Category Archives: Cary

Pitfalls of the “nice” workplace

I work in a very nice place with very nice people. The kind and courteous atmosphere is one of the biggest perks of my job. And this is only one of several nice places in which I’ve worked ove rthe course of my career. Call it good fortune or eerie coincidence, but I can honestly say that I’ve never worked in a place where I wouldn’t describe my co-workers as “nice.”

But therein lies a problem. A first world problem surely, but a problem nonetheless. The problem of being too nice. You know that saying about how you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can never please all the people all the time? Well, I have been in more than one work situation in which the parties involved try much too hard to please all of the people all of the time. Niceness often trumps sensibility (and to a certain degree, backbone), and it can make for some rather silly and frustrating scenarios that sometimes play out rather passive-aggressively.  We all have to take the good with the bad in life, but that doesn’t mean plain old common sense should be cast aside to save face. Because let’s face it, there’s nice, and then there’s stupid. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

Continue reading Pitfalls of the “nice” workplace

Mash this!

“Have you heard this crazy song?” the driver said to us sitting in the backseat of his car.

He slowly turned up the volume and yelled “It’s pretty awesome!” For moment all I could hear was the familiar “duh duh duh duuuh” rhythm of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. It took a moment for Kayne West’s “Gold Digger” to register. And as I listened further, I realized that I wasn’t listened to Beethoven’s classic wasn’t playing at all, but rather it was “A Fifth of Beethoven,” a less than favorite off of an otherwise great album, Saturday Night Fever.

The song concluded and our friend asked “Pretty cool, huh?”

Someone in the car responded “What was that?”

“A mashup,” came the simple answer, followed by “this station plays them all the time.”

And so it began.

Continue reading Mash this!

They just don’t make ’em like they used to

"Droid Eris meets pavement." Image by Flickr user Robert Nelson.
“Droid Eris meets pavement” by Flickr user Robert Nelson

Six years ago, I bought a microwave. Even though it lived for part of that time in storage, after a bit of clean up, it worked, and still works perfectly. I just made breakfast in it this morning.

Nine years ago, I bought a wired, push-button phone (the kind your grandmother might still own with big, lighted buttons). Though it had been repeatedly dropped and otherwise abused throughout its life, it worked perfectly up until the day we cut the landline.

Twelve years ago we bought a Gamecube. I used it the other day to play Metroid Prime.

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Four months ago we picked up an Xbox One. Turns out it had a faulty disc drive. Now the wireless controller doesn’t work.

Six months ago I bought a faucet water filter with fancy indicator lights. Yesterday, the lights stopped working.

Nine months ago I bought a new phone. Last week I dropped it just right and the screen broke.

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Maybe I’m experiencing a cyclical period of bad luck, but I’m kind of in awe at just how many pieces of electronic equipment that pepper my life have recently, in one way or another, died.

Continue reading They just don’t make ’em like they used to

First thoughts on Extant (spoiler-free)

Teasers for CBS’s new sci-fi series Extant have been running for a very long time. Since the beginning of the year, if not before. During that time, my interest level in it has gone from “eh, maybe” to “yay awesome!” With an Almost Human-sized hole in my sci-fi viewing arena, I’ve since been looking forward to the show in the hopes that it might not only be something fun to watch, but also join the rare air of successful network sci-fi shows. After watching Extant‘s first episode a couple days ago, it’s too early to call foul or fair, but here are my initial impressions.

extant
© 2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Continue reading First thoughts on Extant (spoiler-free)

My Favorite Summer Drinks

Happy 4th of July! (Or simply Happy Friday!) I’m surprised to see you round these parts. With so much holiday-ness going on today, I figured you’d be out eating burgers, preparing for fireworks, or finding the best spot on a crowded beach. But at least you’re not drunk…yet. I mean, what’s July 4th without a sip or seven of a refreshing tipsy beverage? Just a little something special to celebrate the fact that you have three days off and because we all know that you’re going to phone in the rest of the summer at work. After all, it’s summer.  And though summertime might call out for freezers of swill beer and malt liquor, for me, the road gently paved with hard liquor is the more suitable one. Though my chaotic days of lushness are well in the past, sometimes there’s nothing better than a nip of something bittersweet at the end (or in the middle) of a hot, summer day. It’s time to put away mugs of coffee and kahlua, heavy shots of bourbon, and the snifters of brandy, and seek out gentler drinks that quench as well as sooth the heated soul. It’s with that in mind that I present to you five of my favorite summer drinks (in no particular order, thought highly subjective opinions follow).

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Play on, ye marathoners. Play on! (And tell me, how the hell do you do it?)

Image by Flickr user Ben Andreas Harding
Image by Flickr user Ben Andreas Harding

I don’t know how you do it — you wonderful gamers who can play and play and play with nary a break (except for snacks and the calls of nature, that is). What be yer secret? she said in a pirate accent for no good reason. How do you sit for so long, immersed in as virtual world doing virtual things? No sarcasm there, I’m serious. Marathoning games is something I want to do, but simply can’t. Or won’t. Or something.

I’ve come to realize that my gaming attention span lasts about two hours. I can sit comfortably doing this, that, and the other in any given game for about two hours before I need a break. And as far as I can remember, it’s been a habit for a long time.

Continue reading Play on, ye marathoners. Play on! (And tell me, how the hell do you do it?)

A Karaoke Story (with Music)

Image by flickr user Joe Shlabotnik
Image by Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik

Every day on my way to work I pass a non-descript Applebee’s with some very descriptive signage. KARAOKE THURS. NIGHT 9-11PM, its small billboard screams, usually with an exclamatory tag like COME JOIN THE FUN! or SING YOUR HEART OUT! It serves as a constant reminder to me that the majority of the world’s population can be broken down into three groups: those who would take a bullet for karaoke, those who tolerate karaoke, and those who would like karaoke to die in a fire. I don’t know if one can “geek out” to karaoke, but I’ve been around enough karaoke-lovers to know that it’s not something to take lightly. Sure, it’s fun and silly, but for some, it’s also serious business.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not one of those people. Sorry, sorry, but that’s not where this post is going. Continue reading A Karaoke Story (with Music)