Category Archives: Work

I hate it.

Black Eagle


I got the call last night that the Eagle has acquired themselves a new Promotions manager that may or may not be able to update their website and create posters. I was finally (again, for the third time) cut loose from the bar.

I could see this coming a mile away.

Upset? No. I wish he had told me about it sooner, what with Disney coming up and all. But that’s par for course when it comes to the Eagle. They have a history of poor communication when it comes to staff. Ask andrew (if he still reads here…). When I had left three messages last week to see if there was any work to be done, as May came looming over the horizon, I sensed my time with them was up. It has been 10 solid years of on-again, off-again artistic employment.

That, my friend, is a lot of posters. I estimate somewhere over 1100. Not to mention folded calendars, magazine ads and other promotional items.

I have most of these posters on disk. My dream (which may become a reality if I can find a sponsor) is to hold a show of the best 50 or so posters, printed and mounted nicely and all proceeds go to Toronto PWA. After I come back from Disney, I will be approaching some people about this…

Stay ‘tuned!

Office Spaced


Vogon, or co worker?Just as I had made up my mind to fire up Dreamweaver, make a spiffy portfolio site and spurt email feelers into the job market, my boss drops a raise and a new job title on me. Interesting times here at the office. It’s nothing new or shocking, just getting a job description a year and 4 months after the fact. I almost feel like I have a future here now.


Just now, one of the wholesale managers walked by my cube and looked EXACTLY like a Vogon bureaucrat. Sloped shoulders molding into his head, chin fused with his chest. Slow gait. Creepy. And I wonder… Is that me in a few years here?

Rude Camel?


I had laid out this image for my Air manager for an ad when he came back to me laughing:

Rude Camel?

I see a camel in full trot. He saw a camel with a huge schlong. In fact, a couple managers saw that. Am I becoming sexless?

What do you see?


Personal Bits, Work

I walked into my cube yesterday to find it all “wedding-ed” with paper bells and (sigh) toilet paper streamers. My co-workers had even put fairy lights all over my desk to give it a romantic glow. This was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to avoid.

As I entered the cube, my boss, supervisor, coworkers and a few divisional managers crowded around to see my reaction. I deadpanned it, right away.

“Nice.” I respond, monotonally.

“How did it go?!” asks my supervisor, bursting to know the juicy wedding details.

I dump my bag hard onto my desk. I let out a sigh. “It didn’t happen. He left me. The night before he backed out.”

The look of horror on their faces… My boss started to back up into his office. My supervisor was ready to swipe all the decorations down with one arm. My coworker looked like she was going to cry.

I didn’t let them suffer for long.

Halloween Round Up: Leather, Make It So, F*ck Da Pigs

Personal Bits, Queer stuff, Toronto, Work

Leila on a  BenderYesterday was a good day, my friends.

Sharkboy and I started the day out by going to City Hall and forking over the $130 to get a piece of paper that says we can legally wed. O Bureaucracy, O Mores! I think I fell in love with City Hall as a building, not a concept, this trip because of it’s hushed tones, hip curves and trippy bubble clocks. And zombie like employees who came to their desks with heavy sighs and complaints about scheduling. Lady, I’d love to have your job for a while. I’d be so camp with the same sex licenses…

With that done, we hustled to our respective offices where, as you know, I donned my chaps, cop shirt, C.H.i.P gloves and Masters cap to much ballyhoo around my floor. Pictures below, if you want to jump ahead.

hey you!End of day, we met up with Rod and Bill who are 90% convinced that going on December’s cruise would be a great fucking idea. Please dear readers, give them 10% more of a reason. A nice round number like 10 at the table would be fun. We then headed to Wicked for their Halloween show.

Now, I’m a cynical old fart when it comes to Broadway musicals. I whole heartedly agree with the Simpson’s parody of Planet of the Apes or Trey Parker/Matt Stone’s version of Rent (Everyone has AIDS!). They’re lyrically stereotypical and schmaltzy. But Wicked was fun. I enjoyed it. It was well written (other than a few glaring plot holes) and did an amusing job of Lucasing the pre-Oz story.

There were some costumes in the audience. Leaving the theatre, I saw a family of 4 getting their coats on and noted that mom was dressed as Dorothy, one kid as The Scarecrow, the other kid as The Cowardly Lion and good old Dad was

Jean Luc Picard.

…What? The fuck?

I snort a laugh. I look at Sharkboy. He’s already into hysterics. Apparently Dad didn’t get the email saying “Oz Theme!”

Then we went to Church street. It was already 11:20pm and the street was still closed. Some my-tee-fine costumes this year, people. I was suitably impressed, dare I say “Best Halloween EVAR”? Very little repeats (although Dracula was popular) and only one Steve Irwin with a barb through their chest. Best Costume goes to the pair of guys with silver Barbarella-style 60s space outfits replete with goldfish bowl helmets. Damn me forever for not getting a picture. Lots of WTF costumes too. You know the ones: straights wearing boas thinking “Hey that’s enough to get by”. Next year I am going to ONLY take pictures of WTF costumes.

The police win the award for the biggest downers, however. At 11:30, they started to drive their cruisers through the crowd to clear the street. Their horns blazing, they berated the crowd to the sidewalk only to have them spill back out onto the road. I saw one cop physically shove a pair of guys, deliberately blocking traffic in front of Starbucks. Of course after they managed to regain control of the road, the traffic wasn’t that busy and they could have extended the street closure. But I am sure it was a question of paying extra cop salary to have them stay on. Regardless, the 30 mins we had there was fun. I have to say, I enjoy Halloween on Church more than Pride. It has zero corporate involvement and has 100% party vibe.

Halloween 2006 Photos are here, kids.

Pathetic Inc.


Sharkboy is going through some pretty rough job upheaval right now since a monster company has come in and swallowed up his old office.

So I ask you, el readeros del Deadrobotico, what is the most pathetic thing about where you work right now?

I’ll start: I had to eat my salad today with a spoon because everyone in the company is too lazy to wash dishes so the management has removed 99% of all plates and cutlery from the kitchen. I’ve had better utensils on Air Canada! (ba-bum cha!)



At a co-worker’s desk, I had just finished an impromtu meeting about web software and we had decided to use a scaled-down-and-dirty app that had just enough options for us to be happy.

Co-worker: So that’s the one.

Me: Yup. But it’s not pretty. We need to put lipstick on that pig.

As soon as I blurted that out (a might bit too loud, I think) I’m suddenly painfully aware of my surroundings. Did I offend someone?

I can see how it could be misconscrewed to be sexist but I don’t consider it so. Having been around drag queens and kings, done special effects makeup and lived with a super-vain boyfriend, I don’t equate cosmetics strictly with women. I only see the ridiculousness of a farm animal wearing lipstick.

I think improv class is really testing my boundaries. Especially when it comes with taboo comedy. Last night I suggested a scene where two people were workers in an abattoir. Both of the actors poo-pooed the suggestion. One was vegan the other had lived out by the now defunct slaughterhouse near Parkdale. Bah! More experience to draw from, I say.

When Good Clients Go Bad

Personal Bits, Work

2 years or so ago I took on a client that seemed like a dream: a US based non-profit organization that needed someone to do basic web updates to their site on a monthly basis. Without getting a chance to haggle on a price, they had a monthly payment on the table at a “too high to believe” range for just basic text updates. And the gig payed US dollars. Who would say no? I got the keys to the site that week. I did a few updates and fired off invoices like a good little chap to the organization’s treasurer in NYC.

The invoices were being paid in a moderately timely manner at first and then 6 months into our business relationship, the cheques stopped coming regularly. The Toronto contact woman seemed nice enough and came recommended from a mutual client/friend so I didn’t bother creating a contract for the work in the beginning. Bad. A few emails to the contact here in town with CC’s to the NYC woman with the checkbook would get the cheques going again but it was the same story for the next 6 months. I suddenly could see how the previous webmaster walked away from this golden goose.

My requests seemed like nagging after a while and they seemed to irritate the Toronto contact. To quote her after once complaining to her via phone: “You know, the people from this organization are doing this on their own time, it’s volunteer, so she doesn’t have the cheque book out all the time.” Well… I do this for a living. I expect payment when payment is due like any unconditional transaction. But I didn’t say that. I’m way too nice, or spineless.

After a year of this, I quit. Last fall I handed in my resignation to the board in NYC via email and then got frantic call from the Toronto contact. We talked and she smoothed things out, promising that the invoices would be paid when received, no need for terms. I didn’t believe it for a minute but gave her the benefit of the doubt.

At this point I should have walked away, kids. Getting re-involved with this organization without anything in writing was just plain stupid on my part.
I’ve bolded that to remind me that I’ve broken the first rule of professional freelance work. Get. It. In. Writing.

I restarted working for them and I got paid promptly from NYC. Once. The cheques came in sporatically after that, up until March. My last two updates are still outstanding to this date.

After careful consideration I sent yet another resignation email just after my last update in May which resulted in an “I’m so dissapointed in you” email from the Toronto contact. I guess if you have a job that you wish to leave for whatever reason, you should stay with your employer and continue to be their bitch and like it. The Toronto contact insisted that since I was leaving them in such a lurch before their next update, I should be doing their next update for June. Thirty to fourty-five days before the next update is a “lurch”? I imagined her stomping her foot like a spoiled child as she typed “lurch”. I cringed at the thought of still having them on my desktop but thought about the money from the outstanding work and agreed to the final update.

It wasn’t a huge amount they owed me but it was the principal of the thing. Come on… I did the work, why shouldn’t I expect to be paid in a promised timely manner? For every passing day without word or cheque, I was donning the armor for a crusade. A crusade for every freelance designer out there who has been admonished by their remiss clients.

I waited for the June update to arrive. Nothing. Remember, dear readers that as of June 01, 2006 I had heard nothing from them for over 60 days and their invoices sat staring back at me, dividing me between guilt and anger just by their exsistance on my hard drive. I fired off a couple emails to the NYC contact asking for payment. I got an autoresponder and one short “soon… soon…” then… silence. Nothing through my mail slot. This morning, I go to their site and find the June update completed sometime this weekend by their new webmaster, I suppose.

My last email to both NYC and Toronto contacts was thus:

I see that your site is being updated by a new webmaster so you are up and running again which indicates that you are able to close my account. Unfortunately my repeated request for payment (or even some indication of when I could expect
payment) are going unanswered which is putting me in a difficult position.

If you do not respond to my email or get in contact with me today, I will be forced to take action. Canadian Contact Lady*, please email me or call me today on my cell. If I haven’t heard from you by 5pm today I will be considering legal action towards your organization.

*(name changed)

I know that going after a US-based non-profit organization for a sum under $500CAD would be laughed at but it was the only “legal” threat I could make. I had fantasized about removing the unpaid work I had done but that would result in certain cyber-tresspassing issues since I wasn’t really their webmaster anymore. They haven’t changed the FTP codes, something I am sure will come back an bite me in the ass if they are hacked in the near future. I did request that they changed them as soon as I quit since I didn’t want that responsibility, but that, like the rest of my emails, have fallen into deaf inboxes. No. I’m not so petty to vandalize a site. Realistically I could go Small Claims on the Canadian contact, since she is the organization’s representative here in our lovely country and listed on the site’s Board of directors page. If anything I could disrupt her busy schedule to lose a couple hours of work in dealing with me as recompense for my lost time, but would probably only see 1/3rd of that after court fees.

Back to the story: In response, I get two emails back this morning. From the NYC contact:

Your payment was been (sic) sent. You should receiveit (sic) sometime this week.

Always the perfunctory response from NYC.

But the best was from the Toronto contact who decided that going a different route to comment on my email was far more professional:

What are you…an idiot? First of all, no one sues someone for $400 moron. And considering that you left us in the lurch with next to no notice to find a replacement, you’re lucky you’re getting paid at all. You hysterical behaviour and the tome of this email is insulting, rude and very unprofessional. And I for one won’t hesitate to dissuade anyone on this side of the border from working with you ever again.

(Too many “sic” to note. Trust me, it’s a pure cut-n-paste.)

Punch “define: tome” into Google and the first thing you get is:

Denotes medium sized cheeses with great rustic character usually made in the mountains

So… I’m hysterically upset, sending out rustic cheese emails because I haven’t been fairly paid for work that I did. This long rant may prove the first part, granted. But the last part has me confused. A rustic cheese? Apparently I had hit a nerve!

I spent a while reading and re-reading that email and thank my lucky stairs I don’t have to deal with this organization ever again. Especially the Toronto contact woman who certainly knows how to professionaly scold the people she owes money to.

But Ted! Where is the ironic ending to such a rant, I hear you ask? Thanks for asking, here it is: The site that I was working on and not getting paid for was for an organized group of communication specialists.

Yeah. Go back and check out their spelling. I wonder, with all the spelling mistakes I do on this blog, if I could join their organization?