Just a few observations from our first day in the new office...

  • If there is a soda vending machine anywhere in the building I'll be damned if I can find it. But, that's okay! We'll just hold our afternoon meetings from the street and sidewalk while we schlepp all the way over to 7-11 to get our chocolate or Diet Coke fixes around 3 pm. That will, at least, keep us productive and *collaborative* (not to mention allowing us to showcase our novel problem solving skills -- bonus!).
  • The instant coffee available on every floor? To say it ain't Blue Bottle (or even Starbucks) is an understatement. The company will undoubtably save all the money they spend each year on coffee because no one will drink it if it tastes nothing at all like coffee. On the upside? We'll just get more creative in how we obtain caffeine so Yay! another move objective accomplished!
  • By forbidding us to have a microwave on any floor other than the first (in the cafeteria... stacked together in a bank of ten, like TVs for sale in the windows of old school electronics emporiums) you will be helping us avoid productivity burnout by forcing us to bring our now-tepid cup of coffee all the way down to the first floor (after waiting forever for the elevator that will now stop on each floor before you get there), zap it in the bank of microwaves, go back, wait for the elevator that stops at each floor on the way to the 6th before getting back to my far-flung cubicle with my now tepid coffee. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • It's a good thing we aren't allowed to have live plants in our cube because my lack of anything close to a green thumb spells a sure death to even the hardiest plants. Shit, I kill fake plants somehow.


I just love Wordle, don't you?

Wordle: Bing search results for "web 2.0 summit 2009"

These are the most common words written in blogs, news stories and discussions about this past week's Web 2.0 Summit. I love beautifully visualized themes and concepts and Wordle just takes all of the noise, chatter and chaos and distills it down to a simple, lovely picture. I think that's just sublime.

Sometimes, at work, I'll pull the copy from a really technical, dry, complicated email written by one of our engineers and run it through Wordle before sending it out to non-techie folks in my department so it can be understood quickly in more simple terms. It usually makes them laugh but I think we actually find it helpful, too. :)


Highlights from the Web 2.0 Summit

I wanted to share a link to the Bing demo I saw at the Web 2.0 Summit this week. It’s worth a watch if you’re interested in why there is so much buzz about them right now. I’m  most definitely *not* a Microsoft fan but this demo was really very cool.

The actual demo starts at the 9:10 marker. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT2wqXrBQHI

BTW, you should also check some of the other notable demo videos from the conference. They’re all relatively short (15 – 25 minutes each, a bit like the TED Conferences format):


Video of poor, sick Yoda

Video of Nichi's pathology

Update on dogs...

Dogs are going through what the vet says will be the worst of it last night and today. It was a very *long* night... I've been on the phone all morning trying to get someone high up enough at Seargent/Hartz to take my call so I can tell them the following:

  1. As company responses to customer crises go? *Epic* FAIL.
  2. That they owe me almost $2000 in vet bills. Cash only, kthxbai.
  3. If they don't immediately recall or remove their products from shelves I will personally make it my crusade to initiate a class action and, if I have to, go to each and every Petco & PetSmart location in the bay area with the 30+ page printout detailing all of the families with sick animals because of this product in order to get them to stop selling it.

I can tell you for sure that anyone who knows me at all has no doubt in my ability to accomplish everything in #3 with the same intensity and fervor I normally apply to shopping for shoes. I'm *that* serious.

So, watch out Hartz/Seargent... whoever you are and whichever brand name you're currently hiding behind... I'm coming. You better sleep with one eye open.


Wow... 10 years old?

It just occurred to me that I've been blogging for almost 11 years. I don't know if that makes me feel like a really old-school geek or just old. Or just a geek.

What do you think?

SentryPro XFC will POISON your animals! Do NOT use!

SentryPro XFC is EVIL, POISONOUS and I want to share this story so other people don't have to go through the same thing I and (apparently) thousands of other pet owners have gone or are going through right now.

I bought this stuff because I had run out of Advantage and it was a holiday weekend so I couldn't refill at their regular vet. I applied it on Thursday night of of Labor Day weekend. On Friday night, my smaller dog, Nichi, started having trouble walking and she hadn’t gone to the bathroom for like a day & half. Her belly was really, really distended as well.

Thinking that the only thing I had done differently was treat her with a different flea medication than normal so I immediately gave her a bath. Later that That Friday night she couldn’t sleep at all, couldn’t support herself standing up because she kept kicking out her rear legs, like she was experiencing spasms or something. She also kept jumping up and running all over the bed like something was biting her back end. She seemed so uncomfortable and none of us could sleep so I bundled her up and brought her to the emergency vet @ 4 am Saturday morning.

The vet did an x-ray, told me she needed an enema and kept her for observation until about 8 am. I picked her up and she seemed a little better throughout the day but the next night was the same thing – even worse than the night before. I couldn’t get her regular vet to see her so I had to bring her back to the same emergency vet she had seen the day before and got a completely different diagnosis: smaller dogs tend to have problems with their little kneecaps getting loose and that was what she thought was causing her legs to spaz out like that. The vet gave her some subcutaneous fluids and sent us home with some Buprenex (pain killer). She slowly but surely started to get better over the course of 7-10 days and was completely back to normal as of last night.

Last night, around 9, I treated both dogs with the same stuff I had used before since it didn’t seem to be the cause of what happened to Nichi. Well, I was wrong. Nichi’s symptoms came back around 3:30 in the morning and this time Yoda started exhibiting the same behaviors, but not nearly as bad as Nichi’s. Finally figuring out that it was the SentryPro XTC that was causing the reaction, I immediately gave Nichi a bath and some pain killer and she finally fell asleep around 6. I figured I’d give Yoda a bath when I got home from work today since he didn’t seem to be bothered with the symptoms this morning.

Thinking I would look up the info for the manufacturers of the flea medication so I could write them a letter telling them their product is completely unsafe and demand reimbursement of my $1000 emergency vet bills I came across this site http://journal.drfaulken.com/problems-with-sentrypro-xfc-flea-and-tick-medication/ that has almost 700 blog comments from people who experienced the same exact situation as Nichi and Yoda… same exact symptoms and everything. Sadly, a few people lost their pets because they didn’t act quickly enough.

So I completely freaked out and rushed home to give both dogs two baths each, some Benadryl for the allergic reaction and to keep an eye on them over the next 6 – 8 hours so I can rush them to the vet if they take a turn for the worse. Both dogs are resting semi-comfortably now and I’m hoping I treated them both in time so they don’t suffer any worse symptoms.

If you love your animals do NOT use ANY Hartz products on them. It is POISON and they should be out of business. Who knows how many animals have died because their owners or vets didn't figure out that it was the SentryPro XFC that killed them??


Why does AARP want me so bad?!

Dear AARP,

Hi there. You don't know me (clearly... as I will painstakingly point out in this email) but my name is Jaimee. I am a

- female
- US citizen
- college educated
- voting
- gainfully employed
- pet owning
- renter
- with an income of more than ${okay, this is really none of your business}
- who doesn't own a car
- and has no dependents.

Nice to meet you. Now, the reason I am writing to you is this... I am also 37 YEARS OLD.

So please, for the love of God and all that is Holy, STOP SENDING ME AARP CARDS soliciting my membership!!

I wonder - do your current 50+ year-old members have any idea how much money you seem to be throwing away on the expensive marketing pieces (nice slick laminated AARP card, btw!) you REPEATEDLY send to people who are NOT IN YOUR qualified DEMOGRAPHIC? Seriously, this is the SECOND one I've received in less than a month. Where are you getting my mailing address from?? Do the people in your data center verify anything other than a valid mailing address?

If I were old enough to belong to AARP I would have serious misgivings about giving my hard earned retirement or pension money to a company too stupid to stop inviting people to become a member who are over a decade too young to even qualify. I'm going to tell my Dad to think twice before he renews his membership next year.

I mean, how much additional money is it costing you to process the non-qualifying applications of people you mistakenly send these expensive mails to? How much is your time, Mr or Mrs Email Reader, worth right now? Because, unless you are an automated response system, I know that your time is worth money - even if you delete this message instead of forwarding it to the CEO (which I highly recommend because I can't imagine they are aware of degree of incompetency demonstrated by your company's marketing department).

I sure hope things change before I turn 50 so I thoughtfully evaluate whether or not I should join your organization. Until then - STOP sending me these fucking cards!

Thanks and have a great day,



Mrs. Beasley

Mrs. Beasely was a doll that had a hard plastic face that I used to practice kissing when I was, like, 5 years old. I vividly remember getting so pissed off about something one day that I swung her by the feet and smashed her face in. It didn't break. Instead, she now looked like she forgot to put her teeth in.

Her glasses never fit quite right after that again, either. She ended up creeping me out so I threw her and opted for Malibu Barbie instead. At least she didn't piss me off. And if she did, I held the power... I could cut the bitch's hair.


Holy shit. I'm engaged.

Talk about a long story... girl meets boy about 20 years ago and happiness ensues. Then graduation approaches and boy breaks girl's heart. Boy goes off on his own path, girl goes off on hers. For the next two decades they both make mistakes, do stupid things, seek peace, search for themselves only to find out through coincidence that they've both been randomly, throughout the years, looking for each other (without luck, obviously).

I know... Lifetime Movie of the Week, right? But wait... there's more...

Boy sends girl email apologizing for breaking her heart so many years ago and girl doesn't respond with a "That's nice. Piss off."

Boy and girl exchange increasingly meaningful emails; then 4 and 5 hour long phone calls each night; then the moment of truth -- boy surprises girl by flying to San Francisco to see her. Its not overly dramatic to say that time stood completely still and everything, everyone else melted away when girl saw boy walk off the plane and towards her at SFO.

So, long story made a bit shorter... several visits and many frequent flyer miles later boy and girl are engaged to be married. Because neither of them ever knew happiness or unconditional love like this and, like, whoa... it's awesome.

Sounds like a fairytale, right?

It would be a new Disney blockbuster classic if it were animated.

But I'm not down with animation... and since its a completely true story -- my story -- I reserve the right to choose who gets to play me in the movie. I'm thinking Julia Roberts...


More tales from the Yoop...

It struck me today, after my previous post, how fun it is to think back to my junior high and high school days and remember all of the stupid things I've never gotten in trouble for. There are, however, some things I caught hell for...

Like the time Polly Hollon and I (at least, I think she was in there with me) got busted smoking in the first floor bathroom by Mrs. Magnusson.

[Man she was mean. She hated us all I think. Me especially because she thought I was lazy. I may have been lazy but when we're forced to read The Great fucking Gatsby I have a hard time working up some top notch literary reviews. If only she could see my reading list now. She's probably critiquing my blog from the great beyond, may she rest in peace.]

She storms in to the bathroom (which NO one ever checked... except for the home-ec teacher who must have had some world-class bladder control since she rarely ventured out of the home-ec room) and we had absolutely no time to react because Mrs. M always wore those ugly soft-soled nurse shoes (they were grey and hideous... they looked like cinderblock bricks on her feet). So we're busted and in addition to getting suspended for 3 days (woot! who doesn't love getting suspended? I mean... that's, like, supposed to be punishment? Three whole glorious days of sleeping until noon, watching Jerry Springer and finding new ways to annoy the elderly neighbors next door with ear splitting Poison or Motley Crue? woo hoo!) we are forced to clean the first floor bathroom.

Um. Like. Eww?

So we start to clean. With bleach *and* ammonia. Hah! Aren't we clever? We didn't bother to read the labels (why? It wasn't on Mrs. M's required reading list?) so we weren't aware of the chemical reaction that would basically create a toxic cloud of fumes requiring that entire side of the first floor to evacuate. Um, hello? Mr. Seid [our science/biology/whatever teacher... he had a birthmark on his head the size and shape of Gorbechov's... it was impressive. Looked a little like Australia.] should have taught us to never mix the two chemicals at least, no?


Dear God. It's my 20th High School Reunion this year.

Need I say more? Okay... maybe just a little (or alot) more.

Like remembering when I got drunk on strawberry schnapps in the 9th grade and puked all over Tammy Paquette's mom's bathroom rug (it was pink... much like my puke - which made me even sicker at the time). Bless Tammy's mom's heart - she never breathed a word of it to my dad.

And then, just to reinforce the nickname "Puker", a year and a half later, drank too much Kessler's and Coke (to this day I cannot stomach the smell of whiskey. I plug my nose before I drink it if forced.) and puked all over the back of... {shit, what's his name's?} some dude's car. Some dork Tammy was hanging out with at the time (I think he drove a Festiva, if that tells you anything). Later that night I spent sitting on the porch of my dad's house, drunkenly convinced that the door was locked and I didn't have a key -- psyche! -- door not locked! Puked all over my room (ah, such fond, fun memories) and passed out before being roughly shaken awake by my dad at 2 am. Lame excuse was I caught the flu from drinking Tammy's coke at lunch.

Did he buy it? Hah! As if...

More to follow as I dredge up more morbidly fascinating yet infinitely embarrasing moment from my formative years... Stay tuned.


25 Random Things About Me

1. I have an out of control shoe addiction.

2. I have a general weakness for really good chocolate.

3. I dread doing my taxes.

4. I hate clipping my dogs toenails.

5. I have a proclivity towards staying in bed reading a good book - no matter the weather.

6. When I'm not reading a book I am listening to one on my iPod.

7. I LOVE sour patch kids.

8. I love to shop. I just haven't figured out how to make a six figure income doing it.

9. I laugh really loud. I've tried to change that but I can't. Love me or leave me.

10. I see the world in terms of good user interface and bad user interface. There is no in between.

11. I haven't painted my toenails since the finale of Project Runway Season 5.

12. My family drives me batshit crazy. But I still go home for Christmas.

13. I've always secretly wanted to be a stylist. I'm *so* much better than Rachel Zoe and can do it far cheaper than she.

14. I am in love with and drool over really bitchin' muscle cars from the 60's.

15. I secretly wish that we all had to wear "Hello... my name is" tags for our relationship status. It would make dating ever so much easier. You could just walk down the street and immediately know whether or not that hot guy walking towards you is single and looking.

16. I fully intend to spend my retirement in Spain in a little adobe hut with my dogs and shoes and books.

17. I never really got over my high school crush.

18. I can talk just like Sarah Palin. I can't, however, see Russia from my house.

19. Believe it or not, I have a hard time making new friends.

20. I call things like I see them and have a hard time understanding why everyone else doesn't.

21. I am a beauty product whore. I have so many suitcases and boxes of cosmetics, hair potions and styling aids that could keep a small third world country smelling sweet and lookin' fine.

22. I understand Quantum Physics. And actually like it.

23. I hated the 80's. Especially the clothes. [Shudder... Jesus, the clothes...]

24. I don't have a green thumb. I kill fake plants somehow.

25. I really hate trying to come up with a list of 25 random things about me or anyone else. Why do we care?


I just don't understand...

So I have this friend who had a one night stand with this guy last, like, May or June... they only slept together once and after that when they saw each other (frequently because of the circles they move in) it was not a comfortable situation.

Long story short, it was more to her than to him and she had a hard time coming to that conclusion. She still hasn't. In fact, as I type this I can hear her on the phone with another friend bitching about and rehashing/reanalyzing and reliving all of the conversations they ever had (which were about 5 total). This is nearly 9 months later. The dude has a serious girlfriend now. And yet she can't let go and constantly harps and bitches and postulates about this guy she fucked ONCE.

I just don't get it. I don't get women like that. She constantly refers to him like he's someone who completely broke her heart (and for the past 8 months I've seen this is true) and *might* have been the love of her life.

Um, newsflash? You fucked once and he started dating someone else. Nothing to see here folks - move along. But why is she still harping about it? I just want to slap her every time she says his name. Seriously.

One night stand = one night stand. Let it go. Go fuck someone else. PUHLEEEEASE! For the love of God shut the fuck up about it already.


What a tumultuous year...

My life has run the gamut over the past 12 months and just when it seems to have evened out I find myself in a roommate situation with a dear friend who is some sort of weird combination of all of the bad/crazy ways my mom and dad have been. I mean, let me preface this by saying I love her to death -- she's been there for me in ways not even my own blood has been, she's the only person who can crack me up so hard my stomach hurts in seconds and she's just a really genuine, generous and great friend to me.

That said, there are also things about her that are just now surfacing that make me question the wisdom of continuing to be roommates with her and maintain my newfound sanity and peace. For starters, she's an angry (very angry), bitter, caustic and borderline narcissistic person. After what I went through with my friendship with Alisha, I just can't get close to anyone who makes it all about them all of the time. My friend doesn't -- not to that level, anyway -- but there are times when I'm like "Hi! Other people have feelings and a heartbeat too, okay?".

I'd say 90% of the time I find myself ducking her sour mood (not *always* sour - just completely unpredictable and it seems to change frequently. Going from 0 - 60 in seconds.) and walking around on eggshells. She's really demanding. She "asks" you to do some chore around the house but then totally tells you how and when to actually do it. (Remniscent of my father, there.) And then at some point in the future when she's on the warpath about something, tells you how you did it wrong or, more likely, not enough of it.

She's extremely needy and lonely and if I'm at home and just chilling in my room with the door shut, she'll come knock and it and ask if I want to watch TV. Or complain about something that happened to her in the course of her day. Which is fine - and I don't mind that - unless I'm trying to dodge her dark, angry moods because they suck the happiness out of me.

And let's say I do go out and watch TV with her... I have to be careful not to let the dogs cuddle with me because they might make too much noise licking their paws or I might block her line of vision bending over to snuggle Nichi quietly. It's always something. Always.

And frankly, I've been pussyfooting around all of this for so long that I've become some other person when I'm at home. Which explains why I've increasingly tried to find more and more excuses to get out of the house and away from all of that tension and drama. I drag my feet coming home after work -- something I haven't done to this extent since my marriage started to go south. Explain that, Dr. Freud.