Welcome to JTC Inc.

Chaps: because if they had an ass, they'd just be called pants.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

One Year on the Corporate Calendar

I've recently completed one year of service at my current place of employment and have amassed a list of gripes on working in a national corporate office, which I'm sure are very familiar to anyone working in an office.

The Legal and Compliance Departments
Answers you receive from legal counsel and compliance officers are hilarious and ALWAYS non-commital. In my limited dealings with these departments I've learned to never expect a direct answer to a direct question. This would be an answer received from a lawyer in a hypothetical meeting:
Q. "What colour is my shirt?"
A. "That depends on what the legal definitions of 'colour', 'my', 'is', 'shirt' and 'what' are."
And compliance officers nearly wet themselves when given the opportunity to write a new Protocol or Standard whether it's needed or not.

Goodbye parties/emails
My particular department has seen several people leaving in the past few months and shortly after the announcement of a co-worker leaving, the "surprise goodbye party" meeting invite follow right behind. I don't think anyone leaving has been surprised, especially the last two or three days before they move to their next job when they are invited to an "Important meeting - must attend" at 12:45 to 1pm - lasting only 15 mins. During the 'party', which is just in an open area on our office gathering with a platter of cookies and goodbye card, the person leaving usually tells of "what a great team you have here" and "how this experience has changed their lives". If they don't say it during the party, they definitely send our that tripe in a goodbye email. The best goodbye email I've ever received was from a intern student who was only with us for four months
"Eventful, High on Learning and a Defining Time: A possible description of my summer term. I was fortunate to work with a very talented and supportive team for my project over the summer. Today is my last day and I take away with me, new & improved skills besides valuable industry knowledge."
If you are leaving your job anytime soon, I highly recommend using the above to 1) not burn any bridges and 2) kiss the ass of your former co-workers who you will, likely, need to use as a reference sometime in the near future.

Ass Kissing
This ties nicely with goodbye emails. Perhaps it's the line of work I'm in, but there are certain people who can't resist a good chance to kiss some ass. Examples include: senior employee asking "why did you just have a meeting with that VP? The next time you have a meeting with him, can you make sure I'm on the floor?" and "Can you get me invited to a project close party? I heard some of the Senior Exec's are going to be there." Note: both occurences were from one person, but he has the highest Ass Kissing Quotient in the company.

Blackberry-ing during meetings
This has to be my #1 gripe. I've been in several meetings where senior execs can't leave their blackberries alone for more than 30 seconds. Checking your email while someone gives you a presentation or update on YOUR business doesn't seem like you have your priorities straight. It came to the point recently where I tested an exec by telling him that "you should expect to lose $10M of revenue if you doesn't do what I say." just to see if he was paying attention. That didn't really happen. I'm not ballsy enough to do it, but I encourage you to try it (note: I take no responsibility if you get fired)

War rooms
Now, I don't know why we need these in corporate offices. Who are the enemies in these corporate wars? Are they totaling up casuality figures in there? Or planning counter attacks on insurgents? It's interesting to note that of the war rooms which are current designated as such, all remain unoccupied for 95% of the business day. Looks like those wars aren't being fought very well. They might need to "parachute in" more people to help.

That is all for now.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Beyond Thunderdome

Since gas prices jumped to a couple of dollars per liter last year (and have since returned to the bargain-basement price of ~$0.80-$0.90 cents per liter), many of us have been wondering just what the forecasted energy crises will bring to our society. Many analysts' claims, especially those of peak oil theory, warn of a not so distant future whereby we will be forced to adapt to a non-fossil fuel based economy.

In the height of the gas gouging, it was shocking to hear of a few fist fights over the next spot in line at the pumps. This lead to numerous discussions over what our world will look like in 10 to 20 years, and how it would basically be like mad max where the land is an arid desert and we are running around with machines strapped together.

Now I'm not so sure. As I walked on Bloor street last night, I fear that we are already there, deep into the degradation of society, the loss of prosperity and hope, that we are, in the year 2006... beyond thunderdome.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Rash of false starts sweeps across the downtown core

Toronto [Globe and Mail]
Tuesday, January 17th, 2005

The new year begins as the last year ended - with a record number of shootings across the City of Toronto. In recent months shootings have escalated, not only making it a key issue in the federal campaign, but also shocking many citizens into jumping prematurely from the start line of the many of the half and full marathons run in Toronto.

"This is not the same community I grew up in. In my youth I recall starting races to the sound of a single gunshot" claimed Ashton Briggs, a seasoned Toronto marathoner. "Multiple gunshots have disqualified a lot of innocent runners."

Police Chief Bill Blair sent out a message demanding "all armed criminals use silencers on all their firearms to prevent these tragic, uncoordinated starts."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Don't be fooled by the rocks that I've got, I'm just Coco from the Bloc

Either I've lost touch with the pulse of Canadian politics, or Canadian politicians have lost touch with me, and my pulse. I can't justify a ballot for any candidate, and I therefore I plan to offer the people of the Trinity-Spadina riding and myself an alternative: myself.

As I understand it, under a majority conservative government run by the robotic Stephen Harper, it's likely that gays would lose the right to choose an abortion, and women would lose the right to marry. That's right: Abortion-choosing gays and matrimonial women would lose basic human rights in this country with a conservative majority.

At 67, not only has Paul Martin probably started decaying, but his party stole money, which is generally frowned upon in the public sector. Also, I'm not a fan of the bragging, particularly about huge budget surpluses. Is a massive surplus really a good thing? If I hired someone to renovate a bathroom for me, and they quoted me $4000 for the job, and then when the job was done, they were all "Hey, actually, the job only cost $3000 - so I'll just go ahead and spend the extra $1000 on stuff I think would really spruce this place up", I would fire the guy immediately and beat the spare $1000 out of his hide.

Layton isn't so appealing either. While I'm a fan of his common-sense tone, his plan to spend $71.5 Billion over the next four years is eerily similar to the personal budgets of many of my close friends who are always asking me to borrow money.

That's why, constituents of Trinity-Spadina, I am your new voice. I feel our collective dissatisfaction with the current federalists is very much in tune with the Bloc Quebecois, and that's why I will be your Bloc candidate for Trinity-Spadina. With your vote, we can pull Trinity-Spadina out of this wasteful, undemocratic federalist regime and get a fresh start - a new, sprawling sovereign nation, right here in downtown Toronto, running from Dovercourt to University, Dupont to the lakeshore.

To the future,
L'Hon Coco The Monkey
Le Chef du Bloc Quebecois
(that's right, le fucking Chef)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Movie Reviews

Over the weekend, I viewed two movies - "Dig!" and "Mr and Mrs. Smith", and thought I would use this space to write rambling reviews of both.

Let's start off with "Dig!". Now, I hate to disappoint any amateur (or professional) geologists out there, but this movie has little to do with excavating earth. Rather, it is the tale of two California bands - The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre - who started around the same time, in very close proximity to each other and enjoyed a love/hate relationship.

Speaking of strained relationships, when this movie was released a couple of years ago, I thought it sounded superb, and racked my brains trying to think of who else might be interested in seeing it with me. The only name I could come up with was that of one Co-Co The Monkey. The following conversation ensued:

JohnnyM: "Hey Co-Co - have you heard of a movie called "Dig!"? It's supposed to be really good."
Co-Co: "Oh yeah - it's fantastic. I went to go see it last weekend. It's really good. You should go."
JohnnyM: "I hate you."

So - I didn't manage to see it until this weekend. Let me tell you - it really was great. Out of all the movies that Co-Co has screwed me out of seeing, it's definitely top 5. I'm going to get my ass on Kazaa tonight, to try to download some Brian Jonestown Massacre songs...the band leader seemed completely psychotic, but the music sure sounded good.

Now, on to "Mr and Mrs Smith". This movie was really pretty typical Hollywood crap. As I was sitting through it, I was thinking about the results of this movie, and who benefited from it. Basically, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie hooked up, sales of celeb gossip mags went through the roof, and through adoption, Cambodian orphans became this season's "must-have" accessory. I have therefore concluded that this film was in all likelihood financed almost entirely by celeb gossip mags, and Cambodian orphans. QED.

To conclude: "Dig!" is awesome, "Mr and Mrs Smith" is not, Co-Co can't be trusted, and Cambodian orphans have deep enough pockets to finance Hollywood blockbusters.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Lost in Translation

From: Peter
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2006 12:40 PM
To: Pchrist
Subject: RE: Little help please

That's funny, because we have a woman who lives in Windsor that works in our office. She has this breakfast snack bar sitting in the drawer and is has a French and English name. The English name is Sweet Mornings. The French translation is "Les p'tits bonjours" on the snack. So myself and my fellow clerks have been saying "Hello Titties = Sweet Mornings". Bonjours my lovely titties it is a Sweet Morning! Looks like we might be right.

From: Pchrist
To: "Peter
Subject: RE: Little help please
Date: Tue, 3 Jan 2006 12:30:57 -0500

"Doux matin"

-----Original Message-----

From: Peter
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2006 10:10 AM
To: Pchrist
Subject: Little help please

This is very important and I don't know where to turn. I figured someone north of the border would have better luck answering this than anyone else, so you're my only hope. Here it goes....How do you say "Sweet Mornings" in French?

Player-hater Layton voices strategic voting concerns

Ottawa [Globe and Mail]
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

Jack Layton has sent out a clear warning to Canadian voters: "Voting Liberal isn't being smart - it's being played." The comments, given in the context of hip-hop culture, were made during an Ottawa address that kicked off the final weeks of the campaign leading up to the Jan. 23 ballot.

Recent polls have shown that even for staunch NDP supporters, the idea of a Conservative government is troubling. Layton went on to discuss how the Liberal strategy uses this fear to position themselves as the only viable alternative, allowing the Liberals to "play the field" and have multiple active sexual relationships simultaneously by using deception and romantic attachment.

Although polls indicate that Canadians prefer the more centrist Liberal policy, Layton insisted that "those who are now thinking of strategically voting for Paul Martin to stop a Stephen Harper government are being duped. Thunder only happens when it's raining; Players only love you when they are playing."