grooves

I’m still getting into the groove at my new job. I’ve been tagging along to meetings with various PM’s to get the feel for things. I keep running into
people I know from a previous firm I worked for in the private sector (the firm I got laid off from in ’09) before I went stateside – because it’s in the same  industry. It’s funny how the tables are turned. When I worked for them I was always submitting to the agency I work for now. Now they’ll be submitting plans to me. The other day I was crossing the lobby and heard my name and turned around and it was the president’s  daughter who now runs the firm (he was practically 100 years old when I worked there I can’t imagine how old he is now).

She was gushing how are you? do you work here? do you have any of our projects? blah, blah, blah. This woman was a viper when I worked there. I always tried to stay as far away from her as possible because she would be friendly to your face one minute and stab you in the back the next. Yesterday, I walked into a meeting with a guy who I used to work with over there. He was a total queen and the apple of the boss’s eye at the time. He made scads more money than I did and he’s half my age.

I realize that this business is all one big incestuous family –we all worked together or at the same firms at one point. The guy across the hall, Sam, that left my old job right before me – we’ve worked at a total of 4 of the same firms including the one we’re working for now.  Personally, I hope I’m done with my job search for awhile. If anything, I will change to a different department within the organization before I’d leave and at this junction the private sector is out until I’ve put in a minimum ten years and decide to sell the house, move to Florida, live by the beach and sell real estate.

Sam and I decided to rally up the old job troupes who now work here (there are 4 of us altogether including myself) and go out to lunch. We walked downstairs to meet one of them who was heading out for a coffee break. (People take their coffee breaks seriously around here) As we were coming out of the café’ downstairs he ran into a friend of his who he worked with at another firm (I didn’t know the guy but apparently Sam and him worked together years ago at yet another firm in this same industry). The guy immediately asked Sam if there were any jobs here. He shrugged his shoulders and told him to go to the website and check. I wouldn’t have been so polite – I would have said, What do I look like Indeed dot com?

I know I was on the other side of that not long ago but I worked at it every week, every day sometimes to find something else. I interviewed, redid my resume hundreds of times, emailed, printed new resumes, made portfolios, answered emails – you name it. I applied to hundreds of jobs – several to state and local governments. It took forever to land a new job and for someone to just walk up and ask just strikes me as very lazy. Knowing what I went through I would never do that, either. The most I would probably say is that I applied for said job at the organization and leave it at that. I would not grill the person who worked at that organization about my application, resume, the job opening, the hiring manager, etc.

I was getting tired of the conversation so I told Sam I was going back upstairs and that I would catch him later. When I got upstairs I went over to another lady that is in the department who has been helping me with various administrative things. The administrative things unfortunately included signing on to her computer under my username and password (because initially I didn’t have a computer). Unfortunate because the first time I came over to her desk she was eating crackers and peanut butter over her keyboard.

I am completely grossed out by food, crumbs or any amount of anything wedged in a keyboard. I’m very anal about keeping my own keyboard clean and free of debris and NEVER eat over it.

This was a bad sign.

Have a seat and sign on, she said.

Her keyboard was worse than you can imagine. I won’t even go there. Then, her mouse was caked with dirt and grime from years of use. I reluctantly typed in my name and password and clicked her mouse with one finger. (I’m sure she thinks I can’t type) Afterwards, I ran into the restroom and soaped my hands. I’ve had to do this three times now – and, I HAVE a computer now. A brand new laptop with a keyboard that’s CLEAN.

I decided for that reason to bring in bleach wipes to wipe all around my desk area and hand sanitizer. Later, in the afternoon I felt ill and blamed it on having to touch her keyboard and mouse. It reminded me of last year about this time ending up in the hospital with a horrible stomach virus. I went home that night and Charlie had run me a hot bath. Afterwards, got into my pajamas, ate soup in bed watching
Suits and holding the kitten.

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MIA

I know y’all probably think I either died or went to work for the CIA or something since I haven’t been in touch. It’s been a really crazy two weeks. I had my uneventful last day at the old job and left without a backwards glance. (Seriously, I will not miss that place) I taught a class the following weekend and then started the new job on Monday. Last week was two days of orientation (which, I was fried to be honest) and the rest of the week just getting acclimated with the place.

The new office environment is vastly different from the old. First, it’s located in a high rise in the southernmost edge of Midtown. My office is on the 25th floor and depending on what side of the building you’re on you can either see downtown or further north to central Midtown. My particular view is downtown. I can even see that Ferris wheel from my cubicle.

I am in cubicle-land but unlike my former office, people talk low and try not to disturb their peers with their conversations. I’ve noticed that people do stop in and say hi and ask each other about projects or ask for guidance or help but it’s still not invading your space like BAB used to do.

I’m in a pod with 5 other people – 3 on one side and 3 on the other. I’m in the middle of the pod so my cubicle isn’t right up against the windows like the more senior PM’s. The atmosphere is way more business-like and respectful. However, there are certain things that are more relaxed. In my old job I had to have some level of security clearance and there were steps ingrained into you and if you need to step out or go to lunch you just get up and go. You don’t have to alert anyone, check in or even say where you’re going. If people stop by while you’re gone then they just send you an email or leave you a message.  I got a desk phone on Friday but I noticed that when I told my co-workers that I got a phone they kept thinking I got my mobile phone instead. Apparently, everyone just uses their company cell phones and email to communicate instead of the arcane desk phone.

The public transit station is right across the street from the office so I’m able to ride the train to and from work every day. It’s been nice not having to deal with traffic and putting $60 worth of gas in the car every week. (Although, the MARTA pass is twice as much than paying to park but I keep telling myself it’s worth not putting anymore wear and tear on the car and contributing to the carbon footprint)  I do drive to the station near the house to park and ride. It’s been a little surreal riding the train and last Friday I was a bit frazzled on the way home. The mornings aren’t so crowded because I get on early and miss the rush but at 5 when I get off it’s a zoo in there. Last Friday I didn’t walk out of the building until after 5. I crossed the street and walked down to the tunnel and noticed a guy on crutches – he was an amputee. (Which, reminds me – Charlie and I adopted a tripod kitten – more on that later.)

Later as I was changing trains I had to go up the escalator to get to my east rail. As I stepped on I noticed the guy with the crutches getting on, too. I had a fleeting thought of  it must be hard riding an escalator on crutches when suddenly he lost his balance, a crutch went flying and as he was falling backwards he reached out and grabbed my arm taking me with him. I flung out my other arm and grabbed the rail for dear life. Fortunately, the man behind him braced him and set him back up on the step and gave him his other crutch that he caught before it tumbled down and took out the people below us.  My heart was pounding from almost falling backwards down the escalator on top of him and after he finally let go of me we were at the top and I took off down the platform getting as far away from him as possible. I mean I get that it was an accident but they put elevators in the train station is for that reason. I made sure I was 5 cars away when the train pulled up and I got on and sat down. This was the longest stretch of my ride. After the second stop a guy got on and sat down in a seat just cattycorner from me. I mean, I try not to judge on appearance but when he walked on I thought, This guy could be BAB’s ex-military father, marine, Vietnam war vet, hippie, smoke weed and talk about the old days.

And, guess what?

I was right on the money. As he sat down next to this lady he started going on and on and on about Vietnam and he was in town because his wife just died of lung cancer. Ok, why is he just getting in to town if his wife just died of cancer? Regardless, when I hear anything remotely PTSD related or the big C I’m going on headphones – and, fast. The woman next to me and I were having a race on who could plug in the fastest. I won because she had to rummage in her purse. I even opened my newspaper and put it in front of my face so he couldn’t see me the whole time thinking This guy could be BAB’s father!

I noticed the poor woman next to him just nodding absently, probably thinking, “Just my luck.” He even gestured to woman across the way that was already listening to headphones and said something to her to the point where she took hers out and yelled, “What choo want?!” I decided then it was a good time to just get up and walk to the back of the car and just hold on to the pole the rest of the ride.

I can’t wait to get home and have a beer.

That night Charlie had brought Theodore home from work. He was a stray that hung out at the water treatment plant with a bunch of other feral kittens that no one could seem to catch. He apparently wasn’t feral and catchable so they brought him in. He had a crushed paw that was unsalvageable (I think it was even showing signs of gangrene) so they amputated it last Monday. By Friday he was pretty stable so Charlie brought him home. He’s a long haired solid black cat. Very sweet and laid back, loves to lie in your lap. He moves around remarkably well for being a tripod. Last night he was out with the dogs when I came home from class. The dogs are very curious but they keep their respective distance. It’s still very new with him so we’re slowly getting him acclimated. Plus, he still has an incision that’s healing so we don’t want to set him loose to roam the entire house.  

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I worked the last two weekends and then I work the next two. The weekend after that I have a real estate cram course to take. Charlie started working Sundays so there’s only one day now that we have together – that is if I’m not working. So, it’s been a transition with our schedules, a new cat, etc. We’re still getting in the groove of it.

We decided Thursday nights are going to be date night.
Tonight: TWD, relaxing with Charlie, the dogs and kitteth.

dear weather,

I am writing this letter to say I’m done with you and am breaking things off with us. I thought we were going to progress after you broke things off with January – and, what a very stormy ending that was – but, now I’m not liking your relationship with February, either. Everyone has been sitting around waiting for you to break things off with her so we can move on. Just when I thought things were over and you were moving on – BAM – things just accumulated more. And, I know you have your eye on March but I’m not sure she’s any better. My experience with her is that she runs hot and cold and is not to be trusted.

Why can’t you like May? She’s a good girl and has a lot going for her. She even has a holiday at the end of her stay. She’s been waiting in the wings for you for quite some time and I think you should give her a chance and if you really want to know June’s kind of interested, too, but I would be careful with her. She tends to pour on the heat like her sister, July. But, if you had to choose one or the other that’s certainly better than August – lets not even go there.

Weather, I wish you all the best in deciding who you’re going to be and finding yourself but, please don’t call me anymore and lose my number.

saturday vent

Ok, here’s what I’m sick and tired of. I’m sick and tired of people still constantly trying to defend Chick-fil-A. They recently handed out sandwiches to stranded Atlantans in the winter storm. It’s almost like every time they do something people have to keep saying, “See, they’re good. They’re not homophobic, they’re doing THIS.”

If I were stranded and it was the last place to eat I would still starve. I would. That’s just how I feel about it. It’s almost like a person who slept with your wife and broke up your marriage but later felt guilty about it and picked up your dry cleaning for you saying, “But, we can still be friends – I did this good thing for YOU, you should forgive me.” 

But, the original act is still unforgivable. Or you can forgive but never forget. You can forgive but still choose never be friends with that person again. I can forgive Chick-fil-A but I will never forget.

The same goes for that guy on Duck Dynasty. What a hypocrite! I’m so TIRED of people defending him saying, “He may have said those things but in the same breath he said he would never judge anyone.” Ok, so you want to play the “Freedom of Speech” game.? I’ll play if he can say those things I can say that he’s an ignorant, homophobic idiot – end of story. That’s my freedom of speech, Mutha-F-er.

I’m tired of people saying Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death wasn’t a tragedy. Saying that he was just a stupid drug user and how hard could life be with all that money? I just want to say, “Money doesn’t buy happiness and any one of us could be an addict.” Hell, I was addicted to cigarettes. I’ve been off and on the wagon with those things since the age of 16 and I can honestly say that now that I’m in my 40’s I’ve finally kicked it. I haven’t puffed one of those things in two years and I don’t miss it. His death WAS a tragedy.  Think of his poor children. The whole thing is a tragedy so stop trying to convince me it wasn’t at the same time taking a bite of your Chick-fil-A sandwich with two pickles and mayonnaise.

I’m starting to get tired of the whole gays in Russia thing, too. If I were a gay athlete I would still go. I would say, “Here I am Russia, eat your heart out.” and, the whole poor conditions thing – suck it up!- you’re in the friggin’ Olympics, so stop crying about it. It’s almost like all these tough pro football players being worried about their gay teammates seeing their junk in the showers.

End of story.

Screenwriter studio meetup

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I went to my first screenwriter MeetUP last night and I have to say it was very enlightening and I met some very interesting people.

Although, I thought were we met was very strange. The place the meeting was held was at this huge wine/beer discount store (Kind of like a Sam’s Club for booze). The store had a conference room in the back that we used. While the room was good I questioned meeting there – maybe the store let them use the space for free? I could have used some refreshments while listening to scripts being read and pitches and feedback and thought a coffee place would have been more suitable. One of the organizers said as the group grows then they may break off into smaller groups that meet in nearby restaurants and so forth. I was envisioning a group meeting at the coffee shop up the street from my house instead of a wine store way outside the perimeter by the mall but that’s just me. I guess I can sacrifice not being in my little haunts with atmosphere. (I guess I am an atmosphere whore)

When we came into the room we were greeted by the Organizers – I got the impression there are three guys running it. They all have catchy Golden Age comic book names, too – Nick, Lance, and Kip.  A woman walked in behind me and said hi to them like she was a regular but still filled out a nametag. I couldn’t quite make out the name as she scribbled a long name that started with an “M” and ended it with a smiley face. I thought, “Oh, one of those.” Meaning, those women/girls who put a smiley face at the end of EVERYTHING. I called her “MaryAnn” in my mind.

More people filed in and the conversation of movies bounced off the walls. Most of the movies they were discussing I hadn’t seen and reminded myself that this was a screenwriting class so probably many of the people in the room were film buffs. During this time Nick put up a powerpoint presentation of what the group’s intentions were, what they do, etc. There were several lulls in the conversation and I wondered when he was going to begin. They finally got started at 7 which, I thought was a little late. I told myself at the next meeting I would come in at 6:45 and not hurry.

After starting, Nick wanted to know who was going to do pitches that night. Three people who already had scripts written raised their hands. Nick wrote down the names and asked if there were any “maybe’s” I volunteered as a “maybe” even though I had not written one word of this idea I’ve had. Kip’s pitch was a thriller set in Korea where he was stationed in the armed forces. Something about finding bodies that had reassignment surgeries on them. People threw out questions and gave feedback of the story and also ideas of where it could go. I was impressed with all of the feedback he received for just a pitch. The next two pitches were for cartoon-like comedies. I got up and did my pitch – mine is horror/thriller for a TV series. Like The Walking Dead – it’s apocalyptic with the main character trying to get somewhere to start a new world/life with lots of things working against her. (That’s it in a nutshell) The difference is that she is more of a savior type not so much a project manager type that takes the lead, like Rick. Also, there are many environmental things going on in the world that are working against her along with other people. I saw many raise their hands with questions. They asked where specifically she was going and about story line specific things and also threw out some great ideas. I thought it was all very helpful.

After that, they did table readings of scripts. Two people had brought theirs in to read. (I think you have to submit it to the organizers and they tell you when they will read it). The first one was by an older gentleman who was there. He kind of reminded me of the older guy I work with who gets on my last nerve. His script was a cop mystery/thriller genre along the lines of girls getting kidnapped by this psycho doctor and these cops trying to run down clues as to what happened. I found the dialogue between the cops to be funny and entertaining, although, I’m not sure he really meant it to BE funny. The generation difference between him and the rest of us was very apparent in the language he chose. He had written some things like “Ok, so you’re going to go off with Billy and get horizontal and do the mambo-pambo.”

I thought, “Huh? Who SAYS that?”

Then, in the body of one of his descriptions he had written “Rick was over in the corner talking to some little filly……” Referring to the woman he was talking to as a “filly”.  

Again, I thought, “Who says that?”

 After it was read, MaryAnn jumped up to mediate the Critique. They had specific questions such as Gut Reaction, Genre, Story, Protagonist, Antagonist, Supporting Characters, Dialog, Action, Scenes, Style, Structure, Format, Theme, Commercial Appeal, Author Questions and General Comments.

There were also guidelines in providing criticism. Raising your hand to give feedback and/or ask questions. Be concise and focus on making one or two points. Help improve the script, provide constructive criticism, be objective and show support for comments you agree with by snapping your fingers.

It was a very thorough review. I thought he had a good storyline – it reminded me of my own book, however, we did question the horizontal mambo-pambo and the use of the word “filly”. Nick said that some could find it offensive. I found it more hilarious, honestly. One of the other things about being respectful is not laughing at some of the things in the script that aren’t supposed to be funny. I had to look at the ceiling a few times to keep from cracking up over his use of words in the script. I thought I did a good job in holding it back but I was entertained none-the-less.   

The next script was named, “Dinosaurs and Lasers”. As you can tell from the title it was very futuristic, sci-fi and just as it was named – about dinosaurs and lasers. It started out as a battle scene of people on top of all these different types of dinosaurs fighting each other. As the different names of the dinosaurs flew by I had a hard time following. I kept getting stuck on “is that the type of dinosaur that has the long neck?” instead of focusing on the storyline. It was very different. I couldn’t say that I was a fan but as we were critiquing it grew on me a little more. He really brought out the scenes even if it was of a genre that I rarely read or watch. The old guy whose script we had read earlier said that his scenes were too long. One guy in the back of the room said, “Yeah, but if you were here two weeks ago and heard his pitch the fact that he was able to come up with this script is amazing.” We all snapped our fingers in response and then clapped.

It gave me hope of producing something before the next meeting. In fact, I have to submit 10 pages of my pitch before they will let me come back so I guess I’d better get to working.

 

the anticlimatic event

Yesterday, I finally got an official offer and an acceptance letter from the agency I interviewed with in December (and, applied for in October). I had to leave the office to blow off some steam and to let out some pent up elation. I was so relieved. This new job is still at a state agency (where I currently am) so I will be able to take all my benefits, vacation/sick leave, 401 with me. It’s also much closer to the house and just off the Marta line so I can take the train in to work every day. In fact, I will need to because paying for parking would be similar to the $60 per week I currently spend in gas getting to and from work.  

I already had my letter(s) of resignation written. The first being to the HR woman (who, I might add knew how miserable I was because of the complaints I filed on BAB and the grievances I threatened to file on Noel. Honestly, if I thought it would have done one bit of good I would have done it but seeing how they did nothing with my complaint of BAB I decided that it wouldn’t be worth the hassle and more abuse I would receive from Noel – but, he will get his. I do believe in Karma).

When I walked into HR’s office she already knew where I was going. I immediately was suspicious that my immediate whom she’s good friends with told her. But, alas she’s friends with the director of HR where I’m going who had called her and asked her about me which she said she gave me a glowing reference. Unfortunately, she briefed me on the need to talk to Noel and resign to him. I inwardly gagged. I asked her why and she said, “He is the interim director of your department.”

That made me want to throw up in my mouth even more and I was even more relieved that I was leaving. I nodded and said that I’d write him a letter too and talk to him (but, only after I resigned to everyone else). Just the fact that they have given him some b.s. unofficial title means that he will always be the power hungry abuser. Nothing will ever change with that despite whomever they bring in to fill BAB’s old position.

After my meeting with her I went back to my office and when my immediate was in the break room getting ice I gave her the letter I’d written her. I wanted her to know before I had to tell the VP and Noel. She wasn’t surprised as she had been on the phone with them two weeks ago giving me a reference. I told her that I was sorry to be leaving her in this mess but that she was too talented for this place. She’s one of those “I’ll stick it out until all the bad people are gone.” types. Me, I know there will be more Noels and BABs where I’m going but at least I’ll be making more money and be closer to home.

I sent an email off to VP since he was in a class and not in his office and then went and talked to Noel. He seemed surprised when I handed him my letter but was like Ok, just keep doing what you’re doing until you leave type of deal. Yeah, you know what that is? Filing. Going through files and throwing out duplicates. That’s my job despite being hired to do GIS and real estate.

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It was very anticlimactic with him but I wonder as the time when I’m leaving get closer if he will become a bigger d*ck. I’m just going to flow with it. Nothing he can say or do will get me to react because I know where I’m going is better and I don’t ever have to see him again after February 14th.  Yeah, not only Valentines Day with my love but also LOVING the fact that I will never have to see him again!!!

Lov-ing IT!!!!

LOVIIINGIT!

Noel will have his work cut out for him after I’m gone, too. Last summer we got a new server and all he did was bitch at order us to put everything on the server – everything.

“There should be no files on your computers you need to put it all on the server.”

So, we did and you know what happened? The server WENT DOWN! We lost everything and –

-it’s his fault and hiiiiiiiiis problem. Millions of files, millions of scanned documents gone –all his problem because HE WAS THE ONE WHO ORDERED THIS.

Fortunately, I was lazy and didn’t do this. I burned all my real estate files onto a CD which I’m giving my immediate so she will have them. But, when Noel asks me for files the day I have to turn over my computer and CAC card to him I’m going to blankly look at him and say, “Oh, they were on the server.” And grab my box of sh*t that I packed up and walk out the door.

See ya!

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monday – blah,blah,blah

I will really spare you all the details of my mundane life. Last Tuesday’s snowpocalypse was about the most excitement I’ve had any time recently. The best part about it was that I got to stay home with Charlie and the dogs and do my real estate class. But, now that it’s over and we had 69 degree weather (I mean, 1 degree shy of 70, people and all in the same week we had snow and ice) can we just move on? Please Spring get here and don’t listen to that groundhog, either. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

I feel the same way about the Super Bowl – how anticlimactic can we get here? And, yeah I’m sure Peyton Manning feels terrible but hey – he’s one man of many on his team and at least they made it to the Super Bowl. Again, can we move on?

The true tragedy is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. I mean, for anyone who has ever seen him in Capote you will agree that he was brilliant and this doesn’t include all the other films he stared in.

It’s really a true Monday. I woke up [too] early without getting good sleep. It was pouring rain, there was a wreck on the highway that shut down 3 lanes so it took me over an hour to get in and everyone’s just grouchy. I have no offer letter – still. It’s beyond frustrating for me. To think I have another whole month of Noel and that is if I even get an offer letter. I’m just going to put my head down and get through my real estate class.

At least I found a screenwriters group to go to (that will have me). There’s something. I have my first meeting on Wednesday evening. I will be sure to let you know how it goes.

Also, if you’re bored and need some good winter reading check out my Kindle book here. (That is if you haven’t already read it and if you have or do read it let me know if you think I should write a sequel)

Well, that’s my Monday in a nutshell and I’m glad it’s almost over.