Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tales From Japan - Death & The Hermit.

I'm not a people person. I know. I've only said that like a few (hundred) times before. I avoid people and I'm terrible at conversations. If someone starts up a conversation with me from completely out of the blue and I'm not prepared, it’s usually ends up being a disaster of epic proportions.

Still, as bad as I am with the whole social interaction thing, I'm way below the level of calling myself a hikikomori. That’s a Japanese word. (You didn't think I forgot about the folks over in Japan, did you?) Hikikomori are basically shut-ins who either won't or can't participate in social settings and, as a result, often spend all of their time locked up inside their own homes avoiding as many people as they can. They can't work, date or even have friends. Their parents are usually their only means of support and human contact.

Is it weird I actually don’t find most of this all that bad?

Anyway, there are a growing number of people suffering from this condition in Japan and cultural pressures and other stresses are usually the triggers for someone to slip into hikikomori lifestyle.

One example of just how severe a hikikomori's fear of social interaction can be is a recent story I read here about an unemployed, 34-year-old, male hikikomori who shared an apartment in Tokyo with his 68-year-old father, Mr. Nakao. Their living together was on account of Nakao's poor health.

Then, on December 1, the son woke up to find that his father had died. Naturally, the authorities had to be notified but the young man's fear of having to make contact with the outside world was so severe that he actually hesitated a little before contacting the police.

For TWELVE days!

It doesn't end there.

Another thing you may or may not know about Japan is that housing in urban areas, such as Tokyo, is scarce and tightly packed. A very common living arrangement for people in these areas to stay in one-room apartments that act as kitchen, bedroom, living room and dining room. Only the bathroom is walled off. This was the living arrangement Nakao and his son shared. So, for twelve days, the young man stayed locked in his one-room apartment, with his father’s corpse lying on the Japanese-style beds (probably one of those floor-mat deals that's spread out in the middle of the room), while he ate, slept, watched TV, etc.

He eventually did sum up the courage to call the police and, explained that his condition was the reason he took so long to do so. While the police are looking into the cause of Nakao's death, they’re also considering charging the son for “abandonment of a body”.

On second thought, as socially awkward as I am, I think I’ll stick with awkward situations in public.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why Don't They Just Ask For It?

The other day Mrs. C and I came across this article on my Facebook timeline. The long and short of it is that it's a list of the 49 things men wished women knew about them. Why 49 and not 50? I don't know. I like round numbers, myself, but that's not the point of why I'm writing this.
Anyway, as we read it, Mrs. C occasionally asked me if this or that one was true and I saw more than a few things I could agree with as well as the one or two that didn't really matter to me. There was one item on the list, number 7, that stood out to me:

"If you want sex, just ask."

It seems simple. Doesn't it? But, apparently, it isn't. I noticed similar statements made in similar articles like this one so it stands to reason that more than a few guys have had to deal with women who refused to simply say, "Hey. I'm horny. Wanna do it?"

Why is this something guys have to continuously bring up? I myself don't have a wide variety of personal experiences from which I can draw conclusions, since I wasn't exactly playing the field before meeting Mrs. C seventeen years ago. Mostly, I observe how people behave and I listen (No 40 on the article does say that guys talk, after all). Maybe I draw wrong conclusions but it seems to me that there can be a number of reasons why there are women who don't ask for sex.
If you have to ask for sex, you give up the power.

"Make him beg for it."

"Reward him for his good behavior."

Sex has always been sold as being some kind of bargaining chip. It's something women are told they have to use to keep her man in check. He wants it, she has it and she controls access to it, so he has to get/remain in her good graces in order to earn it.
source
This is how the movies and women's magazines sell it anyway. There's always a scene where one woman is giving her friend advice about making her man beg. There's always that weight loss/workout/fashion article that promises to make women so irresistible that men will always be the one who wants to initiate coitus.

With all that pressure to be the object of desire, I just can't imagine it would be easy to turn around and ask for the very thing you're supposed to be offered constantly. Maybe it's just my simplistic logic, but it probably amounts to the IT guy in the office having to ask the office assistant to debug his hard drive (no innuendo intended). For a woman who's been told all her life that she is the one who controls if and when sex is had, there's probably a lot of pressure in having to ask him for it.

Women just don't have to ask.

The idea is that not only do men always want sex, but we're always trying to initiate it. I'll admit, it's true... for the most part. We do want sex a lot. I mean, like, A LOT a lot. Are we ALWAYS willing to initiate, though? Not really. It seems a lot of women tend to assume the guy will constantly try to get in her pants so she doesn't have to make the effort. All she has to do is just wait. If he tries and she's up for it, everybody wins. If she's not, then better luck next time, bucko.
source
One problem here is that men hate rejection as much as women do. Shut his advances down often enough and a man can get a little gun shy. Add to that the occasions when he genuinely isn't in the mood (those instances are extremely rare, but I guarantee you they exist). The end result, nights when he gives you a peck on the cheek and goes right off to sleep, leaving you lying there, ready and waiting... wondering what the hell he's waiting for.

First off, forget insecurities. It's not because he isn't attracted to you any more. If you gained 2 pounds this week, he more than likely did not even notice and it's more than likely he wouldn't be any less attracted to you even if he knew. The fire hasn't gone out in the relationship and there's nothing wrong (out of the ordinary) with him either. Fact is, he was probably in the mood too (we usually are, like I said). But maybe you were a little too quiet all evening and he assumed you were probably not in the best of moods about something (we won't ask because we're afraid you'll actually tell us). Maybe he said or did something to upset you. Maybe you said or did something to upset him. None of these might be enough to take you (or him) out of the mood for sex, but men are notoriously bad at judging just what gets women out of the mood. In those cases a man sometimes chooses to err on the side of caution and stay on his side of the bed rather than face the inevitable cold shoulder we're sure we earned for whatever offense we most likely committed at some point.

Even when genuinely tired, it usually won't take a lot of convincing to wake a guy up for sex. The level of exhaustion it would take for a man to turn down sex he knows he's going to get has to be equivalent to a near coma.

Only "those" kinds of women admit they want sex.

Another reason some women tend to not ask for sex is because they believe expressing their desire to get some makes them sluts. There's an old-school way of thinking that, despite going the way of eight-tracks and dial-up internet connections, is still perpetuated in small pockets of society, where only "dirty girls" acknowledge their desire for sex. Once a widespread practice, girls were once taught that, outside of satisfying those desires in her husband (for whom it is apparently acceptable to have) and baby making, if she expressed any interest in sex she might as well just strap on her thigh-high boots and faux-leather miniskirt (with matching jacket) and go stand on the nearest street corner to await whichever passing stranger would come along and satisfy her wanton desires. Okay maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but the way some women act shy in bed, that's the kind of impression men may get.

Needless to say, if she has this nagging sensation that sex as something to be ashamed of, odds are she isn't going to come out and say she wants it. Fortunately, as I said before, this way of thinking is becoming a thing of the past.

To any women who may even slightly harbor any such inhibitions about sex, relax. Most guys like their girls a little dirty.
Those are the ones I came up with. Maybe they're wrong. They are just my theories. What I do know that women don't need to be afraid of letting the guy know she's in the mood. Drop the subtle hints. As nice as it is for you to go through the extra effort, you don't need to plan something elaborate. Hell, you don't need to actually ask. Just point to the bed and say "strip!" Trust me. You won't need more than that. Honest.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Corporate BS (I Mean) Lingo.

Welcome team.

How's everyone doing? Good? Good! Glad you all could come. I know all our plates are full and I appreciate everyone taking the time out of their busy schedules to join me here.

But that's what I like about this team. The way we've all got that passion, that fire in our bellies that makes us want to go the extra mile. We're team players who know how to knuckle up, grit our teeth and come out swinging. That's why we can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. Good stuff, team! Good stuff.

Anyway, enough of that. It's time to get to the real meat of the matter. The reason why we're all here today. It's time to discuss facts and figures. And the fact is, we need to do more. We need to get the numbers up, pure and simple.

Now don't get me wrong, folks. We've been doing great so far. The numbers have been good and I know everyone's giving 110% right now, but we need to take things to the next level. We've got to keep maximizing on our current strengths but we've also got to grow. We need to exceed our potential. We need to explore new avenues and find some innovative new strategies. Only when we can cross that threshold, it's then, people. THAT'S when we're going to be the ones to raise the bar.

That's our game plan moving forward. It's time to take that bull by the horns and wrestle that bad boy to the ground. What I'd like is to do is set up some strategic focus groups that will consist of sub-groups containing individual members who can come up with a plan of action for how each unit can contribute best to making this initiative really take off.

Good? Outstanding!

I'll have my assistant shoot everyone an email with the date for our follow up meeting where we can really drill down into the heart of the matter. Very productive session, gang! I think we all have a clearer idea now of what we expect from each other. Good stuff!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing.

I recently figured something out. These people I'm working with actually expect me to know my shit. Not just the stuff I'm expected to know to do the basic, entry-level duties for which they hired me. Noooo. They want me to bring my "A" game! They read my résumé. They know about my experience and they're expecting me to put that all to work. And then some.

Nobody cleared this with me!

I suppose I should start from the beginning. Soon after I started this job, I was put in charge of recording certain bill payments for the ministry and, of course, the records were a mess, so part of my job was to help make some kind of sense of it all. It seemed daunting at first, but things were going well, once I got to it. However, unbeknownst to me (YAY! I can finally take using that phrase off my bucket list), there was a team being set up to address this mess and solve it once and for all. And, being the guy in charge of recordkeeping, I was automatically drafted into this team. I spend a large chunk of our strategy meetings either trying to stay awake or trying to understand even half of what they're saying. And they expect me to vet documents they prepare to make sure they are doing it right.

So, to clarify where things stand, we have a bunch of men and women, with degrees up the wazoo, years of experience in things like project management and finance... Then you have me. The guy who spent ten minutes one morning making nunchucks out of paper clips and staples.
They're meant for me to protect myself against paper cuts.
I repeat: These people actually expect me to vet things like the "project charter" they're preparing, to make sure they are doing it right as well as help prepare a trending report for the past 12 months.

I don't even know what those are!

I'm not entirely sure where they got this idea from that I'm capable of doing anything they're expecting me to do. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'm in over my head (well, maybe a little). I just assumed, when I joined the public sector, that it would be a bit less... complicated.

I'm scared.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Art of the Stick.

You know how sometimes you can put your foot in your mouth and say you're going to do something because, at the time, you totally thought you could do it and you didn't see the harm in saying it for other people to know that particular thing is what you intended to do only you ended up not doing it and felt kinda bad because you went and drew attention to yourself?

*deep breath*

Well, that's what happened to me last year. You see, last year, blogger and artist extraordinaire, Mynx of Lizard Happy had her Art for Art giveaway. The idea was for you to submit a painting, drawing, photo, poem, or any other form of art. Heck! She even said a doodle on a napkin would be accepted. Then, she picks one randomly and that person wins one of her actual works of art. When I saw that, I foolishly commented on her post that I was tempted to give it a go... And I ended up chickening out and doing nothing. I mean, me? ART?! From... me? THE PRESSURE!!! All I have are my big-boobied stick-toons.

Anyway, this year she's having it again and again I said I'd probably... maybe... sorta consider submitting something (I know! I never learn). I guess part of the plan was to force myself to commit to doing it. Then time went by and again nothing happened.

Until today.

This time, only four days before the deadline to submit, I sucked it up, sat myself down, put mouse to mouse pad and got my tooning on. This year, my stick toons get artsy. BEHOLD!

Of  course Lacy's boobs in it! What were you expecting? Did you forget whose blog you stumbled onto?

For those of you who aren't acquainted with my stick minions history, old Steven up there is Diane's boyfriend and the first time I drew them (or any stick-toon, as a matter of fact) was when he had also gotten himself in trouble for paying too much attention Lacy's boobs (which is also why he now has to wear a mustache). Talk about never learning.
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Battling With School Work.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Searching For Chuck.

[UPDATE: I put better copies of the screenshots. If you think these are crappy, you should have seen the first batch.]

I'm sure a lot of you have seen this before, but it's new to me (I am always late to the party, after all). It was a quiet day at work the other day and I was looking up some information for one of my class assignments... What? When else am I supposed to study? Anyway, I needed to find the location of a country for said assignment so I opened my trusty Google search page and began typing...

Then I happened to notice the first option from Google's autocomplete...
"Where is Chuck Norris?" I didn't even know he was missing! Needless to say, I forgot all about what I was searching for and followed this trail instead. School work be damned! Chuck Norris needed to be found, dammit! Yes, it is not lost on me that the idea of actually working was never even considered.

On a side note...
But I digress. As I was saying, I set out on my virtual search for Mr. Norris.
And this is what I found...
HA! I think I laughed a little too hard at this, to be honest. I shared my discovery with a few coworkers, who were equally amused. Thanks to me about five minutes of productivity, across four desks was halted that day. Totally worth it.
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Again I Say Goodbye (Relax, My Blog Isn't Going Anywhere).

Since the last time I used the word "goodbye" in a post title caused one or two people to get a little worried I was quitting the internet, I made sure to clarify it in the title this time. I'm still here. Sadly, as of this week, I'm only here. Some of you may already know this, but for those of you who haven't gotten the news yet, Sprocket Ink, my home away from home here on the blogosphere, took its final bow last Friday.

I know. We were all bummed about it too. But we understood it was how things had to be. Our readership was growing. Sprocket also had a great group of writers too (and me). Nichole, one of the site's co-founders, our boss and an all-around awesome lady, invested a huge amount of time, effort and everything else into running the site. Unfortunately it is time, effort and everything else she can no longer afford to give.

I'll miss it. I was there from the start just a little over two and a half years ago and, during that time, I got to write alongside some amazing writers, who were all nice enough to humor me as I muddled my way through. I can truly say I made some great friends at Sprocket Ink. Them, I won't miss, but that's only because we're not saying goodbye to each other. After you finally find a group of friends who are as crazy, funny and even slightly twisted (some less slightly than others) as yourself, you hold onto them. Friends we became and friends we'll stay and for that I'm happy.

So here I am. Back to full time on the old AVCI. I'm down with that. Hey, maybe now the quality of my posts will improve now that I'm... What? It could happen. Of course, I'm also not opposed to writing for another site sometime again in the future, should anyone ever gets it into his or her head to make me an offer. Just sayin'.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Conversations With Mrs. C - Passing The Time.

Mrs. C and I spend a lot of time emailing each other during the day, while we’re at our respective jobs. Usually, it’s because we’re bored or sleepy (or both) and need a little distraction. Sometimes, if we’re bored enough, the conversations can get really… interesting. Like this one we had this morning.

Mrs. C: Hey, how are things going?
Me: Quiet, cold & my hands are dry and peeling from all the laundry & dish washing yesterday.
Mrs. C: Is there anybody you can get hand cream from? The A/C will only make it worst.
Me: Yup. Took care of it.
Mrs. C: OK, so are things still quiet?
Me: Yup. Just to be sure, I've been evaluating the current situation & unless I actually give myself something to occupy my time, they're basically just going to have me sit around until things pick up next month.

This makes me feel uncomfortable... Paranoid, even.
Mrs. C: OK... Let's just try to keep d paranoia at bay, shall we?
Me: But what if this a test? What if this all about that "showing initiative" crap? What if they want to see what I'll do if they give me nothing to do? What if they're watching me... right. now? *looks over shoulder* *eyes nearby HR girls suspiciously*
Mrs. C: Did you take your valium* this morning?
Me: We have valium?!
Mrs. C: Oh my lawd, so you haven't been taking your meds?!  I think I have to call the guys in white for u. Remember I'm on this because I love you.
This is for your own good.
Me: Good luck! The regular elevators here are down & the only other ones have to be unlocked by security.

They'll never get me!!!
Mrs. C: Relax, relax! They just wanna talk to you. Don't you trust me? I love you, remember?
Me: Uh-huh... Nice try. I've known you for too long to fall for that.

Amazingly, neither of us have been called into any disciplinary meetings for our conversations... At least, not yet.

(*For the record, I'm not on valium and never have been. Whether or not I should be is a topic for another time.)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Foreboding.

As I made my way to where the others were, I tried my best to find any thick patch of grass or tree root or anything I could use for footing. Any hope of dry ground was gone days ago. It had been raining for so long there was only a thick coating of mud. Even now it was raining pretty heavy and that mud was itself under up to an inch of water in most places.

Another reason I had to watch my step was because I had to be careful of traps. Though we hadn't seen the enemy in over a week, a lot of their nasty little presents were still scattered here and there and since I was good at spotting them, that soon became my role in the squad as we got deeper and deeper into enemy territory. The downside to this is that I usually ended up at point whenever we were on the move. I never felt comfortable being the first man to stick his neck out.

This is why I was glad when we found the cabin. It was obviously one of the enemy's, but for some reason they abandoned it. Recently too, by the looks of things. We couldn't figure out what had happened to them to make them run, but whatever it was, the signs were clear that they left in a hurry. Going out in all directions around the cabin were things they dropped along the way. Canned food, clothes and even money were littered here and there.

This is where we had decided to dig in. Sarge wasn't happy. None of us were, but it was better that being outside with the traps and the rain. Days passed. No one - friend or foe - came. We tried to radio for new instructions and new information but all we got was static. Sarge was getting antsy. Soon going out and patrolling started to seem pointless. Still, we went out. I guess he thought it would at least remind us that we weren't just sightseeing in this "jungle paradise". This was war.

This is why, despite being out in the pouring rain, three of us were now outside, exploring deeper into the trees. I met up with the others. Even Sarge looked like he was ready to pack it in for the day. I found three more traps - bear traps, this time - just a few feet from where they were. I also managed to spot a few scraps of paper. More money! At least, I thought, I got something out of the inevitable head cold that was coming my way.

"Let's head back." Sarge finally ordered.

We were only too happy to comply.

"ANYONE OUT THERE? HELLO? SOMEBODY?!"

It was the first time in almost two weeks we had heard a voice coming over the radio.

Sarge grabbed it, "Who is this?!" He barked.

"Oh, thank God!" the voice came back, ignoring Sarge's question, "I was starting to think everyone vanished off the face of the Earth or something."

The accent sounded American, one of our allies, but we couldn't trust that. The enemy could fake an accent. Whoever it was, he sounded genuinely relieved to hear another human voice, but even that could be a trick too.

"Come in! I repeat. Who is this?!" Sarge continued.

"Sorry," the voice came back, "Got carried away for a second. This-" then there was static.

"Come in! Come in!" Sarge waited a few seconds longer. There was no reply.

We told the others what had happened when we got back to the cabin. I didn't realize it until then, but most of us were starting to feel like that guy over the radio. With no contact from either the base or the enemy, it felt as if we were the last people on the planet.

"We're moving out in the morning." Sarge finally said later that night, "We're returning to base."

No one objected.

"*STATIC*...Hello? Come in! Anyone there?"

It was the same voice again.

Sarge grabbed the radio.

"This is ... My squad... if you can..."

The radio went dead after that. This time, though, there wasn't any static. In fact, there was no sound at all. That was when I noticed the noise outside had stopped as well. There was nothing. No rain, no insects or birds, everything just stopped.

That was when I started to feel this inexplicable feeling of dread. It was a fear like I never felt before. I couldn't explain it, but I knew...

Something was coming.

I looked around. In could see on their faces that everyone felt the same way. I couldn't understand it. One moment, we were all feeling relieved to be leaving. I know I wasn't the only one who felt even better hearing someone else's voice coming from somewhere out there. Now there was this feeling like we had to get away. To run as far as we could, as fast as we could before this thing we feared reached the cabin. Was this what happened to the enemy? Was this something they were doing to us? I didn't know. I"m sure none of us cared. We just knew we had to leave now.

"I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Please have mercy..."

I looked over to Sarge. Before I could ask him what he had done, I realized it wasn't us he was begging for forgiveness. His head was bowed, his eyes were closed. He was praying. He was a man who knew he was about to die.

That's when the others left. Everyone scattered in every direction. Some ran into different rooms. Some ran outside. They were so panicked, there was no thought or plan, just flight. I don't know why, but I decided to run to the door and try to lock it. As I did the last thing I thought I saw of the outside was the trees fading away, as if a huge shadow was swallowing up everything. The last thing I thought I heard was something resembling a growl. It sounded far away, but I just had this feeling that it was right on the edge of the darkness. The last thing I thought was, "When did this door become so flimsy? This won't keep it out."

I opened my eyes to pitch blackness. I was sweating. That was probably because my wife was lying mostly on top of me and that thick blanket she loves so much was mostly on top of her. Then again it was probably because my heart was racing. I looked at my phone. There was still a half an hour before the alarm was supposed to go off. Just as well. There was no way I was getting back to sleep anyway. Dreams like those are why I try not to sleep on my stomach.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No Sweat.

Dear Sweat Glands,


We've been together a long time. All my life, in fact. That's a long time. I had hoped that, one day, we'd have come to a mutual understanding that would allow us to function together with minimal conflict. Unfortunately this has not been the case. During our time together you have caused me nothing but embarrassment.

While it may be of no concern to you, having to spend the first half hour of my mornings in the office men's room, "toweling" off with handfuls of paper towels is not how I would prefer to begin each workday. Even after that, the telltale pools of sweat on my shirt remain for some time after I am forced to admit defeat and proceed to my desk.

You provide a necessary function, the primary of which is to prevent my body from overheating if I have to exert myself while performing my day-to-day activities. However, I feel you can be a bit overzealous of the performance of your duty, since very little exertion is required on my part for you to spring into action. And when you do spring into action, it cannot be said that you do not give it your full effort. While this level of performance is admirable in most other fields, it is not a necessary nor appreciated effort from you. I think you should ease on the pace a bit.

I know there are issues that make your job harder. For one, we live in the tropics. I know. It's hot. I cannot help this fact. But we were born here and have always lived here, so I don't understand why you are not more used to the conditions. As such, I fail to see why you would think the heat is a good excuse for you to act up the way you do.

You should know that I don't like exerting myself. This is mostly because of you and your zeal, since I actually consider myself an active person. Unfortunately, having to exert myself can't always be helped, so if I have to walk a little faster, or choose the first form of transportation - even if it isn't air conditioned - I would like to think that you would be understanding about this. But let's be honest with each other, this isn't the case, is it?

There is also the fact that I am somewhat overweight. I accept the blame for this but, again, this is something that you should be used to, since, with the exception of a few short years during my late teens, I have always been overweight. Still, this is something I can fix and have been working on. In truth, we can both agree that my weight issue has improved significantly in recent years, so while you get some leeway for this, it isn't much.

Through all this I cannot help but notice that the vast majority of individuals I encounter every day are not usually afflicted in the same way. Overweight people, people who are in a hurry, people who take public transportation or any combination of these. Not to mention that, like me, all of these people I meet live here in the tropics and have to endure the climate. This leads me to believe that the problem lies in your aforementioned overzealousness.

Is it personal? Have I wronged you in some way that has prompted you to be my lifelong enemy? Or are you just an asshole? Whatever your motivations may be, know now that I am hereby putting you on notice. I am in a new setting, among new people and I will not be the "sweaty guy" here too. This is why I have chosen to write to you today. I am no longer willing to be a hapless victim of your tireless assault. Know that, no matter how long it takes, no matter what steps I have to take, I will find a way to end your reign of terror.


Getting real tired of your shit,


Vinny.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lovers' Spats.

Couples fight sometimes. There's no avoiding it. Put two or more people in close proximity for long enough and there are bound to be disagreements. It's human nature, I guess. Add emotional attachment into the mix and things become a whole lot more volatile.

Sometimes fights are a result of some huge issue. Cheating, abuse, etc. Relationships can end, lawyers can get involved... maybe even the police. Then again, sometimes those fights can be for minor, silly issues that no rational thinking person should get upset over.

Case in point, the age old toilet seat debate. Men just don't get it. We go in, we raise the seat, we do our business. We don't complain about why the seat was down. We have to raise it or there's most likely a mess to clean up afterwards. We don't want that, you don't want that. Even if we accidentally forget to lift the seat, most guys are okay with cleaning up after themselves. At least I am. Regardless, we don't complain.

Which woman has ever heard, "Dammit! Why is the seat down?! You know I don't always have time to look first! Now I have to clean this up..."

Answer: None!

Unfortunately, as we all know, it isn't the same the other way around. Women are not expected to keep the position of the seat in mind. In fact, the mere suggestion that she look before she... sit is considered ludicrous. As such, we men have learned to accept the role of toilet seat monitor.

But (let's all say it together this time) I digress. The fact is, this just one of many issues that, when thought about outside the context of a relationship, is absolutely insane to get worked up over.

That's the power romantic involvement has over us. When you're in love, they say you feel like a kid again. And it's true. In fact, it's obvious from the way love makes you behave. Fighting with someone you love is just a prime example.

In what other scenario can you call another adult names, yell, make faces and cry? At work? Pouting is generally not going to earn you much sympathy from your boss. With friends? Maybe in some cases, but you probably won't have too many friends who are willing to stick around for too long if you got offended and acted up if they didn't always "consider your feelings".

Relationships, the serious ones anyway, allow you to get away with all this and still expect the other person to make it up to you, if they're wrong (usually), or make you feel better. I'm sure most of us who are or have been romantically involved can remember being told we were acting like a child during a fight with the person we are/were involved with. Truth is we probably were. That's just how relationships go.

Let's face it. The whole idea of "mature" works great when it comes to getting along with coworkers, paying your bills and planning your retirement. When it comes to that person we share a bed with, we're all one comment taken the wrong way (or just one raised toilet seat) away from unleashing that bratty 5-year-old we keep locked inside.

Makes me wonder when exactly we start doing this growing up I hear people talk about.

You know who's a great example of this? This woman I wrote about today on Sprocket Ink.
She was mad at her husband, she reacted by letting rational thought take a back seat, she's in a lot of trouble now. There was a link, but the site is gone now.

Friday, September 20, 2013

This Isn't Goodbye... Okay, Yeah, It Totally Is Goodbye.

[UPDATE: I'm not quitting the blog!!! Sorry for the scare.]

Bigman,

While it may be the usual opening for these types of letters to say, "...it is with much regret...blah, blah, blah..." I won't start off that way. That way is corny. Cliché, even. Besides, in the case of this letter, that opening would also be dishonest, since I do not feel "much regret". Actually, I feel no regret whatsoever, if I'm to be completely honest.

I have learned a few things during my time at TinyCo. The main thing I learned is how to hold my peace and not complain about my job all over the internet (only one or two places) and especially here on the blog. I knew I was a patient man before we crossed paths, but you, sir, have helped me to take that patience to a near superhuman level. For that, I thank you.

Aside from learning about myself, I've come to learn quite a bit about you as well, especially in the last few weeks. I say especially within recent weeks because most of the staff, in fact, ALL of them are extremely frustrated right now. Since you refused to face them and left that up to me, I was able to learn quite a bit. Did you know that angry people aren't very good at keeping secrets about the person they are angry at? It's true! You should know that, collectively, they know enough about you to get you in a lot of trouble.

Friendly advice: You may want to stop ignoring their threats and make nice, really quick.

I can't even begin to express what I feel about the things that I have been told. Combined with what I already know from our interactions, I can safely say that you have left me close to speechless. If you truly knew me, you'd know what an accomplishment that is.

Bravo, sir!

I have chosen to refrain from name calling, but if I hadn't, "most despicable human being I've ever met" comes to mind. It isn't the first thing that comes to mind, mind you, but it's the only option that doesn't have the words "evil motherfucking bastard" or a similar variation. That would be crass and I won't to be crass...

At least, not today.

Anyway, the long and short of it all is that this is the end of the road for us. In the end, I choose to leave quietly and not give you a piece of my mind as I was tempted to do. Truth be told, as satisfying as it would have been, I realize it would be wasted on you anyway, since, in your own mind, you have done and can do no wrong. As such, I won't waste my time being blunt and direct about how I feel.

For that, I have the lovely Diane...

Well put, Diane. There's nothing more I can really add to that.

Later, Bigman. So long, TinyCo. It's been real.

Vinny.
********

Now that that's over with, go read what I wrote on Sprocket Ink.  There was a link, but the site is gone now.
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Forgot How To Vinny!

I sit here, staring at the annoying blinking cursor on my screen, thinking to myself...

".  .  ."

That's how bad it is. I'm at the point where I can't even form a thought. I know I'm supposed to do something with these keys in front of me. The ones with the little letters on them. I've used them before, you see. With these "keys", as they're called, I've created words, sentences, even entire paragraphs. I even managed to string all of these words into things that almost make sense. But for some reason, I can't make the keys go. Then it hit me. Maybe...
What if, right now, there's some evil mad scientist out there with my blogginess in a jar on his desk, snickering maniacally as he initiates the next phase of his evil plot? Maybe I should do something about this. You're supposed to spring into action when evil geniuses steal your shit, right? I wonder if Mrs. C is up to doing a helicopter chase scene in a bikini...
Okay maybe not helicopters. She's terrified of heights, after all (which is probably why she refused to get any taller).

BA-DUM-TSS!

But, as I so often do, I digress. Prose! Yes. That's what I think it's called. Not poetry. I suck at that. I did try to write a song once, back before anyone knew I existed. Never trying that again.

You're welcome.

Again, I digress. Tomorrow this blog turns three - believe it or not - and I have no clue what I should do about it. Maybe it's best I just let it go by quietly and ignore it, like my birthday. Oh... yeah... I forgot to mention that. I decided to stop celebrating my birthday as of this year. I have my reasons. I won't bore you with them.

You're welcome again.

So where was I? Oh yeah! Not being able to write. That can't be right! I mean, I'm writing right now, am I not? True, this post is totally random and I'm basically spewing the first thing that pops into my head. But, still, these are words, sentences and paragraphs, so I guess there's still something resembling my mojo at play.

So what does that evil dude have in his jar? Probably best I don't ask.

Besides, it's not like I haven't been writing. I posted stuff just a few days ago. Boring (at least in my opinion), run-of-the-mill updates mostly, but I wrote stuff. Those still count, right? Exactly!

Maybe I'm just bored. Yeah, that could be it. I said before that it's hard to find things to write about when you're cooped up alone in an empty office all day (which, thankfully, won't be for much longer).

Plus there's my post on Sprocket Ink. I wrote that and the words seem to make sense (as far as I can tell), so that debunks the whole writer's block excuse too. Actually, that post is really the reason I gathered you all here today.
I can't believe none of you ever told me my "segue" toon wasn't wearing any pants before now!
I suppose I could have just said, "Hey! Click this link (there was a link, but the site is gone now) and check out my post over at Sprocket," and spared you all of this.

But where's the fun in that?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Six Month Curse.

I used to be pretty steady when it came to holding down a job. I was in banking for a little over five years, before that I was a customs clerk for ten years.  Seven with one company and three with another one (the place where I met Mrs. C) before that.

When I left the bank, though, it was right after the global economic downturn hit and since then I've been experiencing what I call the six month curse. I call it that because after the bank, the longest I could hold down a job for was six months before being unemployed again.

It happened with Soul Suck International - A division of the Ninth Circle. This is where I worked when I first joined the blogosphere. To be honest, I was actually there for more than six months. In total. But it was broken up into bite-sized portions. First I temped there for three months, was unemployed for two and was hired for the same position I temped for the first time after the original employee I filled in for left.

After a few months more of unemployment came The Paper. I was actually a reporter. My dream job!
There were some issues, but I can safely say I loved that job. I was going out on assignments, seeing places I might never have visited if not for that job. I even sent to the beach to ogle bikini-clad women interview the after Carnival crowd. Plus, I also got to interview people all walks of life from suspected criminals, corporate heads, to politicians (actually, maybe those "walks" aren't so different). Sadly, they weren't ready to commit to an unseasoned reporter and sent me packing soon after my six-month probation was up.

This time, unemployment lasted longer. A whole lot longer! I was home for nine months and was feeling pretty low. Not as bad as when the bank let me go, but close enough. Then came my current employer... TinyCo. The company I had to swear not to complain about on my blog so I end up posting countless obscenity-laced rants at least twice-no-three times daily.

Now, just six and a half months after getting employed with TinyCo it appears my six-month streak is still going strong. On Friday I found out my time there was coming to an end. Oddly, it isn't because the company crumbled like the house of cards that it is (the fact that it hasn't already really surprises me). No, this time it was from something totally different than any other reason I'd left those other jobs.

I... I...

I got a better job...

HAPPY DANCE TIME!!!
source: ME! I made this!
Oh yeah!

A while back I mentioned some good news on the horizon and this is it. To be honest I had actually almost given up since I interviewed for this job about two months ago. Sometimes horizons are further away than you think. Still there was hope. I had signs I made it successfully past the interview, but nothing solid.

Just so you know, it's a nice, comfy, boring, clerical gig in a government office. It doesn't pay as well as banking, but it's a higher salary than any of the other places I've worked since leaving the bank. Best of all, I start with a one-year, renewable contract (renewable as long as I don't screw up royally). No more of that six month bullshit!

Coincidentally, would you believe two days before I got the call that I was confirmed, my wife ran into the head of HR at The Paper and he told her they'd considering taking me back?

Life is funny sometimes.

All I had to do was call him and set a up meeting. I was hesitant, but with things going the way they were, I did end up calling the next day. After two failed attempts (both times he was too busy to talk to me), I was starting to feel like things hadn't changed there as much as he had hinted to Mrs. C when they initially spoke.

I actually planned to give it one more try the day after that, but before I got a chance, I got a call. The call! Needless to say, I didn't bother trying him back. As much as I love journalism, I'm willing to wait a bit longer. My GPA took a hard hit because of the demands of the job, so I'll finish school first, then try again.

So, this is where things have come to an end with us, TinyCo. We were doomed from the start and we both knew it. As for my ex-employer, The Paper, sorry, but it looks like we won't be rekindling the flame after all. At least not right now.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Playing Hooky.

Guess what I'm doing today. Think about it... Read the title of the post... That's right! I gave myself a day off today. Well, actually, no. I'm working from home, would be a better way of putting it. See, with the whole no phone and internet thing (yes, that's still going on), I decided I'd actually get more done if I was here at home where the internet connection is (mostly) reliable.

Added to that is the fact that I've been completely alone in the office for days now, with the Big Man gone back to the other office on the other island and my supervisor barely coming in herself. Remember Superstalker and Footinmouth? I forget to mention this before, but they're gone. They were part of the same work crew that was stuck in the office while while their van was being fixed. Well a few weeks back - for details I won't go into, since I swore I wouldn't rant about work on the blog anymore - I had lay them off. Actually, I didn't lay them off, the Big Man did. He just phoned in the instructions to me to do it.

But the last straw, as they say, was the cockroaches. Yup, I said cockroaches. It appears the heavy rain over the weekend forced a few of them indoors. I first noticed them when this happened.
So, yeah, all of this made me feel like I needed at least an extra day, outside of my normally hectic weekend, away from the office. This decision has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of today's post on Sprocket Ink. Although, I have to admit, the woman I wrote about today is something of an inspiration in the way she came up with the most elaborate excuse ever for skipping work. Of course, she's also a classic example of taking things too far and getting in a lot of trouble for it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Social Interaction - Trust Issues.

I have trust issues. I seldom let my guard down around most people I interact with, because I don't want to leave an opening they can exploit. I'm not exactly sure where they come from, but I know there have been a lot of times this mistrust has come in handy. In fact, more times than not, I've found that people will try to exploit an opening if you leave one, so it's safe to say I won't be letting my guard down anytime soon.

People are dicks!

One of the trust issues I've found is most prevalent within me is that I have a problem accepting help from others. It's not that I think I can always do it on my own or I think, if I let someone help me, they're most likely going to screw whatever it is up and I'll end up having to do everything myself anyway, or anything. Well... Maybe I do a little... Maybe more than a little...

Okay, I'll be honest, maybe all of those things do contribute to my problems accepting help from people, but none of them are the main reason for it. The reason I really have a problem with it is because I would feel obligated to them. I don't like owing people (odd, considering how severely in-debt I am). I feel like, should I accept an offer from someone to help me with something, then they'll need help with something themselves one day and I won't be able to turn them down.

Don't get me wrong! I help people. In fact, I've been known to go a lot out of my way to help others. This is most likely a symptom of my other problem of having trouble saying "no", but the fact is, I still help people. Let's not get overly caught up in unnecessary details. Okay?

Anyway, being indebted to someone just makes the whole saying no thing harder. It gives me just one more excuse to feel guilty about it, so I try to eliminate that guilt by not putting myself in a position to own anyone anything.

Makes sense, right?

That aside, I also worry that the favor I have to do in return will be some huge task that's going to put me out and is most likely hugely disproportionate to the favor that person did for me.

DON'T GIVE ME THAT LOOK! How could it be even remotely fair if I ask someone hold a door open for me, because my hands are full and in return, they expect me go on all the way to the other side of town to pick them up something or on some other kind of epic journey?


So... yeah. I'm a bit hesitant to owe people favors.

What's also weird is I don't remind people of when I do things for them (I know! I'm like a saint or something). I can't think of a single time I said to anyone, "Remember the time I helped you?" At least, not out loud anyway. I never said I don't remember when I helped someone out. Even if they pretend they don't.

Oddly enough, this reluctance to be indebted to others is a common trait held among the people of Japan (yet another reason for me to believe I'm slowly becoming one of them). This is something I only learned recently and I mention it in my post today on Sprocket Ink.
Imagine that...

In that post I talk about the great lengths one guy goes to so he can help the people who would rather say "no, thank you". All you have to do is click here (No, no! Sorry! Site gone away now!) and you can see for yourselves what I'm talking about.

I mean-! Only if you want to! It's not like I'm asking you for any favors, or anything. It's totally your call. I mean, I'd click a link if you guys asked me to, but this isn't about what I'd do for you and there are no strings attached. Nope, none whatsoever.
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vinny Unplugged - Work Edition.

By the time you read this, I'll be at work... with NO INTERNET!!!

I know! It's been that way since Wednesday. I'd explain more, but I'm trying really hard to keep my vow not to complain about my job here on the blog. What I will say is that it involved a colossal amount of ineptitude and cheapness on the part of someone who will go unnamed. Since, I'm the one who's complaining, you know it's not me I'm talking about.

Anyway, that's not why I'm here. I'm most likely going to be spending my day doing this...
Or this...
YEAH! I'm recycling drawings! So what?!
But you won't have to. I've left you all something to, at least, help you get through your day. A brand new Sprocket post. In fact, I have TWO you posts for you. Check out Sprocket co-founder Nichole's interview (there was a link to it, but the site is gone now) with yours truly in the first of Sprocket Ink's weekly "Interview With the Writer" series. Get to know more about me than you probably did before (or wanted to).

My post today, I can't provide a link for, since I'm writing this before it drops and I'll be (ugh!) offline when it does. But just head on over to Sprocket. It won't be hard to find. It's the one with the Japanese police officer with a severe addiction that leads him down a dark road. Trust me, you won't believe this one.

Anyway, that's it for me now. Have fun! I won't...
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Friday, August 2, 2013

Tech Support.

You guys are so in luck! I have, not one, but two posts for you today. I have one here and I have one over at Sprocket Ink. So the real question you need to be asking yourselves is: Which post do you want to read? Hmm... Decisions, decisions...
source
Now that that's settled, let's get this party started, shall we?
I mentioned the other day that I helped a coworker, one of the crew supervisors, create his Facebook account. I'm normally here alone, but he and his crew were forced to work out of the office for most of last month, while the company van they drove was being repaired.

Technology is such a alien concept to him that he didn't even have an email address, which I also had to create for him as part of the process (Believe me, I'm as shocked by this as you are). As I said before, his first order of business after I signed him up was to stalk the women from his past. More specifically, he  kept asking me to do the stalking for him, since he hadn't quite joined the computer age just yet.

But he's learning. I made sure of it. Having to stop in the middle of my blogging tweeting Facebook stalking of my own work to help him was an inconvenience, to say the least. That's why, in an effort to free myself up to go back to doing my own thing, I took time out of one of my days this week to show him how to surf the web himself.

You see, I believe in the old saying that if you cyberstalk on a man's behalf, he can only ogle women's photos once, but if you teach a man to cyberstalk, he can satisfy his ogling desires whenever wants.

What can I say? I'm a giver.

Of course, teaching him to surf the web, much less properly use a computer is time consuming too. That's why I stuck to showing him how to find his way to and around the old book o' face, which was all he was really interested in anyway. Seemed like a simple enough endeavor, right? I thought so too... Until he had to use the mouse, that is.
This is my mouse. There are many others like it, but this one is mine!
I know what you're thinking. What's easier than using than a mouse, right? I didn't think there was anything to it, myself, until I actually had to show him how to use one. This was basically how my little training session with Mr. Supervisor-stalker (or "Superstakler") went:

Superstalker: Hey! I think I know her. How did she know I was on Facebook?
Me: She probably doesn't. Those people are your suggested friends. Facebook finds them for you.
Superstalker: Wow! Really? Okay. I want to see if it's the same person, though.
Me: Alright. Just mouse over (my first mistake was using "technical" terms during my lesson) the person's name and-
Superstalker: Do what? (See?)
Me: Just make the pointer-I mean-the little arrow thingy (I've always been a quick learner) move across the screen until it reaches her name.
Superstalker: ...um...
Me: Just move the mouse in your hand in the direction you want- That's it! Oops! You went too far. Just go back a little and- There you go! Good job, buddy!
Superstalker: *smiles gleefully*
Me: Alright, move the arrow over to her name there and- No, too far. Go back to her name again. Right. Now carry the pointer across slowly until you reach her name... Uh... Not that slowly. (Life's too short to wait for him to get there at the speed he was going). Okay, now just click the mouse with your finger while it's over her name... No, get it right over her name. No! Not "above" over her name. "Over" over her name (I can't believe I actually had to say that). On it! ON. THE. NAME. It'll turn into a little hand when you get it right.
Superstalker: Wow! It did change!
Me: Yeah. Technology's amazing, isn't it? Anyway, try to keep the mouse still when you click. No, click with the other finger.
Superstalker: What other finger?
Me: Your index finger. The one on the left. No, right hand, left finger. Just push the button under that finger.
Superstalker: I don't see any button.
Me: Trust me on this. It's there. Keep the mouse still when you click it! There you go!
Superstalker: Well, I'll be damned.
Me: I know, right? So, is this the person you're looking for?
Superstalker: Yeah. We went to school together. So, how do I send her a request?
Me: Just click on that green box that says, "Add Friend".
Superstalker: What green box?
Me: To the top of the screen. The only thing that's green on the entire screen. It has the words "add" and "friend" in it.
Superstalker: ...um...
Me: Just carry the pointer up... Up some more... Just a little bit more... Ri-No! Go back! Right there. Now click on that box. SIGH! Try to keep the mouse from moving. Try it again. Alright! Done.
Superstalker: Can I see her pictures yet?
Me: (No surprise there) It doesn't look like she has them blocked. I guess you can.


A few clicks later...


Superstalker: Who's this?
Me: One of her friends, I guess.
Superstalker: Can I send her a friend request too?
Me: Do you know her?
Superstalker: No, but she is HOT.
Me: Well, I guess. But she may not accept if she doesn't know you.
Superstalker: What about if I send her a message and tell her how pretty she looks?
Me: SIGH! Sure. Why the hell not? You go right ahead, buddy.

And don't get me started on the eight chat windows and six tabs he accidentally opened. TOGETHER!


********

Now, for my next trick, I'll magically transport to my other post over at Sprocket Ink. Just click on the link.  (There was a link, but the site is gone now.) No! Click on the word "link". No, the first one! Hold the mouse still over the word. Not "above" over the word. Hold it "over" over it! Good. Now click. Oh, for the love of- Use your index finger!!!
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