MonthNovember 2008

no strings attached: bullshit

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9


“Harry, I had no idea!”

“Sure you didn’t.”

“That’s uncalled for! I’m trying to look out for you.”

“Yeah? You did a great job of that in the meeting.”

“You’re unbelievable. You can’t keep pointing fingers at everyone else. God dammit Harry, you need to step up and take responsibility for your actions and your inaction. I’ve been doing a lot of damage control for you.”

“Great good that did.”

“What’s your problem, Harry? Do you even realize the trouble you’ve got yourself into? You realize you’re out of a job now?”

“Look, I never asked for your help and sure as hell didn’t ask for your pity.”

“You know what? This is bullshit. Fuck you, Harry!”

“Whatever.”

Samantha storms out of the room. The door receives no mercy from her as it closes with a resounding thud. She pays no attention to John, who is walking toward the meeting room with a box full Harry’s personal belongings, as she walks right past him.

“This is all your stuff. All the stuff I could find,” John muddles around with the contents of the box. “Give me a call if you think I missed anything.”

Harry responds with nothing but a nod.

“Come on Harry, it’s time to go.”

no strings attached: the meeting

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9


This is one of the smaller meeting rooms in this building. By the looks of it this meeting will be a short one. It’s always hard to tell.

“Harry, I don’t want to beat around the bush and get straight to the point,” says Simon Steeples, the Senior VP of Operations. He’s joined by two other high ranking VPs. Having found Harry, Samantha is also in the room.

“Does that mean you want to get straight to the point or you don’t want to get straight to the point?” you would expect Harry to ask a question like this, and he does.

“I… what?… no…” stumbles Simon, “I want to get straight to the point.”

“Then why haven’t you already?”

“Okay Harry, we’re letting you go.”

A numb like silence overtakes the room. Harry, perplexed, looks over at Samantha.

“Harry, I didn’t know,” she says, shaking her head from side to side. “Simon, at a time like this? You know we could really use Harry.”

“No, we could use to lose him. I assure you that. The decision is final. It’s done,” Simon turns to Harry, “Harry, someone is cleaning out your office right now. Stay right there, they’ll bring over your stuff and escort you out.”

“I know my way out,” says Harry, his hands made into fists supporting his forehead.

“Even so, goodbye.”

The VPs leave the room. The door closes smoothly. The room feels just a little smaller.

oh no, I have people skills. I just don’t like using them.

triumph over hope: colour blind

There is this blinding explosion of red.

I watch the spectrum of infinite colour, flung far across the black holes of the universe come together and converge in space and time right before me. Right before my very existence. And in this moment I wonder how I could have ever despaired of the madness, if this is its gift and my reward.

I would forever gladly endure their presence, I would plead and scream and beg that they continue their torment if it meant I would come to know this again. Colour sears through me, and I’ve waited for this anguish for far too long.

I mean it. I mean it. I meant it. I’ll endure anything, everything. They hope to share in the madness of my mind, never quite realising that they are already a part of it.

Agonising blood torment crimson searing white blinding —

And as suddenly as it came, it’s gone. I’m left here blind again.

contributed by: Nadia Khan

if you had nothing, what would you need?

no strings attached: last night

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9


I’m outside. I hear the bell ring. I did not press it and I am in front of it. How is that even possible? I open the door. Smoke flows out of the house, I can’t see anything inside. There is too much smoke. Against my better judgement I step inside.

I know only from the sounds that chains are falling all around the house. Are they meant to fall on me? Why am I here? What am I looking for? I must find it.

If I was looking for something, where would I go? The furnace, or maybe the attic. I have to choose one. I feel like time is running out. I have to hurry. The attic.

This rotating staircase, the stairs never seem to end. I can barely see anything. Have I been here before? Do I know this house? Do I know these rooms?

The room to the left. I can access the attic from there. I have to be careful. There is no floor board here. I’m here. What am I looking for?

Oh shit! I’m hit. What the hell is this? Hell, I forgot about the chains.

I’m falling.

I can’t do anything. I can’t hold anything. The weight of the chains… I can barely breathe.

I’m falling.

I’m falling.

I’m falling.

 

Breathe! It’s just a dream. It’s nothing. Sometimes you fly and sometimes you fall. It’s just a dream.

all our words

if all your words were in a <div>
i would style them with <em>phasis
i would take even the weak points
and mark them <strong>
i would put them all front and centre
with {margin: 0px auto;}
and i would put around them
a blue dashed border with a width of one
though if all my words were in a <div>
i would style them with {display: none;}

revenge is a dish best served cold, cut into thin bland slices, with heated ketchup.

no strings attached: lost and found

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9


She looks right and then left as soon as she steps out of the office building. Out of the corner of her eye she spots smoke. She knows she has found him.

“I’ve been looking for you all over the place, where have you been?” exasperated, she catches her breath.

“Here,” he says nonchalantly.

“Smoking will kill you and it gives you bad breath,” she knows her advice is unsolicited and will probably be ignored.

“Okay, thanks for the unsolicited advice.”

“Fine, at the very least don’t throw the butt on the ground. It’s disgusting enough that you smoke. Throw it in a garbage bin.”

“Okay.”

“You have to stop hiding.”

“I’m not hiding. I’m just taking a break.”

“You’re late for the meeting, they’re waiting for you. You can’t just disappear, you have to stop hiding. Are you listening to me?” she notices that he’s drifting away.

He takes a big puff and lets out a rush of smoke.

“Come on, we can’t keep them waiting for too long,” she turns around and starts to walk towards the building.

He takes his last puff, flicks the cigarette butt onto the road and follows behind her.

problem –> solution

A lot of management folk I’ve dealt with have brought this up enough times that it’s worth talking about. I cannot stress how wrong this is, but I will try.

The idea is that if you bring up or voice a problem that you must also present a solution.

Any managers that say this or propagate this are practising weak management. They are not doing their job properly.

There are many reasons for this. Most important of all is that organizations that truly excel and improve have a policy of transparency and brutal honesty. Problems and concerns within an organization must traverse the entire management food chain.

In my opinion, bringing up a problem is the most crucial part, regardless of whether you propose a solution or not. Problems equal opportunity, and that opportunity ought to be shared amongst the team/organization. To assume that the person who finds the problem will be the best to solve it is foolish. Having the “no problems without solutions” policy leads to people bottling up problems until they’re able to draw out a solution. This leads to a collection of problems that should have been addressed a long time ago. You cannot afford to have people afraid to voice problems and in general their opinions.

Bringing up problems provides everyone a chance to collaboratively find solutions. Delaying problems simply magnifies them in the future.

The idea is not to create an environment where people are whining, no. The idea is to foster an environment where people are free to voice problems, and collectively discuss and solve them. So as a manager when you tell your team that they shouldn’t voice problems without solutions. You’re failing them. You don’t know what you don’t know, it’s okay to accept that.

mark my words

I’m trying my darnedest at school not to be sucked in by grading systems. Marks are wrong. The system by which we are graded is extremely flawed. I’m not saying I know a better way. I do not. I simply see what we have currently as flawed.

It’s not conducive to the process of learning at all. Not to mention how the competitive nature of the ranking process often discourages creative collaboration.

In one of the classes a girl was asking a series of questions to see if her approach to the a problem was correct. Her last question was, “But I won’t get a zero will I?”. This highlights the problem with marks. Students are tailoring the way they think and approach problems so that they achieve the highest grades. This, as opposed to thinking about ways to best solve the problem.

In fact, students will often only do assignments because they will be graded on them. Marks become a reason for getting students to do things or else they wouldn’t be interested in doing anything. The grading systems we have are poor substitutes for proper teaching techniques. Grading schemes allow teachers to be lazy in the way they structure the “learning” process. They don’t have to make lessons involving or interesting. They simply need to attach a value by way of marks.

Clearly the system is broken.

More on this later.

I think night school is a brilliant concept, if you have nothing to do during the day.

the moment was full of awe, not to be confused with: an awful moment.

you’re back on the air

You know when you think something is totally gone or lost, and you won’t get it back and then stuff happens behind the scenes unbeknownst to you and you’re able to get it back.

It’s kinda nice when that happens.

the glass is fully empty.

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