Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Work Withdrawal, You Can Get Through It.

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I've been thrown into this thing called "The Holidays" where we don't work for a few days. I've been having a hard time adjusting. How am I supposed to blog when I don't sit in front of a computer all day and get bored? I figure that some of you might be going through the same thing so I think today's post should be: How to Survive the Work Withdrawal Period.

Note: This may be posted in parts because as "The Holidays" continue more instances might arise that I will have to properly assess and then remedy.

I'll start with the obvious--come to terms with the fact that you and the computer are a separate person. I know it's hard. You spend all day with Computer. He is your window to the internet, email, chatting, blogging, solitaire, maybe even online poker. Whatever you use him for, he is there for you. Unless you have my work computer who betrayed me. (I did get to leave early on Friday for those of you who read my PC and Me post...the screen turned a neon blue and I got the hell out of dodge.)

In order to fill the void of Computer you will need to replace it with something else. Like exercise. Ok ok, I'll be realistic--food. Let food be your window to new and undiscovered things. Work deprives you of binge eating so why not try it now while you have the chance.

Here's another big one--stop feeling guilty for doing nothing related to work. While at work we often find ourselves doing things other than work. It could range from taking a ridiculously long time to get coffee to facebook stalking for endless hours. I personally find myself strolling to the bathroom instead of rushing. Or remembering I need to email an old friend and describe every bit of detail going on in my life, down to what I'm wearing that day and what I ate for breakfast.

During these bouts of stalling a cloud of guilt soon settles over my head and rains down on my procrastination parade. So, when at home, watching TV or chatting mindlessly with a friend or family member, or sleeping in, and guilt barges in uninvited, remind yourself that it is A-OK to be lazy. Maybe you'll be SO lazy during your mini vacation that you'll be dying to do work on Monday! Right.

And last, but not least, for today--You can say whatever you want to now. Take advantage. I have a political preference that does not match my fellow coworkers. Any of them. I am the token (insert my political preference) in the office. Because I am currently positioned at the bottom of the totem pole I can't exactly nip their "casual" comments in the butt, or debate their (insert offending adjective) views with my intelligent points. I simple muster a half-smile, try not to sever my tongue, and give them a good ol' "aw shucks" shrug that really means "Coward. Trying your political points out on me since you know I can't fully disagree and tell you you're dillusional. Yet."

Now I can fully voice my opinions and comments to anyone, and anywhere, I please. I might just walk around the house spouting off every thought that goes through my head just because I can. (Bet all of you are glad we're only cyber-friends now, huh? You won't have to listen to any of my rants.)

Check back tomorrow for Part II.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

The PC and me, a tale of outsmarting.

My computer and I are bickering.

It all started yesterday afternoon when a little red box appeared in the middle of my screen. It said: "CHECK YOUR COMPUTER SECURITY! THERE ARE MULTIPLE RISKS THAT CAN LEAD TO TOTAL SYSTEM CRASH!"

I frantically rushed to click on the scary alert (rush = very quickly move the mouse. It's not like your body can exert any frantic motion on a computer screen. Ok, maybe you could freak out and move the mouse psychotically all over the screen but I've never done that. Except when Lola thinks the mouse is a bug on the screen).

After watching the computer detect 39 'HIGH ALERT' potential viruses I thoroughly agreed to proceed with the Antivirus Cleanup and Download that was suggested. After all, I'm no computer genius. My idea of 'fixing' a computer problem is the restart button. If the computer thinks I should download Antivirus cleanup, well, I chummily agree. Computer knows all. I click download. Bloggy buddies: If you think your computer may be in severe cyber danger then ya'll should download it too. Don't worry guys, it's only $75.50.

Wait. $75.50?! I have to pay to 'save' my computer? Don't these trusty computers come with built in antiviral downloads that are free?? Apparently not. In which case, I decide the computer is attempting to scam me.

So for the rest of the afternoon, and this morning, an alert box has popped up every other minute. The message varies from 'virus detection', to 'system alert', to 'computer unprotected', bla bla bla. Might as well be a different language for all I care. I ignore each alert by smugly closing the box and going on my merry way. "Oh sure", I think, "you're 'finding' thousands of 'viruses'."

Well now it's gotten to the point where every time I open Internet Explorer, genius computer over here wants me to make sure I'm aware I'm going to an "unsecured site". As if we're buddies, and he's just lookin' out for my best interests.

It's becoming difficult to do anything with the alerts flashing all over the screen (remember VH1's Pop Up Video? Imagine that on my computer, but with obnoxious messages instead of useless, but nonetheless interesting, tidbits about has beens), but I refuse to give in. I hate this computer anyway. It's a...PC.

(I know a lot of you have PC's, and power to you. Whatever floats your boat. What floats my boat, however, is a glossy, silver, MacBookPro (No, I haven't upgraded yet. Stop being all high and mighty about your 3 pound Mac Air. Does yours have the word 'Pro' in it? Ok, well then be quiet))

Anyways, this all started because I had originally just wanted to take on the PC. A you-don't-scare-me kind of tactic. But then I notice something: Why am I all huffy and bothered over this ridiculous piece of machinery? I'm actually annoyed that it's becoming near to impossible to do work! The computer is even smarter than I thought! He's made me worried about getting work done!

So now I just want him to blow up. If he's so polluted with viruses, threats, and unknown information, why doesn't he just explode already so I can call it a day and start my weekend early.

I'll let you know how it goes. Actually, if you don't get an update from me later today then just assume my brilliant plan worked and I'm out enjoying the sunny, 70 degree Texas weather while the rest of you are still stuck suffering in the work week until 6.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A dual: pink eye vs. work

My musings for Wednesday...I apologize for rambling in this post, but there's only so much you can do with one workable eye.

I wore glasses to work today for the first time. I don't have a thing with wearing glasses, contacts are just easier. I'd rather avoid the nerdy clip on sunglasses and wear regular ones, I'd like to lean over my desk or pick something off the floor without my glasses sliding off, in which I am then forced to classically push them back up on my nose as if I am impersonating my English professor. However, glasses do come in handy sometimes-like when I want to look studious, or when I was Sarah Palin for Halloween (circa her pageant years, see below), but for the most part, I'm a contacts-kind-of-gal.

(Picture from Halloween 2008- a glasses wearing Sarah Palin on Left, Bonnie, from Bonnie and Clyde, on Right. Bonnie also goes by Chelsea, as in creative Chelsea from Design a la mod. Geez, I'm in such a promotional mood these past few days, just shows how much I love her blog! And her, of course.)

Anyway. The reason I am wearing glasses today is because my left eye thought it would be cool to peace out and let red eye substitute indefinitely...it looks like a permanent red firecracker went off and froze in mid explosion. While one eye is weepy, red, and going through bouts of intense twitching, the other eye is completely normal. Needless to say, I'm attracting a lot of (unwanted) attention.

In between left eye spasms I complained to a friend via AIM:

Me: I mean I wish I just had pink eye instead of some unknown problem. Then I could stay home for like 3 days.
Her: Oh that would be so nice...

Which got me thinking. We would take pink eye--the gooey, swollen, wake up with your eye crusted (ew, don't you just hate that word!?) shut, itchy, severely contagious pink eye--over work. I couldn't help but wonder (why hello Carrie Bradshaw tag line) at what point did the idea of work cross over from boring to 'I'll take a dose of pink eye, thank you.' ?

So, I snapped out of it. The only way I would take pink eye over work would be if AIM friend contracted pink eye at the same time and we could have a quarantined slumber party for three days.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Surgury went well!

I mentioned in my "10 Things a Blogger needs to know" post that Exclamation Points was in the process of becoming beautifed. Well, she got her face lift tonight. I tried to make it female and male friendly just so that my few male followers would stick around... ahem, Schafner, your support is very much appreciated so don't let the pastel colors scare you away!

Since I'm on the topic of new and improved I think now is a better time than ever to give a shout out to a fellow blogger, Chelsea, and her blog: Design a la mod. Chelsea shares tips and tricks about modern design--ranging from holiday decor created from fallen tree twigs to innovative ways to store toilet paper. Don't think it's possible to decorate a la twigs? Go take a peek, trust me.

Chelsea and I lived together for 2 years and my apartment got incredibly boring when we (amiably) went our separate ways. Luckily, she's giving my apartment a semi makeover and will be featuring it on her blog. So I get a blog AND apartment face lift in the span of a few weeks...I'm going to be living, and blogging, in style!

Chelsea's a new blogger as well so she could use some blog lovin'! And check back to see how she turns my drab apartment into chic city :-)

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Monday, December 15, 2008

I owe my half marathon medal to Britney

A long post for a long run:

I ran the White Rock Marathon/Half Marathon yesterday. Half marathon, just to clarify. 13.1 miles is not an easy feat, but 26.2 miles is a whole other ballpark and I wouldn't want any of you thinking I mastered the marathon...yet. I'll think about that once my body stops retaliating against me.

You may ask, why would anyone want to run a marathon?! Well, I've always been a runner. I have no idea how. My sister once famously stated, "I'd work out if I didn't have to move" and therein lies the Cannon family's perception of working out. I think I can honestly say, without hearing any protests, that I am one of the only Cannon's, including extended family, who regularly works out. So wherever I got the idea to physically move for no other reason except to sweat and stay in shape, is beyond me.

I remember running The Mile in elementary school for the physical fitness test: I am running around the track, maybe the 2nd lap, when I realize I'm by myself. I look behind me, bewildered, thinking maybe I had zoned out and was running an extra lap by accident. (I was one of those ADD kids.) I see a mass of girls (boys ran separately, something about 'too big of a group to run together'. Sure.) and realize I am just ahead of the group. Ahead. Of. The. Group. Those are words I didn't hear too often. I was 'behind the group' in math, science, and pretty much anything that uses the left side of the brain. Reading was a big forte of mine, but, let's face it, a kid who brags about reading chapter books fast? That will make them popular. So, anyway, there I am, impersonating the Roadrunner, speeding around the track, gloating in my newfound talent, and then I spot Emily Pratt about a quarter of a mile in front of me. To make a short story shorter, she crossed the finish line first. I tried my darnedest to catch up, but she was just too fast. Maybe this is where I developed my fondness for running. Discovery of ingrained talent (yes, ingrained. Cause like I said, this is not a family trait. And 'ingrained talent' sounds cool.) + competition = destined runner.

Jump to 15 years later, December 14th, Dallas, TX, American Airlines Center, 8am, and my ingrained talent and I are ready to run. I have to admit, in the beginning stages of a race, it's kind of exhilarating. I feel so...important. National anthem is sung, countdown to starting time, confetti rains down as you and thousands of other runners slowly jog to cross the start line, people cheering from the sidelines, people watching from high rises, cameras flashing, running through downtown...it's cool. It continued to be cool until, say, mile 6, somewhere near Greenville Ave. I was no longer on a "runner's high". My thoughts turned from jovial: "Woo hoo this is going great! Going at a good pace. Probably somewhere near the middle. Haven't stopped yet, yay!" to hateful: "Omg knees HURT...WHERE is the next freaking water station?! Get OUT of my way you slow person...Good grief this play list blows...I'm only on mile seven?!?!" Right as I started to hit the "runners wall" I found my saving grace. Get ready. It's.... Ms. Spears. That's right, it's Britney, b*tch.

I suddenly remembered I had downloaded her new CD onto my ipod a few nights ago. Now, I don't like, worship, Britney or anything. I normally don't even download her stuff--the radio plays it endlessly anyway. But for some reason, I had felt compelled to download the "Circus" CD. Maybe to help her get back on top since she's had such a rough time (Since I count so much). Who knows. Anyway, I fiddled with my ipod- sticky, sweaty fingers scrolling through the artists until I found her. As soon as the base started thumping on that first song the adrenaline rushed through my body and I was back.

I felt like I was my 8 year old self again, racing to catch up with Emily Pratt. Except this time I would beat her. I even was told to slow down several times by my boyfriend, who was running with me. Which felt great, by the way. "Oh, sorry, I'm running too fast for you? Who's the weakest link now, huh?!" We're competitive...to say the least. So, Britney and I ran together for almost a solid hour. I listened to the entire CD (rave reviews, let me tell you. 'Mmm Papi' is a winner) several times and never lost momentum. The sun seemed to shine brighter. The wind seemed to lighten up. It seemed like a path was cleared for me each time I ran by a water station. Bystanders yelled my name and cheered me on. A little girl gave me a high five. When I slowed down a fellow runner ran past and told me to "Keep movin! I was pacing myself on you!! I need ya!" so I sped up, I was needed.

Crossing the finish line was just as exhilarating as crossing the starting line, except, much, much better. Minus the woman who puked next to me immediately after finishing. I have Britney to thank for the 1 hour and 53 minute time. I wish I had found her sooner so I could've made my goal of 1 hour and 45 minutes. Oh well. There's always the full marathon. I hope she comes out with a new CD in time for that...which is yet to be planned...so she has a while.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

An Exaggeration, in 3 parts.

Each working day consists of 3 parts:

The Beginning (or, entrapment).

The Middle (or, torture).


The End (or, release).

The Beginning has hope. I'm eager (or my adderall kicks in) to achieve. I breeze into my office, plop my purse down, glance at the mail (I actually do get mail, surprisingly enough. My engraved letter opener-thanks cousin Whitney!- now has a purpose) and sign into my email account. I feel awake, alert, and a little bit wired. Again, it could be the adderall. Nonetheless, I am ready to work. I:

-check emails (most of which I have already been notified of by my Blackberry)

-turn my phone on silent (the phone becomes less significant at work. Email, gchat, and AIM take preference)

-eat a bowl of cheerios (this is one of the highlights of my day. Sigh.)

-Skim Drudge Report headlines (a Canadian made a robot his life long partner?!)

and...then I enter into Entrapment (said in scary, booming voice).

Entrapment has no hope. I have accomplished the necessary tasks (arrive, sit, eat) and now I am bait to the 8 hour monster.

I don't really have a personality in The Middle phase. Therefore it becomes the Torture period for not just me, but whoever I communicate and interact with as well. Luckily, most people in the office tend to go out for lunch (maybe I am part of that reason?) so my gchat and AIM friends get the fun task of cyber-hanging-out with me. I respond to everything with "ugh", or "ufgbsahjgbiugbib", or "is it 5?" I stare blankly out the window. I try to stay away from the clock, it just exacerbates what I'm already feeling. (I know it's only 12:15 *eyes well up with tears*)

And then....The End. The light at the end of the tunnel. The saving grace. The glimpse of possible contentment. It happens around 3pm. Warmth and feeling pours back into my body and I start attempting simple tasks:

-weakly press 'inbox', and read email

-get a glass of water (avoid giant clock in kitchen. After all, it was a narrow escape from Torture-not a clean break)

-respond to gchat IM in complete sentences ("Yes, I will meet you at Happy Hour.")

And then, Release comes, and I feel a surge of energy and enthusiasm. My boss tells a joke and I slap my knees in hysteria. I whistle while I straighten up my desk. I make a To-Do list and dot the 'i's with hearts and smiley faces. I skip out of the office and leap into the elevator, grinning. "Have a good evening!" I practically sing to the parking attendant as I trot to my car.

...and I succesfully survived. (Enter exuberant feeling).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top 10 Things a Blogger Needs to Know and Have

Not everyone has a blog, but these tips are useful for those you know who have a blog, and if you ever wanted to start a blog yourself. Oh come on, you know you want to ;-)

10. A trusty computer
Well, this is obvious. How are you going to blog if you don’t have a computer. Not too much else to say about this one…moving on!

9. A job with free time
Best-case scenario: no job at all. Is there nothing more enticing than a day at home, snuggled up with your laptop, blogging your little heart out? But before you slam down your pen and march out of the office, remember that you need a job in order to survive. You aren't Perez yet. Blog during down time at work (when you find yourself staring out the window, at the person in the building across the street, at the window, busy working, that's when you should work on your blog...creepster). Once your masterpiece blog makes you rich and successful you can have your grande finale at work and retire in blogland.

8. Writing skills
I’m not talking impeccable grammar skills-just the ability to come across like you passed 4th grade writing. In other words, stay away from “ain’t”. Also try to remember contractions (‘your’ vs. ‘you’re’ anyone?) and the correct use of “to” and “too”. Doesn’t anyone else cringe when they see improper use of those words?! Ok, maybe not. But it’s nails on a chalkboard to me. I’m just saying.

7. Ignore negativity
A lot of people haven’t crossed over to the blog-loving-side of the world. Too bad for them. For the rest of us, let’s try and maintain a positive attitude when someone rains on our blogging parade, shall we? They’ll figure it out eventually.

6. Entertaining friends
I suggest carrying around a small pocket notebook. When your friends (coworkers, siblings, acquaintances) say something funny/do something embarrassing/say something ridiculous/act horrendously, you simply jot down a few words describing the moment. Then, when you are in a blogging block, staring at the blinking cursor, wracking your brain for anything to write about, your dependable notepad can save the day! Warning: change names. No need to lose a friend over a blog post. (Then where would you get your inspiration?)

5. Blog love
Every blog needs a little love. If you’re a beginner blogger you know that more than anyone. So put on your sleuthing hat and find fellow bloggers. They’re out there, just itching for you to slather them with love and affection… and make them money…eventually. So be a follower. This is one of the only times you can kick up your feet and let others make (blogging) decisions and (blogging) stories for you. That is, unless you surround yourself with low lifes and negative influences. Then this should be an extremely easy concept for you. It’s simple: Follow blogs, and they’ll most likely follow yours.

4. Be creative
I like to think I’m a pretty creative person. But when it comes to creative technology…cross my name off the creative people list. If you find yourself in the same boat, no worries: there are people who can be creative for you. (Bet your ears perked up, huh? It’s always fun to find other people to do work for you) If you haven’t noticed (which would mean you’re blind) my blog is border-line boring. There’s no flair, nothing catches the eye, the colors are all wrong, it’s just plain disappointing. Especially when the posts are so darn funny, right?? (Riiiiight?) While devotedly following a blog I came across an advertisement for “Once Upon A Blog” (http://onceuponablog.org/) and low and behold, all my questions were answered by a blog genius. There are tons of blog geniuses. Shoot, maybe I’ll even become one and answer your questions. Get back to me in about 6 months. We’ll see.

Note: Yes, I am aware my blog still doesn’t look creative after consulting the blog genius at Once Upon A Blog. That’s because it hasn’t been changed yet, smarty-pants. Give me (and blog genius) a few days. Prepare to be amazed.

3. Have fun
Don’t let blogging stress you out! It’s supposed to be fun and happy! Easy and exciting! Entertaining and thrilling! And many other enthusiastic and positive adjectives! If you can’t think of anything to write about one day—don’t FREAK out. Take a few deep breaths, consult your notepad (#6 in case you weren’t paying attention), and try, try again.

2. Avoid Procrastination
Refer to blog entry #2 from a few days ago. I think that pretty much covers it.

1. Blog away
Get started! Go get em’! And send me your blog link so I can follow your success—or comment on your stupidity. Just kidding!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cliffnotes for visiting Ikea

-Ikea is not just a furniture store. It’s a process. They have a cafeteria (and a small Swedish grocery store at checkout for your Swedish food needs), a daycare, showrooms, marketplace, pick up items, delivery, loading station—and when you thought you had escaped the big blue and yellow giant, he follows you home and watches you spend hours upon hours putting together furniture using the “easy” directions. Just plan to have your day taken over by Ikea.

-Understand how the store works. The first time I ventured to Ikea country I was with my mom, and buying for my first apartment. Overly eager, I ran into each “room” on the first floor picking up throw pillows, a picture frame, vase, small rug, clock, fake books, (fake books?? Who makes fake books? Actually, who buys fake books?). I was browsing the 250sqft apartment, thinking it would be much cooler to live in this teeny tiny box than my new apartment, when my mom caught up with me. Catching her breath she informed me I couldn’t pick up items on the second floor, I had to mark down the items I liked on the handy booklet given to each customer at the entrance…then retrieve them on the first floor. Duh. I sheepishly retraced my path putting each item back in its place while smirking customers watched nearby. Clearly, I was new here.

- Don’t fall for the furniture testers. It’s a pretty sweet idea—not only are you drawn to the tester because it’s machinery moving on it’s own in the middle of a stationary furniture store, but then you find out Ikea furniture is durable! You stand there, enthralled, as the drawer opens, and shuts, opens, and shuts, and you become confident Ikea is looking out for you and your well being. But look a little closer, easily fooled customer, and you’ll make out the pile of wood dust on the floor from the constant scraping of the drawer, not to mention the paint peeling off the side from being opened so many times. You=1, Ikea=0.

-Ikea wants to make you fat. Immediately after breezing through the front doors you are hit with the delicious smell of carbohydrates—easily accessible right after you get off the escalator. How convenient! You decide that because you’re in a Swedish store, you might as well try out some Swedish food. Three hours later, stuffed, happy, and down $1000, you are on your merry way out when--wait-what is that smell?? Is that a cinnamon bun?! How did they know I was craving something sweet after those “Swedish” meatballs?? And right in front of the checkout line! Good thing they put it here instead of upstairs in the cafeteria-otherwise I would’ve missed it!

-If you are not a homeowner there are two sections of Ikea you can avoid. The two K’s: Kids and Kitchens. Hallelujah. I’m assuming that if you are my age, and in an apartment, then you probably don’t have kids. I’m also assuming that you are not allowed to gut your outdated kitchen and replace it with an Ikea masterpiece. Don’t fret, your time will come. But for now, enjoy speeding through onto bedrooms.

-Do not, under any circumstances, buy a mattress from Ikea. Yes, it is cheap. Yes, it is practical. But let’s really think about this: When you turn over in the middle of the night and are abruptly woken up by the rebound of your body hitting the surface, are you going to care that you saved $200 on a mattress that gives you bruises? If you must, then be prepared to invest in several egg crates or foam pads. Seriously, I’m speaking from experience here.

-Beware of the marketplace. It is possible for you to deplete your budget here. You’ve just finished going through a warehouse sized furniture store, but you’re not done. Underneath the warehouse lies a second warehouse filled with household goodies and more. Suddenly, you’re no longer cranky or tired. Excitement starts to bubble up inside. You push away logical thoughts of “I don’t really need an exotic fern bush…” and “Will this oversized paper lamp fit in my living room??” and focus on more important things—filling your cart with unnecessary articles.

-Do not leave the store with a random, small, useless buy. You just spent hours in a Swedish maze, overwhelmed, lost, and constantly checking your budget on your phone. If you leave with a tiny, fake cactus, or a “cool” spork you can use on your nonexistent camping trips, your visit has amounted to nothing. At least buy something useful…like a trashcan...so you can throw away all unnecessary items when you come to your senses at home.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lunch? No, I think I'll pass. I'd rather stay here and look like a better person for it.

About 2 times a week I forgo my treasured lunch hour to be more productive. Causes for such a decision vary: I have no extra money to go buy food. I'm too lazy to go somewhere to buy food. I don't want to drive back to my apartment to get food for fear of never leaving the warm and heavenly work-free space to come back. I am in a humor filled gchat conversation with a friend who may change her status to the red 'busy' status that screams 'I-actually-work-at-my-job-and-want-all-you-insignificant-people-to-know-it' by the time I get back, and I'd rather have entertainment for an hour than food. I'm engrossed in reading a newfound blog and can't peel myself away from the daily tips and tripes of a young mom with quadruplets. Anyhow, I decide to skip leaving for lunch and feel better about myself for doing so. "I am so dedicated to my job that I don't even want to leave for lunch! What a good employee I am!" runs through my head over the next hour or so.

However, every time I skip lunch I find myself in predicaments that could have been avoided had I just taken the hour to leave. By 3pm on Wednesday I found myself counting the bricks on the wall in my office (yeah,*casually shrugs shoulders* I have one of those really cool offices with exposed ceilings and walls...it's not a big deal...). If I had taken lunch then I wouldn't have gotten bored out of my mind until 4pm, in which I could deal because there's only one hour left. Or today, for instance, I went to Chipolte (no, it doesn't count as leaving for lunch because Chipolte is IN my building and it only took 5 minutes) and got a taco, an onion sliver somehow wedged itself in between the keys of the keyboard (yes I work while I eat, it's not like I'm looking at Perez), and I spent at least 10 minutes trying to get it out. As much fun as my office is, I can't imagine a dried out, old, disgusting smelling onion sliver would go over well with my irritated/exasperated/get-me-out-of-here side.

So I've decided, from these two minuscule but nonetheless telling, instances, that skipping lunch should no longer be an option. It doesn't help me. It certainly doesn't help the office. I mean, who am I kidding? I need that hour. I can't even write an email without taking a break.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I recently read (most of) an article about constructive procrastination. I got bored halfway through the article and started thinking about unconstructive procrastination. I then realized that I was procrastinating reading an article about procrastination, by thinking about procrastination, while already procrastinating doing work. And so I went further into this double, or triple, entendre and wrote a blog entry about a past instance of procrastination:

Simply being in the library made me feel like I was being productive. I could be chatting on AIM, whispering to a friend, watching The Office with headphones, whatever, the fact that I was in the library was enough to allow myself to take a break from work. If it was 9pm I calculated that if I wrote a page every hour until 7am (yes, I was queen of all-nighters in college) I would have 10 pages written with a few hours left to edit and proofread before the 9am deadline. The next 8 hours or so would consist of complete and utter disaster. I would convince a friend to join me on my all night adventure in the library. A passionate, two hour, whispered conversation over Lost theories would ensue, followed by a trip to Café Brazil “to try a new setting” (result: an indulgence in French toast and coffee, no work accomplished, and a drive back to prison, I mean the library). Then sleep deprivation and the caffeine would kick in causing a series of hysterical laughter set off by nothing humorous whatsoever (a sneeze, pencil breaking, door slamming, floor creaking, you name it). Although it’s hours before the deadline I feel confident I will succeed in writing an A worthy paper. I convince myself that this is how I work—these hours of avoiding productivity are a part of the process. I need the procrastination in order to succeed. Suddenly, it’s 4am and panic strikes. Fear of failure kicks in. I am terrified I will not finish. I imagine my professor shaking his head in disappointment as he writes an enormous red F written at the top of my pathetic paper and I become furious I have wasted so much time… I emerge from the library at 8:55am, blinking in the bright sunlight. I barely remember the last five hours. Somehow, my inner genius showed up, took over my body, and produced a paper. I have no idea if it’s an A or a C paper. Who cares. I finished. It’s over.

As is your (and my) procrastination period.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Recent College Graduate

I've gone back and forth about posting this because it has no point and I wrote it out of complete boredom one day. However, several people liked it (and identified with it) so I've decided to officially post it. I have to point out that although both men and women read it only the women understood it/found it funny...so this may just be a post for females ;-)

A day in the life of a recent college graduate:

8am: Woken up by obnoxious alarm after a semi-restful night of sleep. Bedroom was strategically placed by a brilliant architect next to the hallway leading outside of the apartment building resulting in endless noise from impolite door banging and people who forgot what ‘indoor voice’ means. Despite lack of sleep, however, eagerness to start the day sets in. Today will be the day I will get things accomplished! People will be impressed with my hard work and effort! I’m going to enjoy a cup of coffee at my desk and quickly skim the news while I make a long “to do” list that will keep me occupied all day! It’s sunny outside and 75 degrees in October—it’s going to be a great day!

10am: Made a “to do” list…consisted of nothing urgent or important. Have emailed back and forth with roommate for 20 minutes deciding whether canceling cable would save money. End result: it will, by $20. Cancelled cable. Flip through yellow notepad trying to find things to follow up on. Notice that notepad is almost completely used and wonder what date I started to use it: July 27th. Wonder how many days I’ve used the notepad: 42. Wonder how many days I’ve used it in a row—phone call. Reporter got my voicemail and wants to do a story on client! Wahoo! Day is no longer boring! I am successful! Quickly send out email to coworkers in jubilation over my achievement. Receive “Great work!” “Keep it up!” in response. Feel satisfied and important. Encouraged by success decide to be on the verge of annoying and do another round of follow up calls to other reporters.

11 30am: Staring at computer screen. A box pops up notifying me ‘new message’ and a sudden thrill of excitement soars through my body as I rush to click on ‘Inbox’… “Last Call for 12% off Macy’s Fall Sale”. Suddenly feel envious of everyone in the world who spends half their day responding to work emails.

12pm: Trying to wait another hour before eating lunch, this way I will have only 3 hours left instead of 4.

12 30pm: Hungry and grumpy. Open Internet Explorer and type in “Jobs English major” in Google…Result: Public Relations, Communications, Media Relations. Snarl at the computer screen while tapping fingers on desk. Need to get a manicure. Have no money to get a manicure.

2pm: Full from delicious $2 Sesame Chicken Lean Cuisine feel refreshed. It’s 2pm! Only 3 more hours! Going to be productive! Brilliant idea pops into head to update excel sheets--change wording of column titles to more space efficient phrases, scroll up and down sheet carefully looking for any information missed, change dates from x/x/2008 to x/x/08.

3 15pm: In middle of serious AIM conversation with friend over life. Both feel bored, drained, worried about job. Feel better that someone is in the same boat.

3 25pm to 3:30pm: Compulsively check phone for texts every 30 seconds.

3 45pm: Wonder if I should quit job and look for something more interesting and intriguing. Wonder if I’m in the right industry. What about teaching? Research private schools in Dallas for open teaching positions. Research Education school at SMU. Research GMAT. Take sample GMAT verbal test. Feel smart for getting over half right. Basking in intelligence interrupted by boss—wants me to research trucker blogs for client. Nod enthusiastically while smiling. Hear the words “Sure, no problem! I’ll get right on it!” come out of my mouth. Look at trucker blogs and become engrossed in the daily lives of truckers. Wonder if I should become a trucker.

4 45pm: Slumped over desk nearly dead from boredom. Thankful I am not a trucker.

4 59pm: One minute.

5 00pm: Look around office for signs of movement. Hear door close. Casually walk out past receptionist. Manage an excited “See you tomorrow!” with a smile plastered on my face before walking out. Feel amazing. Feel like checking off a giant check box next to “Completed day at work”. Walk outside. See people clutching briefcases hurrying to their parked cars. Parking attendant waves at me. Feel like part of ‘the working group’. Remind myself everyone else my age is most likely experiencing the same feelings. Decide that this is ‘normal’.

5 05pm: Become really excited about working out…running by fellow 9 to 5-ers on the trail.

6pm: Feel good about run. Think maybe I should run a marathon. Half marathon. Make mental note to research half marathons when bored at work tomorrow.

7pm: Eat Campbell’s Healthy Request Chicken Noodle Soup while watching The Office. Wish there was a Dwight in my office.

8 45pm: Feel ridiculously old for being tired from doing absolutely nothing all day.

10pm: Staring at ceiling. Annoyed at fan for making a creaking noise. Entertain myself by blowing on Lola’s (fiesty and disobedient chihuahua mix) face until she sits somewhere else, then I repeat. Decide to turn fan off and suffer from lack of air circulation rather than listen to horrible creaking noise.

11pm: Convinced I forgot to lock door. Pad out into living room, check door-was locked.

11 10pm: Ponder over decisions made since graduation. Fall asleep.

11 11pm: Woken up by drunken stumblers banging into wall outside my bedroom. Hear “I want to make grilled cheese. No, I don’t have any cheese...boooo. Wait--I have velveeta!! Nooo you don't only use it for queso, it will totally work...we can grate it..." voice trails off, door slams.

11 20pm: Fall asleep.

Becoming a Blogland resident

I've decided to start a blog for several reasons:

1. I love to write, and since becoming a writer is near to impossible blogging will have to suffice for the time being.
2. I have just entered into the "real world" and therefore have an abundance of time on my hands since I am merely an "entry level" employee.
3. A lot of the things I'm passionate about are hopfully things other people are passionate about as well, or find interesting, and will want to read and comment on...I stress the word hopefully.

I'm going to jump the gun and assume that this blog will probably be all over the place and have no correlation between posts--that is the reason it is called "Exclamation Points" since it literally means whatever I feel like exclaiming over.

I have absolutely no set agenda for this blog and I am just trying it out so feel free to send me suggestions, comments, or ideas about anything!