Author Archives: homeoffice

American Idol Season 14 Premier Part I: Hold on to your Go Pro, kids, it’s Idol time!

You know how people say that in your 30s you really get to “know who you are?”  Well our truth lies in the fact that we love American Idol. I encouraged my husband to write down his amazing summaries typically saved for family. So i did too, because am I just going to sit around and look like an idiot while he’s doing this?

Will’s take:

American Idle

There is a fairly good chance that by this time next year I will not remember more than 3 of Season 14’s Top 12 but as of now I can’t wait to get a peek at this year’s crop of underwhelming teens and 20 somethings. But wait – hold onto your golden tickets – it’s an “Idol first! “As Ryan dramatically tells us, this season we’ll get to see the top 24 BEFORE the actual auditions. #idoldesperation

I don’t like it already. Why are they spoiling my fun for the first several weeks as I go city to city with the gang in search of the next Taylor Hicks or Kris Allen???  Let’s let this thing play out….What’s the rush????

As I grumble, we are shown a dramatic opening and behold – instead of seeing the Idols, I am just teased with their silhouettes and will spend the next 3 fortnights trying to match voices and body types with the shadowy figures I caught a glimpse of in this special “idol first”. This might not be as bad as I thought, but why the need for an overproduced opening which looked like a post-apocalyptic movie outtake. Too much polish at this stage of the game. I like my talent raw.  If something with my Idols is going to be over-produced, I want there to be a Ford Fiesta involved.

As we move through week 1, I am keeping my eye out for what might become the Selfie of Season 14. The producers have already gone overboard with lame hashtags (were you racing to see what people were saying about #IdolSlowDance?) and Ryan has surely lost his selfie dignity with last year’s fixation on photos. Will “guitar go-pro” become a household term among AIs Greatest Generation viewing base? Or will this new “wall” somehow become an inane and annoying prop referenced all season?

In terms of talent, there were a few kids that piqued my interest but I am finding myself less inspired by these stories and more worried that the talented barista might have his “days serving coffee over” – but only because he cant get his job back after being sent home from Hollywood. How many of these would be stars “make it” to the AI big stage only to have reality come crashing back in? It doesn’t take too long as the AARP sponsored tour cancels dates soon after those kids get on the bus.

I bet you can find Jeena Irene playing in an Elk’s Club in Ann Arbor Michigan right now.

For now – let’s remain hopeful though.

It’s season 14 and my Wednesday and Thursday nights are locked in for the winter. It’s time to hibernate, hunker down, eat take out and find our top 12.

I am also excited that I think the shine is starting to wear off Harry. Last season my wife was all about HCJ but I sense his self confidence and “goofy” antics are wearing thin. Harry’s days as the ladies’ favorite are numbered. I’m calling it.

—————-

Hollie’s take: 

Don’t quit that coffee job yet, son

We are very excited to welcome Season 14 of American Idol into our household this evening.  Much like how one needs to work on their marriage after its shiny newness fades, in recent years we’ve been betting on all things Idol to shake things up, along with my sister and brother in law, Joy and John. This competition of using our own Jimmy Iovine skills to guess who will be eliminated week after week culminates in a bottle of whiskey being handed to the victor. A bottle of whiskey adorned with the likenesses of each of the top 12 kids, whose names quickly become trivia questions during long drives (we rarely remember their names when we go to make the bottle after obsessing over them for the season, fame is fleeting, kids). Joy has won the past three years. Will and I are downright embarrassed by this losing streak, distracted by picking winners from the doe eyed boy band types and church gospel enthusiasts, forgetting the demo of the American Idol viewer are 43 year old accounts receivable ladies from Indianapolis.

Right from the get go, I’m concerned. I get a text from my sister before our Indian food arrives asking if we saw, “the new rules.” I’m assuming she’s referring to Ryan introducing the docent mediocre voices of the top 24, shockingly revealed in silhouette. What’s running through my mind is, “do we keep this episode on DVR so we can cheat when selecting our top 24?”   Then, a startling abbreviated version of the intro music queues up the night— the Idol “ooohooooh” are autotuned this year, this can’t be good!

Our first stop on the tour is Nashville, which, Keith Urban, is NOT YOUR HOMETOWN so please stop!

We shook off the discomfort of the disguised singing silhouettes as we slipped into the certainty of the first person being really good, anyone with B roll from their home getting a ticket, and the Ghetto Kid who would die if they didn’t have music and they aren’t that great but oh my god, GIVE THEM A TICKET JLO so they can stay in a hotel for a few days and can I adopt them??

My favorite guy of the night didn’t get a ticket, but he was the token weirdo, and from staten island, and kinda looked like my sister if she were a not as attractive dude.

 idol
BIZZARO JOY

 

I’m concerned to highly concerned about the Go Pros on everyone’s guitars… is this the “selfie” of 2015?

The auditions were fairly banal, but gun to my head I pick Corey, the kid from the coffee shop across the street who got an hour off of work to audition. Season 14 ain’t my first rodeo, I know that Corey probably spent a solid 27 hours total in auditions and call backs. And I’m also fairly certain that every single employee at this coffee shop also went across the street to audition, so I’ll just have to let it go and count it as part of the Idol Magic that sweeps us off our feet every year.

I am happy to see the ‘you didn’t make it’ reel at the end, if only because it’s nice that kids today are still legitimately upset about not making it to Hollywood.

There’s a teaser that tomorrow’s show promises us the best from the Idol Bus Tour, which is something we have just come to accept that we’ll never understand.

GIDDY UP, I’m winning that friggin whiskey this year!

Bootcamp at work, now that’s a great idea

I have a track record of signing up for activities without really thinking them through. “Yeah, a learn-to-rockclimb weekend sounds great, despite my panic attacks in dangerous situations!”  “Going on a solo 7 day horse back riding vacation in Costa Rica, without having ridden horses regularly in years, sounds like an adventure of a lifetime!” “Yes! I’ll go for a ride on your motorcycle, even though I don’t even like riding in cars!”

So naturally, when I saw that my company was offering free bootcamp classes, I signed up without hesitation.  “What a great opportunity to work out more!,” said she who owns an “Exercise… It Blows” T-shirt!

japan excercise Exercising with your coworkers is a great idea!

The first sign of trouble was running into a coworker changing for the class in the bathroom.  Something just gets all uncomfortable up in here when you see a person switch out of their button down and put on a “Bridgeport 5K Turkey Trot” T-shirt. And the shorts. Oh, the shorts.

There you are, standing in your company’s workout room, looking at the guy from legal and the lady you always see at the coffee machine anxiously, awkwardly faux stretching (you know, the arm in front of your body move), and wishing you were just answering fn emails at your desk.

You would think that the introduction of the hot Latino trainer would help smooth things over. Quite the opposite, because hot men just make me anxious. He was walking around the room, asking everyone if they had any injuries and what their goals were for the class. Goals. I’m about 80% sure he heard me dare my gay coworker to answer , “To bang the instructor.”  I also made the mistake of mentioning  a back problem, which means that the entire rest of class I got a special call out… “How’s that back doing?” Awesome, extra attention on me while doing burpees in front of people I have to follow up with about unpaid invoices.

Successful businesspeople meditating in the office.

I did manage to do a mental shift and plough through unselfconsciously. That is until I heard those horrible words that tie my stomach in knots in any situation: “Everybody find a buddy!”

I felt like Kramer in that scene when he’s trying to get a seat on the subway as I watch everyone I know partner up.  I end up with a guy I don’t know, and am then asked to get on the floor and face him. And interlock our legs. I now feel like I’m at a horrible match making event at a bar in midtown.   For 3 sets of 30, using this sales dude I don’t know’s legs as leverage, there I was, doing sit ups, high fiving as we both reached the top of the motion, glaring directly in his grimacing face as his abdominal muscles fatigued, his shorts creeping up with each rep.

I might be stupid enough to sign up for these sorts of things, but thank you sweet lord that I was smart enough to wear LONG PANTS.

The unwind

Contrary to the theme of this blog, I actually take a good day to unwind once on vacation*. The first night’s sleep is filled with anxiety-induced dreams, and waking up with a start regarding things I forgot to hand off or am worried about getting into trouble for if not done properly.

But those first night dreams result in me waking up too early (read: still drunk) and firing off a few emails addressed to Boss with rapid-fire CYA nuggets. Once this last burst of passive aggressiveness is off my mind, I drift off to “i don’t give a fuck” land, where I’m currently unpacking my bags as we speak.

* Opposed to post-vacation, where my schtick includes me strolling in, proclaiming, “so…. what it is that I do here?” I also like to answer my phone, then place my hand over the receiver and ask someone, “We sell pancake batter here, right?” I think the kids in the office laugh just like you do when Uncle Phil pulls that quarter from behind your ear.

Brooklyn, but for realsie

We are in Ithaca for our xth vacation up here. The irony that Ithaca is exactly like Brooklyn, where we live… but 4.5 hours away… is not lost on us. “hey kids, let’s get in a car for a long time to get to a place that is exactly like here, but away! And with worse pizza!”

20130728-225918.jpg

If we wanted to see this hippie at the Ithaca farmer’s market, for example, we could have walked up the park for 15 minutes. But there is something different — more authentic– about the way that people look down on you when you tell them that no, you did not bring your own bag. They aren’t just building a chicken coop for fun and to say they did. And they aren’t just TELLING you they are relaxed. It’s for realsie. These people are relaxed. Dinner will take you 60 minutes to get after you order. But their hippydome is for REALSIE.

I think it’s bc at the end of the day, Brooklyn people work and live in New York City. And you just can’t wash that intense funk off of you by working a 2.75 hour co-op shift.

Another funny note about Ithaca is that waitstaff/ hotel staff are infinitely more concerned with our dogs’ welfare. We waited for 60 minutes for food, but someone approached us saying, “I’m the owner… do the dogs need more water?” Our kinda place.

For the record, people up here are NOT relaxed about fracking. That shit really riles them up!

I’m that lady!

While admiring a co-worker’s neat desk last week, I proclaimed that my workspace is something between a frat house and a spinster’s apartment. To help move the needle toward the latter, my Mom just gave me this, which I CANNOT wait to debut tomorrow:

20130721_212843I’m so bringing a doily coaster around w/ me to conference rooms

The Summer Outing

It’s that time of year again, when HR decides that we really want to hang out with our coworkers AND their families instead of just giving us a half day off. Oh, and this year they want to make sure it’s interactive.  So my usual strategy of finding my pack of work friends and do our part to make sure the company ends up on the right side of the open bar ROI calculation is now moot.

ImageC’mon assholes, let’s try to figure out how to get across this fake bridge while reminding ourselves at how annoyingly competitive the sales guys are!

I always talk about just dodging out and enjoying a free half day on my own. However, year after year I get swept up in with free t-shirts and coming up with team names and whathaveyou, and my declaration of “i’m just having a beer and then ditching” ends up with me splitting a cab after the third after party bar and my husband shaking his head, saying, “You don’t even like these people, did you really just waste a bender on them?”

Summer outings are a unique social experiment as there are several dynamics at play:

  • The breeders v. the singles: Are there any phrases that can suck the fun out of day drinking more than, “Spouses and families invited”?  IMMEDIATELY the cool single people will start an email campaign pleading to the crew to NOT  bring their SOs.  And is there anything more awkward than doing Irish car bombs when the COO’s 12 year old is waiting in line for a coke?  I’m in this weird middle ground, as I’m definitely now the oldest person without kids.  Do the young people want me around? I don’t think so. Do the parents want me around?  I don’t think so.  the company should really just give me my own drink voucher for the bar next to the office.
  • The executives v. the rest of us: There is nothing ‘FUN’ about learning that the VP of sales is on your scavenger hunt team.  Or awkwardly running into the CFO while you’re double fisting and making some stupid comment about “making sure the company got its money worth” or overexplaining about how the creative team keeps making me go to the bar for them, because they did so much extra work for me over the past week, and they really work so hard, and uh, yeah that’s why there are two jack and cokes in my hand.
  • The HR people vs. everyone else: The summer outing is the HR department’s Conference Championship (not to be confused with the Don’t-call-it-a-Christmas-party- Holiday party, which is the Superbowl). Their pre-event hype-building emails, their fliers reminding you to GET PUMPED on the refrigerator, their nervous energy while corralling everyone to shut down their computers and leave for the party, and then desperate please to pry everyone away from the booze and play the Giant Jenga game. Go away!!

I do have fond memories of some amazing summer outings in my youth. Like convincing the coach bus driver to pull over to a rest stop so we could — cough cough– pee (load up on booze). Or shoving bottles of whiskey down my shirt on the way out (hey, we paid for it, right?). Or laughing at a coworker who ended up having a full conversation with his beer. Now that i think about it, that all happened at one very long party.

Anywho, as long as there is corporate, there will be summer outings. You know, for morale.

You know what this means

W and I are circling back to a lot of abandoned blog posts, which means one thing: one or both of us is probably pretty close to a sabbatical (i.e., quitting/ getting fired)!  Live From the Home Office is being resurrected, with even more angst! 

Absolute crazy by the dashboard light

Unfortunately I am still at my job. But to celebrate W no longer being at his (I have to tell you, this kid’s ability to work -no pun intended- the corporate severance system is legendary), I thought the least I could do was start blogging under the Live from the Home Office pretense once again!

I figure a  good segue in is this year’s rendition of Celebrity Apprentice.* This show has long fallen off of our TV radar, until I  came across the press release for the current season when it was first announced. I called W from my desk immediately. I believe the call went like this:

“Hi.  DVR. Celebrity Apprentice. LaToya Jackson. Star Jones. Little John. Meat Loaf. And… wait for it… Gary F’n Busey.**

Anywho, it’s been amazing. But the breakout star has to be Meat Loaf. Is Meat Load two words? I dunno, and i don’t care enough to google it. Every week, he is an absolute disaster. He has ridiculous ideas that he can’t articulate. He cries 3-4 times. He screams at coworkers with veins bulging out of his head.   And then, I had an epiphany a couple sundays ago:

Oh my God, my working style is just like that of Meat Loaf, my coworkers must hate me!

I won’t even get into how Meat Loaf himself has ruined Meat Loaf songs for us for the rest of our lives. But, the next time I went to scream aloud in our oh-so-trendy open office plans, I stopped and really, honestly said to myself, “Imagine how Little John would react to your actions.”

*I’ve been urged by many to document the horrific wedding planning experience I had ,  but I need to go under far, deep cover and to be honest, too soon, too soon.

** We have been diligently searching for I’m with Busey on DVD to no avail. Hopefully we can find it before our vacation in a couple weeks.

Look at me, I’m sailing

During a videochat with a friend this evening, W declared that there is a potential flaw with taking a cruise out of Brooklyn (as we were all collaborating to do, on a whim):

“Imagine thinking that you’re on a cruise ship to the Caribbean only to realize you got on the Ikea shuttle ferry instead!”

He then added, “I’m standing there in my straw hat and Hawaiian shirt, and the guy next to me is holding up his Förlåt”

 

Pot O Gold!

I’ve been out of commission on a business trip that required 16 hour days. I’m back, and went to grab some money from the change jar to buy myself a cup of coffee this morning since I’m back to being office-level addicted to the stuff.  Why buy coffee?  Did the Home Office decide to throw the budget out the window because there is a steady paycheck?  Hell no, it’s just that someone broke the coffee pot*

The change jar is always magically full of quarters. However, on this morning…

WTF, nothin but copper!

Looks like someone has been dipping into petty cash while I’ve been away.  Investigation is pending.

* When I heard the coffee pot drop, my thought wasn’t “Oh no, the coffee pot!” or “I hope no one got hurt in there”, but rather “Thank god it wasn’t me.” Also, now we are faced with buying a new pot even though we are going to register for a new coffee machine. If anyone wants to step up and get us a preemtive new coffee maker, stainless steel with a decanter that keeps it warm, give a shout out hehe