Archive | February 2014

Y’know, It’d Be Nice…

…if the guys who dip their fingers into the network and systems would freakin’ tell the rest of us just what in the hell they’re doing once in a while.

You know what I’m talking about if you work in IT. Programmers, et. al., don’t bother to tell you “oh hey, by the way, we did some upgrades and it’s going to affect everyone’s computers district-wide.” What that means is what happened to me bright and early Monday morning. I turned on my computer (because I shut it down over the weekends), got completely logged in to everything I use throughout the day, took ONE call, and my computer decided it needed to restart for updates.

minion what

I just freakin’ did updates!

Great way to start my Monday.

Then after I logged into everything again, I took three calls regarding the exact same thing and also a weird ‘can’t find c:\program’ error. I’m looking at that one like, “I can remote into the computer and see the desktop. Obviously the hard drive is there.” Ask the bossman, and he’s thinking virus. Meanwhile, I’m running virus scans half the morning until people who can figure it out can get in . That takes about all afternoon and…wait, they haven’t yet. Not exactly. It seems the new anti-virus is way better than the old one, and in being better, it’s found a ton of malware on all admin computers. Awesome. Wait, not awesome because when it removes these threats, it doesn’t fix the path, so the error is stemming from the fact that all of these computers were so bogged down with malware running constantly that the computer pretty much said…

minion WTF

…because the program vanished. They’re still working on it, but hey, it’s only been a few hours.

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I Forget…

…how difficult and distorted and cruel life can be at times, and how some of that is my fault.

Human Dementia ProblemsMost know that Umi (my mother–yes, I have to remind you now and then) has the beginning stages of dementia, or as we like to call it, demential (thanks for the typo, Zia). It helps to joke about it because if you’re familiar at all with dementia, you know how frustrating and heartbreaking it can be when things start fading from your mind or the mind of someone you love.

Umi's noteUmi forgets things…a lot. Not as often as my grandmother did…yet, but I’ve learned to not argue about memories that differ from my own. There’s really no point. It’s not going to change her memory to the correct one. So you’d think I’d be more understanding when she locks herself out of the house and has to call me at work because she’s locked herself out of the house. There’s a Post-It note on the door specifically for this reason and it is at her eye level. She even admits that she sees it every time she opens the door. And yet, she walked right out the door without her keys and locked the door behind her. She’s locked herself out probably about six times in the past year.

Did I mention frustration?

I was a horrible daughter last Thursday. I made my mother cry. I knew that before I even walked out of the building to head home to let her back in and I felt like complete shit the whole way home. And the whole way back to work. Why I was frustrated doesn’t even matter, and it really had little to do with this particular incident. I’m afraid that she’s going to forget where she lives one of these days and it’ll be a story on the news. It scares the ever-living hell out of me to think that that could be the future. So while my frustration stems from a place of fear for my mother’s well-being, it gives me no right to snap at her for forgetting to grab her keys.

bigstock-Losing-memory-like-dementia-or-8040209People won’t remember 90% of what you say, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.

I apologized before I went back to work, told her I loved her, and on the way home from Princess the Chihuahua’s vet appointment later that afternoon, I bought her ice cream and Arby’s. It’s nowhere near enough. Losing thirty minutes of my time at work is nothing compared to losing my mom. Nothing.

10signs

Ready, Aim, Fire!

Last week, during a rare lull in calls, one of my co-workers broke out the Nerf guns. She, of course, aimed into the boss’s office first.

Nerf gun

You try to not scream when one of those bullets comes flying over the cubicle wall at you while you’re on the phone.

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Of course, you realize, this means war.

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Hilarity Ensues…

…in the form of ignorance when it comes to computers.

So last week, I heard this from another cubicle: “There is a physical power button, ma’am . . .  no, not the dell logo.”

And this was my reaction…

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It gets better…

“Ma’am, what kind of computer is it? No. Do you have a tower? Is there a name with numbers above the CD drive? The CD drive. That little rectangular area near the top of the computer………okay, above the dell logo, there’s a little round button. Push that in.”

*snorts*

Ashton-Kutcher-laughing

“No, ma’am, push the button in…. Okay, I’ll just send a tech out. Thank you, have a nice day.”

*hangs up* “Oh my God!”

ME: Wow, that was just ridiculous.

“Seriously? She needs to step away from the computer.”

43397-David-Tennant-laughing-gif-asgo

Welcome to my world.

A Case of the Monday…

…stupids. No, really. Pay attention.

helpdesk1“No, ma’am, the screen is the monitor.”

Listening in on a co-worker’s call this past week proved more fruitful for post ideas. It’s also making me laugh hysterically in my little cubicle in the corner in conjunction with the calls I’m getting.

Like the person I just talked to. They didn’t have the barcode or serial number for the printer they were calling in, and didn’t know if the printer was plugged into the computer via USB or if the printer had an ethernet cable going into it. Why are you even ON a computer?I can’t look up the printer without knowing the serial number, make and model, and I can’t remote to the laptop because they don’t understand that they have to hardwire in so I can access their computer. I can’t do this shit wirelessly…yet. On top of this, the printer was no longer supported, so while telling them that I couldn’t help them without the aforementioned information, I also had to give them that bad news.

No, I don’t feel bad about it.

When they call, there is a prompt that tells them exactly what they need to give to us, but hey, they think we’re all mind readers or great wizards over here. They also seem to know more than us lowly help desk folk. I mean, hell, I guess they don’t really need our help after all, right? Most of the time, I get people with good attitudes and a great sense of humor, and they’re an awful lot of fun to talk to. But, once in a while there’s the jackass who’s either too stupid to operate the computer and has a bah-jillion viruses on it after we just cleaned it two days prior, or who just thinks we’re beneath him/her. I’m a tad short with these idiots. Y’know, condescending in a polite, respectful voice. They’re not usually quite sure what to make of it.

I should probably stop talking like this. It could have the potential to get me fired. *points at post* NO NAMES of PEOPLE or PLACES, folks.

At any rate, this was more of a rant, I think, than anything else. Oh, and hey, Gmail’s working fine so far! *snorts* I’ll give it another week or two.

Remember, be nice to the help desk people who help you with your technology. We have the power to really fuck it up for you without you realizing it. *winks* I already have a note on my desk of one individual to never speak with again. *grins*

"Ohm!"

“Ohm!”

Got this gem before leaving work last night: CALLER: I can’t find my spellcheck. Where is it? ME: *laughs* Oh, you’re serious. Um…

The caller stunned me stupid. I’m not kidding. Totally did not expect a call for that…ever. But then again, I have a B.A. in English and don’t need spellcheck.

Why Kick-Ass Heroines Need to Exist

Are you waiting for Prince Charming to come rescue you from your common life? Why? Do you need to be rescued?

We have raised generations of girls who think this way, and I’ll admit that after being raised on Disney stories about princesses being rescued from whatever fate held them back, I was one of those girls. At least I didn’t go around trying to kiss frogs.

Alas, after severe disappointment in relationships, I am single in my mid-40s, but I’m okay with that. I’d rather be happy and single than married and miserable. Disclaimer: I’m not saying true love doesn’t exist. It does. I’ve witnessed it. If you’re happy with your significant other, that’s awesome. I’ve also been in love…truly and unconditionally, so my life hasn’t been wasted and it’s not a bitter pill I’m trying to swallow. Love is grand, and love hurts like a motherfucker.

A popular trend has taken place in the literary world over the past several years, and I’m not exactly certain who started it, but it’s been amazing: Kick-ass Heroines. Women who are tough, strong, stubborn, sexy, and who know exactly what they want in life. Oh sure, the occasional Ana or Bella sneaks their way into the arena, but those girls wouldn’t stand a chance if they had to go up against Mercy Thompson or Rylee Adamson, Anita Blake or Antoinette Petrescu, or even Nemy Mussolini. I’d add Kitty, but I still haven’t read that series yet. I know, don’t hurt me.

A few years back (more like 5 years ago), I ran across Carrie Vaughn’s blog “Filling the Well” and her three-part analysis of urban fantasy, starting with The Formula, where she briefly explains what’s involved in an urban fantasy novel. Carrie’s part II covers her urban fantasy pet peeves, which as a writer I found extremely useful, and she finishes with her Deconstructing Urban Fantasy Part III. I don’t feel like using her material and citing, so I’ve linked the posts for you. Yes, I do have an English degree. This three-part series is important because it covers several key points about kick-ass heroines and how they’re viewed by the readers. Carrie helped me realize a few things about the characters I was writing in the realm of urban fantasy and/or paranormal fiction. Hell, her blog even helped me create Nemy and her friends in the Kick-Ass Girls Club series, a contemporary romance series, or at least refine them. But, I had one specific character who needed a complete overhaul. You haven’t met her just yet, but you will at some point. She was whiny and seemed weak as hell even though she was actually grieving a loss. I saw her with new eyes after reading Carrie’s words and started rewriting the series. Armen, whom you’ll meet this coming summer, benefited greatly from reading Carrie’s posts. She’s everything I mentioned at the beginning of this: tough, strong, sexy, stubborn, and she has no tramp stamp or leather. *grins* Armen prefers jeans and a hoodie, but the girl hasn’t been human all that long.

Honestly, you should just follow Carrie’s blog at this point.

486515_10151077881687278_420843346_nBut let’s talk about WHY kick-ass heroines need to exist. Why are readers drawn to the kick-ass heroine? I’ll agree with Carrie, in that I think it reflects societal fears. Plus, heroic women? Who doesn’t want that? I’m not your typical female, so I’ve been pushing against the grain all my life. Personally, I’d rather read a Mercy Thompson book any day over Twilight because I do not find that series or Bella intriguing or challenging. I guess I grew out of the princess stage, decided I’d stop waiting for a prince that would never arrive, and made myself queen a la Elizabeth I style. I don’t need rescued and if I want something done, I’ll do it my damn self. But, there’s that lingering bit in the back of my mind that adds the fucking dominant male to the story. However, the dominant male usually has a lot of trouble controlling the dominant female, and you know what? He enjoys the hell out of that.

The kick-ass heroine is important because she offers readers an escape, and she shows younger women how strong they can be (one hopes correctly) if they take the chance and step outside normalcy or what’s expected of them. Is it possible to stay strong and fall in love? Sure it is. I know several strong women who lead wonderful lives without ever losing themselves in their significant others. But what’s also nice to see in these novels is the kick-ass heroine’s flaws. They make her more human, realistic. With Shannon Mayer’s Rylee Adamson series, we get to watch Rylee grow and soften around the edges because she’s been so hardened from life. She has her weak moments, albeit rare, and she makes mistakes. Just. Like. Everyone. Else. Sometimes, her mistakes drive us up the wall, but…she has her soft spots, and as cold-hearted as we want her to be in that moment, if she were that, we’d hate her. We really would. My heroines tend to hit that point and I have to reign them back a bit. We don’t want to read about a cold-hearted bitch using violence to save the world or whatever. That just makes her a psychopath hellbent on ruling the universe.

The kick-ass heroine also makes the decisions that we in reality can’t make for whatever reason(s). It’s not necessarily a bad thing on us. When it comes down to the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome, we ALL imagine that we’ll stand and fight, but that may not be the case, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the flight part of that. It’s called survival instinct. In an extreme situation, you are going to do one or the other. Period. The heroes and heroines of the fictional world stand and fight…always. They’re the ones who make the sacrifices for us so the world can be a better place. And since the really real world is not a better place, we need them in compelling stories so we can escape for just a little while and dream…and hope.

I could keep talking about this, but I’d really like to leave it up for discussion (even though no one comments). What are your thoughts on the kick-ass heroine? Why is she popular? What does she offer readers? And most importantly, how did Bella get so goddamn popular? Also, do you need to be rescued? Why not rescue yourself?