Stereotypical

When I first started my job, a local clothier was liquidating his inventory of plaid shirts, and for ridiculous single-digit prices.  Succumbing to momentary insanity, convinced it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I stocked up.

My hasty shopping spree left me relegated to wear oxford-style tartan for years to come.  Workplace associates would later proclaim that plaid became my personal trademark.

The following Halloween, everyone in the office donned plaid shirts to celebrate my limited, and somewhat lacking, fashion sense.Scary_Plaid

As the company I.T. guy, I prided myself  on building rapport and improving morale whenever possible.  Often this meant helping with menial tasks, which many times interrupted my mundane technical responsibilities, but more importantly, provided an excuse to shed my necktie.

The Friday before last, ladies in accounting had requested my assistance with carrying boxed files to the basement storage.Matching_Plaid

With banker boxes heaped five high on the handcart, my free hand fumbled to call the elevator.  The doors parted to expose the empty car. Using the old heave-ho, the cart’s rubber tires protested lethargically, but eventually conceded the threshold from marble tile onto elevator carpet.  With a closing clunk, the car descended.

The lift slowed, stopped, and divided doors on fifteen.  Motion from the lobby was absent.  The symmetrical panels reached to reseal the compartment, until interrupted by an arm adorn with a monogrammed gold cufflink.  The doors recoiled to reveal a polished executive.  He boarded the car.

“Sorry…  I hate to hold up anyone getting paid by the delivery,” said the dapper gentleman.

My eyebrow arched.  A forced smirk failed to conceal my grimace.

“…or do you delivery guys get paid by the hour?”

My mind turned introspective.  My getup looked neither like FedEx, nor UPS, and I hadn’t a clipboard, nor even a courier crest sewn to my chest.  What made me appear to be a delivery guy?  Was it the plaid?

Ideas for a witty rebuttal simply vanished.

Constraining the truth, I muttered, “…something like that.”

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The story mentioned above was inspired by the Trifecta: Week Seventy-Nine writing challenge.  This week’s prompt required me to write a response, 33 to 333 words in length, containing the word APPEAR  (specifically using its third definition).

APPEAR
1a : to be or come in sight <the sun appears on the horizon>
b : to show up <appears promptly at eight each day>
2: to come formally before an authoritative body <must appear in court today>
3: to have an outward aspect : seem <appears happy enough>

Feel the Burn

Aqua Velva

“Aftershave!” Lars exclaimed, revealing her renowned gift for grandsons. “I was nearly out!”

“Aftershave? No wonder it burns so badly! I mistook it for mouthwash.”

Giggles erupted.

Grandma’s eyes loathed my false confession.

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This confessional moment is brought to you courtesy of this weekend’s prompt at Trifextra, the nice folks still making Aqua Velva, and my dearly departed Grandma D.

The Prompt: a thirty-three word confession.

I don’t wanna wait in vain…

I rediscovered this Annie Lennox song while watching the movie, Serendipity.  Annie’s voice soars and the musical score behind her vocals build with a subtle charm–by the end of the song,  I can’t get the grin off my face.

I hardly remember the song from its release in 1995, and oblivious to me, I even own the very song on an Annie Lennox’s CD entitled Medusa.  Annie’s recording is actually a remake of an old Bob Marley song.  When comparing the recordings, except for similar lyrics , I am still shocked to learn they’re actually the same song.  Call me a child of the eighties, but I’ll take Annie’s electro-pop rendition over the reggae original any day, and twice on Sundays.

Bob Marley – Waiting In Vain (original)

Sampling the song on YouTube, I don’t ever recall viewing the Waiting In Vain music video, but I’m delighted to find it brewing with creativity and clever attention to detail.  At first, the whole mouse ears thing is a mystery to me (I wonder if anyone at Disney’s Mouse House sat up and took notice?), but a YouTube viewer’s comment indicates the mouse ears are actually a reference to Minnie Mouse, specifically how she always waits in vain for Mickey Mouse (to fall in love, I’m guessing).  In the video, Annie’s choreographed movements, especially with mouse ears, add a unique, dramatic, and  animated presence to it all.  When I try to imagine her without the mouse ears, my mind imagines it to be far less interesting, at lease from a visual perspective.

My favorite part of the video nears the end where twined images of Annie, sitting on the stove, kick their legs in sync while singing “I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna…” (the backing to the song’s finale/climactic end).

Videos like Annie’s Waiting In Vain make me miss that show Pop-Up Video.  I love how that show dissected the videos and the stories behind the scenes.

Lost Translations

I’d run across this photo a long time ago, but do not recall ever seeing this sign when I visited Leningrad in 1987 (now called St. Petersburg).

I especially like the stick figure art.  It’s clever, humorous, sarcastic, and not what I’d expect from screeners in the former USSR.
Untitled

Untitled by the Real Janelle

The Real Janelle (whoever you really are) posted this to her Flickr account back in 2007 with these very witty English translations.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Sign01

1) No riding into the fortress on armored tanks saluting Hitler.

Sign02

2) No samples at the deli

Sign03
3) No miniature rocking horses

Sign04
4) No suicides, please, this is not the Brooklyn bridge

Sign05
5) No smooth jazz

Sign06
6) No underpants

Sign07
7) No ski-jumping

Sign08
8) No loss of depth perception

Sign09
9) No Don King hairstyles

Sign10
10) No drinking whilst holding a lamppost, lest you become electrocuted

Sign11

11) No flying bicycles, with or without extra terrestrial

Sign12

12) No supermodels, they break like sticks

May the former KGB never hunt you down for creating laughter against the former Soviet Union.  Stay safe the Real Janelle!

First Daze

The last thing I remember was the close up of patient’s eye.  Everything was copacetic right up until the surgical instrument extracted the metal filing.  My blood galloped to meet the floor and my body, the traitor, was helpless but to follow.

I was reawakened as classmates struggled to upright me.  “Are you okay?  You don’t look so good.”

“No, I’m fine.  Eye injuries just make me squeamish.”  The momentary humiliation stung.

“Mr. Dyck.  You’re excused for today.  Tomorrow, we start the real course material.”

How could I protest after being unceremoniously unseated on my first day?

I had been warned about the gory nature of the shop’s safety film and its aim to scare safety mindfulness into freshmen.  Putting forth my bravest face, I had grossly overestimated my ability to muster mind over matter.

I stumbled woozily onto the bus while fumbling to produce my monthly pass.  Defeated, I slumped into the seat and burrowed my head into my jacket.  My eyes stared blankly at the pedantic transit advertisements.

The transit meandered its way to my home with ceaseless stops and starts.

The girl seated in front of me looked around with a gaze that differed than most.  When had she gotten on the bus?   The Camwest Center?

With the most devilish grin from ear-to-ear, the girl turned to face me.

Next Stop

 She clasped something in her left hand.   A similar substance was on her cheek.  At first glance, I guessed chocolate.  The whiff that followed clarified otherwise.  It was a defecating matter!

My stomach contents ejected upward while my hand grasped desperately for the next stop rope.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

With breakfast in my mouth, I rushed the rear door.  The ride stopped.  I exited, expelled, exhaled, and embraced fresh air.  Sweet fresh air!

My composure was nearly regained as the next bus arrived.  Once boarded, seated, and mildly relieved, I couldn’t help but notice the constant trickle of passengers from the earlier bus, all being picked up along the way.

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The above is my response to Trifecta: Week Seventy-Eight where this week’s word is pedantic (adjective)

1 : of, relating to, or being a pedant(see pedant)
2 : narrowly, stodgily, and often ostentatiously learned
3 : unimaginative, pedestrian

The challenge requires my response to be between 33 and 333 words.  The word must be used once in its third definition.

My response’s story idea stems from a real-life situations experienced by my roommate on either his first or second day at SAIT (over 20 years ago).  Good or bad, it was the first thing that sprung to mind when I looked up pedantic.

She Pondered

“What if I topple your paradigm?”

Her finger played nervously with a loop underneath long black curls.  She pondered his words.  Was this honey sweet flirtation or just wearing on her last nerve?

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This is my first second  Trifextra submission to  Trifecta.  To my delight, my last entry received some positive feedback from nice folks (isn’t everyone nice… until they get to know me).  As an added bonus, my writing didn’t get me run out of town.

This weekend’s assignment asks for exactly 33 words, 30 of my own and three of the following:

topple   paradigm   underneath   nerve   honey   loop

My imagination helped me to squeeze them all in, so hopefully it doesn’t fault my entry.  Time will tell.

The Farewell

Jim&Pam_2

Leave it to me to get all sappy about the ending of a TV show…  As you may or may not know, this was the last season for NBC’s The Office.  Eight and something-something seasons later, the show’s finale aired last night.  It didn’t disappoint.

Seinfeld is the last significant television finale still etched in my memory.  Nearly everyone I ever know who watched Seinfeld felt the same annoyance I felt towards its final episode.  How could such an epic Thursday night tradition have ended so poorly?  It still turns my stomach to think about it.

Conversely, The Office couldn’t have ended better.  It left me smiling, laughing, saddened, but most importantly, it resolved the story(and unlike Seinfeld, didn’t leave you wondering if the show you’d watched for so-long might have only been half as good as you remember).  I was one of those few people who followed the show from season one.  Over the last week, I’ve been asking my peers, mostly co-workers, if they happen to watch The Office.  Once again, I’m one of the few.  So nine seasons later, what’s changed?   Now at least everyone knows of or about the show, even if they don’t watch it.

Back in spring 2005, the concept of The Office was new and novel.  It immediately peaked my interest with its documentary feel and character camera interviews (like soliloquies or confessions caught on tape).  And it was about work, and those were the days when I actually felt passion and worth just going to work.

The Office made a second season, and its fandom at my own workplace grew (likely because I was avidly promoting it).  Using my VCR, I would faithfully record the show on Thursdays, and during Fridays’ lunch break, my co-workers and I would bust-a-gut laughing out loud while watching the recording.  Like Miami Vice (Friday nights of my youth), Saturday Night Live (Saturday nights of my youth), and Simpsons (I can’t recall what night of my youth), watching The Office with a group of people makes the experience that much better.  Maybe like in a theatre or cinema, viewers feed off of each other’s emotions and reactions.

TheOfficeUKI’ve watched and appreciate the BBC’s The Office, but not nearly as much as States-side recreation.  Looking at each adaptation of The Office TV show, they differ so much as to practically exist on different planets (not just continents).  The intro scene into the BBC version seems sad, nearly dismal if not depressing, and the intro cinematography makes the show almost look more industrial than about an office.  But credit indeed goes to Ricky Gervais for creating the concept and for getting the whole idea rolling.

So what made The Office different from other television sitcoms?  It was the characters and the setting.  The personalities on the show were both believable and yet over-the-top funny.  So often, the show’s characters could seem so real, down-to-earth, and relatable, while other times you knew the story writers were taking you on some wild goose chase.  And their stories played out in an office space where just about anyone might relate.  Other times, the first person filming of scenes left the viewer actually feeling like part of the cast.Quad_Desk

What will I miss most about The Office?

I’ll miss the emotion that Michael Scott could awake in me–at times I just couldn’t help but root for him because he was the ultimate underdog.  Other times, he would leave me cringing or bubble up with anger.

The cast, while looking more like average folks, rather than Hollywood supermodels, had the ability to capture the viewer’s attention (and often their heart).  At different points in the story, substance rather than superficial made me appreciate each personality for who they were (or developed into).

Watching The Office often ended up being therapeutic… helping me appreciate the quirky nature of working with others, and to realize that the craziest day at my work seldom matched the madness portrayed on the TV show.

A few of my favorite scenes from The Office:

Megadesk
Quad Desk
Booze Cruise
Lip Dub Intro
Princess Unicorn
Finer Things Club
Dwight’s Concussion
Jim playing Call of Duty
Holly doing Yoda Impression
Michael Scott Paper Company
Death Bus (actually called Work Bus)
Michael Scott’s wearing a Woman’s Suit
Creed coloring his hair black to look younger
Identity Theft — When Jim steels Dwight’s look.
Holly, the new HR person, thinks Kevin is retarded
Andy sings to Angela with backing from the friends on phones
Dropping a water melon from  atop of the building onto the trampoline
Dwight reading the speech Jim wrote for him at the Paper Sales Conference

(and too many more to list)

So after spending nine years tagging along, thanks  for the smiles, stories, and laughs!

Do you have a favorite scene or storyline you related to in The Office?  Leave me a comment 🙂