There are no bad owners, only bad dogs

2006-07-16

Where the Wild Things Are.

Here I am, back home after a week-long stay in the big square-ish state. It’s always a struggle for me to tell tales in chronological order or in order of how irritating things were. I will solve that for now by not telling about it and instead noting that I just found a Web site called RateMyTeacher.com and I am pleased to say that a) I am no longer a teacher and b) my friend Cookie gets the thumbs up. If I were still teaching I’d be tempted to go on there and rate myself as being a hard but fair teacher, which I was not. I was fair, but never learned how to teach to all 30 of them at once when some were smart, some less so, some were interested, some not at all, some cared about their grades, most didn’t. So my teaching “style” lacked style and was an incoherent jumble of crap.

So I’ve been called for an interview at EduTech, in spite of the fact that my last resume was crumpled up and spat on when it reached certain desks. This time I will be interviewed by two people, both of whom I know, both of whom are fucking nuts. One almost got fired because he spent a lot of time at work writing his blog, which has since been taken down. This is a shame because it was magnificently awful, full of self-pity and appalling self aggrandizement (e.g., boasting about his 120K salary). He also spent the hours from 10 to 2 at work, except for lunch. Since his close call with unemployment, he has apparently seen the light. He used to work at EduMart, where legends of his weirdness are still told around the campfire (we can’t tell stories about the creepy guy with the hook, because he also works at EduMart and is currently boinking his way through the young female staff). The other person is a close personal friend of CrazyWheelchairLady/Blanche. God only knows what tales of horror she’s heard about me from Blanche and her Band of Unemployable Idiots.

Also, Cap’n Wacky is being interviewed by EduTrode in a couple of weeks, and of course wants me to go with her (if she goes). I am guessing the timing of all of this will come together just right to screw me and leave me jobless, because that’s how I rock it. I have a consulting gig, though, with some EduTainment outfit. Tomorrow is our first meeting, so I am still a bit foggy about the details. As soon as I fill out my nondisclosure form, I’ll get back to you with all of the bits and pieces.

Square-ish state: For the first time ever, I went on a bidness trip with the greggers. Also present were his friend Boo Radley, Stutter, a Crazy 88, and two very self-important managers, WeeMan and ParisHilton. The process that we were going to steer was rather new-ish, as we were trying to make a process fit onto a product for which it was not intended. There was much anxiety in the weeks preceding this trip, featuring lots of meetings and some sort of infinite pointless email generator. So we were originally supposed to go for 2 days, but then someone got the willies and decided that we should be there for 4 days to make sure it was all done right. We scheduled out each day in laborious detail, mapping out what would be done when and how much time it would take. Then we tacked on an extra “just-in-case” day for no reason at all. As the time to leave approached, Stutter and WeeMan escalated the email traffic to the point that it crashed a server. I got stuck with the least glamorous tasks, including a lot of copying, plus whiting out names and faces. Because of the few seats on the toy airplanes that are flown to this area, greggers, Boo, 88, and I opted to rent a minivan in Denver and drive to our destination. The plan, concocted by WeeMan, was to meet at 5 and discuss all of the things that had already been incessantly discussed in the prior weeks. We immediately began fomenting a mutiny, because I didn’t want to eat any fucking Domino’s pizza after a day spent flying and driving. Also, we got hungry in Denver and couldn’t find any decent road food and ended up eating Micky D’s food on the way. WeeMan happily ditched us to go off with Paris and schmooze with the client, leaving the rest of us to figure out where to eat. There was a place called Winger’s across the street from the hotel, so we went over there. Luckily, none of us except for Stutter was very hungry due to the unfortunate timing of the McDonald’s (really, everything about it was unfortunate…), so we just kind of wanted snackies and drinkies. Turns out that in spite of the fact that I have been to a Winger’s before and enjoyed a cocktail, they did not serve hard liquor here, so we had beer and wine to choose from. 88 and I ordered a bowl of Wisconsin cheese soup, the boys mostly got wings. My soup turned out to be Campbell’s cheese soup mixed with Campbell’s clam chowder (whitey style). It was weird. Then afterwards, the boys tentatively discussed their wings, which were resoundingly voted as “disgusting.” Turns out that instead of spicy hot sauce, they were coated in sticky sweet sauce. (Cue music from Jaws.)

So, the next day we show up for our meetings bright and early, happy that the breakfast and lunch would be catered, because the Hampton Inn was serving a very utilitarian spread of cereals, yogurt, bagels, etc., plus a hot selection of (not hot) biscuits, sausage patties, and egg circles. Scrambled eggs, only circular. Doesn’t sound like real food to me. So YAY for catering! But when we got to our destination, we found that the catered breakfast was croissants (no butter or jelly) and fruit salad. Hmmm. A trend line seemed to be forming that would lead one to conclude that we weren’t going to get any Good Eats on this trip.

Stutter took the stage first, talked in circles for about 2 hours, then handed it to me. I talked for about 15 minutes. He can get away with that shit because the ladies think he’s cute (including Paris, whom he apparently “did” on another trip). Then we sent our participants off to fill out paperwork, think deep thoughts, and make decisions that wouldn’t really affect many people. We had planned on them taking hours (say it like Master Shake) to do this. They didn’t need that much time, to say the least. Their thoughts and decisions took like SNAP! Oooh. Not good because we had planned on really, really deep thoughts and meaningful discussion and a lot of deep staring into one another’s eyes. Not happening. So… Lunch!

Vegetarian lasagna and bread (NO BUTTER FOR YOU!). No Coke or Coke by-products, just juice and iced tea. Don’t these people know that the bidness of education runs on sugar and caffeine?? So we finished far too early. Cold lasagna – did I mention that part?

The saving grace was that during a smoke break (illegal to smoke on the premises, but try telling that to an addict), the greegers had discovered a little town of prairie dogs right out in front of the building! Cute! Scamper, scamper!

So that night we went en masse (my least favorite way to go anywhere) to one of the Best Restaurants in Town. Validated by many as Yummy. WeeMan and Paris had begun to act like rock stars at this point, so they were a half-hour late and made quite an entrance, taking over the conversation, making cell phone calls in the middle of dinner, and generally being complete jackasses. I drank a lot to compensate, because by then it was pretty clear that we were about to spread 8 hours of work over 4 days, and I figured I could function. WeeMan and Paris were so annoying that eventually I took out my own Blackberry (to them, the sign of status) and sent them both emails telling them to put their fucking blackberries away and ackrite. Turns out that the Best Restaurant in Town slathers some sort of sweet glaze over their steaks and serves their taters al dente. Two for two! Not counting the catering.

The next day I was busily acting like I knew what I was doing when the greggers came tearing into the building yelling “Badgers!” Holy Christ on a cracker! I AM a Badger! I must see badgers! By the time I got out there, they were already holed up. The claim was that a family of four badgers had been seen loping across the field from hole to hole. This made me mad because, hello? Did I mention that I am a Wisconsin Badger? Why do these people get to see badgers and I don’t? Fume.

That night (I think) we went to my client’s home for cheese and wine (mostly wine, but cheese signed the guest book). WeeMan and Paris were… can you guess? Can you see it coming? So late that we were leaving as they arrived (I’m pretty sure paparazzi were there!) to shove their noses into client ass. We went to another highly recommended restaurant, where we perused the menu with mounting panic as we waited for the Royal
Couple to arrive. Tofu? You can get anything made with tofu? I used to be a vegetarian and I have a lot of respect for bean curd, but I also know its flaws and foibles. If you are mixing tofu or chicken or beef or WHATEVER with stuff, then it’s going to pretty much taste like WHATEVER. The menu featured a lot of the same ingredients reconfigured. Boo ordered jambalaya, and it came full of curly pasta. I had some kind of Thai stir fry, and it had all of the same ingredients as the jambalaya, just no noodles. The greggers was the big winner, as he ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. However, it was preceded by tortilla soup, around which I should have put quotation marks. Because it was just Campbell’s tomato soup with shredded cheese and tortilla strips on the top. Hello?

I know it seems that I am obsessed with the dining, but a) it’s true, I am obsessed, and b) when you’re on the road, you just don’t have all that much to do or look forward to, so food takes on a huge role in your trip. Especially when there’s not enough work to do. So, two bad restaurants in two days.

After, we went across the street again to a pool hall, where we expected to have more cocktails and get in fights with townies. We had one round then everyone decided that we were all bored and wanted to go back to the hotel, where we could be bored in our jammies. As we were leaving, we spotted WeeMan and Paris outside the pool hall. It looked just like this:

Really! She was smoking, he was shivering…

So, it turns out I am taking far too long to tell this tale. In the long run, I did finally see the badger. Cute! I was the only one who thought so. I also saw a bald eagle, pikas, and a mommy pine marten moving her babies to a new hole. We climbed a bunch of steep hills and walked around an enormous rock. We went to a natural hot springs and burned the skin off our feet. We had a lot of bad food. The best food we had was at a sandwich shop called Stumpy’s. We spend over 9 hours in the Denver airport on our way back because United Airlines sucks donkey ass. We had much fun and saw many wondrous sights. Mountains are fabulous. So are trees. Could have used better food. Could have used less Paris and WeeMan, but Stutter, Boo, 88, and the greggers were solid. Maybe the best bidness trip ever.

Pine martens look like this:


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