Friday, December 07, 2001

Office Party & Christmas Shopping

In case you are wondering, I found this nice picture of the cover of theAlton Brown  Grills Your Sorry Lame Ass Naked Chef's new book. Who is the Naked Chef, you may wonder... Well, he's Jamie Oliver ... British, tasty, and fun to watch. He has two shows on The Food Network. He has this little lisp from tongue thrust (my speech therapist husband diagnosed him) but it's kinda sexy and he's so much fun.

Geoffrey sort of looks like him in his earlier series when he just has this rampant bed head... blonde hair all akimbo. So we call Geoff "Naked Geoff" instead of Naked Chef, and he gets mad.

I love Jamie's shows, the Naked Chef and Pukka Tukka. I learned a lot from him and bought his first book. Perhaps will buy this one as well.

Speaking of learning from a TV show, I also LOVE "Good Eats" with Alton Brown (pictured here manly like with Weber Grill). He is by far one of the most amusing anal retentive I've ever seen. And he's very educational. I learned how to build a fish smoker. How's that! I haven't done it, but I can also go online and read about it to refresh my memory. My mom got turned on to him recently, and enjoyed the episode he did on roasting Thanksgiving turkey.

I highly recommend both guys and their shows if you are at all interested in cuisine, or just like to watch two guys cook. It's kinda sexy. To me at least. Seeing as most the guys I know just eat... they don't cook. Anyway.

I was reading James Lileks the other day and he was recounting the fact that someone had emailed him some nastiness.

He writes in his entry:

"It had to happen: finally got a complaint about my Deathwatch plot here in the Bleat. Never fails. Stop talking about your daughter. Stop talking about your dog. Enough of the war. No one cares about what you think of movies. Finally: stop talking about being sick, already! No one cares if you have a *$%# cold!

"If I took these things to heart, I would be paralyzed on a daily basis, wondering what I should and should not write about - but the fact is I can’t think that way, or nothing gets done. I know I’ve dwelt on the matter these two weeks, the same way I would dwell on a second head that sprouted from my shoulder."

The thing that boggles my mind is someone taking the time to first of all READ someone they don't want to hear from, and then take the time to RESPOND nastily. I just don't understand.

There are tons of journals I read for a bit and then just abandoned... because I didn't enjoy what they were talking about. Who the hell shows up to read again and again and again stuff they don't want to hear about?

Human nature boggles my mind. Well. I got good mail, it warmed the cockles of my stony sarcastic heart, and I appreciate it.

I personally think the world is a better place because of James Lileks, by the way. I enjoy his writing and I think his daughter is lovely. And his photography of his Jasper Dog is WONDERFUL. If I hated it, I wouldn't visit. Ever.

And this one is my ABSOLUTE favorite of the whole damn doggie picture bunch. Jasper Rules.

Okay, okay, it's the time you have been waiting for... I come here to report that I've lived to tell of the debaucherous acts of my co-workers at the annual holiday party. Lots of drunken sexual harassment, intercourse on the golf course, fist fights and moonings. Naked women in the backs of minivans... It was astounding.

Actually, I lie.

It wasn't at all like the cliché office party scene where someone gets unbelievably tanked and curses out the boss, or people end up in the pantry of the restaurant getting their party on. No white boys stood on a table and yelled "Can a Nigga get a Lap Dance, Heay!"

The employees here are pretty low key. It being a tech company, there's a serious amount of geekiness, nerdiness, and outright weirdness. And then there are departments like mine where it's all about the party and the fashion.

I don't really fit in this group, but they seem to accept me fully. I feel like Jane Goodall among the primates -- someone accepted by a group unlike her, but with similarities. I feel like I'm on an episode of "The Real World" a lot of the time I am here.

I think I make them laugh. I got them going at the table when we were sitting down to eat the meal (unbelievable food by the way, kudos to the chef(s) who prepped the garlic shrimp and the chicken!) We have three totally unattached girls in our group, one of which is always scoping the guys out. She was going around the room targeting guys, assessing them, and we would argue with her. She was kind of harsh on the guys there... accusing our company of being filled with ugly guys. I kept pointing out people and mentioning their good points, thus ruining her fun. She said to me "you think everyone is beautiful, that's your thing. And it's wonderful that you do. I wish I could see people that way." I'll take that as a compliment. Everyone was laughing... and I got everyone just off the hook ridiculous with my critique of the single girls' picks, telling her how mean she was, or how absolutely spot on she was.

I suggested she look to my buddy FL for an example of Hotness Personified, and she had totally forgotten him. He's an Info Tech guy, not a high flying super powerful strategy/business development/legal guy, the kind she spends all her time with... so she'd skipped over his area. She asked where he was and I pointed him out and she outright died.

There he was in the whole dress shirt/tie/fancyass mode and looked unbelievably gorgeous. Usually he has on a baseball cap and shorts and a Tshirt. But last night -- he was dressed to thrill.

So I nominated him to be "hottest guy there tonight" and everyone at the table agreed, and started cheering for him. Raising glasses in the air for a toast, hailing him as king. We were out of control.

I ended up spending the rest of the evening off and on with the newly elected "totally hot" FL. My friend LH who works in my group decided she wanted to liberate him from his shyness and totally latched onto him to play and act silly and get him going.

It was a riot--by the end of the evening, she had him out on the dance floor bumpin and grinding and burning up the hardwood with the fancy body movin' movements. His best friend RvA said that he hasn't seen FL have so much fun in a long time.

All told, the evening was a blast.

In the end, it got a little weird. I went to say goodnight to my boss, and she grabbed me and hugged me, telling me she loved me and thought I was the greatest... (which is a relief because I sometimes feel like I am not living up to her expectations or my own potential). I told her she was the best boss I'd ever had and she said "NO! We're friends!!! I'm so happy to have you as a friend!"

That can be dangerous sometimes, because it hurts less when you disappoint an authority figure than when you disappoint a friend. So now I feel forever compelled to live up to friend expectation. Until she forgets we're friends, of course. Actually, I've ragged on her here for the Jon Bon Jovi lust she harbors, but all kidding aside, she really is super.

This past year has been hard for everyone here. Lots of people have been let go, we've shut down entire companies and parts of companies. She's constantly trying to build infrastructure surrounded by people who just have no morale or drive. I do not envy her job and try to give all the support she needs... when she says jump I say how high. But it still has been kind of strange to be here.

Part of me says to just quit and move on, the other part says that this is the funnest-est job I've had in many years and to stop being down on the whole dotcom thing, mostly because of her and my pal FL. So to have her embrace me and tell me she thinks I rock the world (even though she was drunk and I'm sure she totally forgets telling me these things) it made me feel good.

She is the type of person that gets so much done... when other people sit around letting office politics hold them back, she just says fuck it and she goes for what she knows is best and right for the company. It's refreshing to see a woman in that kind of role. A lot of people respect her fully, some people are totally scared of her and threatened by her, and I'm glad to be her underling.

It has been an incredibly long time since I've had a boss that I fully respected. My last set of upline management at the college couldn't keep their lies to me straight... and I got to the point where I wasn't sure who was lying to me and who was telling me the truth, the direct supervisor or the one above her. So this place is a relief. If anything, all I know is that my boss is forever honest with me. And even though I'm very unlike my co-workers and once in a while one of them in particular makes me so mental I could throw myself off a bridge, this is the best job I've had in years.

So huzzah for the holiday party. It was all over at about 10. People mulled around talking for a while after and decided to hit the bars in Andover. I opted out to go home and see if my family was still awake/asleep and assess the damage done in my absence. The night seemed to have gone fine and Doug was happy to see me home.

this picture cracks me up... a BMW with a tiny tree. Is the driver/owner cheap? did he spend all his money on a car and now doesn't have a big enough residence to house a nice big tree? or is this just funny for funny sake... i think so. hell. made my happy as laugh...

I started my Christmas shopping today, finally. Jessica needs a new backpack for school and so does Geoff. I bought one for him that is way too big for him really, but, it isn't like he won't grow into it. I bought them from LL Bean instead of buying from Wal*Mart because I wanted something that will last them a while. I got them monogrammed too, and Jessica's is purple. She'll be thrilled.

We bought her last backpack for school last fall and one of the shoulder straps ripped off this past month. So she's been using the Eastpak one Doug used for Grad school. It doesn't have a lot of pockets so she loses stuff in the bottom... little things that she needs like pencils and her house key. So the new backpack has two nice little pockets on the front, and she'll be able to keep her little things safe. Hurray.

Geoff will be thrilled to get a new "packpack" as he calls them. His Blues Clues one doesn't hold nearly enough stuff for his needs in winter at school. They require a change of clothing and an extra set of shoes and socks in the winter for the kids... and none of that shit fits in his current bag... which is great for summer, swimsuit, towel, one change of clothes and a pair of socks. So he'll be stylie.

My kids are really hard to shop for. Geoff wants one thing -- Pop up mister potato head. That's all he wants. I keep asking him do you want Santa to bring you some hotwheels, a game, some football clothes? He says no -- just Pop up mister potato head.

Jessica is the same. She told me all she wanted was the backpack and a couple Game Boy color games... I asked her if she wanted some computer games, or more books... she said she was "all set."

How is that possible to be nine and be "all set?" Are my kids that unmaterialistic? I'm amazed. We try to emphasize not to be, but it might be working. It makes it hard to decide what to get so I've made some educated guesses as to what to get them. And have shared that info with family.

Jessie likes science and astronomy. I told my mother to look down that route. She has been complaining that it is hard to practice her saxamaphone so my sister is getting her a music stand. We've covered the backpack situation. Thank you LL Bean. And she likes this series of books called "A Series of Unfortunate Events," so I told my mother in law to pick her up some more books in that series. Jessie has books 1-4, and so my mother in law got her books 5-8 I think. She has a Game Boy Color, but only has one game, so she hinted that she was getting sick of that one game, so I told my mom and sister about that. She likes dorm pants and pyjamas, and she needs a new pair of slippers, so as the mom I will cover those bases and viola, Jessie has a bevy of gifts.

He's an enigma. I have very little idea on what to get this kid. He likes hotwheels, so I'll put some of those in his stocking. He likes this aforementioned pop up mr. potato head business. He's probably ready for a board game like Hi Ho Cherry O or something, so that's an option. There's always a need for him to get another pair of PJs or a CD game, but he's so bad with CDs. He doesn't know how to take care of them, and we've had to throw 3 away that we got for Jessie when she was his age. So I'm wary of spending the money. I think he's learned his lesson on how to treat them because he was apeshit freaked out about throwing away the ruined "Trudy's Time and Place House" in the trash (I made him put it in the garbage so he'd understand that it was over... and he didn't like that). So we'll see. If there was something very inexpensive and good quality education wise on sale, I'd buy it. But I don't know.

He's like having another kid, and again, I'm at a loss. He hinted that he wanted some nice cutlery... which I think is odd. But our knives suck and we could use more, but the ones I'm looking at from J.A. Henckels or Wusthof are obscenely expensive... for a block with 5 knives, I'd be spending like 200 bucks. Last year I got him 4 wicked nice martini glasses, 4 margarita glasses, a bartenders "bible" which he enjoys reading and making concoctions from once in a while. It's kind of a hobby thing. I'm not into encouraging the art of alcohol consumption for the most part, seeing as too much of a good thing lands your ass in rehab. Neither of us are anywhere near that though, which is good. But he likes this kind of chi-chi brandy glass/liqueur thing lately, and if it tickles his borderline unticklable fancy, why not. I figure a couple pairs of dorm pants, some cool knives... trying to think of something else that's cool. Any suggestions? Let me know.

I'm going shopping at lunch with my Super Asian girl LLP, so we'll see if we find anything. More later.

Okay, it's officially later. LLP and I went to Marshall's where she didn't find a thing and I scored. I love shopping for other people... hate shopping for myself. I got 2 books, one for each kid, a toy and a suit for My Niece Elyse, and a toy and suit for my friend Bonnie's Baby Chloe. So we're off and running. I only have a few people to really get something for...

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