Good weekend, although cool. Cold, to be specific. What would have been blistering solar-flare oh-it-burns two months ago is now cold. It's almost as if one becomes acclimated to every improvement in your situation and regards the assertion of old norms as something with which you shouldn't have to put up with. Thirty degrees? Why I never. The very idea.

It snowed Sunday night, but no one really cared. It can't stay. It can rest for a while but then it really has to move on.


Friday the quantity of moving crates multiplied and spread until it was less a newspaper office than a Yellow Box Warehouse.

The halls are full of crates and bins and trash cans and shrink-wrapped shelves. One week left. It seems surreal now. We can't move. We can't be leaving, can we? This is the paper. This is where it's always been.

But things change, duh, and here's one of the new changes: we have to do our own payroll. This is easy enough, in a parallel universe where software designers have an intuitive grasp of user interfaces. In this world, alas, it's something else. I had to use Internet Explorer. Of course I don't have IE, anymore than I have DOOM, but I can call it up in emulation. Unfortunately the program that creates the virtual desktop says my password has expired.

Well, enter a new one . . . re-enter to confirm . . . click done, and return to the login screen. Enter new password. DENIED, MORTAL. Huh. Quit the browser, start the browser, create the magical imaginary desktop environment, enter the credentials by cutting-and-pasting from the entry I just made in the password manager, and . . . denied. Again: Denied.

Locked out. Let's recap: my attempt to fill out my timesheets began with an inability to get the system to recognize a changed password, so I couldn't even call up the program that would call up the program that called up the timesheets.

That's why there's help desk. They are not in India. They are in the building. The kind fellow changed my password, and made it work, and then I kept him on the line while I called up IE to launch the website that would launch the timesheet program.

I was asked to enter my Windows Security Credentials.

Hah! Different from the other user name / password! Because! JUST BECAUSE! Once I had those reset I was in the paysheet program, and Lord, Lord, Lord.

Here is what you want to see: A grid with your week, pre-filled with the hours you work. Two buttons: CHANGE and SUBMIT. If you hit change, you can adjust the hours, or be sent to a page that lets you futz with PTO. But the default should be WHAT IS NORMAL and the option for proceeding should be simple and obvious.

In this dream world, clicking on SUBMIT produces a popup box that says THANKS! YOUR TIMESHEET HAS BEEN SUBMITTED with one button, and that's "OKAY" or "CLOSE." Because that's all you need to know, right? You submitted it. The system got it.

Noooooo; no. The first grid you get is an EXCEPTION ADJUSTMENT FIELD or something like that, where you make changes in the hours you worked. The actual grid containing your normal hours is below. It's all filled out. Do you enter the hours you worked in the EXCEPTION ADJUSTMENT FIELD? Some people said yes. Some people said no. But then what do you do? Do you click on the big red SUBMIT button?

You click the check-box that says "Submitted."

Then you click the button that says "Save for now."

Let me repeat: clicking the "submitted" button, in the minds of the gruel-brained fools who wrote this thing, is supposed to assure me it's been submitted. But checking a box is not a final action. It is setting up a condition that will be acted upon after a larger go / no-go decision is made. In the minds of the programmers, "Save for now" is a perfect term for "accept input and conclude session."

I should add that the "submitted" checkbox is about the size of a grain of rice, and placed ON TOP OF ALL THE ENTRY FIELDS, instead of down below, where you'd expect it to be after you'd entered the information.

I really want to meet everyone involved in this. I want to sit them down in a room and ask them if they would like to go to a grocery store where they put their basket down on the checkout counter and the clerk had to put everything in a different basket and then stand on her head to run the items through the barcode reader on the ceiling, using her feet, and then you had to pay by placing two parts of a credit-card reader in your buttocks, balancing the credit card on its edge, and squatting down to slide the card. Would you like that? Wouldn't that be dumb?

Well yeah I use the self-checkout

Okay fine, you use the self-checkout, so howzabout the self-checkout requires you to pay first, entering what you think is the total, then after you've beeped all the goods you have to adjust all the prices using a dollar-to-Euro-to-dollar conversion system then standing up on a 25 foot ladder to ring a bell hanging from a tall pole to indicate that you want someone to come by and approve your total, except all they say is "I've saved your bill for later"?

That's ridiculous it makes sense if you have to change your hours, you just -

BUT I DON'T excuse me for shouting. I don't have to change my hours. Most people don't. You have built a system that presumes changing hours is the most important thing, right? I understand. That was the mandate. A system that makes it easy for people to enter non-standard work hours. And you understood "Easy" to mean "The most important thing on the page," so that's what it's all about. It's as if you were designing cars and the boss said "make it easy to open the glove compartment" and you designed an interior that put the glove compartment in the steering wheel and had it pop open when the seat detected pressure. FOR GOD'S. SAKE.

Hey, hands up - which of you guys has gone to a comments section and bitched about Macs because they're all about fashion and status and appearance, and they're not real computers?

I watched "John Wick," because people on the internet who liked "action" movies said it was good. By "action" they mean constant gunfire and preposterous feats of endurance, and as such it hit the mark. Delivered precisely what was advertised and did it very well. It may be the only movie in the history of cinema in which a hit man kills 77 people to revenge the clubbing of his puppy. In the next movie I expect he will kill 154 because someone pours tap water in his fish tank. Afterwards I watched a Louis CK stand-up special. Not for families, shall we say, but he is my favorite comedian, and the only person who can make me laugh out loud these days. Nothing makes me LOL. Do you LOL? Maybe it's me; when LOLing is your business, you regard humor like an X-ray slapped up on the lightbox, studying it. The highest praise is the solemn nod: oh man, that's good.


It's the last week at the old building. Everything must go, and the emptying out drawers and bins has surfaced relics from decades past. Here's something we haven't used lately:

The spelling assures you it's the Modern Way to Type!




Just an educational film today. HOW TO USE THE LIBRARY. It caught my eye because it had this perfect post-war modern library with perfect post-war modern kids, half of whom probably ended up with a needle in their arm in San Fran in the late 60s. Or not. See the lass in the middle? She's the one who has no idea how to use the library. It's eluded her all these years.

Errr paper wut

This is Janey. Janey. She doesn’t realize that she’s lucky to be living in 1952, when she can go to the public library without worrying whether a smelly man wearing six overcoats is watching porn on the computer.

Miss Wilson, the judgmental librarian in the inflatable dress, is here to help.

Janey compares her card-catalogue skills with the mad browsing abilities of Tom. Tom knows what he wants and he knows how to get it.

He has used this directory many times, the narrator says. The drawer has three topics:

So . . . there’s nothing between Christmas and Cookery?

No, that's not how they work. Don't be confuse by the lack of specific entries and seemingly arbitrary markers.

Miss Wilson to the rescue. Note how the desk has two swinging panels to prevent people from bum-rushing Miss Wilson’s domain and waving copies of misfiled books.


Miss Wilson seems to have deflated a bit since Tom left. She teaches idiot Janey the ways of Dewey and his system. Note the fan layout of t book jackets; this was a staple in those days, adding “zest” and “excitement.”

Nothing of interest between Thomas Hardy and “History,” eh? Of course, there’s no Hitler, just Horses and Hugo.

Stop right there, Janey. Tell me that beast Tom summons up a strange tom-tom in your heart.

You’ll notice that HOW TO FIND A BOOK is right behind her. There’s also a copy of TABLE SETTINGS on the wall, because this is a penal colony for insufficiently domesticated women. They just bring in Tom to prowl around and stir them up so they can appreciate all the more the tranquility of home, where the mild sedating gases circulate in the morning and evening.

This will strike a chord with people of a certain age: the books with identical boring spines and notations written with Wite-Out.

And thus, having learned how to point at books, we take our leave. All the kids who watched this were bored dead, but hey: it was a movie, and that meant they could daydream for a while and forget the pressures of peers and education until the rude flapping of the film signaled the end of the dark room reverie.

And that's it for today! New Matches, workblog, tumblr, Twitter, the usual. All this and a nap, too. See you around.


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