Office Space

September 28, 2010

In my new workplace, we have an intern who works a couple hours a week. She’s a college student, young, energetic, perky.  She’s worked for us for a couple years now.

Apparently, a while back, she decided that her workspace, shared with a few other student workers, was a cluttered mess and decided to make it more suitable for her work.

The result? A vase with fake flowers, a desk organizer, with frilly note pad, and a large glass candy bowl.

At least I can raid her candy bowl

It’s always good to see a young person take initiative and ownership in something like that… But it’s weird that she has a better workspace than I do.

I need a new pencil cup. And cable run to the TV


Inappropriate!

August 16, 2010

One of the on-going jokes with my co-workers this summer is how our business is family entertainment, so we shouldn’t play the song that’s currently on.

I made the claim that every song is about something inappropriate. One co-worker argued. The other told a story of singing Afternoon Delight in his car with his in-laws, only to have it dawn on him what the song was about for the very first time (which, in case you’re not aware, is “railing the Missus in the day time”).

From that point on, I took great pride in making observations of what certain songs we played are about.

Half the time, it was obvious:

Welcome to the Jungle – “innocent girl corrupted in the big city…with heroin.”

Others, not as obvious:

Big Girls Don’t Cry –  “Fergie’s addiction to crystal meth and how she’s going to miss it.

Others required creativity

Rambling Man “failure to take responsibility for unwanted pregnancies around the country”

Louisiana Saturday Night “Neglecting your children for a marathon of dancing and sex.”

But any non-Christian song they threw at me, I playfully found a way to point out its immorality.

Try it, it’s fun.


How Dare You, Sir!

April 27, 2010

I’m upset with Bill Simmons.

I got called out by someone for using the phrase “Press Box Hot” without attributing it to Simmons. Which angers me because that phrase is a variation of “Press Box Cute” which has been around a long time before Simmons used it.

— For those of you who don’t know, press box hot/cute is the tendency for a male-dominated industry to have an inflated sense of a woman’s attractiveness because the peer group she is in is underwhelming. (In this case, the discussion was about Erin Andrews, and is she legitimately hot, or is her attractiveness over-stated because of her job in sports, where most women are not very good looking).  —

Upon the accusation that I was stealing someone’s material without allocating proper credit I immediately cried out “How dare you, sir!” and explained:

Simmons whole style is that he’s the ANTI-PRESS BOX writer, someone who doesn’t go to clubhouses or press boxes and writes a column as a fan. Being someone who’s actually in press boxes, I heard about that phrase before I’d heard of Simmons… and a heck of a long time before Simmons ever set foot in a press box — if he ever has.

But he recently heard it from a reporter colleague and used it in an article, so now my friends outside the media relations field act like he invented it.  It’s a lot like how the folks at ESPN and the YES Network made a huge deal about A.J. Burnett giving Yankees the shaving cream pie in the face. They acted like they’d never seen it before, and he invented the concept and turned it into a season-long phenomenon. In actuality, that gag has been part of baseball for as long as I can remember.

I was defensive because I can pinpoint the date I first heard it as I fondly remember the young lady we were discussing and when I first met her. I won’t go into details, because there’s a possibility she is a reader and might be offended.

But as I was explaining how this woman was a legitimate cutie,  and I was just overrating her compared to our colleagues, a long time veteran of press boxes informed me that “There’s a phrase for that. That’s called Press Box Cute.”

This incident predates not only Simmons’ usage of the phrase by almost a decade, but also his arrival at ESPN (although, in full disclosure, I had read him prior to that).  So I became defensive at these wild accusations, and our argument soon escalated.

My adversary did get an outstanding retort in on me:  “I don’t give a **** if you invented square hamburgers 200 years ago, Dave Thomas gets the credit for taking it global.”

But I reject his stance. You know how when some people are fans of a band when they are underground and after the band gets huge, they  will resent the bandwagon fans that just discovered them? That’s kind of how I feel on this matter, because the phrase comes from my world. So I hear by give everyone in the universe full permission to use the phrase Press Box Hot/Cute without attributing any credit whatsoever to Bill Simmons, as his press-box avoidance renders him outside the industry which created the term.


I Kicks The Flavor

September 23, 2009

CLM said something sweet. Now that she’s on her own for coffee in the morning, she bought a coffee pot to make her own. And she noted: “It doesn’t taste as good as when you make it in the office.”

I responded with “that’s because I make mine with love.”

A horrible joke because:
A – Like I have some to spare.
B – That requires a recipe and I ain’t thinking before coffee.
C – I was actually trying to be mean and imply she has issues loving herself. Self loathing, low self esteem, that kind of thing. But it missed its mark completely. But this isn’t about her emotional baggage. It’s about the nectar of life, coffee.

The truth of the matter is, my 11-year old coffee pot is a tested veteran in the ways of rich, delicious coffee. Her pot is a brand spanking new rookie. Just up from Double-A, with wide eyes that are caught in headlights over every little thing in The Show; not quite sure if it belongs; and still smelling of like fresh plastic.

Which leads me to think of all those times CLM looked down at my coffee pot and commented about how it needed to be cleaned and was gross or disgusting, only to hear me respond: “That’s flavor!”

See? Guys are more than just disgusting slobs who don’t want to clean something we need daily. We’re brewmasters. Each layer of previous coffee grime has its own aromatic purpose.

And while that primary purpose is “to prevent me from having to clean the pot,” it still makes a darn good cup of delicious coffee. I think someone owes the disgusting coffee pot an apology.


Career Assessment: Jobs in College Athletics

March 27, 2009

I love working in sports. But sometimes I have to ask myself if I’m in the right field. Especially on occasions when virtually all the other areas of college athletics pack up shop and go boozing after a game, and I’m stuck still working.

So let’s break it down. Best job in college athletics:

Academic Services
Register kids for classes, get them tudors, make sure they are graduating, help them in tiffs with professors, get them out of class for road trips.
Job security: Solid, unless too many student athletes screw up.
Pros: 9-5, watching games like a fan
Cons: Too much like actual work, homework, dealing with whining students. Some athletes are borderline retarded.

This would not be a good move unless I was currently working as a high school guidance counselor. For them, it’s gotta be like the big leagues.

Business Office
Pay bills, handle budgets, reimburse people
Job security: Solid, unless too many people go over budget.
Pros: 9-5 hours, watching games like a fan
Cons: Too much like actual work, lots of paperwork, confusing paperwork, dealing with whining and irresponsible employees.

No way. I hate doing any kind of paperwork and I never save receipts. Filing and me are not friends.

Compliance
Make sure coaches are obeying the rules, make sure student athletes are obeying the rules. Getting kids admitted to school
Dealing with financial aid stuff. Say “No” a lot. Be the fun police.
Job security: Solid, unless people break the rules
Pros: 9-5 hours, watching games like a fan
Cons: Too much like actual work, paperwork, dealing with whining coaches, have to know all kinds of stupid rules. Have to say “no” a lot.

Oddly, I could handle the rules part. I could memorize a lot of stupid rules and tell people what they can and can’t do. I could problem solve and find a way to accomplish the goal while obeying the rule. But the financial aid crap would just kill me.

Equipment
Buying gear, issuing equipment, doing laundry, setting up and running football practice equipment. Buying stuff.
Job security: Very solid, but you’d want to quit first
Pros: Lots of free gear. Little office time.
Cons: Business side of budgeting purchases. Dealing with kids losing/wanting stuff. Really horrible hours, washing clothes all the time, intimate knowledge of student-athlete B.O.

I know what these guys go through daily and I’d want no part of it. Sure, the fringe benefit of free gear is awesome. You know what’s not awesome? Folding thousands of towels a week, touching clothes that reek of taint sweat and getting stains out of practice gear after female athletes get a monthly visitor.

Facility/Event Management/Operations
Setting up arenas, fixing broken things in the arena, getting facilities ready for game/practice, scheduling game-day workers
Job security: Very solid, but you’d want to quit first
Pros: Very little
Cons: Horrible hours, working all events, doing scheduling/budgeting paperwork. If your facility sucks, you have to do the impossible. Cleaning dirty venues.

Lots of heavy lifting and lots of cleaning.  Sure, you stand in the corner during games, right next to the action. But there’s also all the times you have to squeegee tennis court. And when someone’s kid vomits on the concourse, guess who’s grabbing the mop?

Strength & Conditioning
Getting student-athletes strong and agile for competition.
Job security: Not bad, but a coach will have serious influence. Injuries/weak play could harm you.
Pros: Get some gear, free Gatorade, free gym membership. Closer to 9-5 hours, watch games like fan.
Cons: dealing with whining athletes. Smelling sweat all day.

While I’d have the opportunity to get huge, we all know I wouldn’t. Plus you have to know all kinds of stuff about muscles and crap. Plus I’d probably get diabetes from drinking Gatorade all day.

Coaching
Recruit athletes, train athletes, game plan for opponents, try to win, have to do media.
Job Security: You don’t win you can get fired.
Pros: Gear, thrill of game day/winning, higher salaries.
Cons: long hours, budgets, convincing recruits to come here, trusting your well-being to college kids (worse with girls).

Awesome if you’re winning. Sucks if you’re losing. And you’re trusting your livelihood to a bunch of immature college kids who might not be as dedicated as you. (Multiply the stupidity of that times 1000 if you’re coaching a women’s team).

Director of Operations
Handle road trip travel, get film for coaches, manage practice schedules, be bitch of coaches.
Job Security: Pretty good compared to coaches
Pros: Gear, possibly sit on bench during games.
Cons: Hours, bitch of coaches, thankless chores no one else on staff wants to do, contracts, paperwork and budget crap.

Glorified manager/secretary. The key phrase is “be the bitch of coaches.”

Fund Raising
Raise money for athletic department, hobnob with the rich.
Job Security: High, unless you’re well short of financial goals without an excuse or caught embezzling.
Pros: 9-5 hours plus most events involve booze, hobnobbing with rich, can watch games like fan
Cons: Sounds like work, asking people for money, getting told to raise more money, badgering people for money.
Need to wear a tie a lot. Have to go to events you might not want to go to. Donors calling you with stupid requests. Lots of meetings

I’m not a good mingler, although I’m better in a sports environment. But there’s no way I could raise the money to build all the stuff I’d want to build. My tactics of getting people to donate would consist of peer pressure and the phrase “c’monnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.”

External
A lot like fundraising, only with more decisions. Work with marketing to trying make athletics an economic success
Job Security: High, unless you’re well short of financial goals without an excuse or caught embezzling.
Pros: 9-5 hours, plus events involve booze, hobnobbing with rich, can watch games like fan. You get all the free stuff athletics hands out.
Cons: Way too many meetings, Have to ruin fun of athletics often, stupid fundraising events. Donors calling you with stupid requests.

Could be in my wheelhouse if I was solely on the creative side and could order people to make my dreams a reality. But the meetings and office politics would be my downfall. I could wear a tie, but acting all professional would really suck.

Sports Medicine
Go to practice, provide medical treatment for injuries, make Gatorade for practice games, deal with anyone coming in with a boo-boo, sickness.
Job Security: Very good
Pros: Spot on bench for games, part of team, free Gatorade and medical supplies. Lots of time off in summer.
Cons: Ridiculous long hours before and after games, Insurance paperwork, setting up doctor’s appointments, whining athletes. Too much knowledge of intimate details of athletes-coworkers, dealing with sweaty/smelly athletes. Hosting visiting teams (more boring hours)

Considering I’d have to have medical training and I got a D in biology, this would never be an option. Plus there’s a lot of taping of stinky feet, and I hear that stretching out female athletes can give you a whiff of even worse odors.

Video
Film games/practices for coaches, cut and edit clips for football coaches, assist with tech issues for whole building, make cool videos for jumbotron/website, acquire film on opponents. Set up football meeting rooms for film
Job Security: Pretty high.
Pros: Better hours than sports info. Some goof off time. Use of technology for personal gain.
Cons: Stuff breaks, having to film rainy, hot, or cold practices, more stuff breaks, coaches think you can do everything in two minutes. Have to help people with anything tech related. Marketing always wants you to do stuff even though you’re understaffed and need to just take care of coaches.

I’ve seen how these guys are treated, and there’s simply not enough time in the day to do everything you’d want to do in this position. Plus the burden of coaches wanting the impossible and having to explain technical things to those less intelligent than you can be extremely tiresome. Good opportunity to play video games and watch sports during the day, though.

Marketing
Try to get people to come to games, try to get sponsors to give money, run in game promotions.
Job Security: Fantastic.
Pros: Hours are great compared to sports info. No quantifiable measure if you’re incompetent. Free stuff. Use of creativity.
Cons: Meddling from everyone who thinks they know how to market, dealing with fans and people bitching about the music. Lots of stupid meetings

I could never go to the dark side. I’ve never heard anyone say ‘our marketing department is awesome.’ No matter what you do, people would always meddle in your business. Too many stupid things to do, too many meetings, too much ‘busy work.’ Most awesome ideas are not feasible. Everyone complains about music. I’d probably end up mailing it in and working as little as possible if I was in marketing. Then again, I could probably get away with it.

Sports Info
Make media guides, write on website, keep stats.
Job security: high.
Pro: Free gear, internet time, road trips get you out of the office, comfy seat at games.
Cons: long hours, people asking you to do stuff like jumbotron, website, camp brochures, etc. Media guide deadlines. Some meetings.

I get the best of a lot of worlds here. The hours suck, but I have a great seat, free gear, can use the internet all day. I write about sports for a living. We go on road trips. I don’t have to go to all the practices and can sleep in late a lot. Busy as hell post-game, but experience the joy of winning and feel like part of the team. Plus, with my communications degree and with newspapers a dying medium, this is still the gig for me… until Supreme Dictator of Sports becomes available.


Child Abuse and Necrophilia

December 5, 2008

One of our football players was in our office yesterday evening, and he asked if I was going to be around for a while. Since it was a bad day…

“Yes, unless I shoot myself in the head,” I replied

“Well, your body would still be here,” he responded.

“In which case, feel free to go through my pockets for loose change,” I said.

“Dibs!” Colleen called.

“Oh, I’ll be in your pants, but not looking for loose change,” the player chimed in.

This begat a discussion of necrophilia with my dead body, to which I informed him that it would be considered rape, because I’m too hetero to consent, even if I can’t object in death. He didn’t find that the case, and also didn’t think it was gay that he’d rape my corpse.

I’m sorry, but if you go for the butt when you can try using the bullet hole and hump my brain, then you’re gay. At least if you’re in a dude’s brain, you can say “hey, when else am I gonna get to try this? So not gay.”

Later, this twisted individual was talking about how many zombies he could beat up, or if I could kill a puppy. So I asked him how many five year olds he could take in a fight, pointing the website with a quiz to determine exactly how many.

Well, Colleen got all offended and mad at the two of us. And there’s two things wrong with that:

#1 – We’re not monsters. She didn’t grasp the concept. This isn’t my walking into a preschool and kicking ass in a toddler smackdown. This is survival. Like, if the teletubbies – or Evil Bert – brainwashed a bunch of five-year olds and created little blood-sucking ankle-biters and I was protecting myself. These are five-year old killing machines, Colleen.

#2 – Furthermore, I should be way more offended at her, than she should be with me over beating up five-year olds. Because she didn’t get all mad and offended when this big football player was saying he was going to rape my corpse… in her office.

How about sticking up for me, Colleen? Do you think I’d let someone rape you? Dead or Alive? Of course not. Because I’m a good person.

How about a little “I couldn’t let you do that!” retort to his threats of necrophilia, huh? And it would have been nice for some support before I was corpse. Something like “Don’t shoot yourself in the head, I’d miss you.” I mean, at least give me a “I’d have no one to say silly things to me, or make me coffee in the morning.”

Not feeling very appreciated, Colleen. Remember this when you’re yelling out for help as an evil horde of five-year olds comes to go Children of the Corn you.


Come With Me And Escape

November 24, 2008

I was proud of myself the other day. We got a very corporate-cubicle-Office Space style memo about safety from upper-middle management last week. It was titled “Safety Memo” and featured many bullet points I didn’t read.

So naturally, I made a smart-ass reply to many of my colleagues on the list. Eliminating those who lack a sense of humor and/or could have me fired, I replied to most with a very similar memo:

Subject: Safety Dance.

Dear Colleagues, Be Advised:

  • You can dance if you want to
  • You can leave your friends behind; ‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance; Well they’re no friends of mine
  • You can go where you want to; A place where they will never find
  • You can act like we come from out of this world, Leave the real one far behind.
  • And You can dance

See also: Safety Dance

Sincerely, the management

I was quite proud of myself because I have always found it hilarious to randomly burst into a ridiculous song that makes people laugh and say “That’s actually not a bad song.” The goal is something dated, that’s kind of a joke, but when you get down to it is just a one-hit wonder you haven’t heard in a while. And of course the real goal is to pick something that will be stuck in your victims’ heads for the rest of the day (or longer).

Of course, Richie owns the ultimate act of head-sticking song hilarity. A couple months ago, someone in the office asked “Hey, do you…” and he immediately interrupted with:

“Yes, I like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
I’m not much into health food
I am into champagne.”

Everyone kind of chuckled until he ended the pause by taking it up an octave or two and continuing:

“I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon
And cut through all this red tape
At a bar called O’Malley’s
Where we’ll plan our escape.”

The song stuck in our heads for a good six weeks. After a great discussion of the plot: Man decides to cheat on old lady by responding to a personal ad, only discovering it was his own woman who placed the ad; Most of us ended up downloading the Rupert Holmes classic. And Richie would play ad nauseam at virtually every event since.

As I escape to Phoenix with women’s basketball, avoiding a hell day football/men’s basketball doubleheader, my MP3 player (which operates on “random play all” at virtually all times) switched from Nirvana to the very same Escape (The Pina Colada Song).

By the way, I’m starting a club for people who have WHAM!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” stuck in their head. Congratulations you’re now a member