Since I cannot seem to come up with ideas of my own lately, I have decided to take the Fandango’s Friday Flashback challenge, which I found by way of my good friend Cyranny’s blog, who was taking the same challenge. You should check out both of their blogs, for they are both excellent!
I hope you enjoy!
Today was Friday and so it could not help but be a good day.
You’d be more likely to find a sterile Tribble than you would a bad Friday.
Even being at work was kind of nice.
I know, I know! You can’t believe those words just came out of my blog! But it’s true.
Office Archaeology for Amateurs
I say that because it was kind of a slow day, which is something that I have not got to enjoy in … oh … approximately 5 or 6 years. How slow was it? Well, it was so slow that I decided to clean up my office.
This started out when I looked in one of my lateral file drawers for something. I couldn’t find what I was looking for, but I did find a lot of things that have been collecting up over the years. I have been in my current office for about ten years, which is the longest I have ever been in an office before. Or anywhere, really.
You can imagine the amount of grot that builds up over ten years. Old business cards. Pieces of paper with things written on them, the meaning and importance of which you have long since forgotten. Company “flash cards” handed out over the years to remind us to be ethical, to be safe, to be security conscious, to know what to say to auditors if any ever drop in unexpectedly, who to call in case of an accident or hazardous chemical spill (such as the coffee in the break room), etc. Training materials for classes held long ago when the company had a training budget. Old cables and dongles and wall-worts for equipment long gone, obsolete, and forgotten. Wrist straps, heel straps, and ESD smocks for those rare occasions I need to venture into the lab for something. Safety glasses (the extra-uncool kind). Hanging folders full of useless documents. Old data books.
Well, in a cleaning frenzy, I got rid of all of it. Or about 95% of it. I’m sure the people who sit in the offices around me must have been thinking that I was about to quit my job or transfer to a new one. But I don’t care. I am tired of looking at this stuff. Tired of carrying it around (figuratively).
So out it went! (In accordance to my company’s policy on the proper disposal of waste, hazardous materials, sensitive information, and recyclable materials, of course.)
How To Excel at Mediocrity
My office spic-and-span, I turned my attention to other things.
I decided to start working on my next big project using Excel VBA (Visual Basic for Applications). This one is even more monumental than my last one. If I can get it to do what I want it to, it will cause quite a stir within the company. I expect to be peppered with questions such as,
- “What did you charge all your time to while doing this? I hope it wasn’t against MY cost center!”
- “Since you’re so good at Excel programming, can you come set the clock on my oven at home?”
- “Did you know my little 5 year old, Thaddeus, can raise ducks on his virtual farm on my phone? Will this program be as cool as that?”
- “What was your name again?”
I will probably have it finished far too late for my mid-year performance review, but it would be nice if I could. That way I could hear my supervisor say, “That’s cool, but did you do any real work?”
Or possibly, “Who are you again?”
Book ’em, Biff-o
Tonight after work and after dinner, I got to go to two … count ’em … TWO bookstores in a single night. I, of course, went to my old haunt Barnes & Noble. Whenever I walk in there, it is like Norm walking into Cheers.
Even though no one calls out my name like they did his, I am pretty sure the sales girl rearranging the books on the table by the entryway almost said, “Welcome to Barnes & Noble”, or would have if she’d noticed that I’d walked in.
Regardless, going into B&N is like going into someplace where everyone knows my name (even though they don’t). I almost started singing the theme to “Cheers”, but thought better of it.
I looked around and touched a lot of books. I never actually buy them, for they’re far too expensive, but it is so great to pick them up and feel them and smell their lovely book-y aroma.
Except I did actually buy a book tonight. On a whim (and a 20% off coupon), I bought the 2019 guide book to United States coins. I have been toying with the idea of collecting coins. Who knows? That Mason jar full of loose change I have on my shelf might be hiding some rare coin that will enable me to retire early.
Or, the more likely scenario, is that the loose change in that Mason jar will not even add up to half of what I paid for this stupid guide book to United States coins (now with scratch-and-sniff technology).
It’s a Mystery To Me
After my riotous orgy of book-buying at B&N, I took the short drive to Half Price Books (HPB). Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that Half Price Book stores are my opium dens. I can be seen walking in their door at around 7 PM with an energetic step and clear eyes. Then, if uninterrupted, I will not be seen again for days until a interventionist search party shines a bright light into the “Nostalgia” aisle and finds me laying on the floor in a state of near delirium, blinking against the bright light, nearly overcome by the dust, paper dander, and book mites that I have been breathing in for days.
Tonight I rambled the entire store and only found one thing I wanted. It was an Agatha Christie paperback in fair condition. I was nearly embarrassed to buy it, since it cost the princely sum of seventy-five cents (American). But it is one I have not read and, according to the orange 24-point Century Gothic print on the cover, it was the first time it was printed in paperback.
How could I resist the siren song of 24-point Century Gothic?
Also, according to the same, though smaller, font, this book is, by all accounts, better than “Passenger to Frankfurt”, which I have not read. Therefore, it cannot help but be better.
Well, this post, just like this day (which, as a reminder, is — or was — Friday), is now over.
Please mind your head as you exit the post, as the ceilings are quite low near the doors. Also, please watch your step on the automatically extending ramps and steps. Please look about you for any personal articles that you may have left behind.
Be sure to join us tomorrow, which, from what we understand, is a Saturday.
Be sure not to miss it, as there will not be a make-up day.