Category Archives: Occupational Hazards

The Game

Tomorrow evening, I won’t be able to be here at home enjoying myself in quiet calm.  Instead, I’ll be playing The Game.  We all have to play The Game at various times.  In my case, I have to go candlepin bowling after work with co-workers.  Other times, we have to buy candy, popcorn, or Girl Scout cookies.  Other times, we have to chip in to buy gifts for bosses and VPs, even though they make much, much more than we do and they wouldn’t think to ever buy us anything.  And if they do, they use the company credit card. 

I used to be pretty good at avoiding The Game.  The same boss that arranged for this second annual bowling night (if you can call candlepin bowling) also organized monthly summer cookouts in the courtyard of our office park over the last few years.  There were many, many things that I would have rather been doing than sitting around with these Dilbert rejects, so over a four- or five-year period, I was able to hone my craft in dodging The Game.  The very first time, a Friday, was a work of art.  Captain Larby and Mrs. Larby were coming into town for the weekend, so I high-tailed it out of the office on that Friday at 5pm, telling my boss that I had to leave because I had “friends coming in from out of town.”  Yes, they were, but not until the next day.  I didn’t lie.  I just used some creative chronology to my advantage.

Several other dodges entailed invoking The Costanza Method.  See, the original cookouts began close to 5pm, but later on, they started around 3pm.  This made it more difficult on me, but if I acted stressed out and frustrated while shuffling papers and typing away at my desk, I could convince everyone that I was busy and couldn’t break away for any longer than it took to get a burger and some potato salad.  On still another dodge – the most satisfying – I moved my car to an unseen part of the parking lot at lunchtime.  When the cookout began a couple of hours later, everyone was out in the courtyard, eating, drinking, and talking.  Two co-workers and I bolted undetected out of a side door to our obstructed cars and were home free. 

Now, we’re in a new office without a courtyard, so cookout avoidance is a game of the past.  Thank goodness.  But there are new Games and my mighty deflection techniques aren’t infallible.  This bowling night was initially scheduled for a few weeks ago.  I declined the invitation, citing major (and not at all faked) allergies; it was truly a message from God that He was trying to help me out.  But my boss didn’t blink.  I’m not saying she rescheduled because of me, but she set up a new night and a chief, if unwritten, rule is that you can’t dodge the same event twice in a row.  Like the 2007 Christmas party, for example…but that’s a story for another time.

Dodgeball on Trampolines

Who knew? Who ever thought of this is an absolute genius. This was our recent off-site for our department . And let me just say, it’s as fun as it looks.

There are three rooms — a giant trampoline room, a trampoline room setup as a dodgeball court, and a trampoline room with a giant pool of foam squares that you dive into.

Having this place all to ourselves, with 150 or so co-workers was beyond entertaining. Needless to say there were a number of injuries (sprained ankles, skinned knees & elbows, etc.). Nobody really escaped unscathed. If you ask anyone, though — it was worth it.

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Spanning over the course of the last few days has been Google’s yearly Ski Trip, divided into three ‘waves’ of Googlers who descend upon Squaw Valley in Lake Taho, CA. This was my first foray into the downhill snow adventure sport realm, and I was given the opportunity to choose between Snowboarding and Skiing.

Considering that I know so many more snowboarders than skiiers, I figured it’d be a good skill to learn so that if I was to ever go to the mountain with my friends, I’d be able to hold my own — or at least try. Plus, I wanted to see what all the buzz is about.

I guess I found out. Or at least, my body is telling me that this was supposed to be fun. I went through a great lesson with a number of other people learning to snowboard and spent most of my day on the bunny slope. After a few hours, I was actually starting to get it.. I could go down on a run and pretty much only fall once or twice, once I got going. In the early afternoon falling was fine. The problem came around 3pm or so when the snow disappeared and a thick layer of ice coated the entire mountain. This made falling much more painful.

Despite improving my skills, "catching an edge" and flying face first onto solid ice was not pleasant. I was only able to take so much of this torture before I had to call it quits for the day. All-in-all, I had fun (I think) but.. needless to say I am h-u-r-t-i-n-g today.

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My afternoon fix

Sometime back in January my company bought one of those stand-alone, single-use coffee machines. We had one back at bcom known as Flavia — which was something like the office joke. Some may disagree, but I found it unappealing. Though I don’t know the brand of this new coffee aparatus, I can tell you that it brews Green Mountain Coffee “cups,” which I thoroughly enjoy.

Prior to the coffee machine, I used to spend a $1.50 each day at Dunkin Donuts for a medium coffee. The coffee was almost always burnt or screwed up in some way shape or form. The new coffee machine has not only left my wallet more full, but it also has made me a much happier person overall. No more morning kvetching about how someone managed to mess up my coffee once again. It has also, however, turned me into a much more frequent coffee drinker.

I have one cup before I leave the house (to ensure that I make it to work without falling asleep), then the morning cup at the office. My newest habit, however, is a coffee late in the afternoon. At first I started doing it just to get some more energy before going to the gym, but it became a ritual of sorts. Today, though, I was too busy this afternoon to make a run to the kitchen and get an afternoon coffee. For the first time, I can say that I’ve become addicted to the afternoon beverage.

I came home tonight and opted not to run due to some soreness in my knees that were a result of yesterday’s work out. I then proceeded to yawn, and think about taking a nap. I can’t remember the last time I took a nap when I got home from work. Even now, as I write this, I can feel my eyelids getting heavy — and could go to sleep right now if I felt like it.

I’ve come to depend on my afternoon fix, and now I’m obviously feeling the withdrawl symptoms. And to think that I used to have around 5 cups a day when I was in college. Sheesh. It’s a wonder I got any sleep at all back then.

No Love for Cool Jesus

You might remember my musings about annoying co-worker WWIII.  She’s the one who calls herself “The Source” and nearly did the happy dance when I told her I was eating Chinese food.  Her office is on the floor above mine and just minutes ago, she came downstairs to chat with her buddy Big Pappy (also of Diatribe infamy) and ask if Big Pappy wanted a coffee from Starbucks.  Big Pappy declined and WWIII moved on to Hardy Train in the cube next to me.  Hardy Train likewise declined and, since my cube is closest to the door, I braced myself for her intrusion into my cube to ask me if I was interested in a coffee.  I braced, but there was no intrusion.  She just kept on walking right through the door and to the parking lot.  Hardy Train immediately emailed me to confirm I had been dissed.  That’s fine.  It stung for a moment, but I’m over it.  I didn’t want a Starbucks coffee, but it’s always nice to be asked.  Unfortunately for WWIII, she is now dead to me.  Unless she does something extraordinarily generous, like buy me the Ice Man comic book series (only 4 issues, but the Holy Grail for Cool Jesus) for my birthday, then I will treat her like the ghost she now is.  That’s how I roll.

The Source?

I was heating up some leftovers for lunch the other day when strange and annoying co-worker WWIII approached.  She sniffed around the microwave and this transpired…

WWWIII:  “Hmmmm…smells good.  Whatcha makin’?”

Cool Jesus:  [Hesitant to respond because she is Chinese and I could envision this becoming an incident, but I finally answered] “Chinese leftovers.”

WWIII:  “Oh yeah!  Right on.  From the source!” [and then she walked to the ladies room]

I was left scratching my head over that one.  The source?  Was she saying that, since she is Chinese, she is the source?  Was I symbolically eating her?  And why was she so excited?  Does she always get that way when she sees non-Asians eating Chinese food?  It’s not like I go to IHOP and high five everyone eating crepes.