Tuesday, October 23, 2007

mini-sabbatical

I'm home sick today and yesterday. And homesick is a lovely accident of meaning. I've worked through much worse viral infections but the need to take a break was too powerful to ignore this time.

When I have the opportunity, I surround myself with as much silence as I can. No television, no radio, no music and precious little conversation. It is, without exaggeration, like gulping cold water when extremely thirsty.

I try to suspend linear thinking and guilt as much as possible. I roam from activity to activity without a road map or checklist. Read, clean, walk, write, eat, nap and think, reflect, ponder. There are moments of such clarity and focus that I feel I am on the cusp of great insight. I believe those moments eventually accumulate and become something tangible.

This smattering of thoughts produces random commentary. Like this stuff.

Ironic meets moronic
Military Inadvertently Recruits Gays (via Mombian)
You've got to love this oversight.

Riverbend returns
Riverbend of Baghdad Burning has made her first entry since escaping Iraq on September 6th. I have not written about this blog because I have been overwhelmed by how to begin. Let me just say that no blog entry but hers has ever compelled me to go back and read each post in chronological order--which spans from the beginning of the war in 2003. She is a gifted writer chronicling an enormous tragedy.

Employment or not
We received this email two days ago at work:

A staff reduction in the five percent range, through layoffs and the elimination of open positions, is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, October 29 and 30, 2007. If you have any questions regarding this program, I encourage you to contact our Human Resources Department.
Ah, yes. So many ways to be vague. What does the five percent range mean? Do you think that by the time this letter was scanned (weird) and released as a jpg via email they didn't know who was going to get axed? Methinks not. They could have said 78 positions or 5.2% cut...which would have felt less range-y. Of course, the dates of this five percent range reduction are pretty clear. So. Is that for fair warning and preparation? Or just to make the 95%-range retained grateful and quiet after the fact? And that whole offload onto the HR Department is just hysterical. They should call HR Departments SD Departments for Spin and Dodge--so adept are they at avoiding the real questions and churning out copious amounts of (earnest-sounding, supportive-like, diversity-dripping) verbiage that answers Not. One. Question.

We are uneasily assured that the online division is not going to be impacted. But I wouldn't take that hope to the bank. I am not, however, that concerned. It is like natural disaster, prepare as well as you can and accept you don't have control over anything after that but the clean-up.

Not that the rest of us are stupid
Thanks to Dave for posting this: The Boy With The Incredible Brain
This is so phenomenal in part because captures how little we understand about our brains. Which means our intelligence potential is exponentially greater than we currently know. Yes, greater can mean more destructive, too. But I find this potential a source of great hope.
[Now if you could just show me how to embed video in my blog, Dave, I'd be very grateful. Because I lost interest after the preliminary foray into the land of
how to post a video to your blog. This reassures me somehow, as the writing is more compelling for me than the technology. Of course, this from a woman who owns a pair of 1GB USB stick earrings and knows how to use them. That's 1GB per ear. And thank you Sal, for ratcheting up my geek cred.]

Corpses and calamity
Watched the fifth (final?) season of Six Feet Under recently. Overall, this has been a great show. Probing death and drama in fresh ways. Well, for the most part. I found this last season completely maddening. It gave me crisis fatigue. I became unfazed by car accidents, wild animal attacks or hints of incest. Adultery made me yawn. Nasty infighting and psychotic episodes were passé. I found myself praying for spontaneous combustion or bestiality just to stay focused. Not one person in or around that family was not on the verge of some enormous existentially-destructive event. What were the writers thinking? Anyway, the final episode was great. A little artificial in the wrap-up but novel and refreshing after the preceding apocalyptic overload.

Offspring
So as not to confuse this arena with anything vaguely mommy-bloggish or brood-motherish, I often hold back a little on kinder-commentary. However, my "baby" turned 26 this past week and both she my firstborn continue to delight and challenge in ways that astound me. This might be construed as gushing by some of you. If so, my suggestion is to go read something else right now.

For some people, having grown children with whom you can discuss fetishist subculture or share the discovery of stumbling simultaneously on the word autochthon thousands of miles away from each other--for some, this might not be a brilliant feather in their maternal cap. It is for me. Whether it's philosophy or language or criticism or art or politics or dirty jokes or a million other peculiarities of human culture, I have these two bright, insightful people who bring to me and accept from me ideas and laughter and conundrums. In an unarticulated young woman's musings, these are the children I dreamed of.

3 comments:

Deadpool Dave said...

Embedding video is a mere click away. You click the embed button on the video player (those buttons are in different locations depending on the player...google, youtube, etc.)

Then copy and paste the embed code into your blog. It's literally that easy.

I hope you're feeling better and there isn't too much schnot stuffing up your schnozz.

Should we start a dead-pool at work before doomsday next week or would that be too morbid?

I smell a money-making opportunity at the peril of our coworkers. $1 dollar per ticket and the most correct guesses gets the pot.

Epiphenita said...

I love you, Deadpool Dave...you sick motherfucker. I'll set up the grid.

BuD said...

Ahh, good ol' HR.

It saddens me whenever I encounter a coworker who sincerely believes that "HR is on our side," as if to say that they actually give a flying-f about any employee. So, when said employee goes to complain about his manager's bull-headed tactics or do the "exit interview," I can only wish them well with a good thought directed in their general direction that they don't screw themselves too badly.

Ha - if only I didn't have all the battle scars that have turned me into the bitter, jaded guy about the whole corporate thing; that's what happens when I got "experience" :)

When I was a wage slave for a past master, I had the "honor" of working for the HR department (creating more effective tools to control my fellow slaves). One such tool required me to get into the payroll database, and therein I saw how much the HR tools (especially the top doggies) made. Think about this for a minute: the VP of HR (wtf does HR need a VP fer? They all use monster/careerbuilder to troll for resumes---something a brain damaged, one-eyed, one-armed simian could do; but I digress) made more than twice the top producer of actual product.

HR is on the Corp's side, nothing more, nothing less. They'll scorch the earth of actual employees to save their own department and justify their inflated salaries.

This is why the letter contained no actual information. This is why, instead of trying to help the "affected" wage slaves by finding a another place for them in the company, possibly via retraining, they basically set them adrift.