Monday, July 30, 2007

Bureaucracy Rocks

I learned more at another staff meeting. We are now required to enter duly-witnessed releases of information into a specially-created section of the computerized database, in addition to having the client sign hardcopies and giving them to the Priestesses Of Paper Pushing.
What happens from there? Well, the Priestesses approach the Sacred Scanner in a reverent manner, and while murmuring the ritual obesiances, scan each release of information into another, different section of the database.
So, why do both? Why duplicate the work that way? YOU MAY WELL ASK. Turns out that once they are scanned in, there is NO WAY to retrieve the hardcopy releases. They have been consigned to a loathsome hell not even imagined. We will never see them again, other know...going to the paper file and finding it in there. They keep all that stuff, of course, until ten years after the last person involved is dead and civilization has fallen. Which means there are really three copies.
The eminent mathematician was so right in Jurassic Park when he said that when we invented the computer we thought we were eliminating paper; instead we only eliminated thought. I would be hard pressed to come up with a better example.
The best part, for me, is that special release-of-information section of the database. The client never sees us use the computers and has no role in generating this kind of information release. I just pull up a screen, type in a name and address, and use my password to sign it, leaving the client's most confidential information to be released to my private army of burglars, for all anyone knows.

Pentagonal Pondering

Here I am, thinking about The Pentagon again. The photo at left is obviously a "before" picture.
I'm just thinking about the blog entry I added a minute ago, and it gave me a whole new way to see the way they short-shrifted the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. See, I could go back to my own "before" picture, from the days when I lived in a blinkered moment of believing anything I was told without seeing the contradictions. At least I didn't see the contradictions as a problem, let's put it that way.
OK, anyway, I could choose to see the Terrorist Lite coverage the way I did before I learned to think critically. "If they never say much about the damage, well, maybe there ISN'T much damage." And obviously the place is still running, albeit with a large number of relatively new staff.
So the Illusion of Order is no easier to wreck than the Illusion of Chaos. You can just call in some repair guys and rope off the damaged section until it's safe to walk in again.

You? Order? Don't Make Me Laugh!

This was just an interesting little banana peel of knowledge from Our Lady Of Chaos.
I was in the laundromat one day and noticed this gorgeous handmade baby blanket someone had brought in. It was made of ombre yarn varying from pale emerald to white, but mostly ice-green. It was put together out of pentagonal motifs, and naturally I was captivated. What better shape to use for a baby blanket! After the birth trauma and the assorted tortures they put a new baby through in a hospital, you want to immediately restore the sense that EVERYTHING IS IN ORDER for the poor kid. Let little Kenny or Penny find out later how things REALLY are.
So I stared, and studied the thing, and even made a sketch of the pattern to bring home. I leaped for my crochet hooks when I got a chance, and whipped up a few nifty pentagons.
THEY WOULDN'T GO TOGETHER. No matter which way I lined them up or twirled them around, I couldn't make them look like the sketch. And I couldn't get them to work any other way, either. I messed with it in growing bewilderment until I finally threw them out in disgust.
It was only YEARS LATER that I realized this was a direct message from Her Crazyship: ORDER IS NOT FOR YOU, FISHFACE. HELL, BABIES ARE NOT FOR YOU. STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW.
That's my take on it, anyway.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pretender To Norton's Throne Taken Down By Deputies

Evidently we've had a bit of an incident at the Colorado Governor's office, where an armed man wearing a tux tried to barge in and was gunned down by Sheriff's deputies. He had evidently declared himself Emperor and had a bone to pick with the state authorities.
This is a fine example of HOW NOT TO GO ABOUT IT.
Criminy, after the Civil War ended, I doubt anyone ever pointed a gun at Joshua Norton again. I mean, who would want to? He was an entirely benevolent Emperor of the United States -- and, let us not forget, Protector Of Mexico -- and never got in anyone's face about it. He was a great leader to his constituents and was loved by thousands. Indeed, he is loved even today. Why? He wasn't a pushy dinkweed like this guy, who evidently approached his problems like a low-budget action hero.
Maybe he actually wanted to go down in a hail of bullets. If so, we can say with confidence that he didn't get all dressed up for nothing.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Moment, Seemingly Out Of A Dream

This one is just a flabbergaster.

I was talking to this guy, right, and he said he'd been arrested once for "manufacturing and selling imitation illegal narcotics." I blinked a few times and asked, "Can you really get in trouble for that? Is that really against the law?" He assured me that this is the case.

Now what can this be about? I think it's not only a terrific practical joke; it's also a great way to put people off using illegal drugs. Are you going to pay twice to inject poultry seasoning? "Never again, Martha; all it did was give me the runs!"

Let me play Devil's Advocate here and assume that somehow, the dumb kid next door manages to convince himself he's getting high smoking rocks of Irish Spring. Is that so bad? I think his own grandmother would manufacture the stuff if it would keep him off crack. And if it gets confiscated by the police, and if some dirty cop with access to the evidence locker uses it at home, SO MUCH THE BETTER. Serves his dumb ass right if you ask me.

I think the Liberation Front needs to get on the stick and start fighting to legalize this health-promotinng practice that undermines the heroin, cocaine and ganja industries. Meanwhile, watch your Ps and Qs, people; Scrod only knows what you might be doing in the privacy of your own home, hurting no one, that could get you locked up for 5 to 12.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

In Which Eris Visits My Blog

OK, I have just tried for probably the sixth time to fix the spacing in the St. Marvin entry. I correct it, save it and when I look back the next day, it's all furkakte again.

I thought I was just doing something wrong, until I looked at my dashboard and saw that it said my latest entry was number 29. That struck me as odd because last time I'd looked, I'd had 26 entries and I knew I had only added one since then. I mentally shrugged and put it down to my famed inability to remember numbers.

When I got onto the dashboard to add THIS entry, it said I now had 28 entries. Which means this is number 29.

It just goes to show that if you ask Eris to bless you and keep you, you're walking barefoot into a world of horseapples, people.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Like An Axe Slicing Into A Birthday Cake

Now maybe this is just me, but I have always felt faintly worried about the comparative lack of news coverage about Al-Qaeda's attack on the Pentagon. I got into my car that day, turned on the radio, clueless that anything was wrong, and all I could get on every station was the same man's voice saying words I am not going to forget any time soon: "It's hard to describe the destruction I'm seeing here today at the Pentagon..." Then I arrived at work and found the whole staff in the meeting room, staring in horror at the Twin Towers on television. They all swayed in their seats as the skyscrapers telescoped themselves into heaps of dust.

Later that day, a photographer came out to the agency to take a group picture for the paper. I saved mine and put it in a frame. Everyone else looks shellshocked, but I'm perched on a rock beaming as if I'd just won the lottery. I thought for sure the ICBMs were going to start flying that day; by the end of the week I would be a radioactive charcoal statue. It was an incredible gift from the gods, a mainline jolt of pure Chaos. Except it never happened.

From then on, for a solid week, almost all you heard about was the World Trade Center, the firemen, Rudy Guiliani, the people who jumped out the windows from the top floors, the shocked public, talk-show hosts bursting into tears on the air...My question was, What about the Pentagon? What's going on over there?

All I saw in all the time after that was a single interview with a tight-lipped woman who was holding herself together until she officially got the news that her husband was dead, and she said she really already knew, because where else had he been for the past two days, but...she was going to wait to hear.

Oh, and I saw the footage that went with the voice I'd heard on the radio; it was a man named Michael with his hair all frizzed up on one side and his tie cranked around, as if he'd been mugged in a dark alley by the Grim Reaper and had barely gotten away. I remember something else he said in that footage. He compared the plane crashing into the Pentagon to "an axe slicing into a birthday cake." Guy's got a way with words.

That five-sided shape is not just a handy symbol of the illusion that everything is in order. It is also the nerve center of the country's military operations, which is the true, literal SOURCE of this country's illusion that everything is in order. I understand completely why they avoided going into detail about the names of the Pentagon dead, or the exact amount of damage Al-Qaeda did. National security, and all that happy horseshit. But not knowing how bad it was has serious drawbacks for me, the girl who can't abide an unanswered question. That is my personal pentagonal hangup. I feel like things are under control if every question is answered. Dumb, huh?

Congratulations To Kobb Laboratories!

I'd just like to high-five my dear friend Bill Kobb, proprietor of the labs, on the occasion of the new distribution of his old-school disinformational stickers, applied liberally to phone booths and produce pallets all over the greater Pensacola area. One you'll be able to spot on local pay phones says "DO NOT PRESS 7."

It's so good to know that someone is keeping the flame alive.

Before you use that pay phone to dial 911, loathsome do-gooder, KNOW THIS: Bill KObb is not his real name. It's an anagram for "KILL BOB."

A Bureaucracy Moment, Courtesy of Discordia

This was easily the high point of all the staff meetings I've attended thus far at the new job:

I learned that in the event of a client's death, we are required by law to send the client notice, no less than twelve days in advance, that we are closing the case and terminating service. The notice must be written, not telephonic, and it must be sent by regular mail. Why? In case the decedent wishes to appeal the decision, he or she has a reasonable amount of time to come back from the grave and give us a good tongue-lashing.

This information gave me a happy glow that lasted until I was driving home, and some dumbass in the oncoming lane swerved and nearly took off my front bumper.