Something Stupendous: Running With the Microphone

Today I was one of the girls running around handing microphones to everyone who wanted to ask questions in big conference rooms. It was stupendous. Certainly the event itself was great and the fact that people can pose questions is even better, but the ‘mic running’ is the thing that I deem stupendous today.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced that awkward silence, the moment when someone asks for questions and no-one wants to raise their hand. When mic running this feeling of awkwardness has vanished into the night sky, you’re posed to act, determined to never let a question go unheard. Your eyes are ever watching the crowd, trying to catch that hesitant hand in the air and hoping that you won’t miss it and leave someone hanging. A hand goes up and you scoot over, praying that you don’t trip, knowing that the entire room is waiting for you to hurry up and move. You get there, hand over the mic, hoping against hope that you remembered to flick the switch to ‘on’. You try to appear invisible as you stand nearby the questioner, take the mic back, remember to switch it off for fear of everyone hearing you breath.

You fade back into the background until the question is answered and the silence starts all over again.

The whole experience is stupendous. For starters it keeps you engaged in the conversation before you, it makes you feel important (I’ve got the mic, I control the questions) and best of all, there’s a weird feeling of both adrenaline and connection.

The five second rush to get the mic to the correct person is equivalent to a baton-pass sprint and the payoff feels just as good. People appreciate you getting them the microphone, they all quietly thank you, give you a smile. You’ve successfully enabled interaction between employees; you’re ensuring that the issues are heard. Just the fact that we can freely converse with/criticize our government is amazing; the fact that I could facilitate it is stupendous.

Yes, it’s a little thing, but the little things are the most stupendous.

Plus exercise and adrenaline = bonus

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Something Stupendous: And Suddenly… Beavers

Me: *bursts through the door into the house* MOM!

Mom [in another room probably having a heart attack because I am not a ‘burst through the door and shout’ kind of person but rather a ‘slink in the door and quietly traverse the two feet into my bedroom’ kind of person]: Archie?

~ As you may have noticed my name is not actually Archie. My mother is just fond of nicknames. As in she really never uses my real name even when friends are over which just gets mortifyingly embarrassing when she absently calls you Lulabell McFerdinand or something~

Me: Guess what I discovered at work today?

Mom: Something technical that you had to make sound pretty?

Me: *shouting across the house* BEAVERS!

Mom: *pauses then appears* There were beavers at work?

Me: No, not at work, in work. There were beavers in my work. Unexpectedly stupendous beavers. I got paid to write about dam-building, tail smacking, big toothed beavers. Do you know how often that happens? Someone just hands you beavers in the middle of your more technical mumbo jumbo and farm assessments?

Mom: *starts to mirror my enthusiasm* NOT OFTEN.

Me: NOT OFTEN! I genuinely lol’d. Big ol’ snort in the cubicle. Then I had to explain to my cubicle-mates the whole beaver situation. I can’t tell if they were chuckling at the beavers or my beaver enthusiasm or my weird snort noises.

Mom: *looks like ? *

Me: Laughed out loud, come on Mom. You keep telling me you’re hip. Be hip. Get with the lingo.

Mom: *subtle conversation change* It is almost Canada Day.

Me: Right! It’s a sign from the universe.

Mom: What sign?

Me: I don’t know, but it’s some kind of sign. Maybe the beaver overlords are coming. Maybe Canada will finally raise its beaver army, join its moose brethren and instill a state of politeness and maple syrup over the whole world. Look at that idea – we could achieve world peace with beavers.

Mom: Sometimes I worry about you.

Me: I know. But really the beavers weren’t even the best part – have you heard of beaver deceivers? Because I hadn’t. But they are essentially things that deceiver beavers. It RHYMES. Not only did I get unexpected beavers in the middle of a workday but I got rhyming beavers.

beaver deciever

Beaver deceivers are deceptively unbeaveresque

Mom: What are beaver deceivers?

Me: No clue. Some kind of beaver trap for when they annoy farmers. Apparently Manitoba hasn’t caught onto the beavers = world peace thing yet.

Mom: Sometimes I wonder how you got that job.

Me: Because I believe in my stupendousness! Also because they knew that I was the kind of girl who could a) handle both the tedious technical reports and the excitement of unexpected beavers and b) because I’m the kind of girl who actually gets excited by a spontaneous beaver interruption. That kind of enthusiasm is an immediate moral lift.

Mom: Unexpected beavers are stupendous?

Me: YOU BET! *pause* When’s dinner?

Mom: Guess.

Me: When Hedgehog gets home.

My life in a nutshell… I’m only slightly paraphrasing.

Something Stupendous: Avoiding Muffin Mental Breakdown

Existential cupcakes. When is a cupcake not a cupcake? When it’s a muffin. Ever spent twenty minutes discussing the essence of cupcakes or the core quality of muffins? No? I thought not. I did because that’s just how I roll. Give me a cupcake and I will reward you with the most important ponderings of my soul before devouring the tiny cake with the ferocity of, well, people who have cupcakes.

Discussing existential cupcakes was stupendous. It was something outside of normal conversation, stupendous. It required out of the box thinking, stupendous. There was simply conversation, stupendous. But rather than detail all the stupendous to you as per the norm I intend to share the stupendousness with you. Now you can’t say you haven’t spent time pondering the essence of cupcakes and muffins.

Essentially what is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? A cupcake is a ‘tiny cake’ but why is a muffin not a tiny cake? Can I not make cakes from muffin mix? I think so. Maybe it would come out a little loaf-like but then we’re just considering loaves versus cakes. That’s the same as cupcakes vs muffins.

muffins vs cupcakes

Cupcake or icing cover muffin?

Icing was proposed as the distinguisher. So if I take a muffin and dump icing on it does it magically become a cupcake? The opinion was split (I really need a tiebreaker in the comments) but consider the flipside: is a cupcake without icing just a muffin? This makes me think that icing is not the factor. A plain muffin with icing isn’t a cupcake, it’s just a muffin with icing.

Possible it’s the sweetness of cupcakes that makes them cupcakes. But what about CHOCOLATE MUFFINS, never forget the delectable sweetness of chocolate muffins. It could be that muffins can be sweet and savoury (yes? That’s a cooking term right?) and cupcakes are only sweet. That just creates more problems. How do you know if the sweet muffins are muffins or cupcakes. WHAT DISTINGUISHES THE CHOCOLATE MUFFIN FROM THE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE. Chocolate, once again, put everything in perspective.

Density. My conclusion is density. D = m/v. Density is mass over volume. Cupcakes are light, fluffy and full of air while cupcakes are solid bunches of goodness (if you’re lucky) or bran (if you’re unlucky). You can’t make a bran cupcake (can you?), only a bran muffin. Ultimately what this means to me is that there must be a tipping point, a density where muffins become cupcakes and are suddenly allowed to have icing slathered all over them.

Science needs this. Someone find the Muffin/Cupcake density line. Do it for science. Do for the children. Do it so that we can call it the Muffcake value (i’m not so conceited as to suggest you name it after me. Muffcake is stupendous all on its own).

Existential cupcakes to Muffcake values = its been a productive day.

I need to know. What is the muffin/cupcake distinguisher? People are still insisting it’s icing. Help! I need ammo. Respond here. 

Earbuds Above Ears

Guess who’s back in the cubicle? This kid. Can I say kid? I certainly feel like a kid but this a real-life, full time grown-up person job. What a terrifying thought. I’ll have to have an existential crisis about that later. Regardless I’m back in the good ol’ cubicle (which is itself stupendous) and I’m once again discovering the stupendousness that comes so easily in a new environment.

IMG_0071

Sneaky work picture is sneaky

Today it’s earbuds above ears. That’s right, not earbuds in my ears but earbuds above my ears. Welcome to the future! Cubicles mean the clickity-clack of multiple keyboards and the ting click of mouse buttons at all hours of the day. Stupendous, no problem. However, in this case it also means the rock-punk-cacophony of noise that’s apparently music coming from the desk just beyond the thin fabric wall. I can’t blame the man, either he’s blowing out his eardrums with the loudest headphone music ever or he, like me, doesn’t want music blasting directing into his ears all day and slowing blowing out his eardrums.

Cue earbuds above the ears. Rather than slide the music playing part into my ear, I perch it in the convenient groove between my upper ear cartilage and skin covered cranium. Sneaky work picture is sneaky. Shockingly you can keep the volume really low and still hear all your tunage and none of the cacophony of noise music.

Other stupendous features of earbuds above ears. No direct ear assault = healthy eardrum = no buzzing noise. If you get the cord caught on something there’s no evil moment of pain as your ears are nearly ripped from your head. Proper hair alignment keeps it hidden. Alternative hair alignment reveals earbuds above ears and is an EXCELLENT conversation starter. No-one else can hear it. I tested this one extensively throughout the cubicle. Finally, you can still hear your colleagues calling for you/walking up behind you, thereby avoiding being terrified by people who walk like ninjas and tap you on the shoulder.

Bubble Wrap Just Got Better (I didn’t think it possible)

Bubble wrap is the pinnacle of all wrapping materials. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact. Let me remind you. So what happens when you combine envelopes and the epicness of mail  with bubble wrap? STUPENDOUSNESS! If you’re joining the blog for the first time I’m going to spoiler alert you, it’s pretty much always stupendous. Putting these three things together gives you the joy of the bubble envelope.

bubble wrapPerhaps you’re wondering what I even mean by ‘bubble envelope’; after all I don’t think that’s the technical term. Let’s find out. Whoosh over to the supply cupboard. Whoosh back to desk. Whoosh back to the cupboard because I forgot the name in the five second walk. Whoosh back. Type furiously.

Recycled Bubble Cushion Mailers. That name might be one of the most stupendous names I’ve ever seen given to an office supply. However in plain language we’re talking about the giant orange mail envelopes with padding on the inside to keep the contents pristine. But the key question remains, why are they stupendous?

The fast and furious answers: made of recycled material, keeps your valuable items from getting crushed, enables you to send mail, is fun to squish, comes with a  self-sealing sticker to avoid the tongue-on-gross-glue conundrum, comes in a shade of orange that you never see anywhere else.

I’m sorry did I mention the bubble wrap? BUBBLE WRAP. The delightfully air-filled popable stress reliever substance is stuffed inside of an envelope. That’s right; as if it wasn’t stupendous enough on its own they’ve decided to incorporate it into a mailing device.

The implications of that are enormous. When you receive mail in a Recycled Bubble Cushion Mailer you are first off receiving mail and the joy of whatever the mail contains, you are receiving an envelope that you can reuse and you are receiving bubble wrap. Sending someone bubble wrap is basically saying, “I care about you and your mental state, have a <b>great</b> day” but by sending it as part of an envelope you disguise it with practicality and professionalism.

But really you’re mailing someone bubble wrap.

They’re not envelopes they’re ‘Cushioned Mailers’ = bonus

The Bus Driver Salute

I’ve spent over a thousand hours on the city bus, that’s not a hyperbole. We’re talking two hours a day, five days a week, for four years. I’ve seen many a bus driver, male, female, old, young, fat, thin, every combination of person that exists and a couple that I’d believe were secretly aliens. But they all do the salute. When one bus passes another bus, the bus drivers salute each other. Always.

I call it a salute. Really, it’s mostly a wave. Sometimes it’s a ‘cool dude finger point’ or a raised hand or a full on ‘hey it’s my long lost friend wave’, but there’s always something. It’s stupendous. Every time I see it I break into a tiny awkward smile because I’m afraid to release the big one that will make all the other passengers thinking I’m a maniacal serial killer (buses have rules about smiling and eye contact).

But the Bus Driver Salute is stupendous because it creates a system of unity amidst severely isolated people. Sure bus drivers seem like their high on the social interaction scale but how many people actually speak to the bus driver? Maybe 20%. And of those how many are nothing more than a ‘hi’ or ‘thanks’. If they get a complete sentence it’s just ‘how do I get to this place?’.

bus driver happyThey don’t have the chitchat cubicle conversations of regular office jobs. They drive their routes and go home, that’s it. So they created the salute. There’s nothing more stupendous than say ‘hey, I acknowledge you, you’re doing a great job, have an awesome day.’

What’s even more stupendous is that this can’t have been an implemented rule. I strongly doubt it’s in the handbook. This was started by a couple of friendly bus drivers who just wanted to wave at everyone and brighten their day. And it grew into something great. Something all encompassing. This isn’t just city buses. It’s Go and Greyhound buses too.

They created their own community and made their own moment of joy because one guy wanted to create smiles with a wave. How is that not stupendous?

Erasers: Real Life’s Undo

What you wanted something big to start us off? Well let me tell you, we are totally starting with something big. Erasers. Such as the ones on the end of pencils. That jazz is thoroughly stupendous to the unquestionable degree. Why?

Because it’s the only undo button that exists in real life. You can draw some kind of symbol that will permanently remain on that scrap of paper and the only thing that will remove it is a pink bit of rubber. That’s it. Your only other option is physical destruction of the paper with bombs. Or eating it. Or a shredder.

The eraser is easier. No physical evidence. No whiteout smears. We love the digital world for its delete and backspace buttons. The eraser is the magic of delete with the practicality of existing in this dimension. Unless you’re a dimension jumper (call me) it’s all you’ve got.

But there’s more to erasers than their erasing power. Eraser shaving collections. I still don’t know why this was a thing but every elementary school kid has saved their eraser shavings in a tiny little box they made out of paper. Then you’d compare with your friends. We use to spend our time erasing nothing, we simply wanted the shavings. Stupendous.

Erasers bounce. That’s right bounce. Drop a pencil eraser first and it springs back into your hand. Drop and eraser and it suddenly becomes a slightly deranged bouncy ball. That’s even better than a normal bouncy ball because of the unpredictability factor. Bouncing is, quite simply, fun. High how can you get the bounce? How quickly? It’s one of those small personal, seemingly pointless triumphs that brings a smile to your face.

Do you really need more? Multiple shapes, multiple sizes, multiple colours. Variety is always good. There are even erasers that erase pen (the verdict is out on actual functionality). They make fabulous, non-lethal office/school projectiles.

But most importantly they’re a reminder that mistakes can be fixed, so don’t freak out. The eraser has your back. That certainly sounds stupendous.

Got anything to erase?

Stay Stupendous