Monday, November 28, 2011

How to Plan for a Road Trip

This blog is in transition and currently has no point to it whatsoever. If you are looking for the Self-Help T-Shirt Catalog, I moved it to WordPress. So you should click here. If someone is trying to make you leave your house to go on a road trip and you don't want to stop what you are doing, then keep reading.

This past week was Thanksgiving, and we were visiting my husband's family. It was that awkward day after Thanksgiving when the large dinner is sitting in the refrigerator, and guests are sitting around the house. We had just had breakfast, and my sister-in-law's boyfriend's mom said that they were going to drive over to her brother's or cousin's house for a visit. Somehow, like a row of dominoes crashing one into the other, this turned into the opportunity for a road trip. 

Looking back on that moment, as we were poised on the edge of a road trip to go sit in someone’s house, I realize that my family can be very difficult to move when we are not motivated. I really don’t want to go sit in someone’s house. Sitting in someone’s house is the most boring thing in the world. Especially when it is mid-morning after breakfast. There will be no food, and it is way too early for drinks. That means there will literally be nothing to do but sit. I felt incredibility unmotivated to sit but had already vowed to be pleasant during the holiday, so I gathered some things I thought my son and I would require.

Steps to ready for a road trip I don’t want to take are extremely detailed. First, there will be a long discussion about where we are driving, in what direction, and details on how long the trip will take. Then, we will have another discussion about what entertainment devices should be packed. Please be aware that all devices (iPad, iPod, NintendoDS, Kindle and laptop) will be packed regardless of the discussion outcome. Also finding all the devices scattered around the house will take longer than usual, as I will be checking Twitter or my blog comments instead of looking for them. We will need to pack a cooler of drinks to avoid possible dehydration. Once we are finally in the van, I will need to dash out of it at least twice for last minute items such as sunglasses or chargers for all the devices.

Steps to get ready for a trip we do want to take are a little simpler. After my mother-in-law announced that we did NOT have to go to shopping at the River Walk, but could instead take a trip to Natural Bridge Caverns, my son and I made it to the van in thirty seconds flat. Then, we looked at each other... wondering what was taking everyone so long. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How to be Happy

In The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama tells a story about a guy taking a nap in a boat. Suddenly, a bump awakens him. He looks up and sees another boat. He becomes very angry with the person in this boat for deliberately waking him from his nap. When he arises to confront this jerk, he realizes the other boat is empty. When he understands it was only the current pushing the other boat into his, the anger dissolves. That is why I like to think of people as boats.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Popcorn Ceiling

First off, I should tell you that this is no longer the catalog of imaginary t-shirts. If you are looking for the shirts, go to my shiny new WordPress site: The Best Self-Help T-Shirt Catalog Ever. This is now the blog where I will go on about things that are too long for Twitter, and not really appropriate for Facebook. I have been neglecting my FaceBook page, actually. Need to think of something clever to put on there. I am drinking coffee right now. That should do. Hang on a minute...

Okay, I am back. I was thinking this morning that I need do something about the popcorn texture on our ceiling. Often, when my mother-in-law visits, she will complain about popcorn ceilings from the seventies and how awful they are. To her credit, I don't think she realizes that she is sitting in the very living room of a house from the seventies under a ceiling of popcorn that belongs to me. It is a little troubling to me all the same. So, here is my plan.

Step 1.  Win the lottery. I know you are going to tell me that it is nearly impossible for people to win the lottery, but I don't think they are trying hard enough. I should be able to do it in a week or so.

Step 2.  Pay all the decorating people and decorating books and magazines in the entire world to make popcorn ceilings come back in style again. This shouldn't be that hard. They are probably out there looking for the next new thing right now and it may as well be popcorn ceilings.

Step 3.  Pay for my mother-in-law to get a new stylish popcorn ceiling in whatever color she desires. Yes, they will be coming in colors--Bright ones.

And then.... I strike!

Step 4.  Get rid of our popcorn ceiling, go over to her house, and talk about how tacky they are.

Winning! And in ONLY four steps. I am so great today.

I know you are thinking that I should have not wasted my time bribing decorators with the popcorn ceilings. You are probably thinking I could have used all this time and money curing cancer or saving children or something. But this is MY fictional money, and I will spend it how I please. Thank you very much.

Side Note: I just realized that all I have to do is slap a picture of a t-shirt on this and it will be just like my old blog. I think the dual blog thing is giving me an identity crisis.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Galleria is Evil

The next few posts will be about things I learned on the InterBlogs, and people who deserve their own t-shirts. So, this blog is now a blog for the people who read my blog. Or read blogs that I read while I am writing my blog. Or write blogs that.... anyway, if you are still reading at this point, you must be entangled somehow, so let's get on with it.

My first InterBlog recognition and t-shirt dedication goes to Alura’s CrossWorlds Cafe for the post, “Sorry Lisa, they’re still out of monkeys… “

This clothing line is dedicated to you, Alura, for surviving the Teavana at the Galleria, and also obtaining your $50.00 pound of antioxidant tea. You will be able to fight oxidants for years to come.  At least you actually bought tea while you were there. I bought some sort of leafy substance called a Samurai Mate, which apparently, as Lahikmajoe pointed out in his post, “Don’t tell her it’s not tea,” isn’t even tea! I guess the moral of this story is that you shouldn’t go around buying things just because they have the word Samurai on them. On the other hand, what am I supposed to do a teashop, Lahikmajoe? Go around saying, “Are you SURE this is tea? What about this one? Is this one tea?” That would make me look like an idiot!

Wait. I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. Demanding to see the Oolong monkeys does NOT make me look like an idiot. That makes me a discerning customer. Plus, they wouldn’t even bring out the monkeys! When I started getting agitated, they were like, “Oh, watch out! An oxidant!” Clever hippies.

I am just now realizing that Teavana never actually explained how to use my pounds of tea to fight the oxidants. Maybe you need lots of tea because you are supposed to be using it as ammunition in some sort of antioxidant weaponry. I should go back there. Maybe if I buy actual tea this time they will let me see the monkeys.

For a blog post that was supposed to be about someone else, this is sure starting to look like one of my typical rants. I blame Lahikmajoe. Back to the point of this whole thing…. Congratulations, Alura, on "investing in your health and well-being". Hope it didn’t set you back too much. Enjoy your t-shirts.

If this shirt actually gets you monkeys, you owe me one.
I wanted some sort of Clint Eastwood saying on this one, like: Do you feel lucky, Oxidants? Well do ya? but for all I know, Oxidants really do feel lucky and it wouldn't work.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Thanksgiving Post for the Travelers

Several of you felt a little left out during the Thanksgiving Survey because you will be traveling to other locations rather than sponsoring the event yourselves. Since you will not be cooking, you apparently don't need to choose between pork rinds or skewered green beans for your side dishes. So Joshuapack your kids in the car with the diapers and milk cups, because this post is for you!

For those of you feeling out of the loop, I want you to know that I too will not be cooking during Thanksgiving Dinner. In fact, I will never get to cook for Thanksgiving. You see, I took my own Thanksgiving Survey and answered mostly B.  A Type B cook is someone who doesn’t understand enough about cooking to know the significance of say, baking powder. If baking powder is so important for that batch of cookies, why does the recipe only call for like a teaspoon of it?

Apparently cooking isn’t that logical, because that little dab of baking power is fairly important to the performance of the cookies. And also, if you are trying to make brownies and you have no eggs in your house, there is nothing you can put in brownie mix that will substitute for the eggs. Don’t even try it. As you can probably guess, a lot of times when baking I tend to give up and just eat the batter.

So, being a Type B cook, no one ever lets me do anything in the kitchen during holidays.  I think the problem is that no one has appreciation for the unexpected. Cookies have to rise, and turkeys have to arrive at the table un-charred with absolutely no room for error. Therefore, I will be joining all of you who will get in a car and drive somewhere. Some of us, like Debihen, are driving to see friends. Some, like Elizabeth Francois, will be on the way to the in-laws. Some of you are joyful about it, some of you are apprehensive.

I belong in the crowd of the apprehensive. It has come to my attention recently, that some of you think there is something wrong with me. Not that there is anything wrong with having something wrong with me. Well, I guess there is something wrong, because wrong is the recognized definition of having something wrong. Anyway, I think you see my point. Or not.

This whole thing started out when a friend of mine told me to read an article for people with Asperger’s Syndrome. I was a little put out by the implications of this, but it turned out to be a good article (See How to Establish Rapport in the Workplace). Next, @eldergeek, in a totally unrelated situation, sends me a link so I can test myself for autism. A test which I PASSED by the way. Wait, which way is it if there is nothing wrong with you, to pass, or to not pass? Whichever one it is where there is nothing wrong with me, that is the way it went. Okay? So there is NOTHING wrong with me.

That being said, I think there might be something wrong with me. Take Thanksgiving, for example. These types of holidays usually involve getting together with extended family and hugging. I should point out here, that I don’t like hugging strangers. And by strangers, I am including distant cousins, close cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws and the elderly. Also, I hate that thing where people greet you by kissing you on the cheek. Kissing on the cheek takes the whole greeting thing way too far. My husband’s family is the kissing on the cheek variety. Some of them even want to even kiss both cheeks, which I definitely consider as overkill. Maybe, if I admit something is wrong with me, I can forgo all of this cheek kissing and live a normal life. Or an abnormal life, whatever it is you do after you admit to having a syndrome.

This should help cut down on the cheek kissing.
Another problem I have is people talking to me. Sometimes I don’t mind when people talk to me. Sometimes people say things like, “I read your blog and it is so funny!” I like talking to those people. However, my relatives never read my blog. Mainly because I hide it from them at all costs. So, they usually say something like, “How is your job going?” And I usually say something like, “Fine.” Then they look at me oddly because now the conversation is at a standstill. I try hard to think of something I can say that will be entertaining without pissing anyone off. Nothing ever comes readily to mind.

Caution: If you throw off the rhythm of the conversation, you risk pushing everyone to the default topic of football.
In an effort to keep the conversation going, I will usually expand upon my previous statement, muttering something like, “Really fine.” The disappointed relative wanders away and I consol myself for this failure with a few gulps of wine. Then, another relative approaches. There is hugging, a couple of face kisses, and finally an animated question to which I can tell they are expecting a compelling answer, “How is your job going?” Sigh.

It’s been a long life already. I should have been an octopus.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How to Create a Troll

When Lahikmajoe started his new WordPress blog, and told me had a ‘troll,’ I was intrigued. However, after a quick trip to Wikipedia, I was a little disappointed to find out that a ‘troll’ is someone who makes inflammatory remarks on a blog that are often completely out of context of the blogger’s subject matter.  Not exactly a gruesome little figure hiding under a bridge, but close I guess.

It turns out that this ‘troll’ entered the world based on a combination of two events: Lakimajoe deciding to create a new WordPress blog, and my decision to use my Blogger blog to promote my WordPress blog. 

I am merrily typing away, as usual, with reckless abandon. In doing so, I place a link to Lahikmajoe’s new blog inside a mess of other links embedded in a conversation about blowjobs and next to a large image of a t-shirt saying “Fuck the Bells.” You may have seen it.  

Our friend, Jim, who is very nice by the way, reads about the blowjobs, the fuck bells, and so forth. Despite this, he somehow decides to visit my shiny new blog in the land of WordPress. Fatefully, he clicks the link to Lahikmajoe’s shiny new blog in the land of WordPress.

As you can imagine, a person showing up suddenly talking about blowjobs and “fuckbells” when you in the middle of politely introducing your non-tea blog, can be somewhat disconcerting. Lahikmajoe thought Jim was completely mad. While I do feel that I have owed Lahikmajoe a madman for some time now, I in no way wanted to get Jim mixed up in all of this.  So, Jim… please accept my formal apology in the form of this t-shirt.

You are welcome, Jim. Wear it with pride.

So, in the interest of improving communication, and in making my blog less of a confusing muddled mess, I am going to provide you with some links below. Clicking on these links and responding to them will probably not make you seem like a lunatic, but there is clearly no guarantee. 

Here is a link, clearly marked as such, to Lahikmajoe’s new WordPress blog.  I have no idea what he plans to do with it, but it will no doubt be interesting.

Here is a link to my new WordPress blog. I would caution you not to go in there just to yell “fuckbell,” but the term is rather endearing and we like it now. So, knock yourself out.

Here is a link to the Lucy’s Football Guide to Twitter Etiquette. I think we need one for blog etiquette regarding t-shirts with bell obscenities. This is unmarked territory.

Lastly, here is a link to Jim’s site, your FACE is my blog. He has been a champ about all of this, so go encourage him on the Nano novel that he is not writing. Apparently, while Jim acknowledges the motivation Nano provides, he does not enjoy ‘pooping out words.’ Personally, I hear they are high in fiber. 

How to be funny on Twitter

Come and see my new WordPress post, “How to be funny on Twitter” in which Handflapper ruins my Blog Contest by winning it hands down in 30 seconds with a blowjob comment.

However, some people might be offended by blowjob comments. If this is the case, and blowjob comments offend you, there is also a compelling story from Andreas Heinakroon  about how to steal Salvation Army uniform jackets. Or at least, that is what I got out of the story.

In the event someone steals your Salvation Army uniform or, less likely, it happens to blow away in the wind, there will also be t-shirts:

Was going to explain that this really makes more sense in context, but who am I kidding?

If you are still not compelled to visit my WordPress blog, don’t worry, I have left the best part for last. When you visit my WordPress blog, lahikmajoe will share with you the proper spelling of the name, Kaddafi. Or Gadaffi. I should have been paying more attention.

Please note that my spelling here, of the name Quadafi, is most likely not the proper spelling. But then again, I have to make sure you visit the site, don’t I? Or do I? You know what? Never mind about going over there, just leave all your flattering comments right here. Those people are a bunch of flakes anyway. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

My New Place

Some of you may know that I have a new place over at WordPress. It is really nice over there, but I’m not quite moved in yet. 

I meant to use the opportunity of a fresh new start to write a grown-up blog instead of rambling on about t-shirts. In the spirit of setting up my new blog properly, I decided to follow WordPress’ advice and refer to the DailyPost for inspiration. Then, that is when Kristen, in Ways to Develop Your Unique Writing Voice, told me that unless I develop my ‘mature voice’ I am going to end up wandering around and making a mess of things.

Andreas Heinakroon commented, “Great new blog! Very grown-up, very mature. You seem to have found a more substantial tone of voice, a more confident writing style.” With this comment, and my new mature writing style, I was well on my way to world domination. Then, I posted a picture of a butt.

I guess a mature writing style just isn't my thing.

So, give me time to decorate and move some things over there, and I will take all of you with me to my glorious new place. Assuming you are willing to get into the back of a windowless van.

For Further Research

To develop your writing voice:
Ways to Develop Your Unique Writing Voice | Kristen Lamb’s Blog

To see my new blog page:
(Keep in mind it's not done yet. Or even started, really. I'm planning to have widgets.)

To be reincarnated as an octopus:
The dread of reincarnation
(This does seem a little off topic, but you never know when an article about octopi incarnation will come in handy.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Survey

Preparing for Thanksgiving guests can be stressful and time consuming. Improve the quality of your Thanksgiving dinner by answering a few simple questions about your food and serving preferences. Based on your input, you will receive a helpful t-shirt as well as some tips to improve your preparation process.

1. How do you typically serve the Thanksgiving turkey?
  1. Fried in a large vat to the internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Feel free to verify the temperature by stabbing the turkey with the meat thermometer while it is hanging directly over
  2. With crisp black skin on the outside with raw/frozen turkey carcass on the inside.
  3. On a 19-inch Italian hand-painted turkey platter.
  4. From a package that says Oscar Mayer.

2. What types of beverages will you provide?

  1. A Pinot Noir with nuanced flavors and subtle earthy undertones. Don't forget the wine opener, it was really awkward last year when you opened that bottle with the umbrella.
  2. Instant powered tea that is always too dark or too light because the instructions on the side of the jar are vague and hard to follow.
  3. The beverage doesn’t matter so much as the fact that all the stemware matches.
  4. Natural Light

3. What types of side dishes will you serve?
  1. Probably something you can skewer and cook over open flame. Like green beans.
  2. Holiday Jell-O Salad with cream cheese, seedless grapes, and cherry Jell-O. It is fine if you only have green Jell-O and you can substitute cottage cheese for cream cheese since it is about the same thing. However, you will realize at the last minute that you don’t have the right kind of pan to mold it all together, and the whole concoction ends up looking like alien vomit.
  3. The fruit salad one of your houseguests agreed to bring over. Of course, you will have to immediately stop what you are doing in order to transfer the salad from their Tupperware container to a more appropriate 12.5" Diameter Lace Cut Crystal Serving Bowl, then quickly wash and hide the plastic container from view.
  4. Pork Rinds.

4. What type of dessert will you be serving?
  1. Caramel Apple Flambé or Pumpkin Crème Brûlée. It really doesn’t matter which, as long as you get to break out your new butane torch.
  2. Cookies. Except you were out of baking powder, so you left it out. Apparently, the baking powder is a more crucial cookie ingredient than it seems. You call someone to stop by the grocery store to pick up a cake.
  3. Dessert will be served on delicate china dessert plates with sterling silver tiny forks. You also plan to serve coffee in tiny cups on matching saucers with miniscule silver spoons for stirring. This ensures that everyone has twice as many plates and utensils as they actually need while simultaneously making them feel like huge cumbersome giants.
  4. Twinkies with chocolate syrup.

5. What types of centerpieces will adorn your table?
  1. Your last centerpiece unexpectedly caught on fire during dessert after you got carried away with the butane torch, so you try to avoid them.
  2. You were going to get a cornucopia at Wal-Mart but you forgot.
  3. Nothing says fall like a glorious harvest wheat centerpiece.
  4. The carved pumpkin from Halloween with the sagging part strategically angled.

6. What kind of dinnerware will you be using?

  1. Thick earthenware plates that are chip resistant and fire retardant. And skewers.
  2. Thanksgiving dishes mixed with two or three from the Christmas dish set because you dropped a few of each last year and now nothing matches.
  3. Delicate Autumn Themed China.
  4. Paper plates left over from your kid’s birthday party.

All done? Great!
Now it is time to view your results and begin enjoying your imaginary t-shirts.

If your answers were mostly A, here is your shirt:

This is really a shirt to help everyone else and not so much you.

Please take care when constructing your Alton Brown Turkey Derrick. Failure to follow the instructions can result in fire or explosion, most likely leading to property damage, personal injury, and/or death. Oh… and check the settings on your butane torch. You had the flame up way too high last year.

If your answers were mostly B, you get this one:

Who needs a cornucopia anyway? Even the word is strange.

Thanksgiving isn't really your holiday. You should delegate this holiday to someone else and focus on traditions with fewer variables. St. Patrick’s day, for example, is holiday that is more your speed. You invite some friends to a bar, have some green beer, and you’re good to go. No one even expects you to decorate.

If your answers were mostly C, here you go:

You will probably want to BeDazzle this later.

You may be finding it difficult to refrain from putting up Christmas decorations until this lesser holiday has passed. I know Thanksgiving really doesn't have the glitz and glitter of Christmas, but you can still make it work. In her Thanksgiving issue of Over-Decorating, Martha Stewart has included  instructions for several time-consuming and overly large centerpiece creations for Fall. By the time you finish arranging your citrus fruit, nuts, branches and wheat sheaves, it will be time for you to put up that long awaited Christmas tree.

If your answers were mostly D, nice work, this one's yours:

Nothing says the holidays like gas fumes.

Relax, turn on some Robert Earl Keen songs, and enjoy chain smoking through this holiday season with your kinfolk. For holiday meal ideas, you can turn to Paula Dean. She has a great bread pudding recipe that uses day old Krispy Kreme donuts, plus she does things with butter that you’re going to love.

Thank you for taking my Thanksgiving Survey.

If you, like plumsauce10, happen to “live in a country that insists of celebrating things only when completely necessary,” and you are currently “sailing through to Christmas.” You have my eternal envy.

However… you don’t get a t-shirt. Sorry.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Holiday Dinner: A Field Guide

If you are like me, and disturbed by situations that seem common place to others, you are a little bit freaked out about the upcoming holidays. For example, on Thanksgiving Day, it may seem confusing to you that family members who have spent the entire year telling you not to eat carbs are now loading you down with cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, bread rolls, and three types of pie. This is part of the bizarre nature of the holidays and you will have to learn to cope without seeming odd. Luckily, this year I am writing a field guide to get you through these types of events.

First, upon entering any dining area, you should immediately assess the number of items on the table. This will be your first clue as to the length of the meal. As a general rule, the more stuff there is on the table, the longer you will be required to linger over the meal making small talk. A good sign is to see one plate on the table per person. Also, one knife, fork, and spoon per person is a good ratio. This means that the individual in charge of planning the holiday meal has not set unreasonable expectations for the experience. You will therefore be able to eat your food and get on with the rest of your life without unreasonable delay.

However, if you enter the room and see chargers*, bowls on top of plates, multiple sizes of forks, candles, and a centerpieces of any kind, you are in for the long haul. This stuff took a long time to set up and you can’t just put food on your plate and take it to the living room to go watch TV.

You will now be required to load a plate down with food to eat while talking about relatives you barely know. You should probably go ahead and figure out what to tell people when they ask how your job is going, and why are aren’t planning to have any more kids. Despite the fact there are numerous hand-held devices with which people can be entertained, they have set up this table and prepared this food so that you will entertain them by talking. And, no… you are not allowed to piss them off.

If you are not afraid to seem odd, this shirt might deflect some unwanted attention.

Despite your enormous plate of food, you will most likely get bored at some point during this process. To aid you in making it through the experience, I have provided a list of appropriate activities you may use to distract yourself during the holiday meal. These are all approved activities. When performed within the parameters documented below, these actions will not draw undue attention to the fact that you just want to ignore everyone and play Angry Birds on your phone.

Proper dinner activities include:
  • Pushing food around the plate with your fork. This will work as long as you do not get carried away and create entire food sculptures or castles with gravy moats. Also, do not ask for extra cranberries for the finishing touches on your potato snow man. That is going way too far.
  • Intense study of the formal centerpiece. You should note that it is important not touch or prod the centerpiece in any way as they are extremely top heavy and can tumble over without warning. I don't care if you are wondering why there is a little bird in there with a pumpkin, DO NOT touch it.
  • Asking for extra ice so you can watch it melt. This activity is limited to ice placed IN the glass ONLY. Do not place melting ice in any other location.
  • Drinking more wine. 
This year, I will also be taking mental notes to enter into Twitter. This is going to be my first annual Twitter Event in which I bitchtweet** all through Thanksgiving day. I know I will have lots of time to type things into Twitter while pretending to watch the football game. I may even attempt to complete Twitter entries during the meal itself, I will let you know how this goes over. If anyone has any advice for concealing Twitter-related devices during a formal Thanksgiving type situation, I would be glad to hear it.

Explanation of Terms:

*Charger - A plate you put underneath another plate which is not actually used for eating but that you will be asked to wash by hand once the meal is over. Do not ask why you have to wash a plate that no one has, or will ever, eat from. You will never get a satisfactory explanation. Unless, of course, you ask The Bloggess. She will tell you: “They’re those fancy plates that you put plates on. They’re ridiculous. I’m not using plates for plates.” I fully agree.

**Bitchtweet - To bitch about a specific topic on Twitter. Here is an example of proper usage in  which BlogDramedy encourages me to join NaNoWriMo, a 50,000 word writing challenge: “Join in…you, me, Shouts. We can be writing buddies and sit around and bitchtweet about how many words we have not written yet.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Workplace Guidelines for People who are Me

I’m not sure why it is so difficult being me. How do seemingly simple tasks get tangled and become obscure? To figure this out, I have decided to break down an uncomplicated task that inexplicably went awry. You are coming with me to work, ready? The job for today is to add new course names to each course in this eLearning catalog. Here is the list of courses and the new course names on an Excel spreadsheet. Looks like all we need to do open each file, change the course number, republish the course, and mark completion on the spreadsheet. Simple enough. Let’s get started.

How to be Me:
  1. Open Spreadsheet.
  2. Open the first file.
  3. Suddenly remember that the intern who was testing the courses last summer found a glitch that was never addressed.
  4. Decide to take matters into your own hands.

Looking up the documentation, you see that the intern was getting unexpectedly ejected from the end of course exam. Opening one of the files, you notice that the hit area for the Cancel button is a larger size than the actual button. Clicking next to the button could cause users to inadvertently eject themselves from the scored exam. Test this for yourself to find that you are indeed unexpectedly tossed from the scored exam.

Decide that as long as the courses are being updated anyway, that this is an issue that clearly must be addressed. Add issue to the spreadsheet. Looking at the documentation, you notice another issue. The page number text field is a little too small for double digits when viewed in certain browsers. Decide to fix this issue as well and add to spreadsheet. You can also make a new spreadsheet if you feel the first is getting too crowded.

Browsing through the courses, you notice that some have the Cancel Button issue fixed while others do not. Now you need to document which courses actually need the additional updates. Feel free to start another spreadsheet for this.

Start fixing the courses, but for some reason, don’t start at the beginning of the list. You won’t remember why you started in the middle or one-third of the way through, just that it seemed like the logical thing to do at the time.  You should also consider getting so involved in making the additional changes that you forget to change the course numbers. Changing the course numbers may have been the entire aim of this project, but now it hardly seems important.  Realize, suddenly, that all spreadsheets are now completely non-informative of actual progress.

Once you have the state of the courses in complete disorder, a co-worker will ask you where you are on the project. He will also probably want a copy of the spreadsheet so he can ‘help’. Of course, he will know nothing about the Cancel Button or text field changes, or the additional 3 to 5 spreadsheets and their new fields, so any help at this point is going to be anti-help. This will be way too hard to explain. Despite the fact that he seems to think he has asked a relatively straight-forward question, look at him blankly.

He will persist. You might as well just tell him you have no idea where he should start on the spreadsheets, or even which spreadsheet as there are now three of them. He will now give you a familiar look of condescension to which you are immune.

Showing Progress

Of course, you will need some way to report progress that is specialized for this unorthodox method of completing a project. Allow me to provide with some guidelines:

Your boss, at some point, will want to know how your team is progressing on a given project. When reporting progress, always go with a percentage.  I usually go with 85%. Sometimes, my boss will look at me funny and insist, “That is exactly what you said when I asked for a progress report on the other thing.” At this point, I try to look both surprised and enlightened, before changing the number to 82% or sometimes 86%.

If at any point in this process, people become agitated with me, I usually explain that they only have to put up with this for less that 8 hours a day, while I have to live with my brain all the time. They seem sympathetic.

How to NOT be Me:

Just change the damn course numbers.