Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Reality Hits Home.

NOVEMBER 16, 2015 - Evening: My wife are sitting in bed, indulging in whatever distraction our respective mobile devices have to offer. Suddenly I see a headline on my stream...

Me: I'm going to tell you something... but... please don't overreact.
Mrs C: ...
Me: The movie, Home Alone, is 25 years old today.

She straightens up, eyes slowly lifting from her phone's screen. They widen as she turns towards me. Her jaw slackens as if to say something but words fail to form. I reach over and gently pat her on the shoulder.

Me: There, there...
Mrs C: I... But I-
Me: I know... I know...
Mrs C: I'm done! I'm not paying attention to these types of stories anymore!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Conversations With Mrs C - Keeping Her Grounded.

Mrs C (after 20 minute call with a friend who's now an insurance agent, trying to drum up some business): So, he was saying, right, if we get this annuity and make lumpsum payments from the start we can still claim on it on our income tax return next year.

Me: Okay...
Mrs C: Then we could add that to the refund I get from my law school fees.

Me: Cool.

Mrs C: Plus, it looks like the housing people may finally get their act together with the paperwork so the mortgage could become official before the end of the year*. Right?

Me: That's right.

Mrs C: So that means we can claim a deduction as homeowners too. Sweet! Our income tax deductions next year are. going. to be... EPIC!!!

Me: ...

Are you hearing yourself? When did you turn into a boring adult? "Epic income tax deductions"?

Mrs C: *blank stare*

Me: *stares back*

Mrs C: Oh. my. God... BAH-HAHAHAHAHA!!! "Epic deductions!" I can't believe I said tha- HAHAHAHA!!!

Me: I know, right? You had me worried.

Mrs C: Ohmygosh, I can't breathe... Thanks for catching that one.

Me: You almost went over the deep-end there.

Mrs C: *exhales* I smell a blog post coming.

Me: You know it.

*Technically, the house is ours but since the government's involved with the construction & distribution, there are still a few i's to dot & t's to cross before it's official... ALMOST A YEAR LATER!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bend It Like Vinny.

I've been a delinquent blogger lately. I blame this mostly on work. I'll admit, I haven't been handling the recent changes well and as the realization that I'm now a permanent fixture in this division set in, I guess it started to get to me a little... Okay, more than a little. In the end, however, it's just something I have to deal with and, if that doesn't work, I can always apply for a transfer to another division. However, since I'm not too eager to take a spin on that roulette wheel, I've been trying to make the best of things as they stand.

So, what have I been up to? Glad you asked. There have actually been a lot of stuff going on that I should have dedicated entire posts to but due to lack of motivation my busy schedule they all just sat in the dark corner of that one shelf in my brain where post ideas go until they reach their expiry date and have to be thrown out or get thrown together into one update stew in the hope that something palatable can be cooked up. Surprisingly enough, sometimes, in picking through those post ideas, I find one or two may actually have enough "meat" for consumption on their own or, as in this case, has a longer expiry date than others.

I think I've sufficiently picked that metaphor clean...

Anyway, let's get to the reason I gathered you all here. You see, a few weeks ago, it finally happened. It was finally suggested to me that I should work in porn (cue the random search results linking this blog to sexual deviance... again). It wasn't suggested because of my dazzling good looks or rock-hard abs, mind you. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty but my abs (as well as most of the rest of me) are safely insulated under a generous coating of fat. For their own protection.

How the remark came about was as a result of my freakish flexibility. If I mentioned it before, I don't remember, but I can do all kinds of stuff like front and side splits, touching my palms together behind my back and things like "the bridge" with no trouble at all.
Like this only imagine, instead of a small child, a moderately overweight male in his late thirties... or not. Probably better if you don't.
Combine this with my Thai-boxing and what you have is a short, fat guy who can kick guys much taller than himself in the head with little to no effort. Unless the other guys more than six feet tall. Then, I might need a running start.

Anyway, the other day I was showing off stretching (yes, I still have to stretch) and, when I do this, three things normally happen:
  1. Most, if not all present will end up stopping what they're doing to watch (in horror).
  2. This is followed by a few of them collectively shuddering as they imaging the pain involved in a normal human body bending the way I do.
  3. Since we make fun of each other as much as we work out, someone always has something snarky to say and that'll usually draw my attention to the eyes that are on me.
The time in question, I was told I was wasting my "God-given talents" by not working in the adult entertainment industry and that there should have at least been a "Fifty Shades of Vinny" out by now (actually, the title of this post could work too). So, if nothing else, at least I've got that going for me.

Now, this is the place where I said you'd have to be a masochist to train. Added to that the fact that my nickname there is "Hentai" (Japanese for perverted). I'm not sure how I got that particular nickname. Maybe I shouldn't have explained to them the meaning of the phrase, "donkey punch"... so I guess a suggestion like this isn't totally outside the realm of possibility.

On a side note, since I am working out anyway, I decided to give weight loss a try (just to make it challenging). I've lost a few pounds. Nothing to make a big deal about and certainly nothing to religiously keep you updated on either.

You're welcome.

Truth be told, I've been apprehensive about losing weight. I have two working theories right now that against my losing weight:
  1. Ever notice how people who have lost weight look like their heads got bigger? I know it's just that the rest of your body gets smaller while the head didn't have a lot in the way of fat storage to begin with but I don't want to look like my head got bigger.
  2. If I'm this awesome when I'm overweight, then losing weight will release my true power and trigger a series of events that end up with me saving the world. That sounds like a lot of work, if you ask me.
All that aside, losing weight seems to be an unwanted side effect of consistent gym attendance and participation so I may have a pornstar physique someday soon after all. Maybe it's not too late to consider possible career options.

Monday, July 13, 2015

It's A Good Thing Dogs Don't Get Embarrassed.

Look at her. So bright eyed and bushy tailed. Actually, she's bushy everything. Lhasa Apsos are a long-haired breed. Something we knew when we were offered one as a pet almost one year ago. I hadn't heard of that breed before so I Googled. It was as a result of the pictures I found online that made Mrs C fall even more in love with the idea of owning one. And there's no denying Kawaii grew into every bit the Lhasa we had expected.

Did you know, though, that a Lhasa's hair is very fine and gets matted easily? Like really, really easily? Some of you probably did but we didn't. From the time her coat got long enough it required constant brushing which was Mrs C's job. It seemed fair enough since technically Kawaii is her dog. That and since I was already responsible for feeding, bathing, cleaning up after and walking her.

Still, high-maintenance hair aside, it's a lovely coat though. I even started to overlook always having to deal with all that short, blond, high-maintenance-ness on all my clothes (and I have a lot of dark clothes).
Admittedly, Mrs C hasn't been sticking to her grooming duties. Not that I can blame her. It takes a lot of time to go through the whole ordeal and Kawaii isn't all that cooperative (She always seems to know when to run and hide just before a bath and a grooming session). As a result, she got more than a few very stubborn knots in her fur. To deal with this my wife, when she did take the time to groom her, would be forced to cut the more stubborn ones out.

Recently, we bought a detangling spray to help get those pesky knots out. I'll admit, I was skeptical. Especially since I believed some of those knots were there so long there would be no easy way to get rid of them. We used it once and it seemed like I was right but my wife isn't one to give up easily. Last night Mrs C, seemingly on a whim, looked at Kawaii and said, "I think I'll give the detangler a try."

Me: Okay... Have fun. I won't wait up.

I went into the bedroom and got to the serious business of mindlessly surfing the internet on my phone. Not too long after that...

Mrs C: Vinny, have you seen the scissors?

I guess the detangler still wasn't very effective. Got up, looked, didn't find them, told her to look where she usually keeps them next to her "grooming station" in the laundry area, heard her confirm they were right next to her all along and went back to my browsing (See? I'm helpful!). About an hour later, Mrs C called out again:

Mrs C: Vinny, you want to help me clip her nails while I'm at it?
Me: No. It's late. Give it up.
Mrs C: ...Okay...

Something felt off so I decided to go outside and check on things...

Me: O... M... G...
Mrs C: I couldn't help it! There were just so many knots.
Me: It's a good thing dogs don't get embarrassed.
Mrs C: It's not so bad! We just need to smoothen it out a bit. It'll look even better then. Maybe if I had some clippers...
Me: Well, you're not using mine.
Mrs C: I didn't say... Why not?

Anyway, here's the end result (Please excuse the poor picture quality. Mrs C's phone was the closest one and I didn't have time to adjust her camera settings)...
Me: She'll probably feel a little chilly tonight.
Mrs C: I think I like it better this way.

I'm not really sold on the new look. At least, not just yet. As for Kawaii, she pretty much avoided Mrs C for the rest of the night.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Conversations With Mrs C - In This Age.

The other day I had to meet my wife in a fast food restaurant. I got there and saw her sitting in the middle of the room, distracting herself on her phone. This is how I let her know I had arrived:
NOTE: All the pink everywhere is because I had to take the screenshot of her phone. Mine had... an accident.
Don't worry. She's gotten used to me over the years.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Social Interaction - Leave It To Me.

One of the my biggest issues when it comes to trusting people is I have this irrational fear that people are going to let me down. This fear is further compounded by the fact that people so often do let me down. Maybe it's not so irrational after all. Often, I am placed in situations where I have to get information or instructions or even training from someone else or, at other times, I have to wait on others to do something and do it properly before that something is passed to me so I can do my part. I take it for granted that the other person/people has at least some idea of what they're doing. I know I don't. I've said that more than enough times. So I depend on them to help me get/stay on the right track.

Unfortunately, more often than not, it's soon made painfully clear to me that they don't have it all together either. Often I wonder, if I don't know what I'm doing and they don't know what they're doing, then who does?
Who is hording all the information about how things get done and leaving the rest of us to grope around in the dark... looking for someone to whom we can comfortably delegate the responsibility and expect results?

But I digress. I can remember about six years ago when I was in banking and a newly appointed loans officer. The natural process was for me to sit-in with a senior officer and observe how he did things. Unfortunately, my senpai - as we anime nerds like to say - was so accustomed to "bending" the banks rules on lending policy that he forgot most of the actual rules and taught me all the stuff I shouldn't be doing. Luckily, I figured out what was what before too much damage was done.

This sort of thing happened in jobs I had before the bank and continued throughout every job that followed, including my current job with the government. After it became clear that my temporary transfer to another division turned out to be less temporary than they would have had me believe, I had to go sit with the person I was replacing so she could explain what I would be expected to do. She did a good enough job and seemed to know what she was doing (Finally!) but I soon learned that even she, who became accustomed to doing her own thing, wasn't getting it all right either. This resulted in me making a lot of mistakes and a lot of frustration on the part of the other sections with which I had to interact. In order to do things the way it suited them, I'd have to go to all these different sections, find out what they wanted and essentially relearn a lot of what she taught me.

I want to trust people. I do. Honest! If for no other reason than the fact that I want us all to be able to work together to get the job (whatever "job" it may be) done. Okay, that's a lie. I guess I don't really need to trust them. What I really want, above all else, is to not get blamed when things get screwed up. Shit has a nasty way of hitting the fan while it's being it passed to me (How's that for a mental image?). It doesn't matter who or how many other people screwed it up before, I always end up being the one left holding the bag... of shit.

I don't know why...

So, in an effort to minimize the damage to myself, I often feel obligated to try and handle everything myself. I do this because, obviously, no one but me can get things right. You see, when I was just a lower-case C (or "Mini-Vinny", if you will), I heard one or two villains in some of those Saturday morning cartoons exclaim, "If you want something done right, do it yourself!" and then proceed to take control of the situation and come within an inch of winning before failing only slightly less miserably than their pathetic minions who forced them to take things over in the first place.

Those words seemed to have had a profound impact. Right up until the point where the "hero" made his obligatory Hail Mary move that saved the day, it looked like things were going to go in the bad guy's favor. Didn't it? So, somewhere along the way I figured, without some meddler (in tights) around to throw a monkey-wrench in the works, I could totally get things handled... as long as I didn't give the idiots around me a chance to screw it up.

So, just so we're all clear, in my reality, I'm the evil mastermind and everyone else I have to work with, my inept minions. Got it? Good!
Now if only I could get the rest of them to realize that and get out of my way.

Monday, April 20, 2015

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing - Can't Complain.

You know how sometimes there's a thing and you complain about the thing and then the thing changes to the opposite type of thing but you like that new thing even less so you think to yourself, "Holy crap, I shoulda stayed quiet about the thing because the opposite thing is way worse than the first thing!" and then you start to believe you have some kind of  freaky superpower (or karma really hates you) because you realize every time you complain about things, the opposite things happen but the new things are not the way you pictured them in your head and things seemed better the way they were before but it's too late now and you're stuck with the new things and even if you used your new-found abilities to make things go back to what they were before, the old things aren't the same old things but new-old things... or old-new things (it's hard to tell sometimes) that suck in a totally different way?

(Okay, now breathe! Trust me, the rest of the post is nowhere near as annoying as the opening.)

That is so me! When I first started to work for the government (doesn't it sound really covert and cool when I say it like that?), I posted about the time I complained (without really complaining) to Mrs C about being left for days with nothing to do while they sorted out things like where I'd sit and which department in the division to assign me.

Then things changed and, soon after that, the details were sorted out and work came my way, which was to be expected, I guess. However, I soon realized I was being loaded up with a bunch of complicated responsibilities which technically weren't in my initial job description and I pseudo-complained again in a post about feeling like I was almost in over my head. Eventually, though, I realized I was getting the hang of it all and was kind of enjoying it.

It was too late though. I had already put the complaint out into the universe and karma diligently rushed in to address the situation. As a result, things changed again and that was when I was pulled from all of those projects and reassigned to help write a white paper. By extension, I was also pulled from my desk and the very building in which I worked and exiled to the Central Office to work in near-isolation along with the other three members of the team assigned to that task. I... um... shared my thoughts on that in another post and, in less than four months we were recalled and the project went dormant.

Now I was almost left idle (again), only in a different division... for three months. By this time I was really starting to miss my old desk and my old work and made mention (I know, right? You'd think I'd learn my lesson by now right?) that I missed my old desk and my old work and I wanted to go back. Naturally, things changed again but not in the way I wanted. They didn't move me back but finally decided to give me something to do. A lot of something! I had something (work) coming out of my ears!

I eventually started to notice the trend (took me eight whole months because I'm so quick on the uptake) and decided not to complain, especially since I was basically just riding out the last month-or-so of my contract. Plus, by then I already knew it was being renewed so I at least knew I wasn't out of a job and, as an added bonus, I'd be handing over all my work to someone else. At the very least, I was hoping the people in charge would realize they were beating a dead horse with this whole white paper thing since no one seemed interested anymore and I'd finally get to go back to where I belonged.

Nope! I returned only to learn that no one had even considered what I'd be doing when I got back so I was dropped on my old-new desk with, once again, nothing to do. But, guess what... I complained again. This time to my wife. Yeah. I think It was that month-long vacation that made me forget.

That and I iz dumb.

Sure enough, things changed again. The coworker I handed over all my work to was recently poached by another division, leaving me to not only take back all the things they shoveled onto me before my first contract ended but to take over her work as well. As I mentioned in one of my earlier complaints, I was moved to a division that deals with things that weren't in my knowledge-base or skill-set... or portfolio or any other corporately douchy buzzword way of saying I didn't know jack squat about the work they do here. And now it looks like this is going to be my permanent abode.

The funny thing is not one of these times did I complain to my bosses or even a single coworker. I mentioned a few of my grievances here on the blogosphere, or on some social networking site or the other and even to Mrs C, but never in work. Which is why I think karma has way too much time on her hands.

Either that or my bosses have been keeping up with my blog. Is that a scary thought or what?

But I'm NOT complaining, though. Mostly because I don't want to imagine any scenario where I look back on now and it feels like this is the good old days. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Snowball 2 - And So We Meet.

You are entering another dimension, a dimension not only of projects and flowcharts but of deliverables. A journey into a land of micromanagement. Next stop, the Corporate Zone!
(Dramatic music)
Submitted for your approval: Vinny C - A typical government office employee who does his best to survive the tedious day-to-day grind. Vinny is about to learn that no good gesture goes unpunished as he take a wrong turn into the cubicle of...

The Corporate Zone!

(Dramatic music repeats)


Vinny (*walking into Coworker 1's cubicle*): Hey, Coworker 2 (who happened to be just hanging out with Coworker 1), I just came from the admin's desk so I picked you up some cold pills since you said you weren't feeling too hot.
Coworker 2: Thanks V! You're a lifesaver.
Coworker 1: Oh, Vinny, while you're here, did you get a chance to review the the meeting notes The Executive (*lightning flashes, thunder rumbles, building shakes slightly*) emailed?
Vinny: No, not yet.
Coworker 1: Okay. How about we sit and go over them now?
Vinny: Actually, I was just about to go... Sure. No problem

That is the start of meeting# 1.

Half an hour later...

Vinny: Hmm... There isn't really anything here that's different here than the notes we took.
Coworker 1: True... Anyway, let's go over to the Director's office so he can update the new data.


Director: Hmm... Good! The Executive (*lightning flashes, thunder rumbles, building shakes slightly*) is in a hurry for our part of the financial plan. I'll update this. While you're both here, let's take a minute to discuss how the new financial workup affects the division.

Thus begins meeting# 2...

Coworker 1: Boring financial plan talk.
Director: Boring financial plan talk.
Vinny: *Pretends to understand what's being said and take notes. Actually doodling*
About thirty-five minutes into it, the Head of Accounts (HoA) walks in...

HoA: Hi, Director, are you ready for our meeting?
Director: Oh, I almost completely about it.We were just going over the division's financial plan for the next fiscal.
HoA: That's no problem. Our meeting's related. In fact, why don't you both (*turns to Vinny & Coworker 1) stick around. I'm sure this information could be useful to you too (meeting# 3 is set).
Coworker 1: Sure thing.
Vinny: Wait, what?

One hour and twenty minutes later.

Director: Well, Vinny, looks like you got your work cut out for you. Lucky thing you were here. Remember, the Executive (*lightning flashes, thunder rumbles, building shakes slightly*) wants this done "pronto" so let's set a deadline of noon the day after. K?
HoA: Remember to shoot me an email in the morning too, Vin so I can grant you site access.
Coworker 1: Vinny, I know it's well past quitting time for you for today but let's just go back to my cube for a quick (meeting# 4) review of what we need to do.
Vinny: ...huh..?


Vinny C. A man who has found himself stuck in an endless black hole of back-to-back meetings where responsibilities and assignments he could never dream to comprehend are forever stacked one on top of the other on his plate. This meal Vinny will have to consume in...

The Corporate Zone! (Dramatic music crescendos and ends)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Carnival Weekend Burn.

Carnival here in T&T recently happened. It was on February 16th and 17th to be exact. Like most years, I ignored it. Except for that one year while working at The Paper, I have had no reason to go out on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. I'm lucky I'm not one of those who look forward to this every year because, this year, would have totally sucked for me since I was forced to spend the entire long weekend laid up with a second-degree burn injury.

Actually, yeah, that still pretty much sucked.

It all started the Friday before the long weekend, or "Fantastic Friday" as it's come to be known. Mrs C and I were getting ready for work and, as I do every year, I was looking forward to getting a long weekend of rest and relaxation while most everyone else would parading through the streets in feathers and sequined bikinis. As an added bonus, because most people couldn't wait to get the partying, a lot of workplaces - my own included - were shutting it down early that day.

We were tired. We had not been getting to bed as early as we should have for the past few days and, as a result of that, Mrs C lost control of a pot of boiling-hot and spilled some of it on me.

I know! Ouch doesn't even come close.

Not to brag but I'm normally the "just walk it off" kind of guy when it comes to pain. I owe that to the years of training I received at Masochists' Gym. But this one hurt. I knew it was bad because it was the type of pain I couldn't ignore. Still I handled it pretty well...
You should have seen me! I knew it was bad and I still handled it like a boss. I went into the bedroom to check it out in the mirror. The hot water went right through the fabric of what I was wearing and burned what looked like about two inches of skin off (I found out later it was closer to six inches when the rest of the damage started to show).

Sorry if that's too TMI.

Did I cry? No! Did I panic? Nuh-uh! Instead I was the one who stopped and consoled Mrs C, who started crying after she realized what she'd done. Dammit, I even finished getting dressed and went off to work after applying some basic first aid. ON MYSELF! I was so cool.

There was only one thing... ONE THING that took away from my absolute awesomeness in this story. You see, what actually happened was that Mrs C had, in fact spilled the boiling-hot water... on my ass.


"Only you could find a joke in all this." Mrs C said when I mentioned her failure to choose a more convenient location to injure me.

It's funny how it's not as much fun to lie around and do next to nothing on a long weekend when you're actually forced to do it. I spent the entire four-day weekend lying on my stomach and the first half of that time I had to be (literally) butt-naked until the-um-wound was healed properly. If I could have done that without the benefit of getting burned that might have probably been my idea of a perfect weekend.

On a side note, while I'm not one of those guys who believes that women are evil mean and secretly reveling in the pain and suffering of their male oppressors, I could not help but notice the marked increase of Mrs C's uncontrollable urge to slap me on the behind during my recovery. Maybe someone could explain that one for me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Social Interaction - Do We Need To Talk?

One day, while having lunch in a crowded food court in a shopping mall close to where I work:

Some Guy (SG): Anyone sitting here?
Me (Me): Nope.
SG: You mind?
Me: No problem. Go ahead.
SG: Thanks... I’m not bothering you, am I?
Me: Nah, It’s cool.

I go back to eating while I check some messages on my phone. After a few seconds...

SG: Short week this week, huh?

(NOTE: There were two holidays during that week.)

Me: Uh? Um... yeah.
SG: Yeah... I think they sold me stale peanuts downstairs.
Me: (*Thinking*: Who comes to a food court to eat peanuts?) Hmm...
SG: *Continues eating suspect peanuts.*
Me: *Continues stating at phone.*
SG: ... It’s hot...

Did he take my confirmation that he wasn't bothering as a challenge?!