AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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fotografía 022: the prettiest girl I know

Kristen, taken at work tonight. I think she was trying to look serious, but it came off as, "I'm about to hit you in the face, JJ."  Miss K is usually full of smiles for me, but even all intense, like here, she's still the prettiest girl I know.

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one last complaint before I leave for the weekend

Actual conversation:

Me to New Guy: Are you sure SFF doesn't have the film?  I thought we sent one a month ago.
NG: Well I don't know, but they need the shorter version.
Me: the shorter version is a special feature on the DVD, and I'm sure they have one.
NG: Can you send a new one just in case, it's a big deal film festival.
Me: Can we find out if they have one?
Boss: Yeah, we don't need to send one if they have one.
NG: Well the problem is I am going to be out of town next week.
Boss: Can we call them and find out if they have a copy?
NG: Well…
Me: I'll call.

NG's entire job is to coordinate and track screening of the film, especially film festivals.  Nothing else.  That's all we pay him for. And the thing is, I mean, you had to be present for the conversation, but it was clear that it would never in a million years have occurred to him to call the recipient and ask if they'd received the film.

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more oversharing

I come to work in a mood and complain about things like disappearing lint traps.  I comment on traffic.  I mention I have family coming to visit.  Maybe if I'm very excited about it, I'll talk about an art project I'm working on.  I don't talk about my personal life, my family life or anything else.  Maybe at some job with a specific co-worker that I socialize with outside of work, but even then it'd be at lunch or off-site.  I know much of this is my own privacy issues and the way I was socialized growing up. But as far as I am concerned it's just a good social norm.  Work is work and even if it has somehow become your only social outlet, talk of personal stuff should be limited to lunch or whatever.

Why am I ranting about this?  Because NG at work just came in with a long story about how his uncle and his brother are really sick and how his brother doesn't even know him because he's severely retarded as a result of fever he had as a child and has been institutionalized his whole life. I expected the point of this to be that NG would need some time off work to go care for his family. No, in fact, he just wanted, and I'm nearly quoting here, give us a head's up in case he had to take a day or two for funeral, should anyone die.

And while I am complaining, let me say at this very moment, NG and my boss are having a very annoying conversation about NG's lost cell phone. It's been ten days.  My boss apparently has not bothered to call the cell provider and report the phone.  He was explaining to NG that NG can still check the voicemail on the phone.  Which led to a conversation in which NG said, "I don't know the password for the voicemail.  I mean, I don't put passwords on things.  Like I just use a phone or I don't."  WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

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noodle muffin: crazier than you could hope to be

How do you make the screen from the dryer lint trap disappear? The little chrome frame it was in is still there, just the metal mesh part is gone.  It's like neighbors are playing a game to see if they can convince us that leprechauns are plaguing the house or something.  I have temporarily fixed the problem with pantyhose (all those episodes of MacGyver paid off!!) but I'm just really annoyed that I even had to do that.

We received a package at work today for which the return address was "Noodle Muffin at Operation Regime Change." Yikes.  Or perhaps I'm just sad I didn't think of "Noodle Muffin" as my online name.  (Is Noodle Muffin a boy or a girl? It's a noodle muffin!!  Ahem.  That's probably only funny to like 3 people reading this.)

So there's this girl who comes into the restaurant occasionally, we all call her "Crazy McCrazerson."  She's very attractive in a conventional sort of way, usually very well groomed.  But she's fucking crazy.  She's full of inappropriate oversharing.  She usually comes in before we open and plops down at the bar, unbothered by all of saying, "we aren't open yet, you can come back after we open."  She says things like, "I came for a cup of coffee and I brought two Red Bulls, so it'll be almost like doing a bump of speed!" and "I haven't slept in three days since I stopped taking my medication," and "I can't see because I only had one contact left and I stayed at some guy's place last night and put my one contact in a wineglass on the TV and this morning it was gone and I just got out of jail so I can't get new ones right away."  See? CRAZY.  Anyway, last night she plops down at the bar and bothers us all until we are all actively avoiding her.  Then some poor unsuspecting patron sits besides her and so she focuses her attention him.  And then the following conversation ensues:

Crazy Girl, looking normal and smiling prettily, "So what do you do?"
Nice guy, one of our regulars, replies, "Well, actually, I work in a psychiatric hospital."
Crazy Girl happily replies, "No way!  I just got out of one of those!"

Wow.  I heard some weird conversations last night, as you always do when work in a restaurant, but that one will probably never be surpassed. Anyway it worked out well.  The poor guy did seem to cut his dinner short (took half of it home with him), but I heard him tell her to please call his office and he'd try and help her.   

I have actually been pretty good about taking a picture a day, just less good about actually getting them online.  Maybe I can get caught up this weekend.  Or maybe not since my cousin and his friend are coming to visit and Hols and I will be busy either cleaning the house or out running around with the Navy boys.  Wheee!

And, since I started on a complaining note, let me end on one.  I hate the new interface bar at the top o' my Vox. I can't find anything and none of the things I use regularly (compose and organize) were easily identifiable (create and library? WTF?).

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if I give you a quarter, will you go away

I really need to be working right now.  I am not because my job satisfaction is so incredibly low. The thing is my boss isn't great.  He micromanages when he shouldn't and is never available or on time with the things he's actually needed for. But he's not a bad a guy and honestly my problems working with him are not insurmountable.  However, he hired this guy a bit back, we'll call him New Guy, and I can not stand NG.  It's not like he just irritates me, I mean I literally want to flee the room every time he starts to talk.  He just rubs me the wrong way.  Everything about him.  Plus he doesn't know his job.  I know, despite my dislike of him, that he's good at some things and he's not actually stupid.  However, he is unable to do his job effectively or efficiently. This means he often asks me for help, usually multiple times over multiple days for the same problem.  He rarely seems to understand what I tell him, even though he claims to.  Also he can not troubleshoot his way out of a wet paper bag, and generally overreacts to any problem.  Seriously, I came in one morning to find him freaking out because the toilet was "irrevocably" broken, and it was very very very bad.  Honestly, from his reaction, I expected to find raw sewage flooding into the bathroom.  The problem? The handle snapped and would no longer pull the flush chain. Later in the morning he came in to tell me that he was going to walk 3 block to Starbucks to pee, because our toilet was broken.  I explained that it still flushed, you just had to take the lid off and manually lift the chain in the tank, as a stop gap measure, until the the landlord came to fix it (45 minutes later).  He can't get email today because his inbox is full. I have explained multiple times how email works, how he needs to download the email to his computer, and store it there, in Outlook, because our service provider provides limited space for online storage.  I drew pictures.  I explained it in simple metaphors.  He does not get it. So he can't get his email right now until he "figures something out."  He also can't get his voicemail, because he lost his work cell phone and doesn't understand when I explain that he can still check his inbox on his voicemail by calling it.  75% of his job consist of corresponding with and talking to people via email or phone.  He currently can not use either.  And his current diet plan, which he likes to talk about at length is such: fruit for breakfast, skip lunch, eat a huge dinner. I tried to explain that this is probably doing him more harm than good.  Never mind that he is averagely built and not in need of dieting, though perhaps regular exercise would help him. Oh man, I could go on forever.

Um, anyway, I had a point before I got all ranty.  My work has offered me a better position. It sounds great, totally workable for me. Except I have decided to decline it and look for work elsewhere, simply because I can not be around New Guy for any longer than I have to.  Even though the new position works much less directly with him. I just do not want to work in office he is in.  He makes my skin crawl.  I feel like I'm talking to alien when I try to have a conversation with him.  He looks like shrew turned human from an Alice in Wonderland adaption (grey, grey grey, hair, clothes, skin, pointy nose, beady red eyes). He makes the entire organization less effective. He makes me less effective because I'd rather be doing anything than have to talk to him.

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the littlest troubadour

It's so grim and comfortably rainy today.  When I was driving in to work I was very tempted to pull into Border's instead, spend hours browsing for books, then spend the rest of the day in the coffee shop.  Instead I am at work explaining things to people that I think shouldn't have to be explained and eating peach yogurt that's a fairly unpleasant and unnatural color.

Last night at the restaurant, our city councilman came in with his son, who must be about 6.  The boy had a proportionately sized guitar.  He asked if he could get on stage and we let him.  Suddenly he become shy and ran back to his parents.  Later he was walking through the restaurant, putting his guitar strap over his shoulder as he walked, looking like the world's littlest troubadour.  He played for me before they left which consisted of him hanging the guitar over his shoulder, strumming it once and then "tuning" it with a look of firm concentration, repeated a couple times.  His dad told me that though he couldn't yet play, it was okay because he knew exactly how he was supposed to look (the stance, the "tuning" and all).  It was perhaps one of the cutest things I've ever seen.  As the family was leaving, the band for the night was coming in and they were trading stories about the little troubadour all night.

I went over to buy a pack of smokes before work last and there was a new guy at the convenience store.  All the guys there are Persian, seem to come in, work everyday for a about 4 months and then completely disappear.  The guy last night is the 4th one I've seen working there in about 9 months.  He is the 3rd one to propose to me.  He's distinguished himself by doing it the very first time he saw me.  I declined and commented that all the guys working there seem to want to marry me.  He proclaimed the rest of them losers and suggested I should give some serious thought to his proposal.  I came back a relayed the story to my coworkers.  Boss Daddy laughed and then launched into a rant about how he can't believe how much shit women put up with.  I love him.

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hi-ho hi-ho

In the interest of furthering myself and complaining less, this morning I wasted an hour putting together a LinkedIn profile.  Tomorrow I will update all my Monster.com, HotJobs, etc. type stuff.  Although before anything else, I guess I need to update my resume with my current gig.  Which means summarizing my job.  Which is painful. Ugh. Also the whole resume needs to be better which is also painful. I guess I should just plan on devoting my next evening off to seriously thinking about it and working in it.

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of a certain age

I had stress dreams last night.  The majority of my stress dreams almost always center around moving.  This time it wasn’t me though.  In the dream I arrived at a friend’s house in the early afternoon to help her move and found her asleep and not having packed yet.  She assured me the landlord would give her a couple more days but when she called, she found out the new tenants were moving in at 6 pm that evening, giving us about 3 hours to pack her whole huge apartment and move everything out.  We called some more people and brought them over to help.  I kept sending people out to hit liquor stores for more boxes and stuff but they kept not coming back, until finally I was there only person there doing the packing and loading the truck.  Meanwhile the new tenants were moving stuff in around me, filling the rooms I’d emptied and sort of hovering, trying to make me pack things faster.  Everything I was left packing was delicate and fragile, and I had no boxes so I was trying to carefully pad things in newspaper and then pack them in grocery bags and hope they wouldn’t break.

So, thanks, brain, for that.  Not subtle at all, although better than the life stress combined with zombie apocalypse dreams I had on Saturday night.

Today is my sister’s birthday.  She’s 15.  I’m amazed both that I have a sister that young and that she’s that old.  Jesus. Isn’t she still the cutest little three year old ever, trying to climb up my leg so I’ll hold her away from cats and small dogs (which she was terrified of as a child)?

I expect it’s mostly hormonal and some other stuff, but I am feeling quite old today. I washed my hair this morning, so all the shorter hairs along my part are frizzy and sticking up.  They are all grey, giving me kind of a white halo in the review mirror as I was driving to work.  I’m not terribly concerned about going grey, it’s inevitable, and my dad went grey very young, so I’m mostly happy that it actually held off this long.  But while I’m fine with the streaks coming in across my forehead and on the sides of my head, I wish those short wiry ones all along my part would go away.  Anyway, I was staring at the grey hairs, while sitting at a stop light, and the light from the sun roof and the rearview mirror always seems to highlight them so much more than any other mirror I look in. And I realized, as my own birthday is creeping up that I am a woman of a certain age. Like I’m too young for middle age and too hold for youthful hijinks.  I can’t run around like I did in my 20s, nor can I yet fall back into a cushion of “too old for that.”  I should be focusing on my career, I believe, as at my age most women are focusing on children and families, and I’m so not going there, that I really should be doing something for myself.  And I’m trying, I really am. I’m, just today, feeling a little defeated at how fast the world is passing me by and wondering how much harder I’ll have to work to get the things I really want both at work and from relationships.

Speaking of work, dreaded day job just made me an offer of sorts. Basically it comes down to me having to make a decision by the end of February.  I either say, fuck this, I can do better, and walk, or stay. If I stay they are offering me a promotion with the re-org and a chance to essentially restructure the new position into what I want to focus on, with more money.  It sounds great, I guess, but there’s currently no guarantees on money and no definites on time frame. Plus it wouldn’t be until we got to new office (most likely late Feb), which is very inconveniently located in relation to my house.  I am actually pretty torn.  I could make a one year commitment for more money, a few more hours, a more flexible schedule and maybe a less annoying job. The new position would look great on my resume and could be helpful to some extent in my own career development plans.  But it could just be the same old shit shined up, and perhaps now is when I should take the leap to go a completely different direction.  Some of my major criteria for a new job are: flexible schedule, ability to travel or take time off as needed, more money, more decision making authority, new skills for future jobs. And current job seems to be offering me that and I’m not sure how easy it will be to find in a brand new job around here.  UGH

I think I’ve been listening to too much Tom Waits lately.  I need some sort of system of positive reinforcement in my life, that includes keeping me away from depressing music some times.  Speaking of, here’s a song for my day–

All that aside, the worst part of today is being at work.  It’s in the low 60s outside, sunny and the temp is still rising.  It smells like spring.  I have no illusions, as I know it’s supposed to get assfuck cold again in a few days, but man, I would very much like to be outside enjoying the lovely mildness while it’s here.


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fotografía 005: beery

Last night I ended up at work a good two hours later than I'd anticipated.  I got off around 11:30 and sped over to my friend's birthday celebration. Which, while I'm glad I made an appearance for the birthday boy, was only barely worth the drive. Tons of people, crowded, smoky, everyone drunk when I wasn't. So I headed back to work to drive the rest of the girls home, since I knew they'd started drinking when I'd left.  Despite being the responsible driver last night, the picture I took was of a beer covered table at the restaurant where some regulars were sitting.

I need to get better at framing.  That tip of pinky finger hanging out there is kind of disturbing.  And I think that's my camera case fuzzing in the foreground. Ugh.

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if I had a fotografía of you, or something to remind me

After very little consideration and no contemplation of my ability to complete it, I have decided that this year, instead of 50 Books, I am going to do a picture a day for 2008.  I haven't yet decided what my rules will be, but probably very loose.  Like as long as 366 pictures go up, I win (it's leap year this year, right?).  I will do my best though to take each picture each day, but I don't want to fuck myself over too badly.  I will probably write about some of the pictures, and others I will just slap something up.  Yeah?

Also, I should post my write ups of books 42 & 43 and declare myself a loser for 2007.  Alas.  I read like 60-ish books in 2005.  Who knows what my problem was this year.

It will come as shock to no one that my feet are cold today.  I did bring a space heater into the office, but I have yet crawled around on the floor under the desk to rearrange stuff so I can fit it down there safely. Seriously, why don't I have have houseboy to follow me around do such things for me? Although I guess if I had a houseboy, I probably wouldn't be working at a job where I needed a space heater under my desk, yeah?

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bumping along into the abyss

I had weird, weird dreams to start off the New Year.  Now it’s cold cold cold and it keeps snowing, although it’s not sticking at all and very very dry out, so there’s just odd swirls of dry snow blowing across the pavement.  And: Currently At 9:31AM, Mostly Cloudy, 19°F RealFeel® 6°F  SIX!?!?! What the the fuck, January, why must you always be so damn cold?  And it’s not too bad, the office is even kind of warm, except my feet are really cold.  I guess I need a little space heater under the desk.

Apparently 2008 will hold big changes for me, if I take anything Mr. Brezsny says to heart:

FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
Week beginning January 3
Copyright 2008 by Rob Brezsny

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):  The average person changes residences 11 times in the course of his or her life. Having lived in 33 different homes so far, I’m way above the norm. What about you, Taurus? I’m guessing that you will either make a major move in the coming year, or else you will find your true spiritual home. Here’s a third possibility: You may penetrate more deeply into your existing abode, transforming it from a place of shelter to a sublime sanctuary — re-imagining it and reinventing it and reinhabiting it with an intensity that amazes you.

True spiritual home sounds good, I wouldn’t mind that.

I’m not really making any resolutions.  Never seems to work out for me.  I am going to commit to getting myself into a better place professionally, and trying to manage my time better so I can fit everything in. I will probably have to sacrifice some of my interests/hobbies.  There literally just aren’t enough hours in a week for me to do all the things I’d like.

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HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY

It's miserable here.  Rainy and dark and grim.  I nearly died coming back to work on the interstate at lunch.  HOWEVER.

I am filled with joy and xmas spirit and happiness.  Holiday shopping nearly done.  Think I did a good job.  Am now excited about my parents' impending visit. (And not just because Dad said he was too lazy to ship stuff and thus was taking me shopping instead which could mean fabulous, expensive, new cowboy boots for me, woo!)  And my mom got me the desk I wanted, shipped to my house in a clearly marked box, so I might put that together today so it looks extra nice in the house when the familia arrives.

Anyhooo, have given over stressing about xmas and am just excited now. Giddy, bouncing like Tigger.  I also resisted buying myself stuff while shopping.  Except Ghiradelli mint dark chocolates.  But I feel that's my necessary reward for shopping so frugally and well. GO ME!

But let's just see how I am after another night of xmas music at the restaurant tonight. The Charlie Brown Christmas stuff was great, the rest? Not so tolerable. Especially when played rock musicians who think they funny or clever.  I love them dearly, but I am full of fear at the xmas "xtravaganza" planned for this evening.  All I can say is the customers better be full of the joy of the season and tipping like it's going out of style.

The only question now is, do I walk out in the rain, half a block down to my car, and get those mint chocolates out of the trunk?

Also today is Timmy Mac’s birthday.  Which makes it a great day, because he is great and we should all celebrate his existence in the world.

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notes from the underground

Two of my friends got married last Sunday.  They didn't tell anyone until Saturday, and then just a few of us.  They had their families meet them in the middle of the pedestrian bridge downtown and had a surprise wedding right there (their families had no idea).  I saw the pictures, everyone looks so happy, so beautiful.  Both of them are still glowing.

I'm a little surprised at myself at how not jealous I am.  I feel full of love and happiness for them, which comes with a lump in my throat and sort of a longing ache in my heart, but the feelings are completely pure and with out malice or negativity (I don't think the mild sadness for my own loneliness is negative, it just is).

At work yesterday there was a little presentation, a thank you for all your hard work to the staff.  Envelopes were handed out with bonuses, such as they are. Except I didn't get one.  My boss is sure he addressed one to me and simply misplaced it. And while that's probably true, it sort sums my current relationship to my job.  I work hard for them, they thank me and then fail to follow through with making the work worth my while. I have been actively looking for a new job, but it's so not easy this time of year and I am quite overwhelmed with other goings on.

My lovely boyfriend remains the one thing I want for Xmas, but I probably won't even see him until the end of January.  UGH.  I need a job with much more money and flexibilty for travel.  While I'm at it I'd like a pony and world peace.

My intern just came in a gave me a very sweet little present that she made.  I almost burst into tears.  I'm a little overwrought about everything right now.  Maybe I'll take a long lunch and try and finish some of my holiday shopping.

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drive me crazy

I had to do an online defensive driving course last night because of the *#&%*%&%&@!*!@ speeding ticket I got.  It was unbearable.  Not only did I not learn anything I didn't already know, but the set up of the course was in Flash and you couldn't go on to the next page/question/scenario until the "next" button lit up. It took 3 to 5 times as long to light up as it took me to read an absorb each page.  Seriously, I'm a fast reader and I probably lost an hour of my life to waiting for each section to be ready for me to go to the next page.  There's sample of the course here.  Please go share my pain.  Anyway I got 96%, missed only one question and really that was debatable (I chose that a driver should do whatever possible to avoid an accident, the correct answer was that a driver should do whatever is reasonable to avoid an accident, WTF).

My intern at work was asked to decorate for the holidays.  She put up lights and some beautiful, brightly colored, elaborately folder tissue paper flowers her sister mad and little display in the main office with some garlands, candles and Nativity figures.  She finished it all up and turned to me and said, "Just in case that was all too Christian, I've added Ganesh to the Nativity scene."  (My intern is Hindu, and thus it's unclear to me why she was asked to decorate in the first place, but oh how I love her and her sense of humour.)

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let the world call me a fool

Certainly there was time when if asked what my own personal idea of hell is, I would have had a different answer than I have today.  Today my answer is, "Four hours of Tom Petty songs played by a cover band and sung alternately by talented and utterly inept singers."  Of course in hell it probably lasts more than four hours.  In my reality I guess I should be glad it's only fours hours.  Or should I say there's only four hours left, as I suffered through the four already. And some of it's been good, but some makes me want to jam a pencil in my ear.  (My restaurant is having a fundraiser that involves a benefit show of, yes right, two two-hour sets of Tom Petty covers two nights in a row.)

It's grim and rainy here.  My feet are cold.  I'm so behind on laundry that all I could dig up this morning were thin, non-winter worthy socks.  I did, however, put some laundry in before I left for work. And I have in front of me a cup of coffee and a hot cup of tea.  Although those are really only warming my hands.  Feet so cold that I am considering actually pouring the tea on them. Ha! I just made myself laugh out loud typing that.  I might be a little sleep deprived.

I'm not sure how I feel about my outfit today.  In fact I spent so much time dwelling on it this morning than now I'm considering making a New Year's resolution about incorporating letting go of concerns about my appearance.  But then again looking good makes me feel very happy, so perhaps the trade off is worth it.  I'm not sure.  I need to think about it more.  But I probably won't.

Incredible picture of Pearl Harbor Day at Shorpy.com.

My parents will be here in about 2 weeks.  I have to finish 7 days of entertainment planning for them.  I have to finish holiday shopping.  I have way too much to do.

My boyfriend is 800 miles away.  I probably won't see him until some time in the New Year. And yet he manages to make me start my day with a smile, just with one little email.  How totally awesome is that? I swear I am going to start buying lottery tickets.  You never know, I could win, and then I could see that cute boy all the time.

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ARGH

Remember a while back I said that a Clinton/Giuliani race would be very interesting because the Christian conservatives said that if such a race happened then abortion would be completely off the table as an issue and they would start looking at other things to decide who to vote for (as many evangelical churches vote as a block). The implication here was that social justice would come to the forefront and perhaps the conservative Christian vote would swing to left. Hmm. Well now Pat Robertson has come out for Giuliani. YIKES.

I am so procrastinating today as work is irritating me like a sweater made out of fire ants. I even typed up a post about it, but even that was so annoying to me but I'll post anyway:

I can no longer continue to have conversations like this:

Boss: this package is addressed wrong, [name] doesn't work there anymore.

Me: oh, well that was what it said in the email you forwarded me.

Boss: no, it said to address it elsewhere

Me: Uh *looks up the email* It says here to send the invoice to [name2] and nothing about the package. I assumed it was going to the person the email was from, since she says to send it to her department.

Boss: She doesn't work there anymore.

Me: Okay, I'll change it all to [name2]. *thinks: WTF, it's addressed to [name] at Sustainability Dept at Y company. If she doesn't work there, I assume someone else in the dept will get it. Like how when things come here address to [my predessesor] I get them.*

It seems minor, I know, but it's actually part of a much larger problem of absurd micromanagement, which interferes with my ability to do my job and wastes a lot of my time. It's part of the problem where I say, "Make changes on the hardcopy and I'll get the text changed," and I get the response, "Can I just hang over your shoulder at your computer and tell you what changes to make?" "NO. Make them on the hard copy so we can file it."

Bleh, I feel like I'm complaining about small things, but there's dozens of them every day. I'm not getting my actual job done efficiently because my boss is like an ADD little kid and has to interupt me every five minutes to ask me about something and break my concentration from what I was working on. Plus when I ask him to email me the details, so what he's asking doesn't get lost in the work flow, he never does. And when I email him and ask for clarification or something, it often takes him days to reply. And then I end up in conversations like, Him:"Why wasn't this shipped?" Me:"Because you never followed up with the contact info for shipping. I have no address to ship it to." Him:"Oh, well, I'll get you that." And then it's two days before I get it. And as the ED he shouldn't be worrying about any of this stuff anyway. He should be carefully managing the place and hiring people who can help us as an organization, not just randomly handing out jobs to his underqualified friends after I've spent weeks weighing the actual candidates that applied for the job.

Job satisfaction plummeting fast. And if I have to explain one more time how some aspect of the internet works I am seriously going to go postal.

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