Work thoughts plus a cool video

This is what triggered the following. I watched the metal dust come flying out, and then the wrote following back to the poster (I’ve met him I think once IRL, he’s associated with the Seattle filk fen) pOp check out his youtube channel he’s made some awesome videos of stuff he’s built.


…Made me think of a work story. Must be almost fifteen years ago now this happened. Take an RMA for a 1500W inverter. Mo Z the repair & analysis dude cracks it open, mutters to himself, and approaches my desk with a small plastic container of brass dust … Which he then proceeds to pour out onto a piece of paper on my desk. “Mo what the hell?” sez I and he sez, brown eyes snapping, “Under no circumstances is this a warranty failure. These metal shavings came from inside.” I get to talk to the customer, lucky me. Found out during my intense and unpleasant callback to the customer that he’s using the inverter to run a mobile key cutting machine out of his van, no protection, brass dust every-fuckin-where but screechin all heartbroken that it should be covered under warranty. And so it went for the next I dunno how many years, he’d run it until it breached the ass of the laws of physics for how it still worked with that much stray metal in it, and then I’d sell him a refurb for a discount. THE END

Feeling much lighter

I edited AND wrote yesterday (SOTW and HotM respectively) and practiced mandolin, and worked a shift, and did a shop, and felt gross and slept too much.

Now I’m feeling really kinda okay.  I was still getting migraine signs until a couple of hours ago, but I think it’s lifted and I’m much more cheerful.

There are apparently 113 fire trucks at the Cherry Street Fire in Toronto right now. Toxic smoke would be even worse if it hadn’t been raining off and on through the night.


Egil’s a jackass

Since I can’t actually talk about anything that I really want to comment on regarding my week away (and I’m okay with that, for the most part) I’ll talk about the stuff I can talk about.

1. Egil’s a jackass. Read the Sagas of the Icelanders if you want to know why.
2. I do miss the physical place, Toronto, rather more than I expected to, and returning to Vancouver gave me a lot of strange feelings. I have to go past all my stomping grounds on the way out of town.
Or perhaps work is not all that exciting. I fucking hate it when workers don’t check their pagers and don’t call in to ask why they haven’t been paged in four hours.
3. I seem to have broken my fanfic addiction. Of course, I don’t feel like writing anything at the moment, but that will change once I have characters working in my head again. I think I learned what I needed to. I’ll finish the two projects at some point but I’m no longer worried about it.
4. U2 ON FRIDAY. I have something to look forward to!!!!
5. It was absolutely lovely to see all of the Jewish men walking up and down Bathurst as I took the bus out of town. I only saw Bubbies, no Zadies.
6. LOST MY CHEESE at a friend who keeps using the word gypsy. I’ve told her not to before, but this time I just slammed it down and then backed off. Yes there are American Roma who accept the word, but that’s on them; every person of Roma descent I know personally has specifically asked me never to use it and to call it out in people who use it, however the fuck they employ it.
7. The transit in Toronto is so superior to what we get in Vancouver that I’m really annoyed about it. Cheaper, better, faster. It took me less than two hours to get from Bathurst and Sheppard to the airport, on a Saturday. The airport express was just sitting there waiting for me. ALMOST got off at the wrong terminal but managed to leap back onto the same bus and save myself a lot of trouble.
8. The new front loading washer is quite nice, and very efficient. IT WAS ALSO DISGUSTINGLY FILTHY which as brOJeff says, you can fix, versus it being mechanically subpar.
9. NEVER FLYING AIR CANADA AGAIN. I know that flying passes gave me a bad feeling, but after the last experience trying to get out of Vancouver I know that is something I will never be obliged to go through again.
10. This is going to be a bit of a lean month, since I will not be paid for the time I took off. I’m okay with this but I may not be able to help people who need it.
11. Still having happy feelings about the beginning of the week when Little E talked to me again and walked up and down on me with his little hot feet.
12. Slept all but four hours of my time off today. I am almost recovered from my visit and travelling and the dryness; one of the reasons I was sleeping while I was gone so much is that my eyes were so dry I could hear them as I opened and shut them. I did use drops but that’s not always useful for long.
13. I think I’ll go in early and treat myself to a meal at Browns.
14. This means goodbye for now!

That feeling when

Jeff calls the new Hulu show “Burn Tarot” and expects Jeffrey Donovan to be doing voiceovers “When you’re a psychic,” and you laugh so hard you pull a rib.

Some irritated person threatens to call the Site Leader (basically GOD ON CALL) when you warn them that work requests will be slow tonight because you’re at 50% staffing and your response is OH WOULD YOU PLEASE we’ll need her help sorting through all the work requests that were in the system AHEAD OF YOURS. That was 3/4 of an hour ago.  Yeah, you guessed it, no call. Just as an aside I actually paged the Site Leader yesterday and she didn’t answer, so make of that what you will. She probably pulled an Allegra and when she didn’t recognize the number didn’t pick up lollllol.

People who work nights and complain about the workload and do a shitty job and sleep in the ER until 5 am when they wake up and pretend to do more work are on the receiving end of one of your pointier emails.

I have 64 likes on my Supernatural fic and 4 kudos and I’m thinking I KNOW SOMEBODY LIKES MY WRITING and Jeff says my interest in slash fanfic for a show I don’t watch equals zero, interest in MMCo = 100% and you just think squee.

You’ve invented a fanfic universe in which you have a McGuffin to make any character pairing possible (with a lot of effort, but possible).

Your daughter calls and tells you she got a job, a good job, in a union environment, close to home and you’re dancing around like an idjit.

You think ‘I’m actually going to miss this job’. I mean, I quit a month ago and I’m still working here, it’s insane. And some of the people are so much fun, I come in early just so I can interact with them.  Others, well, you know how it is.

I’ve almost paid off my credit card debt and I did it with money I earned.

You forget to tell your mother that you received and deposited the cheque she sent you… a month ago.

You watch the Wrong Box again.

I’m putting it in my pile of movies to watch when I’m feeling icky. Because watching it put a bounce in my step. Figuring out that John Larroquette based his performance in the Librarians in part on Ralph Richardson’s tremendous turn as Joseph Finsbury; (so many classic lines among which ‘the playing of games, with balls of varying sizes’ never fails to crack me up), marvelling at Peter Sellers’ false nose and moggy filled apartment (at one point he mops up an ink blot with a kitten’s ass); drooling over the set dec and costumes, which are lovely, and the script (done in part by Larry Gelbart whom you may also know as one of the creators of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and M*A*S*H the tv show, also family faves), the hilarious and stylish music, with a score by John Barry, also a fave of mine (his theme for the Persuaders was one of the highlights for me on tv when I was a teen); John Mills’ voice; the ridiculous train derailment; Tutte Lemkow, the professional villain, and his entirely mute performance as the knitting mad Bournemouth Strangler. Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, and would like a film that amuses without cloying, it’s really, really good.

So yeah… all in all I’m having a good week, and writing 15k words in 4 days was… interesting. Graphomania is a helluva drug. I was literally pacing when I wanted to write and couldn’t, and that’s PSYCHOMOTOR AGITATION folks.  Perhaps the sun is coming back and making me twitterpated.




5 ! days ! off

First day I’m going to hang out with Mike, because I feel like I’ve forgotten what he looks like. Then, Victoria for a flying visit and back for a Tuesday since I’ve got a shift.

UNFORTUNATELY the schedule in the f*cking office only goes until Saturday so I’ve got an email in to the manager (we have no supervisor, which is an ongoing issue of boiling hot contention for reasons I can’t get into) to confirm in writing that I don’t have to work until Tuesday night.  If I don’t have a response by noon I’m going to phone her.

Hey guys

I am very sorry that I had to, but I resigned.  Actually quit on my mom’s birthday, what a fangèd child I am. When asked why via email by my supervisor, I supplied two words: Poor fit. But I got to go to work for a while, and my dipsy doodling has brought some of my fans out of the woodwork, and I may be able to talk my way into another job in January. And I did get paid.

I’m healthier, mentally (Jeff might quibble) and physically.  I was in situations where I didn’t eat much for days at a stretch and lost 10 pounds. (Read, holy shit, stress, cause when the hell do I forget to eat?)

My last day worked at the hospital will be Christmas Eve.

I feel terrible about it, but a lot of stuff happened that was rather disheartening, and a little bit was terrifying, and a large amount of it was super disrespectful and classist, so there you go.

I may have mentioned that I’m writing fan fic set in my own universe, which is fourteen kinds of wacky; two of the characters from the Upsun universe fall in love and then the course of true love gets messed up and then ALIENS plus WHOREHOUSE so there’s at least a possibility of someone getting a happy ending. I’m reading more about gay men’s sex than is likely good for me to and I’ve learned there’s 151 Million references to bukkake on the internet, per google.  Not that our One True Pairing does that, but they do get into some pretty weird stuff mostly while giggling like schoolkids and not talking about their feelings very effectively, quelle surprise. The novel will be sixty thousand words long, and I have written half of it.  HALF.  At least two of the streams of dialogue are some of the best I’ve ever written, too bad ’bout the subject matter, hey?  Oh well.

The best part of all of this is that even though I’m writing unusual characters and sweetly bizarre porn, my mOm is still yoinking sheets out of the typewriter as fast as she can, figuratively speaking.  Since it has a fan, it must be good.  I’m enjoying it, but I just got to the half way mark where they break up and now I have to go through the VALLEY OF THE TROPES to get them back to each other.  They must traverse the Bridge of Well Meaning Advice from Friends which When Taken Goes Awry; squeeze past the Troll of He Only Loved me for My Looks; suffer the attentions of the Juvenile Alien who keeps trying blatantly stupid Shit to Get Them Back in the Same Room; have AT LEAST TWO dream sequences, because why not; etc. etc.  I enjoy tropes at the same rate I subvert them, I fear.

I’m at Mike’s, a refugee from snow and how chilly my end of Geekhaus is (it’s my fault, I’m not really complaining) and also the sad ugliness of feeling like a failure for quitting a job AGAIN; last night he fed me chinese egg noodles dressed with oil and scallions, hothouse tomatoes with salt and cilantro, perfectly baked salmon fillet with a crust of garlic, salt, pepper and oregano, and baby bok choi with garlic. Then, after, a digestif of baiju, the stuff I bought him at the Farmer’s Market.  IT WAS SO TASTY. Just finished the tomatoes, they were so nom I thought BREAKFAST.

The world looks less ugly this morning.  For this we thank our friends.

Then I think about Aleppo, and the project that’s gathering soil from every lynching site in the US, and the fentanyl crisis, and how hard it is to find a decent job, and … no wonder I flee back to writing. There is a universe which I alone control, but it ends at my nose (Ashleigh Brilliant).

Saw most of the front part of Spectral.  It was apparently a big budget movie ditched by its studio and brought back by Netflix.  I eventually will see the whole movie. I quite liked the special effects.

No one wants to perform at the Trump Inaugural.  I’m sure they’ll dig someone up.

Keith and I are supposed to see a movie together today; maybe Arrival, maybe Moana, maybe a coin toss.

I did not shit my pants at work yesterday

That’s my boast.  I got LITERALLY 7 minutes away from my desk.  I did not eat after my coffee and (cunningly) 2 cheese biscuits. I stayed at my desk for 8 hours.

Since I do want to stay employed, I won’t go into details.  It’s more a systems and process thing. Software crashes. People leave incomplete messages.  Life sucks sometimes.




darkest before dawn

On nights, the phone rings between 25 and 80 times. It’s housekeepers clearing or progressing the beds they’ve been assigned, or saying they’ve delivered soap to the nurses’ station; it’s angry ward clerks wondering if the spilled bodily fluids on 2E are ever going to be wiped up; it’s people from hospitals my employer no longer serves who have to be given the toll free of their new service provider; it’s a fitful stream of people needing clean up after human misery, discomfort, life – in the Labour rooms and death – pretty much everywhere.

The door locks, and I’m happy about that. Twice a shift the security guard rattles the handle to ensure that I have locked it.  I leave it open until about 11:45 because otherwise I’m leaping up to let in housekeepers who are signing in or grabbing a new swipe card/pager/ID/piece of paperwork. After that the only people who want ingress are the lead hands.

Folks are pretty nice. I’ve been living in a rather isolated little world and so it’s good to be hearing people talk about work and their lives again.  There’s the usual backbiting, and the inevitable comments about how one housekeeper or another is the laziest sod who ever lived – or the hardest working.  People’s opinions on these matters (unless you’re the poor sod involved) are consistent. Sometimes I say nothing when they give me a long explanation of why they can’t do a bed, and at the end I say, fine, I’ll page it to the supervisor, and fifteen minutes later they tell me to progress the bed.  Snicker. I have that white lady voice, that scornful voice, and it has its gruelling effect.

The housekeepers are from every quadrant of the earth; East Africa, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, the Dominican, Chile, and of course there are a few women who look like me. Some of them even walk like I used to; I can’t tell you how happy I am that I found the exercise for pubic symphisis pain and actually DO it, standing up and lying down.  My gait is much bouncier, and I’m walking faster without really thinking about it.  I’m a Daily Breader now, I’d be missed if I didn’t go to work. And since I’m not running around my house barefoot all day I’m wearing my orthotics much more and holy crap my back feels better.  In fact, everything feels better now that I’m working. I’m sleeping better, which is not credible, but there you are.  I slept from 8:30 – 11:30, swithered for an hour, got up, stayed up for about four hours, and crashed again until 9:30.

I may get a swipe card for the side door.  It would make getting to work on time, since my connections are so very tight, much easier; I wouldn’t have to run up the stairs to the main entrance and stooge about for five minutes while attempting to get the attention of the security guard so I can get to the HCC elevators.

Sad to relate, the gal whose car accident has given me many more hours than I might have reasonably expected after my training has chosen not to return to work until after Christmas.  I will work what shifts I’m assigned without complaint but ten bucks says I’ll be working at least one and probably two stats. Overtime is calculated in an absolutely insane way but that’s somebody else’s problem.  The timekeeper is somebody who used to work on the food service side of the company and I spent a lot of time buying food from her when I worked up on SFU hill in Discovery Park.

Sad to further relate, I’m going to be doing a lot of day shifts over the next two weeks, and they are exhausting and very very busy and I kinda prefer the sheltered workshop that is nights.

I need time off to write, but I only get one day off this week and only two days off for the weeks after that. I’m writing this at work, but it doesn’t matter if the phone rings.  For the writing, I much prefer my laptop and my little writing nook.


Birthday thoughts

I got 8 and a half hours of sleep today; woke up to Jeff saying it’s good you’re awake Paul and Keith are taking you to dinner! so I rolled out of bed and we went to the Union Jack and had Stuffed Yorkies. I did have a raspberry mojito, but they were on special, and after I had a Shirley Temple, which is different from place to place and the current reigning champeen is served at Brown’s.

Starting to get a routine; come home, stay away until about 9:30 catching up with Jeff and watching PVR stuff, then to bed in two shifts – or one, like today. Up no later than 10, take my vitamins brush my teeth, fix my lunch and out the door I go.  Catch the bus at 10:30 and stroll into work right on time. Coming home the buses hook up so well I’m home in literally half an hour.

I drink tea at night. I’m not drinking coffee unless I’m on days.  I’ve pretty much had to stop drinking beer since starting to work full time so you can just imagine how in-trim my liver’s going to be by Friday, when Mike’s taking me to a gastropub for dinner.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be going to Keith and Paul’s for breakfast and to pick up my glasses which (fingers crossed) Keith will have been able to fix.

Then home for sleepiebyes and one more shift for the week and then it all starts over again on Sunday at 11 pm.

I have to work 4 day shifts at the beginning of December and days in this job are proof that god hates you so yuck, but it’s all money and there are supervisors to consult when things **** up, so yay.

I got almost FIFTY BIRTHDAY WISHES on facebook and five private email wishes for birthday joy, so don’t let anybody tell you I have no friends, which would include me saying it.

My day card was Justice; my ‘year ahead’ tarot reading was wonderful and involves shitpiles of work, coordination and consolidation.


YES I am still writing, but my regular part time hours will be less of a kick in the goolies, and that won’t happen until well after the beginning of December, so I guess my deadline of December 12 is now officially toast.  I do understand a) how I’m going to finish it and b) that it is probably going to be at least 15K words shorter than I was expecting, but I won’t really know until it’s done.


More work news

I had the funny feeling that my compass card (transit) was getting low.  LOL I wouldn’t have been able to get home today! I stuck a hundred dollars on it.  I love how much money you have to spend on a job before you actually get a paycheque!  Nukable lunches were on sale so I picked up some on the way home last night. Days are extremely busy, (20 calls in 20 minutes yesterday between 2 and 2:30 – it was INSANE), afternoons (I hear) less so, midnights even less so. A coworker was in a major car accident; car was totalled and she is off work indefinitely so I’m going to be full time.  To try and expedite my training so I can fly solo next week on midnights bossman says I’m working tomorrow which means I get a stat in my first week of employment. Also means I’ll be having to not drink anything for my birthday supper with Mike next week which is alternately amusing and annoying. Travelling by transit that early in the morning means that I’m with the real working people, none of whom have time for cologne or perfume, so I’m not getting gassed by selfish assholes, and even if I was I’m only on the train for 8 minutes and only on the bus for 10 (the rest is walking and waiting). If I leave the house by 20 after 6 I’m at work on time and with enough time to get a coffee if I feel like it. The transit is pooched for Sundays and statutory holidays and so Jeff has kindly agreed to drive me in. The person training me is eighteen years old.  I feel very strange; I could have sworn she was older than that. Had a lovely conversation with two other middle aged women on the bus on the way home last night. Dinner was steak and onions over fresh greens. Thanks Jeff I forgot to put it away but you looked after it.  Now to see if I can grind out a thousand words in the next hour!


I will be starting training on a new job on Monday at 7 am.  The commute is short, the office is small, the setting is in a hospital. Thanks Jason for taking a chance on me.

Work is in a call centre for a third party cleaning company responsible for 3 lower mainland hospitals including the one I normally use for emergencies.

Just got my first work related email.  If I have to pay for a flu shot before I even walk through the door I’m gonna be annoyed. (Did the research, I don’t have to.)

More details after I start.


Job interviews

I am very fortunate to have a job interview today.  I know that when I’ve had 70 or 80 interviews the odds are good that I will get a job, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic.  I barked at the HR staffer on the phone who called me to set up an appointment because I didn’t recognize the number and I’d just had a big long run of writing and wasn’t in, “Hey dumdum you’re supposed to answer the phone like God’s receptionist!” mode. Which -every other time- I have done. And I got an interview anyway.  Not exactly sure how to feel.

It’s a reputable company doing reputable things, and it’s a half-hour commute by bus away, just like I’ve wanted.

But I think about job interviews where they love my resume and then they’re like this when I show up because I’m 57.

Or when I ask them about how online reviews say they’re the worst place on earth to work and she snaps, “That’s the factory in the States, not here,” and then THREE TIMES OVER THE NEXT YEAR they run an ad for the position I interviewed for (got a second interview, even), and instead of saying to myself Holy Crapstacks! dodged a bullet! you know what I do? I cry.  Because they didn’t hire me. I know I wouldn’t have lasted if it was so bad three people quit in a year, but still there’s me looking at the Craigslist ad, this last time was only six weeks ago, and thinking why didn’t they hire me?

Or I go to a headhunter and get told, “You have to spend money on clothes and wear makeup or you will never ever get a job.”

Or I go to a headhunter and get told by a woman younger than my daughter that I need to freshen up my resumé. I’d certainly like to know how, given that I haven’t worked for pay in 2 years.

“Volunteer! Spend days researching every company you want to work for and then pitch them hard! Go door to door with your resumé! You need to be looking at jobs anywhere on transit and quit with this foolishness about needing a short commute. Take any job however menial or destructive to your hearing, health or sanity, and look for a better one while you’re working! Go back to school and get something buzzy and pointless on your resumé! Have you tried …(a suggestion which implies that the person you’re talking to, whom you’ve known for 15 years, hasn’t actually spent any time learning who the hell you are)? Leave town and go where the jobs are, like Fort St John and Ft McMurray!”

I understand the world has changed; I have never expected to have a job for life.  I want a job which will feed me, stop me from destroying my life savings, and not be so demanding that I don’t have the energy to write.  If that is too much to hope for, I will adjust my hopes accordingly.  But I am not at the point where I can take just any job, because it would not be fair to my employer for me to just quit when presented with a better opportunity.  And there is always the possibility, since it’s obviously true, that there won’t be another job, and I’ll work in the dishpit of an Italian restaurant until I dissolve with the steam into a little spot of grease in a uniform, but not before my varicose veins crap out.

But it’s not like I’m the only one.


dramatis coworkerae

Bart – the former CEO shaved his head and scared me with it (not what I remember), talked interestingly about poker (he plays top league)
Antonio, the former CFO (also shaved his head and made him look younger how the hell does that work)
Amanda Looking good!
Katie – didn’t talk to her
Klaus – No change. That smirk never dies.
Venu – So lovely to see him! He was always a sensible and hardworking individual.
Christine Three kids under ten and taking her masters GOOD GOD WOMAN
Dave D – such a happy guy. I’m following his parenting joys and hiccups on fb.
Haakon – lovely talk with him
Silvana – gave me job hunting pointers
Bert – He’s a brutally private person so let’s just say I was *really* happy to see him and I think he’s a goddamned trooper.

AND APPARENTLY A GABRIOLA CAMPING TRIP IS ON THE BOARDS FOR 2017. Or mebbe Tofino? Mike and I spoke to the Dalai Jarmo last Friday. HHHHHmmmmm they are running a B&B.

I guess it tells you something about what kind of place it was to work that literally fifteen years after we last all worked together we wanted to see each other again. At least two of the above noted people look younger and healthier than they did when I last worked with them, which just seems bizarre.

I had a really good time, and some lovely conversations with some great people.

I hope the surgery goes well today. Odds are it will all go slick.

a visit

Woke at 4:34 with a bug crawling on me.  Sigh.  I’m sure I have a mild case of RLS because I very often get ‘the crawlies’ but my crawlies don’t move, and bugs do, so that’s how I tell the difference when lying in bed at night.

I’m getting a new mattress.  This one is shite.  I don’t feel like spending any money.

Patricia and I got together downtown to (briefly) discuss my potential job application but mostly to drink a few sophisticated beverages, in the jungle that is the café at the VAG (no fewer than 4 species of bird and mammal came through).  We scored the best seats in the house. She asked to look at baby pictures.  I am extraordinarily proud of Alex (also Katie, who is doing a more than creditable parenting job under circumstances that are more difficult than what I experienced), but I don’t spend a lot of time talking about him, because his accomplishments have more to do with the quality of his vocalizations and his digestive processes than anything grownups consider remarkable.

Our server, Claire, a charming woman, talked to us a while about how people freak out about there being animals and she’s like, duh, it’s outside with 25 years worth of very dense foliage and food, and if you see mice there’s no rats, so whatevs.  Her attitude was very bracing, and damn us if we didn’t use the last of the pita to tempt Sir Sparrow and the Sire de Mousey.  And Patricia said something so complimentary I ain’t repeating it,  but it’s one of those things I’m going to be pulling out and mentally burnishing every once in a while for the next couple of weeks any time I have the Thrumps.

After two beers (Sunsetter Summer I b’lieve, and normally I LOATHE wheat bears and they give me an immediate headache but this was delicious and carried no such freight) and some hummus it was aff hame, except I said at Granville (exaggerating somewhat) CRYFACE O WHY IS IT I MUST LEAVE YOU MY FRIEND I WISH TO CONTINUE BEVERAGING.

I pointed to the nearest pub, and she had a better idea (she lives blocks away) and we went to a very nice bar called Uva, with extremely loud music (I need to find a bar downtown with music at a comfy level) and exceptionally nice washrooms and kindly servers, and I had a Raven, because I don’t get to go to Jericho Folk any more because they stopped (rent and exhaustion trending upward as I recollect) and that was the only place I ever drank it.  It was very, very good, even better than I remember although that might have more to do with how often the beer taps were cleaned at the Galley than anything else, because it was in a bottle.

So we chatted a while longer and I went home. Very pleasant to discuss the interface of domestic life with contemporary feminism, and on that subject I need make no further public remarks.

And now Jeff’s up and there’s tons on the PVR and it’s another smoking hot day in Vancouver and we are going to a family picnic tonight, yay! Also, it’s a resumé day, and I know better than to try to write more than one kind of fiction on resumé day.  I have the job description to hand, which will make things easier.

Writing will commence after the family picnic.  I am sure of it.  I was a little underfriended, and by the time I’ve done catching up with my dear ones I’ll be much closer to having a full tank.  Thank you Mike, Patricia and Alex for that!!