What am I Doing?

Friday, June 29, 2007

dd2go: Friday Rush Hour

Hang on Diary, we're halfway home. Only 35 more minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions ("Dear Diary FAQs")

(Last Updated: Monday, July 9, 2007)

How do I Read the Diary Entries?

How do I Navigate Through the Diary Entries?

  • Look for "Table of Contents" on the right (--->).  A list of chronological entries will be archived here.  Click on a month to expand it.

  • Do a keyword search like "Peet's Matt" using the search feature; also located to the right (--->).


  • [...BEEP...]: I'd prefer to keep my employers (past and present) out of this.  Originally appeared in the entry It's Okay.  Take Your Time.

  • [CREEPY]: Used to identify when to say "creepy" using sign language.  Originally appeared in the entry It's Okay.  Take Your Time.

  • [CLICK xN]: Where "N" represents the number of times to click the counter.  Used to identify when I count something that happened at work as embarrassing.  I keep track of my embarrassing moments here.

  • dd2go: Means "Dear Diary To Go."  Used when I make an entry while driving to (or from) work.  Usually involves some picture(s) from my camera phone.

  • Intra Entry: I try to make one official entry per day.  Intra entries are for when I want to post something quickly; it's intended to be used similarly to the word "Intraday."

  • iPod: My Last.fm account.  Used to show you the music I listen to at work.  My username on Last.fm is "mattrix19."  Are we neighbours?

  • Secondary Marketing: The name of the department I used to work in at a mortgage company.  Also known as "Capital Markets."


  • 11th Floor-ee(s): My co-worker(s)/friend(s) from Secondary Marketing at my previous employer.  We worked on the 11th floor.

  • Mattrix: My nickname.  Some 11th Floor-ees used to call me this.  Originally used in It's Okay.  Take Your Time.

  • Peet's Matt: My other nickname.  It's for when I drink Peet's Coffee.  The caffeine in their drinks tend to break me out of my "introvert shell."  Read "Beware Peet's Matt" for more.

  • "Double-O Diary" or "00-Diary": My diary's nickname.  I made it up for the entry It's Okay.  Take Your Time.

  • I may refer to people I work with as "freaks."  It's true my entries are inspired by interacting with them, but I enhance the "comica-bility" of the conversation(s) by making them seem "freaky."

The Doctor Will See You Now

Dear Diary,

Block-rockin' beats?... check (see iPod).

Artist: Weezer
Album: Make Believe (2005)
Song: Freak Me Out

Happy Friday Diary.  I trust that you had a good week?  How could you not, right?  You got to meet some pretty cool freaky people from my office.  That's gotta put a smile on your book cover.

Monday = "QC Ted"
Tuesday = "Wall Knocker"
Wednesday = "CHESTer"
Thursday = (oops... I owe you.)

I have one more person for this week, and I have nicknamed her "EMO(hio)."

"EMO(hio)" also works in my department and I get to call her one of the family.  She is an interesting piece of work because I think deep down in her sub-conscience she has a fascination with dying.

I'm not a clinical psychologist -- my friend Dr. Michael Welsh is -- but I'm thinking there are some deep-seeded issues that are starting to surface.  Fortunately, for "EMO(hio)" my friendship with Dr. Welsh (and his psychology degree) have rubbed off on me.

I'm going to lay down on a couch... that seems like an appropriate thing to do.

"EMO(hio)" as you might have guessed is originally from Ohio, but has moved to California to pursue her career in the banking world.  "EMO(hio)" loves to sky dive.  But, at the same time, doesn't because she has a son.  I have identified the first problem.  Loves a quick death (i.e., sky diving) but also wants a long life (i.e., has a son).

My second psycho-babble diagnosis is "EMO(hio)'s" health.  She for every day that I have known her (~28 days), has eaten a Weight Watcher's meal for lunch.  She also smokes a pack or two of cigarettes a day, which tells me she wants a slow and painful death, but with a healthly heart.  Conflict number two.  Truthfully, I have personally seen relatives die from lung cancer due to years of smoking and it was not a fun experience.

Oh great.  You've surfaced some strong feelings Diary.  [Wipes tear].  I told myself I wasn't going to cry.  [Wipes a few more tears].

[To himself...] Be strong Matt, be strong...

[Uncontrollable crying...] I can't do this Diary... you've really opened the water works now.  I gotta go.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

Dear Diary,

Call my agent.  Get a manager... I'm going to Hollywood!  This is the break I've been waiting for.

Stanley Bing, a seasoned and respected author for Fortune magazine has published the Mattrix on his blog (look for "Santa Cruz").  It may not seem like much now, but this will snow ball into huge things for me.

Yes, it's a reply about going on vacation, but just think.  How many hundreds of thousands of readers does Fortune have?  Yet, I was picked.  I'm going to go ask my boss for a raise.

Because Diary, I'm a published analyst now... I need to be compensated for that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Would you Like a Hair Net?

Dear Diary,

iPod on?  Check.

Artist: Korn
Album: Follow the Leader (1998)
Song: Freak on a Leash

Today's contestant is "CHESTer."  He sits next to "Wall Knocker" and is an interesting guy.  I call him "CHESTer" because he likes to leave the top two buttons of his shirt undone so that his sexy-man-hairs can poke out of his shirt.  I'm assuming he thinks it's sexy because he walks around the floor with his back arched to enhance the fact that his shirt is open.

It is especially fun (for me) to watch him go into the break room during lunch.  When he talks to someone it's fun watching them try to protect their food from any "'CHESTer' hairs" that might decide to jump ship and land in their food.

I realize that some guys are able to pull this look off, but I don't think that "CHESTer" can.  There's something about the way he carries himself around the office that hurts his "I'm sexy argument."  I think it's because he walks funny.

Shhh...here he comes Diary.  "Yes, 'CHESTer,' I can see you."  [Mattrix Waves] "You're right, it is hot in here."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Intra Entry: HPI

Dear Diary,

Twenty minutes ago my boss asked me to develop an internal Home Price Index ("HPI").  What!?!  Are you kidding me?  How am I supposed to do that?

How am I, a lonely Sr. Analyst, going to develop a Home Price Index that is so good our company will use it to allocate for loss reserves.  I can see the Wall Street Journal headlines now:

"Wonder boy analyst develops ground-breaking index.  Predicts California will fall into the Pacific Ocean.  Home values are expected to decline as a result."

Beware "Peet's Matt"

Dear Diary,

Setting the mood with my iPod...

Artist: Silverchair
Album: Freak Show (1997)
Song: Freak

Today, Diary, I would like to introduce you to "Wall Knocker."

Up until this point, all of the people I’ve told you about are from other departments, but now we are getting into home territory.  Any guesses why I call him "Wall Knocker?"  Well done, Diary, because he knocks on my wall.  Good job.  Way to put that together so quickly.  I’m proud of you.

"Wall Knocker" and I each have our own office and, unfortunately, we share a common wall.  "Wall Knocker" everyday thinks it is funny to knock some sort of pattern on the wall to see if I’ll respond.  I’m a patient man and so for the first week or so I would knock back.  But now "Wall Knocker" has the boss-lady doing it too.  I’m SO totally done with this.

I’m anxiously counting down the days until I get to have Peet’s coffee again and "Wall Knocker" decides to pound an afternoon drywall concerto for me.  I’m confident that the Peet’s will be raging through me enough that I could punch my hand through the wall to grab him.

Poor "Wall Knocker."  He’s playing Russian roulette and has no idea.

Monday, June 25, 2007

QC's Excellent Adventure

Dear Diary,

This week I thought it would be fun to start telling you about the people that I work with and/or have met during my first month here at [...BEEP...].  So far the only person I have told you about is Mr. X.  While Mr. X is an interesting character I had faith that [...BEEP...] could produce bigger and better freaks.  And I am pleased to report that [...BEEP...] has not let me down.  After all, who wants to work with 100% normal people?

Hang on a second...I'm going to turn on my iPod to set the mood.  This should work for now.

Artist: Eels
Album: Beautiful Freak (1996)
Song: Beautiful Freak

Moving along.  Dear Diary please meet "QC Ted."  Now "Ted" is not really his name, but I'm going to call him Ted because he looks almost exactly like Keanu Reeves who played Ted in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure."  The best part for me is that "QC Ted's" hair is an exact replica from the movie.

"QC Ted" works in Quality Control ("QC") and has been with the company for uhhhhhh...uhhhhhhhh...uhhhhhh...ya almost two years.  No wait...I mean 24 months...wait, but that's...so-o-o-o yah.  Two years.

When I met "QC Ted" we were in the break room and I asked him how long has he been with the company.  His response was the exact same thing I wrote a few lines up.  I thought "QC Ted's" brain was going to explode.  He kept looking up so much I thought his eyes were going to roll into the back of his head.  It seemed like he was looking up as if the answers were written on his forehead to read.

I didn't have the heart (and stamina) to continue the conversation so I said, "I think the Wyld Stallyns rock," and moved on.  When I left I could tell he was trying to figure out what I meant.

Ted LoganShould I be scared that my Employer has placed Ted "Theodore" Logan in Quality Control?  To me, those two are antonyms.

Friday, June 22, 2007

dd2go: "This is Heavy Doc"

Dear Diary (to go),

Oh Schnikey!  A Cop just lit me up.

[Mattrix pulls over...]

What do you think I did wrong Diary?  Speeding?  Ya, I think so too.  The Cop is walking up to my car...hang on.

[10 minutes later...]

You were right Diary.  I was speeding.  Officer Thornton said I was going 87 MPH and the maximum speed limit is 65 MPH.  He asked if I was late for work.  I said yes I was, but more importantly I was also trying to activate my Flux Capacitor.  I told him he ruined it by stopping me at 87 MPH.  I was one tick away from 88 MPH and being able to go Back to the Future.  He wasn't amused and proceeded to give me a speeding ticket.  My first ticket ever.

Speaking of, I know this is my first ticket and I am not used to the "standard procedures," but is it necessary to strip search someone for speeding?  I thought that was weird too.  I didn't like that very much.  Especially in the morning on a busy road like Jamboree.

On the other hand, I did get a few people to honk their horn as they drove by.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lunch Antidote

Dear Diary,

File As: "Too Much Information"

I went to lunch with some 11th Floor-ees yesterday and afterwards we stopped by Peet's Coffee.  It was the first time I've had Peet's in a long time.

It also reminded me why Haywood, Superfreeman and I used to joke around and call Peet's the "Lunch Antidote."  Man.

[Imitating Borat:]
"Wow wow wee waa."

Should coffee be able to do that to you?  I'm going to go do some research on the FDA's website.

[Approximately 1 hour later...]

Bad news Diary.  It looks like the FDA is aware of my problem, but they don't have a solution.  Their website said the best thing to do is to try to endure through the pain.  And then they referred me to this link.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

dd2go: White Boy Analyst

Dear Diary (to go),

Have you seen the opening scene from the movie "Office Space" where the characters are stuck in traffic going to work?  One of my favorite parts of that scene was the white guy listening to Scarface.  Straight up dog.  That was me going to work today.  I was rockin' the gangsta rap.

[Dear Diary:]  Don't you think that's [CREEPY]?
[Mattrix:]  No.

[Dear Diary:]  But you're a white boy analyst.  What do you know about gangster rap?  And how did you know that was Scarface?
[Mattrix:]  I "Googled" it.  So don't be hatin'...Bee-yatch.

[Dear Diary:]  "Don't be hatin'?"  HA!  Oh please.  You're so white I wouldn't be surprised if you thought that "Scarface" meant the movie starring Al Pacino.
Well, uh, errr...

[Dear Diary:]  [Rolling on the Floor Laughing:] You did, didn't you!
[Mattrix:]  [Angrily:] You bes' be steppin' off Diary.  Don't make me open up a can of SQL queries on you.  I'll PivotTable you so hard you won't know what hit you.  I'm representin' hardcore analysts from da hood.  I.E. out!

Hell's Kitchen

Dear Diary,

As it seems that I will not be getting a paid-for-by-the-company bagel (cf. Casual Friday Crusade).  I have decided to bring in my own bagel.  So for the first time I needed to use the kitchen to prepare my paid-for-by-ME bagel.

No, I'm not bitter.  Why do you ask Diary?

Anyway, I walked into the little kitchen we have here and started looking around for a plate and a knife.  The kitchen is very well organized and clean so I had to open and close some cupboards and drawers to locate the plate and knife.  The unfortunate part of this story is that one of the Executive Admin's ("EA") desk faces directly into the kitchen; and I had a weird feeling I was being watched.

So, being Mattrix, I did a cool bending maneuver (in slow-motion of course) and looked out of the corner of my eye.  Yep.  I was being watched.

I opened one more cupboard and found an old birthday party plate so I took it to use for my bagel.  Apparently that was the last straw for “Miss Thang” the EA because the Sista gave me some attitude and proceeded to give me a five minute tour of the kitchen.

Listen honey.  I’m pretty sure it's okay if I use a birthday plate for my cheap bagel, but thanks for the tour.  And if I ever need a corrugated knife or a spatula I’ll be sure to remember to go to the miscellaneous drawer.

Honestly, I'm starting to really believe that […BEEP…] is an anti-bagel institution.  All I wanted to do was to cut my bagel in half, toast it and then eat it.  That’s it.  Needless to say I am very nervous to go back to that kitchen.  But I know that I am going to have to at some point though.

It feels like I'm a contestant on Hell's Kitchen.  Stay tuned.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Casual Friday Crusade

Dear Diary,

I am not sure what to do.  I feel like a caged animal pacing back and forth in its cage.  Today is my third Friday (third times a charm) at [...BEEP...] and it is still not casual Friday.

[Tarzan Voice:] "Me no understand dress-nice-on-Friday."

This is going to be one of the hardest things I am going to have to deal with now that I do not work at -- at that other place.  Casual Fridays were one of the best things about [...BEEP...].  I got to wear my Happy Shoes (remind me later to tell you what those are).  I got to eat a paid-for-by-the-company-bagel.  And a fun lunch was usually involved.

Do you know what we get here at [...BEEP...]?  NOTHING!  No happy shoes.  No bagels.  And definitely no fun lunch trips to Mi Casa.  Do you know what we do instead?  We play dress up and pretend we are important business people and we eat VEGETABLES!!

You heard me right.  Here at [...BEEP...] we don't have Casual Friday or Bagel Friday.  We have Vegetable Tray Friday.  Whoopee!

Normally I would complain, but whom do I file a complaint with?  All of the people that I work with are older ladies that eat Weight Watcher meals for lunch and talk about gardening.  They love Vegetable Tray Friday.  Know this Diary.  I may not ever get to have a paid-for-the-company-bagel again, but what I will not do is stand around laughing over a good tray of vegetables.  I refuse.

Oooooo, I just had a good idea Diary.  Maybe I will participate after all.  But instead I will bring in a can of Crisco to dip my vegetables in instead of whatever that ranchy-creamy-white stuff is.  Someone has got to revolt.  I am going to start a Casual Friday Crusade.

[Matt Stands on his Desk:]
REPENT PEOPLE!!  EMBRACE THE BAGEL!!  Carbohydrates are not evil.  Vegetables on Friday's are evil incarnate.  FREEEEEE--DOOOOMMMMM!!!

[End Scene.  Roll Credits.]

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ewww -- Ugly Naked

Dear Diary,

Please don't be mad with me.  It has been a week since the incident happened, but it has taken up until now for me to muster up the courage to share this with you.  I can't help but feel, though, that it would be in my best interest to file this in my "Dark Secrets" folder and keep this to myself, but I know that I can trust you.  However, if I even hear the slightest amount of laughter coming from you I will slam you closed and will shove you in the drawer.  Got it?

Okay, so here's what happened.  I'm going to do my best to keep this rated G.  Recently, I needed to use the -- ahem -- "Little Analysts Room."  After entering the restroom and choosing a stall, I sat down and -- STOP IT!  I'm warning you Diary.  Wipe that smirk off your book cover!

Any ways, after I sat down (with pants around my ankles) I looked up and was suddenly encapsulated with fear.  I'm sure I looked like some poor critter crossing the street at night with a car barreling around the corner heading straight for it.  This was all happening within milliseconds, but I realized that someone was staring right at me.  I could not believe it.  Could I really have forgotten to close the stall door?  Why me?  And why at a new job?

As I was starting to scream and reach for the door I noticed that the figure staring at me started to move too.  It wasn't until then that I realized that everything was okay.  There was no one staring at me.  The problem is that the stall doors here at [...BEEP...] are black and very glossy.  What I saw was my own reflection in the stall door.

I don't think I'm going to like this Diary.  I appreciate having nicely decorated offices, but what I don't need is the ability to see myself -- ahem -- going #2.  That's ugly naked.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Dear Diary,

In my efforts to meet new people and become "one of the gang."  I have been trying to talk to and meet lots of people that work near me. For example, sitting across from me is the Chief Risk Officer ("CRO").  What a privilege for me.  This allows me to get to know someone that's a part of the Executive Senior Management team here at [...BEEP...].  It also helps me to get to know other people because they see me talking with the CRO and that might help them warm up to me.

Moving to the next office that is across from me, I decided to introduce myself to Mr. X.  He has an office and so I start to think that he, too, is important.  Boy was I wrong.  Reflecting back, I have learned four things that should have tipped me off that meeting Mr. X was going to be [CREEPY].

I should have known something was terribly wrong when:
1) Mr. X became very excited to talk with me.

It was almost as though I was the first conversation he has had with another employee in months.

2) I noticed the enormous key ring Mr. X has on his belt buckle every day.
What on earth do you need all those keys for?  Once I had four keys on my key ring and I had to downsize to three because I felt like a walking tambourine.

3) I noticed the copious amounts of items in his pocket protector.
Seriously?  Do you really need a pen-thermometer?

And lastly, the fourth lesson I learned was:

4) Every morning when I walk into the office Mr. X says, "And how is Mr. Matt doing this morning?"
One morning I tried to pretend to not hear him, but he followed me in to my office to say it again.  Ten minutes later we had talked about his weekend and the dollar dance he had with a bride at some wedding.

Well, there you have it Diary.  A case of mistaken identity.  Needless to say Mr. X and I are now BFFs and we eat lunch together regularly at Rubio's.  How am I ever going to get out of this?  Maybe if I "accidentally" throw you at his face you can give him some severe paper cuts.  Then he won't be able to talk to us for a few weeks.

Nah, too violent.  I'll keep thinking...

Monday, June 11, 2007

C'mon...move it.

Dear Diary,

I gotta share with you something funny that happened last Friday coming back from lunch.  The campus where my office is located has a parking structure for all of the employees and visitors to use.  And the parking structure has three entrances.  One for visitors going in, one for visitors going out, and then the special monthly entrance for those of us that have key cards.

As you can imagine there could be quite a bit of cars arriving in the morning, leaving for lunch/coming back from lunch, and then leaving at night.  And so the parking structure management have two gates open for the direction that has the peak traffic (i.e., cars leaving or cars entering).  That way people can get in and out of the parking structure faster.  Very smart idea.

I was coming back from lunch and pulled up to the gate to wave my magic card to let me in and it would not work.  So I'm thinking "what's going on here?”  Well, I figured it out when the parking attendant comes running out of his booth to yell at the car in front of me.  You see the car in front of me was on the other side of the drop-down bar and was blocking me from getting into the parking structure.  All I could think of is "what kind of idiot is this?”  In my head I'm screaming "MOVE!!!!"  The car would not move.

Don't you hear the parking attendant yelling at you?  The attendant was yelling louder and louder now because the car would not back up.  He was obviously very irritated too because he had to leave his post (and long line of visitors trying to get out) because some mo-ron could not pay attention to the directional stop lights.

It wasn't until I poked my head out of my car to get a good look at the person blocking me when I realized that the parking attendant wasn't yelling at the other car.  He was yelling at me.  I was the mo-ron blocking everyone from getting out of the parking structure.  Sheesh.  And so with my tail between my legs I had to drive in reverse down what I now call "the driveway of shame" so I could get out of the way for the long line of cars trying to get out of the parking structure.

What a glorious way to finish my first week of work.  That's one for the counter [CLICK x1].

Embarrassing Moment Counter Total: 1

Friday, June 8, 2007

It's okay.  Take your time.

Dear Diary,

It's okay.  Take as much time as you need.  I don't mind.  After all, it's partially my fault that you're not used to being outside the drawer.  What?  ...  no ...  I don't think so ....  When did you...?  Telephones work both ways you know?  Okay, you know what?  We need to stop this.  I'm all alone here and you're the only friend that I've got.  Can we reconcile and be friends again?  [SMOOCH]...yah, yah.  I love you too.

Okay, so you probably don't recognize where you are right?  Well, I am pleased to be the first to inform you that I started a new job on Friday, June 1st.  We no longer work at [...BEEP...].  The Company is in the process of being liquidated.  It's a very sad thing.  We tried for a month or two to save the Company, but to no avail.  So, unfortunately, it is time for us to move on.  You and I now work at [...BEEP...].

Why am I saying "be-e-e-e-e-ep?" Well, because I want it to be a secret.  Growing up, Mom & Dad said secrets aren't safe, but I think that since you and I are like total BFFs (Best Friends Forever) that I could just tell you offline.  That way only you and I would know.  Besides if you were ever stolen from me I don't want a bad man to know where you and I come from.  It's for our own protection.


Sure, we can be secret agents.  How 'bout you can be "Double-O Diary" and I'll be "Mattrix."  ........  well because in the movie "The Matrix" they can do that cool freeze in the air thing.  I want to be able to do that too.  Think about it.  How awesome would it be to go to the printer...jump in the air...freeze...the room spins around...and then land with a report in my hand?  This is totally gonna be awesome.  Good thing only you and I will know about this.  Some people might think that we're a little creepy.  Do you know how to sign language creepy?  Oh good.  Do that every time I write [CREEPY].

Moving on.  Man you and I get distracted easily.  Let's stay on track.  You're right though.  I guess we do have a lot to catch up on.  Wasn't my last entry in Q1 2004?  Flip your pages back and see if I'm right.  ......  Was I right?  Wow, so it's been over three years.  My bad.  Maybe it was my fault you've been in the drawer for so long.

Moving on, Part 2.  Today is Friday, June 8th.  I have officially had a full week of work and boy do I have some first impressions and experiences to share already.  I'm not going to share it all at once today because I figured if I waited until today to write I'd be able make an entry every day or two.  That way I have a nice little pipeline of things to share with you.

Things are going to be good for you and I here at [...BEEP...].  I can feel it.  And, to welcome you back from the underworld (a.k.a. the drawer) I have a surprise for you.  It won't be ready until next Friday, the 15th though.  So you're going to need to be patient.  So for now, you're going to have to wait until Monday for your next entry.  I just looked at the clock and I've been talking with you for like an hour.  I should probably be running some report or query.

See you later 00-Diary.  [WINK]

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Grand Opening!

You are about to read some of my innermost thoughts about my life in Corporate America.  This diary was originally started because of a person I used to share a cubicle wall with.  I could not believe the conversations I heard coming from her side of the cubicles we shared, and so I had to share them with my fellow co-workers.  Thus, Dear Diary was created.  It has been years since my original posts mainly because she left the company to pursue her "CFO" opportunties (see June 2007, Entry #5).

Recently (Q1 2007), the company I was at filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and has since been liquidated. During the down time, we found my old diary entries I used to e-mail around and had a good laugh re-reading them.  They are posted in the archive sections of this blog (see Entries #2 through #7 in the week of Jun 3 - Jun 10 2007).

I'm bringing Dear Diary back to life so that you and my former Secondary Marketing friends (a.k.a. "11th Floor-ees") can share in my experiences at my new residence in Corporate America.  My goal for these diary entries is that you will not need to know who the people are in my diary, all you will need is a sense about the type of person(s) I encounter during my days at work.  Plus it's always fun to hear the types of things people talk about at work.

Please come back to read future diary entries it just might get you through another tough day.  I'm targeting Friday, June 8th for my next entry.

Entry #7 (3/31/2004)

Dear Diary,

I just wanted to remind you that my daughter has minimum days at school all this week. I know that I call my husband everyday to remind him, but you never know. One day he might wake up and have a peanut for a brain. Come on already!

I'm getting sick of hearing that everyday around 11:00 AM you need to remind your husband that your daughter has minimum days at school all this week. I think your husband understands that. He's been able to survive on this planet for X amount of years. I'm sure that he can remember to do something everyday for a week. A simple reminder the first day should be sufficient.

"Oh honey, by the way, when you put your pants on don't forget that you do it ONE LEG AT A TIME! Just in case you forgot, I wanted to remind you. Oh, and by the way, you have no pants because I wear them in this family! Just an FYI."

I wonder what would happen if I called my wife everyday of the week and told her to put the seat up after every time she used the bathroom?

Entry #6 (2/27/2004)

Dear Diary,

Hello again. It is good to see you. Have you lost some pages since I last saw you? I thought so. You totally look great. Have you been on that low-carb diet? I can tell. You look at least 20 pages lighter. I'm on the low-carb diet too. Yeap, that's right. I only eat Snicker's bars wrapped in lettuce. I think I've figured it out. Lettuce is the key to the low-carb diets. Every fast-food chain, restaurant, or whatever advertises "low-carb" meals and it looks like all you have to do is take a big, honkin' piece of lettuce and wrap it around something. I haven't lost any weight on my diet yet, but I have a plan. I am going to create a thirty-day version of the low-carb diet. Lettuce is the key right? Well, I'm going to invent the world's first pair of low-carb underwear. I'm going to wear nothing but lettuce underneath my clothes. I figure if I can wrap lettuce around my food and call it a day then I might as well take it to the next step. I usually eat three meals a day. That only gives me three times a day that I can have a "low-carb" lifestyle. So I figure that if I wear the lettuce all day it could only help me lose weight that much faster. I don't know. I guess I'll just have to see how it works out. Hey, diary, don't tell anyone else about this idea of mine. I don't want any of my co-workers knowing about this. They might make fun of me. Okay? Just between us? Swearsies? You're so cool diary. I can always count on you.

So what else is new? Let me see...

I think I need to readdress an issue that I brought up last time. Last time I stated that if a person has access to his or her boss' e-mail in Outlook then they are not necessarily a true "analyst." Well, I would like to offer a second litmus test that helps to answer the question is so and so a secretary or analyst? Simply answer this question:

Do you have access to your boss' calendar in Outlook? Yes or no. If yes, then you are definitely a secretary. If you said "no", then you are lying and you are still a secretary and not an analyst. I have developed a case study to help one better understand these theories that I have proposed. As always, all characters are fictional, and any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental.

Joe Schmoe walks up to Schmeidi Secretary and says "do you know where Schmal Schmayed might be?" Schmeidi responds by saying "no I don't, but I'm working on a special project for him and Schmathryn isn't here either to find out where he is." The conversation continues and then Schmeidi says "oh wait! I see on his calendar that he has a 10:00 appointment." End of case study.

So what can we learn from this scenario? As you might have observed Schmeidi has access to Schmal's calendar. That is an interesting point because my second litmus test question specifically addresses that very issue. Does Schmeidi have access to Schmal's calendar? Answer: YES! Results: You are in the secretary classification.

Please know diary that we at the "Center for Secretarial Denial Disorder" are only looking out for the best interests of those with this rare and heart-breaking disorder. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a secretary. We only want to help people acknowledge that they are a secretary and should be proud of it.


I can't stand it anymore. I need to vent! Schmeidi is talking to her husband (a.k.a. "Schmeidi's Punching Bag", or "The Bag") about her daughter not being able to learn at school. Something is going on about how her daughter can learn if Schmeidi teaches her. "The Bag" said something and then Schmeidi said "well, you haven't seen me teach people how to ski." She can do it she says. So what is she going to do? Go climb a mountain and "shush" down the slopes with her daughter and a history book? Skiing and learning school subjects are a lot different. That's it. I'm leaving. I need to go eat lunch.

See ya diary.

Entry #5 (1/12/2004)

Dear Diary,

Greetings! I wish you well as I am about to rattle off words of inspiration, wisdom, and courage. Why courage? Well, because someone needs to stand up to the forces of secretarial darkness. Just as Frodo Baggins in "Lord of The Rings" had to eliminate Saran the dark lord, I must eliminate evil secretaries and all their evilness. Oh diary, am I being too harsh? Must I, as they say, "take a chill pill?" NO! I shall not deter in my quest to rid this world of false prophets and false well wishers. Let me explain...

I have received word from a very reliable and somewhat of a genius of a "Secondary Marketing Analyst" that a certain someone of the "Secretarial" status has been pawning herself off as an analyst and NOT a secretary. Why do I capitalize the word not? Well, because every now and then her conversations make it absolutely clear to people that she is not a secretary. To paraphrase..."I'm not his assistant. But I do work closely with Kal." Excuse me? You work closely with Kal? What does that mean? Working closely with someone does not mean that you ARE NOT or ARE an [insert title here.] Still confused? How about this? I have here in my "Matt-belt" an "Acme Secretary Litmus Test." Don't laugh. It's top of the line stuff. It has been clinically proven to work 99.9999% of the time.

Here's the test. You have to answer this question truthfully and it will tell you if you are a secretary or not. Question. Do you have access to your bosses e-mail and calendar in Outlook? Go ahead. Think about it for a minute if you like. .......... All done? What's your answer? Yes? Well then my friend, you are what I would call a secretary. Don't argue. The test has spoken. Yes, I will admit that you do what some might call "analytical" work, but at the end of the day when you're reading Kal's e-mail for him...well, I'll just let that be. I shall now officially knight you as a "Glorified Secretary." Just as a movie extra might get to say one line and be called a "Glorified Extra", you get to do some one line "analytical" work and be called a "Glorified Secretary." Case closed I shall hear no more of your arguments.

I will now reflect on what I have learned this past week. First, Scantrons are still cool and should be used at all schools. That one just about floored me too. Second, it's okay for your children to like Barney when they are 12 years old. Although we don't tell others outside the home, inside the home it's all good. Third, Secondary needs to get motivated. We need to get what? Don't play with fire sister. As soon as you learn what "G.O.S." stands for and what "weighted-average" means then you can give us a call. Fourth, you can't take knives on airplanes any more. I don't know how many times I have heard that statement lately. Really, you mean that I can't do that any more? Gee thanks, I guess I'll leave my "Crocodile Dundee" knife set at home the next time I fly. I usually like to bring it to pick out my toe-jam at hotels, but I guess there are some new airport rules now. And last but not least for this week...number five on the list of things that I learned this week...sitting two cubical walls away from a co-worker justifies calling them on the phone and talking very loud. I don't mind you talking on the phone to a co-worker, but when the co-worker is two walls away I think that you can get up and go talk to them. Instead, I now have to listen to the drivel of two people talking not so quietly to each other over the phone when they are like 15-20 feet away from each other. Take the walk people. It might help to burn some of those carbs.

With that said, I look forward to my next entry as I present five things that I learn each week here at [edited for anonymity].

Yours truly,

"Frodo" Mullins the "neighbor-bearer". =)

Entry #4 (12/9/2003)

Dear Diary,

Listen to this...

This just in! Scantrons sweep schools. College campuses ask: Is it here to stay? This and more on tonight's edition of "My Neighbor Heidi and I."

I think that will be my first venture into the television and radio industry. A mini-series all about Scantrons and how they work. What do you think Diary? Will it work? Will people want to watch something about this? I'm a bit nervous that it will not make it though. Television is tough these days. Yet, I can't help but wonder how many people out there don't know about Scantrons. Here's my plot:

A neighbor of mine, let's call her Heidi, is sitting around at work talking to a co-worker...she'll be called....ummm...Kathryn. Yes, Kathryn. That'll work just fine. I'll have them casually talking and discussing how Heidi's final went. That will then be a perfect way for Heidi to transition into a discussion about how a Scantron works. Yes, you heard me right. How a Scantron works. It's information that everyone has got to know about, right? After all, some people might not understand that Scantrons work by bubbling in your answer, turning it in, and then feeding it through a computer for processing. And what better forum to share this knowledge than a television mini-series. I'm gonna be so rich from this. Scantrons are going to be so huge because of all the publicity my mini-series will generate. Everyone and every school is going to want to use these things.

Well, I gotta go now. I've got to go start writing the script for my pilot episode. I think this is my lottery ticket out of the working world. Scantrons...you and me were made for each other. Oh by the way, my little mini-series idea is actually based on real life people, whom were actually discussing Scantrons and how they work. Between you and me, having to hear that conversation has scarred me and I can never take that moment back...ever. I estimate it sucked approximately 1.37 years off my total lifespan.

Entry #3 (11/21/2003)

Dear Diary,

I can't take it anymore! I've been trying to be a good neighbor, but it is not working. I need to vent to you. Are you ready for it? If I may, I would recommend that you use cardstock for this one. It's a bit tougher than your everyday paper thickness.

First, I need to work through some logic with you. My dear friend Heidi is working on watching her carb and protein intake. Kudoos to you girlfriend! Those tight pants won't get the best of you. Oh, and yes I do agree with you. The pants are only tight now because they were just washed. Don't you hate it when that happens? I sure do. In fact, I wish I could still where my official A-Team fan club t-shirt from when I was 10-years old, but I keep washing it and it just won't fit me the same anymore. Any ways, I digress. The other day I heard Heidi talking about whether or not she should eat a certain something for lunch because it had 5 more carbs/proteins or whatever than she should probably have. Why would she think about this so much, but yet she'll go outside and smoke a cigarette? I'm no nutritionist, but isn't smoking a little bit more dangerous than eating five more carbs? Call me crazy. Oh by the way I've got a great recipe for you Diary. Cyanide-laced grape juice goes down so-o-o-o-o smooth. Yummy! =)

THIS JUST IN!!! Important events will be happening soon. I've been told on good authority that Heidi may be purchasing a scientific calculator soon! Why do I mention this? Well, because it will be her first scientific calculator purchase ever! How dramatic. She has a final coming up soon and she needs to know if she'll need one or not. I truly believe that I just scooped all of the other news sources with this tidbit of information. Who cares about Wacko-Jacko. Heidi will be purchasing a scientific calculator! I predict Office Depot's stock will jump by at least 37 and ¾ percent by the end of the month.

All joking aside, though, I am currently constructing a rescue operation for Kathryn. She is being hit hard by the regime and I don't think that her ears will last any longer. If you know of anyone that is interested in this highly dangerous operation tell him or her to contact me. Oh, and mention that they'll need protective earplugs. It won't be pretty once we make it inside the drop zone. After all we might hear things like how pretty the new $20 bill is. I know Diary, I know. It scares me too.

Oh, how I wish that Bachelor Bob had picked me instead of Estella. I need to be swept away from this insanity!

Entry #2 (11/5/2003)

I can not find my first entry so I am going to have to start with my second entry. These and other entries dated prior to 2007 are the diary entries that got me started. Please enjoy and come back for more entries soon.

** BEGIN **
Dear Diary,

How have you been? I hope well. Please extend my deepest sympathies to your family for the loss of your cousin "The Encyclopedia." Losing him in the wildfires will be a loss that we all will feel. I just hope that I can remember what the capital of Madagascar is. I would like to share with you some of my latest, innermost thoughts.

I am sitting here wondering why I have to stay at work to eat some sort of concoction of pork and rice. Meanwhile, I long to know what my friends Warren, Rick, and Jeff are talking about right now. While they are out eating pizza and I am here working and wondering why life is so cruel I realize, oh precious Diary, why I am here. I have neglected to realize that there is more to life than good times and pizza. There are matters to be dealt with, and my good neighbor Heidi seems to be the only one strong enough to deal with them.

For example, Heidi just got off the phone with her home warranty company stating that they there are responsible for fixing her air conditioner. As Heidi would say, "If they are not smart enough to do their homework beforehand then they deserve to pay for a new air conditioner." She adds, "It's part of the policy." Isn't that so true Diary? Mustn't we all be smart and do our homework? So what if she is going to take the warranty company to court over a small appliance that pushes air around. They should have done their homework. And I thought that homework was only for school. Not so I guess. You go girl! Run that air conditioning during the winter. Don't let "The Man" keep you down!

I also got to hear Heidi talk to her husband again today. He was looking for the 210 freeway. Ah, the sweet romance of the husband-wife relationship. What would he do without it? Nothing. Her husband would be nothing but a pile of skin of bones wondering around aimlessly looking for his way home. To quote Heidi: "Are the mountains on your left or right?...Well, it's your choice if you wanna get home you need to turn around." Be strong my brotha! Don't turn around. Go the wrong direction for a long time. You can do it. Oh and don't forget to pick up Jennifer from school at 2:30 PM.

Don't get me wrong Diary, it's not that I like to listen in on other people's conversations. It's more that I am forced to due to being her styrofoam wall neighbor. Oh, and that she talks incredible loud! But I mustn't be too judgmental. Because, after all, perhaps she had some troubles with her ears as a child and so she speaks louder to compensate for that. Oh, how wrong I might have been all this time. I must learn to accept and deal with other people as there are. To sum it up..."We are all not perfect." In fact, we are "Perfect Strangers." Hopefully I'm Larry because Balki next to me is definitely out there.

Until We Meet Again...