Tales From The Wrong Side Of Sanity

The men’s bathroom at work:

  • 8 cubicles
  • 4 urinals
  • 5 sinks
  • 1 paper towels dispenser, that is frequently empty
  • 1 off brand air blade hand dryer

Things that amuse me

Taking advantage of a seemingly rare morning of bright sunshine to partake of a riverside stroll in my home town. Being a very built up urban area, the river could be better described as an outflow of sludge rather than more typically idyllic river scenes. Particularly after rainfall.

I was aware of a couple of manmade floating islands behind a footbridge, and this morning I noticed a sign in front of them. Taking time out of my stroll to read the sign repaid me in spades with amusement.

The two (quite small) floating islands had been funded by government grant to trial reintroduction of native river plants. There was some discussion of the reliance of ancient native peoples on the plants and what the river was like at that time – less concrete.

Nothing particularly amusing here. Just matter of fact statements, and probably a bit of an indictment on modern western civilisation's need to control every last thing.

But it was the copy-writer's choice to describe the plants as riparian vegetation that got me giggling. Who do these people think they are, Hyacinth Bucket? At least they weren't offering riparian entertainments! 🤣

Things that annoy me

Watching the annual “Pink” cricket Test at the SCG and I see, as is normal for that Test, that they're not playing.

The playing cards historically get a good workout for this Test, blighted by rain interruptions.

This time though, off for bad light. This means that despite the ground being floodlit (and cricket being playable at night) the conditions are unsafe for fast bowling.

Cricket is a game that historically could only be played in near perfect Summer conditions. No rain and decent sunshine. A few drops or overly cloudy and off the payers go for a game of cards until the conditions improved. It defies belief that the game was actually invented in England, given their stereotypically lack of either. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that back in ye olde times cricket was actually a con. The chaps would head off for “a game” but conditions meant they'd spend the whole time in the clubroom drinking ale. It was only when a few wives starting turning up to watch that the ruse was at risk of exposure, so the chaps hastily threw together a game lest they be discovered. Which goes some way into explaining some of the rather befuddling rules of traditional cricket.

But in modern times, with competition for the public's entertainment dollar fierce, cricket would be well advised to figuring out a way to safely keep the players out on the field, playing, during scheduled play when it is not raining. Like now.

Things that amuse me

You know those small SUV's most manufacturers are offering these days? Especially the German ones? Had one waiting for me at a pedestrian crossing this AM. Very impressive looking it was too, in sleek black with many trim highlights, especially the bright, shiny Mercedes badge front and centre.

But you also know that if you weigh up what this particular vehicle does compared to some other manufacturers and start to factor in purchase price plus total cost of ownership, it typically comes out that these are objectively pretty bad cars.

Just as well no one (myself included) purchases cars objectively! We pick what we want, and then use “data” after the fact to justify our decision. Did I mention the big shiny Mercedes badge front and centre? Good chance that was what this lady was purchasing. And it came with a car attached, which she obviously needed, so that was handy! So long as it makes her friends slightly envious, but not too much, then job done!

Anyway, enough late stage capitalism ranting, I want to talk about one of this cars features. Specifically the “green” feature that shuts off the car's engine when the vehicle is at a full stop and quickly restarts it again when the gas pedal is depressed (As in when you put your foot on it, not when it's experiencing an existential crisis nor feeling that it has no control over its existence).

The lady in question had selected one of the diesel options when purchasing this very flashy looking Merc. And because of that, when it restarts to my ears it sounds vey much like an old Massey Ferguson tractor! And this juxtaposition amuses me greatly. I grin every time!

I know I'm likely part of a dwindling minority that associates that noise with farming equipment, but associate it I do!

Maybe The Wurzels could write a song about it?

Ooh Arrr!

Things that 💩 me

Things I overhear

At the supermarket, dairy aisle, this morning. Have to sidestep a clerk doing stock refilling as is the norm these days (late stage capitalism rant). These folks are pretty great at keeping out of your way but this individual clerk had been distracted and baled up by a customer.

Customer: “Can you please tell us where to find XYZ?” Clerk: “Oh yes, it's over by the deli, in front of the BBQ chickens.”

Mrs Customer: “Are you sure?”

Are you sure?

Like what the actual? You've been told where it is, and where it is is very nearby – like 15 or so steps. Just go and have a look FFS. And it's not like the guy didn't seem sure, he just fired it straight off.

We all know what she was angling for. For the clerk to abandon his post and escort her and partner directly to the item in question. Are you sure?

The entitlement on this woman. Like her time is so precious she can't just spend 10 seconds walking over to the chooks and looking herself. But she's no issue wasting time by unnecessarily extending an interaction! Are you sure? It's not like he told her to go to another store.

You gotta feel for these poor schmucks. They're all casual, likely on or near minimum $ per hour. And if they don't get through a certain volume of racks per hour, they get their hours cut. That is what was waiting for this stocking clerk.

And it's not like this couple were elderly or impaired in any way. Fit, healthy mid 30-s couple adorned in active-wear. Just super important and quite relaxed about wasting someone else's time.

Because in 2024, if you have to do something on your phone from a browser, is there any point of doing it at all?

It is interesting that Write Freely have chosen the option to charge you up front what they deem to be a fair value for their piece of software. Rather than let you have it for “free”, but hobble it with adverts, adwalls, in app purchases, crippleware and dare I mention gamification? An approach truly retro. I wish them well.

Well I will if I manage to publish this utterance anyway. 😁

Like most of us in this modern age, I rely upon the pocket sized supercomputer constantly in my possession to perform many routine tasks precisely where and when the urge strikes me.

Oh, and looking at pictures of cats and arguing with strangers as well, natch!

Until next time.

Yeah, I'm one of those who struggles to keep their CV up to date. There is a definite emotional roller coaster involved. And it's exacerbated by cynical views about late stage capitalism and the utility of any “job” you arrive at. I'm sure I'll talk more about that at some point in the future.

For me there seems to be three phases:

  1. Just into a new role. Learning, so writing about the role and achievements can be a bit challenging. Feels a bit like cheating to be updating and being accessible for a new role at this early stage.

  2. Norming. Been in the role for over a year now, know plenty and possibly regarded as an expert but still mostly positive about the role. This is the perfect time to write effectively about your experience and achievements in the role. But there's no real driver to updating. It's just admin. At best it's something to lean into to leverage procrastination as a super power. I'm sure I'll also talk more about this in the future.

  3. This leaves the final phase. When you're sick of the job and or the people and or the future prospects. You're motivated to update because you want to leave and you know you're going to need it. But your writing will be influenced by your negative emotions, or updating will give rise to negative emotions, making the updating a decidedly “unfun” activity.

To the surprise of no one, I'm in phase 3 now. I'm hoping to use the holiday shutdown (my current employer turfs everyone out for 3 weeks over the holidays. No exceptions!) to de-stress and then go through “the updating” with a calmer, less angry mind. We'll see how it goes. I was definitely on tilt running into the end of the working year!

And then once the updating is done, we get to go through the job market again, a process seemingly perfectly designed to keep you down and tell you you're not worth much. And somehow gatekept by one of the great lies of the modern corporate world: Professional Recruiting Services! So we'll see how we go.

Urgh, this has turned into a long unstructured rant. Not like me at all! 😜

To finish, this is how I'm going to embrace it:

  • Not rush into it, not make myself feel like this is 'a commitment' to maximise my happy vibes. And feel free to let the procrastination fairies take me where they may. Only tighten up if I start to run short of time.
  • Keep using my current template as a starting point. Not going to update historic much. This CV has been in use for 20+ years and has gotten results. With a career interview/offer ratio of 13:11, I know I interview well so this just needs to get me in the door.
  • Understand that professional recruiters use automation and likely AI these days, so try and lean into that and take advantage of their laziness. They don't want to read and understand, they just want to pattern match and fill an unfilled on their books.
  • The “technologies used” list of buzzwords seems to work well, so start there for the current role.
  • Expand out to list my “achievements”. Not “what I did” or my “experience”, but rather what did I “rock” at? What did I do that no one else could?
  • Finally, leverage all that into the cover letter. This is the hardest part. Don't be too philosophical. They don't “get it”. Everyone trying to recruit is already compromised. They're not doing this for fun. They're doing it because they have too much work or someone is pressuring them to increase revenue. They just want to pick someone great and get back to what they are supposed to be doing. Corporate HR is increasingly absent from the interview process, preferring instead to favour “governing the policy”.
  • Less about what is important to me, more of what is important to them, as if it is important to me. Write it as a success profile for what they would be looking for.

We'll see how we go!

When I was much younger, school age younger, I thought the title statement was opposite. I found reading super easy but writing to be very challenging.

Fast forward to the post truth social media age and learned experience tells me that I had it backwards. Practically every post I peck into some social media platform or other is replied to by somebody who very clearly has not read the post they are replying to. At best they are reacting to the first sentence. Usually to tell me I'm wrong. But my favourites are those whom imagine I've said something and then start arguing with that imagined viewpoint. It is little wonder the state of social media and seemingly social discourse has arrived at the place it has.

This is how I've come to be here. I enjoy writing as a creative outlet. I write to amuse myself on some observation or other. But I can do without the interaction. Shouting into the void you might say, without giving the void a chance to shout back. My problem with the shouting back isn't that I'm not interested, quite the opposite. It just frustrates me. We take the time to interact with another being, and instead of at least trying to make it positive, time and time again we choose to make it abusive or at best ignorant.

I am just out of touch or is it everybody else who is wrong?

I think we all know the answer to that...