Over in a post at Will Shetterly's It's All One Thing, I posted a comment that there had been enough Star Wars Christmas ornaments issued over the years to decorate a good-sized tree without using any duplicates. And that someone had almost certainly done so.

I was right: The Geek Tree (with Star Wars, plus Star Trek, LOTR, Harry Potter, and Batman)

The Geek Tree's Flickr photoset


I Am Not Scotty

Remember all the episodes of Classic Trek where you had a scene like:
KIRK: Scotty, give me more power!

SCOTTY: Cap'n, the engines canna' take the strain!

KIRK: Scotty, I need that power!

And about four minutes later, after Scotty applies his Manly Scottish Mojo, the warp engines are running at 180% and the Enterprise's butt is saved again. Remember those episodes?

What brings this to mind is the situation at work.

I don't want to say too much about this. But consider the words "dysfunctional management" and "Toxic Boss" and "delusional thinking". Those are the polite words; the ones I'm trying to keep strictly in my head are words that would probably get me an unpaid involuntary vacation.

The Postal Service has always had a reputation for being one of the worst-managed organizations around. Mostly, if you're a long-time employee, you get used to it, you learn to deal with it, you do your job as best you can in spite of it.

But in just the last week, things have changed for the worse. They haven't just gtten worse, they've gotten exponentially worse. Management is demanding a performance level from employees that is impossible to attain. Literally (and I'm not *pet peeve here* misusing the word "literally") impossible. And when we say that we can't achieve those impossible goals, and then we don't achive those impossible goals, we're treated like lying sacks of shit.

The last time stress levels at work got this bad, in 1995, I ended up in the hospital (and off work for three months) with what felt like a heart attack. I don't want that to happen again. For one thing, I'm eleven years older, and that much more likely to have a genuine heart attack next time. (In my paternal family line, no male has gotten to age 60 without a major heart attack.)

Short version: I've seen my doctor, and am having to go back on an anti-depressant again (Lexapro), backed up with an anti-anxiety pill (Xanax), plus a recommendation for a shrink for stress-management counseling.

I don't like being on anti-depressants. I had to do that in 1995, after my stint in the hospital, and one of the side-effects of the med (Paxil) I was taking then was that my urge to sit down at the keyboard and write... vanished. Gone. On the Paxil, I'd look at the keyboard and feel... nothing. Just an empty spot there.

Considering that I've been writing at least occasionally since age 14, and how much of my self-identity is contained in the word "writer", that was not a happy time. (If I hadn't been taking anti-depressants, I would have been really miserable.) I'm hoping, with fingers crossed and crossed again, that the Lexapro won't have the same effect.

But right now, I'm feeling very close to the edge, that same edge I crossed in 1995, so the meds seem to be necessary.

Damn it. Damn them.

Star Trek was fiction. Scotty was fiction. And this is what you would have seen on STAR TREK: THE REALITY SERIES:
KIRK: Scotty, I need more power.

SCOTTY: Cap'n, the engines canna take the strain!

KIRK: Scotty, I need that power!

SCOTTY: Uh, cap'n, did you hear what I said? The engines canna take the strain.

KIRK: Scotty, give me that power, damn it!

[smacks forehead] Dude, listen up. The engines are maxxed out. They are redlined. There isn't any more power to give. It can't be done, dude.

KIRK: I'm giving you an order, Scotty! We're surrounded by hostile Romulan ships! Give me that power, NOW!

SCOTTY: And just who flew us into the middle of the friggin' Romulan Zone in the first place? It's my ass being snapped at by alligators, too. If I could do anything, I would!

KIRK: Damn it, Scotty, if you don't give me that power, we're all going to DIE!

SCOTTY: No fucking shit, Sherlo---

[Enterprise explodes]


Those Who Fail To Remember History Class, Are Doomed To Repeat It

CostCo's monthly in-house magazine, COSTCO CONNECTION, has a regular feature titled "Informed Debate", where guest writers give opposing opinions n various issues of the day. The following issue will generally include letters from readers, giving their own opinions on the issues raised.

The November debate question was: "Should airport security procedures include ethnic and religious profiling?"

This produced the following reader's response:

YES. It's unfortunate that it has come down to this, but people of certain ethnic and religious backgrounds have a much higher probability to commit terrorist acts against the U.S. at this time. Anyone acting suspiciously also has to be checked." ---Bruce Shimizu, Kaneohe, Hawaii

Ummmm... excuse me, Bruce (do you mind if I call you Bruce? Cause us "Bruce" guys, we're all supposed to be cool and smart, right?), but that last name of yours, "Shimizu", isn't that like... Japanese?

And would that make you a... Japanese-American? Or at least of Japanese-American ancestry?

And wouldn't you think that that heritage of yours might behoove you to be a little bit aware of Japanese-American history? Like, say, the forced internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during WWII on racial and ethnic grounds?

Wouldn't you think that that cultural background, that history, would make you just a bit hesitant to endorse profiling of "people of certain ethnic and religious backgrounds"?

Wouldn't you think?