Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Yes, it's been a while. Too long. And I'm FUCKING ANNOYED.

I swear to God, HR is going to cause me to lose my job.
We received an order from CA to pay a penalty due to late payment of wages.  HR received it, ran it thru our attorney, then her boss, who sent it to my boss.  My boss sent it to me with directions for mailing.  The order said no payroll deductions should be taken.  In my version of payroll English that means no benefits, no 401K, etc...  Taxes are not payroll deductions.  Taxes are taxes.  The last time I cut checks for this situation I was told specifically by CA DOL to take FICA and SDI only.  So when I cut these checks I did the same. 
I received a call from CA DOL - same gal I talked to back in November.  Why did I take payroll deductions?  I told her I didn't.  I took taxes.  She says that taxes are a payroll deduction.  WHAT?  This is not what you said last time around.  It states right on the order: $1,946.48 for additional wages accrued as a penalty and shall not be subject to payroll or other deductions.  Wages = take FICA.  Payroll Deductions is not taxes.  Then she says it's up to the employee to file.  Which tells me again that they're wages and FICA should be taken by, like, LAW.  I finally gave up arguing.  I told her to send the checks back to me and I'd get the correct ones turned around in three days from the time I receive the checks back.

I go over to tell my boss what's going on.  I'm clearly annoyed.  I walk into her office and tell her I'm not trusting HR on anything again and explain what happened.  I told her I never read the order because I thought it was like the other ones and I treated it as such.  If anything should be different, it should have been stated clearly.  I tell her how I'm going to resolve it - AP will cut the checks and we'll send them 1099s at the end of the year.  The last thing my boss said to me was that I should have paid closer attention.  I couldn't speak.  I just turned around and left.
As I returned to my desk, I notice that her boss is sitting in the office next to her.  I'm now wishing I'd reminded her that she was the one who sent it to me.  Everything about the order, in my world, says take taxes.  If she didn't want it processed thru payroll, then why send it to me?  Just because four other people should have caught it, that's no excuse for me not catching it.  I should have paid closer attention.
Damn it I'm pissed.  Forget taking anything at face value.  Forget trusting that I'm going to get the correct information from anyone, including my OWN BOSS.  I'll be questioning everything so my ass is covered.  It'll annoy the shit out of everyone, because I am experienced enough and know the rules so I shouldn't have to ask.  Well, clearly that's not the case.  I'm just another idiot in the string of idiots around here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Must Be Out Of My Mind

Back in September, just before SHR:L opened, the building manager and I exchanged words.  I then had a little hissy fit and swore I'd never work in the Barn as long as that person was in charge.  Well, RLT's group managed to talk me into sticking with the final show I'd committed to, on the condition that said manager stayed out of my path.  This has worked, tho it's only been two days...

Anyway, A few weeks ago the group finds themselves short a Stage Manager.  Well, heck... It's a small space.  There can't be that much.  I can call cues.  I just need some help getting things organized so it'll run smoothly.  The group's SM Extraordinaire, DP (heh, sounds kinky...) who is unavailable to commit to the run, is available to help get me organized.  God bless America - I may be able to pull this off.  DP, you are my savior! 

Oh, and there is a spot in the script where we need an off-stage, female voice.  Well, I'm sitting right next to the microphone.  I make the phone ring.  I've already executed the light cue.  Okay, I can read the lines.  WTF do you mean I have to have a NE/Maine accent?  What does that sound like?  It's really easy for me to pick up a southern twang, or a Wisconsin tone, but Maine?  I'll have to work on that.  There is a character in the show that has the accent the whole time - I sound nothing like him.  8-/

So I'm stage managing, designing and running lights, and providing the off-stage voice.  I hadn't read the whole script until last week (something not entirely unusual), however my light cues and lines are set and fine.  What do you mean we don't have a script with sound cues?  Nowhere?  We just have the recordings, but we have no idea where in the script the cues are supposed to come?  So last night we're going basically from cue to cue, and marking where the sound cues come along.  I think we've really got the timing down.  The levels sounded pretty good.  Now we just have to pull it all together.

Did I mention that when I did the light cues, I didn't have a set?  Well, that made things interesting.  I have a porch light - it's hung in the hallway instead of over the porch.  Eh... I can move the instrument.  The heart attack special is on the wrong side of the stage.  D'oh!  I have a painted drop depicting the view out the window that has no light on it at all.  The ghost lights are too bright, as are the warmers.  The washes look fantastic, and the colors are perfect.  Yeah, they're the same colors I used for SHR:L.  Thank you to the designers who were between my shows for not touching anything.  :-)

Let's not forget, that between September and now, not only did my gall bladder self-destruct, but I took a job that's not so local.  My evening commute went from 30 mins to a minimum of 90 mins.  And that's on a good day....

Friday, November 12, 2010

We Have A Marine!

Ginormous congratulations go out to my step-son Mr.Blondie Jr. #3 for graduating from USMC boot camp!

(My scanner is crap. )

Mr. Blondie did an awesome slide show from our trip to his graduation.  Go here.

Missing In Action? I think so...

Hmmm... Last time I checked in was August.  A ton has happened since then and I've not gotten around to blogging about the stuff I'd care to share with the rest of the world.  I am going to make the effort to get better about that.  I hear you dancing in the streets now...  LOL!  I'll try to post things chronologically too, since that's just the way I roll...  Smooches!

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Gadget?

I love Sharpie.  Markers, highlighters, pens, whatever.  Sharpie ROCKS.  Their latest toy?  A liquid pencil!

Da-rool.  I must try one of these.  The story can be found here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Who'da Thunk?

I just received word that I was nominated for Best Lighting Design for a show I worked on earlier this year.  This is incredible.  There were eight shows to choose from and five were chosen.  Were the three not chosen really that bad where I'd be in the running?  Here's an outline of how my work on that show (RH), and the one I was already committed to (FP), went.

Fri 3/26: Rcvd call - please help w/RH
Mon 3/29: FP prod mtg
Wed 3/31: View run of act I - RH
Thur 4/1: View run of act II - RH
Fri 4/2: FP Tech
Sat 4/3: FP set move in, RH Tech
Sun 4/4: FP Q2Q, RH write basic cues
Mon 4/5: FP Tech Run
Tues 4/6: FP Tech Run
Wed 4/7: FP Tech Run
Thur 4/8: FP Preview
Fri 4/9: FP Show
Sat 4/10: RH Tech (day), FP Show (eve)
Sun 4/11: FP Show
Mon 4/12: RH Tech Run
Tue 4/13: RH Tech Run
Wed 4/14: RH Tech Run
Thur 4/15: FP Brush Up (RH preview - did not attend)
Fri 4/16: FP Show (RH opens - did not attend)
Sat 4/17: FP Show (RH show - did not attend)
Sun 4/18: FP Show (RH show - did not attend)

Let's not forget all the Dr appts etc from having totaled my car a few weeks before, plus the health scare from Dec...  There was one more weekend of FP, and two more weekends of RH.  I did finally see RH on closing night.  I really didn't have time to ensure that RH was the quality I wanted and it deserved.  The Dir, being an LD himself, said he was fine with what I managed to pull together.  Not knowing him very well, I was never sure if he was telling me what I wanted to hear or not.  Either way, I told him he was more than welcome to adjust/add/subtract cues etc as he saw necessary. 

Then I hear today my show has been nominated for Best Lighting Design.  Really?  I mean, I understand that there were eight shows the group did.  Of those eight, the Board of Directors picked five.  So the odds are pretty good.  Regardless, it's very cool.  I'll have to work on my speech: "It's an honor just to be nominated.  The other LD's put a lot more work and thought into their projects than I had the opportunity to, and there's no question in my mind that XXX deserved the win.  Congrats to XXX!"  

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Really Enjoyed Myself!

Okay, maybe I overreacted a little.  A LITTLE.  I'm still disappointed that I didn't work on the show, but at the same time, I think it was a blessing in disguise. The cast and the orchestra were just fantastic. It was obvious that they put in a tremendous amount of work.  I was so impressed with Eva and Che.  They were very strong, passionate, and had a great dynamic.  Once the sound guy had his issues under control, the show was incredibly well balanced.  I surprised myself in that I remembered every single word in the show.  It's been over 10 years since I've listened to the soundtrack, and I still knew the entire show.  It was hard not to sing along...  :-)

And now for the reason I was so paranoid...  Had I been working on this show, you would have read about the following on a daily basis, and it would really be clear why I'm such a PIA sometimes.

The set and the lights - wow.  Where to begin...  Let's start with the set.

The set did nothing to accent the show.  It was this gigantic wall with a balcony in 5 feet in the air, center stage, and an archway underneath.  Otherwise, gigantic pink wall.  Yes, pink.  Not pale pink.  MAGENTA.  I might have a sweater that color, but wow.  Apparently it started out fire engine red.  40 feet wide by 12 feet tall - that's a lot of red.  When repainted, it was baby pink.  As soon as the lights hit it, the audience was blind and you couldn't see the cast.  So it ended up magenta.  On the far left and far right sides of the stage were two video screens.  They were different sizes and hung unevenly.  Plus, the projectors were off cycle.  When you wanted the slides to be the same, they were off by one.  The set distracted more from the show than it enhanced.  It was awkward and huge and magenta.

Now the lighting....

I have a lot of respect for the lighting designer.  As difficult as he can be to get along with, the quality of his work is impressive.  He'll use every instrument in all possible capacities to give you a beautiful show with great moments.  Then there was this production.

Take almost everything I just said and throw it out the window.  Every instrument was used.  It's hard to light someone who is 10 feet in the air when you have an 11.5 foot ceiling.  I get all that.  The wash was pretty even.  Other than that, there was nothing spectacular about this design.

In place of spotlights, he either used a general wash or a moving light.  I found the moving lights more distracting than a spot.  When a spot comes on it's terribly obvious and is expected to move with the actor.  But the moving lights that were used were part of the wash.  They were not sharp focused, the intensity was the same as the rest of the instruments, and were the same color as the wash.  Most people wouldn't notice it move, but I did and it was annoying.  It looked like something was wrong.  The wash colors also seemed dull.  Part of that may have to do with the set changing colors three times the week before they opened.  However, changing gel is no sweat.  The looks seemed gray and uninspiring.  Rainbow High could have had all sorts of bright colors and changes.  It didn't.

This show screams for dramatic lighting changes.  There was not one change that I would consider dramatic.  Toward the end of the show there was one bump with the orchestra that seemed dim and slow.  Looked more like a late cue than anything else.  I went in expecting dramatic side lighting, unique looks for each scene, intense changes with the music and movement of the cast...  I got nothin'.  Talk about disappointing.  It's possible the problems with the set had an adverse affect on the design - that's happened on more than one occasion.  It's also possible that the Director didn't want dramatic lighting.  Whatever the reason...  The set and lights did nothing to enhance the production.  If I had been in the cast or orchestra, I would have been greatly irritated.  They didn't work their butts off for 3 months to have to perform with the crap they were given.

Hence the bit of relief I had after the show.  I didn't work on it, so I wasn't spending weeks upset by how poor the show was from a technical perspective.  I also had a chance to speak with a handful of the board members.  They seemed very interested in my reaction and what I would have done differently.  So in hindsight, it's a good thing I didn't work on the show.  Altho if I had, and had any influence over how it was executed, the end product would have been much different.  Plus I prob would have stressed myself out, and had more than one person want to push me off the light bridge as I point out what needs to be fixed.

Even with all the aspects that really needed a makeover, the cast and orchestra were still fantastic.  I really hope patrons walked out of there having enjoyed a good show and didn't notice as many of the issues as I did.  I've now got to dig out my soundtrack so I can listen to it in the car.  No, not the Madonna version...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Now Is Not The Time To Get Emotional

I'm really going to try and not show that I'm upset tonight.

I've been working with this one theater group for 22 years.  For the first time ever, I've wanted to help on a production and there's no place for me.  Even when they needed help in a pinch this weekend, they call the chick that's due to give birth in eight weeks rather than call me.

When I first realized I wasn't going to be working on this production, I was extremely upset.  I tried to think of reasons why...  Everyone on the planet knows that stupid crap irritates me.  Lately there's been a lot of things happening in the theater world which could have been prevented if people just thought one step ahead.  I hadn't been very shy about this stuff, so I think that may have been a reason why they don't want me involved in this production.

Anyway, I'd started to get over it and was pretty much ready to forget about the whole thing, when I heard about who was helping out backstage this weekend.  Then it started all over again.

I'm actually surprised at how upset I am about this.  I'll probably never know the real reason why.  Could be that I just didn't show up at move in, so they thought I wasn't interested.  Tho I'd been talking about it with the producer a few months before, so he knew.  I also made it known a few days later that I wanted to help anywhere it was needed.  I know they're busy and probably didn't think about it.  Or, I'm right.  I'm too much of a PIA to deal with.  Who knows.

I'd already arranged to see the show with co-workers tonight. After finding out about how the backstage coverage was handled for this weekend, I'm now wishing I didn't.  At the same time, I know a handful of people in the cast that I get along with well.  Or at least I *think* I get along with well.  I also know the show is going to be fantastic.  It just really sucks that I'm not part of it, even in some little way.

Oh well.  Gotta stop the pity party and not let it show I'm upset.  Suck it up.  Be an actress...  Ha.  Now that's funny.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This Week's Office Kitchen Etiquette Saga

Sent: 157p Wed 6/23


We’re experiencing a rash of ants and some flies over the last number of days which has been reported to our property managers and we’re waiting for an exterminator.     In a number of instances the last day or two, staff have put a lunch bag or groceries to store under their desks and within a very short time an army of ants has invaded the food.    To avoid attracting them, please clean up any food that has been around your area and avoid leaving any dishes/food/beverages/soda cans overnight.  It might help also to take a Lysol wipecloth and wipe down your desk each day before leaving.  In the meantime, I’d suggest not leaving lunch bags or groceries on the floor unless you don’t mind sharing your meal with these critters.


Sent: 1033a Thur 6/24

Do you know if you've left anything in the fridge that SMELLS or has EXPIRED?  I don't, because I can't find anything in there.

The fridge is NOT HAPPY and has filed a formal complaint.  The lucky department on duty this week is the Secretariat (plus our very own volunteer Alex Lopez!).  Because the fridge is on overload and emitting an unfriendly scent, we will do a PURGE on Friday late afternoon.  Please mark what you want kept, take home what you don't need to keep here or throw away what's expired/overripe.

And since we are a larger staff group these summer months, please try another way to store your lunch items.  Simply put, LARGE SHOPPING BAGS do not fit!  To help all of us find our lunches within the lunch hour time frame, please just to bring what you need for each day's lunch.


Sent: 907a Mon 6/28

Thank you to ALL who participated and worked so hard in cleaning out the refrigerator on Friday.  It took many to bring this fridge back to useable form and it’s very much appreciated.  I’ve never seen so many bottles of salad dressing!    Special thanks go to Joanne, Alex, and Adam and all the supporting cast who were dedicated to this effort.  Let’s all support their efforts by continued to keep the inside clean and to minimize the clutter and mess that builds up.

Refrigerator space is limited so please be considerate:   

In the summer, over 45 people could attempt to store a meal in the refrigerator on a daily basis.  Please store only daily meals (rather than weekly) in the refrigerator. 

For those using salad dressings, please have only one bottle of dressing stored at a time or use a tiny Tupperware cup to bring in enough for the day’s salad.

Avoid putting large grocery bags (plastic and cloth) inside the refrigerator.  Now that cloth grocery bags are more common, they are used for all types of storage and become unsanitary for putting alongside food items in the refrigerator.   (For your own health safety, wash or wipe out your cloth bags frequently to avoid bacteria building up inside, as reported in last week’s news.)

Set an Outlook reminder to take home any leftovers that are yours every week.

If your food has spilled, please take a moment to wipe it up to avoid others from needing to scrub later.

Because we’ve had spottings of flies and ants (and even a few mice!) these last few weeks, please don’t leave dirty dishes; utensils; glasses; mugs around your desk area and keep storage of food/drinks, grocery bags etc., to a minimum.   If your desks get sticky from drinks/candy or have crumbs from food items, please use a Lysol wipe to clean.   All this attracts critters and triples the chances of the rodent problem spreading through the office rather than keeping it within the kitchen area.

Thanks again to the Magnificent 7 – or how many it took to clean last Friday!

Sent: 9:47a Tuesday 6/29

Dear whoever finished the coffee, didn’t make more, but left the empty pot on the hot burner:

This is a bad idea.
In the future, if you finish the last drop of coffee in the pot, please brew more.
If you don’t know where to find it, please ask me. I will show you.
If you don’t know how to make it, please ask me.  I will teach you.

At the VERY least, please do not put an empty pot on a hot burner.
We do not want to burn down our kitchen during placement season & travel cycle.
That would be bad.

Thanks for your attention and compliance.

Sent: 1153a Tues 6/29

Ok, around 11am a pot with only about 2 ounces of coffee in it, once again was sitting on a hot burner.  Is there someone that is not seeing these emails?

Sent: 345p Wed 6/30

Okay Neighbors!  --  (includes All Staff:   Full-time; Summer; Night; Day; Temporary; Interns!)

Here is a bulleted list from a concerned Bethesda YFU citizen only minutes ago regarding how (s)he found the kitchen:

·         The coffee pot, yet again, had ¼ inch of coffee left in it. The machine was still turned on and the pot was sticking to the heating pad.

·         The tables were littered with crumbs, a couple of patches of dried sauce (or it could have been dressing).

·         Cutlery and crockery were left dirty in the sink and on the bench and the sink had salad and vegetable clippings left in it.

What happens next  ?? --

If necessary,  we’ll be conducting mandatory trainings and a test on kitchen etiquette, scrubbing, cleaning and food preparation given by the Master Chef himself Alex Lopez!!  He won’t let you get away with a CRUMB!    Or, we will require a check-off for everyone who goes to get a cup of coffee – yes; we want to avoid that.  Next is to install a roving kitchen camera – catching someone in the act of failing in kitchen KP duties, again something to be avoided.

Even though we have a team to clean up, it’s not their full-time job.   The expectation is that every individual will clean up after themselves to avoid any one person spending more than a minimal amount of time cleaning at all.   If there are people identified who are not doing their share, they will need to contribute mightily to the “Kitchen Kitty “, a donation box which will be established.  The message is – please keep this common area clean; safe and be considerate of your coworkers!


My comments:

I am glad I don't drink coffee.

If we had a Kitchen Kitty, we wouldn't have crumbs, drips, bugs, or mice.  Just cat fur.

I think I know who the main culprit is, but I can't prove it.

I do usually store stuff in the fridge, but with the increased staff right now things are disappearing.  So I'm not.

Other than that, life is dull.


Sent: 1011a Wed 6/30
As you’ll notice, the men’s and women’s restrooms on the first floor are out of order, both missing an important ‘piece’ in their usage!   Our restroom keys will work on the 2nd and 3rd floors.   At this time, the property managers are not sure when the 1st floor will be back in working order so please feel free to use upstairs. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gone Fishin'

We had a fantastic time.  We arrived at the dock around 6a.  The boys were so excited. I'd made two dozen sandwiches, brought Little Debbie's, Gatorade, water, chips...  There was a ton of food.  My father brought beer for himself and Mr Blondie.  We weren't sure how big the boat really was but when we got there, there was plenty of space for all three coolers, the bag of misc stuff, and us.  They had a mini-fridge, a microwave, and even a stove inside the cabin.  There was a sofa sized bench and a couple chairs as well.

I pushed everyone to put on sunscreen, informed everyone (including the boat staff) of the vast quantities of food and beverage, and sat down on the bench in the cabin.  It was still a little cool and my head was splitting.  I took a decongestant and some Excedrin, then laid down.

I think I fell asleep around 730a, for about an hour.  My head was still unhappy when I woke up.  I'd missed the catching of the first two fish.  They were pulled in by MrBjr#3 and MrBjr#4.  Then MrBjr#2 pulled the next one, and Daddy pulled the fourth.  Then the next fish caught a line.  I really didn't want to fish, just observe and photograph.  However Mr Blondie talked me into pulling one in, so I did.  Here's proof...

Ewww...  They all wanted me to kiss the fish.  I refused.  Apparently it's good luck or something - I didn't care.  Not happening.  As I dropped the fish in the cooler, it decided to clamp it's mouth around my thumb.  Ouch ya bastard!  Can't wait to see you on the grill!  It only left a mark and didn't break the skin. At this point I figured out that my head just wasn't going to behave, so I hit the migraine meds.

Somewhere around 1030a, I fell asleep again.  Something about being on the boat just put me right to sleep.  The rocking on the water, the rumble of the engine, maybe my headache or the fact that we were up at 4a.... Whatever it was, I was out cold.  Next thing I knew, it was 1230p.

They had caught a few more by then, and had dug into the food.  The coolers kept everything nice and cold, and there was still plenty of ice, so everything was yummy.  The boys were making bets on which rod would catch the next fish and how big it would be.  It was all we could do to not say 'that's what she said!' at every opportunity.

We rolled back into the dock around 2p with 11 fish.  The max was 12.  The were all between 19 & 24 inches long.  The boys had never caught fish that big before.  The boat staff put the fish in a wheelbarrow and we took it to the guys on the dock who clean them.  You better believe I was going to have no parts of that.  If we couldn't get them cleaned by someone, they were going back in the water.

By 3p we were back on the road, heading to see Mr Blondie's fam 130 miles away.  We really did have a great time.  The boys actually seemed to enjoy each others company.  It was really nice.

Left to right: MrBjr#4, Mr Blondie, Daddy, MrBjr#2, MrBjr#3.  Plus me in the middle.  :-)