Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Gus Walks Into A Bar

There was a scene in a recent episode of Better Call Saul that hit close to home. Gus Fring, ordinarily a murderous drug cartel kingpin (*note, this is not the aspect I related to), was having a quiet moment drinking a glass of red wine at a bar. Soon enough, a sommelier appeared and he and Gus went on to have a conversation sprinkled with the kinds of small nods and “I remember you telling me” type comments indicating familiarity and comfort. Gus does most of the listening, reveling in the story telling of his companion who reminisces about a long ago trip to Europe and how the types of soil grapes are grown in affects the wine that they produce. Their conversation is lightly flirtatious and when they discuss a wine Gus purchased at the sommelier’s recommendation and for which Gus was waiting for a special occasion to open, it appears a more intimate conclusion to the evening is afoot. But when the sommelier excuses himself to retrieve another bottle of wine he wants to share, Gus discreetly reaches into his pocket, peels off four $100 bills, and asks the bartender to tell the sommelier he (Gus) has been called away.

 It is a sad coda. Here is a lonely man so emotionally distant from the world that he is willing to pay for a few minutes of enjoyable conversation but deny himself physical pleasure. I have a person like this in my life. Someone I get together with from time to time to just talk, mostly about what is happening in her life, her job, family, challenges she faces in working her way through the world. We go out to dinner or a movie, sometimes we just got ice cream at The Bent Spoon. It is all very innocent and a small respite for me from the reminders that I am unhappy in my own life and yet I feel awful every time I see her. She is lovely and engaging – that is not it – it is my own self-loathing that I am so damaged I need to pay someone to keep me company knowing they are (at best) just sort of nodding along.

Friday, July 8, 2022

The End of Ambition


There comes a time, often without notice, when you quietly transition from someone with ambition to someone who accepts that certain things will not happen for you professionally. I have been thinking a lot about this lately because I realized I am now on the other side of things. As the old saying about bankruptcy goes, it happens gradually than suddenly. Some promotional opportunities I did not get that chipped away at my self-confidence (maybe I am not as smart and talented as I thought I was). A whisper or two about being difficult to work with (sorry for having high standards of the people who work for me). My own bad decisions when presented with options and choosing the wrong one.

The story has layers and I cannot point to any one thing that led me to this place, just an accumulation over time. Mike Ehrmentraut observed that we all make choices and those choices put us on a road that leads in a certain direction and that sometimes those decisions seem small but they are choices nonetheless. I think there is a lot of truth to that. Personally, I think of it more like being on a road headed in a certain direction – you have some goal you are trying to reach, for me, it was to become a judge – and you make decisions you think will get you closer to that goal. Over time, your choices get you closer to, or, in my case, completely out of reach, of that goal. Worse, those decisions, ones you made and ones others made for you, affect your day-to-day livelihood. The annoying clients. The endless office bureaucracy. The assignments you do not like but cannot turn down. The dipshit partners who think you are simply a cog in the machine and could not give one tiny shit about your well-being. It all piles up.

And if that was not enough, being of a certain age tempers your motivation to change things. Why go on a job search for something else that will make me unhappy in different ways when I can just wait a few years and retire? Am I willing to give up the things that I like about my job (or at least view as selling points) such as the short commute, decent retirement benefits, and health plan, for a job that I might have to drive longer to do, will contribute money into a different retirement account instead of just staying here and investing in the one I have, and might make me change doctors who are not in whatever plan this hypothetical other job uses. And that is before I even get into looking for such a job and going through the interviews, etc. etc.

Not to mix metaphors, but all of this also has that frog in the boiling pot of water vibe to it. You know that one – a frog put in room temperature water will be slower to jump out as the heat gets turned up but if you dropped a frog into a pot of already boiling water, it will jump out immediately. Things have sucked for a while, except they always seemed manageable but now I just feel so deeply unhappy knowing that there is nothing ahead of me but day after soul crushing day of misery until I can quit this shit job and it just makes me fucking miserable.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

(Almost) Ran Into A Rain Storm

Having an anxiety disorder is not fun. Take the following: yesterday, I was watching the local news. During the weather forecast the meteorologist reported that heavy thunderstorms would be coming through the area right about the time I would be leaving for work this morning. I generally do not like driving in heavy rain storms (who does?) and so I immediately became stressed out about it. How did this manifest further? Trouble sleeping. I woke up at 2 A.M. and then tossed and turned until around 4 A.M. My plan was to see how things looked and leave as early as possible for work if the rain had not started before I left. 

The skies were very overcast and rain looked imminent. The morning weather was not of much help as it suggested the rain would come a little later. Not wanting to risk anything, I left very early (about 6:15 A.M.) Sure enough, five minutes after pulling into the parking garage, a deluge started, which I watched comfortably from my office window thinking "finally, my anxiety helped me."  

Sunday, June 12, 2022

2022 So Far ...

I was almost killed (twice, and in completely unrelated ways), got a $28,000 raise at the job I hate, and the only physical contact I've had with another human being was when the old guy who mans the self-checkout at Shop-Rite gave me a hug when he told me he was retiring. How is your year going? 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Hardest Office Trivia Quiz On The Internet

Over the last 3 months or so, I have been posting a trivia question each day about the TV show The Office. Take this quiz if you dare and see how much you know about our friends in Scranton, Pennsylvania:

1.    In Casino Night Pam and Jim square off in a hand of Texas Hold 'Em. What

hand does Jim have? What hand does Pam have? And who wins?

2.    On Valentine's Day, Michael and the other regional managers go to New York

City to meet the company's new CFO, David Wallace. Michael shows David a

video. What is the title of the video? What is the name of the song Michael uses

in the video? And what is the name of Michael's production company?

3.     What is Angela's middle name?

4.    What is Michael and Jan's safe word?

5.    What is Kevin's favorite movie?

6.    What does "IAATG" stand for?

7.    What online screen name does Nellie use to troll Andy in the comment

section of the office's promo video?

8.    What is the name of the receptionist at Dunder Mifflin Utica?

9.    What was Pam and Roy's wedding date?

10.  What were the last two movies Robert California screened in his home


11.  As a member of Here Comes Treble, what is Andy Bernard's signature


12.  In Beach Games, Michael splits the office into four teams to compete for his

job. Who were the team leaders and what were the team names?

13.  Michael has a neon sign in his condo. What brand of beer is featured on it? 

14.  What is Dunder Mifflin Scranton's mailing address?

15.  Name the members of the office Dwight brought with him to Tallahassee to

launch the Sabre store.

16.  What is Mrs. California's first name? 

17.  In Season Eight, the gang goes to Philly for a bar trivia night. Name the

members of the winning team and their team name.

18.  Who was the Michael Scott Paper Company's first customer?

19.  Who was in DeAngelo's inner circle? 

20.  In the first season episode Basketball Jim and Pam discuss their respective 

plans for that weekend. What was Pam going to do? What was Jim going to do?

21.  Meredith brings her son into the office on Take Your Daughter To Work Day.

Three part question: What is her son's name? Why did she bring him to the

office? What nickname did he give to Dwight? 

22.  What is Dwight's favorite movie? 

23.  When Andy first arrives in Scranton, he mentions three things he will do to

become the number two guy in the office. What are they? 

24.  What does Flankerton translate to in English? 

25.  At Schrute Farm, Dwight has three themed bedrooms for guests. What are

they and which one did Pam pick when she and Jim stayed there? 

26.  In the movie Threat Level Midnight, who plays the role of Goldenface? 

27.  In Season Nine, what was the name of the Scranton-area artist Pam was

competing against for the commission to paint the Irish-American Cultural Center


28.  What was the name of the bar where Michael and Concierge Marie met? 

29.  In the board game Belles Bourbon and Bullets, who is the murderer?

30.  What is Dunder Mifflin's stock symbol and according to Oscar what does it

stand for?

31.  Where did Erin work before she started working at Dunder Mifflin? 

32.  What is Michael's nephew's name and what are his two favorite movies? 

33.  What is Pam's favorite yogurt flavor?

34.  In the Season Two episode The Dundies what does Phyllis win an award


35.  In Business School, Michael mentions five "goliaths" America is facing. Name


36.  What are the five possible conflict resolution outcomes? 

37.  What is Andy's WiFi password?

38.  What song does Angela walk down the aisle to at her wedding to Dwight? 

39.  What is Pam and Roy's song? 

40.  At whose concert did Michael think he got high accidentally?

41.  What are Pam's five desert island movies?

42.  Which branch won the weight loss contest?

43.  What does the acronym "HERO" stand for?

44.  What is Pam's middle name? 

45.  What was Jim's golf score when he, Andy, and Kevin played a round with

Phil Maguire?

46.  What was Michael's room number at the hotel he stayed at in Philadelphia

during the third season episode The Convention?

47.  In the Martin family, what is “Looks like someone took the slow train from

Philly” code for? 

48.  What is Ryan Howard's middle name?

49.  What real-life actor appears in the Sabre welcome video?

50.  What was Jo Bennett's mom's occupation?

51.  When Dwight becomes acting Manager in Season 7, what job title does he

give all his co-workers in the office?

52.  What was the dress code for Andy's garden party?

53.  What is the cash value of a Schrute Buck?  

54.  What is the name of companion piece to the Vagina Monologues that Andy


55.  What is the title of Pam's YA book and the name of the main character?

56.  What are the names of Dwight's siblings?

57.  During what month does the office go on a booze cruise of Lake


58.  According to Ryan, what is Michael's greatest fear?

59.  What part time job does Andy's Season 3 girlfriend Jamie have?

60.  When Meredith brings her son Jake to the office for take your daughter to

work day, what phrase is on his t-shirt?

61.  At beach day, who won the hot dog eating contest and how many hot dogs

did the winner eat?

62.  What is the secret code to enter the office Dwight gets wrong after becoming

Regional Manager?

63.  What is Erin's first name?

64.  Name the song performed by the cast of Glee during the episode Viewing


65.  What is Karen's husband's name and what does he do for a living?

66.  What was Andy's SAT score?

67.  After Jim temporarily steps away from Athlead, where does the company

relocate to and what is its new company name? 

68.  According to Kelley, what do three, four, and five dots at the end of a text

message signify, respectively?

69.   What is Gabe's middle name?

70.  Who are the bosses of the Scranton Business Park's Five Families? 

71.  When Val joins the office she is in a relationship. What was the name of her

boyfriend and what did he do for a living?

72.  While doing karate, what did Dwight name his fists and feet?

73.  When the office met a sales goal in Season Eight, Andy agreed to get a

tattoo. Two part question: where on his body did he get the tattoo and what was


74.  What is Jim's roommate's name?

75.  What is the name of the Hooters waitress who served Michael and Jim in The


76.  What is the last word of the poem Michael wrote for Pam before she left to

study at the Pratt Institute in New York City? 

77.  What year was Dunder Mifflin formed?  

78.  Who are the founding members of The Finer Things Club? 

79.  How old was Michael when he lost his virginity?

80.  What did Michael originally give Toby as a going away present and what did

the note attached to that gift say?

81.  At the 2005 Dundies, what award did Pam win?

82.  What musical instrument does Robert California play?  

83.  Where is Ryan working when Michael recruits him to work for the Michael

Scott Paper Company?

84.  What are the nicknames Michael gives the employees of DM Utica when he

presents to them as part of his lecture circuit?

85.  What restaurant does Michael take Erin to for Secretary’s Day?

86.  What medical ailment does Andy suffer from?

87.  What is the name of Pam’s friend who Dwight hooks up with at Pam and

Jim’s wedding and what does she do for a living?

88.  Which members of the office invest in Ryan’s business idea,

89.  What does “BTB” stand for?

90.  When Dwight becomes acting manager in Season Seven, he obtains a new

desk. Whose desk is Dwight’s desk modeled after?

91.  What is the office’s computer server password?

92.  What does Nate have written on the other side of his resumé?

93.  Which member of the office is allergic to dairy products?

94.  Which tournament did Kevin win at the 2002 World Series of Poker?

95.  What is Karen’s favorite brand and flavor of potato chips?

96.  What is the name of the fake salesman Jim and Dwight create to get around

Sabre’s commission cap and which actual office employee claims to be him

when Harry Generale from DM Syracuse comes to visit?

97.  When Andy first transfers to DM-Scranton, what kind of car is he driving?

98.  Name the song Michael and Jim performed a duet karaoke version of in E

mail Surveillance.

99.  Name the song Pam and Meredith performed a duet karaoke version of in


100.  Name as many of the eighteen pretzel toppings offered on Pretzel Day that you can. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Office Trivia Question For May 20, 2022

When Andy first arrives at DM Scranton, what kind of car is he driving?

Answer to yesterday's question: Lloyd Gross, played by Toby. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Office Trivia Question For May 19, 2022

What is the name of the fake salesman Jim and Dwight create to get around Sabre's commission cap and which actual office employee claims to be him when Harry Generale visits DM Scranton from DM Syracuse?

Answer to yesterday's question: Herr's Salt and Vinegar.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Office Trivia Question For May 18, 2022

What is Karen's favorite brand and flavor of potato chip?

Answer to yesterday's question: Kevin won the $2,500 No Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Tournament 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Office Trivia Question For May 17, 2022

Which tournament did Kevin win at the 2002 World Series of Poker?

Answer to yesterday's question: Meredith

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Office Trivia Question For May 16, 2022

Which member of the office is allergic to dairy products?

Answer to yesterday's question: A chili recipe.