The boss has been off this week. Anytime that happens I always say to myself "self, you should totally goof off this week!" and then never do. Something about being a professional or some other such happy horse poo (ok, there was one lightsaber fight in the pod, but even that didn't happen until 6:45PM). No, we are usually too busy holding down the fort until the bossman returns. Still, as with every other week, the job continues to present it's own unique set of challenges - I decided to keep a log this week of some of the more memorable moments so that my loyal readers (as well as my wife who to this day doesn't know what I do for a living) can get a glimpse of what my job is like...
Monday 9:03 AM: I walk in the door with Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" playing on the iPod. Naturally. Ever since the construction of the new press has forced us to use the front door, I discovered early on that I will get flagged down by all manner of Customer Service folk when I arrive, and I really hate that - christ people, at least let me get to my desk and take off my coat before having a nervous breakdown while describing how you can't print. Usually having headphones on keeps them away, and forces them to file a ticket with the helpdesk. Not today though....arms waving in panic....someone can't log into ClassSpeed. And so it begins.... Monday 9:24 AM: The first of what would become a recurring theme this week - the Sports Editor comes over looking for instructions on how to upload a photo of Bob Bender (yes, the same Bob Bender who was a freelancer for the Packet, is 80-some years old and whom I last saw hitting on Allison while I was trying to fix his computer at his home....) to his blog on the website. With a certain someone being gainfully employed elsewhere and the boss out on vacation, I have to break his heart by telling him he'll have to find someone else to help him - the only thing I know about the website is how to look at it. He walks away confused....don't all computer people know how to make websites he wonders.... Monday 12:38 PM: Two newsroom personnel infiltrate the IT pod. "Which one of you is doing the website stuff?" I am beginning to get annoyed - especially since the newsroom itself is supposed to be "doing the website stuff".... Monday-Friday 12:45 PM: Preliminary discussions are held about possible lunch destinations.
Monday 12:53 PM: Jody can't print a page. Bill and I head off into the unknown. First problem - instead of using the double-truck template, news builds two separate full pages, and Jody pastes the editorial content onto the double truck template on top of the ad layer. Second problem - one of the EPS's Jody has made won't print. Like, at all. Can't make a PDF cuz I get an out of memory message. Can't cut and paste the text on the page because for some reason the text wrap won't work either. In the middle of this, Jody explains she's late for a lunch appointment. I apply the standard IT death glare as she leaves me and Bill hanging. Finally I come up with a total hack-job on the editorial content to get it onto the page. It involved making a text frame with the pen tool. That's all I'll say. Page prints. Off to lunch. Monday 3:36 PM: Carol files a helpdesk ticket saying she can't find an article that ran a few weeks ago in NewsEdit and wonders if we can get the text off of the page in the PDF archive. If you ever feel the need to stab each one of your eyeballs repeatedly with a red-hot poker, just try to grab text off of a PDF using Acrobat 5. It feels exactly the same. Monday 5:20 PM: In Chris' absence, I need to upload the print ads to the website (yes I know I just said I didn't have anything to do with the website, but this involves making the ads into PDF's then uploading them to an FTP site. How they get onto the site afterwards is a mystery to me). Anyway, I do my thing and all seems well....until John calls from home and says he needs to re-send a page that was done earlier but the SpeedDrivers aren't taking the page. Sure enough, I end up having to re-download all the files for the SpeedDrivers in order for them to start working again. Jerks. Tuesday 5:35 PM: An ad rep comes running into the pod and has an "emergency". He has to upload some ad to some FTP site. He doesn't know the FTP server address, he doesn't know the username, and he doesn't know the password. "I thought you'd have all that" he says to me. Nope. His "emergency" quickly becomes an "oh well - guess we'll just have to drop it off to them". Way to freak me out ace. Wednesday 10:23 AM: Matt, Bill and I spend the morning in the new building, running cables. The building is dirty and hot - the tie comes off pretty quick. My neck is killing me from the pressure of the hard hat I have to wear. Sigh. Eventually I just give up and take if off. I hereby accept that if something falls, hits me in the head, and kills me, it's my own fault. Wednesday 1:04 PM: There has been talk of getting a mini-refridgeator for the pod to keep our Mt. Dew's, Diet Coke's, and Coke Zero's cold. The final straw comes as HR throws out Randy's world-famous curry chicken from the community fridge. We hit Lowes and Home Depot to look for one, but neither has one that is more than 1.5 cubic feet but less than 27 inches tall. Since it simply must fit under the desk, we take our quest online. Praise be to Bill, who found one that was just right with free shipping on CircuitCity.com. Should be here next week.
Wednesday 5:50 PM: Oh, I hate the ones that come in a few minutes before quittin' time....News has a page that won't go through Newsway. An hour-and-a-half later, after spending most of that time on the phone with John, we finally get it out. F'ing weather map.... Thursday 8:14 AM: I'm just rolling out of bed when the BlackBerry goes off with an e-mail from the Newsroom: "Morgan - there is an Amber Alert that needs to come down from the website. With Chris and Amanda off, can you please take care of this for us? Thanks...." ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH.
Thursday 11:41 AM: Ad Designer can't figure out how to load fonts. I've only shown him how to do it 3 times prior to today. It's ok - as a former Ad Designer, I can tell you that we need to be shown things at least 5 times before we retain any part of what we were just told. Thursday 1:20 PM: Most of the problems I encounter on a daily basis aren't exactly brain-twisters. Which is good, cuz I'm not that smart. This one though, was just wacky. This reporter had an e-mail from a particular address. Entourage identified this e-mail as junk. He would tell Entourage that the e-mail wasn't junk, and it would be moved to the inbox. Exactly 10 seconds later, Entourage would move the e-mail back into the junk mail folder!! Every time!!! Little bastard....anyway, a rebuild of the Entourage database seemed to fix it, but man that was really pissing me off. Friday 10:17 AM: A bunch of dudes (contractors, I guess) I've never met are all over Matt and I asking question after question about the new building. Where does this go, what do we do here, etc. Construction workers always intimidate me somewhat. You know, they can use like, power tools and stuff. I am a bit less manly - still, I'd love to see those boys try to explain the difference between an EPS and a TIFF to a bunch of menopausal women on a daily basis. I guess we all have our thing.
Friday 11:01 AM: I help John figure out some measurement problem he was having with the grids for the 48-inch web in DT. Along the way, he discovers that the process of converting the ads to the new size is a simple click of a button. He can be heard walking down the hallway, talking to no one in particular "hey I finally have something good to say about DT!!"..... Friday 12:21 PM: Carol asks if we know of someone here who has a music CD player. They need it for the music they are playing at Mandy's going-away luncheon in the break room. Sorry the boss wasn't here for that!
Friday 5:02 PM: Am setting up a user account for Mandy's replacement on the ad assistant computer. Contemplate a trip to the break room to forage through whatever leftovers might remain from Mandy's party. Decide against it and instead finish the box of pop-tarts I had been eating for breakfast this week. I do go to the break room to put them in the toaster though....the Germans give me the stink-eye as I walk past....
Friday 6:42 PM: Finish with the user account for the new ad assistant. Am now staying to offer moral support to Randy in the final hours of the pet calendar. Guess it's time to post this and get the hell out of here. Yet another work week in the books. Wonder what will happen next week....
Picture this: I go into the break room looking for a snack. I navigate my way through ze 10 Germans (dudes from KBA, the company we bought the new press from that are installing said new press) who for some reason like to sit right in front of the vending machines, and start the grueling process of trying to decide what I want. After a minute or so, I finally settle on some white cheddar popcorn. I put my money in, hit the buttons, watch the bag of popcorn fall and then.....crap. The bag gets stuck. This is somewhat a common occurrence with this vending machine, so I do what I normally do - grab both ends of the damn thing, and shake it vigorously. The thing must weigh 300 pounds, so obviously I make quite a bit of noise. Despite my best efforts, I can't seem to shake the bag of popcorn loose. I then become aware of the dead silence in the room - I slowly turn around and discover that every one of them is looking at me. Like, staring at me. And not looking away. I assume that I have violated some heretofore unknown eastern European custom, and bail. Of course, I'm a stubborn bastard when I'm hungry (and, you know, every other time) so I go back to the pod, bum 65 cents off of Matt, and head back to finish what I started. I walk back in the room, and I swear to god they all stopped talking to each other and looked at me again. Presumably to see what this crazy American would do next. My plan: execute the little-known-but-highly-successful Jumbo Deluxe Honey Bun maneuver. The popcorn bag was wedged directly underneath the honey bun - I put in the money, pressed the buttons, and patted myself on the back as the honey bun dislodged the popcorn bag, and both fell into my waiting hands. I took my prizes out of the machine, turned around, and showed the Germans how we Liberals deal with our problems - throw money at them. They were visibly impressed, and I think one of them even clapped. The universal sign of approval - sadly, it was the highlight of my day. Anyway, if anyone wants a Jumbo Deluxe Honey Bun I've got one at my desk. If you don't appreciate it for its honey bun goodness, it also makes an excellent paperweight.
In the words of my lovely wife "blah blah blah, my neck hurts, blah blah blah - no one gives a crap honey. Don't put that on the blog!" (she was kidding.....I think) I tend to agree - I'm as sick of talking about it as I am of dealing with it. But I'm sure all my loyal readers are worried (yeah right) so here's the latest: went back to the Doctor today for the results of my bone scan. As expected, it revealed no problems, so he wants to proceed with the theory that the problem is ultimately muscular. To wit, he gave me another trigger point injection, this time with twice the dosage as before. I have officially been pumped with enough steroids that I should be batting .338 with 64 home runs by this time next season. After the shot I get the oh-so-wonderful headaches and bruised/sore neck where I was injected - today was a pretty difficult day at work, but I managed to stick it out and preserve my perfect attendance streak to 32 months and 12 days. Yes, I'm aware my employer generously provides me with 80 hours of paid sick time that I could use, and instead I'm trading that for 1 extra vacation day and a nice little certificate. Yes, I'm also aware that's pretty stupid. My rational is that I was a very sickly child growing up, and never had perfect attendance at school, so getting it now as an adult is something that I am proud of. Anyway, I have made a deal with myself that if this shot fixes my problem then I'll go and buy a nice shiny new iPod. Hopefully that provides my body some incentive to fix itself.