Tag Archives: office

Lame Adventure 350: Time Tales at The Grind

For the past few weeks, months or years, it’s been one of those days for me.  There I was at The Grind sitting at my computer that’s situated directly below a vent breeding mold faster than rabbits mating on speed.

Innocuous looking ceiling vent.

Fertile mold.

Mold shacking up over my head.

I was crunching numbers while thinking philosophical thoughts:

Me: I wonder if Trader Joe’s will have those brandy filled chocolate beans this year?  Did I lock my door this morning?  How soon before I’m as obsolete as a public pay phone?

Empty pay phone hole — metaphor for my future?

My loyal sidekick, Greg, shattered my deep thoughts.

Greg:  Are you busy?

Me (thinking): Just going blind doing math before segueing into regretting the entire trajectory of my life.

Me (saying):  What do you need?

He asked if I could go into Photoshop and add a simple date to a simple label for him. He was in a bit of a hurry and he wanted to simply complete one project before simply starting another.  This request sounded reasonably simple to me:

Me:  Sure, give me five minutes.

My computer had other ideas.

“No Photoshop for you simpleton!”

For ten agonizing minutes I am stuck in the intersection of Irritating and Annoying before I am granted access to Photoshop so I can fulfill this simple request.  Just when I am going to print the label with the simple revision for Greg, my lord and master, Elsbeth, starts printing the equivalent of the phone book.  Finally, I give Greg, who started working on another project in the intervening 45 minutes, his simple label that inhaled the better part of an hour of what remains of my simply depleting life.

A few weeks ago, Greg gave me the paperwork for a delivery of tile that we received.  Another of my illustrious responsibilities as Minister of Tile that makes practical use of my fancy film school degree is to date stamp paperwork.  I am the type that can never remember the date, so that’s why I wear a state-of-no-art Timex with date-telling capability.  My timepiece is the consummate chick magnet to grandmother-types that wet dream about watch faces with numbers as big as eggplants:

Waiting a New York minute to learn the day’s date.

My boss has strong opinions about architecture.  I asked Elsbeth:

Me:  Hey boss, what do you think about the Hearst Tower?

Elsbeth:  Which building is that?

Me:  That one over on 57th and Eighth.

The address did not ring the gong in my superior’s head so I Google image searched it for her while accessing my inner NPR reporter.

Me:  They finished the base in 1928, but due to the Depression, they held off building the tower until 70 years later.  It opened in 2006.

Hearst Tower base completed in 1928. Architect: Joseph Urban.

Comedy and Tragedy with plenty to laugh and cry about.

Elsbeth looked at the resulting eyesore, liberally dropped words like hideous, ridiculous and awful accompanied by a few f-bombs with i-n-g endings.

Result: super modern glass and steel tower by architect Norman Foster that’s been jutting out of the base since it opened in 2006.

I agreed that time was not kind to this project or to quote my liege:

Elsbeth:  What the fuck were they thinking?

Unamused muses at the base.

The crass guest that’s here to stay jutting out of the base.

This week Elsbeth highly amused my colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore), when she revealed that the reason our shared drive runs slower than a pregnant snail carrying a boulder is because:

Elsbeth (exasperated):  People are downloading all their personal crap on it, like pictures of their dog!

Not this dog waiting patiently for his master to throw him a bone.

Nor Thurber, my family’s dog, looking anxious in this picture my sister Dovima texted me as he’s about to leave for the kennel.

A month ago, (not) Under Ling (anymore) was feeling significantly less mirth when she burned her finger using a glue gun.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) giving me the index finger.

Now a message to my seven loyal readers, for the first time in 350 posts, before subjecting myself to the next 350 Lame Adventures, this site is going on hiatus until after the November election. Since I prefer the shiny, fresh and nubile, I’m not the type that republishes past posts, but if you crave a fix of Lame Adventures-style junk food for your mind, preferably while bored at work or in the process of getting dressed down by your main squeeze for forgetting to take out the trash, help yourself to reading any of the 349 others.  Check out different years. You might even hit on a good one. If you need a nudge from me about where to go, my personal favorite is the one with the photographs.

Lame Adventure 335: Overdue

Here I am lying down on the job.

Can this double as a passport photo?

And here I am 2,500 years hence, significantly more dried out and inked than I am at present.

Yay, I finally shed those unwanted pounds!

What prompted these images was an email I had received a week earlier from Natasia, my tattoo-worshipping antagonist over at Hot Femme:

Tas email: Tattoos: a 2,500 year old trend. Almost as long as satchels!

Natasia frequently mocks my use of the words satchel, behoove, and some other of my trademark expressions I cannot recall due to my advanced case of CRS (Can’t Remember Shit).

Me email: Aren’t you feeling oh so smug!

Tas email: Find yourself a mummy with a satchel, Lame.

That dare set me off.   A week later, I emailed Natasia the above image of the mummy with a satchel, agitating this fresh snark:

Tas email:  I’m assuming this is (not) Under Ling (anymore’s) work.

Okay, Natasia’s Cornell degree in Something Hard and Complicated Involving Math once again paid off.  That was a correct assumption.  Yes, I have been blessed with two crack graphic designer buddies that have generously contributed to this site, my former colleague, Ling, who designed my banner, and now, Ling’s successor and former number two, Under Ling, since renamed, (not) Under Ling (anymore) after she was promoted last January.

Ten Lame Adventures ago (not) Under Ling (anymore) was anticipating a Lame Adventure of our own collaboration, a Lame Adventure entitled:  The New Office Accessory.  The reason this Lame Adventure went missing was that other Lame Adventures suddenly took precedence — Lame Adventures about the reliable crowd pleaser, tree bagging; the Lame Adventure about goat cheese and my pet puppet goat, Bill E.; collaborations with my wingman commenter Mike G, my humor advocate Le Clown, and my neighbor’s wonderful pooch Blanca.

Blanca: coolest pooch in my hood.

When, my sidekick, Greg, shared the YouTube link featuring the Wilhelm Scream, it never occurred to (not) Under Ling (anymore) that our joint Lame Adventure would once again be superseded and this time by nearly sixty year old yelling.  And, of course, there is my problem with CRS.  I’m so overloaded mentally, emotionally and alcoholically I’m nearing the day when I’m just going to start signing my name with a middle finger print.

Without further delay, here is that long overdue, especially if you’re (not) Under Ling (anymore), tale about The New Office Accessory.

In my ongoing passion for all things mundane, I would like to announce that after nearly eight years of employ in my illustrious career as Minister of Tile, I no longer have to march the twelve point seven feet from my desk to my superior Elsbeth’s office to sharpen a pencil.  My svelte colleague (not) Under Ling (anymore) has altruistically donated a kidney to our General Manager’s ailing ferret and in exchange The Powers That Be In Accounting have stuck a crowbar in the company wallet and approved the purchase of a $7.00 extension cord from Office Max. This will grant us the opportunity to share our very own electric pencil sharpener without ever having to leave our desks again — a departmental first, emphasis on mental.

Examples of more pencils in our future.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) did all the setup involved possibly because she is very wise for her 24 years and she instinctively knew that The Cranky Fossil in Jack Purcell badminton shoes would sooner scrub the floor with her toothbrush than climb under her desk to plug in that cord herself.  Not.  Gonna.  Happen.  Ever.

Fortunately, The Cranky Fossil sits next to a very can-do member of the Millennial Generation, at least someone that is very can-do when it comes to entering Middle Earth to set up the electric pencil sharpener that they now share.

End result.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) performing first pencil sharpening.

And yes, the sharpener sits six inches away from The Cranky Fossil and two feet across (not) Under Ling (anymore)’s desk possibly because the youthful member of the equation’s head will explode if she has to hear The Cranky Fossil whine one more time about her aching back.

Ta da! “Nice and pointy!”

Hey, watch it!  Don’t stick me in the eye with that thing!

First spent pencil memorial.

Lame Adventure 306: Technical Difficulties

Shortly after I figured out how to set the time on my department’s fax machine from Scottsbluff, Nebraska to Gotham City, it started jamming.  I diagnosed that it needed the roller replaced.

“Help me. I need a new roller.”

Therefore, I notified an assistant at the Grind about the situation and asked if she could set up a service call.  She told me that our 14-year-old fax no longer rates a contract.  She advised we get a new one.

Me:  But it only needs the roller replaced, we’re talking a $2 part.  It can send faxes just fine.

She said she’d discuss it with our company’s I.T. guy, Mr. Hat.

Mr. Hat:  I’ll get you a new one.

Me:  Can’t you take a look at it first?

Mr. Hat: I’ll visit next week.

Translation: he thinks it’s a lost cause.  As far as waiting days to visit, his office is located three floors away from ours.  He could visit in less than three minutes.

Me (bleating to my colleagues):  Why must this take days?

My sidekick, Greg, and (not) Under Ling (anymore) are as baffled as me.

Greg:  Can you get the part online?  Maybe we can install it?

Two years ago, Greg and I performed brain surgery on our color printer.  We got it to work again.  I call Canon and speak to a technician named Mike who asks me the model of our fax machine.

Me: We have a CFX L4000.

Mike: I don’t have that one on my list.  When did you get it?

Me: During the Hoover administration.

Mike puts me on hold.  He is probably accessing Canon’s Obsolete Machines Database or his Magic 8 Ball.  He returns and explains that they no longer service this model but he gives me the name and number of a local technician that might be able to help.  I call the technician and I’m told that they no longer service our machine because they can no longer get replacement parts.  She declares:

Technician: Nobody really sends faxes anymore.  Everyone uses email.

Me (deadpan):  Email?  What’s that?

There’s an awkward pause except for the crickets on the other end of the line.

Me:  That was a joke.

She rocket launches into a sales pitch trying to entice me with a souped-up fax machine that can do countless things that I’m tuning out.

Technician:  I’ll even give you ten percent off!  What do you think of that?

Me:  I think we’ll use email.

I walk over to our fax machine and have a blunt chat with it.

Me:  Listen, if you don’t suck up the paper anymore, you’re gonna end up in a landfill.

Instantly, it prints a fax.  Greg and (not) Under Ling (anymore) are both up on their feet.  The three of us gather at the fax machine.  We’re jubilant.

Greg:  What did you do to get it to work again?

Me: I told it it could end up in a landfill.

I call our colleague, Rhonda, and ask her to send a test fax.  She does and again it works!

Test fax.

I leave The Grind for the weekend feeling empowered.  I fantasize about marketing my phenomenal powers of persuasion.  The ability to speak to office machines could save small businesses thousands if not millions and make me millions.  Whoa!

Finally, I may have found my calling in life!  Suddenly, my unique skill will turn my dismal finances around.  With my newfound success I can afford that beach house I’ve never wanted since I can’t tan or swim.  Yet, why be selfish?  I’ll write a check that will pay for my niece’s entire college career and even throw in a car for Sweet Pea.  Milton and I will always sit in premium center orchestra seats and see every Broadway show.  Come to think of it, I must finance the staging of one of my pal Albee’s plays.  I’ll donate heavily to whatever event Martini Max is spearheading over in New Jersey, even if it involves Jerry Lewis, who I utterly loathe.  Plus I cannot forget my fashionista buddy, Coco. She gets a blank check to feed her Christian Louboutin shoe habit.  Also, what about my loyal colleagues, Greg and (not) Under Ling (anymore)?  He can have that baritone sax he wants and she, a crate of videogames.  I should not just focus on material gifts for my posse.  I must also pursue worthy philanthropic concerns.  Gee, where to start?  The world is such a troubled place.  I’ll go through my junk mail for information about what crusades George Clooney endorses.

When I return to work on Monday, our fax machine is jammed again.

Ominous red alarm light.

For an hour I give it the office machine equivalent of mouth-to-mouth.  My credibility as an office machine whisperer and potential seven-figure income are on the line.  Unfortunately, nothing I do, even speaking to it in the single word of the French I retain from five years of inattentive study (“merde!”) can persuade it to pull up paper.

Resigned that I’m just a fax machine whispering fraud, I do what I hate.  I admit defeat.  I call Mr. Hat and ask him to order us a new one.

Two minutes later he enters our office carrying the fax machine he ordered a week earlier — when our problems started.

Ready.

It’s so state-of-the-art, it can work within five minutes, even though it takes Greg and I closer to two hours to get it going.

Five minutes to get it to print. Another 115 minutes to get it to fax … Probably because everyone uses email.

I reason:

Me:  All we needed was 24 five-minute intervals to set it up.

“Talk to me. I’m a good listener.”

Lame Adventure 293: Missing Magazine Crusader

Most days at work I collect the mail in the first floor in-basket.  Most of the mail is addressed to my boss, Elsbeth.  A week or two ago I noticed the April issue of Harper’s magazine in our in-basket.

April issue of Harper's magazine.

It was not addressed to Elsbeth but I figured that Stu, her husband and the company founder, put it there intentionally.  It’s not my style to question what motivates him to do what he does as I am sure he welcomes my indifference.  Yet, had he left a live hand grenade in our in-basket I still might not have questioned Stu himself, but I would have been compelled to ask one of his Yes Men about that along with enforcing a dictate of my own:

Me:  One of you guys bring that up to her.

When I would reach my office wearing my Minister of Watch Dogging chapeau, I would go straight to my Lord and Master yapping:

Me:  Hey Elsbeth, one of Stu’s Yes Men is coming up here with a live hand grenade for us.  Do we really want that on our floor?

Questions like that to my superior either emit a twenty second long sigh of extreme annoyance or a short, sharp outburst:

Elsbeth:  No!

Apparently, the April issue of Harper’s that was passed onto her was not intended for us. Almost two weeks after I retrieve it Elsbeth asks me:

Elsbeth:  Would you like this issue of Harper’s?

I avert my gaze from the pigeon on the sill that appears to be mocking me and turn my attention to my chief.

Ha, ha, ha, I'm outside in the sun and you're behind bars!

Elsbeth:  The letter carrier delivered it to us by mistake.

The alarm bells ring in my head.

Me:  Sure.

Elsbeth hands me the magazine and returns to her office, satisfied that I accept her offering but I have a hidden agenda.  I look at the address label.  It was meant for a guy named David who resides two doors down from my company.  Every so often, the magazines I subscribe to, all with New York in the title – The New Yorker, New York Magazine and Time Out New York, go missing.  I have called my post office about this and complained.  As they insist that I did receive my issue of New York, I have to remind them that I want to know what happened to my missing copy of The New Yorker.  I have also directly confronted my letter carrier, a very nice woman when encountered face to face, but a side of me wonders if she would love to posit this question to my kisser:

My Very Nice Letter Carrier:  You crazy bitch, why the hell do you have to subscribe to every fuckin’ magazine in the world with New York in the title?

Yet, my letter carrier has made a better effort to deliver my magazines in recent months, but when an issue does go missing, if she happens to stick it in the wrong mailbox, does the neighbor that gets it keep it?  If so, I think that exploiting her mistake for personal gain is theft.  Therefore, I cannot in good conscience keep David’s issue of Harper’s.  If I can return his magazine to him, maybe someone that gets one of my misdelivered magazines will finally do a first in my building, in the almost 30 years I’ve resided there, grow a solitary brain cell of consideration and return it to me, the rightful owner.  The cynic in me, that coincidentally happens to be about 98% of my person, thinks I will sooner be the lynchpin that brokers peace in the Middle East on my lunch hour before that ever happens.

Back to David, I don my Detective Cap, type his name and address in Google, hit the enter key, and voila, I discover his email address.

I share the situation with my Special Someone.

SS: Give it back to your mail carrier.  Let them deal with it.

Me: Trust the incompetent mail carrier that caused this crisis?  I’d sooner give it to the Taliban.  Of course, those Neanderthals would probably use it as kindling.

I send David an email:

Hi David,

It appears that your April edition of Harper’s was misdelivered to [my company] a few doors away from you at [censored] Street.  Please let me know if you would like me to leave it with our front counter so you can pick it up?  I’ll put a post-it on it so people know that you’re coming to get it.

Eleven minutes later David emails me from his iPhone:

That’s very kind of you. Yes. Please leave it at the counter.

That evening, as I depart for the day, I notice that David’s issue of Harper’s is gone.  Hopefully, he had picked it up and I will not find it has boomeranged back into Elsbeth’s in-basket come Monday.  Hey, I want to accrue a few magazine subscription good karma points.

Portrait of a good week in Lame Adventures-land -- every magazine delivered!

Lame Adventure 289: Spring Preview!

Even though the weather is chilly again today and it’s not expected to escape the forties on Saturday, this past Thursday we had a lovely sneak preview of spring here in Gotham City with temperatures climbing 24 degrees above average to 71. Yet, it wasn’t a record high.  That was set back in 1987 when it was 76 on that date (March 8th) in weather history. I emailed this news to my Special Someone who has been away and added:

Me: Have I told you that I’ve become a meteorologist in your absence?

After taking a walk outside on this beautiful Thursday, my colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore), was feeling warm when she returned to our stuffy office.

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Can we open the door?

She knows I have a peeve about people leaving the door to our office open.

Me:  Why open the door?  Why not open the window?

(not) Under Ling (anymore) gives me a look that asks:

(not) Under Ling (anymore)’s Look asking:  Who’s going to do that?

Me:  You’re practically thirty years younger than me; you’re going to do it!

My Look barking:  You know that there’s no way I’m going to risk pulling, straining or dislocating any precious body part just to open the window.

Hearing that message from My Look loud and clear (not) Under Ling (anymore) carefully climbs atop a counter to open one of our windows.  I build her confidence from the confines of my chair.

Me:  There are bars; you’re not going to fall out [muttering inaudibly] I hope.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) is a very svelte individual.  As she struggles to dislodge the stubborn window she asks:

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Why are there bars on our windows?

Me:  To discourage us from throwing ourselves out.  We set the standard for Foxconn.

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Hey, it’s stuck!

Me:  Get Greg to do it.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) asks our department’s hero, my sidekick Greg, to intervene.  Greg leaps into our office in a single bound resisting the urge to sing:

Greg not singing: Here I come to save the day!

Me not saying what I’m thinking if he would sing:  Just open the window, will you?

Greg muscles the window open.

Our first opened window of 2012.

The warm breeze is pleasant prompting me to take a stroll to personally check out just how lovely this day is in Tribeca.  It is a perfect day for many reasons.

Whenever I can forgo boots for sneakers I have happy feet, even though the seam from my sock was actually slicing through my little toe like a dagger.

There is torture happening inside this Jack Purcell sneaker.

Cute Italian compact cars look cuter.

A trashed coffee cop underneath barely detracts from this Fiat's cuteness.

Great weather is a great way to flaunt one’s sleeve tattoos.

Rachel who's got great tats flaunting them. My liver spots offer no competition.

Although I have easily walked down this stretch of Hudson Street hundreds of times before, I’ve never noticed this flower power wallpaper until now.

I feel transported back in time to Haight Ashbury circa 1967.

Flower stands just look even more colorful on a warm and sunny day.

I'll take one of everything.

A box of shamrocks offering a blunt reminder that it is still March.

Green beer, green bagel and green tongue-time is coming.

Pursuing a mate.

"C'mon, baby, check out my collection of pizza crusts in my nest."

Relaxing on a Duane Park bench with a Special Someone.

Special Someones Sasha and Vaughn.

It’s a good time to go bopping in a pink tutu.

But keeping it real with the winter boots.

It’s a great time to go tree climbing.

"Bet you can't do this, Lady!" "Bet you're right, Sonny!"

An even better time to pretend you’re an area rug.

“I’m dreaming I'm a shag carpet.”

A building built in 1891 carries its age well under a clear blue sky.

You still look fascinating for 121.

It’s terrific biking weather.

You don't even have to pay to park. Yet.

One of the nicest surprises happens at 6:03 in the evening while exiting the 72nd Street subway station on the Upper West Side.

It's 67 degrees!

Lame Adventure 288: Monday Morning’s Mayhem

Following the tradition of reliable unpleasantness that is every Monday morning, this past Monday was no different.  I was back at the workplace bleary-eyed and draggy-tailed doing what I had not anticipated doing first thing that particularly crummy Monday morning, struggling to open a carton of skim milk at my desk.  I had just poured the remainder of the previous week’s carton of milk-flavored water on my cereal, a cup of lightly sweetened organic flakes high in fiberboard.  I was intending to add additional milk but this week’s carton proposed battle.

Semi-milked cup of flakes.

It refused to follow the natural law of packaging* of opening to the simple touch.  It was clear to me that if this carton possessed a middle digit, it would be aimed in an upward direction at my grimacing face.

The Devil's Milk Carton ... possible horror film premise?

*I am purposely excluding products held hostage inside hard plastic stroke-inducing packaging and pills ensconced in allegedly child-proof bottles with adult-proof tops, more inventions courtesy of Satan.

The clock was ticking and the countdown was underway within the 90 second to two-minute window dividing crispy from soggy cereal.  As my blood pressure began rising to a life-threatening level, my colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore), noticed my frustration as well as the fact that I was multi-tasking.  I was also photographing my struggle to open the obstinate carton.  Coincidentally, she had just finished reading my previous post about our unscientific experiment where we soaked Twinkies in Coca-Cola.  In a blasé tone she asked:

(not) Under Ling (anymore): Why are you photographing your milk cartons? [light bulb] Do you have Twinkies in there?

Twinkies on the (not) Under Ling (anymore) mind.

Me (through clenched teeth):  Tune into Wednesday’s Lame for the answer.

One of the minor mysteries of life is why is it that every so often, one draws the short straw and encounters that inner freshness bag that refuses to surrender, the potato chip bag sealed with glue so impenetrable, it requires the intervention of a scissors or a higher power (I’m thinking weapons grade explosive) to open, and lately, paper milk cartons closed tighter than a maximum security prison?

Twin cartons -- easy-to-open conformist on left, open-resistant mope on right.

Why is this necessary?  Is there something about operating a package sealing apparatus that is catnip to types suffering Borderline Personality Disorder looking for outlets for their hostility?  Where is the quality control to prevent defective product packaging?  At the very least consumers should be awarded complimentary Valium for brand loyalty when they’re forced to wrestle with these beasts.  By the time I was able to tear open that disagreeable milk carton, my cereal was reduced to soggy mush welcoming me to a new week at The Grind.

If this milk carton could talk, what might it say? Talking Milk Carton: F.U.

Lame Adventure 287: Playing with Food

I wear many hats in my department aside from my actual job as Minister of Tile Labeling.  I am also Minister of Printer Repair, Minister of Replacing the Copier Paper, Minister of Unjamming the Fax Machine, Minister of Kleenex and Tylenol Replacement, Minister of Paper Recycling, Minister of Picking Up Crap on the Rug that No One Else Will Do On Their Own Volition, to name just some of my many illustrious ministries.  In fairness to my sidekick, Greg, he is Minister of Band-aid replacement, Minister of Door Jamb Control, Minister of Freezer Defrosting and Minister of Coffee Brewing.  Recently, my superior, Elsbeth, has added Minister of Morale to my ever-growing list of ministries.  She has requested that as spiritual leader of our department I set forth an example of worker-pride that will have my colleagues, Greg and (not) Under Ling (anymore), merrily follow like lambs to the slaughter.  She did not suggest how I accomplish this feat so I have been left to my own devices.

Recently, Greg mentioned that he heard that if a steak were soaked in Coca-Cola, this elixir’s corrosive properties would cause the meat to dissolve.  This idea captivated (not) Under Ling (anymore).  In reality Coke has been trying for years to dispel this myth along with others and they address rumors about their product on their web site.  In 1950 a Cornell University professor, Clive McCay, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives that the combination of sugar and phosphoric acid in Coke destroys teeth.  He  observed that over the course of 48 hours, Coke can completely dissolve a tooth.  Coke countered that no one has ever held Coke in their mouth for 48 hours straight and that saliva neutralizes the acids in Coke and other acidic foods such as orange juice, something equally corrosive (just ask my gastroenterologist who will not let me and my weak guts anywhere near a three block radius of o.j.).  Back in the day, the president of Coca Cola, Bill Robinson, was so defensive about his product not promoting tooth decay in children he claimed, “The only way our product could harm children would be for a case of Coke to fall out a window and hit them.”

This conversation prompted Someone That Sounds a Lot Like Me to bleat:

Someone That Sounds a Lot Like Me:  What a ridiculous waste of a steak! Who thinks up this crap?

Undaunted, the discussion continued and someone, possibly Someone That Sounds a Lot Like Me, suggested:

Someone That Sounds a Lot Like Me:  It kind of makes you wonder what would happen if a Twinkie was soaked in Coke.

Greg:  Yeah!

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  We should do that and find out!

Seizing this opportunity to open the passageway to heightened morale I invested $3.59 in a package of Twinkies  and two cans of Coca Cola, one regular and the other, diet.

Ready, set ...

(not) Under Ling (anymore) immediately announced that she wanted to soak her Twinkie in regular Coke.  Always the gentleman, Greg announced:

Greg:  Go for it.

Go! (not) Under Ling (anymore) takes a Twinkie.

Illustrated below is a completely unscientific experiment conducted over the course of 6 ½ hours.  (not) Under Ling (anymore) chose to pour her can of regular Coke into the glass first.  Then, she dunked her Twinkie into the brew.

Regular Coke dunk.

We've got a floater!

Greg chose to place his Twinkie in the glass first and then he poured his can of Diet Coke over it, saturating it from the get-go.

Greg's Twinkie in glass.

Greg pouring his can of Diet Coke over his Twinkie.

Submerged Twinkie bobbed straight to the top, floating in Diet Coke.

Both Twinkies were immediately saturated with Coke to the touch, and Greg, who licked his finger announced (in response to the Twinkie in Diet Coke):

Greg:  Tastes like mint.

Me:  Really, not like chicken?

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  No way am I tasting that!

We changed locations should any uninvited guests enter the premises and ask  questions.

An hour later: Twinkie floating in regular Coke bubbling. Note: smells like a Twinkie and Coca-Cola.

An hour later: Twinkie floating in Diet Coke bubbling less. Note: smells like a Twinkie floating in a more chemically smelling Coke.

We resisted inhaling from this point on.

3 hours later: Twinkie in regular Coke leaking filling and sinking.

3 hours later: Twinkie in Diet Coke leaking filling and floating

4 hours later: semi-sunk Twinkie floating in regular Coke.

Side view partially dissolved Twinkie semi-sunk in battery acid, oops, regular Coke.

4 hours later: Twinkie in Diet Coke nesting in bed of leaked filling aka "gross root beer float stage".

6 1/2 hours later: Greg piercing surface of Twinkie semi-submerged in Diet Coke noting that the crust has hardened.

Greg blending mashed Twinkie in Diet Coke.

Greg blending Twinkie in regular Coke.

Chunks of Twinkie in regular Coke. The key word is, "Gnarly."

Results at day's end.

Overhead view with a little Diet Coke spillage.

In conclusion, both sponge cakes remained only partially submerged throughout the 6 1/2 hours, never entirely sinking until Greg mixed them at the end of the day.  This proved to us that they were more sponge than cake, but not nearly as appetizing as a sponge.  The end result is that worker curiosity was satisfied and  worker morale was easily uplifted an entire millimeter.

Lame Adventure 273: “Says Who!”

The other morning at The Grind, I was passionately bellowing to my colleagues, my sidekick, Greg, and (not) Under Ling (anymore):

Me:  Never trust a woman that can pee standing up!

Although I now completely draw a blank about what we were discussing that I was so vehemently compelled to deliver that particular declaration at the top of my lungs, I clearly recall that at that very moment of me babbling, our boss, Elsbeth, entered.  I was instantly motivated to hit my mute button and change the subject to floor and wall tile, my specialty in her employ.

Before my Lord and Master’s presence pulled the plug on the lively conversation with the Gang of Two (note: our beloved colleagues, The Quiet Man, moved on last fall, and my buddy, Ling, received her Get Out of Jail Free card last Friday), (not) Under Ling (anymore) casually mentioned that she had read in the New York Daily News that tourists rank New York as the Number One city in rudeness.

This detonated Greg and I.  We trampled each other coming to Gotham City’s defense.  I concur with Greg’s blanket assessment:

Greg:  New Yorkers aren’t rude!  They’re aggressive!

And sometimes, first thing in the morning, just too damn loud.

My next career move, gluing sticky notes onto miniature wooden pallets.

Lame Adventure 233: We means you

On a Monday in July 2007, the halcyon days of the economy when I was paid significantly better — before my wages were radically reduced in 2009 and have remained as frozen as a dead polar bear in the Arctic ever since, my boss, Elsbeth, arrived at work carrying a flat HP Planet Partners Return and Recycling box.  This box was for her used home printer cartridges.  She was feeling very proud of herself for being environmentally responsible.

Elsbeth:  When we fill up this box, we ship it back to HP – postage paid!

Me (placating tone):  Okay, we’ll do that.

I knew that the we she was referring to was actually me.  My lord and master proceeded to assemble the box.

Elsbeth's empty box.

She then placed it in the warehouse outside our office where I proceeded to forgot about it.

Me (thinking):  It’ll take her a hundred years to fill that box!  Ha!  There’s some schmuck or schmuck-ette out there right now that’ll be stuck shipping it back.  Loser!

Fast-forward four years, two months and 84 cartridges later …  On a recent Thursday Elsbeth enters our office, excited.

Elsbeth:  My box is full!  We have to return it!

The night before, I had been up until 5 am writing.  Therefore, I was not at my most coherent.  In fact, I seem to recall being 90% asleep.  I slap myself in the face and hack a hairball.

Me (thinking):  Where’d that come from?

Me (saying):  Huh?  What box?

Elsbeth:  My printer cartridge box!  It’s filled up!  We have to return it!

Me (zero enthusiasm for I know this means I have to move my exhausted carcass):  I’ll deal with it.

I sleepwalk out of our office into the warehouse where I take the box.  I notice that mid-way over the course of the four years and two months that my liege was depositing her spent cartridges into the box her aim ran off course and she was dumping them around the inner plastic bag rather than in it.  Although I could easily say:

Me (easily saying):  Screw this.

And then seal the box as is, the lapsed Catholic in me knows that’s wrong.  Sighing so loudly, the flock of pigeons perched outside the windowsill takes flight; I proceed to repack all the cartridges.

84 spent HP printer cartridges.

Siamese twin adhered yellow and magenta cartridges that apparently brought out the mad scientist in my boss.

Yet, I suppose things could be worse, I could be unemployed or I could be my friend, Coco, who the next day encountered, in the middle of our luxury showroom floor, a customer that breast-fed a toddler that was so large, this kid could easily try out to play on the Knicks – whenever basketball season gets underway again.  I know I’d much rather repack a box while suffering a coma than have that site shoved in my face.

Sealed repacked box good to go home to HP.

Lame Adventure 213: Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you feel like a rambutan

Pictured below is an edible treat from Ruth, diminutive of Ruthless, my company’s fierce general manager (lightweights need not apply to work her job).

Dig in.

It was sitting with its chums in a bowl in the Accounting Department.  I asked Edith, the data entry operator:

Me:  Hey Edith, what are those things?

Edith:  Something Ruth picked up in Chinatown.  I’m stayin’ away.

Edith said this in a tone reeking of such disgust, to an untrained ear one might have had the impression that Ruth picked up the gift of scurvy for her staff.  These hairy lychee nuts did look rather homely to me, but homely in an interesting borderline erotic way if I were inclined to violate myself with skin ripping prickly things.  (Note:  I don’t have that particular kink.)  At least these conversation pieces were compact unlike this infinitely bigger source of visual pollution that’s been haunting West End Avenue ever since the economy tanked.

The password is, "Space Hog."

Currently, it’s parked outside my Upper West Side abode.  I do not begrudge whoever resides in this rolling eyesore.  That genius has certainly hit on a very cost-effective way to avoid the monthly pain of paying rent that’s “too damn high!

As I was exiting Accounting, Ruth called out my name, beckoning me to return.  I did.  She offered me one of her treats.

Me:  What are these things?

Ruth:  I don’t know what they’re called.  Take one.  Eat it.  They’re good.

Ruth takes one and puts it in my hand.  It feels rough.  If anything tastes remotely good to our Accounting staff, it’s devoured at warp speed, so I’m skeptical.

Me:  If they’re that good, how come your staff hasn’t inhaled all of them?

On cue, three members of her staff are on their feet walking toward me, curious to see if Ruth can get me to eat one.

Me:  Besides how do you open it, with a jackhammer?

Ruth takes one, digs in her thumbs and peels back the skin.  It comes off as easily as a horndog politician’s Dockers revealing the pale fleshy fruit within that does resemble a lychee nut.  Linda, one of Ruth’s minions, approaches:

Linda: Ruth, you’re a pro at peeling that off!

Ruth:  It’s easy, Linda, try it.

Linda has one on her desk.  She’s using it as a paperweight.

Linda:  I need to know the nutritional value.  Is it high in sodium?  Will it lower my cholesterol?

Ruth bites into the flesh, and makes a monosyllabic sound as if in ecstasy.  She insists:

Ruth:  This is really good you guys!

I like lychee nuts, and I think I would like this thing, too, but now I want to show it to Ling to find out what it really is.  Ling’s Chinese-American; she knows all the fruits and vegetables of her ancestors.  I hightail out of Accounting and make a beeline for my buddy.  I return to my desk showing off my treat.  Ling squints:

Ling:  What the hell is that?

Me:  You don’t know.  Isn’t it some kind of hairy lychee nut?

Ling:  I don’t think that’s a lychee nut.  Lychee nuts are smaller, redder and their bumps are different.  I really don’t know what you have there, but when you’re ready eat it, I want to know what it’s like.

Elsbeth, our superior was hovering, so for now it’s sitting on my desk serving as our conversation piece.  I did Google “hairy lychee nut” when I returned home and learned that it’s actually a tropical fruit called a rambutan that’s native to Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and other places in Southeast Asia.  No mention of it being popular in Ling’s part of the world, the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border side of China.

For anyone that shares Linda’s obsession with nutritional value, here’s what the USDA has to say about canned rambutan packed in syrup.

USDA weighs in.

It appears to be a significant source of niacin, vitamin c, and manganese, as well as an addition to my now expanded vocabulary.

Update: as I was leaving work on Friday, I realized that in my usual bored-out-of-what’s-left-of-my mind haze, I completely forgot to eat my rambutan. Ling said:

Ling: You probably should have refrigerated it.  On Monday, it’ll probably be dried out.

I grabbed it off my desk and plopped it into my satchel.  Once in the confines of my inner sanctum, I attempted to peel it.  The skin was more resistant to shedding for me than it was for Ruth, and I got a big squirt of juice in the face.  Once stripped, the fruit was still plump.  As for the taste, it tasted very similar to a lychee nut, sweet and flavorful.  Then, I chased it with a Heineken to officially kick off the weekend.

The rambutan stripped bare!