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us·er pool [yü-zer pül] 

In the world of technology, a User is someone who uses a computer. More specifically, it's someone who asks stupid questions about the use of that computer.

In the context of this blog, a Pool refers to an available supply, the use of which is shared by a group.

At one of the largest entertainment companies in Los Angeles, my job is to provide technical direction and support to these users, many of whom are female. That's where things get a little messy...

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Entries in HR (4)


7 Plagues for Human Resources

Last week was the last straw for Human Resources. First they made me take down the "666" office number I had put up, and now they won't approve me putting "Antichrist" on my business cards. How ridiculous. 

Other run-ins with HR, just to cite a few more examples: 

So I decided last week to take action and punish HR with 7 plagues. 

1. The Fuck Virus: I had my programmer Maharajapuram create an Outlook virus that converts "Thank" to "Fuck" and "Thanks" to "Fuck you" with the auto correct function. Then Gladstone had one of his desktop support analysts install it on specific HR computers.  

There were some good emails that slipped out from HR on Tuesday.  

  • I'd like to fuck the person responsible for...
  • Fuck you very much...
  • We just want to fuck all the employees... 
  • And of course, the company-wide email closing with: Fuck you all, from Human Resources

Once they figured it out, Gladstone told them that it was a known virus you can get if you open an email with subject line "Donkey Show." Why would you open something like that? he asked, appalled. They denied it vehemently.

2. The Donkey Show Video Virus: Gladstone's desktop analyst also installed another Maharajapuram Outlook virus to ignite one day later. This virus spams all company contacts with an email containing a Tijuana donkey show video. Gladstone went back to HR and said, Why would you open another email with the subject line "Donkey Show Video" after what happened the day before??

3. Chicken Shit: Did you know you can buy live chickens in Chinatown? HR came into work on Thursday and found chicken shit everywhere. Computers, desks, chairs. Everywhere. Oh, and some chickens. Oddly, the security camera didn't record anything that night. But there was a message left on the wall written in chicken blood (or tomato paste. One of the two). It read: "Alcada was here." Pangbourn, the executive sponsor of the Emergency Response Team was informed immediately and now the building is on 24/7 terrorist alert.

4.  Locusts (sort of): Did you know that you can buy 250 live crickets from a novelty store? Kessler and I unleashed them in HR's area Friday night. Oddly, the security camera won't record anything again. They can pretty much chalk this one up to something supernatural and most likely satanic. 

Although these plagues were obviously caused by malicious hackers, terrorists, and potentially Satan himself, once I'm through with them, I'm hoping HR will require that I put "Antichrist" on my business cards.

I need three more plagues for HR for this week. I welcome any suggestions you may have...


A Wiener from Fucking Austria


Triplet called me down to HR again today because I hired a Wiener from Fucking Austria.

I hired a project manager for one of the more critical projects and he just happens to be Guenther Wiener from Fucking Austria. He was the most qualified candidate for the position. How can I possibly get into trouble for that?

Once again, I found myself sitting across the desk from Triplet, the VP of HR, as she looked at me with deep disappointment in her eyes.

"I understand you're calling your new PM inappropriate names," she said.

"Like what?" I asked.

She referenced something on her notepad and said: "For instance... 'Wiener'."

"Well," I said, "That's because he is a Wiener."

Triplet did not like my answer. Her look brought me back to high school. Same look I always used to get from the principal...

"From what I'm told, his name is Guenther," she said.

"I know," I said. "And he's a Wiener."

"He is not," she argued.

"He's a Wiener through and through, trust me," I said. "He was born a Wiener and he'll die a Wiener."

"If you don't like him, why did you hire him," she snapped.

"Who said I don't like him?" I asked, surprised. "He's a very likeable Wiener."

This frustrated Triplet greatly. She was determined to punish me for this one.

"I also understand..." She said, as she again referenced the notepad. "You've been referring to his country of origin in a derrogatory way."

"How so?" I asked. "He's from Fucking Austria."

Her eyes bulged and she raised her finger and made it nod several times as if I'd just validated the accusation.

"You cannot refer to his country that way," she said.

"It's just Fucking Austria. What's the big deal?" I asked.

"There's nothing wrong with Austria," she said.

"And I like Fucking, too," I said.

She gave me a funny look.

"What?" she asked.

"He showed me pictures of Fucking."

Again, she hesitated.

"What kind of pictures?"

"Fucking pictures."

Triplet suddenly seemed deeply troubled by what I was saying.

"Who was in the pictures?" she asked.

"He and his sister," I said. "Oh, and his dog. Fucking in the background."

Triplet finally agreed that Guenther was in fact a Wiener--but a perverted Wiener, for some reason. She told me to instruct Guenther to never show his Fucking pictures to anyone at work again if he wanted to continue to be employed by this company.

You can always count on HR to set things straight.


Sexual Harassment Training

Did you know: dirty jokes, language and actions of a sexual nature, and asking a coworker out repeatedly after  they've said no repeatedly should not be construed as sexual harassment?

Oh wait. I got that one wrong on my quiz.

I had to attend Sexual Harassment Training today at the office. It was a 4 hour course taught by Triplet, my very favorite VP of HR.

I took a quick glance around the room and saw at least three woman who had pressured me into having sex with them or at least got me so drunk I lost my sense of good judgment. I feel so ashamed that I've slept with co-workers.

Triplet first asked if anyone knew what "Quid Pro Quo" meant.

I quickly raised my hand and said: It has something to do with fish. 

She said: You're thinking "Squid" not "Quid".

I said: Actually, I was thinking Walleyed Pike. 

While Triplet initially encouraged participation from the group, she quickly discouraged participation from me. When I insisted on participating in the role play activity, she finally agreed but only if I played the victim.

Triplet stated as a disclaimer that this would be role-play only and that nobody should be offended by what we were about to pretend to do.

Even so, in order to prevent the participants from feeling like the role-play could actually turn into real harassment, Triplet chose a man to be the harasser. But in order to prevent the participants from feeling like the role-play could actually turn into real homosexual harassment, Triplet instructed me to play the victim as a woman. 

She had Plotkin play the harasser.

Plotkin by nature could never harass anyone and I by nature could never feel harassed. So while Plotkin failed to harass me, I failed to be a victim. And while Plotkin failed to offend me, I managed to offend Plotkin. In fact, since this was just role-play, I decided to be as offensive as possible.

By the time role-play was over, I had pretty much offended everyone in the class which is why Triplet decided to dismiss class early. She tried to reprimand me but I stated I was protected by the writ of habeas corpus, another Latin phrase that means role-play is not real and therefore cannot be construed as offensive. 

I asked if I passed the class, but she has yet to respond.


Stealing from the Company

HR accused me of stealing from the company today. 

I think Triplet, the VP of HR, now believes she is Kyra Sedgwick, star of "The Closer".

Triplet sent me a message this morning informing me that very serious accusations have been brought against me and that we would need to meet and discuss at 5:00 p.m. today.

This is how she thinks she'll make me sweat.

I responded by saying: I can't make it at that time. But I'm free at 4:00.

I'm sure this infuriated her. She did not want to lose her strength of position by letting me set the time, so she informed me that I would have to accommodate her request.

I told her that she would have to take it up with Smithee, my boss, who has scheduled a budget meeting with me at that time.

She then sent a message to Smithee explaining to him the situation and how critical it was to meet with me at 5:00 today.   

Smithee responded.

Kyra met with me at 4:00 today.

We sat in the small HR conference room which coincidentally resembles an interrogation room. She sat across from me with an unopened Diet Dr. Pepper on the table in front of her. She stared at me without saying a word.

This is how she thinks she'll make me nervous.

"What am I doing here?" I finally ask.

After a dramatic Kyra pause, Triplet says: "Does this can of Diet Dr. Pepper look familiar?"

I examine it closely. "This particular can does not look familiar. However, I have consumed similar cans of Diet Dr. Pepper."

"Yes, I know," she said. "In fact, you've been seen leaving the building after work with an unopened can of Diet Dr. Pepper on multiple occasions."

I stared at her for a moment in disbelief. It's usually no surprise when I get called to HR. For example, I fully expected Triplet to call me in because I told someone Aho made fun of Mai Ding. I knew HR would call when it appeared Smithee had been murdered. I knew I would be sent to HR when I burned to death in the pretend fire during the fire drill. I expected trouble when I sold candy bars and cookies to compete with kids whose parent's work here.

This one was a surprise.

"Are you saying that if I walk out of the building with a can of Diet Dr. Pepper that got from a company fridge--I'm stealing from the company?"

"Let me clarify," she said. "You are stealing from the company if you walk out of the building with an unopened can of Diet Dr. Pepper that you got from a company fridge."

I just stared at her.

She explained further: "It's no different than the use of company office equipment. You can use a company pen on company property, but when you put it in your pocket and walk out of the building, technically, you've stolen from the company. Consumables are slightly different in that once you've initiated consumption, the product is fully depreciated and it becomes your property no matter where you are. Which is why it's not considered stealing if you leave the building with an opened can of Diet Dr. Pepper. I mean, who's going to drink it after you've opened it, right?"

There was a moment during her explanation that I thought I wouldn't have a response. But magically, as soon as she finished, I blurted out:

"What if I licked it?"

"What?" she asked with that familiar repulsive look on her face that indicates, I don't know where you're going with this but I know you're going to somehow make it make sense and win again.

"What if I licked it before I left the building?" I asked. "Who would want to drink it if I licked the top, right?"

She sighed. "Why would you lick the top?"

"It's personal," I said. "Can I go now?"

In her Kyra best effort, Triplet tried working multiple angles to discredit my lick the top of the can defense, but she fell short every time.

I was curious to know who turned me in, but she wouldn't expose the witness. Someone's out to get me. I'm feeling paranoid again...