Thursday, May 27, 2004

I Live


I realized last night how long it's been since I last posted. It seems impossible that it was almost two weeks ago, but I guess I have been more lax than usual.

I found New Girl Order a year or so ago, and it seems like the site is no longer being worked on by its author. A shame, really, since I found it quite funny and entertaining. Last night, I was bored and decided to browse the forums, and then ended up contributing to the Weirdest Sexual/Dating Encounters thread.

I enjoyed writing my post so much that I've been considering posting my sexual memoirs, or at least some of them. I just am not sure whether anyone really would want to read them. I had fun writing the two last night, I did it with a good deal of humor and it reminded me somewhat of Sex and the City (but that could be just because Angie and I are watching the series on DVD). I've got some stories, so lemme know if this interests anybody.

Work is always the same old shit, although we attended a mandatory 9am meeting last Saturday. I hate these mandatory meetings, because every time I go, they tell me something I really don't want to hear.

Last time, it was new lunch and dinner service standards. While I appreciate not having to bring a wine bottle to the table at 11 in the morning, the other bullshit they want us to do far outweighs the happiness I could glean from being able to stop pushing wine on my customers during the lunch shift. I mean, the majority of them are on their lunch break, and they usually acted more offended by the wine bottle than appreciative or anything else.

Well, this time around, it's a new hot tea service. We don't sell a ton of hot tea, but this is probably because we servers hate having to make and maintain it, so we never try to sell it. It's a pain in the ass because it requires building; a cup, bread plate, spoon, hot water urn, tea bag, cream or lemon, etc. etc. And then, on top of that, the hot water urn is big enough for one cup of tea, so we are always asked for more, and also usually we have to bring new tea bags.

I know it's my job, but I can bitch about it being a pain in the ass, can't I? And now we are getting these fancy-schmancy teas, and the company somehow thinks that we're going to push them and sell a lot of them. Schyeah, right. The teas themselves actually sound quite tasty (Earl Grey, British Blend, Green Tea, etc.), but it requires the bringing of a tea box to the table, so that the customer can select their choice from one of six or eight different teas.

This basically requires either an extra trip or the juggling of a drink tray and the box. Yes, let's make a pain in the ass an even bigger pain in the ass. I can appreciate what the company is doing, and I think it's great they want to have a classy-ish restaurant with classy-ish choices for their customers. I also recognize that this is likely a country-wide rollout; however, the reality of it here in WV is rather laughable. We don't need more hot tea choices, we need more draft beer and steak selections.

OG seems to want to be a faux four-star restaurant. We wear white shirts and ties, use cloth napkins during dinner, we push wine like it's going out of style. The thing that's missing is employee incentives and compensation. If you want me to give four-star service, I'd better get paid a four-star salary. Don't even get me started on the $2.13/hr service wage. The tips I get from the redneck hillbilly motherfuckers I wait on do not resemble a four-star, or even a two-star, wage in any shape or form.

I originally had high esteem for Darden, Inc., the company that owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Smokey Bones, Bahama Breeze, and Seasons 52. It seemed to me that they at least try to take care of their employees, with various programs and such, like Darden Dimes, a voluntary program that collects a small amount from your paycheck to go into a pool, and the funds collected go to help employees in emergency situations. Like if your mother suddenly gets hospitalized, you can 'withdraw' money from the program to use to cover hospital bills.

That and the mission statements of the company are very noble, and very much about treating people respectfully and like family. But in my little corner of hell here in West Virgina, I'm beginning to see that reality doesn't quite mesh with the company's noble ideologies.

Everything else aside, my restaurant has two managers who constantly treat the employees like shit. One of them happens to be the General Manager, and while I really like him when he's in a good mood -- he can be quite fun and very enjoyable to chat and joke with -- the way he behaves and speaks to us the rest of the time is a glaring contrast to Darden policy. If I can get a copy of the policy, I'll post it. It sounds great on paper, but it would be even greater if it was actually put into practice.

All in all, it's very irritating and demoralizing. There is only one manager who I really like and admire, and that's because he's hard-working and often rolls up his sleeves to get in the trenches with us if need be, and he treats us with consideration and respect. I never mind him getting on me for something, because not only is he usually right, he's always professional and to the point without making me feel like shit, something I cannot say about the other three.

It's kind of scary, but my two-year anniversary at OG is coming up at the end of July, and I just can't get over it. Before working at Olive Garden, the longest I spent at any one job was nine months. I was with Crapplebee's for maybe a total of a year, but that was broken up with time between the different locations.. nine months at one store, three months at another, and three months at another.

The only other job I have done near that time length was working as GameHost and then GameMaster for GemStone III (now GemStone IV). All in all, I did that for about three or four years, and I mostly enjoyed the time I put in.

I know that when I say I'd never held a job longer than nine months, it sounds kind of bad. I went through a variety of jobs in a variety of fields, trying to find something that fit. Retail, office jobs, concessions, pizza delivery, etc., until I tried the restaurant biz, all either mortally bored or burned me out. I'm not the kind of person that can keep various aspects of my life compartmentalized, so unfortunately for everyone around me, it all tends to bleed over into everything I do. Meaning if my personal life is shitty, it affects my work. But also if my work is shitty, it totally affects my mood and my personal life. So having a job that really brings me down makes me a pretty unhappy person in general; I simply found myself getting so burned out or bored that I couldn't take it anymore.

I told Angie I was disgruntled enough to want to write a letter to someone, but I've felt like it would be in vain. I mean, the guy above my General Manager is part of the problem, too. Angie said I should go to the top and write the president of the company. I'm skeptical about this, too, because I presently feel a little jaded about the suits in the organization. Since it appears they're more concerned with the bottom line than with the welfare and well-being of the employees, especially the servers and bartenders, who seem to be considered the most disposable, why would they listen to the grumblings of a peon?

This and I'm feeling increasingly jaded about the state affairs in our government. I see how it manipulates the media and feeds us sometimes outright false information to keep us where they want us. Corporations are much the same; they concern themselves with maintaining a positive public image while focusing on making the most money possible for the top 2% of the company ladder.

It's all empty, carefully-crafted rhetoric. I don't even know what to believe anymore; every time I hear a piece of information, I immediately question its validity. I've been thinking about this, too, wondering if my suspicion is healthy critical thinking (I think my English 2 teacher would be proud) or a sign that I've simply become almost entirely jaded.

I find myself increasingly scared and depressed about how things have become in this country. I don't trust our government, and I don't trust the things they tell us. I don't trust the men that lead this country, or the things they quietly do in our name. What kind of country do we live in, where we can impeach a president because he had sex with an intern, yet glorify another for useless, unprovoked killing?

I know people like to play the Hitler card a lot, and the word Nazi is used so often that its true meaning is practically lost. But comparisons have been made between the current administration and Nazi Germany, and frankly, I have to agree that there are parallels.

This is not something that should be happening in our country. Vote him out, people. Please. For the love of God and all that is holy. If you value your country and your liberty, all the freedoms you rightfully should enjoy as an American, VOTE HIM OUT.

kthx.


Currently Playing...
Song: TV on the Radio - Staring at the Sun
Book: The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton
Obsessing Over: You name it.

Monday, May 17, 2004

New..


... update in my photo journal -- The West Virginian Goose Obsession.


Currently Playing...
Song: Maroon 5 - This Love

The Proof That I Am Evil


Right here, folks.


Currently Playing...
Song: Jill Sobule - The Jig Is Up

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Rant


I can't wait to get my degree so that my work with the general public will finally be greatly lessened. I admit that I have somewhat of a superiority complex insofar as I know that I'm more intelligent than the unwashed masses that make up a great deal of this country. And I don't know what it is, but there seems to be a very high concentration of extraordinarily stupid people where I live now. Is it all the chemicals, or is it the inbreeding? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Most of the times it's at least bearable, though it greatly disappoints me that most people are stupid, lazy sheep. Even after working with the public in one sense or another, for nearly ten years, every now and then I get blown away by something someone will say or do. I've long since given up thinking I've witnessed The Stupidest Thing Ever, because whenever I experience something that tops the reigning champion, someone will eventually come along and best even that.

My peeves come and go. Currently, what's been driving me nuts is the things people say when I'm waiting on them, things they think they thought up on their own and are so clever, and are suffixed with a really dumb and fake-sounding 'Ha ha ha.' Like it was so funny and unique they had to laugh at their own joke, only they don't realize I've heard it hundreds of times before. And since the name of the game is being nice, I'm forced to give my own fake laugh in response. Ha ha ha.. While in my head, I'm going Ugh!

I'd give examples, but truthfully, the comments in and of themselves are not amusing (hence the peeve). It's mostly the whole package; hearing how it's said, and experiencing the dumb laugh at the end.

Another thing that is irritating me at work is that, in a company-wide mandate, they took away all the big server trays and replaced them with noticibly smaller busser trays. The theory behind this genius move is that we would put less on the smaller, lighter trays, and it will help our wrists and backs.

However, the truth of the matter is that because the trays are so much smaller, it's creating more work. Our plates in general are oversized, so four dinner plates fit on a busser tray, whereas I could get up to six on a server tray. If I get triple sat, I have to have someone follow me out with a tray because three salad bowls alone take up 80% of the space on a busser tray, nevermind the salad and bread plates and three baskets of bread I have to carry out, too. I'd simply like the option to carry a larger tray if I so choose.

I'm admittedly stronger than most of the women at work, but I do know most of the guys feel similarly. I can handle a big, heavy tray stacked with three tables' worth of salad, bread, and plates, and so can the guys. Forcing us to use smaller trays is only slowing us down and making things more of a hassle.

It's things like this that make me want to bitchslap various corporate suit-type people in the management chain. Our bigwig manager guy is one of them. He sweeps in about once a quarter or so, and while I have no issues with that in itself, it's the frenzy and craziness his visits cause that piss me off. Frankly, he sits on high and delegates jobs and makes rules, apparently without thinking much about the practical application of them, or how they affect the poor grunts having to live with these decisions.

I understand looking out for the bottom line and wanting to make money in your restaurant. But some of the shit that goes down boggles the mind. It's like this guy enjoys making rules, really fucking dumb ones, in order to have a hand in what's going on in the restaurant at any given time, to reinforce that he's The Big Boss. We're talking rules that have so little merit that after a short trial, they end up being ignored, repealed, or simply tossed to the side.

What is the point of that? Changing rules, switching things around.. they only slow us down because it forces us to change our routines in favor of doing whatever we're currently being commanded. We lose time when we change routines, because the whole point of developing routines is to save time and mental energy.

I swear, if I ever become a manager, I will consider how my decisions affect my employees. Gargh.


Currently Playing...
Song: Mary J. Blige - Mary J
Book: The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Testing.. Posted by Hello

Damn That Fatkins Diet


I found this earlier, and frankly, it sums up all my hatred for the Atkins and Atkins-related diets. Cause I swear to god, if I hear the words 'low carb' a few more times, I might be pushed over the edge.


Currently Playing...
Song: Instrumental Music of the Early Baroque
Book: The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton
Obsessing Over: Die, Atkins, Die!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Random Spew


Well, things have gotten better, all around. I feel the depression lifting and feel like I can go back to my normal self now. This bout of depression seemed unusually intense and really took me by surprise, so I've been trying to take a step back to make some some observations.

It's just so weird because I felt like everything was turned upside down and I was very stressed about it all. Only things seem manageable now, even improved in some areas, and I wonder how much of it I simply made up in my head. How much was imaginary? I mean, I kind of wonder if I'm nuts, because I know my mind is really powerful when it comes to psyching myself out of stuff, is it powerful enough for me to invent events in my head and really believe them? How much did I cause, make up, or misinterpret, and how much was real?

I'm not on medication anymore. I took it during the darkest days of my life and sometimes it helped, though most of the time it didn't. I stopped taking medication altogether after an intentional overdose of Lithium that by all accounts should have killed me, yet didn't. It wasn't the first try, and I finally realized that the universe wants me around for some reason or another and gave up the suicide bullshit.

After I left my psycho ex, things got better. I was off meds and feeling much better about things. It was easier to deal with the blows life deals, easier for me to either fix things or let them go, instead of the usual freaking out and obsessing. I was losing weight, too, which was a huge bonus. And while I think for the past few years, I've been a very happy and healthy person, I sometimes wonder whether I should be on meds.

Is it normal to go through periods of internal darkness like this? Were the doctors' diagnoses correct, and the harsh mood swings are a symptom of something else? Or is this just me, is it necessary for my emotional growth?

I was thinking today about my attempt to join the Coast Guard. It's been on my mind since I read a list of all the American casualties to date in Iraq -- a surprisingly long list -- and noticed that one of the people had been in the Coast Guard. During my preparation to join, they told us that during times of war, the CG was transferred to the command of the Navy. (In peacetime, the CG is listed under the Department of Transportation)

This meant that I would find myself in the Navy, and possibly deployed to foreign countries to fight a war. This took me a little by surprise, but I'd wondered about it, so it wasn't entirely unexpected. I don't believe in war to solve problems, and I was hoping that being in the CG would be more of a defensive, rather than offensive, kind of job. It's not an issue of courage; I would be happy to defend our coasts if we were at war and being attacked. I'm just a peaceful sort of person.

Anyway, I went through just about everything the U.S. military had to throw at me, and was all but in. I aced the ASVAB with no studying; there were only two jobs, highly technical (i.e. I missed some shop questions), that I didn't qualify for. I passed the six-hour physical and drug test (whoo!). Well, other than being five pounds over the max weight, remediable, and the fact that I was deferred for medical reasons.

"Medical reasons" being a nice way of putting the fact that I was denied entry into the U.S. military, during wartime, because I'd spent time in a mental ward in a hospital. Two weeks, if that, and it was mostly to find the right combination of meds and get me out of the extremely hostile and emotionally twisted environment in which I was living. It didn't matter that I wasn't taking medication anymore, that I hadn't been for over a year and was obviously in decent mental health.

I explained the situation and asked them to have me evaluated by any psychiatrist they liked, but I supposed the military has a high enough volume of recruits that they didn't care to hear what I had to say, or to take the time required. I was denied, and sent a retarded letter stating that 'while the Coast Guard had no doubt that I would have a very successful civilian life, the Coast Guard couldn't accept me'. And that was that. Dream gone in a heartbeat.

The Coast Guard had been my dream for nearly ten years. Back when I was in high school and fat, I dreamed of being in the Coast Guard. The only thing that had ever kept me from pursuing it was the 40-50 pounds I had to lose, and frankly, I wasn't emotionally healthy enough to seriously focus on losing weight. I tried more than a few times in my life, and each time I ended up gaining back the weight, plus another 15-20. I was tired of trying, and I was depressed.

When the weight melted off by itself, it was a miracle. I found myself considerably thinner and suddenly my Coast Guard dream was in touching distance. It felt meant-to-be, just as it had always seemed what I was meant to do. So when I was rejected, I couldn't believe it. I'd never wanted something that badly and not gotten it, and I figured there had to be a reason. After all, the universe generally helps in endeavors to follow your dreams, and it was the first time I'd ever had a dream that no amount of doing on my part would ever gain. What do you do when you find something torn out of your grasp? And why wasn't that my path? It was supposed to be. What the hell was I going to do now?

So I wondered why I wasn't meant to get into the Coast Guard. I wondered if that path included something bad, or even death, but I figured my days would be spent on American coastline and didn't figure that likely. But when I saw that Coast Guard sailor on the list of people killed in Iraq, it stopped me. Say I'd never been in the hospital and joined the Coast Guard.. could that have been me? And more importantly, am I on the right path now?

And, by the way, in spite of how downplayed casualties have been, the list of American dead is sombering.


Currently Playing...
Song: Bond - Korobushko
Book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Obsessing Over:

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Yar.


Hi. How are ya. Long time no see. It's not that I haven't had stuff to post about, it's that I've been feeling rather blocked when I sit down and begin to type. Not only that, but my cable has been off and on for the past five days or so. The cable company didn't know why it was happening, and of course everything was behaving just fine when the guy came out to look at it this morning. And since I'd been online for two consecutive days with no problem, I thought maybe whatever problem it was was solved. But it started up again this afternoon. Rather irritating.

Added to my ever-growing list of technical casualties, my phone line all of a sudden didn't work the Friday before last. I picked up and tried to dial, and to my surprise, I had no dial tone whatsoever. I realized that when I paid about five bills at once last month, my phone bill wasn't one of them, so I felt like an ass because I thought I'd had my phone shut off. But then I realized later on that the bill was only a month behind and due on May 5th, so why would they shut off my phone, especially with no notice or warning beforehand? I sent them a payment and still the phone didn't work, so I finally had to have someone come out and look at it.

The phone company is a money-embezzling engine. They offer these wire maintenance plans that cost an awful amount of money to someone below poverty level, such as myself, in case anything ever goes wrong with the wiring inside your house. If you decide to pass on the maintenance plan, you may find yourself looking at fees of $90 for the first half hour of work, should the problem be inside. For those playing along at home, that is equal to ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FUCKING DOLLARS AN HOUR. Do brain surgeons even make that much money? Who the hell earns $180 an hour, other than high-priced hookers??

In any case, I wasn't going to pay that bullshit if the problem was indeed inside my apartment. I'd get a cell phone before I paid that. However, it turned out to be a problem outside on the street or something, and he had it fixed in about half an hour, with no cost to me. Thank God.

Aside from that, the march in D.C. was amazing. So many women -- amazing, mind-blowing numbers -- so many people who believe what I do. It's very empowering, to be represented in mass numbers, which is why I've always been the marching and protesting type. I felt incredibly supported and represented at the march, and the pro-life people who came out to protest the march were amusingly and incredibly outnumbered. When I say tons of people marched, we're talking at least half a million, though exact numbers haven't been agreed on. The pro-lifers numbered in the hundreds.

It was supposed to be the biggest march of women on Washington, but Angie said that it was the biggest march on the capital, ever. A little piece of history and I'm proud to say that I participated.

Other than that, the trip was not quite as enjoyable as planned. I take some of the responsibility for this, considering my PMS-induced emotionally psychotic mindset, but I don't think it was all me. Frankly, something, some dynamic, has changed between me and Angie. I haven't known quite how to take it, her shift in direction as far as how she's been treating me, how she's been with me.

I don't know if I thought she was something other than what she is, or if she misunderstood me that way, or a combination of both. And frankly, I know that I'm different than my everyday self when I'm involved with someone. I'm more serious, sensitive, more involved, more emotional. I don't think that's unexpected or unacceptable, but I think she wants the Lite version.

I realize it's been two months and I don't think my overall expectations are crazy or out there. I realize it's not been a long time, and I know that it takes longer than that to really get to know someone. I'm not saying I expected to move in or get married or anything like that, but I guess I'd originally been under the impression that she was more serious about things than she actually is. Or maybe she changed her mind once she got a glimpse of Relationship Alena.

I'll be the first one to say that the reality of me is way less romantic than the idea of me. I'm a mess and my life is a mess. I pretty much exist in a state of near-complete chaos, and I probably always will. I'm cluttered, scatterbrained, and highly emotional. I have obsessive thought processes and a constant, relatively random train of thought chugging through my brain. I can think of all the bad things, all the reasons why someone wouldn't want to put up with me. Lately it's been really difficult to focus on the good things, the fact that on my good days I believe my good overshadows my bad, and that I'm a worthy person despite my flaws.

The truth is, I have been pretty depressed and it's been very difficult to shake. While this is not the darkest I've ever been, I haven't been depressed like this in a while and it took me by surprise. I'm used to getting blue during PMS time, but I always come out of it, right back to my normal self. I've been waiting to snap out of it, to feel normal again, but every day has been, at the least, a minor trial.

Whatever it is, the original comfort I felt around her, insofar as being able to be myself, is long gone. I feel off-center and it's made me a little paranoid. Plus, in my mood as of late, I feel like instead of taking comments for what they are, I've been taking them as clues. You know, looking for negative things to reinforce what I was feeling. Overall, right now, I feel awkward around her, and confused about things in general.

The by-product of all this is that I've been a rather negative, bitchy, bitter person. Snarky, even, at times. It's just really hard to be happy and positive when you're depressed; however, I am aware that it probably made me unpleasant to be with. I'm sorry for that. I know the weekend probably would have been better had I been in a better, more positive state.

I feel sorry for the people who have to put up with my freakishness on a regular basis. Rilly. Poor bastards.


Currently Playing...
Song: Reel Big Fish -- She Has a Girlfriend Now
Book: The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton