Shiny, Pretty Office

Yup, too busy to do much more than post pictures lately – but that’s a good thing! Having told myself to get off my ass and actually go do things instead of saying “huh, I should really check out that new underground theatre” or “maybe there is something to this whole camping business,” and “Dammit, I missed another Farmer’s Market,” I have actually (dramatic pause…) been out doing things!

Checking out that new coffee shop instead of always going to the same place??? Done! Catching that documentary on polygamist communities and their adolecent outcasts??? Done! Getting that immigration paperwork together??? Getting there! Rekindling my love of reading and soaking up some intellectually challenging non-fiction (much of which intentionally counters my opinions?) Done like dinner! Participating in protests? Voicing more opinions? Getting more involved in my local and global community? Done and done and done!  Going to that highly publicized debate between Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens??? DONE!

Every winter it boggles my mind that another year has zoomed by without my consent, but this I can say has at least been a year of good, important, motivating life improvements.

One of which has been my working environment, which has changed drastically for the better, including the work that goes along within said environment. Setting up my glorious new office to my liking has been an exercise in awesomeness. Just now I arranged and rearranged my collection work-appropriate music. No soft-rock station for this chick! If I can’t listen to  new rock or even classic rock, then at least my bosses put up with my love for Andrea Bocelli, French film soundtracks, French-Brazillian contemporary fusion and my assortment of symphonies and operas. Imagine! Calmly steeping a tea and settling into my desk every morning to the sounds of Pachelbel instead of rushing through a disgusting kitchen to get on to the next annoyance amidst an endlessly ringing phone. Natural daylight, efficient layout, nice decorating, plants galore, and a marked lack of characters who used to make my skin crawl – now replaced by grateful, sane people who thank me for such pittances as delivering mail and keeping the kitchen tidy. I actually have time to blog at work again (shhhhhhh!) and yet am not so bored that I feel unproductive.

I even got an unexpected corporate letter last week saying “Hello – we’ve determined you deserve a raise. It’ll be on your next pay.”

Ahhhhh, perfect!

So yes, I do have a few things to do, but for now I feel like sipping my rooibos tea and posting a few photos.

The Grand Weekend Move In! It took forever to organize our hundreds of boxes and afterwards we replaced the carpet.

Fabulous reception avec new carpets and accessories. No more 1980's darkness with maroon couches or the jungle of fake plants in front of that mirror panelling. I shiver to remember...

The tres sexy boardroom with sunlight from the atrium and some crazy wallpaper that switches from striated rectangles to intertwined oblongs depending on the light. Escher would have a field day. Also wired for internet at every seat, say what???

Other side of sexy boardroom, including fancy new projector and HD tv! No more fuzzy videoconferences!

My favourite new thing: the cafe. New stainless steel appliances! Double decker dishwasher! New coffee machine! Fancy pants guest computer! And another flat screen tv with 24 hour news! Plus, nobody wants to dirty up a pretty new office, so the mess quotient has plummeted! What used to be the majority of my work is now a place I can actually relax!

The atrium below our offices. More plants, sunlight from the glass roof and a water fountain that you hear as you come and go through the front doors. Plus, once you get off the elevators you have to cross a bridge over the atrium to reach our suite, so you can walk the catwalk every morning!

Another boardroom. Smaller. Cozier. Mostly just less expensive - and NOT featuring faded wooden furniture from the 60's! Yay!

Guest Office, in case yours is messy and you need to pretend you’re this neat and tidy for that important one-on-one. Really though, *I’m* the one who’s that neat and tidy. ‘Cause it’s my job.
The business lounge, for those romantically lit private time with just you, the internet, and your spreadsheets.
Fancy pants elevators to parking! Which I don’t have to use, because the building connects to the subway. Sucks to be you, non-subway commuters! Your parking costs alone are more than my metropass! Bahahahaha!
My desk! My little cozy desk, all organized and be-planted. No more sharing space, no more clutter! No more dark little cave! I have a window and my own storage and my own stuff and a nice chair! And a nifty little mail chute! It’s mine, all mine!
So! That’s what I’ve been doing as of late, just in case you were wondering. If you have been wondering, I’m flattered, but I hope it hasn’t been keeping you up or anything – I’m not *that* interesting 😉 
Oh, and I also visited Josh twice this year. You know, business as usualy – pictures coming next!
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Happy Not-So-New Year

Have you noticed winter kicks my ass much? As soon as the temperature drops, my brain seems to freeze along with the pipes, and it becomes a struggle just to roll my unmotivated and generally winter-blah’d self off the futon first thing in the morning. It’s dark when I get up, it’s dark when I get off work; it’s cold, slushy, and all around miserable. Fuck winter, man. Fuck it.

The only good thing about winter so far was that I flew south to spend Christmas with Josh. Unfortunately, that merriment ended as soon as my return flight touched down in Buffalo – in the middle of a blizzard. But wait, it gets better.

One delayed hour on the frozen tarmac later, I shoved my way past throngs of snowbirding elderly (who should NOT be allowed to travel with ‘carry-ons’ they can’t lift out of the overhead compartments without assistance), ELEVEN people blocking the aisles waiting for wheelchairs, three screaming toddlers and a fat guy with a cat. My luggage took even longer. I was also starving, having only brought ten dollars for travel-food without realizing that a 9am airport breakfast of yogurt and O.J. would cost eight bucks (you’d think I’d have this figured out by now, it being my third trip), or that all the delays would bring me well past 4pm before I could get to a bank machine. Said bank machine promptly rejected my card. Turns out the last machine I had used before my vacation was of the sketchy variety, and my card had been frozen as protection against card copying fraud. In retrospect, I’m quite grateful – but try telling that to me when I’m starving, tired, and pissed.

Good thing my mom was there to pick me up, or I might have kicked something and broken toes again. She had agreed to drive me to/from Buffalo since it’s loads cheaper to fly within the U.S. than across the Can-Am border. It’s also not that long of a drive, and we’ve got fun family along the way, so she was happy to oblige. She’s also got better luck with technology – her bank card worked just fine, so off we left with a few extra bucks and the intent of stopping for a quick bite to eat before hitting the border.

And then we got outside. Ohhhh, the outside.

I’m not going to describe the outside. But it looked something like this:

static snowstorm

got snow?

And sounded something like this:

What exit do we take? Nine, nine, the map says nine. Yeah, but where is nine? I don’t know, I can hardly see anything! Oh my god, it’s getting worse! This isn’t safe, we need to pull over! I can’t see the road! There is no over to pull to! Just watch the signs, can you see them!? I’ll lean my head out the window – ack, blargh, spit, cough! – I think that’s exit…three! Exit three! So we still have…crap, a long ass way to go. Shit, this is a total white out, I can’t even see the car in front of me! From now on trips to Buffalo are only for good weather! This is so not safe, this is SO! NOT! SAFE! I think that’s a truck up there, careful. Is that a truck? I think that’s a truck. Oh fuck, that’s a truck! It’s on it’s side, it’s flipped! Swerve, swerve!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!

Soooo, yeah. That sucked. By the time I got home and into bed I was already counting down until my next vacation.

On the plus side, Southwest Airlines gave me a spiffy credit for the whole ordeal, enough to cover a flight! Totally worth the hassle, I’d say, especially since within-US flights not around Christmas are pretty reasonably priced, so as soon as I’ve got time saved up at work again I’m getting my ass back on a plane.

In the meantime, here’s some highlights from the holidays:

kiss love woot!

Lovin' up on my man.

manly construction

Josh being manly with his tools. Haha. Tools.

dogs rage against the removal of the carpet

The dogs were less than thrilled with the decision to reno out the carpeting.

dog wood flooring

New wood floors are confusing!

rad kitchen friends

Visiting rad friends in their rad kitchen

the puppy and the boyfriend

Not our puppy 😦

hockey night in...NC

My dad sent a Leafs jersey down as a Christmas gift - woot!

Scrapbook

Josh took me out to choose a scrapbook for our photos...

scrapbook

...and even helped me put it together!

cute shirts much?

I got us matching paw-holding otter shirts! (Which other than this one photo op, will not be worn simultaneously - because there's cute and then there's revolting.)

What’s the deal with the otter shirts? I saw them on icanhascheezburger as a shirt-of-the-day just before I left Toronto and HAD to have them. So I bought them on the spot and had them shipped down to us to arrive just before Christmas as a surprise! Why otters? Because Josh had sent me this video a while earlier to make me smile:

“Funny Little Quirks” or: A Brief Glimpse into my Crippling Neuroses

Ever notice little things about yourself that are a bit odd? Not necessarily quite ‘strange’ or ‘unusual’, but just funny little details that help you set yourself apart from the rest of the herd on those depressing Monday mornings when you realize those cute shoes you bought are about as unique as the fake Louis Vuitton purses sported by the frumpy office moms who apparently also thought that sensible ballet flats were special and different this year?

*pause for breath*

Ugh. Nothing I love more than the constant reminder that to the average onlooker, I’m just part of the flock. I put on pants nice enough to qualify as ‘business’, avoid open toed shoes or tops that leave my shoulders bare.  But in reality, I fall into the category of apathetic gen-Y office dweller. I’m not quite the post high-school slacker just working hard enough to not get fired, uselessly pushing the dress code with black sneakers and nailpolish. I’m not the razor sharp, well dressed, killer heeled Career Woman with expensive accessories. I’m not a Frazzled Office Mom with a mismatched pantsuit and the wrong sandwich in my knockoff purse that isn’t fooling anyone. I don’ t have a kid and/or mortgage, and I’m not stuck here doing my frantic best to make it through to retirement, realizing that one day I’m going to wake up amidst sit-com reruns, wondering where my youth went.

No, I’m just paying my rent, happy enough that I usually like my job and get to work with my best friend, before secretly running away to live in the south and save up for a trailor.

This last option actually kind of terrifies me. No, no, not the trailor thing. I mean, that’s scary, but crazy exciting. No, it’s turning into a Frazzled Office Mom that scares me. Because Slacker Girl won’t be able to pay bills, but at least she’s hip and cares not for ‘the man’. Career Woman may not have her looks forever, but for now she kicks a lot of ass. But Frazzled Office Mom? There’s plenty of  ladies sporting kids and bellies and mortgages wandering around my office looking lovely and ridiculously pulled together, but somehow I don’t think I’d be able to pull this off. I’m already flying around by the seat of my pants without throwing kids and “caring about my career” in there. And I seriously do not want to turn into my cubicle dwelling mother, shouting at the kids to hurry the hell up and get in the minivan, poking my eyes with mascara at stoplights and hating every minute of it.

And so this is why my morning arrival into the elevator banks is often nothing short of a brief, dizzying bout of introspective crisis. If I see in my fellow ascenders enough terrifying glimpses into the possible future to remind me that it’s a slippery slope from ‘just paying the bills’ to ‘stuck here for life’, it makes me want to throw down my latte and run, shrieking “I’m not one of you! I just have to wear these pants!”

Unfortunately, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea since while waiting to eventually say “Screw this noise!” and run away to the wilderness, I happen to enjoy at least electricity and a roof over my head. So I wear my pants and drink my latte and remind myself that aside from my crippling neuroses, I’ve got a few other traits that, at least internally, set me apart from the herd:

– I used to have eight barbells in the back of my neck. I didn’t take them out for my job, I took them out because it turned out I’m allergic to nickle and it would have cost an assload to have them plated in titanium and put back in (see: cost of roof and electricity). I still have the jewelery though – just in case.

– I get a sick kick knowing that even when I’m pushing the ‘doors close’ button on the elevator, it looks to the rushing fat guy that I’m pressing ‘doors open.’ The elevators are lined with mirrors, perfect for displaying the vaguely frantic expression of  ‘oh, so close!’

– I value my sleep enough that I’d rather show up with wet hair, put my makeup on at work and greet my clients blotchy-faced and blurry-eyed than show up looking professional and have someone ask me for stuff before 9am.

– Somehow, my ‘desk job’ involves an awful lot of ‘moving desks.’ Not sure how that happened. In fact, my ‘white collar’ job is actually about 25% blue collar. I feel this gives me the right to scratch and burp in a manner that would otherwise be deemed inappropriate for an office environment.

– At least once a day I belch fairly loudly at Talea. She usually belches back.

– I can pretend to give a shit in four different versions of engrish.

– While Josh enjoys my occasionally sexy corporate wear, he really wishes I’d dress like Joy from ‘My Name Is Earl.’ Secretly (in that ‘I just said it on the internet’ kind of way), I think I could pull it off.

– I get ridiculously annoyed at bathroom dwellers, like that ugly chick from across the hall who stands in front of the mirrors for upwards of ten excruciating minutes, morosely adjusting her ill-fitted clothes. I hate her. Yanking on your shirt will not make it fit, get out and let me pee in private!

– I consider corner cutting to be an efficient skill worthy of honing. Sort of along the same lines of “If you ignore it long enough, it will fix itself.” I’m also of the belief that sometimes, violence is the answer – particularly in relation to the Xerox machine.

– I sent one of my superiors the so NSFW links to ‘Like a Boss’, ‘I’m on a Boat’, ‘Powerthirst’ and ‘Powerthirst2’ because I felt he was not adequately in the cool kids club. I like my bosses to know when I’m making fun of them, or at least understand the humour of being ‘uncomfortably energetic’.

– Freaking out about something completely unnecessary is a part of my balanced breakfast.

There you have it. A little bit of me, myself and my brain. I hope this has been an enlightening or at least amusing adventure. At the very least, if any of you have the good fortune of meeting me in person, particularly at work, you may be less perturbed when I suddenly bust out with The Lonely Island. Because, you see, it’s very important to my peace of mind. So until I can kick this creased-pant habit and start wearing slutty tank tops, I’ll be here, drinking my latte, directing workflow.

(Like a boss.)

Operator? Get me Tupac…

Soooo. You’ve heard the news. Michael Jackson is dead. Brought to the hospital under not-quite-clear circumstances, something about a maybe heart attack and a deep coma. Regardless of the circumstances, the media is all aflutter.

On the one hand, the neurotic in me is thinking “Why is everybody dying this week??? What’s going on???”

 

  

On the other hand, the sheer instantaneous nature of the announcement is a clear example of our changing times and manners of communication. My first inkling of the news was in fact not from the news, but from a coworkers changed MSN status. Nowadays CNN no longer has breaking information but is in fact trying to keep up with the likes of Perez. There’s good and bad to this. While it’s nice to know that the media machine is now open to more opinions than that of the right wing money based corporately driven illuminati, it also means that it’s open to all manner of others, credible or not. Not just to left wing extremism (which does exist, and can be just as dangerous when we like the think that we’re correct just because “we’re not them” – although I don’t hear any left wing Nancy Graces losing their mile-high shit over social injustice), but to anyone with a computing device and $30 a month worth of internet. Anybody can say anything and be taken seriously – how many times do we have to be reminded that Wikipedia is not a citable source?

Not to digress from the issue at hand. I just couldn’t help but get a little boggled at how fast the alternate-media world moves. Clearly I’m a part of it, with my itty bitty corner of the blogosphere. But never in a million years do I consider the possibility that someone reads my opinion and takes it as flat out truth. So while I’m all for free speech and the idea that more information is always better than restricted information, sometimes it worries me. When the bottom falls out of the legitimacy of our media sources (or when you realize that there hasn’t been much legitimacy all along – if you haven’t seen Wag the Dog, go do it now), are we all going to start believing everything Google says?

Because here’s the thing: I don’t believe it.

No, seriously.

It all seems a little too crazy. It could be that the quickly adultifying kid in me is outright floored by the sudden removal of a cultural icon. Because love him or hate him – and I do a little of both – you can’t deny his massive presence. It’s difficult when you reach the age where you start to realize that you have “your” music and all this crap kids listen to will never be as good as what you listen to. Or when you realize that this is only going to continue – people I knew of and followed and listened to will drop out of existence, and my eventual children will have no idea what significance it has. I can’t say it’s so much an existential crisis as an unpleasant reality check, but I’m not a fan thus far.

Or it could be that in these modern times with the advent of nano-second communication and hyped up media flurry, it would be all too easy to just disappear. One little tweet can rocket a myth through cyberspace with enough impact to shut down Google and Wiki. And while one could argue back and forth about MJ’s status in our popular culture, from regarded musical icon to tabloid freakshow, one certainly can’t deny his measure of bizarreness. Of all those recently departed, MJ would have more reason than any to make a grandiose departure from public life.

So maybe I’m just in denial. Or maybe I’m just tired of believing everything the internet says. Or maybe I’m a little freaked out at the undeniably bizarre coincidence of so many characters finding their ultimate end in such a short period of time. Either way, I’m still expecting years and years of ‘recently discovered’ singles to start filling the shelves. Burrito appearances shouldn’t be too far behind.

 

“Hello, Operator? Get me Tupac. Yes, Tupac. You see, Michael is on his way over to chill with him for a bit, and I just wanted to give him a heads up. Don’t lie to me. I know you have the number.”

Sweet, Sweet Change of Plans

Okay everyone, remember how I told you to bitchslap your computers? We’re changing course – start knocking on every variety of wood you can find (short of injuring male loved ones for the sake of double entendre). Feel free to use pressed fiberboard, paneling, and exes.

The internet…waaaaaaaaiiiit forrrrrrr iiiiiiit…is back!

Jack

I have a new modem. It’s spiffy and shiney and new. And somehow, through a miraculous alignment of the cosmos (angry fist shake) I managed to get it up and running. It’s supposed to take ten minutes. It took me two hours, and I didn’t even have any problems. It was just very…involved. Vista shines here, with the constant approving of every goddamned step, and having to restart every time some new aspect gets installed (such as the piles of anti-virus – oh internet, why are you so dangerous?). Download this executable file, launch said executable file, install feature, loading, loading, loading. It was just a meticulous, pissy little process that had me sitting on the edge of my seat all night.

But finally, finally, I have the internet.

Wireless internet!!!!

Me! Technologically stunted and maimed, I somehow figured out how to appease the digital deities and actually got my wireless working. I’m not covered in cables! I can sweep my floor without meticulously unplugging, draping, carefully arranging (or just ignoring it and nibbling my lip over the bad-housekeeper guilt). I don’t trip over things at 2am when that last bottle of juice announces itself as a poorly timed idea!

It.

Is.

Fan.

Tastic.

Now let’s not get carried away. This month, overall, is still sucking the big one. Work is a pain in the ass, and every douchebag and their ugly sister seem out to get me. They’re filming underbudgeted movies on my block and cluttering up the traffic. Starbucks has discontinued the only vegetarian breakfast sandwhich. Josh is hard at work both on the job and getting some renovations done around his brothers house for my visit, so between that and the rest of life we’re often pressed for time. I’ve promised May that I won’t use Limewire, and so I’m dying without my instant fixes and guilty pleasures. I still don’t have tiles on half the floor, and my futon is becoming lumpier by the day. Also, neither tax nor bonus season were as kind to me as I’ve grown accustomed. Boourns.

But this, I will celebrate. This one teeny, tiny technological victory, as brief as I realize it could be, I will take it and run with it.

thumbs_up

Thumbs up internet, I’m back in your grill. Now let’s finish suckerpunching the rest of this shitty month and get on with my damn vacation, alright?

Alright.

Leaving on a Jet Plane, Suckers!

As you may recall, Josh and I celebrated our one-year anniversary of dating on March 11th. Unfortunately, the cosmos conspired against us to mark the occasion with frustration and general technological fuck-uppery as opposed to flowery romance. In fact, we have still yet to exchange our cute little love-projects. This displeases me greatly. I’m generally speaking more the kind of gal who appreciates a good trip to the liquor and/or candy store (please, somebody combine the two!) or a night in cuddling on the couch to celebrate such occasions, rather than the whole dinner and flowers shebang. But even that’s hard to do when you’re 800 miles apart and the damn sentient videophone picks the worst days of the week to frankly, fuck with your shit.

Fine then universe, you want to play that game? Do you? Oh yeah? Well you may have screwed up March 11th, but there’s another significant date coming up very shortly. I won’t tell you what date specifically for fear you’ll mess that up too, but the general time frame is mid-June.

Last June, after having been madly in love for some time already, Josh and I finally met face-to-face. And yes, it was awesome. And yes, it was very difficult to leave. It still blows my mind to think back and go ‘holy shit, that was a year ago!’ One year! What the hell???

Unfortunately, that also means it’s been about a year since we’ve gotten some good and proper bedroom action. Too much info? Well, sorry. If you’ve been following along here, you know Josh and I live far apart – so in terms of sexy times, there’s really only one logical conclusion: it’s hard to get some from across the room never mind across the border. This will not do! Poor Josh! Poor me! If you haven’t been following along and this happens to be your first glance at this page…well, now you know.

So in light of the gods-of-tech being general wankers as of late, I’d really rather not leave this particular upcoming anniversary to chance. I’m getting on a damn plane and getting my ass down there. That’s right, it’s vacation time again! One whole year! It’s time, people.

(may not be flying on this actual plane)

(may not be flying on this actual plane)

Wooooo!!!!! Naturally, there will be many more exciting details to share as we get closer to the date, like accomodations, places to go, people to see, and etc. After last years adventure with failing luggage, I think the first thing I’m going to do is buy myself a nice pink manhandling-resistance suitcase, and maybe a matching dress.

Look out America, I’m coming to get you! Or at least one of you 😉