Random Saturdays – Sharkanado Pre-Production

Before Ron left, Ronicala was going to do our own version of Sharknado called Sharkanado.  We were going to film it at the pond at work because we have so much natural wildlife around us.  I insisted on filming after someone got rid of the snake, but now we also have spiders in bathrooms and hallways that I can no longer use.  Between the wildlife and the heat, I don’t know if I could really even walk to the pond without dying of heatstroke or fear.

At any rate, we brought a souvenir from the Houston Aquarium back for Erica’s step-son.  She and I had a bit of fun with it before she passed it on to him.  Without further ado, feast your eyes upon the first pre-prod shots for Sharkanado!


Sharkanado Eats a Pinata

Sharkanado Eats a Piñata


Sharkanado Eats a Penguin

Sharkanado Eats a Penguin


Blurry Shot

Erica and I were laughing so hard that we couldn’t keep the camera or Sharkanado still for the picture


Sharkanado is Simple

Sharkanado is Simple

Random Saturdays – The Week From Hell

There are some weeks that are bad, and it feels like the week from hell.  Then, there are the weeks that leave you completely baffled as to how you survived them at all.  The last time I had a week this bad was when I was stuck in Paris with only my asthma, arthritis, and migraines to keep me company.

I thought the week of Independence Day 2014 would be a good one, but I was wrong.  My two managers were out on vacation, but our supervisor was working.  So, we all knew we’d have to ramp up our efforts a bit.  I would be covering for my managers and our supervisor would be helping with that.  Erica would have to step up in the queue.  Ron and William would have to work on patching and help Erica out in the queue as needed.  It was going to be Ron’s first week on call, so I would be his backup.  I knew it was going to be rough, but it was really worse than I could have imagined.

We started Monday off with an emergency change, which is a pain in the butt to work through and run.  I’m not used to certain meetings that I had to attend that week or the follow up work that goes with them.  I help my managers here and there with them, but was not used to working through so many of these tasks at once.  Erica was drowning in the queue.  We got dumb question after dumb question and my supervisor had to have dumb meeting after dumb meeting.  I mean, how are you supposed to reply to multiple emails from the same guy saying, “I see where Eric approved in an earlier email, but you really need to get Eric to approve these things.  You are not following process.”  What the heckin’ crazies are we supposed to do with that?!

On Wednesday, Ron quit.  Just like that.  He had his reasons and I don’t resent him for that, but it was the worst possible time to quit in relation to what was going on with the team.  William took on call for Ron.  Erica was his backup because I had alot of family stuff going on in the evenings.  When Carla came back to town on Friday, she became William’s backup for the rest of the holiday weekend.  In a way, that part was actually easier to handle than all of the, “You did what I told you to do, but you really need to do what I told you to do” junk.

Then, we got to Thursday.  Thursday was “Friday” because we were off for the 4th of July on Friday.  We had made it that far.  If we could just get through the day, the weekend would be great.  Because of the holiday weekend, things were supposed to be slow.  We could spend the first half of the day tying up loose ends and maybe leave early if things were slow enough.

Around mid-morning, Erica and I noticed a commotion a few rows behind me.  There weren’t many people in the office, but two people were running around frantically and looking at the ceiling.  Water was leaking rapidly from the ceiling.  After some investigation, we realized that the water was coming from the men’s bathroom upstairs.  Someone had flushed a urinal and the handle never came back up, which led to urinal water overflow, which seeped into the floor and spread out before starting to leak from our ceiling.  When water started dripping on the desk behind mine, I started packing up everything at my desk.  I turned around to put my laptop and phones in my bag when water dripped from the ceiling into my coffee cup.

I threw away the coffee cup and worked from home the rest of the day, but the craziness never ended.  I was so thankful to finally log off that night.

The ultra protective desk coverings

The ultra protective desk coverings

Oddly enough, a similar thing happened to my dad at work that same day.  When he came into the office on Monday, the restoration teams had been working all weekend to get the place clean and working.  On Monday morning where I work, the plastic was still covering our cubes and one of my coworkers had standing water by her desk.  Everyone’s eyes and throats burned all day.  Most of the ceiling tiles were replaced the following Wednesday, but the one above my desk has to wait since it’s attached to the fire alarm.


My Ceiling Tile

My ceiling tile

In the meantime, we’ll all just hope that we don’t have black lung as we remind ourselves that we survived The Week From Hell.

Random Saturdays – New Emoji

I’m looking forward to the release of the new Emoji because I’m easy to please.  Even though new things are always exciting, I want to give props to my favorite Emoji to date, the hocho.  I call it, “the knife” because I didn’t know what it really was until Erica and I did some research on it.  Though the knife has been very useful when discussing the Bring Back Stabbing Campaign with Amanda, I feel like I have done my Asian heritage a great dishonor by not knowing a good hocho when I see one.  Then again, I’m not Japanese.  Considering that “hocho” means something different on the streets, I’m probably going to just keep calling them “knives”.  Before we all get caught up in the excitement of the new Emoji, let’s all take a minute to rediscover the knife/hocho.



The knife’s alter-egos

Random Saturdays — Squawky

When we moved into the new building at work, my team assumed we’d have access to squirrels.  We planned to train one to be our official Attack Squirrel.  We named him Chompers.  We had plans.

When we got to the new building, Erica began putting food outside of our windows to try to sweeten up Chompers and train him faster.  The squirrels were so cute with their wee li’l hands and their chubby little tummies, but, man alive, were those squirrels dumb.  Chompers repeatedly ran away from the food we laid out for him as the crows swooped in behind him to eat the food.  (To clarify, we just call every squirrel we see, “Chompers”.  I know it’s racist, but all squirrels look the same to us.)  We tried to scare the crows away by banging on the tinted glass windows when they came up, but they quickly learned that we were all bark and no bite.*

Eventually, Erica gave up on Chompers and decided to try to make the crows her minions.  Besides, the intelligence of crows is well documented.  Erica began leaving Fritos and snacks for the crows, who didn’t waste time eating the food.  Ron named them, “Squawky” .  (We’re all crow racists, too.)  Over time, Erica began to worry about Squawky’s salt intake.  So, she bought a box of generic Cheerios to make sure he had a heart healthy diet.  Squawky doesn’t show his appreciation much, but he has definitely come to expect food from us.  He taps on the windows if there’s no food outside.  When we go outside to walk to the cafe, he’ll squawk at us.  I’m not sure if it’s his way of saying, “Hey guys!  Good morning!”, “I’m hungry!  Feed me, Seymour!”, or “Caw!  I’m a bird!  Caw!”  I just know that it’s very entertaining.

When Erica was out recently, Squawky came by to get some food.  He flew away when he realized there was none.  I went outside to drop off some generic Cheerios as Squawky complained the whole time to one of the ducks.  When I came back to my desk, Squawky flew down to get his Cheerios.  Some of the Cheerios fell by goose poop, and he steered clear of it.  He knew there was plenty of safe cereal to eat.  Good ol’ Squawky!  Such a smart sonofagun!  Ron said, “I got you to like Squawky.  Now, I just gotta get you to like the geese.”  I explained that that would never happen because I can admire a crow’s intellect while being annoyed with its intellect, but geese are pure evil.

Unlike the geese, Squawky doesn’t try to attack innocent civilians.  He also doesn’t leave poop the size of a chihuahua all over the sidewalks.  Unlike Chompers, Squawky entertains us with his rapid adaptations to our food games.  Much like us, he talks all the time about nothing in particular.   So, even though we had high hopes for Chompers, Erica and I are okay with having a smart crow that politely asks for generic Cheerios.  You take what you can get sometimes.

*Don’t go up against crows unless you hide your identity.  They never forget.  Ever.

Random Saturdays – Health Stuff

Growing up, I was the picture of health.  I was a little chubby, but in a cute way that had no adverse affects on my health.  I was even tall for my age.  Once I hit adolescence, all that changed.  Every year, I went for a physical and to get renewals on my prescription meds.  Every year, a new chronic condition popped up and my list of meds grew longer and longer.  For the most part, I refused to take anything but asthma medicine and Excedrin migraine because they were the only things that I absolutely had to have in order to function on a daily basis.  Sure, the other meds might have made life a little more pleasant, but the costs and side effects weren’t worth it to me.

Over the past twenty years or so, I have gone through different phases of health, have taken more and less meds, and have had healthier and less healthy habits.  As a teenager, I would starve myself for an entire day and reward myself with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for dinner.  As an adult, I decided to try to get a grip on my health and realized that ice cream and depression were not the best ways to do that.

So, I spent two years slowly building up a workout routine of alternating interval training with yoga/pilates.  I ate very healthily.  I watched my calories.  I started meditating.  I did my best to make sure that I got as close to eight hours of sleep a night as possible.  By all accounts, I should have been the picture of health.  I was actually only slightly healthier than I had been as a teenager and I still weighed alot more.

I was only working out 20 – 30 minutes a day because that was all my joints and muscles could take in the past before my arthritis would start bothering me.  Thinking that I had to be healthier than I was previously, I tried working out even more.  About the time I started working out for 40 minutes a day, my knee started to give out on me.  I finally had to stop working out all together to let my knee heal, and I had a hard time getting back into a workout routine afterwards due to a combination of life circumstances, repeated injuries, and laziness.  Here and there, I have been able to get back into good habits for a few months, but then I get sick, I injure myself, or something in life happens that throws me off my routine.

With Ben having three kids, the added issues of school-aged kids bringing home snot-filled noses keeps me sick, too.  I know it’s just part of life and that I will probably stay sick until the kids get to high school.  Erica is in the same boat because she has a toddler in daycare.  Two of our managers have older kids and look at Erica and me with pity/gratitude/laughter because they understand exactly what we’re going through right now.  Even though Erica and I constantly have runny snouts and itchy throats, we’re not getting sick in the same way.  Recently, though, she came to work with the same type of cold (or whatever it is) that I always have.  She happened to be going through this while I was going through one of my Wellness Weeks.  Seeing her feel like that made me sad, but we also laughed about it because we kept saying exactly the same thing at exactly the same time all day.  We were basically speaking in stereo.  So, her Sick Brain was the equivalent of my Well Brain.  Go figure!

All in all, being sick because some great kids had runny noses isn’t so bad.  I try to look at it as immunity-building exercises.  Lord knows playing iPhone games by myself never did anything to prevent a snotty snout anyway.

$8 Rambo

I kind of thought I’d get paid more for standing up to Rambo.