Let’s Talk About Workplace Boredom

So, as many of you know, my plant is closing in about three weeks. As the workload dwindles to nothing, I’d like to share with you what I and some of my coworkers are doing to pass the time.

Several of us have decided to get some reading done. For myself, I’ve reread IT by Stephen King (1100 pages, folks, in ONE WEEK!) and am still bringing in more reading material. Seriously, I have less than two hours of work a day to do, so this is what I do to occupy my time.

A few of my coworkers have signed up for a corporate-sponsored foray into Rosetta Stone – two in Spanish and one in German. Hey, it passes the time.

One guy has been watching movies via YouTube. He laments the fact that he can only seem to find war movies. I told him his computer probably has a CD drive, and chances are good it will also play DVDs. We shall see if this works out or not – I haven’t heard one way or the other.

Some just got bored with the whole thing, or forgot their book that day, or whatever, but I’ll point out the more hilarious time wasters I’ve seen lately.

The best one was today, when one of my coworkers was sorting paper clips. Yes, PAPER CLIPS. There are only two sizes (at least here; I shudder to think anyone has any in-depth knowledge on multiple paper clip sizes, but I digress) and yes, she was sorting them. No, I still don’t know why. Weird.

One coworker has a side business in homemade jewelry and has spent several hours sorting beads and stringing various bracelets and necklaces. I will admit, when I’m tired of reading I’ve been known to go help her sort beads. FML.

My boss, when not taking Spanish, is doing sudoku on her iPad.

I’m jealous, because I don’t have one. Otherwise, I would be doing that too.

Facebook is blocked at work, or I’d be playing Scrabble with everyone on my friends list.

Seriously, people, we just need to go, now. This is stupid.

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For All You Jewelry Freaks Out There…

I don’t, and won’t, do this often, but I HAVE to put up a shameless plug for some friends of mine who run Whimsy Beading.

I own several pieces of theirs, and have had a piece commissioned for my mom for Xmas (shhh!) and I have to say, from ordering to shipping to the lovely way they package their items, they are a class act.

That, and the work is stellar. This is not someone throwing beads on some fishing line, this is honest-to-God BEADING, folks, and it ain’t cheap or easy.

That said, they do GORGEOUS work at VERY reasonable prices. Really, check them out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

My Foray into the World of Vodka – Thank You Dean Martin!

2010 marks the 7th year I’ve held a Dean Martini party. Dean Martin’s birthday is June 7, so I hold a party each year in his honor. This is really where my love of vodka was born.

I have Keith to thank for this, in a roundabout way. He likes theme parties – he has a killer Halloween party every year, and has also added an annual Crab Boil and Burns Night Supper to his repertoire.

I wanted my own party. We were laying in bed one night trying to come up with an annual party I could hold. It had to be small, as I live in an 882 square foot condo, so dinner parties were out. A cocktail party seemed ideal.

Suddenly I said, “When is Dean Martin’s Birthday?”

Being the über geek he is, Keith looked it up. June 7. A PERFECT time for a cocktail party, especially as I have a damn good sized deck.

The Dean Martini party was born, as was my discerning taste for vodka.

I know my vodkas. I know cheap, I know expensive, and I know what I like. Price and taste do not necessarily have anything to do with…well, anything. It really depends on your personal tastes, although I will say that really cheap is…well, really bad. This should be a no-brainer.

I’ll give you some of my favorites, in order from okay to HOLY HELL I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!

First of all, let me say this with the utmost sincerity: IF IT COMES IN A PLASTIC BOTTLE, IT’S CRAP.

Think about it. There are only two reasons for a plastic bottle. One, it’s cheap crap vodka. Two, they know the only reason you’re drinking it is to get drunk, and they don’t want you to cut yourself on broken glass when you drop the bottle. Either way…NO.

Three Olives

This is what I would consider the cheapest thing I would buy. It’s not cheap by any means, (it’s probably on par price-wise with Absolut) but what I am saying is, anything less than this is NOT worth drinking, IMHO. Three Olives has a tiny bit of the Stoli motor oil aftertaste (more about that later) but is affordable and mixes well with, well, anything. Three Olives is my go-to all around mixing vodka – you can drink it straight (if you like a strong flavor) or mix it, which this vodka does really, really well. For the price, this vodka wins the all-around. This is the one I keep as a staple in my bar.

Stolichnaya

Often referred to as Stoli, this is the stuff Journalists and English Majors are made of. It has a strong motor oil aftertaste (which, personally, I enjoy, when in the mood) and is a kickass vodka for a kickass martini. This vodka is not for pussies. You will either love it or hate it. Again, let me say the “creative” folk among us tend to like it, possibly because it’s some sort of rite of passage. I really don’t know. All I know is, when I want to get totally fucking wasted and write a novel, Stoli is my drink of choice. Do what you want with that information. I believe some of my ancestors are Russian, which would explain why I love the in-your-face taste of this vodka. Seriously, this is not for the faint of heart. DO NOT start your vodka journey here, or you’ll likely be turned off. For the rest of us, this is a strong taste that, if you appreciate it, is reminiscent of flag-waving and protesting. Seriously, I can’t make this up. I LOVE my Stoli. When I want to get my drink on, I go to my Russian friends. Stoli says “FUCK YOU” in a big way, which is why I love it so.

Level I

This is my mid range, love it love it love it vodka, but mainly because it has just a hint of Stoli’s motor oil aftertaste (yes, I’m biased, sue me). Good for mixers but it’s kickass as a martini. Smooth taste, very stable, very predictable. A nice feisty vodka that I will admit makes me dance around and clap when it goes on sale at my local liquor store.

Ketel One

This one is on par with Level I, but is usually a buck or two cheaper. Nice, smooth taste, really nice mouth feel, and my all-around pic for a mid-level vodka that can do it all. I love this stuff. It doesn’t have the motor oil quality, which I’m guessing a lot of you might appreciate. I’m continually torn between this and Level I when they both go on sale. If I were stranded on a desert island with only one vodka, though, I’d totally pick this one. Smooth, mixes well, serves up well with a sniff of vermouth and some olives. If you can only have one brand of vodka in your bar, I totally recommend this one. It kicks ass everywhere it goes.

Chopin

I have yet to taste their rye vodka (I cannot WAIT) but the potato is VERY mellow and VERY potato. Since I’m a student of the Atkins diet, potato doesn’t do it for me personally. However, if you like a high quality, mellow vodka, this is it. If you like the taste of potatoes, this is REALLY for you. I wouldn’t spend the bucks as a mixer, but in a martini, you’re good to go.

Grey Goose

Grey Goose is, IMHO, the be-all and end-all of vodkas. It is so freaking mellow you don’t even know it’s there until you try to get off your barstool and fall on your ass. EXCELLENT stuff – smooth, VERY smooth. I love this stuff, especially if I’m feeling fancy and actually, you know, put pantyhose on for the occasion.

Flavored Vodkas

I have been sorely disappointed in the commercial flavored vodkas out there. Most of the time, they smell great, but have no flavor. If you want a flavored vodka, I seriously recommend you make your own. It’s not hard. Start with the vodka of your choice (too many of these flavored vodkas start out with cheap vodka, which becomes painfully evident in the end result) and add flavor. Two weeks steeping in the bottle, strain, and you’re good to go. Keith made some pepper vodka that burned my lips off. I loved it. YMMV. Vanilla, pepper, horseradish (I know, sounds gross, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it), coffee, and lemongrass are popular. Experiment!

Extras

Let's talk vermouth.

I am NOT a fan of sweet vermouth in any form. You like sweet vermouth, you'll have to find someone else to work it out for you. That said, it seems the major competitors are Noily Pratt and Martini and Rossi.

I prefer Noilly Pratt. It's less sweet, IMHO, and therefore doesn't get in the way of your drink. If you MUST use vermouth in your martini (I like a sniff in mine) go with Noilly Pratt. Trust me on this one.

Now, olives vs. lemon twist – your preference. Personally, I enjoy olives. They lend a bit of briny taste and you get a delicious, vodka-soaked snack. Win-win!

I will also point out there are many nice variations of stuffed olives on the market these days – garlic (LOVE!), Blue cheese (also LOVE!), halapeño, you name it. The possibilities are endless. Explore!

In General

So, the rule of vodka is, there really aren't any rules. Your personal tastes will drive what you like. I will say, if you're making mixed drinks you can pretty much go with whatever – the taste of whatever you're making will negate your vodka.

For purists, (my preference is shake it until there's a thin layer of ice on top, a drop of vermouth, three olives: YMMV) go with one of the higher end vodkas, depending on your taste. Just remember, you like what you like – try other brands but if you have a favorite, then go with it.

The perfect martini is what's perfect for you. I hope I've helped you out with some suggestions, but the road to the perfect martini is always evolving. I've got seven years of experience and I'm always finding new things to try. Be adventurous! You never know where you'll find the perfect vodka for you.

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

I’m getting the distinct impression a good many of you think I am some sort of evil monster child hater and that I despise anything on the planet that might even HINT at having anything to do with a child. That is not the case at all. Either your reading comprehension isn’t working properly or my writing comprehension isn’t. So, let’s get this straightened out, once and for all.

The gospel truth is, no, I’m not a big fan of kids. I don’t HATE them, per se, but I AM intolerant of their shrieking, running around like monkeys on crack, and the general level of noise and mess they seem to make wherever they go.

That said, I take my interactions with children on a case by case basis. Pretty much under the age of five I don’t want to be anywhere near them, for the reasons stated above, but after that age, some of them can be interesting to hang out with. I tend to like the ones that are well-behaved, articulate, and a little precocious. I know two (both girls, ironically) that I find to be a lot of fun for a couple hours here and there. I’m pretty sure when they get into their tweens, if they keep going at the rate they are now, they’re going to be pretty cool kids.

I like books written for older children and teens. I read a LOT of them. I never discount a book because it’s centered around characters who are children or teens, unless the person writing the characters sucks at it (Stephenie Meyer, I’m looking at YOU). Same thing for movies. If the central character is a child, that’s cool, as long as the story is good and believable. So no, I’m not some frothing-at-the-mouth OMG THERE’S A CHILD IN THIS BOOK! IT SUCKS! person. At all.

Now, let’s get down to what I DO hate, because I think this is the part some of you interpret wrong. What I hate, with the heat of a thousand suns, is crappy parenting. The parents who allow their kids to do the shrieking, running, and mess-making in a restaurant that is NOT Chuck E. Cheese. The parents who bring their toddler (or baby in a carrier, THAT one never ceases to amaze me) to the Tuesday 9pm showing of an R-rated movie. The parents who bring five kids under the age of ten into a bar and allow them to play tag and hide-and-seek all over and under the furniture, and don’t look up ONCE to see what the kids are doing. The parents who, when you give them the stink-eye for this stupidity, get all up in your face and want to know how DARE you not adore everything their precious hellspawn are doing.

It’s not the kids’ fault they’re behaving that way. It’s the PARENTS’.

Kids will do what they can get away with. They’re KIDS. They don’t know any better. I can’t hate them for that. What I CAN hate, and what I DO hate, are these stellar examples of crap parenting (and lately it seems to me this is happening more and more) who have this super entitled attitude and think that having a child should not change their lives one iota. Well, I got news for you, people…

…it changes EVERYTHING. It’s not about YOU anymore. You want to go to the bar? Get a babysitter. Can’t? STAY HOME. Your child should not be exposed to what goes on in a typical bar, and frankly it’s bullshit to think that the people there drinking, WITHOUT kids, should have to censor their behavior because you think you should be allowed to do whatever you want, and the hell with everyone else. That’s the equivalent to me going to to Chuck E. Cheese and telling all the kids to sit down and STFU, because I want to have a beer in silence. Makes no sense, right? Well, newsflash, the reverse doesn’t either.

I’m also sick and tired of the many instances of parents coming into work late, leaving early, and just generally expecting everyone to cater to them and pick up the slack because they have kids. Hey, you have an emergency, great, I don’t mind covering for you. But this entitlement attitude has to stop. Whatever the hell you’re doing after work is no more important than what I’m doing. Just because you have kids and I don’t, doesn’t make your activities more important than mine. And for the love of God, DO NOT bring your kids to work. This is a place of business, not a daycare, and it is NOT my job to babysit for you. Now, I know you think I’m a pushover because I just can’t be mean to the kid because his parent is an entitlement-minded asshole, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy having to have a twenty minute conversation with Addyson or Brayden or whateverthehell other trendy name you just had to give your kid. (The name thing is a rant for another day, however.) I’m here to WORK, and I’m pretty sure when I took this job babysitting was not listed in my job description. Plus, trying to have a phone conversation while your kid is shrieking in the background is really fucking unprofessional and makes me look like an asshole. I don’t appreciate that. At all.

Now, I’m pretty sure a bunch of you are all popping blood pressure pills like Pez about now, thinking HOW DARE I not love all children and HOW DARE I say it out loud! I MUST be an evil bitch and of COURSE no one loves me and my life sucks, because I’m a bitter old woman with a shitty attitude because I don’t worship at the altar of the almighty child. Well, I’ve got news for you. I’m in a long term relationship with a man who also does not want kids and who treats me like I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him. I’ve got a bunch of friends who are witty, smart, and damn fun to be around, and like me in spite of the fact that I’m not perfect. And I am a cat owner who probably takes better care of her pet than most of you do your kids. At least I KNOW where “my” child is right now. (And no crazy cat lady jokes, people. Honestly. *eyeroll*)

But some of you, SOME OF YOU, the ones who PAID for a babysitter to have a nice evening out and had it ruined by the people mentioned above, the ones who DON’T expect their coworkers to pick up the slack for them, even though you have kids and boy wouldn’t it be nice to have brass ones big enough to pull that off like the shit parents do, but you have STANDARDS, and couldn’t take advantage of your coworkers like that, YOU are the ones nodding your heads right along with me.

So, evil child hater? Not really. No, I’m not a fan, but I could no more be mean to a child than I could kick a puppy. But some of those shitty parents out there – yeah, I’d love to smack them with a clue-by-four.

Arguments of the Childfree

So, my plan today is to beat down the most popular arguments of crap parents as to why we should all kowtow to the wishes, motives, and desires of their underparented, spoiled, shrieking brats. (Yeah, you 20% of the population out there that actually try to do a good job, you can lump yourselves in with me. I’ll don the asbestos underwear for all of us).

Let’s break down some common arguments as to why I should “suck it up and deal with” some of the inappropriate behaviors of some people’s kids, notwithstanding the fact that a) they took these kids out HOURS after what most of us would deem an appropriate bedtime and b) IGNORED all the shrieking/crying/running around like monkeys on crack because they don’t think their lives should change just because they had a kid.

I’ve been around the kids vs. no kids argument long enough to know two things: 80% of “parents” will get OMG WTF on your ass any time you suggest they might actually, you know, MAKE THEIR KIDS BEHAVE (common comments here are “they’re just kids” and “we are trying to socialize them” and “you just don’t know how haaaard it is!”) and 20% will say “OMG I paid for a babysitter to go out for a nice evening and some dumbass brought their three-year-old and he SCREAMED all through dinner” or “OMG my kids DO NOT act like that” or “OMG “WHO keeps their six-year-old out at 10PM???”

You know who you are. All five of you. I feel your pain. Really I do. I know it has to suck ten million times more for you, because you paid for a babysitter just so you could have an adult night out.

Every night for me is an adult night out. I can’t imagine how pissed I’d be if I PAID someone to watch my kids so I could have an adult night out and some asshat decided to foist his/her hellspawn on me.

Holy Hell.

Now, the dirt of why your kids are not the Second Coming, and why I really don’t give a fuck about them. Let’s cover the top arguments lazy parents use to justify why their kids belong everywhere and anywhere.

My kids will be paying your Social Security

Oh, STFU. Seriously? Social Security is slated to go broke the year I’m old enough to collect. And, your kids will still be living in your basement.

Who will take care of you when you’re old?

REALLY? How dumb are you, exactly? Have you ever BEEN to a nursing home? I have – I volunteered in one for over a year. And I can honestly tell you, there are a LOT of people there who have kids and NEVER SEE THEM. Take care of me when I’m old – what a joke. That, and PLEASE tell me the reason you had kids was not to have built-in staff.

My child might grow up to cure cancer.

Yeah, and your kid might grow up to be the next Charles Manson. Are we going to get a refund on all the tax dollars we spent on him then? I thought not.

It’s different when it’s your own.

Is it? Is it really? Let’s tell that to the many, many people who have killed their biological children. Because I think they don’t know.

Parenting makes you a better person.

See above. Clearly, this is not always true.

It’s the most important job in the world.

Again, see above. And, if it is, why the blue hell are SO MANY of you spending SO MUCH time trolling teh Intarwebs and bashing the childfree? Shouldn’t you be bizzy mums, raising your kids? What were THEY doing while you were hovering over your keyboard, waiting for one of us to post up why you annoy us?

Methinks thou dost protest too much. The six actual parents who read this are laughing their asses off right now, because they’ve heard your bullshit too. The rest of you are pissed because I used the word “methinks” and you think I’m being all uppity and shit.

If you have a kid (or two, or three) and are laughing at this, you know I’m not talking about you. The rest of you, well…

Why Twilight is a Trainwreck of Epic Proportions, Part II

Okay, I did NOT think I’d go all Part Two on this, but my dear friend Letti sent me this OMG FREAKING AWESOME LJ entry via Facebook.

Check it out. I had not made the Mormon connections (and damn, I SHOULD have, I know most of them) but this poster totally went there.

Kudos to you, sir or madam. I tip my hat to you.

I seriously LMAO reading this. Honestly, if you think I’m funny, I have NOTHING on this.

I have to admit, I have a limited knowledge of the Mormon religion, but this poster GOES THERE.

HILARIOUS! If some dumbass Catholic writes a vampire novel you can totally expect this kind of shit from me.

Seriously, EPIC FUCKING WIN. I am STILL laughing. OMG! LOL!

Why I Am a Non-Practicing Catholic

Well, I really do have a bazillion reasons for this, but I’ll try to break it down to the major basic parts.

Let’s start with Catholic Guilt. Honestly, WHY does everything we do have to be fraught with guilt? I like a guy, I want to sleep with him, I should FEEL bad? REALLY? Oh, but if I MARRY him, it’s okay. Um…no. HELLO, Catholic Church, I’m HUMAN. I have both NEEDS and FEELINGS. Fuck you for telling me I can only enjoy those in the “sanctity” of marriage while your priests are molesting generations of children and you’re fucking covering that up. At least *I* am sleeping with adults, you fucking hypocrite assholes.

And, I just want to bust out Stephen Fry’s complaint about the Catholic Church here, because, while I liked him before, I think I freaking LOVE him now.

One of my “lay teachers” (a teacher who is not a nun) in Catholic school went to JAIL for molesting boys. So, either my Catholic grade school sucked major ass at background checks, or they didn’t care. Hmmm, judging from the trainwreck that is priests molesting boys, am I surprised?

NO.

Also, have ANY of you heard of the Magdelene Laundries? No? Check it out.

The Catholic Church has done a LOT of things in the name of what is pious and holy which were really in the name of what was vicious and cruel.

You know what, Catholic Church? I don’t care about you. I don’t believe you are what’s best for me.

If God exists, and He is a benevolent God, he would denounce you. I think I’ll live by my own moral code, thank you very much.