Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lab Rats and Other Breakfast Ideas

All-righty then. Well, this morning, Princess Pissant finds herself in the rare and enviable position of NOT having any contract hanging over her head. Workaholic that she is, Princess Pissant nonetheless has arrived at the Office, where she joins several of her office-mates in the state of sanctioned idleness and official unemployment.

All the more reason to splurge on a specialty coffee drink – Pumpkin Chai latte – and gourmet breakfast sandwich – one of those upscale McMuffin thingies. (By way of background, for those new to PrincessPissant-AnotherDayattheOffice, the Office is actually a Starbucks.)

Anyway, Princess Pissant is not one to let the grass grow long under her feet; without any contract to hang over her head hovering on the horizon, she’s been perusing online employment resources.

Basically, I registered at the local university to receive email notifications when a position suiting my background and qualifications becomes available. Here’s what I’ve got so far this morning:

Animal technician: Responsible for the care and welfare of laboratory animals used in medical and dental research. While the AT will occasionally have direct involvement in experimental work, daily tasks pertain to the routine and essential care and welfare of the animals, such as: cleaning cages, pens, trays, equipment and fittings; feeding and watering animals; handling and moving animals safely; administering medicines; checking the environment (for example, temperature and humidity); monitoring the condition of animals and recognizing and resolving any behavioral problems; obtaining samples and measurements; collecting and recording data; ensuring animals are kept clean and comfortable. Depending on level of experience, the AT may help breed animals especially for use in research; monitor pregnancies; care for newborn animals and measure weight gain and growth. Some understanding of the science supporting individual studies is required in such cases.

Okay, so let me start with six simple words, at least two of which WERE included in my online application: English Major. Deathly Afraid of Rats.

Now, here’s where Princess Pissant’s father might step in to remind her about how he TOLD her that the only jobs available to English majors would be waitressing, panhandling and/or tending to lab rats, and that she SHOULD have studied computer science. Well, before you go patting yourself on the back for your wisdom and foresight, Dad, check out the other job notification that this seemingly unemployable English major received today:

Senior Program Coordinator II: Will design, develop, test, optimize, maintain, monitor, and back up the web-based databases for the GI and Immunology research process management system for research clinical trials. The SPC II will also design and develop user interface for data manipulation, and act as software developer for a web-based research management system to enable electronic submission, tracking, and review of scientific, regulatory and compliance information.

I can’t really figure out how to submit my application for this position online – keep getting pesky error messages – but once I do, I am totally throwing my hat in that ring. Who knew there were so many positions that would be deemed well-suited to me? And while I have no idea what anything in that job description means, it sounds – to the laywoman’s ears – like it’s got to be well-paid. I mean that is a shit-load of responsibility.

Of course, if I were to get a real job, that would severely cut down on my time here at the Office. I guess then I’d be one of the drive-thru folk, and just wave a friendly how-do-you-do? each morning to my former colleagues like FSGA (Former Secret Government Agency) guy and TMABITW (The Most Awesome Barista in the World).

Not only would that be a shame, since I’m still just settling in here, but it would mean a premature death to this awesome blog. And, little by little, I’ve been researching how to make PP-ADATO even more popular and successful than it already is.

So the word on the cyber sphere is that to be a successful blogger, you’ve got to follow OTHER blogs. I know: WTF?, right? Like I’ve got that kind of time?

But I get it . . . sort of a let’s-all-support-one-another, Kumbaya spirit type thing. I’m cool with that. And while I am not NATURALLY a team player, by any stretch of the imagination, I at least can pretend to be . . . if it’s going to increase readership of my blog.

One of my friends recently asked me, “Um, and what’s your purpose in doing this . . . blog thing?”

Well, to begin with, I read this New Yorker article about this woman called Pioneer Woman, who blogs about her life as a cattle rancher’s wife and stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) who home schools her four kids. Admittedly, my first thought was: BO-ring! But the article went on to explain how this broad has a HUGE following, and has been on Oprah and The View, and landed book deals, and thousands of followers converged on New York City when Pioneer Woman came East for a book tour, and they all threw their panties at her, and basically she’s made gazillions of dollars from blogging about her boring-ass life in the middle of nowhere.

And I thought: if Pioneer Woman can do it, why can’t I?

Well, maybe I should’ve have looked before I leaped. I finally had a chance to check out Pioneer Woman’s blog over the weekend, and, well, I have to say, it’s a little more sophisticated than I had imagined. To begin with, her photos are nothing short of amazing, and they make Princess Pissant’s efforts with the hipsta-thingamagiggy on her iPhone look, quite frankly, amateurish.

What’s more, Pioneer Woman has this brilliant gimmick whereby she peppers her blog with gourmet recipes that are, at one and the same time, inspirational and intimidating: Make Ahead Muffin Melts, Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Preserves, Molten Chocolate Lava Cake. (I am not making this shit up.) Each recipe is accompanied by a very professional-looking picture of whatever delectable dish.

I’ll be the first to admit: it’s hard not to hate Pioneer Woman. But that’s the point. People not only don’t hate her; they LOVE her. And they LOVE her blog.

Herein lies the difference, I think, and it’s something to consider as I plow ahead with PP-ADATO. Pioneer Woman represents an ideal to which ordinary women can aspire, while Princess Pissant (probably) represents a low to which ordinary women hope they never sink? But isn’t there room – and a purpose – in the blogosphere for both of us?

I’ll let you, my current and future followers, be the judge.

For the meantime, I am going to follow the lead – if not aim for the standard – of Pioneer Woman and include a few recipes of my own. Here’s what my kids had for breakfast.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ashton Kutcher and Other Unlikely Heroes

So, before we begin, a couple of admin items:

1) There are 2 persons following Princess Pissant on Twitter.

And before you go asking yourself, Who gives a shit?, as you’re probably doing right now, let me clarify: the two persons following Princess Pissant on Twitter are – in at least fifty percent of the cases – different individuals than those who’ve signed up to follow her blog.

So, yes, while officially this means that Princess Pissant has only 1 new follower – and, indeed, 2 is a far cry from the 5,000,002 people who follow Ashton Kutcher on Twitter – it is a start.

What’s more, the mere fact that I’ve mentioned Ashton Kutcher here suggests that Princess Pissant’s popularity is likely to soar by the end of the day. Now, whenever anyone Googles “Ashton Kutcher,” PrincessPissant-AnotherDayattheOffice is sure to pop up, right? Which brings me to admin point 2:

2) Princess Pissant is not what you might call “social media savvy,” and so she has no earthly clue what it means that 2 people are following her on Twitter.

I am picturing these two guys just sitting around all day, waiting for me to tweet. When the truth is: Princess Pissant doesn’t know how to tweet.

As soon as I pick up KN2 (Kid Number 2) from the Little Darlings Learning Center, in about an hour, I’m going to ask him about it. KN2, and even more so HOB (His Older Brother), know all that kind of stuff. HOB is able to communicate with online computer hackers and pedophiles from as far away as China on his little DS-thingie, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it because only he knows how to configure the settings and input the passwords to implement those so-called Parental Controls.

Anyway, enough about me and those guys. There’s someone to whom I’d like to pay tribute today, while I’m here at the Office doing some work on that new contract I’ve got hanging over my head. And that is, drum roll please . . . TMABITW!

Can anyone guess who TMABITW is?

You got it – The Most Awesome Barista in the World!

And just how did TMABITW earn that equally as awesome moniker, you ask? Well let me tell you a little story:

Believe it or not, Princess Pissant was at the Office for a large part of last weekend. The “weekend warriors,” for lack of a better term, are a whole different breed than the regular Monday-Friday folk. (BTW, for readers new to PP-ADATO: the Office is, in fact, a Starbucks.)

No, these guys – and a few gals, like Princess Pissant herself – who, for whatever pathetic reason are forced to come to Starbucks with their laptops, on the first football Sunday of the season, and work . . . Well, they are some bitter-ass soldiers.

I mean . . . ANGRY.

No exchange of pleasantries among co-workers; no joshing by the pastry stand or while waiting (interminably, yes maybe) for a –chino drink to materialize; not even any empathetic eye contact that might suggest, Yeah, it sucks to work over the weekend but at least we’re all in this together.

Well, you can only imagine the reaction of these dickheads when (insert ominous sound effect here): the Internet went down!!!

It started out with exasperated sighs; the throwing up of arms; and then furtive angry whispers among the previously non-communicative worker bees: Do you have Internet? No? Me either? WTF? It was down yesterday too . . .

This buzz of outrage grew and grew, into a collective deafening roar; and just then TMABITW – with his big friendly smile and adorable little green apron – appeared to say: What Was The Matter?

I thought the mob was going to descend upon TMABITW right then and there, and rip him apart limb by limb. It was like something out of the Salem Witch Trials or Gladiator or maybe Braveheart. Where the heck is FSGA (Former Secret Government Agency) guy when you need him?! , I thought.

(Of course, FSGA guy wasn’t there on a Sunday. He’s nobody’s fool.)

Okay, so the situation was turning UGLY, fast. People were screaming at TMABITW and shaking their fists, and some even threatening to go to McDonalds for the free Wi-Fi over there.

And instead of shouting back at them, as I might have – Go ahead, you ungrateful cheapskates! Get outta here, the whole lot of you, with your stupid laptops and your power cords that anyone can trip over and your three-dollar cups of coffee that you nurse for nine freaking hours every G.D. day . . . GET THE F. OUT! – TMABITW remained perfectly composed.

He held up his hands and patted the air – in the manner of Martin Luther King Junior or Gandhi – to calm the crowd. Then, in a clear and compelling voice, TMABITW addressed the crowd: Let me see what I can do.

That’ll be the last we see of him, grumbled the grump from the table behind me.

I’m going to Panera, sniped some other jerk, angrily shoving a stack of charts and graphs into his briefcase.

But in fact it wasn’t the last we would see of TMABITW.

TMABITW was back, mere moments later, with a tray of biscotti, demitasses of espresso, and a few Perriers for those who seemed like they might overheat.

He circulated among the group, offering refreshments as he spoke: I just want you all to know that you will have Internet back shortly. The situation is being monitored by Seattle. If it can’t be resolved within the next fifteen minutes, we’ll be calling in a specialist from AT&T.

Being monitored by Seattle?! Are you kidding me?

TMABITW had called in the big guns. Entirely on our behalf. I pictured the CIO of Starbucks, whoever that is, being roused from his bed on a Sunday morning, or hauled out of church. All for us. And all because of TMABITW.

Now that’s what I call not just service, but dedication.

And can I tell you something else? Not a single person offered a word of gratitude. (Full disclosure: not even Princess Pissant, who was helping herself to a second or third free biscotti.)

But I want to thank you, here and now, TMABITW, and to let you know that what you did and what you stand for did not go unnoticed, at least by one person.

Furthermore, the way things are going for Princess Pissant, by the end of the day, EVERYONE, including Ashton Freakin’ Kutcher, is going to know about you.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Princess Pissant is hopping mad. 

Before I get to explaining the source of Princess Pissant’s ire, let me add that Princess Pissant is also eternally grateful.  Why, you ask?

Well, if you’re reading this, you probably are aware that there was a bit of a hiatus in Princess Pissant’s productivity.  (I totally own that.)  The reasons are manifold, and not worth going into, although it’s likely that I will . . . but the point – and that for which Princess Pissant is eternally grateful – is that the absence of Another Day at the Office on the blogosphere did not – as everyone close (or, shall we say, related) to Princess Pissant predicted – go unnoticed. 

No!  More than one person – two to be precise, if you’re a numbers person – actually cyber-approached Princess Pissant, and inquired as to when Another Day at the Office would reappear.  Yeah, that’s right: Princess Pissant has fans.  (Plural.)

And, not that I’m counting, but let’s just say her followers have tripled in a little less than two weeks.

So thank you, both of you, for your support . . . and your patience.  And I am happy to report that your wait is over.  Princess Pissant is back, and with two whole hours left before she has to pick up KN2 (Kid Number Two) at the Little Darlings Learning Center, she’s here, checking in at the Office.

Which brings me back to why I am so freaking P.O.’ed.  Probably some of you remember that the East Coast was hit about a week ago by a formidable hurricane.  Irene.

Well, suffice it to say: Irene did not work out at all the way Princess Pissant had hoped.

No, this epic hurricane achieved nothing, absolutely nothing, to my advantage.  The thing is: I was totally counting on losing electrical power . . . for hours at least, if not days.

You might also remember that I had a certain contract hanging over my head; and that, somehow, in spite of spending day-in and day-out here at the Office, I’d accomplished relatively little toward that end.  The deadline for presentation of my work was to occur on the heels of hurricane Irene.

Widespread loss of electrical power was to have been my saving grace.  Surely there would be no way to put the finishing touches (or even the initial touches) on that pesky PowerPoint, and hence, no way to present it to the clients.  I’m no techie, but I do know one thing: electricity is required to power your average laptop computer for more than a few hours.

So the night that Hurricane Irene was to make landfall, I was pretty chilled out.  By mid-afternoon, I’d tied up the outdoor furniture; stocked the cupboards with all kinds of crap that normally I would never let KN2 or HOB (His Older Brother) eat; and even replaced the batteries in the one flashlight we’d been able to locate – a little blue souvenir-ie thing from Ellen and Brad’s wedding that, in the event of a blackout, could illuminate one square inch of surface area.

What’s more, MHTP (my husband the photographer) had performed some kind of triage – involving a blue tarp and bricks – on the leaky roof, so that by the time the torrential downpour hit, a big puddle of water no longer formed on the kitchen counter exactly where we charge our iPhones.  Puddles did form elsewhere on the kitchen counter, and also on the kitchen floor, but our iPhones were not charging in those places.

I had planned to keep my iPhone fully charged until the moment of widespread electrical power loss, at which point I would use it to call the client, and calmly explain that we had no power, and probably wouldn’t for the foreseeable future, and that I’d need an extension.  Actually, I was going to come up with a better way to put it.  You don’t need to remind me, as some unnamed relatives have, that “asking for an extension” is frowned upon in the professional world, where you get paid to perform your work, in some prescribed amount of time.

But I never made that call anyway because, turns out, every home and business within a 60-mile-radius did lose power, except for mine . . . and that of the client.

So really the hurricane came and went and there were no excuses.  I still had that damn contract hanging over my head.  And what’s worse: all the kids were out of school.  That’s right, the entire school system shut down . . . for days.  So whereas normally I’d be putting in my time here at the Office, instead I was home – trying to come up with crafty activities to engage KN2 and HOB who really would rather spend their leisure time terrorizing each other and the dog.

To make matters worse:  HOB, the day after the hurricane, was invited to a joint birthday party (two of his closest friends) that had been billed (on the Evite) as having some sort of “naturalist” theme.  I imagined there would be a visiting biologist or ecologist or archaeologist or any sort of “- ologist” who would acquaint HOB and his fellow otherwise self-serving little savages with some kind of do-gooder philosophy.  The mothers hosting the party are neighbors and good friends of mine, and I remember marveling at their creativity in coming up with such an educational, and yet fun!, theme for a 7-year-old boys’ birthday party.

Well, when I went to pick up HOB from the party, I found him and the dozen-or-so other invitees running amuck, several whooping what sounded like Native American battle cries – IYEYEYEYA – and others keening some kind of coyote yowl, and all of them – to a little six or seven-year-old person – fully armed.  Turns out, the visiting naturalist was not a do-gooder by any stretch of the imagination, but rather some guy who taught them all how to construct deadly weapons out of common household items.

So: not only were all the neighborhood boys out of school, and therefore completely idle, suddenly they were equipped with bows, arrows, something called “blow darts,” and basically: entire arsenals of lethal hardware.  It made walking the dog dangerous and difficult.

And it goes without saying that it made attending to that contract all the more cumbersome and fruitless.  Which brings me back to my original train of thought, and the reason I am so damn angry. 

Well, the first place to regain power after the hurricane was none other than here – the Office.  (For new readers, the Office is, in fact, a Starbucks.)  Not only was the Office one of the few places around town with power; as a result, it was featured – with an accompanying photograph no less – in the local paper.  If I squinted hard enough at the picture, I could actually make out my coffeeshop “colleague” FSGA (Former Secret Government Agency) guy in the background.  I can only imagine what that unnecessary exposure meant for his “cover.”  Meanwhile, I think the headline was: Area’s Powerless Flock to Local Starbucks.  (That subtly slighting title was an added irritant.)

In short, the whole thing pissed me off.

Our hidden gem – this aesthetic and soothing Office, shared by me and my various co-workers to whom I’ve referred in previous blog entries – is now, well basically, America’s worst kept secret.  And on a rainy day like today – even with power having been restored to most of the outlying communities – the Office is utterly jam-packed.  It goes without saying that I was not able to get my coveted spot in the corner.

What’s more: the new folk appear to be severely lacking in any kind of Office etiquette or decorum.  They’re a bunch of slackers, forever socializing and loud-mouthing to one another, as if the rest of us don’t have very important things to do. 

Like that new contract that I’ve got hanging over my head.

Oh yeah, by now, you’re probably wondering: just how did she make out with that other thing?  The presentation.  Was she able to pull it off, in spite of the many obstacles placed in her path?

Well, I gotta tell you – and this is why Princess Pissant is an eternal optimist – in the end, it wasn’t all that bad.  Notwithstanding that one crazy lady ranting (rather rudely, if you ask me) about the irrelevance of my presentation, about halfway through, I have to say that, in general, the fruits of my labor were surprisingly – MHTP might even say, shockingly – well-received.  If I do say so myself, Princess Pissant came out – if not entirely smelling like roses – at least not completely disgraced.

But I won’t say that it wasn’t “nip and tuck” there for a while.  And I’m certainly not going to make the same mistake twice.  Nope, today, right away in fact, as soon as I sign off here, I am going to get cracking on that new contract. 

Only problem is: what with all the riff-raff here at the Office, I can hardly hear myself think.