Archive for July, 2008

I began training for the Seattle Marathon today.

It’s going to be a long four months.

They stopped collecting trash every night, and then they started again when I complained again.

“I’m tired of complaining,” I complained.

I made a new trap with half the paper and caught more flies.

My favorite coworker left today so now I officially have no friends here.

My brain stopped working before I could finish what I was working on.

I was so close!

I hate the way garlic feels in your stomach the morning after you eat a whole clove.

Yes, you. You think I would do something stupid like eat whole cloves of garlic? Of course I wouldn’t. I know better.

I had a dog and a car and a man when I lived in Austin. I lived in a house with a lawn that I could tell people to evacuate with the highest level of quickness… while my dog squatted next to me, leaving a giant turd behind. The grass was always dead and sometimes the weeds came up to my waist. This should have bothered us, our neighbors, and our homeowners’ association, if we had one.

I never was much into gardening, but I like gardens. I never could make music, but I listen to it a lot. I can’t cook food and I don’t know the first thing about wine (except the regular bullshit that gets tossed around frequently in this post-Sideways era we live in), but I consume the hell out of both whenever I have the opportunity.

And I believe opportunity just knocked.

Can’t a Bitch Wear a Dress in Peace?
I appreciate the compliments, but I don’t like being prodded for information as a result of my chosen attire. Do I have plans tonight? What a silly question. I’m Kat; I have plans every night. However, I am wearing a dress because my ass has grown too big for most of my pants, and I haven’t felt moved to lose the weight yet. Too much information? Shit, you asked…

Vagina dentata!/What a wonderful phrase/Vagina dentata!/Ain’t no passing craze
Last night I killed a bottle of bourbon with a good friend and watched the critically-acclaimed movie (not really), Teeth, starring no one you’ve heard of or will ever see again. This movie requires both people and alcohol for an enjoyable viewing experience, but gawd-damn it’s great when they’re all in place. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that any gross images crossing your mind as you ponder seeing this movie, you will find in this movie.

Pictures from the Wedding
There are many pictures from many sources to document my first and last wedding party experience, unless Claire goes insane and gets married too. (Keeping fingers crossed for the opposite.) These two are from the first batch. I’ll make a flickr set when I get more.

Claire and Kat wearing normal clothes:

(Some guy we picked up off the street with) Claire and Kat wearing… pink:

I was asked a few times yesterday if anyone followed up on the fruit fly situation. The short answer is yes—Trash is being collected daily now until further notice. The long answer is as follows:

After sitting through an excruciatingly long meeting, I bolted out of the conference room at my earliest opportunity to find three men standing at my cube: my admin [admin], the guy from before [facilities], and a new guy that the guy from before has to talk to before anything important gets done [facilities+1].

While [admin] has been more than sympathetic to the cause (he’s getting flies in his office, and there’s not even a garbage can in there), and [facilities] warmed up pretty quickly, [facilities+1] was not so nice. He kept trying to suggest in a roundabout way that we were slobs and somehow food was left out behind a desk or cabinet, and that was the source of our pest problem. So I kept counter-arguing that the time this problem surfaced correlates with the time trash stopped being collected daily. I also said very loudly that all of my coworkers are conscientious, clean people, who have taken every measure to ensure that their workspaces have remained neat and organized. I don’t know this for a fact, but from what I’ve seen it’s true, and it made me sound really nice.

After a lot of annoying fruitless discussion (pun?), [facilities+1] brought up the idea of spraying the area. I would like that very much. Unfortunately, [admin] is a bit young and overzealous, and understandably wants to make as few waves as possible. He’s afraid that people would be inconvenienced by the spraying and said he wanted that to be a last resort. This displeased me. But we hadn’t seen how regular trash pickup would affect the situation, so I kept my mouth shut.

To reiterate, this place is a raving shithole. We’re going to have to spray.

As of this writing (time/datestamp-altered, of course), we still have flies, and to put it bluntly: Kat ain’t happy. And you know how it is… If Kat ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy.

I sent an email to my admin yesterday (in the post below this one) because our area is infested with fruit flies and it caused some fun churn among both my coworkers and the facilities department. My persuasive prose actually incited a visit from someone who might be able to fix this problem. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a few days. Therefore, I hereby announce the third week of July to be named National Fruit Fly Week!

To “celebrate,” I created this homemade trap using a borrowed cocktail shaker, some bananas, and an index page of a protocol document:

Top view:

I wish I could say I miraculously thought of this on my own, but I didn’t. A friend sent me a blog post he found about catching fruit flies with salsa. (This link contains a how-to and the logic behind the design.) Their results were better than mine; but my fruit flies are infesting a zillion-dollar global corporation, so maybe they’re smarter than the fruit flies that would infest a regular person’s home.

As I leave work today, the fruit fly status is still pending. Our contact in facilities sent an email to someone more important than he, requesting nightly trash collection and thereby escalating the problem for us. All in all, he was a nice guy. When he came over, he saw the state of my cube and like many others, bit his tongue before exclaiming, “Holy shit that’s nasty!”

After discussing my cube’s sad state of affairs, I gave him the grand tour of the building, showing him just how unreasonable it is to expect us to make special concessions to a backward policy (in the most polite way possible, of course), especially given that we work in a fucking mail distribution center. (This means loading dock doors are wide open for long periods of time, allowing bugs to fly inside.)

I admit with some reservation that I’ve worked in worse conditions. I wouldn’t have expected to draw similarities at this job, though.

Dear [name withheld],

I am writing to inform you of a serious health issue that has befallen many of the occupants of Building XXX. In the last month or so, some of us have noticed that garbage collection no longer occurs daily, but every other day. While I am sure facilities is greatly benefitting from this clever money-saving initiative, this has caused Building XXX to undergo a population explosion… of fruit flies that now constantly hover in many of our cubicles.

Since the employees who work in this building are contractors, we are paid by the hour. Therefore, it is common for us to have lunch at our desks so we can complete our hours at work as quickly as possible and go home to be with our families. The meal offerings in the Building YYY cafeteria are more than suitable, featuring dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala and Mongolian Beef Stirfry. Those are two great tastes, but they don’t taste great together. And they certainly don’t smell great rotting in my garbage can for hours or even days… unless you’re a fruit fly.

From this discovery, many of us have tried putting our trash in a receptacle other than our own garbage cans. It is somewhat an inconvenience, as I never considered it a mentionable amenity to be able to throw my refuse in a nearby garbage can, but it would be well worth the effort if it eliminated these unwanted pests. Unfortunately, any time someone would like to enjoy a snack at their desk while they work, the fruit flies return, seemingly with a vengeance.

While fruit flies must serve some purpose in our vast, ever-changing ecosystem, I am having trouble understanding their role at Microsoft. As I have become acquainted with them over the past few weeks, I’ve attempted to share my workload with these clingy creatures so they could earn their keep. As it turns out, they don’t edit protocol documentation very well. In fact, they aren’t even very good company. It’s kind of like when your long-lost cousin-by-marriage shows up on your doorstep at 2am on a weeknight without calling first and tells you he needs a place to crash for “awhile” until he “gets back on his feet.” There’s no telling how long he’ll be there, and things are a little tense until an alternative arrangement is reached.

So I ask you to please contact the appropriate person (or pass along his or her contact information) so that we can find a expeditious and final solution to this problem. Historically, unwanted insects have been carriers for diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, African sleeping sickness, and the bubonic plague (a.k.a. the black death). In the event that I am spared from one of these painful and life-threatening diseases, it would sadden me greatly to watch my respected colleagues suffer from maladies that are so easily preventable with good old-fashioned cleanliness.

Once again, I cordially beseech you to help put an end to this dangerous injustice and aid the Building XXX dwellers in lobbying for more frequent waste collection.

Thank you,

Kat Taylor
a.k.a. “Piggy”

Addendum: I posted my admin’s kind, rapid response and a few other comments in the Dear Kat section.

Well, the high rapids… of the Skykomish River, to be exact. I had never been rafting before and probably should have been more worried about the fact that it’s a Class 5 river with two large drops (not waterfalls though). I’m told that Class 5 is as high as it gets, and the Skykomish is the most dangerous river in Washington. So naturally, I had to take my place at the front of the boat so I could look at everything.

The river was so clear, you could see the bottom. The mountains were so high, they still had snow on them. And I was so happy, I spent most of the 2.5 hours on the raft talking like a pirate. It was fun for everyone. Y’ar.

I had to leave my camera in the car since there’s no way to keep anything in the raft from getting wet. Trust me when I say it was one of the most gorgeous mountain views I’d ever seen. And I used to live in a city called Mountain View.

Pictures from the ride to the river:

These pictures don’t do the trip justice. It really was amazing and well-deserving of its place on my short list of “Coolest Things I’ve Ever Done.” (It’s right up there with attending Santacon in Manhattan and going horseback riding in Aruba.) More rafting trips to be planned soon!

Nutrition Content: 150 calories, 9 grams of fat…

Kat: 16 servings per bag?? Jesus, what the fuck??

(sigh)

OM-NOM-NOM-NOM-NOM.

“Kat? Kat! Hey Kat! Kat-Kat-Kat-Kat. Kat? Are you there?”

(yawn) “Yeah, what’s up?”

“Oh my God, you were sleeping! I’m sorry! Nevermind, go back to bed.”

“Well, I’m awake now. What did you need?”

“Nothing! Nothing! It was nothing. Go back to bed!”

“It’s fine. I can’t go back to bed anyway. What’s going on?”

“Really, it was no big deal. Don’t worry about it.”

“You might as well tell me since I’m up…”

“No! It was nothing. Really, it was nothing.”

So you woke me up to engage me in a full conversation about nothing. Awesome.

The next person to do this is getting a crowbar through the neck.

Man introducing himself to a new employee: “Hi, my name is John Doe.* I’m a validator, which means I don’t know what I do here.”

*I don’t know his name. It’s probably better that way.