Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Proof That Men Are Not The Only Jackasses

I don't even know what to say about this, but sometimes someone is just such a big jerk that you have to point it out and say, "Wow, would you look at that jerk over there? That is some jerk." It's cathartic. And since I work alone I can't nudge someone in the conference room and say, "check out this woman who hasn't grown up since high school!"

I just have one question. What is she the world champion of? (Because jerky as she is, I'm pretty sure someone else holds the World Champion of Jackassery title.)

At least she had the courtesy to post on Gizmodo (an odd choice, to say the least, for a woman who thinks nerdiness is the cardinal sin of dating)--the next time some unsuspecting prospective date Googles the shit out of her, her name will come up with the appropriate warning label affixed to it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

For Real?

A German etiquette group has forbidden kissing coworkers on the cheek, suggesting that if people are okay with the practice, they announce that with a sign on their desk. (As an aside, I think such signs have a bright future as gag gifts.)

I've been sexually harassed by coworkers in vile and disturbing ways. Not one of the offenders has ever kissed me on the cheek. The only coworkers who kiss me on the cheek are dear friends who are welcome to visit me in my home, who know why I've been in the hospital, and who would--in an alternate universe where women over 40 fall in love and get married--be invited to my wedding.

This is the sort of thing that just boggles my mind. Clearly someone, somewhere is being kissed on the cheek by humans they don't care for in a way that makes them feel icky. If we assume that the offending kissers aren't all hell-bent on making people feel icky, then we have to accept that they're not good at picking up social cues. But the idea that I would just put a piece of paper on my desk indicating that I enjoy being kissed on the cheek by my coworkers really seems like an inadequate solution. I can think of coworkers who shouldn't be allowed to kiss me on the cheek. I have (in the past, not necessarily right now, mind) worked with humans whose kiss would drive me to scour myself with antiseptic in a really hot shower. Do I put a list on my desk? These humans are allowed, these humans are expressly forbidden? Am I allowed to put my boss on the forbidden list (no, no, not you--a theoretical boss). Do I maintain the list on company time?

I'd love to dismiss this as ridiculous. Then again, I'd love to tell you that I'd never worked with a coworker who thought he could "honk" my boobs as a joke. I'd love to tell you that a friend of mine who works at a very decent and progressive company didn't recently attend a meeting where a coworker said, "Give this task to someone in a skirt." And I'd love to tell you that when I watch Mad Men, I never watch them chasing secretaries around the office and think, "maybe we could have done better than just driving this behavior underground where it's harder to catch it." So I guess it's not ridiculous. But I really really wish it were.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I Would So Have Walked By

If I had known that the location used for Stanley Ford's townhouse was still in existence and so easy to locate, I would totally have stopped to take a gander when I lived in New York.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Just so you know

When I go back and re-read the post on my "moving experience" at work a few months back, I still get mad.

In which Shifter gets a tattoo...

So I know I'm probably in the minority here, but I've never had a tattoo until very, very recently. Back in The Day not having a tattoo was the norm. Very few people had them, and those who did were in circuses, prisons, or biker gangs, and sometimes all 3. But times have changed, and now most people seem to have them by age 8, and to not have one at 39 was threatening to forever cost me 50 cool points. Now granted, I'm already several thousand below zero on cool, so losing another 50 is not perhaps much of a noticeable difference. I mention the loss of 50 cool points here merely to illustrate the ubiquity of tattoos (by the way, ubiquity is a seriously cool word, though not so cool as to give me 50 cool points - quite the opposite).

In any case, I have resisted this mass move towards tattoos for many years. Partly because I couldn't think of anything I wanted but mostly because tattoos are freaking forever, and I have a hard time of thinking of anything that I am going to think is so cool I want it on my body not only now, but also at all future points in my life. When I was 18-20 it would have been a skull, for example. And how glad am I not to have a skull carved into my skin now? Very glad, indeed. But a few weeks back my Beloved asked me if, for our 15th anniversary, I'd get a tattoo with her. She already has a few (being much cooler than I am) and has in fact asked before. I've said no. This time, however, she had a very cool and moving idea in mind for joint tattoos that were representative of our lives together. Two things struck me here. One, I liked the idea and the art and, two, I had already made a far more serious and permanent commitment than a tattoo to this woman 15 years ago. Put in that context it was not such a horrible idea.

So now I do, in fact have a tattoo. It is a crow silhouette and it looks something like this:
I have decided to spare you, dear readers, the sight of my hairy leg with ink etched into it. But this is the image I shamelessly stole off the web and had scratched into my skin. If by this you infer that this was a painful process, you are correct. Not agonizing, surprisingly enough, but painful. The trick is, the pain comes AFTER the tattoo. Nobody told me about that part. Everyone warns you that getting the tattoo hurts, but nobody warns you that afterwards it hurts lots more. After I got mine, my ankle swelled up as if I had an apple under my skin, right beneath the tattoo. And yes, I did follow all the directions about hourly washing and lotion (not too much lotion, mind you!) and so on. By the way, nobody told me about the hourly care routine either! Someone described the aftercare as being important because the tattoo is, essentially, an "open wound" until it heals. An open wound! NOBODY told me about that.

If these small rants lead you to conclude that ol' Shifter is a whiny bastard, you are correct! Not too whiny, though. I am still glad I got it, almost entirely because of the meaning it has between me and my wife. I also think it will look cool when it heals and no longer hurts. For now, looking at it just hurts. So if anyone reading this has NOT gotten a tattoo, please don't be deterred. Just be warned.

It's too late to vote in this, but...

NPR is doing a poll to select the top 100 sci-fi/fantasy books of all time. They had a nomination process where people could submit suggestions, then they paired those down to a few hundred, and then they took votes on those few hundred to get the final top 100. Unfortunately, before I knew the contest was going, it was over. Evidently they forgot just how important I really am and did not send a "Dear Shifter, please please take part in our poll" email! So poo. Nevertheless, the list of finalists is interesting to review, and can be found here. Eventually they'll have results, no doubt, and I'm sure they'll be posted somewhere around here. A quick look at the list shows many titles I have read, a smaller subset that I really love, a larger group I haven't read, and a few I've read and really didn't like all that much (can you say "Drizzt?" I knew you could! And Piers Anthony? Really? I mean fun but top 100 of all time? The Color of Her Panties? Really??). Anyway, I enjoyed looking over the list so thought I'd pass it along for any sci-fi geeks out there who missed it the first time...

Sunday, August 07, 2011

I can't believe my brother does this stuff...

Look at this link for a story about DEF CON, a hacking convention that is attended by professional hackers. It's not a "black hat" hacker convention (i.e., it's not supposed to be for malicious hackers as far as I know) but is attended by computer people who know a lot about hacking. My brother is a computer network security specialist and is attending it this year (as he did the year before). It's amazing and scary how much can be done with technology, and how easy it is to manipulate it. Anyway, not only does my brother attend these things, he's actually won a competition in hacking at one of them. Remind me not to piss him off ;o)