Miz Shoes

Say Goodbye, It’s Independence Day

They did fine by me, my team. They didn’t/couldn’t get my sense of humor, but they recognized that certain things cracked me up and gave me pleasure, so on the occasion of my leaving, I was thrown a party the centerpiece of which was this cake.


Guys, I love you for this. As for last night? It was the best send-off a dame ever had, even if in the old days we would have closed the Road, rather than warmed up the seats for the night crowd.

Miz Shoes

Pulling Mussels From a Shell

In one form or another, I have been keeping a journal since my 18th birthday, when my first college roommate gave me a spiral notebook and a roach clip. I still have that notebook, somewhere in storage, along with all the other books I filled with my jejune, yet deeply felt, ponderings on life, the universe and everything. It’s been years since I attempted to reread any of them, as I can humiliate myself just fine without going back almost 40 years to pick at forgotten follies.

When I started this blog, I was political and passionate. I blogged about my job. I blogged about the news. I blogged about everything and nothing, but I tried to keep the most personal introspections offline, and in my notebooks. Eventually the lines blurred, the postings veered wildly between pop culture snark, bitter dispatches from the workplace, and disquisitions on the cruelty of life.

This week starts the Jewish new year, a time of conscious rebooting of our lives. Last year I changed my body, losing almost forty pounds. This year I vow to change my head. I pledge to renew my writing, and to become the perfect corporate drone that my bosses want me to be. It will be a much greater challenge, but I’m committed to do this.

Miz Shoes

Rainy Days and Mondays

Today is day two of training for a new system for the office. It comes off the shelf as a way to manage IT projects. It was designed by a bunch of guys specifically for managing code writers. It has all sorts of vocabulary to learn, most of which come from sports or script writing, and none of which pertain in any way, shape or form to advertising. Everyone in the room is certain that this system will reveal the failures and incompetence of everyone else in the room.

I spent yesterday taking notes in a sketchbook. The notes were for a logo for The Coolest Person In the World, and not for the system, but who’s counting? Lunch was provided by the hotel, and if that spread was indicative of the meals they offer to guests, then I am amazed that anyone gets out alive, or at least not hungry. We had a choice of processed ham and American cheese on plain, soft commercial white bread, processed “turkey” and processed Swiss cheese on the same WonderLoaf, or a wet Caesar salad/chicken wrap. There was a sweet cream soup of indeterminate origin. Some thought it might have been squash. To round out the vegetable portions, there was wet, creamy cole slaw. Today I have packed a lunch.

I also forgot my sketchbook, which means I might have to pay more attention to the training.

Ming the Merciless woke up at four a.m. and demanded to go out. Not having opposable thumbs, he required my assistance in this matter to turn off the alarm, unlock the pool door and open same.

I tried to go back to sleep, and was just getting into a dream when my alarm clock rang. I managed to hit the snooze button and then slept through the second ringing. Which isn’t really ringing, it’s some electronic version of surf. Sounds more like broken glass rattling in a thermos, but whatever.

The RLA has been on duty up at my parent’s home, packing and sorting and dumping for the last week. He took the dogs, but let me bring JoJo home on Sunday. This has added a dog walk to my morning routine. This morning, since I was already dragging and late, JoJo refused to poop. Around the block, up and down, singing the doggie has to poop song. Nada. Nothing. No use.

Running really late, I zoomed to the train station, where the only available parking spots were those formed by the space left when two over-sized vehicles park in compact spaces, each with one set of tires over the line, thereby rendering the third, central space unusable for anything wider than a bicycle.

To the top of the parking garage, and back down, narrowly avoiding head-ons with the folks rushing up the ramp later than I. To the flat lot, where the person in front of me took the last remaining space. Back out onto Dixie Highway, back to the original parking garage, and up to the roof, where, hidden behind a giant pickup truck, I found a place to park Zelda Bleu.

The escalator to the train platform was undergoing repair, and so I made it to the platform as the train was leaving the station. But not before some asshat punched the elevator button six or seven times, reaching over me to do so. Cause, yeah, (and I said it loudly) I wouldn’t have thought to do that.

Finally made it to the office, where, in anticipation of our new hire, one of my co-workers “cleaned” the new kid’s work space. That is, if by clean you mean dumped all the old files in the trash, piled everything that might be useful or kept on the desk, emptied the bookshelves into piles on the chair, opened every box and left the whole thing looking worse than it did before she started. And left it there for me, no doubt, to make ready for the new kid.

Thanks. I needed something to keep myself busy with today. Other than my regular workload, I mean.

Miz Shoes

Can You Smell That Smell?

The breakroom on my floor vents directly into my office: right over my head, in fact. I smell every cup of oatmeal, every piece of toast, every bit of re-heated anything. Mostly this is fine, or at least acceptable as no one has yet to reheat liver.

But the one thing I hate, that I cannot abide, that causes a visceral revulsion through and through is what is currently wafting through the vent:

Microwave popcorn, with heavy artificial butterlike flavor.

I’m retching. There is something about the smell of microwave popcorn that just makes me heave. I would outlaw the stuff if I could. Or at least ban it from public access microwave ovens. I think it makes for worse air pollution than cigarette smoking.

Don’t misunderstand me, please. I think that popcorn is one of the major food groups, right up there with fried poultry skin, coffee, chocolate and liquor. But I mean real popcorn. Popped in oil over high heat. Personally, I like to use olive oil, and I once used bacon grease after reading in some White Trash Cookbook or another that bacon grease rendered popcorn ineffably delicious. It does, but I will never be able to eat it again. I could hear my arteries seizing up over the crunching.

I also miss the popcorn of my movie-going youth, when it was popped in palm oil, and real butter could be poured over it. I have seen solid coconut oil in the health food store, but can’t quit bring myself to purchase it, having a somewhat hazy memory of the reason movie theaters don’t use it any more is because it’s even worse for you than bacon grease. Probably explains why it tastes so good, too.

ADDED MAY 17, from GOURMET WEEKLY e-newsletter:


California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, author of a bill to ban diacetyl, which gives microwave popcorn a faux buttery flavor but is suspected of causing a life-threatening lung disease in workers who handle it, speaking to The New York Times: “It’s not like we’re talking about a potential flaw in the polio vaccine. We are talking about a potentially devastating disease caused by buttering flavor. And there are alternatives out there. Including butter.”

Miz Shoes

The Piano’s Been Drinking, Not Me

Once in a while, the universe does its thing, justice is dispensed, and you get the satisfaction of hearing about it without having had to lift so much as an eyebrow in bringing it about. To quote one of my favorite lines, ever, from one of my favorite movies, ever:

You may ask, so Miz Shoes, who was crushed? And I will answer, the old Pointy Haired Boss.

This guy here. The one sleeping at his desk.

And what was the straw that finally broke the camel's hump? The Pointy Haired Boss, the master of the Jackson Memorial Hospital web site, the manager who took my job, o he of little brain, he called the IT help desk and asked what, exactly is an ISS?

You know, if the fucking moron had just paid attention when I tried to teach him how to write a search string in Google, instead of relying on Ask Jeeves, maybe he'd still be there, fucking up.

Conan, what is good?
Miz Shoes

I Want to Shoot the Whole Day Down

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate computers? Specifically non-Mac computers? The POS Dell on my office desk, for example, running some antiquated version of Windoze has been cutting the network connection on and off like it's trying to make a strobe light effect.

Well, you get what I mean. What I mean is that I CAN'T DO ANY FUCKING WORK because every time I try to do something like, oh, say, send a mailing list to the printer for labels, the network connection is down. Or maybe place an urgent order to our warehouse for print materials. I enter all the billing and shipping information, hit the send order button, and.... internet site not found comes up in the frame where it should tell me that my order is being processed.

All. Freaking. Day.

And I am so in the weeds, this week. Paper shuffling has never been so hard or so demanding. But they are building a wall of paper around my cubicle. Boxes of things that need to be stuffed into interoffice envelopes and shuffled off to other parts of the corporation. Boxes of papers that need to be inserted into other papers that are currently in other boxes and the finished compiled papers need to be sent out into the bowels of the building, one on every desk.

Grrrr. I cannot wait to get home and pet the doggies.
So I get an e-mail yesterday from another stenodrone telling me that her micromanaging boss has given her such and such information for me. She ends by saying that the info comes "straight from the horse's mouth."

I reply that she obviously deals with the other end of the horse than I do.

(bada boom)
Miz Shoes

The Day Breaks, Your Mind Aches

Well. after eleven whole days of indolence, today I go back to work.

I have a list as long as my arm of things I need to do that isn't even remotely related to my day job, and I can only imagine what a pile of paper I'll have waiting for me on that desk.

But like Nixon, I'm tanned, rested and ready. And that, dear readers, is the ONLY way in which I am like unto Richard Milhouse Nixon.
Miz Shoes

Squalls Out in the Gulfstream

Hurricane season is barely two weeks old and we have the first storm of the year. Hurricane Alberto. To which I can only say: Oh, bite me.

Back at Jackson (We Treat Everyone Like Crap) I always tried to get the hurricane information live on line June 1st. The PR department (It Doesn't Have To Be Done Right, It Only Has To Be Done) felt that nobody pays any attention until August, so the web site didn't have to be updated til then and the special edition of the company newsletter that dealt with hurricane preparedness was never distributed (oh, hell, who are we kidding... was never even sent to press) before mid- to late August.

Here at my new job, we've been having drills and meetings and consciousness-raising since May.

The storms of last year did the work of G-d's own weed whacker on my trees, so this year I have no mangos to lose. Or to eat. Nor avocados. Nor royal poincianna flowers. The mulberry tree managed to put out berries, but the spring was so hot and dry that for the first year since I've been in the house, they were too small and tart to be worth eating.

I finished another quilt top this weekend, except for two borders that would have been done, had I cut them correctly. It's turquoise and brown, and a lap-sized beauty. I love the colors so much that I already have another one worked out in my head using the same two fabrics that were in this one, with additional fabrics filling out a large palette of browns and turquoises. It'll be much larger than this one, as well.

By the time I head over to the Gulf for my annual week of laying around doing nothing but drinking and laying around on the beach chair (will break for naps and food) I should have four to six tops heading off to my sistergirl's place for quilting.

Being a secretary has been the greatest boon to my creative energy ever. Why did I waste so many years working as a commercial artist when all it did was sap my creativity?

Oh, yeah. I remember. It filled my coffers with filthy lucre and enabled me to have health insurance.
Miz Shoes

One Pill Makes You Calmer

Every time I fill my prescriptions, the pharmacist asks me if I have any questions about my medications, and every time I reply "Yes. Why don't we put Prozac in the water like Flouride?"

I'm thinking that it might be time to double up on the meds, though, at least today, when Microsoft Word and I are having a major battle of wills about formatting and how auto-format prints. I don't think it needs to be highlighted, and Word does. This is new on Word's part, since it has never highlighted things like printer's quotes and elipses before.
I've done all the usual things: closed and reopened my program, rebooted my computer, deleted and recreated text, turn auto-formatting off (in any number of locations and permutations) and still... three periods converts to an elipsis and the elipsis prints with a highlight.

All of this is on a POS Dell running POS Windoze. Of course. This shit never happens on a Mac.

This is on top of any number of other aggrevations I am dealing with today: I have had to tell the IT/Web Guy for at least the fifth time that he needs to unlock AND unprotect all the files I send him in order to copy and paste text. But, no. He gets a file and rather than type in the password (7 letters), he sends me an e-mail to complain that even though he put in the password, he still is locked out. DUDE!

Open with password. Unprotect file with password. Done and fucking done. Or, open with password. Open e-mail. Type a whiny complaint to me. Wait for me to respond (same way I always do, "No. I am not going to unlock the file for you and resend it, unlock it your own lazy-ass self.). Rinse and repeat.

Next aggrevation: searching for all the zip codes for every county in every state where the company does business. I can only do 50 searches a day before the server kicks me off and asks me to pay big money for the use of the search engine. Then, I have to cross reference the zip codes because zip codes can cross county lines. Then I have to cross reference the zip codes to the individual offices because catchment areas can overlap. Then I have to go home and drink.

As my people are known to ask: Why is this night different?
Miz Shoes

Regarding Professions and Professionals

This is pretty much for RJ and any other sister who felt offended by my entry yesterday.

When I said that I spent the first thirty of my working years as a "real" professional, versus my current status as an executive assistant, I did not mean to demean the status of secretaries. RJ, in her comment, pointed out that she's been making a living at this since she graduated college.

In my book, that does indeed make her a professional. I, on the other hand, fell into this job by the grace of the man I work for. I can type and file, and answer phones. I can make copies and meetings, and if I had to, flight reservations. But it isn't what I ever planned to do. I never searched the want ads, looking for this gig.
I was an art director. I was a web master. I was a corporate artist/hack. Those jobs entailed skills and the training I received during my four years of art school. I have a degree in graphic design. I spent years going to seminars, taking classes, keeping current on trends in color, design and printing techniques. I did for a living what I studied in college.

I never had to support myself by selling shoes in the mall, or, excuse me, using my ability to type.

I thought I made clear that I respect the women and men in secretarial positions. I know who holds the power in the corporate world. And if, like RJ, this is your chosen field, then you are working in your chosen profession.

I am not. I am working for a living, because after I was down-sized, I couldn't find a job as a designer. I hadn't done print in six years, and people didn't want to hire me for print because the industry had changed so much since the last time I sent a job to press. Everything is direct to press these days, no boards, no paste-ups, no type setting by (other) professionals.

I couldn't get a job as a web master, because 1) I earned too much money and nobody believed that I'd take a cut in pay that steep to continue working 2) I only had two web sites in my portfolio and even though one of them was over a thousand pages, and I'd built it entirely by myself, web designers half my age (and salary demands) have portfolios with dozens of sites and 3) I'm 50 years old, and that's getting pretty long in the tooth for this field.

In short: too old, too well paid, too long in the corporate world to be allowed in to the agency world.

Am I bitter? Not too much, not any more.

I work for a wonderful company and I have a wonderful boss. I have no responsibilities that I carry home to worry about. I have more creative energy for my own work than I have had in years.

But on the other hand, I get no respect. I am treated by one of the directors I work for like the lowest field hand on the plantation. If the stupid bitch chews me one more new asshole, I'll look like a fucking sieve. And not because I've done anything wrong, or failed to meet a deadline, or do anything she's asked me to do. She does it because she can. Because she's a director and I'm an executive assistant. She's reamed me out for following her orders and the person she insulted through me got offended. Now it's my fault he's pissed. She's reamed me out for not following up on things she's ordered others to do. She's made me spend hours and hours ordering paper clips for her. The first box she sent back because they were plastic coated. The second box she sent back because they were too big. The third box never arrived at her off-site office (she says). The fourth box was just right. And then she had me order a box of the bigger size that she'd already sent back before.

In the time it took me to do all that, and the money the company spent paying me to do it, she could have gotten in her car, driven to the nearest Staples, bought a box of paper clips, filed the paper work to be reimbursed the mileage and petty cash and been done with it.

But where would the power play be in that?
Miz Shoes

I’m Just Sayin’

If consistancy is the hobgobblin of little minds, then the editor I work with must be a fucking genius, because the bitch never copyproofs the same way twice. One week we're using en dashes in certain places and the next it's all about the em dash.

For six months, every time we use the word "noon" in a time (Noon - 2 p.m.) it's been capitalized. As of this morning, it isn't.

Miz Shoes

Why I Love My Boss part 77149

Today's entry is from my boss.

"ABC News says that Bob Woodruff’s near-death experience at the hands of the “last-throes” Iraqi insurgency will not deter this vaunted journalism powerhouse from doing its job. While ABC vows to soldier on, while its staff keep Woodruff in their thoughts/prayers, perhaps all concerned should think about this:

If ABC News had done its job and accurately reported in the late ‘90s on George Bush’s serial failures in his business and personal life …

If ABC News had covered George Bush as aggressively in the 2000 general election campaign as it aggressively and mercilessly covered Al Gore …

If ABC News had covered the Florida recount objectively, instead of taking its marching orders from James Baker and Bush’s cousin at FOX News …

If ABC News had accurately portrayed the pre-9/11 months of the Bush Administration as the most incompetent, disastrous first year of a president since at least Warren Harding …

If ABC News had remained a responsible independent news gatherer instead of a flag-lapel-pin wearing cheerleader after 9/11 …

If ABC News had exposed the Rove/Bush slash-and-burn/destroy-your-political-opponents-at-all-costs-with-putrid-lies tactics of the 2002 election that returned a GOP majority to the U.S. Senate …

If ABC News had accurately portrayed George Bush as a malicious divider not uniter for his entire presidency …

If ABC News had put the Senate ruckus over George Bush’s incompetent/racist judicial nominees in the context of the scores upon scores of moderate (minority) Clinton nominees who were derailed by racist GOP senators in the previous decade instead of covering the Bush nominations as some evil Democratic conspiracy of obstruction and petty spite …

If ABC News had covered the run-up to George Bush’s manufactured war by actually examining the false evidence and straw man arguments presented by Mr. High Crimes and Misdemeanors to the American people and Congress …

If ABC News had covered the run up to George Bush’s manufactured war by giving equal time to critics of Mr. High Crimes and Misdemeanors’ war policy (instead of the 90+% air time given to supporters of the rush to war) …

If ABC News had fully and extensively covered the mass of lies, cover-ups, corruption and bad judgment that were the modus operandi of both the war and the “reconstruction” …

IF ABC News had insisted on holding Colin Powell accountable for his lies before the UN instead of giving him a free pass on his campaign of lies and deception …

If ABC News had refused to cover George Bush’s manufactured, phony campaign events in ’04 as real news events …

If ABC News had refused to allow itself to be manipulated by Rove and George Bush’s wealthy Texas fiends by giving any credence at all to the Swift Boat Liars and the campaign of untruths …

If ABC News had refused to be a mouthpiece for the Bush Campaign’s spin of the day every day in ’04 …

… Then, maybe, just maybe, Bob Woodruff never would have been in Iraq this weekend and would not currently be on a plane back to the U.S. with a part of his brain still lying somewhere in Iraq.

ABC News has no one to blame but …"
Oh, I am so mad this morning I don't know what to throw first.

Ever since Hurricane Wilma, the Metromover has been operating in fits and starts. The service has been supplemented by buses, taking riders along the route, and dropping them off at or near the stations. I say at or near, because depending on your driver, they may cop an attitude and refuse to let you off, or not stop, or whatever. In any event, it takes a 7 minute train jaunt and turns it into a half-hour ordeal.

Except for this morning.
See, there are two stops where I can get off the Metrorail and pick up the Metromover: Brickell, which is my usual stop, and, although it takes longer, is more pleasant in that it's out in the sunshine and fresh air and I can stand up there on the platform and watch the sun dance off the turquoise* waters of Biscayne Bay.

Or I can get off at Government Center, and hop an inner loop shuttle past the courthouse and the college and end up at my same end point over on Biscayne Boulevard. I prefer not to, however, because it's a very busy stop, and there's lawyers and government workers and the connection is semi-contained.

Today, I hopped off at Brickell and I was Very Early for work. When I got downstairs, the Mover was barricaded off and we were told to take the shuttle bus. Well, crap. If there had been an announcement on the train (they are always announcing broken elevators) then I would have ridden on to Government Center, which is the next stop anyway.

Down to street level. I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. I waited while no less (and no more) than THREE shuttles came for Brickell Key (the maids' shuttle, OK?). Finally, after more than half an hour's wait, a downtown shuttle came. Oh, yesh, the driver assured all of us steaming in line, this would take us to Biscayne. So I got on. And we drove and drove and drove and then I realised that the bus, it did NOT turn on my usual street. It kept going straight. And then it turned back and went to Government Center. It was now forty five minutes after I got off the train one stop south of Government Center. I could now take another shuttle bus or any of the downtown regular buses, or I could go upstairs and get on a MetroMover going on another loop, or I could walk to work.

Which is what I did. It took 15 minutes in 3" heels (on a platform wedge, by the way) over crumbling sidewalks, and I still got to the office more rapidly than the shuttle bus that was coming up behind me as I entered the building.


The other thing I'm pissed about this morning is last night's ANTM (America's Next Top Model and what rock have you been living under not to know that?) elimination of Lisa which left that yellow-toothed, Dumbo-eared, skank Jayla around. Lisa could pose circles around that nasty ho even when drunk or hung over, and as for the rabbit-toothed, walking teen snotrag, Nicole: well, she can be sent home any second now, and I wouldn't be crying.

*If, by turquoise, you are thinking of the really dark, muddy greenish brownish stone with heavy dark spider webbing.

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