The caterpalooza that began ten days ago and involved five meals from three separate vendors is drawing to a close today, and I would call the finish orgasmic but honestly it's the exact opposite of an orgasm.

Diva Boss, who gets two going-away parties because she invited a hundred and thirty people to her party, has a luncheon at noon and a reception at three. I placed the order for both on Thursday. Literally an hour later, the news broke that the company I'd just placed the order with was:

a) Declaring bankrupcy because
b) their business had dropped after
c) MASSIVE HEALTH CODE VIOLATIONS were reported in their restaurant which
d) Does not surprise me because their food is fucking awful.

But here's the thing -- when a large company declares bankrupcy, usually there's a fairly lengthy delay between the declaration and the fallout. So I wasn't worried.


I just had the following conversation:

Me: So you'd like to deliver the noon lunch and the food for the 3pm reception at the same time?
Caterer: Yes.
Me: Uh, okay, will it fit in a fridge?
Caterer: Probably.
Colleague: We can go pick it up.
Me: Can we pick it up?
Caterer: No.
Me: Um, why not?
Caterer: The restaurant will be closed. Um. Permanently.
Me: Uh, okay, so...really you weren't asking so much as telling.
Caterer: Yes.
Me: Then I guess we will see you at noon for fifteen sandwiches and two cheese trays!

I am going to a baseball game on Wednesday. At this point that is literally all that is keeping me sane about this week.
Me: So, for the reception, the catering guy estimated a hundred bottles of wine.
Boss: What.
Me: Well, it's a hundred people, and the estimate he gave me was two glasses per person per hour. So for two hours...
Boss: Four glasses of wine in two hours? What kind of drunken orgy did you think we were throwing?
Me: *cringe*
Boss: That was a joke.
Me: Oh.
Boss: Are you okay?
Me: I'm very sick and throwing five parties in the next ten days.
Boss: Yeah, we could have planned this better, huh?
Me: I think we could probably get away with more like thirty bottles of wine.
Boss: Or five boxes of wine.
Me: Um. I don't think any caterer we are authorized to deal with sells boxed wine.
Boss: Joke.
Me: Oh.
Boss: Do you need to go home?
Me: I can't. One of the parties I'm in charge of is today.
Boss: Oh. That's right, it is.
Me: Can I go back to my cubicle now?
Boss: Actually I need some budget numbers from you.
Me: Oh...okay...
Boss: Joke.
Me: Can you...stop making jokes now?

I want to go home so badly. And maybe never leave again.
My company's human resources organisation just sent out their weekly newsletter.

Coworker: Did you see the newsletter?
Sam: I'm enjoying the fact that the 13 Ways To Feel Better During A Bad Day At Work link doesn't work.
Coworker: Ways to feel better: contemplate the void.
So, all my ducklings were in Baltimore at a conference this weekend, when a royal family arrived. We don't know which one. Just, a royal family.

This royal family decided they were going to stay in the hotel where the conference (that my staff were attending) was being held, and that they needed an entire floor of the hotel. Which meant that an entire floor of conference attendees got kicked out and, because the hotel was full, had to go to other hotels. This included two (but thankfully ONLY two) of my ducklings.

Why was the hotel so full? Well, there was the conference, of course.

And then there was Otakon, an east coast sci-fi convention that also happened this weekend. (Possibly answering the question "Why was a royal family visiting Baltimore?" Someone's a royal nerd!)

Me: Hey coworker, I hear the royal family kicked you out.
Coworker: Yeah, that was really strange. And then there was this other conference in town, it was...anime, everywhere...
Me: Otakon?
Coworker: That's the one! There were a lotta Batmans.
Me: How'd that go for you?
Coworker: Well, my new hotel room was next to a Sailor Moon.
Me: know what Sailor Moon is?
Coworker: I did after she explained it to me in breathless detail over the free continental breakfast.

Worlds colliding...
Oh man. I just found out I didn't make it past the phone screen portion of the interview process for the company I already work for.

You guys don't believe me when I say I look better on paper, but I think we have some pretty impressive proof right here.

Either way, it makes me feel much less guilty about flirting with other companies behind their backs. This New York job is looking more and more my speed.

About half of it was useful, which is more than usual, to be honest. And during the parts I already knew, I could surf tumblr on my phone. I don't get a lot of depth out of Tumblr but I have to admit for immediate shiny distractions it's kind of hard to beat.

I did LOL at the intro-to-profiles, which I didn't need but which did include using Bruce Wayne as an example. I suppressed the urge to point out that they left Damian Wayne off the "family members" portion. I thought possibly they did it because he's supposedly dead and I didn't want to get into the whole "living in denial, he's not dead, he's at summer camp" thing I've got going.

I had a colleague presenting, and I feel as though I may need to send him a link to my Presentations For Introverts post from a while ago. He talked SO FAST. I mean I do that too, talk fast when I'm nervous, but I don't think I'm actually capable of talking as fast as he did.

And then class was over and I got Wow Bao for dinner, yay. Though I'm going to have to wait a while to eat my delicious steamed bbq-pork-buns, since I ate lunch and I'm not accustomed to eating lunch. They did have roast beef sandwiches, but that sandwich Did Not Agree with me.

At least I'm home now, so I can process all the stuff I learned and also take a nap.
Me: Hello, Much Hated Coworker, I need information from you for this paper payment form you will be processing for me.
Much Hated Coworker: Why are you still filling out paper payment forms?
Me: Is there another option?
Much Hated Coworker: Yes, we have a digital form now.
Me: FINALLY. When did this happen?
Much Hated Coworker: Oh, about six...

I swore he was going to say weeks, which would have been bad enough, because I've been actively asking for a digital payment option for YEARS.

Much Hated Coworker: ...months now. I meant to call you.
Me: Six months, huh?
Much Hated Coworker: We had some training classes for people who handle high volumes of financial stuff.
Me: Okay, well, send me the URL, thank you. *hangs up* I'm going to kill him.
Awkward Coworker: *approaches*
Me: I'm going to kill someone today. It probably won't be you, but don't test me.
Awkward Coworker: I can come back.
Me: No, I won't be less homicidal later.

URGE TO KILL RISING. Poor Awkward Coworker.
Tonight was our annual Big Fancy Fucking Deal event at work, where we all have to volunteer to host rich people with no manners.

I'm exaggerating. Some of them have manners. Kind of.

I usually work an evening shift because they're held at fancy downtown bars where the food is, if not good, at least intriguing. Tonight's was actually very good; I had a slice of fig-prosciutto-parmesan pizza. Which means I have now seen the face of God. For the record, the face of God is fig-prosciutto-parmesan pizza.

But I am so tired that aside from that slice of religious experience, I don't actually have the energy to put food in my mouth and chew. Apparently my receptionisting skills are rusty. I did make friends with the photographer, though. At least any photos I bombed will probably look good.

One guy stood behind me with his back to me, wallflowering his ass off, for like an hour. I felt bad for him but at the same time STOP STANDING RIGHT BEHIND ME. Go stand behind the buffet! It's what I do!
Ugh, this week.

I legitimately spent most of April fucking up all the assignments I was given, mainly because a) I was only there for like half the month and b) I was A LITTLE STRESSED. But I don't know if I was actually fucking up more than everyone else, or if we were getting especially-closely-monitored because the documents were going in front of a major bigwig. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate the latter but I can't be sure. Benchmarking, how does it work.

Anyway, I noticed today that the head of research was sending me proofreading comments and copying the director of our department. Who I technically work directly for, so it's not like she's especially intimidating, as she has trouble making her printer work. Still, it's not normal procedure. I'm not sure if it's because I'm about to get a disciplinary consult or if it's because I'm being considered for the research job that's opening up in June. The former would be horrifying, the latter awesome.

So of course I'm anticipating the former. Well, pessimists go through life being pleasantly surprised.

At this point, while I enjoy making 30% more money than I did as a receptionist, I do kind of miss it. There was very little stress and I spent a lot more time writing.

I am going to spend the weekend watching television in my pyjamas.
Randomly today I downloaded a BBC news program because it had an interesting title, and I put it on to play while I was making dinner. About five minutes into the program, I heard the name of a company that I was sure I knew, and then the name of a man which I was positive I recognised.

The news program is about how this guy is tied up in some nasty business -- he's on the side of the angels, at least I think so, but he and his company are being threatened because of it and one man's already been murdered. So I'm standing there, eating my dinner in the kitchen as I watch this narrative unfold, and my first thought is, oh man, when this is over I have to look him up in our database. That must be how I know him and I need to make sure we're tracking this story.

Sure enough, I'd done a profile on him a few months before the scandal broke.

The good news is that we definitely are tracking the story, so I ended up just making a note to pass the info on to the person who's been entering news reports on the whole affair. But it's totally surreal to randomly recognise the name of someone who's not especially famous and then go "Wait, where do I know that from? Oh my God, is that our Mr. X?"

You get really proprietary about the people you research, sometimes; it's not that you don't want anyone else researching them, but you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when you see them getting involved in the organisation or giving to it.

Here's the weird part. About a year ago I did a profile on a man -- call him Mr. Y -- who I became convinced was involved in some nasty business from the other end. A person's potential criminal proclivities are not something you put in a profile unless they've been convicted (reasons of privacy and protecting the organisation make this necessary) but I conveyed my concerns to the appropriate people verbally to make sure they knew, and let the matter rest.

I'm relatively sure Mr. Y is gunning for Mr. X, if not in an active way then in at least a passive, political way. It's fascinating to see it come together. I'm totally going to be watching it unfold from the safety of another country and behind the protective wall of a computer screen.

Okay, as promised, I would like to tell you the story of what this place -- let's call them Comic Sans University -- did to me yesterday.

So, as many of you may recall, I applied to a job and received a reply in comic sans font, which I am told is actually a standard font for external replies within Comic Sans University, presumably because it's "friendly".

Yesterday I had a pair of meetings that began early in the morning and lasted until well after lunch. These were meetings that were scheduled, but they still caught me a little off-guard because my life, you guys, MY LIFE.

During one of the meetings I got a phone call from the city Comic Sans University is located in, and at the end of the meeting I checked my voicemail. The voicemail that had been left was from a woman working for Comic Sans University, who gave me a garbled and half-intelligible story about phone errors. She said she'd called my current-place-of-work reference, thinking she would get me -- why? I could not tell you -- so that she could ask permission to check my references.

Now, to begin with, for most positions at this level references are generally checked after you interview -- at my current job they're not even checked until after you've been offered the job. But at least she wanted to ask permission, right?

Except that when she reached my boss instead of me, she decided she didn't really need my permission, and just went ahead with the reference check. With my current boss. Who doesn't know I'm job searching. Or didn't, until yesterday!

So I called her back and told her please DO NOT call my OTHER CURRENT BOSS, THANKS. I'm pretty sure I torpedoed any chance I had of getting an interview, but fuck Comic Sans University, it's not like I was going to take the job there if they offered it. Mum is pretty sure what she did is some kind of illegal, but I don't know. Interstate job sabotage, perhaps?

My boss is super-cool about it; she thought maybe they were running some kind of scam, which is why she mentioned it to me in an email later that day. We talked this morning and I explained that in no way was I ever going to take a job at Comic Sans University, and she actually gave me some really enlightening career advice.

So the net result is a gain, but let this be a lesson to all of you: Never give your phone number to an organisation with poor taste in fonts.
HAHAHA Awkward Coworker and I just spent a good five minutes trying to explain the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars to one of our mutual coworkers, who has never seen either one. I know I'm a huge nerd, but I don't even particularly enjoy Star Wars and I've still seen it.

Coworker: Which is the one that has the guy who makes the animal noises?
Sam: Um....
Awkward Coworker: What's he look like?
Coworker: A big dog.
Sam: Can you make the noise?
Coworker: I've only ever seen it in a youtube clip!
Awkward Coworker: That's okay, Sam's just trying to get you to make a silly noise.
Sam: I kind of am.
Awkward Coworker: We know these things.
Coworker: He has an ammo belt.
Awkward Coworker: Chewbacca!
Sam: Okay, we need to walk away now, because any nerdier and I'm going to have to get my action figures out.
Awkward Coworker: He doesn't really have action figures.
Sam: I'm pretty sure I have one in my bag at this minute. I know I have a Captain America pez dispenser in there.

I totally have an Iron Man action figure in my bag AND Travelin' Jack Harkness. Well, it pays to be prepared.
Sam: So do you have any plans this weekend?
Coworker: Well, we're going to do some training for Climb For The Cure.
Sam: Oh, like rock-climbing?
Coworker: No, you climb stairs. This one is 95 flights.
Sam: ...seriously?
Coworker: I know. It's like a nightmare.
Sam: So...when you train. Do you, do you go to a building somewhere, and at least climb to somewhere interesting?
Coworker: No, we go to this nature preserve that has a lot of stairs up to the top of a hill and we climb there. At this point we have to do five or six trips up and down.
Sam: That's...dedication.
Coworker: Well, I don't want to die in a stairwell.
Sam: You are more hardcore than I will ever be.

Because the truth is, I hate stairs. You guys know what I would do for the cure? I would take an elevator to the top of the building for the cure, and then I would hand out snacks to other people for the cure. Being fair to me, I don't even care what we're curing, but the limit of my dedication to any cure is a) giving money and b) handing out snacks.
Once in a while when I'm looking through jobs and selecting where to apply, I do have to take a step back and ask myself what the hell I'm doing. Because if I were offered a job in, say, Florida, I would probably not take it. No offense to Floridians, but you live in my own personal version of hell, climactically speaking.

Anyway, the point is, sometimes I'm all, could I live in this place? And if the answer is no, generally I don't apply. But yesterday I only found one job, in the deep, deep South, and I thought, why not. It will be amusing at any rate.

This morning I got a letter confirming that they had received my resume and that I had qualified to be considered a candidate, so if they liked my resume they'd be calling me in the next two weeks sometime.

I feel that only a screengrab can truly capture the glory of the reply I received.

Not to be a font snob, but even if I don't care that you just sent me a letter in Comic Sans (and I don't), surely someone at your organisation cares that you just sent every prospective employee who just applied a letter in Comic Sans. Easy to read it might be, but professional it is not.
For April Fool's today, our team decided to turn in fake research reports on fictional people.

This is what I do for a living, you guys.

Mr. Anthony Stark... )
So, then the Prestigious East Coast Organisation called me and set up an interview with me via Skype for next week.

This means three things:

1. I need to learn how to work Skype. (No worries, I'm on it, I have sourced a tutor)
2. I need to research the company over the weekend because I am NOT SURE WHO I JUST SPOKE TO.
3. FUuuuuuuuuuck I wasn't supposed to actually succeed.

Okay so here's the problem: a lot of the time I do stuff that I don't expect to go anywhere, and I'm okay with that. Because I like having money and I like doing a job that is frankly kind of impressive when it's not being super-creepy, but I am not actually what you might call an amibitious person, I just don't have that many fucks to give. I was a receptionist for three years because it gave me time to read a lot of fanfic. This is the level I'm at, okay.

So when Mum started making noises about me moving south, especially after the inheritance came through, I came up with A PLAN: put her off for six months because JESUS CHRIST I DON'T WANT TO MOVE. And the plan to put her off for six months involved looking around for a new job, because a new job might mean I could keep working in the loop. The plan was to say to her, every time she brought up moving, no Mum, I have a plan, my plan is to jobsearch until September and then decide about moving, so we can't talk about it until September.

And my assumption was that I would eventually keep this job and bite the bullet and move, because I like my job and coworkers and salary and change is terrifying and unpleasant. At least this way I'd have six months to psych myself up over the move.

See, the thing is, I am the least ambitious person with the best work ethic ever, so even if I am doing something I'm not supposed to succeed at, I am incapable of doing it badly on purpose. Which means that somehow, when I do the stuff I'm expecting to fail at, I very rarely fail.

I KNOW. How messed up am I? Pretty messed up!

I could have said I was looking for jobs and then not looked for jobs. That would have been so easy! But no. I went out and applied for jobs with a killer cover letter and a resume that has actual work skills on it, and this company is going to interview me and give me a skills assessment and maybe offer to hire me and I don't know if I want to move to 22 Small Town Street, Middle Of Nowhereville, Mid-Atlantic East Coast, and work for new people I don't know who I might not like and who might not be nerdy like my people are here. And what if they want me to work more and write fanfic less?

But the job I'm applying for would be a career step, and it might involve more money, and I'm not sure I'm constitutionally capable of saying no to epic adventures even when I should. My track record of not doing life-changing things every five years is not good.

This is fandom all over again. I am apparently doomed to succeed in spite of myself.
I am doing my best to get some research profiles done this afternoon, but one of the guys I'm researching has a name that is apparently often used in email bank scams, and the other shares his name with a guy who stole like three million dollars from the Chinese government before fleeing to America.


Also, I discovered at one point the North China University of Petroleum Employees changed its name to the Beijing Institute of Economic Management, which seems like something of a drastic shift in focus. I mean, it makes sense, but still.

Given the crazy tone of some of the articles I've read while researching Chinese businessmen, my afternoon has been a melange of communism, xenophobia, and bank fraud. It'd be cinematic if I hadn't spent it sitting at a computer.

One of the guys who works in my office I call Office Grandpa -- I will probably slip up one day and call him this to his face -- because he genuinely is the grandpa figure for the whole office. He brings me hard candy occasionally. He is our archivist, but he has yet to firmly grasp how to download attachments from emails, which I have to admit makes me nervous for the state of our records.


The building cafeteria has apparently taken away the little bins of condiments they used to have, like packets of ketchup and mayo and soy sauce and whatnot. It has replaced them with BOTTLES. BOTTLES!

He is writing an angry letter of protest right now. And I totally get the rage, I don't eat in the cafeteria much anymore but I like being able to grab ketchup packets and not have to sit down in the cafeteria lunch room to eat. But he is so angry. He has managed to work his anger over the condiments into every discussion he has had with anyone today.

Coworker: I think I have raccoons in my attic.
Sam: I really hope that's not a metaphor.
Coworker: No, actual raccoons. It's really noisy up in there. I can't figure out why they'd go in the attic though, there's no food.
Sam: Well, it's warmer than the outside, I guess.
Coworker: Yeah, but why now?
Sam: Sudden cold snap? New hole in the roof?
Coworker: But there's nothing there!

Sometimes people are determined to be confused even when little to no confusion is warranted. :D
So, when someone has been working for my company for five years, we reward them with a cookie and a balloon.


I used to be in charge of taking the cookie-and-balloon deliveries and hiding them until someone from HR could present them to the lucky employee, and I always laughed because A COOKIE. It was a large cookie, at least.

Anyway, I just did some math and it turns out my fifth-year anniversary working for the company was about ten days ago. I suspect I got lost in the shuffle because I changed jobs, and honestly I have a genuine dislike of balloons that borders on neurosis so I'm just as glad, but I am cracking up laughing that for three years I handled cookies-and-balloons and on the fifth year, they forgot me.

Mind you, the raise I got at my last salary evaluation satisfies more than a cookie does. I will keep my salary and my health benefits and my nerdy coworkers, HR can have the balloon.


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