1. Bureaucracy. Wednesday morning I received an email from the Office of Personnel Management. The sole purpose of that email was asking me to forward the email, a request to take a survey, to my supervisor. Yes, before anyone asks, it was a legitimate email versus some kind of elaborate and badly executed fishing expedition. Every time I start to think that maybe we have reached peak bureaucracy, Uncle goes ahead and sets the bar just a little bit higher.
2. Meetings that wouldn’t even justify being an email. The bosses called a global “all hands” meeting for our corner of the great green machine this week. There were 80 invitees in person or online. Squarely in the middle of when I’d generally be breaking for lunch. Surely, you’d think, this would be for the transmission of important information or critical organizational changes. No. It was 30 seconds of regurgitated talking points and 14 minutes of birthday cake for one of the top line managers. He’s a good enough guy and all, but if you’re ever wondering why morale has moved on from being in the shitter to being in the septic tank, I’ll present exactly this sort of asshattery as evidence.
3. Pants. I had to stop what I was doing in the middle of the day today and put on pants. Between the rain and the plummeting ambient air temperature, it was just plain uncomfortable. I’m not mentally ready to concede that the long summer is over. I’ve obviously spent too much time growing accustomed to conducting the business of the day in tee shirts and shorts. Making the transition back to actual pants feels… onerous.
As we trundle towards the middle of December, we’re almost constantly reminded that “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Who came up with that nonsense? It’s cold. It’s dark all the damned time. For about two weeks people pretend they’re not truly insufferable douchebags the other fifty weeks of the year. We collectively ignore all evidence to the contrary and insist that the vast sweep of human history on this planet has anything at all to do with peace and goodwill.
I don’t care about most of that, really. I can deal with the cold. I can tolerate fake ass people. God knows I’ve got enough experience at that. I don’t mind the snow or ice when it comes right down to it.
It’s the fact that I’m sitting here at 10:00 AM on a Wednesday and the sun, shining through my home office window, is now nearly at its zenith for the day – and that means by the time I turn around again it’s going to be headed back towards the far horizon and it will be nearly dark by the time I shut the lid on my laptop for the day. Everything else is marginally annoying, but it’s the 27 minutes of non-work time daylight that makes this wonderful time of year excruciating.
With the exception of knowing that the solstice is fast approaching and we’ll start adding precious minutes of daylight soon, this is just an absolute rubbish time of year and that’s absolutely a hill I’m willing to die on.
I hate that we’re losing a few minutes of daylight every day. The older I get, the less enamored I am with the onset of cold weather. Fall, as a season, doesn’t have much to recommend it. Even so, fall is a happy time of year.
Aside from fresh apples, fall really only has one major factor in its favor – the fact that so many of my favorite living authors seem to have themselves plugged into a fall release schedule for their newest works. The first of many pre-orders has started hitting the streets and will be showing up on my doorstep in dribs and drabs between now and early December.
There aren’t many things I’d rather be doing than settling in with a good book and some spiked apple cider, so despite its other clear down sides, I’ll be firmly embracing the season’s slow descent into seemingly perpetual darkness.
Today was the first of many concessions made to the changing season. Putting on jeans instead of shorts isn’t exactly abject surrender, but it does mark the day as the tipping point of the long slide into hibernation weather.
I’m ready for a bit of a break from schlepping hoses all over the yard, keeping the grass in check, and keeping up with the long list of other items on the summer maintenance list. Even though I’ve largely been home this summer, the indoor “stuff” always takes a back seat when it’s nice enough to be outside. With the extra traffic in here for the last six months it’s probably well past time to shift focus.
I’ll be in love with these days of coffee on the porch during these increasingly crisp morning… right up to the point where crisp gives way to cold. After that, of course, I’ll spend a few months pondering the virtue of those creatures that head south for the winter.
For now, I’ll appreciate the minor concessions… and hope that we catch a last few days of Indian summer in the coming weeks that will make such minor concessions briefly unnecessary.
1. Logos. People use their cars to broadcast things that are important to them to the rest of the traveling public – their favorite sports team, the fact that they’re memorializing a lost loved one by plastering their birth and death dates on the back window, or their affiliation with PETA, the NRA, or their great love of some random geographic location. What I never really expected to see was someone driving past with a two foot tall Under Armor logo affixed to his back window. I’m sure they make some very nice clothing, but for some reason it feels pretty much like me having a giant Fruit of the Loom logo emblazoned across the back of my truck. No matter how comfy they might be, it’s a safe bet that almost no one on the planet actually cares about your choices in underwear… but maybe I could interest you in a nice Dale Earnhardt “3” with angel wings if you’re really looking to class up your ride a little.
2. Printing. It’s apparently the hardest function known to network engineering. I don’t generally like having hard copies floating around, but there are just some moments when you can’t avoid needed a paper copy. Sure, that’s mostly because we’re woefully behind the curve when it comes to adopting ultra-portable computers and tablet technology, but that’s a different rant for a different night. All I really need is a printer that works reliably on the three days a month when I actually do need a dead tree copy of something. I can manage to keep a 99.99% up time on my home network with a history degree and a reasonable dose of common sense, surely the cast of hundreds who theoretically have advanced training and education in networking can come up with a way to make the bloody printers work.
3. Darkness at dawn. I’m ready for the cool, crisp evenings, but I’m not in any way prepared for the 6AM darkness that comes along with the end of summer. Over the last week I’ve regretfully noted the darkness encroaching a little further into the morning routine. At the end of July, the sun sparkled on the dew covered grass long before 6AM. Here at the end of August, there’s barely enough light to make out cars and houses on the other side of the road. In another few weeks it’ll be pitch black for the entire morning routine. A few weeks after that, it’ll be dark for the evening routine too. Maybe there’s something poetic about 10 hours of work and commute bookended by pitch blackness, but I trade in prose, not poetry, so the long, dark nights can bugger off because I’m nowhere near ready for them yet.
Last year I was fastidious about winterizing the rental house. Since I’ve been waiting two weeks now to get the go ahead for a simple repair of the faucet/knob assembly in the bathroom, my level of interest in doing anything over and above the basics is pretty slim this time around. That translates into adding some weatherstripping and insulation and a few other odds and ends to save on the winter’s electric bill. Anything over and above that is just not going to happen. For the last 18 months I’ve been doing my best to treat the place like it was mine. Since that doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere, well, if it’s not a hazard to life and welfare I guess I’ll just go ahead and let it fall apart. It’s a pity that it’s got to be that way, but I can’t see myself expecting any less from my landlord than I expect from myself as a landlord. Silly expectations.
1. Fall. It’s not fall specifically, but I do hate that by 2:30 this afternoon there wasn’t even a hint of sun shining in the courtyard at work. I am so not ready for it to be dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home. And fall only serves as reminder of this upcoming unpleasantness.
2. Apple. Again. This week you officially announced that next week you’ll be making an official announcement about the next iPhone. You guys are killing me. Just let me plunk down my money and order the damned thing already. And for the love of God, will you please bring back pre-ordering? I’ll get up hours before the ass crack of dawn to drive 60 miles to the Apple Store if I have to, but please don’t make me.
3. The Federal Hiring Process. I got an email this afternoon letting me know I’d be was in the running for a position I applied for in February. Seriously? It took you seven months to get around to putting the list together, FEMA?
4. Facebook. Your new changes have crushed the number of clicks I’m getting from Facebook to my blog. I hate you for that, but since I’m way too cheap to pay for ads, I’ll eventually figure out a way around you.
5. People who ask for a read receipt on every email. You know who you are and you suck. That is all.
Since none of these things are big enough to stand alone, here’s an amalgamation of the things that are annoying me this week. Somehow it feels like this could become a weekly feature. Trust me, this is nowhere close to an exhaustive list.
1. How the hell is it September already? I feel like I just finished unpacking my boxes a few days ago and now expect to look outside and see three feet of snow on the ground at any moment. This does not qualify as having fun and therefore time has no business going so fast.
2. Enough with the hurricane talk. The wave that became Hurricane Katia was all of what, 200 yards off the African coast before the news channels picked it up as a major weather story? Hey, I’m all for preparedness but since I still have the canned goods and bottled water I bought for Irene, I think we can give Katia a pass until she gets within a thousand miles, ok?
3. Stubbing your toe first thing in the morning always sucks. It sucks more when the toe in question has an ingrown nail. At least I think it’s ingrown based on the completely unqualified research I’ve conducting using the world’s leading search engine. All I know it is hurts like a mother when anything touches it, which is pretty much all the time since my employer insists that we must wear shoes.
4. Moammar Gadhafi. Seriously. This douchebag needs to just be dead already.