Mr. Over-Explainer

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I've had the immense pleasure of working with a guy for the last 4 months who is an over-explainer. He is the kind of guy, who instead of asking for a tennis ball asks for a round, slightly hard but bouncy object manufactured from a rubber compound, covered in a felt surface in a bright yellow hue and with an approximate diameter of 2.5 inches.

Ok, so he has never asked me for a tennis ball (I missed our company tennis day - thank god) but you get the idea.

It is driving me CRAZY.

He also has a tendency to use words that leave you with the feeling that his mouth has a built in thesaurus. I actually have to ask him to translate what he is talking about sometimes so that I can understand what it is that he wants. Often he will walk into the room and ask a general question of us (there are three of us who sit in the same office) and as a response will receive only blank stares.

Will he ever come to the realisation that he is over-explaining things and that no-one is really sure what he's talking about 90% of the time? I have honestly never in my life come across someone who can make the simplest things seem so complicated, and I've had to deal with some pretty airy-fairy landscape architects in my line of work.

I've been thinking of ways to try to let him know that he is over-explaining, since the traditional "I can't understand what you're talking about because you over-explain" method has so far failed. I think the key to this may lie in talking to him in his own language.

I'm thinking of saying something like this:
"Mr Over-Explainer, It has been drawn to my attention that when conversing with my colleagues and I on matters that relate to the design and layout of playground equipment that your enquiries and propositions are often fraught with terminology and descriptors that are both obsolete and preposterously convoluted. When speaking with us, could you please try to minimise the amount of verbal refuse and cut to the chase."
I.e. – cut the crap and tell me what it is that you want.

I'm not sure if this will work, because so far I have put his total disregard of anything that I tell him down to the fact that we have a language barrier of sorts and things have been lost in translation. I haven't really considered that he may just not care that no one understands what he says.

If that's the case then I may be in for many more months of Over-Explanation.


Constructing a drink

Monday, August 25, 2008

On Saturday I donned a fluoro vest, hard hat and tool belt and went out for a night on the town!

The outfit was a costume that I was wearing as a 'construction worker' for a 'C' Themed birthday party for one of the sales guys at work. Sadly, construction worker was the fall-back costume and there were quite a few of them there. It's pretty hard to come up with something original that starts with the letter 'C' that you can make yourself without spending a fortune.

I was a bit disappointed that i didn't get to wear something a bit more original, but unlike the other construction workers there, my costume had a practical side. I discovered that even if you don't have any tools to put in a tool belt, the pouches at the front (which I assume are for nails or something) are the perfect size for holding beer bottles. And there's a kind of metal thing on the side that made a perfect cup holder. Now I'm thinking about taking it to every party I go to! It's the perfect party accessory! It even had a spot for a measuring tape at the front that was the perfect size for a pack of cigarettes (Have I mentioned how much I miss smoking?).

No wonder labourers have the stereotype of being big drinkers - they have a drinking belt as a uniform!

Passive Smoker

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I miss smoking - a LOT. You would think that after 2 years of smoke-free air, I would be disgusted by the smell of cigarette smoke, but instead it makes me long for one more beautiful cigarette.

I am convinced that I have mild super-hero powers. I have an amazing and massive amount of will power and it's not normal. I should have given in to the urge to smoke by now, especially given that I don't really have any particular reasons for wanting to quit. I tried to think of a superhero name for myself, but anything that I put the word 'will' into just ended up sounding pervy. Even now, while I’m thinking about driving down to the shops and buying a pack of smokes, my stupid will power is telling me that i shouldn't do it.

When I’ve had a few drinks and my will power slides a teensy bit, I like to indulge in a good passive smoke. This usually involves placing myself directly in front of a smoker and inhaling their second-hand smoke while they look at me like I'm maybe just a little crazy. This usually serves as an intervention to stop me from actually smoking a cigarette - I realise that I'm so sad and addicted that it is embarrassing, and I put the idea of smoking out of my head.

I think what really keeps me from smoking is knowing that if I have one cigarette, I won’t be able to stop myself from having another. And then another, and another…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – why are all the really enjoyable things the ones that are bad for you?

Monster Monitor

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I recently kind of tricked my boss into buying me an enormous computer monitor.

Last week, he bought himself a gigantic and very overpriced monitor and called me into his office to help him set it up. He is probably the last person in the office (or the state) who needs an enormous monitor, since his desk is set up in such a way that his face to monitor gap is only a few centimetres - but i guess he wanted an Imax-style computer experience. After setting it up for him, I suggested that he should move it back a little so as not to go completely blind and/or cross eyed, and after a few half-arsed attempts at pushing the monitor back a little, he ended up with it in the exact same position.
'I'd love to have a monitor like this,' I told him 'It would really help with the graphic design aspect of my work'
'Yeah, it's great' he enthused while bobbing his head from side to side like a confused turkey as he tried to take in the
entire picture on the screen.

I just shook my head and added the monitor to the list of pointless things that my boss thinks are cool to own, and went back to my desk. 5 minutes later, my phone rang - The boss.
'You can have it.'
'Excuse me?'
'You can have it, it's too big. I'm going to buy a smaller one, and you can have this one'.
'Wow, gee thanks' I said, as I weighed up whether or not to point out that he could probably return the freakishly large monitor and exchange it for the smaller one instead of having to spend another small fortune on a useless toy. I decided it was worth letting it go for a while, and hoping that no one else would point out the very obvious (and much cheaper) option. After all, no one wants to be the one to point out to the boss that he's not that smart.

And that is how i came to own a monitor that is so big that i had to remove half of the items on my desk to accommodate it.

There is, however, a downfall to owning such a large monitor that i hadn't thought of before i hooked it up. I sit with my back to the rest of the office, and there are two desks behind me. There is also a walkthrough next to my desk, and with such an enormous screen, my ability to successfully bludge without detection has been severely compromised. Everything on the screen appears so large when maximised that it can be seen clearly from the other side of the office.

My work around so far has been to minimise whatever i am doing to the smallest window possible and place it directly in line with my body so that the people behind me can only see the maximised work and not that i am actually browsing the web for music or chatting on MSN. I haven't yet managed to work out what to do about the people who are walking past my desk, but I'm thinking it might involve disguising my web browser as some kind of playground-related work program. I'll have to come up with something, because I have just typed this in a window that is so small I can only see one word at a time, and even that is so big that I feel like everyone in the building can see every last word.

Good Intentions & Laziness

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturdays are all about good intentions and laziness.
This Saturday we had the good intention to spend the day catching up on all the random stuff that we've been putting off because we're too lazy. Instead I'm sitting here catching up on 2 weeks worth of blog reading and KJ is still in bed watching an Elton John/Billy Joel concert on TV. This is pretty much how our Saturdays always go. We make a full day's worth of plans and then sleep til midday, stuff around for an hour or two and end up doing just one of the twenty things we had planned.

For the past 2 years i have wanted to go to the local Saturday morning market. Sadly, the market starts at 8 and closes at 12 - so by the time we expend our Saturday morning laziness, it's too late. I'm usually up in time to go - I get up at around 8 every Saturday, but KJ stays in bed and i get online and the morning disappears. Every so often i get motivated and say that we will start spending our weekends in a productive way. This is usually on a Monday, so by the time Saturday rolls around, the motivation is gone and it goes like any other Saturday.

I think I need new motivation. What I need to do is quit my 9-5 job, get a night job and then maybe i might be able to get stuff done on a Saturday. Or even better, I might move to another country, which will hopefully screw up my internal clock and will mean that I will get stuff done without realising it's Saturday morning. Although that might make it hard to go to the local Melbourne market. Even better, I might go back to bed and sleep all morning until I've forgotten all the things we have planned. That sounds like a plan.