Monday, January 31, 2005

Somebody kill me, please

So that you will truly understand the state of mind I’m in right now, I want you to read the following as if each capitalized word is punctuated by me hitting my head on a wall:


I used to think that, if you worked for developers who used to be architects, it would be better than if they had no architectural background. That, somehow, they would understand the process we go through in order to make everything work, and would be less of a pain in the ass.

I say to myself now, “HA! You fool!”

At the beginning of my work on this project, we would send them a drawing, and they would give us feedback in verbal form. Now, they’ve begun playing Project Poker. We send a drawing. They counter with a faxed sketch. We send another drawing. They see our drawing, and raise us a site plan change. Why are we even on this job? I’m beginning to think it’s only to be their CAD buttmonkeys.

And the extra super fun fact is, we’re not working for just one developer- we’re working for two. Twice the head-banging goodness!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

It's a beautiful day in the cubicle

Our office, like so many others, is entirely too air-conditioned. I spend most of the time double-sweatered, drinking hot tea, and freezing my ass off. Even the guy who sits next to me thinks so. He has a space heater. A guy. So you know I’m not being overly cold-sensitive.

Sometimes I feel like Mr. Rogers; coming into the office, taking off my coat, and putting on my sweater. The only thing missing is the blue sneakers. I have a song, though!

It's a beautiful day in this cubicle,
A beautiful day for a corp’rate whore.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

So, let's make the most of this 9-hour day.
Since we're stuck here we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my Monkey?
Won't you please,Won't you please?
Please won't you be my Monkey?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Work has actually done me a favor today, for once. I really really really needed a nice, easy, stress-free day; and for the most part, I got that. There are several meetings that have not yet happened, I am awaiting a new layout from someone, and there is talk of putting the project on hold altogether. All of these things have resulted in me having very little to do. Usually, having nothing to do is worrisome to me, because I become anxious and fidgety from feeling like I ought to be doing something. However, I am going to forget about that for the day, in the interest of my mental health. I need time to get the rest of the poison out of my system. Then I will be able to handle it if they still want to make me a Project Architect. No, seriously. No, seriously!!

Saturday, January 22, 2005


I gave myself the gift of 10 hours sleep last night. I badly needed it.

An update to yesterday: there was a meeting at 2:00, and 2 hours later, I emerged feeling like I might hurl. Through some course of events I still don't completely understand, there was talk of making me the Project Architect for the job I've been working on (the healthcare tenant parts of it, not the outside).

Part of me thought, "Oh, yeah. They have seen my genius. Bring it on."

Another part thought, "Oh. Dear. GOD. I'm a wreck right now! How the hell would I handle more responsibility? More responsibility equals more work! More work equals more hours!! I can't do it!!!" [hyperventilating]

I still don't know how I feel about this opportunity. I'm going to call it an opportunity, because it truly is- it just may kill me in my current state. Okay, have to quit writing about it...starting to hyperventilate again...

Friday, January 21, 2005

Working makes me fat

I’ve begun to think the reason I remain fat is because of my career. There are the obvious reasons that I spend most of my day with my butt in a chair, and I am a stress eater. Despite those truths, I have been eating healthily and exercising, yet I cannot lose any weight. Today, I read that stress is a major hindrance to weight loss.

“That’s because when you are stressed out, your body produces more of the hormone called cortisol. Increased cortisol contributes to fat storage, particularly in the waist…”

I must be filled to my eyeballs with this coritsol crap.

“The amount of cortisol released by your body depends on how much stress is experienced and how you handle it. Some people are highly reactive to stress and show substantial biological changes, including considerable cortisol release.”

Being fat stresses me out. I’m perpetuating my own problem. Yay.

“Studies on stress, eating and cortisol found that women with excess weight in the abdominal area released more cortisol when stressed than women with weight distributed elsewhere. Also, women who release high levels of cortisol caused by stress eat more when stressed.”

Great. Fan-fucking-tastic. Well, at least I don't have "cankles."

Another article suggested you should reduce the amount of stress in your life by sitting on the floor and repeating, “om.” No, I’m not making this up.

Am I the only one who hates articles that suggest such bullshit solutions to reducing stress?

Architecture is an industry built upon stress, no matter how much one might try to avoid it, ignore it, or deal with it. Personally, I have not been able to manage any of those strategies successfully. Below, I have listed some of the classic physical manifestations of stress. I am thinking about posting these permanently somewhere, and keeping track of which ones I suffer from every day. Wouldn’t that be fun?

  1. Aches and pains
  2. Headaches
  3. Indigestion
  4. Appetite increase or decrease
  5. Muscle tension in neck, face or shoulders
  6. Sleeping problems
  7. Heart-racing
  8. Tiredness, exhaustion
  9. Trembling/shaking
  10. Upset stomach
Today, I am suffering from numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10; plus, I keep alternating between becoming too hot, and having chills- all as a result of events related to my current project. Part of this is a residual from yesterday’s fiasco. Yesterday afternoon, we were preparing plans that we would send out today, but one of the clients wanted an “early copy,” and he wanted it RIGHT THAT MOMENT. Apparently, the computer can’t handle this type of pressure any better than I, so it began giving me “fatal error” messages. AutoCAD crashed four times in ten minutes. (It seems to crash in relation to how urgently I need things.) Once I got home last night, I made the mistake of weighing myself. Presto, more stress! I woke up this morning, sore from my pitiful workout the night before, and wondering what the point of it all was, if I was still doomed to be a fatass. I was depressed before I even got to work. Once I got there, the stress hit me like a frying pan to the face. I “scheduled” a 2-minute crying jag in the ladies’ room before attempting to pull my shit together and getting back to work.

I feel like I’m completely losing it. I even broke my "I will not post from work" rule for the first time today. I’m still trying to ride the “new guy high,” and produce, produce, produce. Don’t complain. Work hard. Give everything you have. Suck it up. Just shut up and draw it. I’m starting to crack from it all, just like I would in school- except now, there’s no summer break for me to recover.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Often I have fantasized about quitting my job and becoming, of all things, a Starbucks barista.

However, I’m afraid I might turn out like the poor guy I saw this morning. After the I-really-shouldn’t-but-dammit-I-want-one argument I always have with myself about going to Starbucks, I went inside to brave the long line. When I got to the register, I was greeted by a shaggy black-haired youth- nothing out of the ordinary. Unwittingly, I threw off him completely off course with my order for a tall soy gingerbread latte, no whip, no nutmeg. It became apparent I had found a Nervous Trainee, and the poor soul was suffering through his first morning rush. As soon as he took my order, he began to remind me a little of Tweek. He fidgeted with the tip box. He looked at the barista stand nervously. He started to shout down the order, but it degenerated into, “Uh, tall…gingerbread latte…SOY…no-whi…?…uh” and muttered something about having to “go tell them the rest, too many people.” Then he fidgeted with the tip box some more.

Hopefully, he’ll calm down with time…and less sampling of the product.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Know what would make my life at work soooo much easier, if it truly existed?

A Wonkavator. Some engineer needs to get on that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Just draw it like I sketched it

Last week, I was trying to lay out a new scheme for The Department, based on a sketch by my favoritest healthcare planner in the whooooole wide world, HP. He had shown no concern for the columns in the middle of the rooms. The rooms have equipment in them that take up the majority of the floor space in the rooms; columns in the center are unacceptable. I was fervently trying to remedy the column situation when HP walked by, and asked…wait for it…”how’s it coming?”

“I’m getting there, I just need you to tell me whether the equipment will work when arranged like this.”

He became obviously annoyed that I dared go in a direction he did not pre-approve. “No, that won’t work. Just draw it like I sketched it.”

Grrr. I am tired of fighting; tired of giving reasons for why I am doing what I’m doing; tired of needing to justify my four years of experience to someone so obviously full of himself. I don't feel like taking the time to point out the column situation to His Greatness right then. I want to prove a point.

With a blond-style tilt of the head and a winning smile, I say, “okay!”

I drew it, just like he sketched it, and took it back to him.

“Oh, there are columns in the middle of these rooms. How’d I miss that?” Hrmf, I wonder. He took the plan and completely re-did it.

Yesterday, I spent a little while trying to make his new plan legal as far as the fire code is concerned. I didn’t know where to start; I figured, “what’s the point, he’ll just take whatever I do, throw it out, and start from scratch again.” For a good bit of time, I sat and just pondered how much his plan truly sucked.

Today, I overheard him say that at the latest tenant meeting, the client thought the plan sucked. He’s going to have to start all over.


The rest of the team also has to start all over on the entire building his plan is going into- but at least it's not because the client thinks the building sucks.

D’oh! But also- HA! Because he has to start over, too! Neener, neener, neener!

Friday, January 07, 2005

I have spawned

Seeing how much fun I've been having, spewing forth work-related anger and bile into the blogosphere, ManThing has followed in my footsteps to create a blog of his own:

I T Fury and the Neverending Stupidity

[clasps hands together and beams]

I am so proud!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

De-Lurking Day WEEK

Posted by Hello

I am totally stealing this post (a little late in the game, I admit) from The Zero Boss, who apparently got it from Paper Napkin. Ain't viral marketing grand?


Today This week has been deemed De-Lurking Day Week! Have you been reading the site, but never ever ever ever leave a comment? Well, today's the day this is your week.

Speak! Sprechen! Habla!

Leave a comment; I won't bite- unless you see fit to be rude- then you'd better watch out.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Morning Commute

I am thankful that my commute in the mornings is only about 30 minutes, maximum. Today's drive, below, is an example of why. As I have never had an accident (or been caught speeding), I truly feel justified in saying that every other driver on the road is a fucktard. It's even worse when it rains.

Leave house. Lament the fact that the garage trash can has caused my car to smell like chicken gone bad.

Pass through four school zones in the span of three blocks. The concept of the Dallas school zone is stupid. Never have I seen a single kid walking to school. Anywhere. This is Dallas. Kids don’t walk to school. Ever.

See that one of the two entries to the Tollway is closed, due to maintenance truck. Marvel at NTTA’s recurring decision to perform maintenance during morning traffic.

Enter Tollway. Give the finger to big, dumb Suburban that refuses to let me merge. Curse my GeneriCar for being neither a 6-cylinder, nor a MINI.

Find the lane going 80mph (speed limit is 55mph). Settle in behind big, dumb Tahoe. Can’t see.

Attempt to pass big, dumb Tahoe on the right. Attempt thwarted when minivan in front of me slams on brakes. Curse profusely. Minivan is ugly and has annoying Jesus fish where the manufacturer’s logo is supposed to be.

Exit Tollway. Get stuck behind big, dumb, jacked-up Silverado truck. Chevrolet is not my friend today.

Another school zone. Actual children sighted. I am one street north of Dallas County Line.

Nearly get hit by big, dumb Acura SUV as driver swings left to make a right turn. Sigh. At least it wasn't another Chevy.

CAD Monkey note: At ManThing's behest, I have added a link to get you back to the main page- just click on "CAD Monkey Home," beneath the Recent Posts list.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Crabbicus Maximus

Written at 11:00am:
Even though I don’t get to do a whole lot of design work myself, boy, am I ever a critic. It’s no secret that I despise symmetry. If you were a designer of ancient Greek temples, with a pristine, virgin site and no context to work with, sure, symmetry was great. However, in present-day projects, symmetry gets you into trouble nearly every single time. So many times, I have seen designers insist that something has to be symmetrical, only to end up fighting with it for the duration of the project design schedule.

The project I’m working on now is no different; it just doesn’t want to be symmetrical!! Our rentable area numbers are crap, and the tenant space doesn’t work, yet the designer keeps trying to force symmetry.

Further, the owner has suggestions about how we could fix some of the problems with the design, but these suggestions won’t work if the building remains symmetrical. Now, in order to preserve precious symmetry, the designer is talking about doing some kind of funkiness with the structure that the structural engineer’s going to scream about. The PA is hesitant to throw out the healthcare planner’s tenant design because it’s already been shown to the tenant. Never mind that the core and shell of the building don’t work.

I have ideas about how to fix some of the problems, yet I keep getting drowned out by everybody- the designer, the project architect, the project manager, and the healthcare planner- because I have no seniority. I never have been very good at making myself heard. Nobody is going to listen to the youngest and newest one on the team. They never do. Yet, I still fight the urge to give up, to just shut up and be the CAD monkey; even though it is becoming painfully apparent that is my expected role.

For almost the entirety of this project, I’ve felt like I’ve been spinning my wheels. I have drawn and redrawn so many versions of the design, I’ve lost count.

Written at 1:00pm:
PA and PM took me with them when they took the client to lunch. I am, for a time, pacified again as I sit down to draw the latest version (number 284, I believe?) of the core and shell.

Nothing shuts me up like a free lunch.