Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why You Gotta Do Me Like That Apple?

This one is going to be short. I've had my third ipod die on me this weekend.

I can hardly throw out the trash without having on my headphones. When I leave my apartment in the morning and the sun is shining, do you know what I'm listening to as I bop down the street? "Come Into My World" by Kyle Minogue.

I absolutely attribute this habit to my city upbringing. It's the best way to keep out the crazies I encounter on my commute to and from my daily travels. I don't have a car. Now I'll get to listen to the drunken hobos' sexual advances or the hipster couple deciding whose going to buy the next round of weed. Thanks, Apple.

What am I going to do at the gym? How am I gonna get my arse in gear with out my 'Dance' playlist? Have I gotten too spoiled? Am I not supposed to expect my media products to last longer than a year or is it just me? Am I kiss of death for every ipod I've ever had? Do I have to succumb to the crappy policy of buying insurance for something that's inevitably going to break? Am I asking too many unanswerable questions? Makes me yearn for the bygones days of portable CD players when the only malfunction concern was a scratched CD.

I know I'm not the first to write on this subject and I'm surely not the first to be burned at the sight of a 'sad mac' face staring back at me from that little white drug that held so much promise.

Also, I'm incredibly stubborn and don't want to have to buy another ipod just for it to get outdated in two weeks. Isn't insanity repeating the same method while expecting different results?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Guide to Surviving Sociopaths in the Workplace

I've certainly had my fair share of horrid work experiences: the sexually harassing coworker, the bitchy boss, the inept HR department, and my personal favorite-the corporate firing. (And all those were from the same den of misery mind you.)

My latest workplace disaster involved a character type I've yet to come across and pray I (or you) never do again. Nothing personal to all those sociopaths out there, but let's face it. Who wants to work with flagrant liars who throw you under the bus at every turn?

Ms. CP was a breath of fresh air at first impression. CP was sassy, animated, and a seeming straight-shooter. We even shared a passion for buying shoes. She was hired to sell ad space. By the close of the first issue I shared with her, this assumed powerhouse was running into critical magazine errors. Her clients were backing out at the last minute. She came in without signed contracts. If I made an attempt to reach her clients, I'd never get a call back. This should have been a red flag. A new client is generally responsive and excited about their ad. They appreciate the attention!

Needless to say, we delayed press and scrambled to pick up her slack. Come next month's ad planning she was on serious probation. Being a small mag, we literally don't have room for this sort of sloppy account management.

The magazine team was on her side. We loved CP. We wanted her to stay on board and move through this rough patch as she was such a delight to have in the office. She'd tell us stories about her former lovers and her mom she affectionately referred to as 'The Terrorist.'

It seemed she was reforming her process to make it work. She was conservative about mentioning possible leads. She went on sales calls every day and was out of the office most of time. Soon enough she had us thinking all would be well.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Best Friend, Grouse

Complaining is my favorite pastime. It's easy and inexpensive. Lately, with the barrage of food reality television shows, I've become acutely aware of things I can complain about while at a restaurant: presentation, service, quality. The list really goes on. Thank you Top Chef and Ramseys Kitchen Nightmare!

Mind you, I don't seek to find something to bring down my meal experience. I love going to a restaurant and eating three yummy courses wherein after, I'll practically hand over all my credit cards and cash in earnest gratitude for having served my tummy well.

My main concern about restaurants these days is undercooked meals and dodgy service. When I go out to eat, isn't it safe to assume I'm hungry and want to be served promptly? Tonight I almost missed the one show I actually care to fit into my schedule, The Simpsons, because I waited 15 minutes for my meal to come while my two counterparts were chowing away at theirs. (And no, I don't have Tivo so I couldn't have it recorded.) Mates, that's coming right out on your tip!

Another time in the near recent past, I took my mother who was visiting all the way from NYC to a lovely restaurant by the bay with a view of houseboats, neighborhood seagulls, and the gazillion dollar homes of Marin County. I thought surely here I can erase that downtown SF restaurant debacle where, again, we sat waiting for food that didn't live up to my appetite in a cramped and harried atmosphere. Here, where I've already had a fulfilling, tasty meal with service that was attentive and polite, I can enjoy my experience.

Appetizers of a seafood cocktail as well as plate of mussels and clams came to the table with excellent results: fresh food, simple presentation, and on time. Next course followed promptly, but horrors of horrors, our lamb chop was undercooked! Who eats raw pork? What would a Top Chef Do? Gordon Ramsey would never have let that chop leave his kitchen. Someone in this situation should be embarassed here and I resolved that it wouldn't be me.

I sent the chop back.

Said Lamb Chop came back cooked and delicious in no time at all. I forgave as the genuine apology had been given.

In the words of one Ms. Janet Damita Jackson, "I never ask for more than I deserve. You know it's the truth." This is, after all, America.