Sunday, August 17, 2008

8/16

8/16

12:13 Let it be known that today marks the 2-month anniversary of the diary. We're at 32 pages and 20,000 words!

12:30 I just read a very interesting analysis on why some people are afraid of clowns. Because of the painted face, which usually depicts some type of emotion (happy clown, sad clown), it messes with our instinctual desire to read someone by their face. It's like static over a television show. You can't really see what's going on, and that creates a feeling of danger within us because our faculties that say "danger" or "relax" are incapacitated. That could be total BS, but it sounds cool.

8/15

8/15

9:18 I swear this place has no news sense. This is Fair Week, and it's dominated the front page every single day. The week before, we printed a Fair Tab with all the info about what's going on. So we've basically been running the information from the Fair Tab on our front page every day. Meanwhile, my story that exposes government abuse and waste has now been languishing for a week. So far, my story has been bumped by a prize-winning goat, a prize-winning pig, a feature about an old lady who hasn't missed the fair in a billion years, and a feature photo of a girl sticking her head through a plywood cutout. Accompanying the feature photo? The day's fair schedule! The same info that ran a week ago! Also on Friday's front page, a four-day old story about the Unabomber's cabin on display, an utterly worthless wire story about Julia Childs being a spy 60 years ago and two local stories that were nice to know but hardly earth-shattering.
Here's what should have happened: My story of actual substance goes up top, the two local stories run as well. Cut the Unabomber and chef spy stories all together. That would still leave room for the lame fair photo and schedule. Voila! We suddenly have a front page that matters! Why am I the only one who notices this?

10:47 Prof. Snape wants to know if I'll have copy to turn in today, and is annoyed when I say no. He can't believe that all I'm working on is my huge, three-part series (totaling six stories) about one of the biggest issues in county government. I can't stress enough how stupid this man is. Hey Snape, you may notice that I have turned in about 60 inches of copy this week that hasn't been used. You know, stories that actually contain important information.

3:12 Two of my editors call me irresponsible for actually using a quote where a county resident calls a county official "incompetent." Snape has spent the last two weeks writing about – and then defending his decision to write about – how Obama reminds him of Adolf Hitler and Fidel Castro. Yeah, comparing Obama to Hitler is perfectly responsible. I swear to God this guy might lose an IQ competition with a mayonnaise jar.

4:30 The Tool comes back in a rage because Slim didn't meet up with him at the correct location after they teamed up to write/shoot the pig wrestling competition at the fair. The Tool announces that no one should "get him started" because he'll end up getting "thrown out of the building." I'd love to chuck his ass out. Apparently, after waiting for about 40 minutes, Toolboy just left him and came back. I'd have done the same thing.

4:35 Picturing Slim wandering aimlessly around the fairgrounds, grumbling about his lost glory because he couldn't form a pig wrestling team is highly amusing right now.

8/12

8/12

9:07 People charged with actively hunting dangerous terrorists are less intense than Tweedledee and The Voice. They like to swoop through the office and act like selling ads is very serious business indeed. They coordinate on the fly! They can discuss the merits of full color like nobody else! The Voice can belittle Tweedledee in a single breath! I hope they start wearing matching suits and Ray Bans.

1:52 I'd rather be disemboweled that write this story. I hate fluff crap.

1:57 Death Cleavage would be an excellent band name. So would Euthanasia Boobs. I'm just sayin'...

4:04 I'm trying to image Slim's personal ad:
DDM (divorced dorky male), age 51, desperately seeks AKF (any kind of female), aged 18-112, for long-term relationship. I'm a career journalist (and funky renaissance man) who has only been fired once and is now wasting away at a small daily in NW Montana. I'm looking for a new job even harder than I'm looking for AKF! I would prefer you to be creepily younger and very, very hot. Also, I need someone interested in pig wrestling this Friday.

The hair I have left is a unique combination of blond/orange/gray, which is the same color as JK Simmons. Greatest character actor ever! He also played in the greatest superhero movie of all time: Spiderman 2. I have bluish eyes, and I'm very off-kilter (some people say that like it's a bad thing).

I enjoy a healthy diet of chocolate, chocolate chips, chocolate chip cookies, warm chocolate milk, chocolate candy bars, chocolate-covered chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate whoppers and potato chips (salt helps me absorb electrolytes and keeps my energy levels high!)

Back at my old paper, I was what you might call a gym rat. Between step aerobics and super bench presses, I'd make social connections with potential sources. Now that I'm in Montana, I'm the same way. I drive past the gym every day on my way to work in my trusty Suzuki.

In my spare time, I like to watch movies and television shows generally popular with teen girls. Every night, I grab some chocolate and huddle up in front of the tube with my last remaining cat (Kitty will never escape me!). You must love cats and cat hair! No allergic girls for me!

What I'm looking for: someone highly open to lowering her standards who enjoys long sits on the couch while listening to lengthy monologues about movie trivia. If you haven't seen Casablanca, please don't respond. (I take that back. We can watch it together and I'll explain every detail!) I don't believe in technology so I don't have a cell phone, and I can sometimes figure out e-mail. I'm very willing to travel or attempt an online relationship. Hey, it worked for my boss!

Please call. Please...

8/11

8/11

8:58 How's this for a weekend of opposites? On Saturday, I went to a fight club party. We watched the UFC, fought each other, drank and played poker until late. Sunday was spent watching my nephew and baking cookies. My cookies rule.

12:52 Slim gets all pissy when I tell him that I can't do the pig wrestling on Friday because I have a broken foot. He doesn't believe me. Yeah, I'm the first one who signed up to go with him, but suddenly I'm looking for a bogus reason to back out? He practically rolled his eyes and said, "Whatever." He accused me of faking even though I'm supposed to be the "macho" one around here. Hey Slim, I'll gladly fight your cat-hair-covered ass on one leg.

12:55 Hey, Tiffers!

1:11 The Voice's personal life goal: Let no sneeze go ungodblessed! Reba has been sneezing a lot today, and every time she does, a barely audible "Bless you" comes drifting sweetly from The Voice's desk. If she hears it, she blesses it, which is a lesser-known corollary to "she who smelt it, dealt it."

3:44 I think I'll give myself the quote of the day for saying that I needed "to get unwussy in the chesticle department by getting tough implants."

Friday, August 8, 2008

8/8

8-8

8:32 The Voice is walking to her desk and she sneezes loudly. I think
something came out because she appeared startled and then started at
her yellow legal pad she was carrying. Ewww.

8:39 I'm the only one in the newsroom, and The Voice tells me that it
looks like I'll be carrying the load for the newspaper today. Actually,
it usually feels like that even when everyone else is here.

8:47 Prof. Snape just arrived. This is already turning into a bad day.

10:33 Wow, the ad rats must have coordinated this week to have
"Unnecessarily Gaudy Shirt Friday." Is Neon Salmon ever an appropriate
color? How about Impossibly Bright Fuscia?

1:19 Flight of the Conchords isn't just good. It's life-changing.
Seriously. We need to start the paper's band. I can't sing, but – to quote
Sublime – I can play the guitar like a motherfuckin' riot.
Unfortunately, I don't have a dalmatian, and I don't get high. Nor does
my mom, who does not go to college.

1:22 Inner. Inner city. Inner. City. Pressure. Brown paper, white
paper. Stick it together with tape, the tape of love... the sticky
stuff..

1:23 Slim laments that abstinence is overrated. For once, I
wholeheartedly agree with him. Wait 'til marriage? Yeah, I couldn't
pull that off even when I used to think that was a good idea.

1:29 If I call the STD hotline, I can press 1 for English or 2 for
Spanish. What number do I press for Spanglish? If it hurts when I pee,
I want my advice to make me laugh. You know, just to offset the burning
sensation.

1:39 I'm trying to think of what would make me happier that beating the
hell out of The Tool... It's a pretty short list.

1:50 The Voice said she tries to "think skinny" when someone tries to
pass through her aisle. No amount of positive thinking will get that
done. Ever.

1:53 Thanks to Hermione's Death Eater Babies story, I've done a little
research. The market for a movie about cannibal infants is wide open.
Somebody get Wes Craven on the phone! You know at some point during the
movie, there will have to be a scene where a hot, busty girl (wearing
some kind of very slutty shirt) enters the room with a friend, and the
friend is in league with the cannibal babies. Scary music will start
playing, and the girl with big boobs will be like "Why are those babies
staring at my boobs?" The friend will say in an ominous voice, "Oh,
they're just hungry." Cut to a close up of a grinning baby with evil
eyes. The hint of a fang presses on it's lower lip...

2:07 OK, I've had to redo the dating formula because it was severely
lacking in one major area: wealth. So here's the updated version: (Your
age/2 + 7 = youngest you can date) - wealth factor (subtract one year
for each $10 million in liquid assets)
I did not include any creepiness factor because there is absolutely no
accounting for the taste of women, especially when it comes to possibly
having an unlimited shopping fund.
Therefore, an 80-year-old man can date as low as 47, but if he has
$100 million in the bank, he can drop that number to 37. Billionaires
can clearly do whatever (in this case, whomever) they want. In the case
where, because of wealth, the number drops to 18 or below, the solution
is to simply date more than one girl at a time.
It would look like this: 40/2 + 7 = 27, but the guy has $1 billion,
which would drop 100 years. So 27-100 = 73. Then take 73/18 = 4.055. He
could date four 18-year-olds or 2.92 25-year-olds. No rounding up! See
Bruce Wayne for this rule in practice.
The only override rule is that the number can never drop below 18,
which would make it illegal. Unless you're in Thailand or something.


3:14 Potential names for our pig wrestling team: Swine Fellas. Babe
Hunters. Makin' Bacon. Einstein's Pig Army. The Daily Dirties. Aily-De
Istakes-Me (Pig Latin, get it? That one is courtesy of Slim).

4:12 Damn. Sorry, Pohan. Hang in there. I'm pulling for you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

8/7

8-7

8:53 At some point, Tweedledee needs to give up and just start calling The Voice "mommy." It's clearly what she wants.

9:15 The Voice sounds extra hoarse and mannish today. She must have switched to unfiltered. Soon she'll just be chewing on a mixture of used coffee grounds and unwrapped cigarettes. She's like some unholy combination of the Church Lady and a Hell's Angel.

10:05 The powers that be are in the conference room discussing Internet topics and the company's Web site. It's kind of like watching a chimp trying to learn algebra.

10:36 The Tool is talking about someone who is "fun to be around." Two questions: 1. How would he know? 2. If he can detect what constitutes a good personality, why is he such a constant ass?

11:02 Mrs. Boomhower (all-around handy lady for the company) just walked by and sighed/grunted. She reminds of the criminal mom from the Goonies. I wonder if she has a deformed son chained up in her unfinished basement?

11:33 Oh. My. God. Airwolf is on Hulu. Sign me up for The Best Week Ever show. I loved Airwolf as a kid.

8/6

8/6

10:03 a.m. I explain that I want so bad for someone to assault me, and Hermione thinks this is strange. How else am I going to practice my jits in real life?

10:17 a.m. — After IT Guy spends five minute explaining how iQue goes down once a day (along with the archives system, the paper's supercomputer and the robot that keeps things running in the back — clearly a vast conspiracy and probably the result of chem trails), Slim looks up from his computer: "Hey, my iQue's down." If powers of observation are the hallmark of a good reporter — well, I won't go there.

10:23 a.m. — Are too many people searching the archives? Really, that's
a serious concern? Why the hell do we have an archive system if we
can't search it? I'm with Slim on this one: Our system is ridiculous.

12:52 p.m. Hermione accuses me of being a slacker, which is totally untrue. OK, maybe once or twice (three times) I've left for an "interview" only to go swimming, but the past few days have actually been very busy, and I haven't been in the newsroom much. Hey, there's no news in the newsroom, right?

4:01 Hermione comes close to another nervous breakdown. The system went screwy, and she almost lost her Saturday story. Thankfully, it was not lost. Crisis averted
8/5

1:17 p.m. One of the editor's is trying to explain the term "in vitro" to a woman calling about triplets, as compared to the natural way of getting pregnant... she's fumbling around over there. Awkward.

4:09 Slim approaches another reporter (Big Boi is a very, very large man) and says in his outside voice "I hear you're leaving." He obviously didn't want this announced to the whole newsroom. Subtle, Slim, subtle.

4:10 Slim humiliates himself, the newsroom and the whole human race by refusing to give up on Big Boi after he refuses to be a member of the paper's crack pig-wrestling unit. How many times can he say no? How many of Big Boi's pig-wrestling "qualifications" can Slim dredge up to try and convince him? How many times have we heard Slim say "this is your chance for glory" in a 24-hour period? After five minutes of browbeating Big Boi, who looks uncomfortable enough to take his giant self and crawl under the very small space of his desk, Slim returns to his seat a dejected man. Heavy sighs. But wait - new life! More begging ensues, this time for Reba's husband to take part. Now he's going for her kids.... now he's throwing in his band geek history. Relevance? Time to give up the dream Slim... the fourth man is not to appear.

4:22 I just remembered that earlier a photog said she told Slim she'd pig wrestle if the men on the team would wear thongs. She is clearly in need of institutionalization to even say these things in jest. Slim in anything that provides less coverage than a burka is terrifying.

Monday, August 4, 2008

8-4

8:34 Jan announces that there will be no coffee lady in the parking
lot today. Ever hear a cat get disembowled? Me neither, but I think
that's the sound some people just made. Yikes.

8:34 Just as the announcement ended, the short, spunky ad rat was
walking by my desk, and I could hear her whisper, "God, I hate this
place." Well, it looks like editorial and advertising finally have one
thing in common.

8:53 Oh no. I just realized I left my cell phone at home. Ever hear
a cat get disembowled...?

3:26 About an hour ago I agreed to join a four-person team that will
wrestle a pig at this year's fair. Could that have been a mistake? I'm
guessing yes.

4:14 The ad rats are loudly testing new ring tones. It's a congregation
of epically annoying proportions.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Daily Diary

Cast of Main Characters:

The Emperor: Owner of the newspaper and all-around arrogant bad guy

Einstein: The paper's publisher. Einstein is obviously meant sarcastically. This guy makes dumb people look smart. In his spare time he likes to promote censorship and harass editorial staff not to write anything that may upset advertisers. Other than that, he likes to wander around and pretend he has a clue.

Prof. Snape: Our spineless editor, who is an excellent yes man. Generally disrespected by the community, Snape doesn't do much other than write a weekly column that entertains people who spend most of their time in homemade bomb shelters.

Tweedledee and The Voice: advertising sales reps.

Annie and Hermione: Good friends of mine.

The Tool: an impressively mediocre photographer who thinks he is the greatest thing to ever pick up a camera. He is single-handedly revolutionizing the role of prima donna.

Others are various employees here at the paper.


6/16

9:08 The Voice and Tweedledee commiserate about allergy problems. Mostly, they try to convince one another that their allergy problem is the worst one.

9:10 The Voice stands in the doorway to the printer room and shouts at Tweedledee to print an ad. Tweedledee stands there looking confused.

9:11 While The Voice is waiting for Tweedledee to figure out what a computer is, Reba asks her about her allergies. The Voice gives an inspirational speech about how she's had them for years, but she has "gotten used to it. You just can't let it stop you. Gotta keep goin'." I wish there had been an American flag behind her with a soundtrack playing in the background. Maybe something by Bette Midler. Beautiful.

10:01 Tweedledee, as he's walking past The Voice, asks her a question, but he doesn't stop to actually get the answer. The Voice keeps talking because she thinks he's standing behind her. She looks up from her desk and looks annoyed that he isn't there.

6/18

11:48 The Voice must be talking to someone in Norway. She is scary loud.

6/19

9:42 The Voice lays into Tweedledee in a very loud manner because something is missing; it is not in the plastic folder. It is, without question, all his fault. He does not defend himself, just stammers and stutters and acts exasperated. She rolls her eyes... she is pretty much the living definition of the word bitch. Now she makes a superior woman crack about the fact he is going to golf instead of seeing his new granddaughter. Good grief.

6/21

Kay calls The Tool over to show him the front-page layout. Says she wants to give him the heads up that the photo he put in as secondary will, in fact, run as the lead photo. The Tool explodes. Literally. It was gross and cartoony.

OK, no, but yelling does ensue. Why would she run that photo as the lead? The other photo is the story. What is she trying to hide? The story is about the guy coping with the disease his whole life. It's about the struggles and the weird looks he's gotten from people because of his appearance. This photo shows that. People are going to look at it. Papers are going to be flying off the stands.

At this point, Kay breaks in and tries to explain that she thinks the photo goes too far. She doesn't want to attract more attention to this poor guy who's already suffered. The Tool interrupts and says that's the whole point of the photo. The secondary photo doesn't show that at all. Isn't that what the story is about? Let me tell the story. Let me tell a story with my photo.

Kay says that as a small-town paper, we don't have the freedom to run things a bigger paper can get away with. The Tool disagrees and says that as a small paper with no competition, we have more freedom to push the boundaries. Furthermore, this is the only picture he has taken that he really cares about, and he's going to fight for it. Kay suggests he call Prof. Snape.

When I get my paper the next morning (sopping wet, as per usual when those giant rain clouds catch my crack delivery person off guard), I see The Tool has won the battle — or else the photos switched places of their own accord. Either way, The Tool wins! Even though the award-winning gross photo is five columns wide, I still can't see what was so shocking about it. Not so sure the papers are going to fly off the stands, but I'm pretty sure the awards will start rolling in any day now.

6/23

8:48 Tweedledee and The Voice fight over whose handwriting is on some piece of paper. The Voice sounds like she's going to cry. Tweedledee says he's "obviously just going to have to do it myself."
The Voice: "That's not my handwriting! That happened before my time. I can't do anything about something that I wasn't here for!"

8:50 An upset Tweedledee stands at the ad counter and makes cryptic comments under his breath that are intended to belittle The Voice.
Tweedledee: "Canceled but not canceled."
The Voice: "What"
Tweedledee: Long pause, then quietly, "Canceled but not canceled."
Long pause.
Tweedledee: "May 6th. Written right there."
The Voice, now standing at the counter, just looks over at him and stares. Goes back to her desk.

8:54 Tweedledee is on the hunt for the person who really wrote on the ticket. It's like OJ looking for the "real" killer only much more frantic. As Einstein walks by, Tweedledee loudly tells Einstein that he has a "mystery writer" on his tickets. He repeats the words "mystery writer" quite often. Einstein quickly walks to his office.

8:55 The handwriting is not Corey's. It's also not some other lady's whose name I don't know or care to know. It's still the mystery of the 21st Century.

9:13 Oh. My. God. Einstein is wearing shorts. Wow. There really aren't words for this. I mean, I'm trying to process it in a meaningful way, but I'm lost.

9:16 Still working through the "Einstein's legs" experience. I feel like I just saw him naked. I need one of those mind eraser thingys from Men In Black

9:31 DEFCON 4 people!!! Tweedledee is wandering around saying: "ohhhh, this is not good. Not good. This is the last thing I wanted to be doing today. Shit." Tweedledee is sighing heavily and shaking his head. The Voice is convinced that she did not get the fax that supposedly came in. Oh, God, it just gets worse. Their sales sheets don't match up.

9:33 Victory! The Voice realizes where she put the correct info – somewhere completely useless of course. She jacked up another ad ticket and didn't charge the right amount for color. I'd bet a billion dollars that Tweedledee is swearing at her in his head. At least The Voice isn't wearing anything sort-of see-through today.

9:35 This is more complicated than the Bay of Pigs invasion. Tweedledee and The Voice are trying to figure out how much a client has been charged based on a couple of incorrect past tickets. Seriously, call Sherlock Holmes. No one else could possibly solve this.
The Voice: "That's what I'm saying. There is a lot to learn in this position."
Yeah, writing down contact information, the size of the ad and checking the full color box is mind-boggling. How does she possibly manage? Can we get her a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her heroics?

9:38 Now it's Tweedledee, The Voice and Corey in a meeting of the minds. Surely they will crack this impossible code!

10:16 A dejected The Voice slowly rises from her chair when what's-her-face alerts everyone through the intercom that coffees are at the front desk. As she plods back to her desk with her coffee she tells Carol, "I need this today."

10:18 I hate Cynthia's perfume. It smells like a mix of old folk's home and lilacs.

10:30 We have a new photo intern! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Poor bastard. I'm sure he's a competent photographer who will learn that this newspapers hires slow prima donnas who way overthink their craft because they imagine it to be this amazing, misunderstood art form. I can't wait to see how this plays out.

6/24
1:42 p.m. The size of the Buick ad is perplexing to the dynamic duo. The Voice throws out some gemlike sayings: "I knew just enough to get myself in trouble." "Put it all together and change it all at once."
The Voice has a lovely denim jumper on today, complete with applique flowers. She acts very superior explaining a clicking process to Tweedledee. Tweedledee is moving on to something else... Wait, they're back together. She is whiny. He is saintly patient.

Later....
The Voice throws up her arms and says out of nowhere "It's like working with my husband." I think it was not meant to be nice toward Tweedledee. All men are idiots, The Voice thinks. They all exasperate her because of their stupidity. "You're terrible." Then she has to admit that she was the one in the wrong. It's a discouraging moment.

The Voice: "You're asking me about one thing and I'm talking about another... I'm asking you about DUPLICATE CARS!"

2:33... The Voice mutters as Tweedledee heads to the north end of the building ... "I can't hear you when you're walking away."


6/26

4:43 Conference room opens and ad rats spill out. The Voice loudly explains that she hasn't changed something in about two weeks. Possible choices: underwear, socks, earrings, cigarette filter, tone of her voice.

4:46 Classified ad rats forget to use their inside voices. The high-pitched squeaking is giving me a headache.

4:47 The Voice is lost about an ad photo. Good use of drama arms, Voice!

4:48 Gaggle of giggling ad rats (I think the proper term is pack) go running back to the conference room. It's a meeting of the minds not seen since the Manhattan Project.

4:49 Sweet. Very loud play-by-play of cornea incisions from Slim's telephone interview. Did you know they use a diamond-tipped blade to hack into an eye? Doctors are so elitist. What, sharp copper wouldn't work?

4:51 Wow. Slim's metaphor/interpretation of protein degradation is beyond words. I mean, I literally can not think of a way to describe it. It's like an evil pixie crossed through space-time and cursed my ability to think. Could be a house elf, too.


6/27

9:49 The Voice croaks about something to Marcia. I wish she had done it in the Brady Bunch voice. It's always Marcia. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

9:50 Did The Voice swallow a frog? Maybe it was a whole pack of cigarettes. Damn, I wish my voice was that low. Very, very husky.

9:51 You remember that scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest when Jack Nicholson comes back after his lobotomy and he just has a blank, vacant look? Tweedledee acts like that all the time, except every now and then his lips move when he's reminding himself about something. "Full color, full color, full color. Gotta sell full color. Hehehe." Yes, ad rats always chuckle in an evil manner.

9:54 Why am I not surprised that the classified ad rats love, and I mean love, monster trucks.

9:55 You're right, Einstein, what IS the point of driving over already crushed cars? Suck it, Socrates. You've met your match.

9:56 I swear to God that Tweedledee has more problems with simple math than anyone I've ever met. Every freakin' ad is screwed up, and he can't figure out who got charged what. He just blamed it on his pod coordinators. The Voice looks on.

9:58 Good use of drama arms, Tweedledee! The finish with an extra high pitched whine was a good touch.

9:59 Tweedledee could not care less that The Voice is leaving for a little while. I'll bet $1,000 I could find her smoking in the alley.

10:00 I don't think I like Annie's dogs, especially Lucy. She's a defective lab. Labs are friendly and fetch things. Lucy just kills stuff. Sleep tight, Spike.

10:34 I think I would pay massive sums of money to never, ever, ever, EVER see Debbie in a swimsuit. Wow. Did she play Gimli?

10:38 The Tool generally approves of Annie's layout. What a blessing from such a sweet, sweet guy. Generally, he should go play in traffic.

12:46 Hermione thinks this noisy brat over at classifieds is cute. Not for long. Look at her mom. I'm sorry little girl, genetics will win in the end. Enjoy your cuteness while you've got it.

12:50 Slim gets romantic. Welcome to the lounge. In the background, Aerosmith's "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" plays from his computer. He's watching a YouTube clip about a lion. I'm extremely confused right now.

1:00 Hermione accidentally sends me two chats that say: "Name that move" and "god." I'm confused and slightly flattered. And scared. I think I'll add scared to the list.

1:30 Do you think copious amounts of fast food leads to obesity? Let's go to the panel of experts in classifieds... I'm going to just go ahead and answer "yes" in their stead.

1:32 Bertha might be my favorite. She's like Boomhower from King of the Hill. "mmmblrwhatyoutalkinaboutmmmthisclockmmm." Is she on tech support to fix a clock?

1:35 Just for the record, the clock in the newsroom has been defective since daylight savings went into effect. We can't set the time on a clock? Ladies and gentlemen, your news leaders!

1:36 Follow the wires, Bertha. Follow the wires. The Voice and Bertha are pretty close. Am I secretly on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour? I keep waiting for Einstein to pull off his mask and reveal himself as Larry the Cable Guy.

1:37 Please, please tell me that Bertha is going to crawl into the ceiling. Please.

1:39 No, Slim, don't ask her about the clock. Don't you people realize, there is no control. THERE IS NO CONTROL. It will always be nine minutes fast. The way God intended.

1:40 Seriously, Hermione has tiny handwriting. I think she's leaving clues for the future. You know, when people have evolved to the point where we have magnifying glasses for eyeballs.

3:44 Tweedledee and The Voice are fighting about a phone number. Tweedledee is convinced that The Voice gave some guy the wrong number, which is why he hasn't called. The Voice explains that can't be true because the guy called the DIL. They go round and round. Seriously, this is better than Who's on First.

3:52 Ad rats congregate to discuss that the clock is an hour ahead. Shocking. Is it possible to fail an IQ test?

4:08 The Voice knows how to file! Victory! Tweedledee has to be pumped right now! I can't stop using exclamation points! I'm pretty sure Tweedledee thinks The Voice could throw herself to the ground and miss.

4:10 I've decided I can never be a good ad sales rep because when I go shopping for a shirt, I don't look for the size "4-person tent", I don't smoke, and I'm not a woman. Three strikes. I'm out.

6/28

2:15 p.m. — The doorbell buzzes. Instead of calling "not it" like I usually do, I get up and answer the door, figuring it's The Tool, who for some reason doesn't have his own key card. Are they afraid it will melt if his head really does explode? Sure enough, it's The Tool -- and he is annoyed.

"Who locked me out?" he demands. Not, thanks for letting me in, or how are you doing, or any other pleasantry, just "Who locked me out?"

The Tool is starting to pick up steam -- you can always tell when the blowup is on its way -- so I attempt to divert him by pointing out the obvious dangers of leaving the door propped open on a sleepy Saturday afternoon. We're at risk here. There's always the threat of attack from bears or crazed readers who are just so damn tired of looking for the crossword puzzle. Why do we insist on putting it on a new page every day? A little consistency, people.

3:19 The Tool just said his middle name is "unconventional." Hmmm... that's not the middle name I gave him.

7/2

4:36 Karen is waiting for The Voice to get off the phone. She looks impatient. Maybe she's hopped up on sugar from all the birthday cake I saw her hoggin' down earlier. It's not even her freakin' birthday month. Shouldn't the cake go to people actually celebrating a birthday? Is that frosting under her nose? Why can't they see the connection between crappy eating habits and morbid obesity? God, I hate the ad rats. On a side note, I noticed that my birthday is only three days away from Glencross and the same day as some woman I don't know. Hmmm... my birthday is surrounded by pure evil. Not good. I might as well have seen a Grim.

4:39 Smashing shirt, Einstein. Is the color harvest peach?

4:40 I just realized that I should have been keeping a diary all day. There was mucho diary fodder. Oh, well.

4:41 Sillogysm of the day: Premise 1 – CrossFit rules. Premise 2 – The people who do CrossFit rule. Conclusion – I, indeed, rule. That might not be bulletproof logic, unfortunately. I know some crossfitters who are giant a-holes. Very fit a-holes, but a-holes nonetheless.

4:42 Is that a hermaphrodite ad rat? Yikes.

4:47 Have you ever read The Stand by Stephen King? Excellent book. It's about a super virus (Captain Tripps) that wipes out like 95 percent of the population. Some days, that sounds really nice.

4:48 Jeff is laughing. Know what's not funny? Following Jeff to the post office and then watching him parallel park right IN THE FREAKING MIDDLE of two other cars. There was plenty of room for both of us to park there if he hadn't parked right IN THE FREAKING MIDDLE. No worries, I love driving around the block and walking a long ways. Of course, by the time I parked and went in, about 4,862.5 people decided to line up to mail shit. Where's my vial of Captain Tripps?

4:53 At some point, if you are looking for clothes that have more than 3 X's in front of an L, don't you think, "Wow, I'm fat."

4:55 Oregon Kristy from American Idol got a record deal? How? She better be naked on her CD cover. I'm still not buying it.

7/3

8:55 a.m. — The Voice and James have a near collision in the hallway. I'm reminded of the time Einstein lectured me about walking on the right side of the hall to avoid potential collisions. I'm pretty sure even if I was hugging the wall on the right side and somehow still managed to run into Einstein, it would still be my fault. That's how it works when you're a peon in the Hagadone empire.

2:03 Annie forgets that she's older than me. Yeah, like I know some crappy song by Adam Ant.

2:06 Annie scars me for life by forcing me to watch an Adam and The Ants music video on YouTube. God, the 80s were gay as hell. You know it's an era that never should have happened when it made even hot girls look like crap. Not cool.

2:07 I can't take it any more. Skinny British dudes on heroine might have done it for Annie in the 80s, but it's really gross 20 years later. One minute and 16 seconds of Adam and The Ants is plenty. Besides, I've heard one too many stories about Annie, banana hammocks and proposed threesomes. Moving on...

2:17 After reviewing the Dead To Me list, I think it's pretty awesome. Unfortunately, Hermione's stupid rule about no coworkers being on the list brings it down a notch. Still, there are a few on there, but it's in code. The list so far (this could take a while):
Red Hat Lady: This little gem makes the list because she's a passive aggressive pest. Nobody cares about someone paying for your dumb group's lunch. WTF is the Red Hat club anyway? Yeah, you're such a massively great organization that everyone wants to know someone paid for lunch at Nickel Charlies. Wow, someone donated a plate of steak and eggs to mankind. Alert the U.N.
Pacifists: On the other hand, they are way easy to beat up.
Scholarship lists: Sorry parents, you're the only ones who care.
Ventriloquists
Sulu: he's gay? Seriously? And now he's gay married? Good night and good luck, stunned Trekkies.
Stupid peacenik quotes: Stupid high school students who try to pass off 9/11 as no big deal should be caned.
Disriminatory floor waxers: What the hell? First, I don't rate a paper in the morning, and now my cubicle's 8 square feet of linoleum doesn't get waxed. I'm a little hurt.
Infiltrative keratits: Other than being a good band name, these things will jack up your eye. On the good side, they made Hermione act like the Emporer from Star Wars for like a week. I kept waiting for her to reveal that my father actually is Darth Vader.
Fanatical vegetarians: Hey, idiots, why do you think our bodies require protein? We're made to eat meat. Vegetarians are clearly mutants.
People who give short notice and want an entire media corps at their event
Carb loading and the people who do it: Hey, I know, I think I'll screw up my insulin and hormonal response right before an important competition. Good call, carb geeks. That's why I'll crush you.
Mushrooms and beets: I love mushrooms and hate beets. Hermione likes beets and hates mushrooms. She also hates seafood. Good thing for her that I can't put coworkers on the Dead To Me list. We clearly can't be friends.
Washington drivers: I swear I spontaneously pray whenever I see Washington plates. Very, very scary.
People who don't use sunscreen: Why, yes, I'd love cancer...
Sunburns
Wind: Hands down, the worst element.
Prima Donnas (times infinity): We may or may not work with the biggest one ever. Ever. Unfortunately, coworker names aren't allowed. Seriously, he or she (he) is unbearable at all times. This reporter or photographer (photographer) flies off at the tiniest crap. I don't want to name names, but if The Tool (The Tool) acts like that again in front of me... Well, I can't wait.
Caffeine addicts
Reader Comments: Seriously, if you want to get dumber, just read what our idiot readers write.
Packing
People who confuse lead and led: We should probably include the incorrect usage of its and it's as well.
Crappy drivers: I really wish I had a "smite" button
People who forget how to use their inside voice: See also, every ad rat
Cookies: God, I love cookies.
Etiquette

2:42: Slim and Marge try to make the same lame joke in consecutive turns. Surprisingly, neither one is funny, and they both appear to be unable to hear the other make the exact same joke. Weird. Back to the list!

Ticks
People wHo tYpE liKe thI$
People who think reporters = ad writers

3:10 Slim finds Marge's number on his "thingamabob." I'm almost positive that he meant his Rolodex. Please, please let him have meant his rolodex.

3:26 Oh, hahaha hehehe. Ahh. Marge has the best analogies. No she doesn't.

3:29 The Dodgeball Game of Life is lame. I always lose, and whenever I try to play, Hermione conveniently changes the rules. There are no rules! It's a made-up, imaginary game. Life is so unfair.

3:34 Einstein calls two fat ad rats the "Dynamic Duo." Really? Grouchy, overweight sales reps are "dynamic?" Sorry Batman and Robin. You're out! To the Salesmobile! Pow! Kazaam! The paper's ad sales are way down! That's so dynamic!

3:45 Proof that this place destroys your soul faster than a grumpy dementor: We got a new pencil sharpener today because the old one was about to die, and we all feel like it's Christmas or something. God help us all.

4:02 WTF is a "Funfetti" cupcake, and should the classifieds girls really be gorging on more baked goods? For an excellent Funfetti cupcake recipe, visit http://bakingbites.com/2007/04/confetti-cupcakes/.

4:05 Nutrition facts for one Funfetti cupcake with icing ("with icing" is redundant. I mean, whoever heard of an uniced Funfetti cupcake?) Calories: 240. Total Fat: 6 grams. Total Carbs: 26 grams. Protein: Zero. Hmmm. I'm pretty sure that a ratio of 20 percent fat, 80 percent carbs and zero percent protein is NOT a recipe for success. I still want one.

4:17 A man wishing to place a classified ad is doing his part to bring back the handlebar mustache. Sweet. It's like the exact inverse of the shape of his bald spot. The classified ladies find him very, very sexy. Do you think their offspring's IQ would crack double digits? Could they spell digit?

7/5
1:19 p.m. — Today's mystery: Wasn't the Saturday page supposed to be in color? It's black and white. Why isn't it black and white? The Tool's "pretty pissed off about it." Composing wouldn't have changed it, right? Who is in charge of that? It was all in color when Kay checked it. The Tool demands an answer.

1:22 p.m. — The Tool's still pissed. It's about three hours wasted time on that, number one, and number two, it looks like crap. How could that happen? The page should have been in color: It was shot in color, toned in color and edited in color. He's not mad — really! — he's just irked.

1:32 p.m. — After hanging up, it's back to the mystery. Oddly, mystery solving looks and sounds an awful lot like bitching, but perhaps this is how the new generation of Super Sleuths operates. In despair, The Tool threatens to stop caring about his job altogether. Anything to stop this horrific emotional roller coaster!

7/8

9:11 The Voice is in unusually loud form this morning. She's slamming notebooks and flipping folders. The Voice keeps saying "Freedom of Choice, which is also the name of a Devo song. Will she start singing? We can only hope...

9:15 Much head shaking and looks of bewilderment... it's too early in the morning for all this confusion. Oh no, The Voice's doing imitations of a mysterious and flighty "Stacy."

9:19
Everything The Voice says is said in an angry tone ... even if she's telling Tweedledee people want to purchase ads, which generally should be regarded as a good thing, if you're an ad salesperson, that is...

10:51
The Voice wanders aimlessly and says "I swear that man can lose anything faster than anyone I've seen in my life... He's a magician." She bursts with excitement when Tweedledee appears... he is oblivious to her previously stressed-out condition.

11:56
Why do the mother/daughter duo up front, who dress alike in a somewhat fashionably snazzy fashion, both insist on gelling the back of their hair in that rooster-like way? That style, though it was sadly once in, has been out for a few years now, yet they seem to be all about up-to-date clothing.... it's quite the enigma.

1:01
Slim just told a potential interviewee that he wants to spend "quality time" with them... I'm sure this potential interviewee will not return the phone call.

1:16
The Voice shrieks, not unlike a peacock, "I'm awake! I'm awake!" Then she says something about being beat up on, lapsing into baby talk despite the volume of her voice... how does one achieve both of these qualities at once?

4:24 Corey has struck every woman's dream by being the prettiest of the bunch. She's surrounded by The Voice, a large woman and some other lady. Let's just say the three of them couldn't safely drive over a bridge at the same time. Lucky girl.

4:26 "CERTAINLY" The Voice shrieks. I don't know why. Neither does Tweedledee. Neither do the people in Morocco who also heard her.

4:27 I think Tweedledee might be the prettiest of the bunch now. Yikes.

4:28 The Voice, Tweedledee and rooster-hair daughter girl stand at the counter. It's a triple threat: dumb, dumber and extra large.

4:29 Tweedledee and The Voice play a rousing game of "Pass the Buck" (aka: Yes, that's my handwriting, but I didn't do it.)

4:30 Kay waves at The Voice. Why? What is this ad rat code? Whose ancient couch did Karen mutilate to make that dress? I must know.

4:32 The Voice "chuckles" on the phone. Somewhere, an angel loses its wings... and takes up smoking.

4:36 Sigh. I wish The Tool were here.

4:43 I'd love to write down what The Voice just said, but I don't speak "baby talk." I'm pretty sure even my 3-year-old nephew would mock her.


7/9

9:59 a.m. Tweedledee claims a folder that The Voice has picked up... she slams it back down on the counter and looks unreasonably annoyed. She is on her way out, but doubles back when she hears the coffee lady is in the parking lot... does coffee make her more or less irritable? We'll see...

10:41
The Voice on the phone... "I like simple." Understatement. She also likes green pants with little flowers... bad choice.

2 p.m.
The Voice: "I didn't have nothing to do with that." One can't never hear enough double negative usage in this life...

2:13
The Voice comforts a client, telling them they did "real well," and "better than others." What could she be referring to?

2:17
"Better to be safe than sorry..." more words of cliche wisdom from The Voice. Does she know that speaking at such a loud volume is just inviting all this scrutiny? I really feel like being at a movie right now with a large bag of crappy movie popcorn.

2:42
More whining about Stacy... who is this mysterious Stacy?

2:58 The Voice calls Tweedledee over to her desk. He cranes his neck over her cubicle to look. The Voice is out of sight, but she can quietly be heard asking, "See anything you like?" I think the universe just imploded.

3:06 OK, I'm not sure how to describe this. I walked down the hall, and as I was nearing the break room, rooster-haired daughter girl comes walking out. We almost collide, but I dodged to the left faster than George W. Bush after an election. Good thing, too. I would have been a casualty. Anyway, as I pass the door, I look in and... well, the temp was tucking in his shirt and buckling his belt. Now, either her leaving and him getting dressed was simply a weird turn of events, or that was the most brazen, gutsy work sex in history.

11:27 Hermione is legitimately giggling right now. It's fun to listen to, and – I'll admit it – slightly contagious.


7/10

3:10 A commissioner calls Slim, who begins to explain why he's calling. I bet Annie that he takes longer than 4 minutes to get to his first question.

3:15 First question shows up! According to my stopwatch, it took 4:59 to get to the first question. Unbelievable efficiency going on here.

3:17 I just realized I've never, ever timed how long it took someone to ask a question. Stopwatches for 100 pullups, sure. But timing a conversation? This is a new low.

3:21 Holy crap! There's been a decent-looking woman sighting over at classifieds, and she's dressed somewhat inappropriately. Note to self: send her a thank you card. Hermione will read this and call me a pig. Hopefully I'm not within punching distance.

3:38 I have an attack of guilt due to the fact that I mock people in the diary. How would I feel if I was on the other end?

3:38 I'm over it. It's generally deserved.

3:42 I'm reliving my excellent mock jokes from earlier. Annie said they were dumb, but she laughed every time. "I travel at mock speed." "Mock, mock. Who's there? Me, stupid." "Hickory dickory mock. Mice are stupid."

4:04 What time is it? That's right! Time for an Urban Nursery Rhyme, where we take a famous nursery rhyme and give it a more modern, hip-hop feel. Previous entries include:

Hey dizzle, dizzle
Kitty and the fizzle
Heifer's got mad hops
Bitch jumped the moon

and

Fe! Fi! Fum! Fo!
I smell perfume of rent-a-ho!
Be she fugly or be she phat
I'm still bored. Yeah, I'd hit that.

Today's entry will be a remake of Mary Had A Little Lamb

Mary had a little lamb
A little lamb?
Yeah, a little lamb!
It's jacket was mad white
Couldn't never get Mary alone
Damn thing went wherever she'd go

So it followed her to school one day
To school one day?
Yeah, to school one day.
We were like, WTF Mary?
Goats ain't allowed up in here!

So teach kicked it out,
Kicked it out?
Yeah, kicked it out!
Stupid goat chilled outside with a beer
And waited for Mary to appear

What's up with your lama thing, Mary?
Why does it love you so?
Teach says it's because you love it so,
love it so, love it so.
You'll love me, Mary. You'll love me.
Daddy's new gun says so.

4:20 Wouldn't a good episode of the paper be about an employee who is caught in an online comment fight with readers? I think so.

4:25 Three of four clocks are correct, but one is an hour ahead. OMG! Einstein immediately springs into action and... calls Bertha. Unfortunately, he can't fix other things. You know, like his inability to run a newspaper.


7-11

2:52 Annie is very, very mean.

3:01 What the hell was that? Prof. Snape just approached Einstein and said (I'm not making this up) "May I be excused?" When he asked it, he had his hands behind his back like he was making a formal request to a parent or something. Hey, Prof. Snape, don't forget to ask Einstein for your dignity while you're at it. I was thinking to myself the other day: "Why doesn't Prof. Snape put up more of a fight to take care of his reporters?" That little scene was all the answer I'll ever need.

3:04 Fight Club in three hours! Is it a bad thing that before I fall asleep I'm generally rehearsing debilitating jiu jitsu moves? I mean, I'm also imagining my victims, too. That's probably normal. Right?

3:08 The Voice is doing an excellent impression of a sunflower today. You know, one that sprouts cigarette butts.

3:13 Why the hell do we edit idiot ad sections? Spell check and send. No one cares.

3:21 Syllogism of the Day: Premise 1 – Words that rhyme are used in poetry. Premise 2 – Not all poetry rhymes. Conclusion: Annie is mean and my version of Mary Had a LIttle Lamb is awesome.

3:26 I'd like to point out that I've spelled rhyme way too many times today, and I haven't misspelled it once. Good on me!

3:27 Apparently, Jenny from classifieds has lost "a lot of weight." I'd like a second opinion.

3:29 Four simple ideas to help get the paper back on track: 1. Absorb the weeklies. Keep a small satellite office with a reporter/photographer to contribute daily stories to the paper. Change our Web site so people can browse it by municipality so these stories/photos maintain an independent identity and allow for more Web site ad sales. The paper will then be packed with local news every day, which is what people want. Hmmm... maybe we should actually give paying customers what they actually want. 2. Begin an aggressive campaign to develop our brand within the community. This is not expensive. 3. Increase wages, which will reduce turnover and improve productivity. 4. Make our Web site not suck. Increase multimedia, which is also not expensive.

3:34 Wow, in five minutes I did more to help the paper than Einstein has done in... ever. I have an advantage though. My idea account isn't utterly bankrupt.

3:42 What does Bertha do when she's not fixing clocks? She better stay fresh. Daylight savings is only a few months away.

3:47 Seriously, does The Voice not realize when she is shouting? Is her inner monologue function broken? Maybe it was a consequence of the unfreezing process.

3:49 I'm working on two major stories that I'm going to write AND photograph. The photogs are going to go beserk. Unfortunately, their idea of coming up with an unassigned photo project is generally running to a local park and photographing ducks. Get your own stories. Actually, I like our photogs. Except The Tool of course.

4:03 Emily Stewart, a 17-year-old from Kansas, won a prestigious amateur radio award. What's it called? The Young Ham of the Year Award. That's right, the Young HOTY Award. Good call, creepy old ham radio guys who came up with that one.

4:30 Seriously, you couldn't find as many ruined sets of lungs and livers at a rock band convention as you could among the ad rats.

4:31 New slogan for the ad rats: Where women sound like men!

4:32 Stop everything! Annie busts out a snack, and it's not a hard fruit, which is against the rules. It's a peach that she overpaid for. She's such a rebel. I know, I've seen the Sneer Photo from 1980-something.

4:36 Illegal Snack could be a good band name.

7/13

11:4-something
Yet more proof that God hates me. So I'm eating a non-Zone approved breakfast at IHOP, when I hear the voice. Yep, turns out The Voice and her husband decided to go to IHOP as well. I quickly realize that The Voice doesn't have an inside voice anywhere. She's just permanently stuck on Volume 10. I found something very interesting on the floor to stare at as they walked by. No eye contact = survival. I thought I'd dodged a giant bullet, but then their idiot hostess placed them right on the other side of the divider in a booth right next to us. Yeah, my right shoulder was like 5 inches from The Voice's. Unfortunately, my right ear drum was right next to her megaphone mouth. No amount of cheap construction could save me from the onslaught of The Voice Decibels. Then it happened. She ordered the same thing as me.
Save me Oprah!

7/14

8:37 For the record, I'm a total bastard.

8:47 Einstein and I had a rather witty exchange at the drinking fountain. Did we just bond? Is he a Jedi? Why do I suddenly love all things related to the Emperor? I'm going to work so hard today. This one's for you, Emperor!

8:50 Liz comes out of the conference room to tell Tweedledee that everyone is waiting on him. Tweedledee does his best confused look and says, "What!!?" Yeah, like this doesn't happen every day. On his way to the conference room, he spots another ad rat and sternly informs her that everyone is actually waiting on her. Smooth.

9:05 I think I'm figuring out how the ad sales people work.
8 a.m. Hold useless meeting to come up with useless ad gimmicks.
9 a.m. Smoke a pack
9:30 a.m. Sort through tickets and try to figure out how it's possible to jack up every single freakin' ad that has miraculously been sold.
10 a.m. Run outside and smoke a pack to calm the nerves.
10:30-Noon More fighting with pod coordinators
Break for coffee and nicotine lunch (how are they all 400 pounds with this diet?)
1-3 p.m. Beg people to waste their money on print ads. Smoke while driving to each business.
3:15 Smoke break after getting back to work.
3:45-5 p.m. Thoroughly mislabel tickets.

9:11 I just can't figure out why we don't sell more ads. If only someone could spot ways to increase our efficiency! Save us with your magic, Tom Cruise!

9:15 (referring back to 8:47 post) We should be able to dedicate our articles like people do with books. You know, something above our byline.

Mismanagement plagues county

For the Emperor. My boss. My rock.

By Me
The paper

Begin story...

9:40 Jan tries to wish two people happy birthday over the intercom. She gets the first one, but it's the duo that just trips her up. Seriously, she needs four takes to get it right. Use your words, Jan. Use your words.

9:41 I swear to God this just happened: After listening to the announcement four times, Tweedledee asks The Voice who's birthday it is. Wow.

9:43 Jan now jacks up the coffee announcement. "Good everyone morning." I gotta get out of here. Tweedledee finally found someone he can make fun of. You're a mental giant, buddy!

9:59 I've been working here for almost three years, and I still don't now how to enter holiday pay on my time card. I'm very, very smart.

10:02 The whole Star Wars trilogy has way too many parallels to this company and the newsroom. Long live the rebels! Abandon all hope, ye who are employed here.

10:48 I ran home to eat something quick and found out that when a scoop of peanut butter hits the floor, it looks uncomfortably close to dog diarrhea. I think of Lucy.

11:39 Slim predicts his story will probably take another two weeks to finish. Albert Einstein spent less effort developing his theories of relativity. I'm guessing Slim's story won't revolutionize the way we view physics and the universe. Just a guess.

12:01 Circulation = muy annoying

12:11 Ad rat slogan: Where we think being loud masks stupidity!

12:12 Ad rat slogan: If you can't hear us, it's not our fault!

12:13 Ad rat slogan: Why yes, we'd love to overcharge you for an ad we'll screw up!

12:14 Ad rat slogan: Hey! Who's fuckin' handwriting is this?

12:15 Ad rat slogan: We swear, it wasn't our fault!

12:16 Ad rat slogan: Where old curtains become dresses!

1:05 LiveScience.com has an article stating that new research suggests hunger may actually make people happy. I'm calling total BS. Have you ever seen a hungry female? Look. The. Hell. Out. This may explain why the classifieds girls are so miserable all the time. I don't think they've ever gone hungry. Ever.

1:14 The Voice, speaking to absolutely no one, says: "My handsome grandson! I can't believe he's graduated from high school already." Two things: First, seriously, there was no one near her when she said this. Second, I can't believe he graduated either.

1:21 The Voice explains to Liz that she's a "giver. A SUGGESTION GIVER!" Yes, she just said that in a loud baby voice.

1:22 Big news! Someone landed an Red Lobster ad! Eatin' good in the neighborhood!

1:48 Some whiny shithead e-mailed me complaining about how the paper can run front page stories about The Full Monty but not about a dangerous intersection near his house. I got the numbers from MDOT, buddy. If that intersection is the most dangerous in the state, I'll get naked for The Full Monty. Idiot.

2:10 I love how whenever anyone asks The Whirling Dervish to do something, she says she doesn't know how. Really, you can't take someone's info about an event? I hate that helpless crap.

4:30 Ladies and gentlemen, The Voice has left the building.

4:49 It's pretty quiet in here. A little too quiet, if you ask me.

4:50 I'm in the perfect mood for fight club: a little cranky and a lot tired. Someone's going down. Few things in life are more satisfying making someone submit before you squeeze the life out of him or break one of his bones. Of course, it sucks complete ass if you are the one getting crushed. In a fight, it pays to win in a hurry.

4:57 Uh-oh. I hear Webmaster talking about Web site stuff in the conference room. Do you hear that? Yep, it's online traffic rushing away from our crappy site. Webmaster is so bad, I'm surprised he's not working for the Bush administration.


7/15

9:20 Tweedledee's wisdom for the day: "They're either coupons or they're not coupons."
The Voice consoles him on this heartrending coupon issue. Tweedledee says, "You're really an optimist, aren't you?" and The Voice says, "I always have been" with a knowing and superior tone...

11:45 The Voice told me about the best invention ever in the lunchroom, some sort of mechanized avocado slicer.... she was frighteningly enthusiastic about this!!!! And guess what? She was loudly descriptive!!!!

12:35
The Voice just said to no one "but nobody likes me" in her loud and endearing baby voice. Sadly, no one disagreed.

3:45
The Voice needs to be punched in the mouth if she baby talks again, especially to Tweedledee. The Voice will bring out the violent inclinations in even the most pious Anabaptist pacifist.

8:30 Just leaving the gym when I spot these two ladies tattling on me and Annie because when we row, the rowers scoot back. It's a product of effort, ladies. I know it's foreign to you. When we had been rowing earlier, they had been telling us that we need to by a sticky pad at WalMart to put down under the rowers. I'm not sure why I should buy supplies for the gym. They were geeking out because Annie's rower almost touched a treadmill. OH MY GOD! The horror! Anyway, I get annoyed because these two ladies embody pretty much everything I hate: laziness, arrogance and nosiness. I walked up to the counter, and the convo went like this:
BBB1 (busy body bitch 1): "...that's one of them." Said while glancing at me.
Me (I walk up to the counter): "Yes, we row really fast, and that offends some people who are slow, but these two are just going to have to get over it."
BBB2: "No! This is a public safety issue."
Me (with my very best look of contempt): "Whatever lady."
Then I left. I can't wait to see them again. I'm going to row super hard. My rower will be bouncing all over the place. That's not what she said.

9:30 Hooray!! The Tool's here. I missed him so.

10:46 Random sayings for our rowing t-shirts and other accessories: Row Rage, Rage Against the (rowing)Machine, Hell's Rowers, Slow Rowers Suck, Death Rower, Member: Society for the Protection of Fast Rowers, Caution: Fast Rower, Speedy Rowing Kills, Rowing: It's a Public Safety Issue, Faster than You, Lookout! It's a Stationary Rower

10:53 My work area is fine. The Emporer can suck it. Or smoke it. Hermione is spreading a great rumor that he was busted for weed.

12:38 The Tool has to be the biggest jackass I've ever known. Seriously, I'm actually trying to think of people I hate more than him. There are a couple I can think of, but it's pretty much a tie at the top of the list. Of course, if I was the fifth best photographer at the paper, I might have my panties in a bunch, too. Poor little fella.

1:03 I really, really want a shirt that says "Mock you like a hurricane"

1:04 Row it like you stole it! Good work, Annie. Very good work.

1:08 A Katrina-sized ad crisis strikes, and The Voice alerts Tweedledee. Instant scramble. This could take all three of their collective brain cells to solve. Candlelight vigil begins at 9 p.m. Let us pray...

1:09 The mocking of our slow rowing friends (BBB1 and 2) continues. So far we have come up with placing road cones and police tape to effectively cordon off our rowing danger zone. Also, because we are a danger to ourselves, we will bring a helmet and pads. For the final stroke, we will pass out leaflets alerting people to the fact that rowing will commence. We should probably apply for a FEMA rowing permit as well. The Space Shuttle launching pad doesn't have this much protection.

1:14 I'm now chairman and founder of SUFFR: the Society of Unashamed F'in Fast Rowers. T-Shirts are in the works. Of course, Row it like you Stole it will be the slogan.

2:02 The Whirling Dervish, just arrived. Let the good times roll! Youuuuuu, light up my liiiiiife....

4:01 In less than 10 minutes, The Voice has ranged from unbearable baby talk to a shout. A tribe of randy Howler monkeys would be less annoying.

4:07 Guess who turned in 40-some inches of copy and six excellent photos today? That's right, me, fabulous me.
Reporter: "In these desperate financial times for the paper – and your long history of being a pain in the ass – aren't you worried about your job?"
Me: "No."
Reporter: "Why not?"
Me: "Cuz I'm awesome. Duh. If you can't see that, then you need awesome lessons."

4:09 I really hate those rower ladies. Oh, I will mock them. As Annie is my witness, I will mock them again!

4:11 Do you think I could launch a national Rely for Brains? The proceeds could go to turning all the f'ing retards into functional, productive members of society. Personally, I think stupidity is just as deadly as cancer.

4:23 I could clean my desk, but I sit next to Slim. Seriously, I could leave a dead body on my desk, and it would still look sparkling clean next to the Leaning Tower of Waste. Slim's voice: "Hmm. You say that like it's a bad thing."

4:40 The Voice doesn't know where "the stash" is. Tweedledee is shocked. He's going to show her "the stash." I had a "stash" once. Hmmm.... I should tell the Emporer. He'd probably like to know where "the stash" is.


7/16

9:35 a.m. — It's Elvis! I'm not kidding. He has the hair, a sort of flowing shirt with a big, loose collar and he looks like he did a little hip-shaking in his youth. Of all the days to leave my phone at home — this is the second time I've seen him and my second missed photo opportunity. On a side note, Elvis drives a sweet Corvette.

10:19 a.m. — Kill me now. Please. The most nauseatingly perky voice just came over the speaker. No idea what she said; it probably is someone's birthday. Is this the paper's new morale-boosting strategy? Because seriously, I'd rather be shot in the face.

10:20 a.m. — I think I need coffee to kill the crabbiness.

11:12 a.m. The Voice just said from the mail room, "God bless whoever sneezed" at some random sneezer. This "God bless" crap is getting completely out of control. It's as if she's got a mandate from God to bless every sneeze, no matter when or where or from who, and by God, she's going to follow through...

12:41 So far, the corporate visit has been a bust. The Emperor and entourage arrived in matching blue casual golf-like shirts, which say "we're executives, but powerful enough to dress casual during a visit to one of our mid-market newspapers that forced them into a desk-cleaning frenzy like the total suckup flunkies that they are." All they've done is sit in the conference room with the money people. Those of us in the newsroom, spotless as our desks may be, are not regarded well because we only take, take, take and never give.

1:56 I went to the bathroom, and I noticed the sign on the conference door. We here are journalists, and we strive for brevity. The sign says
Conference Room Reserved
Wednesday
July 16, 2008
9 A.M. - 5 P.M.
So I'm thinking, really, you needed the date AND the freakin' year on that sign? And if the meeting is going to last all day, why not just put All Day? Plus, the times aren't even correct AP Style. Why are the people running a newspaper unable to correctly use AP Style?
Conference Room Reserved
Today
All day
Good ideas not allowed beyond this door.
Mine's better.

2:28 Einstein was speaking into his recorder thingy just now. "Note to self, don't come up with any innovative ways to make the paper successful. Also, collude with the Emperor about ways to not take care of the employees."
He should ace that little challenge.

2:48 I think I'd like to see two things more than anything else right now. 1. Bertha's salon/barbershop. 2. Bertha dressed up for a date, except I'm sure that would simply involve overuse of blush, flannel shirts, cheap beer and monster trucks. How does one seduce someone like Bertha? I'm thinking nachos would be a good start. Or chainsaws.

3:07 Wow. Cynthia's glasses are fantastic. Who is the horrible person that ever said, "Hey, you should get those. You look great!" He or she lied, Cynthia. Lied. Like a dog. I think of Lucy.

3:09 The glasses are kind of the same pattern as tortoise shell, only these are green, blue and yellow. Maybe they are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shell glasses. Sweet. Is Cynthia in fact a hero in a half-shell? My mind says no, but my heart... my heart says yes. Lookout, Shredder.

3:12 According to Slim, large stogies are penis substitutes. I'm going to disagree. Large trucks, military equipment, sports cars, etc., those are penis substitutes. Why would a guy put a penis substitute in his mouth?

3:22 Annie doesn't like to buy jerky because it's so expensive. Strange, she has no problem chowing down on my expensive jerky.

3:23 That's not what she said. That last post is worded somewhat inappropriately. My apologies to the Queen. (no, Annie, not you. I mean the actual Queen of England.)

3:27 Thanks for the kind words, Mr. Emperor. That's so much better than, say, reasonable pay or useful benefits. You're just the best! Give daddy hugs and kisses from us all.

3:43 One can only assume that the crony crew from HQ was here to discuss strategies on improving the bottom line. I can also assume that they are too f'in stupid to realize that that means coming up with more than just advertising ideas. Seeing as how they consistently fail to meet with reporters to discuss ideas, one can safely assume my assumption is very, very accurate. Idiots.

3:56 Jan, the lady up at the front desk, walks at like Mach 2 (I walk at Mock 3). Unfortunately for her, that just means that she can get from the couch to her fridge in 3.78 seconds.

4:55 p.m. — More from Slim: "I'm tingling all over." Let's call this creepy quote of the day No. 2. For creepy quote No. 1, see entry from earlier today.


7/18

9:59 The Tool is so unbearably stupid.

10:04 The Voice has a sweet farmer's tan. Unfortunately, the rest of what's showing on her looks like butchered chicken (with the skin on) that's going bad.

10:25 Seriously, who just randomly kills an otter? Oh, look at the otter! I think I'll fuckin' crush it with my shovel because it's such a threat. C'mere, beautiful, bounding otter. Come meet my shovel. Hey, dipshit, know how many humans suffered otter-related fatalities last year. I checked, and it's zero. I hope that guy died of a horrible disease. Bastard.

10:29 I'm so tired I'm actually thinking about buying coffee. Of course, it would be a foo-foo concoction that wouldn't look, taste or smell like actual coffee, but I bet it would do the trick.

10:30 I'm sleepy.

10:32 Everyone who reads this, ask Annie to correctly do a dip, drive, shrug, pull. Maybe she'll listen to you.

10:34 So last night I went and did Michael, which is 3 rounds of 800m run. 50 back extensions. 50 situps. My time: 18:16. The best time from the local CrossFit place: 18:18. Oh, we're so much better than everyone because we work out at a place that has CrossFit in the name. Ooo la freakin' la. Guess what a-holes? Since I quit going to your stinking joint, I've PR'd in almost every conceivable area while training myself, and I consistently beat (or tie) your very top performers. So there, bitches.

10:41 There's an ad rat standing at the counter in front of me. For a second, I thought it was a leather handbag. One that smokes. And drinks. A lot.

10:45 I'm guessing Einstein would frown upon my falling asleep at my desk? I'll try not to drool.

10:48 It's time to get down with my bad self!

10:58 Sometimes, I really wish I had a fax machine. And a Segway. Walking sucks.

10:59 Hey, Einstein! You're a champ! Wanna see a magic trick? I can make this pencil disappear!

11:00 Wow, classifieds really does have some great deals running right now. How are there phones not ringing off the hook?

2:22 Bees are awesome. Well, honeybees anyway. They are fascinating little creatures. How the hive works is incredible, and they didn't seem to care that I was there at all. I had my face 6 inches from a mass of buzzing bees, and then didn't do anything. Crazy.

2:25 The Whirling Dervish settles back in at her desk. She tries to open her pop can as quietly as possible. That is the loudest thing she's ever done.

3:42 I had to take a break from toning photos. Listening to The Tool explain how he shoots to the temp is really inspiring. It's like I'm getting a masters degree in photography for free! Good lord, he's an idiot. 90% of photography is pretty formulaic. The photogs act like they are Michelangelo or something.


7/21

9:13 Holy crap. Someone just brought in something for Reba on a floppy disk! 1990? Is that you in your 1.44 MB glory?

9:18 Today could be decent. The few of us actually here in the newsroom just gathered around to rip on the gayness of The Tool's front page photo. That's the main photo? When I checked the site this morning, I thought someone had accidentally placed a funeral shot with a fun story.

9:22 Damn, I'm tired. I couldn't sleep last night so I stayed up until 3 a.m. either reading HP4 or watching YouTube videos of Marines blowing shit up. Haha! Allah is not > a 2,000lb JDAM. There was one scene where these Iraqis tried to ambush Marines on a rooftop, but the Marines overran them. The Iraqis ran down to some some room and started chanting about Allah. Let's just say the Iraqis quickly got their wish of becoming martyrs. Suck it, jihadists!

11:10 An ad rat's phone just went off, and the ring tone was "Bad to the Bone." Really?
I make a rich woman beg, I'll make a good woman steal
I'll make an old woman blush, and make a young woman squeal
I wanna be yours pretty baby, yours and yours alone
I'm here to tell ya honey, that I'm bad to the bone
I gotta say, I've never heard that song and thought, "Hey, that reminds of this one ad sales rep I know." I think "I Hate Everything About You" would be much more fitting.

11:15 I wish my garage was completely covered in wrestling mats. That way, I could have smack downs and practice jiu jitsu all the time.

11:16 Sigh. I wish I had a garage. I also wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller. I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her. I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat and a '64 Impala.

11:17 A local dive bar won Best Late Night Spot or something like that. I could see the place winning if the category was "Best Place to Get Herpes and a DUI at Once" or "Best Place to Run Into Prison Buddies." But Best Late Night Spot?

11:19 I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. An ad rat just brought in her husband and introduced him to The Voice. She called The Voice a "fellow podster." You see! They're not even humans! They are freakin' pod people! I should tell HR. I'm sure she could figure out a way to revoke their health insurance since the plan probably only covers humans, which would also disqualify HR, unfortunately. Allegiance does not cover dementors. Or anything else related to health care.

11:29 Thanks to the power of the Internet (which, when it finally catches on, will revolutionize everything. I know, I heard Einstein say it was exploding on the horizon, and he's the greatest visionary of our time.) I've discovered the Pod People's plan for domination. http://www.thepodpeople.net/podtalk/viewtopic.php?t=2652 Family-friendly my ass. I'm on to you, Podsters.

11:32 The Pod People have gone global, and they clearly worship satan, which is why they make such good ad rats. http://www.podpeople.com.au/ I wonder if I should tell Prof. Snape. He may need a good column idea for next week. He's probably busy researching proofs about why Jesus was the founder of the Republican Party.

1:06 The Tool's photo. FAIL. For your enjoyment: www.worldoffail.com

1:25 Umm. Is it just me, or does Prof. Snape's daughter have an amazing unibrow? It's probably the result of all the chem trails.

2:05 I can't stop staring at that unibrow. My god. I think we have definitive proof of reverse evolution. I'm not sure if should buy some Nair or call the zoo.

2:06 Annie informed me the girl is quite unpleasant. The zoo it is.

2:08 I love how my Internet at home is faster than what we have here at the paper. Especially since my Internet is a pirated wireless connection. Yeah. My pirated wireless connection is faster than what my company offers in the newsroom. Ladies and gentlemen, the Worthless Corporation!

2:23 Woohoo! I start yoga tomorrow morning. I'm in pain just thinking about it. Hopefully it will cure my hips before I turn into a total cripple.

4:36 I was really hoping to make Ad Rat Wisdom a daily feature of the diary. I think I may have overestimated the ad rats. The closest thing I've heard to wisdom in days were driving directions that seemed accurate. My vigil continues.

7/22

9:53 For those about to mock, we sa-lute you!

9:57 Slim used to take a break from step aerobics to do yoga. You know, just to "mix it up a bit." The world is spinning right now. I'm trying to think of how much I'd pay to see that. What would I be willing to fork over to watch Slim do yoga or step aerobics for one hour? Gimme a minute...

9:59 Hey, Tiffers! Could some stage a tight shirt intervention with her please? It's really not OK.

10:56 Damn it! Tweedledee and The Voice are having a conversation that definitely qualifies as ad rat wisdom, but I can't hear a freakin' thing because Slim and Reba are running their yaps.

11:07 Hermione is definitely on drugs. The illegal kind. I have proof. If she shares, I'll keep quiet. Maybe.

1:03 I think Bri-TAN-ny hates me. Whenever I pass Bri-TAN-ny in the hall, Bri-TAN-ny looks angry and refuses to make eye contact. Bri-TAN-ny is a lame way to pronounce Brittany.

1:08 During my commish meeting this morning, there was a guy there named Josh Alpert, which is very close to Jim Halpert, which made me want to stand up and say "Hey, hey, hey! Fat Alpert!"

1:12 $20 on one condition. I can keep a running diary while he does it.

1:21 I'm not sure if I'd rather be a hiphopoppotamus or a rhymenocerous. Hmm...

1:27 Doesn't the pattern on The Voice's shirt look like something from an infant's onesy? Is it a shirt and a bib in one? This could be a big business. She could open it right next to Annie's drive-up curry stand.

2:01 I just told Annie to quit running her suck. I'm winner!

2:02 An ad rat and The Voice were just talking about a gift from the bathroom god. Is Moaning Myrtle in the women's bathroom here?

2:03 Speaking of suck, The Tool just arrived.

2:17 NOOOOOOO! Estelle Getty died today. We'll miss you, spunky Golden Girl. Picture it, Sicily, 1947...

2:34 Holy crap, did the Whirling Dervish just learn something new? I'm guessing, even after Reba's lengthy explanation of something very simple, she'll jack it up or forget how to do it by tomorrow.

7/24

1:27 Just in case anyone was wondering, I loathe the Tool. Thought I'd clear that up.

1:28 I'm not sure I believe in spontaneous combustion, but I bet if you brought in those people from What Not to Wear and took them for a stroll through the ad rats, we could make history.

1:29 Einstein is looking especially imposing today. Ooooo. It's like if Patton had been a publisher instead. Lead on, sir! In spite of the significant weight difference, I bet I could choke him out in less than 60 seconds.

1:32 The Voice found something in archives and is now a self-proclaimed "good detective." Funny, you'd think she could track down her fugitive inside voice.

1:33 Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! Finally, after days of waiting, what qualifies as ad rat wisdom has occurred. Wait, now that I'm thinking about it, it doesn't count. My wait may be in vain.

1:38 Jan brought in a photo to show someone what she used to look like. I haven't seen the photo, but I'm sure adjectives would fail me.

1:40 Force x Distance / Time = why Crossfitters rule.

1:55 The Voice openly sells out Tweedledee for not writing his name on the bottom of the ticket. "Don't worry, we all knew whose it was," she says condescendingly. As she walks off, Tweedledee rubs his eyes and holds his forehead. We all feel it, too, Tweedledee.

3:28 There are some hellagay bee nursery rhymes. What, one of the most fascinating creatures on the planet doesn't get a good nursery rhyme? F@$k you, Mother Goose! F@$k you and your big shoes, blind mice and hairy lambs.

3:32 Sigh. I miss Janet Reno's feminine charms. Speaking of Janet, did you know that Elian Gonzalez is now 15 and a member of the Communist Union of Cuba? Heckuva job, Reno!

4:10 I hate it when someone tells me that they were misquoted by a reporter once in the past, and they sound so accusatory. Like it's my fault or something. Then this lady goes on to say that she wasn't misquoted, but only part of her quote ran in the paper. According to her, the partial quote made her sound like some "stupid hick in the woods." Wait, wait. Something is coming to mind. It's a saying filled with wisdom. I think it goes something like this: If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and acts like a duck...

4:13 Yoga in less than 90 minutes! You don't think anyone will randomly attack me today, do you? I really want to try out my D'arce choke. It's effin awesome.

4:16 For the record, I still really, really, really miss Calvin and Hobbes. Best cartoon ever.

4:23 Quick, someone get Prof. Snape. What looks to be illegal immigrants are over at classifieds. I didn't know we ran ads in Spanish.

7/25

3:42 Yes, The Tool is a massive tool. Repetition is a key tool for good propaganda so I'll be saying that very often. Speaking of the dumbass, I wonder if he's found Mrs. Right yet. "Dear Lord, if praying actually works, please keep the future free of little Tools and Toolettes. Please."

3:44 If Einstein were sitting on a hideous couch from the 70s, you wouldn't even see him. His shirt must be from JC Penney's new Upholstery Camo line.

3:47 So there are two muffins sitting in the oven. As they are baking, one muffin says, "Damn, it's hot in here!" The other muffin jumps and says, "Holy crap! A talking muffin!"
See, Reba isn't the only one who can tell lame jokes. I'm winner!

3:55 Do you think Einstein galavants? I'm guessing no.

4:01 Umm, as Jan was walking/gliding by me, she whispered, ever so creepily "Happy birthday." I said "thanks" but I was afraid.

4:04 From the chats:
Annie: this is without question the gayest Entertainment cover ever... pretty boys galore
Me: Yuck
M: Can that be your headline? Gayest Cover Ever
A: Gayest fair ever
M: Homoerotic music coming soon!
A: Homoerotic christian music... even better
A: And homoerotic canadians
M: Watch feminine 20-something males with no body hair sing emotionally to one another...
A: hair gelmainia
M: Is it a concert or a Vidal Sassoon convention? I can't tell!

4:10 Good to see that Bri-TAN-ny is looking surly as ever. Consistency is key!

4:12 In just 7 hours and 48 minutes, I can legally date anyone from 21.5 years old to 44 years old! I'll probably just go to dinner with my mom. (Who does not go to college, Annie. Jerk.)

4:17 The Russians are making a version of The Office? I didn't even know Russians were capable of humor. Is laughter even an anatomical possibility for a Russian? I thought they only jokes they could tell were ones about the death of all us capitalistic pigs? How many episodes will that last?

7/28

8:47 I went to park in the parking lot, but there was a big red truck that was double parked. I'd bet my entire year's salary that it was a woman driver. Any takers? This is why I put women drivers on the dead to me list.

9:13 Hey, Tiffers!

9:49 Whoa. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it looks like Nicole drastically changed her hairstyle. Maybe she just has it pulled back, but it's also been straightened. Doesn't matter. Nicole can do no wrong. (Someday, when I kidnap her, please destroy all entries of the diary proving that it was premeditated. Thank you.)

9:50 The Voice starts hacking at her desk. Hey, maybe you should smoke more. I hear that helps clear the lungs. Moron. Her hacking sort of sounds like a death rattle. I cross my fingers and pray like I'm watching the Powerball numbers roll down.

9:51 Damn. She lived.

9:53 The Voice just walked by. For some reason, the words "pendulous breasts" came to mind. Now I wish I were dead. Seriously, she has some geriatric version of a baby doll shirt on. What. The. F@$k.

10:25 Hooray! They are working on a redo of our Web site. Unfortunately, they have idiots doing the work. Seriously. In the conference room right now, they have Webmaster, another fat guy who sells ads and a 12-year-old. These are the people who are going to save our Web site and – by extension – our company. We're screwed.

10:29 Reba just interviewed someone from Parks and Rec about the frisbee golf course at Lawrence Park. They also discussed throwing technique. I sense a hit Lifetime saga. Folf Quest: Reba's untold story of loss, triumph and 164-gram discs.

10:33 Hey, Tiffers' giant mom!

1:30 Slim nearly chokes to death on a Whopper. He survives by loudly coughing/sneezing/spazzing it out. Of course, he is facing my desk as he coughshouts. I always appreciate that. He washes down the remnants with warm root beer. I swear to god I can't figure out how he's even alive. He's a walking testament to the body's amazing ability to survive. Maybe he's secretly part of a documentary or scientific study on eating habits or something.

2:01 The Voice snaps at Tweedledee because she "didn't UNDERSTAND the QUESTION." She then walks off, and Tweedledee reasks the question, but he isn't looking at her. After waiting for an answer, he looks up and sees she's gone. He then mutters in a sarcastic voice, "So did you write it down on a white slip? That would be just great." Maybe The Voice is in a bad mood because her baby doll shirt is squeezing her too tight. How is she able to breathe right now?

3:12 I send my first chat of the day. Normally I'm on chat 1,482 by now. Annie and Hermione are bad influences.

3:14 I'm taking the next four days off from working out. No CrossFit, no Fight Club. This will be torture, and I might get very cranky, but my body is thrashed and I need the break. I'll just do some short, low intensity swims and yoga, but that's it. This week is devoted to rest! Harry Potter book No. 5, here I come!

3:48 Slim is openly typing a cover letter for another job. I may slack occasionally, but brazenly trying to get another job on company time takes some serious balls. I think Slim would definitely make Stephen Colbert's Alpha Dog segment.

3:55 Is it weird that for my birthday my ex-wife bought me Season Two of the Office, a sweet Office shirt, and the movie we watched on our first date? It feels weird. Of course, it's probably also weird that we still live together. Whatever. Reason 19,546 why I need to get the bleep out of here.

4:14 Day 1 covering for Annie, and I'm already about to kill myself. I have no idea how Annie and Reba do their jobs. The people are insufferable. If I had to do it full time, I'm sure I'd get fired because, "Piss off, no one cares" is probably not the proper response to callers.

4:15 I take it all back. Covering for Annie rules! Where else could you possibly get such unbelievably funny e-mails. Did you know that August 2 is the most celebrated holiday of.... condiment lovers? Well it is. It's almost time to commemorate the 17th Annul National Mustard Day! Oh my god, there is an actual Mount Horeb Mustard Museum. Yeah, the curator's name is Barry Levenson, and he manages the world's largest collection of mustards and mustard memorabilia. If I were dictator, my first act would be to force everyone who willingly visited that museum to kill themselves. A lot of nerds who had no chance of ever having sex would die that day. Wait, unless mustard nerds hook up. Hey, baby, want some Grey Poupon on that? Ewww.....

4:21 http://www.mustardweb.com/ Of course, the museum is in Wisconsin.

4:24 No way. There is a women's T-Shirt that says, "So much mustard, so little time." No way these people procreate. Speaking of cool shirts, I saw one the other day that said, "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Touch me and your first lesson is free."

4:26 That's it. I demand a Poupon University toilet seat cover. Just $28 and they promise that one look will make your constipation woes vanish. No, I'm not constipated. Shut it. I will also settle for my Poupon U Diploma, which, according to the Web site, will make me the envy of my cell block.

4:33 In what has been hailed the "Olympics of Cheese," Sid Cook's Snow White Goat Cheddar has won best in show. Enjoy this victory, Sid. Reaching the pinnacle of cheese can't be an easy climb. We, the regular folk, salute you.


8-1

8:58 Reba just asked a classified ad rat if she was the guy who helped someone with a garage sale ad. Hahaha.

9:00 I'm desperately awaiting Hermione's text that says "Earl." This is code for "I killed The Tool, and I need you to come help me bury his body." We worked this out yesterday because they are spending today together at the cherry orchards. I also have to show up with a Dixie Chicks CD so we can listen to that Earl song while we dig his grave. My cell phone won't leave my sight today.

9:52 I just played my game. As always, I won. By a lot.

10:11 Did you know that this month starts the beginning of the 2012 Beijing Olympics? Well it is, according to Colorado Runner. Hey, they were only off by four years. PS – I saw this while snooping through Annie's e-mail.

2:41 So there's been this daddy long legs spider on the ceiling over Slim and Reba's computers. It hasn't moved. I'm very impressed with it's standing still abilities. Sucker must be on a lot of Ritalin.

3:04 Sweet. I found a site that sells "Stop Chemtrails" buttons. And T-Shirts. Prof. Snape will be very excited.

3:55 Spider update: no movement. Wait, that sounds strangely like an update on Einstein's brain cells.