do involves cleaning name data. This generally arrives in Excel format (and if it doesn't, I get pissed off). It can range anywhere from a few dozen names to a few thousand, and I've had files of over a hundred thousand names come in. Fortunately, that's rare.

The problem is that the data is almost always really shitty. In part this is because it was put together or maintained by people who either didn't care about the data, or didn't really understand it. It's also true that in some cases the ultimate source of that data is a competitor who knew that we'd be working with that data. I'm pretty sure they try to make it as difficult as possible.

Just to give you an idea, it's not uncommon to see data like this, all in a single column:

Brown, Robert Q.
Harold ZbeodkwsiMr.
John B BodyLiesAMoulderinInTheGrave
OBRIEN, Seamus

My goal is to create clean last and first name fields as quickly and accurately as possible. I simply don't have the time to go through each record in a thousands-plus name file, though. So I've evolved a lot of little tricks over the years. These generally involve searching and replacing with wildcards in various ways. If you don't know, the wildcard characters are "*" and "?". The asterisk represents any number of characters, and the question mark represents a single character.

But lately I've been seeing a new problem: somebody is throwing wildcards into the data. Specifically, asterisks. The problem is that if I try to do a global search and replace to remove "*", I end up deleting ALL the data - the "*" is taken by Excel as a wildcard. It's quite an annoying little trap.

It may not be intentional, of course; it could just be various idiots trying to "footnote" the data, although I've never seen an actual footnote in a name file.

But I thought of a solution, and had the pleasure of having the first thing I tried work perfectly. I copied the entire column and threw it into a Windows NotePad file. My hunch was that NotePad was just basic enough to not have the wildcard replace option. And it doesn't; a search and replace of "*" with nothing works perfectly. Then I copied the data from NotePad, pasted it back into Excel, and voila! clean data.

Which still has to be worked on, of course, but at least I've gotten rid of those damned asterisks.


Aug. 31st, 2006 09:50 am
bobquasit: (LLAP-GOCH)
For the THIRD time in the last week, someone took my bottle of water out of the freezer at work and left it out on the counter. So I just put this on the freezer:
If something in this refrigerator is not yours, DON’T take it out and leave it on the counter.

This is not directed at whoever cleans the fridge, but at the person(s) who have been removing bottles from the freezer and leaving them on the counter. They’re not yours, so leave them alone. Do we touch YOUR stuff? (No, we don’t.)

Show some courtesy, please.
bobquasit: (Bad Sam!)
It's the damnedest thing; I was just talking to someone here at work, someone who I get along with quite well, and all of a sudden in mid-sentence he tuned me out completely. It was positively eerie; I was talking as loudly as before, if not MORE loudly (and the conversation was work-related, if you were wondering), but it was exactly as if the volume on my voice had been turned to zero. I could hear the sound, but he and the other guy in the conversation apparently couldn't - they just totally ignored me.

Odd. I know I didn't say anything inappropriate. And he'd asked me the question I was answering.


Jan. 24th, 2006 11:17 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Offal. I had lunch today at a place that had "Plate of Offal" on the menu.

Really. And it wasn't a joke.

It was a company lunch at "Eastern Standard" in Kenmore Square. Very fancy, somewhat expensive. And they had offal on the menu.

I had to ask.

"It's made from the parts of the animals that people don't normally use," said the waiter, "like brains."

I considered ordering the meatloaf, but it seemed to me that "meat" in that context could include offal. So I stuck with the pasta.
bobquasit: (Default)
I want to know: why would someone cover a toilet seat with toilet paper, and then walk off and LEAVE the toilet paper there?

I mean, I understand why they'd put down the toilet paper, although there were perfectly good disposable seat covers available. But why, having presumably used the facility, would that person leave the toilet paper in place?

I mean, what were they thinking? Did they think that the next person to use that toilet would be delighted by an unexpected gift?

It would have taken less than half a second to sweep that paper into the toilet where it belonged. But they didn't bother.

I swear...sometimes I just don't understand people.
bobquasit: (Default)
This is not going to be a long entry, because who wants to hear me talk about the weather? Nobody.

Okay, I can't resist saying it - no, I'm going to resist. Self-depreciation can be funny (I hope), but I know I carry it way too far.

Anyway, the weathermen last night (Thursday) were warning of a high-energy winter storm on the way. It was going to hit around 6 AM, and dump a lot of snow on our region over the next eight hours or so.

Teri and I talked about it, talked about the possibility of me not going in to work on Friday. I suggested we wait and see; maybe my company would call a snow day.

No such luck. As we started out from the house, the snow was just starting to come down, thick and fast. Teri was worried, and so was I. She suggested to Sebastian that she might not take him to school, and he immediately burst out sobbing - big fat tears practically burst out of his eyes.

"I want to see my friends!" he sobbed.

Time was tight, but we made it to the train. The ride in was uneventful. When I got out at Ruggles, though, the company shuttle wasn't there. A bunch of fellow employees were standing around, freezing and getting caked in a remarkably thick layer of snow - I'm not kidding, it was half an inch thick at least. After a couple of minutes the shuttle pulled in and we clambered aboard.

The roads were getting bad, so the trip took a slightly longer than usual. When we pulled up to the building, though, the van door wouldn't open. The driver tried and tried, but it was absolutely stuck. It couldn't have been frozen shut; it wasn't that cold. But even though he tried the emergency handle over and over, and another driver came over and helped him pull on the door, it wouldn't budge at all.

So eventually they had us all go out through the driver's-side door. That required sitting behind the wheel, a tight fit while fully laden with bags (as most of us were), but eventually we all got out and headed into work.

I hoped that would be the most exciting part of the day. It wasn't.

Read more... )
I'll go to sleep soon. But I am trying to decide what I want to write next. Don't know if I'll figure it out tonight, but it's definitely high on my list of priorities. Because there's no question in my mind that I'm happier when I have a story going. It gives me something to think about, something challenging.

Recently the thought occurred to me that if I assume that some (or all) of my stories have no chance for publication, that frees me to write things that I'd really enjoy, but wouldn't normally consider doing - for example, a new story using Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson's Hokas. The idea hit me that it might be interesting to do a story about a serious Hoka - one with no real imagination, or no more imagination than a normal human. Might be amusing, though I'd need to work out an angle.

We'll see.


Nov. 16th, 2005 04:56 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Some idiot left a can of soda in the freezer at work today. It froze and exploded, covering everything with frozen, foamy soda (probably Coke). Whoever it was apparently later took the can away (since it's not there now), but didn't bother to clean up.

Someone else left an amusing note on the freezer:


Not Great Literature, I suppose, but it gave me a laugh. Of course I had a water bottle in the freezer myself, but I was able to clean it off without any difficulty.
bobquasit: (Me)
I was in the shuttle bus this morning, heading in to work. We were stopped at a red light. Suddenly...

THUMP! S C R A P E....

I looked down, and saw that a small convertible BMW had gone around us, but the driver had misjudged. The BMW had hit us and scraped badly against our van's left rear corner. The entire length of the right side of the BMW was damaged. A piece was hanging off of it; it looked like a gas cap, but it was on the front right-hand side. I don't know what it was.

"Nice car," I said. "Well, it was a nice car." People laughed.

The BMW went ahead of us while we tried to see the license plate (New York CXC9398, I believe), but after the next light the driver turned left into a side-street, stopped, and got out. She was a blond girl in her twenties, looking remarkably calm.

We sat around for about ten minutes while information was exchanged and all that, and then we proceeded on to work. I was the only passenger curious enough to go back and look at the damage to the van; one little side-light was gone, and there was a little paint scraped off the bumper. There might also have been a little damage, but to be honest it looked as if the bumper had been hit (not too hard) before, so it was hard to judge.

I can only imagine how much it's going to cost to repair that BMW, though.

Funny, I've now been in accidents (one way or another) with THREE extremely expensive cars. The first day that I went driving after getting my license I was rammed from behind by a red convertible MG; when I was in my early twenties a Rolls Royce skidded on ice, plunged across the street, spun around, and rammed me backwards; and now this. I suppose next it'll be a Lexus, or something.


Aug. 17th, 2005 06:10 am
bobquasit: (Default)
There's some sort of live commercial roleplaying game or interactive adventure company...right across the street from where I work. Strange.

Has anyone ever heard of these guys before?
bobquasit: (Default)
Glory be! The Republican-worshiper in the next cube has moved out. No more Reagan bobblehead, no more extra-large "W 2004" sticker, no giant poster of Reagan on a horse (that one had an almost gay-porn quality to it, somehow)...a definite improvement.

Of course, he's probably been moved up to an office or something at double the salary, but at least I don't have to look at all of that crap every day.
bobquasit: (Default)
Some days it doesn't pay to get up.


I wake up at 5:20am (in pitch dark, of course) and turn off the alarm clock (it goes off at 5:30). Go downstairs, sit down on the couch, and pull a blanket over me. When I wake up it I am running late. My own fault, of course.

There's a jerk who has been parking his car in the worst spot possible across from our driveway. I have to make about a 38-point turn to get out. The stupid fucker doesn't even live within three houses of us; I don't know why he has chosen to leave his car there. And that's just what he does: the goddamned car never moves, except to be moved a few feet up or down the street during a snowstorm. For some reason that allows the bastard to not get a ticket. No such luck for me, of course; I owe the fucking bastard police department of Woonsocket $100 because my car was on the street when a snowstorm hit us overnight.

I switch out Teri's car, pull out the Neon, and back Teri's car in to make it slightly easier for her to get out of the driveway. Hop in my car and take off for the train station. I have a good chance to make it.

Five minutes later a huge car carrier pulls out in front of me. It stops at every light. It never goes above 20 miles per hour. I can't get around it.

Eventually it turns off. But now there's a school bus ahead of me. A school bus that makes frequent stops, and takes extra time to sit there, blocking traffic, after the (slow-walking) kids get on. It stays in my way for a long, long time. My blood pressure soars.

I realize that I will have to divert to make a later train at a different station. The school bus stays in front of me.

Finally it turns off. I have eight minutes to make the second train; tight, but I should be able to make it! I step on the gas.

Three seconds later I come up on ANOTHER fucking school bus. It's worse than the first one; sits there for longer, with even SLOWER-walking kids. And it stops for train tracks, too. Nice LONG stops.

All hope vanishes.

Finally I pull into the station...just in time to see the second train start up and pull away. I will now have the pleasure of waiting for 45 minutes for the next train, and I will be very, very late for work.

I scream "FUCK!!!!" at the top of my lungs until my throat is raw.


Some days it doesn't pay to get up.
bobquasit: (Default)
I am sitting here listening to people in the next cube discuss their new BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, etc.

The '96 Neon I drive is now smoking copiously from under the hood every morning. I cannot afford to have it looked at.

What the fuck is wrong with this picture?


bobquasit: (Default)

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