Thursday, June 30, 2005

nice day for a fire drill

While in the middle of reading a particularly riveting article about Clay Aiken’s food likes and dislikes, the fire alarm went off. Now, as the Safety Committee Chair, I had no prior knowledge of this and plan to make some changes at the next meeting. As you probably guessed, Safety Ray orchestrated this grand monthly event.

Apparently, Clay Aiken is allergic to nuts, mushrooms, coffee, mint, chocolate and shellfish. I say we put him out of his misery now. I saw Clay on the Jesus channel a couple of weeks ago. I wonder how much he charges for private concerts? It would be funny to hire him, then throw wet wads of toilet paper at him while he’s singing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

flawless, ninja

I had to do some traveling today, and upon entering the highway on-ramp, I was instantly met by a tall, lanky native or Hispanic looking guy. He had scraggly long black hair, a black, kind of long and unkempt moustache, and squinty eyes. His skin was very dark brown; it seems he has spent a great deal of time outside somewhere, someplace very sunny. As soon as I stopped for the light just prior to the on-ramp, with a ton of energy he ran over, and with a squeegee in each hand, he gave my winshield the best cleaning it's had in a while. He did it really quick, and stood back with a huge grin from ear to ear admiring his work. I wanted to give him a couple of bucks because he did such a good quick job, but I didn't have any money on me, just a handful of pennies. "Sorry," I said to him, "all I have is pennies right now."

He put his fist out in a gang handshake of some sort, and was still grinning. I noticed a couple of his knuckles were skinned, and a raw peach skin layer showed beneath the darker surface. I met his fist with my fist (I'm okay with that, I have anti-bacterial hand sanitizer if necessary) and completed the handshake. I hadn't noticed the light had been green for a minute, and other commuters were speeding around me. "I would like to come back tomorrow," I told him, "will you be here about this time?" (Thinking about it now, I think it's funny that I asked him if he would be here tomorrow).

He grinned, and said "flawless, ninja."

more about potato leek soup

For lunch today, I had a cup of the delicious potato leek soup. I looked at the time, and was late leaving for a job fair. The soup was at the optimum heat level, so I decided to drink it quickly. Tasty as it was, I forgot there are leek pieces in the soup, and couldn't help but feel like I was swallowing bugs. As I thought about this, my gag reflex went into action, and forced the hot beverage and leek pieces into my nasal cavity. Not wanting to get my office wear dirty, I leaned over several files and proceeded to snot rocket leek pieces into pertinent personal personnel files.

All the commotion must have caught Safety Ray's attention and he looked over at me, and asked "What did you bring me for lunch today?"

"Same thing I brought you yesterday," I replied.

I generally don't mingle with the others in the office as far as food gatherings go (except for the birthday breakfast pot lucks, and I think we aren't having anymore, due to a payroll staffer melting the desk surface with the waffle iron). Most of the people I work with eat horrendously. It's amazing they get a response from a body all beaten down from a daily, force-feeding of manufactured, processed, hydrogenized, anti-bacterial crap.

Monday, June 27, 2005

angry deaf guy

I am often the recipient of a relay phone call from profoundly deaf individuals who are employed by us. One gentleman in particular, named John, seems to be very annoyed every time I talk to him. I believe some of the problem is the communication barrier, I really don't know much sign language beyond "bathroom," "lunch," "break," and other basic words that may or may not relate to work. The first time we talked on the phone it sounded like the relay operator was silently cracking up, I could just hear a muffled phone noise followed by breathing that would indicate laughter suppression. I guess that part of things don't matter because John couldn't hear it anyway. I asked John to come in last week, because I felt we had hit a dead end trying to communicate via the phone.

It was interesting meeting John, as it is meeting anyone I've just emailed or talked to on the phone. I always try to imagine what they look like. I'm sure they do the same with me. John turned out to be a big, stocky red faced guy with a short almost military hair cut, and he is older, in his 40's at least. He talked to me, but it sounded all wheezy and was hard to understand. I was writing things, because I felt that would be the most direct way to communicate, and he didn't have the patience to see what I was writing. I was basically trying to coordinate some paperwork that confirmed his diagnosis, and he didn't understand what element I needed from him. I had to ask him to repeat himself several times. I expressed to me that he can read lips, but it helps if the person speaking speaks slower than I am (I am aware I talk a mile a minute). After a while, we left agreeing on what actions would take place and parted ways on amicable terms.

He called me to follow up at the end of last week, and I haven't received the information I was supposed to get from his previous place of employment. I told him I would call and see if I can hurry it along.

I had to initiate the relay call to John today, to let him know the paperwork I received from the previous employer is insufficient, and needed something else that he has (and I tried to explain to him throught the entire history of our dialogue it would save a lot of headaches if he just faxed me a copy). He seemed pissed that him being profoundly deaf wasn't enough, that we needed additional information. I apologized, and told him this would be easy. I can just see him cursing in his wheezy voice, or shaking his fist in frustration. We'll get it all figured out. I think he's a good guy.

John has the most beautiful handwriting. He writes slowly, but it is perfectly formed, almost as if it is a font being produced from his hand.


Jim is pretty inquisitive. Unlike Marcus, Jim isn't afraid of much, and is pretty bold. Whenever I pull in the driveway home from work, he runs up to the car and when I open the door he tries to hop in. In the picture above, he is trying to deter me from removing things from my car.

Safety Ray is watching me slurp on some soup with chopsticks, and eating a rice cake which seems to be more on the floor then in my mouth. I don't think he minds. He's a good neighbor.

dressed nice for yard work

I noticed a patriarchal head of a middle eastern family participating in the American pastime and chore of summer yard work. He was very nicely dressed, his gold bracelets and gold rimmed glasses glinting in the balmy humid sunshine. He was wearing a nice vertically striped shades of blue and white button down collared shirt, and freshly pressed khaki slacks. He had nice slip on loafers, and had a well manicured lawn. It was almost as if he was doing a touch up, not mowing, trimming and weeding. He didn't have any grass stuck to his feet or pants cuffs, and hadn't broken out in a sweat. His lawn was a plushy high quality (and probably chemically enhanced) grass.

He looked very happy, and his yard looked happy too.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Yoshita Fine Arts Gallery - pictures

Here's 2 pictures of the art I donated to the Yoshita Fine Arts Gallery. I only took two pictures and they are not good ones, it is not really possible to see the detail work I did. The bowl below has a iridescent graduating fish scale texture look (but smooth to the touch).

The piece below is done with black and clear coated iridescent glass. The camera flash reflects off of the center, which actually has a simple three sided flower sandblasted into the depression of the dish. I probably should have moved the wine glass before taking the picture.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

a little more about Ben

Isn't "Ben" an early Michael Jackson song or something?

Anyway that's not what I was going to mention about him--

I made some visual observations while we were talking, little subtlies I don't think most people would pick up on. First of all, he had a multi-colored yarn string around his neck, and two keys tied to it. It seemed dingy, because it looks like he wears it all the time until it wears out, then probably ties a new one to the keys and wears that until it wears out. He had some yarn burn on the back and sides of his neck, no doubt from wearing it, and having other articles of clothing chafing it against his neck. The string around his neck was mostly tucked into the collar of his button down shirt; he was wearing a stylish three piece suit, but not cheesy like he was dressing up for a wedding. The string rested under his tie, and to the casual onlooker it wasn't apparent. We engaged in conversation for so long, he felt comfortable after a while, and his body language would reflect it. When he was leaning on the table I saw the keys peek out from under his tie. He absently tucked them back under as he leaned closer to show me a bookmark he made using trigonometry (it's a really cool bookmark). He also has a website, I haven't had a chance to visit it yet but I bet it's really nice. Handing me the bookmark, I noticed his hands trembled slightly. This is probably a result of the medication that has him stabilized.

square dancing convention

Apparently there's a square dancing convention occuring this week. I've had the opportunity to interview a few people who were intense square dancers, and they say that there's over 10,000 squaredancers here, from all over the world to compete or something. I forgot this was happening, and ran a couple of errands on my lunch break, and took the main drag (MLK JR Blvd) down the street, past the convention center. At first, I thought there were a few people making bold fashion statements, when I saw an array of puffy short taffita garnished skirts, brightly colored and accessorized by cowboy boots and goofy straw hats.

I enjoy interviewing some people (not all, mind you some are lowlife freaks) and finding out about interesting experiences and previous jobs that seem really interesting. It's hard to remind myself that I'm an interviewer and not someone making casual conversation with an acquaintance. I see a lot of people I interview sometimes in the city, or at the grocery store, and everyone is starting to look familiar, but I can't remember names or anything. Not usually, unless it was a particularlly interesting interview. I remember the volitle people's names with no problem. Some people get offended that I don't remember them, and they get really put off when I tell them I can't remember who they are.

Some days I get busy brain, or brain overload. I think that's why I engage in so many afterwork activites (i.e. glass and kung fu). I feel like if I have down time, I should be doing something.

I'm trying to find a balance...

i know the pieces fit

I have all the pieces I just am trying to figure out how they all fit.

I met a guy named Ben earlier, he came in to apply for work. Usually we have applicants fill out a short application form and make an appointment for an orientation from there. The whole process should take 5 minutes. I ended up talking to Ben for a half hour.

He is young, probably a couple of years younger than me. He was in the Army for 7 years, until he had a schizohrenic episode. He wasn't aware he was schizophrenic, although he disclosed he had been feeling some weirdness and obessiveness, and never thought that schizophrenia was a possibility until he was in a psych ward with bandages on his wrists and over 1000 pages of engineering and math computations written. Apparently somewhere after the military and psych ward, before the next time he went into the psych ward he was homeless, and taught himself everything there is to know about a computer, inside and out, on line and off line. He's about to sell one of his computers (he has 2) so he can cover his living expenses, he has been out of work for a few years, with the exception of picking up some per diem work with people who need personal web pages developed.

He had so much to say, and was very intense. I probably should have cut our conversation short, but I couldn't, I physically wasn't able to and I didn't want to. Ben was very well dressed, looked sharp and was an attractive man. He was very intelligent, possibly one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. He showed me a scar on his wrist and I could see the conflict, worry and anxiety in his eyes. He was probably afraid I would judge him (I only judged him to be an incredible individual, that I am glad I had the brief crossing in paths with).

I refrain from sharing personal stuff with the applicants because I could talk to over a hundred people a day, and it can take a mental toll, I have my own share of baggage that I suppress so I can do my job and function in life. But that's a whole other blog entry.

I set him up to come in tomorrow. I hope we can put him to work, I would really like to help him.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I am a dynamic individual,

often times seen directing traffic and grating cheese. I have been known to remodel public restrooms, making them more efficient in the areas of air filtration. I translate ethnic slurs for Haitian refugees. I write operas for the deaf. I manage time effectively.

Occasionally, I hold my breath for two days at a time.

I woo women with my sensuous tuba playing, I can roller skate up severe inclines with blinding speed, and I can cook a three-minute egg in two minutes flat. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Brazil.

Using only a teaspoon and three Post-it notes, I single-handedly defended a small village of Pygmies from a hoard of fire ants. I play classical harmonica, I was scouted by the Phillies, I am the protagonist in several best selling novels. When I’m bored, I develop alternate energy sources in my den. I enjoy urban rock climbing and interpretive dance. On Tuesdays after work, I repair electrical appliances, free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a water analyst and a ruthless bookie. I’ve developed a line of velvet underwear that has been well received in fashion circles. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I can solve any Wheel of Fortune puzzle with just the letter “T” showing. Last summer, I toured rural Georgia with a Jewish fold music troupe. I wear a toupee on occasion, though I have all my hair. I bat .370.

My pineapple cheesecake recipe is known worldwide. Children trust me.

I can sink a basket from mid-court. I once read Paradise Lost, A Tale of Two Cities, and Ulysses in one day and still had time to reupholster a couch that evening. I know the exact location of all food in the supermarket. I have worked with the FBI, the CIA and the JCC. I sleep only once a week, and when I do, I sleep standing up. While on vacation in Denmark, I successfully negotiated with a group of Korean terrorists who had seized a bakery. The laws of modern day physics do not apply to me.

I can recite the pledge of allegiance in thirteen languages. I do not own a winter coat. On weekends, I teach origami to amputees, and to let off steam, I participate in full contact bocce ball. Years ago, I discovered the meaning of life but neglected to jot it down. I have made exquisite four course meals with only a melonballer, Crisco, and a toaster oven.

I breed prize-winning oysters. I have seen Elvis. I have performed open heart surgery with merely a pen cap and some electrical tape. I can sing Stairway to Heaven so that only dogs can hear it. I have spoken at length with OJ, and have straightened out the whole thing. One day a month, I eat only paprika.

I can bench press four times my weight. I am kind to the elderly. In the first grade, I ate paste, and am now in the process of compiling a recipe book. I majored in Botany just because flowers are pretty. I have Phil Donahue’s personal phone number.

I was once called upon to make peace in the Sudan. I believe that mute people are just not trying hard enough. I have a rubber band ball the size of a watermelon. I discovered have a crue from dyslexia.

I like eggs.

Men and women alike are attracted to my ears. I can juggle with no hands and tap dance with no feet. I have sold ice to Eskimos. I still have my mood ring, godammit. I can get the prize out of a cereal box without making a mess. I run with scissors. Only my butler knows my true identity. I am the proud owner of an eight-track player.

When nature calls, I’m usually not home. I’ve memorized the entire dictionary, except for the L’s. The Rolling Stones don’t make a move without consulting me first. I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street, I just don’t want to.

Four out of every five dentists choose me. I have my own time zone. I frequently update the encyclopedia and I create fine art reproductions with various toasted breads. I defy gravity. When I want you, I will knock three times on the ceiling. I think the Superfriends never gave Aquaman enough credit.

I am not a doctor, but I play one on TV.

Monday, June 20, 2005

driving to work

As usual on a Monday, I'm running late and find that there's a unique group of motorists on the roads, who jockey for position the whole stretch of the two lane road I take to travel to the north side of town to get to work. It's kind of competitive, and also video game like as I try to veer away from slower moving vehicles and pedestrians crossing ANY WHERE they please. I don't usually drive that way. I'm impatient, and have been a bike rider for several years up until a couple of months ago. At least when I was on my bike and waiting for a light to change, I had the luxury of finding an alternate route, or traveling over an area that cars couldn't access, thus giving me an advantage.

I'm here now, and I hear there are some scones that have been donated somewhere in the building. My mission now is to find the scones and secure them back to my desk.

Monday, June 06, 2005

island of fire

We rented a kung-fu flick yesterday, a Golden Harvest production called "Island of Fire." Jackie Chan starred in it, although he was actually present in about 25 minutes of film footage, and most of that he was shooting a gun. There wasn't any island in this film, and definitely any fire. There were hard to read and poorly translated sub-titles, which added to the fun of the film. We spent most of the movie repeating the Chinese dialect, and I could recognize anytime anyone said the number one, two or three (Yut, Yee and Som). Three quarters of the way through the film, there was some English spoken, which had Mandarin and English subtitles (the irony of English subtitles on English words), then after that brief English exchange, there weren't any subtitles, so we made up dialog to see how the film ended. The fight scenes were pretty good, although few in number. Not all of the Chinese translated well, and the statements you could read would say stuff like "Number one you are call first when need" and "Fight you are when job no go there." That kept it interesting. I would definitely recommend this movie on a rainy Saturday. If you read I Am Jackie Chan, when you watch this film you may recognize Sammo Hung and other Chinese Opera Schoolmates.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

people piss me off

People piss everyone off, right? Well, I happen to have a position that allows me to recruit and hire people. I target people that have challenges finding work, and I try to help them get back on track. I had to give a presentation to a group of people who haven't worked in a while, and I get heckled by a couple of a-holes who are frustrated with their lousy lives and project their displaced anger at me. Sometimes I feel like telling people to go F themselves. Last week I almost did. It was the be-all end-all of bad presentations. In a hot little stinky room with about 20 angry people, angry because they are clean, angry because they have no money, angry because they haven't worked and nobody will hire them because of prohbitative criminal background.

F you!

Maybe if you smiled, said thank you, refrained from telling me how hard it is to feed your three kids when you come in here with airbrushed long fingernails and Fubu clothes. Maybe I'd like to have kids, but I recognize that financially, mentally, physically, I am not able to and feel like I should be at a different level before I move onto the next life activity.

We've all got problems. I've hired people who are grateful to get an interview and get hired, who have a really slim chance of placement due to their severity of physical disability.

I don't care if you were high when you robbed that house. I've met plenty of people who are addicts who didn't steal (or at least get convicted for it).

I'm glad I participate in Martial Arts again. I really like the release, the completely switching gears to wholly focus on something, work as a group and experience unity. The workout and the sweat help channel that frustration I experience.

My neighbor who watches me eat is watching me lick hummus off of my pants. My thinking is that I don't want to go to the sink, it's such a small clump and it tastes pretty good, so why waste it?