Where’s Waldo

So, at work they take the Halloween costume contest *pretty* seriously. This year, our office decided to go all in, and went full on Where’s Waldo mode in downtown Chicago.

If you want to play along, you can download a hi-res version of the photo here, and you can see the full cast of characters to look for here (and if you really can’t find one of us, you can find the cheat-sheet here).

I will tell you that I am a bit difficult to find, but not because I found a particularly sneaky place to hide. It happened to be VERY WINDY that day, so at the time the picture was taken my cape was about 6 feet over my head, my beard was covering my face, and I was laughing like a lunatic.

See, the thing is, we had to take this picture about a week before Halloween. While I’m sure it would have been awkward walking around the streets of Chicago in a wizard costume on Halloween, it certainly added a little something to be doing it NOT on Halloween. It was all “Ha ha, look at that guy dressed like a wizard!” on the way across the bridge, but suddenly it turns into “AAAHHHH WTF” when someone comes around the corner and discovers a random wizard with his beard up his nose laughing like a lunatic. At least one person saw me, turned around, and noped on out of there.

In fact, the day of the photo shoot I had just gotten into my costume when I realized I had a web-meeting with people in California. “Uh, why are you dressed like a wizard?” one of the guys said when I sat down. “Casual Monday,” I replied, and it was never brought up again for the rest of the meeting.

I guess they really have gotten to know me around the office.

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Kids can embarrass you in weird ways

I’ve mentioned before that I spend a lot of time listening to music on youtube at work. Well, the other day I was minding my own business, listening to music, and a senior guy who is sort of an outside consultant came over to ask me a question. As he was staring at my screen, I was forced to bring up the webpage and pause the music, so I could hear him. The problem is, I was listening to a Laurie Berkner song, and though he couldn’t hear the music, the video was clearly a kid’s video, with little animated bumble bees flying around, etc.

Now it could have been a lot worse, lord knows there are plenty of uncomfortable visuals in music videos. So I probably shouldn’t be embarrassed about listening to the same music as my 2 year old, and that guy has kids anyway, so I’m sure he can understand how badly kids music gets in your head. But still, I’m sure he was like, “What the?” when he saw what I was listening to. Very embarrassing.

So here it is, in all it’s embarrassing glory. Feel free to watch at work.

Anybody else ever do something like that? No, probably just me.

Common Printer

At work there is a printer in the lunch room. It is a really fast printer, and also the only one that’s color, but I’m not sure why people use it to print personal stuff and then forget to pick it up. I don’t understand why people would print some of this stuff out in the first place, but if they were going to print it out, especially in the most public of all rooms, you’d think they would make an effort to pick them up.

I always browse the orphaned print outs while I’m waiting for my lunch to microwave. They’re always just spread out all over the table, face up. I don’t even need to move them to read them. I’m just amazed at the amount of information to be had there. Some things are only interesting in the work sense, like who’s going to which conference and what important visitors are coming soon or who is submitting who for which award. But some are a lot more interesting, like personal emails containing gossip,  cable bills (no questionable movies though, I checked) job postings as if someone is searching for a new job, bank statements, and even people complaining about their bosses.

The other day though, I think I found the one that takes the cake. Someone had left a photocopy of a receipt for lice removal products. I don’t know who, but I will certainly be taking a closer look at all my co-workers.

Raoullllllll

There’s a guy where I work, let’s call him Raoul*. He’s a professional guy, possibly even a lawyer. I think the last time I saw him he was wearing a tie. So if this guy is an intelligent, well educated guy, can someone please explain to me why he adds a bunch of extra l’s at the end of his name when he sends and email??

The first time I got an email from Raoulllllll I thought, “Hey, maybe his finger slipped or something.” The next 10 or so times I got an email from him I thought, “Maybe a long time ago he accidentally messed up his signature on his email and he doesn’t know it.” But then I took the time to count the l’s and I discovered that it is not consistent! So he must be typing in all those extra l’s every time. Raoulllllll. And this is not just to me, he signs things this way to actual customers.

So tell me, what is he thinking? Is his name really Raoulllllll with a long ‘l’ sound at the end and he is silently cursing everyone for getting his name wrong all these years? Does he just have a jittery ring finger? Does he think it makes him look cool? Any other theories? Because I am baffled.

*Name changed to protect the innocent.

The tastiest part is the soul

Over the weekend I had to trot, trot to Boston to do a little work.  While I was there, I was very bold and adventurous trying food that I normally wouldn’t try.  One night we were out at the Fisherman’s Festival and my boss stopped at a booth serving clams.  He was pretty excited because, being French, they ate a lot of fresh seafood growing up.  So he ordered a plate and convinced me to try one.  I had never had one before and figured I probably never will, since it is not something that would normally appeal to me.  So he squeezed some lemon on there and I ate it.  I was pleasantly surprised!  I mean, I like seafood quite a bit, so I don’t know what I expected, but it was good.  Saltier than I imagined.  I would like to try one with the hot sauce maybe.  Anyway, we continued walking along and I inquired what the difference between clams and mussels were.  He started explaining that (among many other differences) when the lemon juice hits the mussels they shriveled up.

I stopped cold.  “You mean they are alive??”  He laughed and said, “Yeah, what do you think you just ate?”  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me, and it doesn’t change anything about the fact that I actually thought it tasted pretty good, but I’m sure glad he told me that after I ate it.  I was fairly horrified.  I just imagined me chewing and chewing and ending his little life.

I also had the opportunity to eat an entire lobster.  Again my boss was there to demonstrate all the tricky bits and how to properly dismantle him.  Again, it was super, super tasty but I just had to keep suppressing the knowledge that I was tearing this animal apart with my bare hands.  Especially when there was something disgusting, like the contents of its stomach.  The thing is, I have no problem with killing animals and I have no problem with the awful conditions of slaughter houses, etc.  I think if you eat meat or fast food, or wear leather, etc. you better come to grips with the fact that that’s what is happening.  I have no remorse over that, I’m no PETA lover.  But I don’t like to be reminded that my food came from an actual animal; I’d rather someone else took care of that part.  I mean, I want my garbage collected but that doesn’t mean I want to actually do that part myself!

I also tried clam chowder, which was ALSO delicious.  So, that was 3 adventerous forrays into the New England food world and 3 big hits.  Although I’m still not sure I could bite into another clam knowing that it would be that bite that ended his tiny life.

Work Stats

I stumbled across some stats about work the other day and since I’m always wondering stuff like how many people work there, I thought it was interesting:

Campus: 1,500 acres and 99 buildings
Workforce: 8,650 employees (including students)
Budget (2007): $412M Department Of Energy + $119M non-DOE + $20 M Dept. of Homeland Security

Business Class

And by business class, I mean the measure of my character, not the mode by which I traveled.

Today I had to fly to Washington D.C. to give a demo and then flew back the same day, all of this in a suit and tie.  I felt very important and very professional very hmm hmm hmm and very awesome.  The only thing I was missing was a blackberry that I could use to importantly send text messages and other business missives such as, “We’re here” “Yep, we just landed” “I’ll let you know when I get off” like the person sitting next to me where I could read over his shoulder.  But if I hadn’t been able to read I would have thought he was doing important business stuff, especially since he had to get right on it the minute the plane was on the ground.

The only bad thing was that I had to get up at 3:30 in the morning and I didn’t sleep on the plane.  So I should probably go to bed, huh?