I Had to Leave the House Today. It Went Poorly.

I need to work on my people skills.

167 replies
  1. 1
    Mary G says:

    I asked you on Twitter if any of those people follow you, but I guess we’ll find out. It was amusing, though, thanks. And yes, you can always tell who’s going to ask a question.

    ETA: also, too, how do you fire off that many tweets in a meeting? Just thumb your phone under the table? Use a laptop and pretend you are taking notes?

  2. 2

    @Mary G: Me. I ar Hermione IRL.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    Good thing the teachers weren’t armed.

  4. 4
    Mary G says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Me too, actually, but my questions are good questions about contradictions or things left out. There is always one, though, whose only purpose in asking a question is to show off how much he/she knows or just how stupid they are. (ETA often both)

  5. 5
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Meetings are the ninth circle of hell.

    That’s why I’m glad I’m not an academic.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    John Cole says:

    @Mary G: laptop. And no. None of them follow me.

  8. 8
    Corner Stone says:

    Nobody likes meetings unless you’re the power mad asshole that called them so you can show up ten minutes late, demonstrating your status and then ask gotcha questions of people who are your rivals’ subordinates.

  9. 9
    Manyakitty says:

    This is a thing of beauty. Your suffering brought you to the world. Thank you. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  10. 10
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    You missed out.

  11. 11
    Bumper says:

    At least you didn’t have to do a get-to-know-you exercise with your table mates then compete with other tables in some inane teambuilding activity.

  12. 12
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷 says:

    What was this for?

  13. 13
    ruemara says:

    I did give you a suggested extraction method. This is why I hate meetings. Well, no. I just hate meetings, unless they’re 5 minutes & involve here’s free donuts & coffee, we’re done.

  14. 14
    Gelfling 545 says:

    I believe powerpoint is an invention of Satan to make people die cursing God. In the few years before I retired I informed my principal that any meeting, in service, etc. I would leave the minute people began reading powerpoints at me. Email me the file or print it & stick a copy in my mail box and let me alone. I have actual work. My exact words, IIRC.
    One of the blessings of retirement has been a complete absence of powerpoints in my life.

  15. 15
    eemom says:

    Been that, done there. Hundreds of times. With lawyers. 😖

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    @John Cole: How would you know? I don’t have a twitter account but can read your tweets. hmmm

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:

    I ordered a bunch of pens and mini notebooks from JetPens.com today. Because I have a problem, apparently. The pens I ordered from Amazon will start arriving tomorrow.

    (“Mini notebook” is about 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches. Turns out that Rhodia now makes them in purple in addition to the Moleskine and Leuchternn (?) ones I already have, so I bought two, and then I had to have mini pens to use with them.)

  18. 18
    geg6 says:

    That sounds even worse than the meeting I was in today where I got roped into being one of the PIs for a NSF Grant we’re applying for. I thought I was just providing data on student financial need but apparently I am expected to write several sections and create the budget. WTF? I’m five years from retirement and really don’t give a shit about padding my CV if it means this much work.

  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Screaming and weeping with mirth. We have all been there.

  20. 20

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷: I got about halfway. It was too much like being in the meeting myself.

  21. 21
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Gelfling 545: I actually paid money last fall to go see Edward Tufte, who has raised Powerpoint-hatred to a high art form.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gelfling 545:

    People usually like my PowerPoints, but that’s because they’re about movies and show lots of pretty pictures and movie clips. Plus they’re voluntary.

    Okay, now I think I can see why people tend to like them. 🤔

    One of the most impressive PowerPoints I saw was from an author named Sarah MacLean. Really well-designed, with animations that were not distracting.

  23. 23
    eemom says:


    some inane teambuilding activity

    Was at one of those last year where the “challenge” was to build the highest structure with uncooked spaghettis and marshmallows.

    They actually pay MONEY to the clowns, aka “consultants,” who come up with this shit.

  24. 24

    Dying. Just dying.

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I went to one of his one- or two-day seminars about 10-12 years ago.

  26. 26
    NotMax says:

    PowerPoint = flash cards on steroids.

    /yeah, am old

  27. 27
    narya says:

    if you haven’t seen the powerpoint Gettysburg Address, I suggest you utilize your search-fu to find it.

    i spent much of today assembling a powerpoint, and I made extra sure that I don’t end up reading the damn slides: here’s some data, now let me use these data to point out the interesting bits, which you actually need to know about, because of your function w/r/t our organization.

    But I still loathe powerpoint. And do NOT even get me started on team building crap. Really. Don’t.

  28. 28
    Doug R says:

    You should start a blog. I’d comment, as long I don’t have to sign up.

  29. 29
    Mary G says:

    @Bumper: @eemom: I had to spend an entire EIGHT HOURS in one of those, the whole time knowing that my phone was ringing off the hook and I would have to stay until midnight just to keep things from blowing up.

  30. 30
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’m gonna assume that you are also a valued Levenger’s customer.

  31. 31
    NotMax says:


    Uncooked spaghetti?

    “You’ll poke your eye out!”

  32. 32
    MomSense says:

    Ugh PowerPoint.

  33. 33
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Mnemosyne: I imagine powerpoints could be fine if people used them to illustrate their talk. Most of the ones I’ve been subjected to turned out to BE the talk, projected larger than life on the screen and read, line by line, by the presenter. Sort of the poor man’s teleprompter. This was somehow supposed to make us better teachers.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:


    Occasionally. I’m left-handed, so their pens smear too much for me, plus I lose pens too often to be willing to spend $50 on one. But $3 for a gel ink mini pen from Japan? Sure!

    Also, Staples and Office Depot have discbound stuff now that I like better than Levenger. Staples has reinforced paper in both sizes, which Levenger doesn’t.

  35. 35
    Trollhattan says:

    I read this in a meeting that just ended.

    Fight the power!

  36. 36
    Jay Noble says:

    @Bumper: ack! Ack! Ack!

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gelfling 545:

    Presentations don’t have to be painful, but most people make them that way because they’re boring presenters.

    Steve Jobs was great at presentations, in part because he knew that he was supposed to put an image on the screen and then talk about it, not a bunch of words that people could read for themselves.

  38. 38
    normal liberal says:

    Jetpens is the devil’s instrument. People at work make fun of me because I buy my own pens, notebooks, paper, etc. outside the office I have a serious fountain pen habit. And then there all the watercolors…and I don’t paint.

  39. 39
    geg6 says:

    @Gelfling 545:

    Exactly. It’s a tool and it’s not PowerPoint’s fault that so many assholes use it improperly. People never bitch about my presentations. BECAUSE I DON’T JUST STAND THERE AND READ THE DAMN SLIDES.

    Sorry for shouting, but that drives me up the wall.

  40. 40
    jimmiraybob says:

    Some dramatic musical arrangements and translated to Italian and I’m thinking major modern opera hit. Really, I’ve already done a first runthrough in my head. By the time I get to the first pint of the night I’ll be humming it.

  41. 41
    Mart says:

    This devout FSM follower had a mandatory 3 hour Catholic Youth Charities meeting on Protecting God’s Children so I could coach the kids. Had some 80 year old priest (who I assumed was there as penance for buggering boys) presenting with a mike, boom box, slide projector, and VCR. The whole time it was stranger danger with videos featuring a sicko in the trees lasciviously eyeing his future prizes on the playground. I mentioned that the reason for this class was the kids are much more likely to be attacked by those they trust than strangers. That did not go over too well, the stinkeyes burned. At the precise 180 minute mark the projector went off and the priest asked if there were any questions. About ten hands went up and I jumped up and cussed at the morans as I ran out. Lucky I knew the director, explained I suddenly got ill, and he let me sign the attendance sheet and not go thru another 180 minutes…

  42. 42
    Fair Economist says:

    I wonder if there is a business opportunity in companies that hire ONLY introverts, and don’t use consultants, just to shorten meetings and improve productivity. “Anybody have anything to add? Guess not, we can go!”

    Hmm, now that I think of it, you could probably cut wages with that deal too.

  43. 43

    On the bright side they didn’t have trump make an appearance.

  44. 44
    Mnemosyne says:


    Had some 80 year old priest who I assumed was there as penance for buggering boys with a mike, boom box, slide projector, and VCR.

    That is some ambitious buggering! 😲

  45. 45
    lamh36 says:

    I saw this rant in real time on twitter, and I laughed out loud at work…they probably thought I was crazy…

  46. 46
    No Drought No More says:

    I worked with a crew in a job loading trucks where overtime was the norm, and the norm burnt people out sometimes as early as Tuesday. It was an ass kicker of a job. Every once in a while, the proverbial suits would put in an appearance on their getaway day, before we began our work, to speechify and give us a pat on the back. All it meant was that the longer they spoke, the later we stayed. But every meeting, this one guy would ask them leading question after leading question, just to keep them talking. He was the only one who wanted overtime, you see, and he milked it for all he could. We’d mutter to him to please STFU, but he always just laughed and said, “Relax, it’s gravy”. We laughed, too, but the fucker did drive us crazy whenever it happened.

  47. 47
    Mart says:

    @Mnemosyne: Realized that did not read so well after posting and edited…

  48. 48
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @eemom: My favorite (least) is the round up at the end when they bring out the chart paper & markers and ask you to sum up what ypur team learned from some ludicrous activity. “I learned that you’re pretentious & overpaid and that any one of my students could have given me more insight into education that you did” I usually looked for the most cynical looking bunch to sit with so we could agree in advance to some lie about what we (had not) learned. I figured that anyone who bored me nigh unto death didn’t have much of use to tell me about my teaching.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:


    I was trying to avoid the cliche of, “Phrasing!” But it did make me laugh.

  50. 50
    Gvg says:

    I used to like our meetings about 15 years ago. I was a front desk counselor and the other sections would go around the room announcing what was going on in their areas and how far behind they were. I needed to know everything so I could tell the students how long their files were really going to take till they could get paid. People can be really patient if you give them real answers and reasons. Now I am in one of the specialist areas and meetings are boring.
    I am not a people person but I am better than John. He may want to look into tranquilizers.

  51. 51
    efgoldman says:

    @Major Major Major Major:


    You don’t need to laugh at Cole’s misfortune until tears run down your face? What the fuck is wrong with you, effete West Coast Snob?

    Generally the people who ran meetings at Enormous Financial Services LLC tried to be interesting and informative. But the annual Marketing Communications Customer Service survey meetings were hideous. Led by a woman who droned along with a series of power point slides about “top box” and “top two boxes” over and over and over….
    And there was no way to skip it unless you were dead or in the hospital.
    By a few years in, a supervisor was assigned to keep me from falling asleep.
    But people knew enough not to ask questions, except for a few planted shills/

  52. 52
    Roger Moore says:

    Meetings are fine when they involve a group of people who actually want to get together to accomplish something. They can even be useful, though much more contentious, when some of the people don’t want to be there because they’re ducking the rest and the meeting is a way of forcing them to deal with the rest of the group. Where they suck is when they’re called by one higher-up who wants to hold the attendees hostage and force them to listen to nonsense.

    ETA: Maybe the thing that makes meetings worthwhile is when everyone there has something to contribute. They suck when you’re going to be a passive observer.

  53. 53
    normal liberal says:

    I had the same reaction in the middle of a webinar-the others in the room were fairly sure it wasn’t the presentation that caused it.

  54. 54
    Jay Essel says:


    You don’t have a problem. ‘Cause if *you* have a problem with JetPens, then *I* have a problem with JetPens. And I don’t have a problem with JetPens. No problem, no problem! *eye twitch* I will never give up my Lihit Lab notebooks!

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @normal liberal:

    I came so close to buying the $26 sampler of purple gel pens. So. Close.

    I don’t know how I survived without my Uniball gel pens. They really are the first pens I’ve been able to find that both write smoothly and don’t smear all over my hand as I write.

  56. 56
    satby says:

    OMIGOD. The entire tweetstorm was my internal monologue at meetings. And most of the time I was online at home.

    One time I forgot to mute my phone and told some dumb cluck to STFU as I went for a second cup of coffee across the room, fortunately, they all bought the story I was talking to one of my dogs.

  57. 57
    efgoldman says:


    Been that, done there. Hundreds of times. With lawyers

    No wonder you’re always angry

  58. 58
    Roger Moore says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I actually paid money last fall to go see Edward Tufte, who has raised Powerpoint-hatred to a high art form.

    I received The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint as a present, and it’s wonderful. I think PowerPoint can be used for good, but it requires the user to fight against the tool to make it happen.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay Essel:

    I was so excited to see those Rhodia notebooks in my preferred size and color. Because, you know, I only have two unused notebooks in reserve right now, so I need to have two additional ones to add to the reserve right now

  60. 60
    bemused says:

    I’m so happy I’ve never had to endure sitting through a power point. Not that I recall anyway. I could have but blocked it out. A friend talked about the occasional team building events at her job. She said they aren’t so awful. I never believed her. She’s someone who is too nice for her own good. I am so grateful that the odds I will ever have to go through either of these tedious things are slim to none. I’m old enough to have to go to those defensive driving things to get a discount on my insurance and I’m bored and antsy there too.

    I’m really not that anti-social…that I know of. I just like to get to the point and go home. Skip the coffee/donut/chat stuff with mostly strangers and go home.

  61. 61
    efgoldman says:


    Really well-designed, with animations that were not distracting.

    The problem in our shop, is once the admins learned how to do all the PP (ptui) tricks they felt they had to use them.

  62. 62
    divF says:


    We have all been there.

    I was there today. All-day meeting, three-hour time difference, and I was one of the speakers. First up, five hours of sleep last night. At least I could stay on script and do what I was asked to do.

    ETA: Cole was much funnier in real time that I ever could have been.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yes, you have to use them sparingly. Doing an iris-in and iris-out on the first and last slide of a presentation about old TV commercials is cute. Doing it for every slide would precipitate a rash of eye-gouging in the audience.

  64. 64
    Tom Ames says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Did you find Tufte’s presentation to be disappointingly awful? The man has done great things for data visualization, but he’s gotten sloppy in his communication skills IMO.

  65. 65
    Roger Moore says:

    @Gelfling 545:

    I imagine powerpoints could be fine if people used them to illustrate their talk.

    This is the first rule of a good presentation: your visual aids should be for stuff you can’t or won’t say verbally. They’re great for graphs and diagrams that remind you of what you’re going to say, but if you read off them, you’re just wasting your audience’s time.

  66. 66
    FlyingToaster says:

    Meetings like yours today are why I gave my lawyer this EffinBirds mug. Intellectual property meetings are the shits.

  67. 67
    dexwood says:

    Worse than meetings are the fucking potluck lunches organized by enthusiastic coworkers who treat work like an extension of some fucking high school club.

  68. 68
    divF says:


    And do NOT even get me started on team building crap.

    I announce at any meeting billed as team-building that the moment anyone brings out a giant ball of string, I’m outta there.

  69. 69
    Doug R says:

    @Mary G:

    ETA: also, too, how do you fire off that many tweets in a meeting? Just thumb your phone under the table? Use a laptop and pretend you are taking notes?

    He was channeling his inner Manafort

  70. 70
    VeniceRiley says:

    Uncle! I followed John on Twitter.

  71. 71
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: Purple! I want one, and I have a iPad so I don’t have to handwrite anything.

  72. 72
    hueyplong says:

    I dread all meetings, and am by now conditioned to react to the term “team-building” the way you’d react to stepping in feces. Any variant of the word “team” roughly translates to “extra work for no pay” or its big brother, “no pay for extra work that no one else is doing.”

  73. 73
    efgoldman says:


    Doing it for every slide would precipitate a rash of eye-gouging in the audience.

    Irises, sliding text in and out horizontally, vertically, letter by letter, fades, cross fades…. way more that I don’t remember

  74. 74
    Obdurodon says:

    They promised us a paperless office. What we really need is a people-less office.

  75. 75
    danielx says:


    One of these deals where you have to build an actual flying model of a helicopter out of fucking popsicle sticks and rubber bands

  76. 76

    David Byrne used to give a great powerpoint about PowerPoint.

  77. 77
    Emma says:

    I see some people have already said it, but this is how NORMAL people react to meetings like these. Rabies are included if there are words like “team-building”, “mission statement” and “weekend retreat.”

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m trying to carry a writing notebook with me, but I’ve been playing around with different sizes. I really like the 3.5”x5.5” size because it’s so portable — it fits in every purse I own. I’m having some issues with tendinitis in my arms because I was on crutches for so long, so miniaturizing was the way to go.

  79. 79
    efgoldman says:


    I announce at any meeting billed as team-building that the moment anyone brings out a giant ball of string, I’m outta there.

    The things I remember (there were more): the uncooked spaghetti/marshmallow thing mentioned elsewhere; designing and building little race cars; building a cushined container to drop an egg of the parking garage roof and keep it from breaking; trivia games…..
    Because I was old and crotchety (not as old as now, obvs) I just shut down at these things and everybody knew it.

  80. 80
    Roger Moore says:

    There’s some good stuff you can do with animations if you’re trying to illustrate a complex process. Having stuff show up and disappear as you’re talking about it can help to illustrate the point.

  81. 81
    RAM says:

    Angst, thy name is Cole…

  82. 82
    MomSense says:


    Not sure if you saw the new Vogue Knitting but it features Krysten Ritter who plays Jessica Jones. She’s another knitting addict.

  83. 83
    Emma says:

    @normal liberal: Sit by me. I buy my own pens and paper. I hate the lowest-bidder crap. Levenger is my BFF.

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:


    I haven’t been knitting lately — my carpal tunnels made me choose between writing and knitting. 😪 I may try and track that down, though.

  85. 85
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @John Cole: John, you are hilarious. I’d read your book anytime. You have a way with words which make whatever you do seem over the top in a funny way.

  86. 86

    @normal liberal: I have a fountain pen collection too. I like nibs less than or equal to 0.5mm.

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:


    One of the nearby malls has multiple Japanese stationery stores in it, including a Muji store. I was able to choose my own colors for a 4-color multi-pen since I like to color-code in my planner.

    It. Was. Heaven.

  88. 88
    trollhattan says:

    I had the surgery last November, both wrists. Totally worth it. (Apologies if you’ve already done that.)

  89. 89
    opiejeanne says:

    God, Cole, you are a treasure. LMAO as we roll south on I-5. Its 52f and trying to snow.

    Mr opiejeanne just remembered a seminar he was forced to attend on subdivision maps. Two speakers. After the morning guy was done the hosts took both guys out to lunch and the afternoon guy was so drunk he was slurring his words.
    David says it was hard for the attendees to keep their composure.

  90. 90
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Newsradio was an underrated show, and Stephen Root should be on all the TeeVees

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:


    I don’t have any nerve blockage, so I’m not a candidate for surgery. It’s been pretty well under control as long as I don’t push past my limits, which apparently include being on crutches for over 3 months.

  92. 92
    MomSense says:


    I haven’t been able to do much since I fell on the ice last week.

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:


    That storm is supposed to hit our area about 11 pm tonight. As I said on the other thread, I’m pretty sure that’s what triggered today’s migraine.


    Did I remember to say “ouch!” when you did that? It turns out that you can actually bruise your bones short of fracturing them (something doctors didn’t realize until the advent of MRIs), so don’t push too hard.

  94. 94
    KS in MA says:

    @satby: Ha! I’ve done that very thing. Totally careful to mute myself now.

  95. 95
  96. 96
    Miss Bianca says:

    @lamh36: I started noticing it earlier today and began to follow it. Am now sniggering to myself.

    Wonder what JC’s meeting was about. Did he ever say?

  97. 97
    trollhattan says:

    Weird, how did they diagnose carpel tunnel with no nerve blockage? (Assume you had the nerve conduction test, all kinds of non-fun, that.) Sounds more like tendonitis from the crutches, which should self-resolve, hopefully soon!

    Yes, I am a doctor on the teevee.

  98. 98
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m with you John. Was once given a journeyman to show the ropes on what we do. He didn’t stop talking for an hour and a half. Finally, he deigned to ask if I had anything to add to the conversation by asking, “So Tom, what do you like?”

    “Peace and quiet.” I answered

    He shut up.

  99. 99
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh, absolutely. And I hope you get your mobility back, in all ways, and soon.

    When I was coding and realized I was going to have trouble down the road, I did a lot of posture assessment and even Egoscue exercises; which I hope are still paying off for me. I’m still typing for a living, after all.

  100. 100
    geg6 says:



  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:


    I was diagnosed about 20 years ago — nerve blockage is not actually required for the diagnosis. At least, that’s what the neurologist told me after he unhooked me from the torture device. I always have a low level of it that flares up if I do things that aggravate it, like walking on crutches or typing too much.

    It doesn’t help that I also have an old whiplash injury on my right side that will interact with the carpal tunnels and cause tingling and muscle spasms. Those are fun days. 😪

  102. 102
    Mnemosyne says:



    Some people prefer Pilot pens, but I find them too scratchy.

  103. 103
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: Gel RULES. I get first crack at the box at the office.

  104. 104
    Roger Moore says:

    @geg6: @Mnemosyne: @WereBear:
    I don’t know. I’m a huge fan of the Fisher Space Pen. They actually live up to the hype about never skipping and writing at odd angles. In my line of work, both of those things are really important.

  105. 105
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mnemosyne: Turns out you can fracture bones, too.

  106. 106
    tobie says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is slightly off topic since you’re not discussing fountain pens but as something of a fountain pen enthusiast I have to say that my experience has been that Japanese extra fine nibs are almost too fine. This is true for Pilot. Pelikan extra fine nibs, by contrast, are divine. I have a steel-nibbed Pelikan that I bought years ago and it glides across the page as if it were butter. It’s smoother than any gold nib I have.

  107. 107
    rikyrah says:

    That was hilarious, Cole.😄😅😅😄

  108. 108
    opiejeanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: it stopped trying to snow and right now we are looking at mostly blue skies. Storm clouds to the east and west. We are a little worried about how much snow is in front of our cabin. Saturday it’s supposed to snow like mad accompanied by high winds. We may just stay inside for the day.

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I was considering one of those at JetPens. They had multiple refill ink colors in stock, including purple.

    BTW, the aforementioned mall with Japanese stationery stores is Santa Anita.

  110. 110
    tobie says:

    @Emma: @schrodingers_cat: @normal liberal: So great to see so many fountain pen aficionados on this thread!

  111. 111
    oatler. says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I worked for Levengers 6-7 years! You’re never getting your gargoyle pencil cupl

  112. 112
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Assume pretty much everyone has seen this multiple times, but it is still classic and obligatory.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:



    I think I’ve finally settled on liking 0.5mm gel pens. They have 0.3mm easily available, but that’s when they seem too scratchy for me.

  114. 114
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Wonder what JC’s meeting was about. Did he ever say?

    I don’t think anyone involved was paying the least attention, so it hardly matters. (And no, I don’t think he said. Probably because he doesn’t know. Just like the rest of us.)

  115. 115
    arrieve says:

    @Gelfling 545: I knew I needed to get out of my current job when we started spending more time tweaking the Powerpoint decks about the software we planned to roll out than actually doing the work. We get half a dozen people in a room for a two hour meeting to go over the deck to prep for the real meeting. If you think meetings are hell, try sitting through a bunch of pre-meetings.

  116. 116
    ET says:

    Am I wrong and going to hell that I am happy all that happened to someone not me?

  117. 117
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tom Ames:

    I’m sorry to hear that. He was wonderful when I attended one of his workshops, but it was at least a decade ago and probably more like 12-15 years.

  118. 118
    opiejeanne says:

    Yay! A huge pile of manure beside the freeway is burning.

  119. 119
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Tom Ames: No, I did not find it awful. Chacun a son gout and all that, but I enjoyed it.

  120. 120
    Aleta says:

    The purpose of meetings is to wear everyone down except for the few people who actually enjoy meetings. Then they can make the decisions, because the others are by now desperate to leave. The people who just want to do the work, instead of talk about doing the work, are too tired to struggle.

    The final decision made by the meeting lovers is how soon the next meeting will be. They decide on a contentious topic and a 2 1/2 hour time block so there will be more time for discussion.

  121. 121
    Mnemosyne says:



  122. 122
    NotMax says:


    S’mores for everyone!


  123. 123
    Steeplejack says:


    I’m about to drop a good-sized order at JetPens. I happened to discover that there is a Pilot G2 model that has a stylus on it, which I want to check out. It seems stupid to do a whole order and pay shipping for just one or two pens, so . . . yeah, you can guess the rest.

  124. 124
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @opiejeanne: Dang! Can’t imagine the stench.

  125. 125
    MomSense says:


    That is apparently what I did. I sort of sat down really hard on the ice. My left hip/lower back and right wrist got the worst of it. It has made me very tired.

    @Roger Moore:

    My kids and I got them as stocking stuffers many years ago and we still use them. Best pens I’ve ever used. The little pocket clips are long gone but otherwise they are perfect.

    One of my clients made me a beautiful pen out of birch. I didn’t realize you could make things so small on a lathe. I don’t keep it on my desk because I’m afraid it will walk away. The birch is pretty old so it has a wonderful patina.

  126. 126
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Oh yes! Circa, Arc, and TUL systems. I always load up on whatever’s on sale. Best notebook system EVAH.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:


    It’s that $25 minimum for free shipping. Once you reach that, what’s a few dollars more?

    I think some of the mini pens I got from Amazon are a G2 model. The other ones are Papermate InkJoy.

  128. 128
    Mnemosyne says:


    JetPens sells the clips separately. I think they were under $5 — they had a choice of chrome or gold.

  129. 129
    NotMax says:

    Mulling which path to take for the sweet ‘n’ sour chicken gonna be trying in the Instant Pot tonight.

    Spicy, super spicy or throw caution to the winds spicy?

  130. 130
    Mnemosyne says:


    The popular Happy Planner system is also discbound, so you can get some fun stuff at places like Michael’s and Joann now.

    If you have your own hole punch (as I do), you can do your own reinforced pages using washi tape, which is decorative masking tape from Japan (and now China and South Korea).

  131. 131
    Steeplejack says:


    Has Levenger been sort of going downhill the last few years? They stopped carrying the “page points” that I loved, which irritated me. I can’t remember the last time I looked at their website. They have a store near me at Tysons Corner, but I haven’t been there in forever.

    I wish there was a place close to me now like Artlite in Atlanta. I loved browsing in that place, even for stuff that I didn’t want or need. And I bought a lot of pens and stuff there.

  132. 132
    Adria McDowell says:

    @Mart: I have to take that class just to volunteer at my kid’s school. Not looking forward to it.

    Also too, this is the internal monologue for every person who has had to sit through a military PowerPoint presentation- including those doing the presenting.

  133. 133
    marv says:

    REALLY enjoyed this, Cole. You’re sort of famous, in case you don’t know, but there are a lot of gifted public school teachers (don’t ask me how I know, I just know) who go thru exactly this several times a year – PD days. You have no idea

  134. 134
    Thoughtful David says:

    I use a Pentel Sharp Kerry mechanical pencil, deep blue, that I got from Jetpens. I’ve been using it for about three years. Best everyday mechanical pencil ever. No, it’s not a drafting pencil or a specialty pencil. Perfect weight and balance. It’s got a cap, which protects the point, and clicks solidly in place when posted.
    Why, yes, I do love it. How did you know?

  135. 135
    Steeplejack says:


    ETA: They have page nibs now. The old page points were triangular and I liked them better, but these do the same thing. They’re great bookmarks, because they mark not only the page but the exact line where you left off. Very useful if you are reading several (or many) books at the same time and come back to one that you haven’t been reading in a while. Or if you just want to mark a spot for later reference. (Note: Assumes one still reads “real” books,)

  136. 136
    Amir Khalid says:

    So I’m digging around YouTube at random, and I come across this clip of the Foo Fighters with an unexpected guest artist. I actually liked it.

  137. 137
    Aleta says:

    My pen thing right now (Uniballs for many years) is Schneider. Made in Germany. With Viscoglide Technology! Right now I’musing Slider MemoXB, surprisingly comfortable in my hand despite being short. I feel like writing when I’m around it. There are longer ones too.

  138. 138
    Jay says:


    I used to work at a place where we loved those. But then, we went from 80 people and $30 million to 550 people and $4.8 billion in 5 years, 5 years riding the peak, then a 5year slide and struggle down to nothingness.

    At peak crazy I worked 14 hours a day, ( good pay plus OT), 6 days a week, Saturdays at the end of the month were hard, because we would blow off tons of steam at the Last Friday Social, free food, beer, wine, games of Swivel chair hockey and soccer, that would wrap at work at 10 or 11pm, then continue on at a pub or club. We held Charity events, had Department and Company wide Houseparties, ( Accounting were the worst, bunch of Newfies and Club Girls),

    Stomping along to this in the Chief Accountant’s home:


    We went to each others House parties, Birthday Parties, Weddings, Kids Graduations, etc. The “core” 80 tried really hard to “build a family”. At Peak Profit, we were working 8 hours a day, easy peasy, with 2 hours a week on Company Time for education, and 2 hours every Friday for Department “innovation”, mostly spent in a pub over chips, nacho’s and putine, coming up with ways to make our jobs more efficient, effective and more profitable. We had a gym, showers, a volleyball court and a rollerblade floor hockey rink behind the annex.

  139. 139
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I don’t think there’s anyone alive who enjoys being a rock star more than Dave Grohl.

    And that’s one of those moments when I remember that he and I are exactly the same age and probably have the same memory of watching that video on MTV.

  140. 140
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Mnemosyne: Mmmmmm pens & notebooks *drooling*

  141. 141
    Steeplejack says:

    @Roger Moore:

    One of my two EDC (“everyday carry”) pens is a Fisher Space Pen, with a soft stylus tip at one end. Takes up almost no room in my pants pocket, doesn’t leak and writes like a charm. I souped it up and splurged on a fine-point blue cartridge.


    My other EDC pen is a Pilot mini-pen (which does use a G2-type cartridge). Don’t need it and the Space Pen, but it has a slightly better writing feel, and, hey, backup.

  142. 142
    cain says:

    Fucking hate meetings. Luckily my new employer doesn’t do meetings. When they are, they are totally fun. When I worked at Intel, there was meetings. I had planned on taking of knitting and knit through my phone meetings and then come in on the physical one and just start fucking making underwear or something.

  143. 143
    Chacal Charles Calthrop says:

    @efgoldman: look on the bright side: Jared Kushner is going to spend the rest of his life meeting with lawyers….

    and thanks everyone for the introduction to JetPens. The 21st century may have too many powerpoints and meetings, but the pens are amazing!!!

  144. 144
    Steeplejack says:


    I put a couple of Uni-ball Signo UM-151 pens in my JetPens order, based on your recommendation of the Signo for us lefties. Also got a couple of Pilot Hi-Tec-C pens to try out.

    And I got one of the gel-pen samplers (blue) to give to a friend (although I will have to be strong to let go of that).

  145. 145
    opiejeanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: no, south of Buttonwillow, north of Stockdale Highway.

    Have I mentioned how much I hate Bakersfield?

  146. 146
    SteveNKY says:

    Sounds like Healthcare IT regarding meaningful use goals, population heath monitoring and reimbursement rates for goal achievement?

  147. 147
    opiejeanne says:

    @Patricia Kayden: it’s sort of sulfuric smelling. Our windows were up and the vents were shut. Not as bad as it might have been.

  148. 148
    Steeplejack says:


    Backup. You always gotta have backup.

  149. 149
    Mnemosyne says:


    I got the mini version of the Hi-Tec-C. The guides on their site are pretty comprehensive.


    The one good thing I’ve heard about Bakersfield is that you can get Basque food there. Other than that …

  150. 150
    Steeplejack says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    You just reminded me to mention that that clip up top has always been my favorite NewsRadio scene. Just perfect.

  151. 151
    Steeplejack says:


    I think it’s a (semi-)well-known thing that Japanese fountain pen nibs all run about a size small compared to Western ones, because of the differences between the Japanese and Roman written languages.

    I love fountain pens, but I’m a leftie, so it’s mostly worshipping from afar. I did have a little Nakamichi for a while that I loved. Gave it to a friend when I finally accepted that the dream was not to be. That might have been about the time I made the transition from ballpoint pens to gel pens for everyday writing.

  152. 152
    Emma says:

    Whoever it was that first mentioned Jetpens…damn it, did I really need to develop another obsession?

  153. 153
    MoCA Ace says:


    Worse than meetings are the fucking potluck lunches organized by enthusiastic coworkers who treat work like an extension of some fucking high school club.

    Hold on there… You can crap all over poorly executed PowerPoint presentations but leave the pot-luck lunches out of it. We have them regularly at work and they are a lot of fun. Occasionally we even veer off onto actual business and they are more productive than actual meetings. Of course there are two guys who take their food and eat at their desks instead of the conference room. Nobody likes them anyways!

  154. 154
    Paul T says:

    Dry Drunk

  155. 155
    joel hanes says:


    I worked for Levengers 6-7 years!

    I used to keep a stash of their earliest catalogs next to the bed : bookshelf porn.
    I need a room half-full of barrister cases, and another room with a long wall of floor-to-ceiling semi-customs. And a couple clubman’s chairs, and an end table, and a reading lamp, and a butler to bring me tea.

    (I have 75 boxes of books in a storage unit that I hope to retrieve and unpack and shelve sometime within the next two years)

  156. 156
    opiejeanne says:

    @Paul T: Fuck off, asshole.

  157. 157
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Paul T:

    Timmeh, is that you?!?!

  158. 158
    opiejeanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh, I forgot to tell you. I finally shot my great great grandfather, right in the canteen. In the book. Now they’re going to try to stitch him up. In real life he died of the infection and I don’t know where he was shot but he would have been ok if it had happened today, despite it being a minie ball. .

  159. 159
    Mnemosyne says:


    I found out that inheriting a title of nobility requires a vote by the House of Lords (or did in 1815). I kind of wish people had been arsed to tell me this when I first asked a year ago. 🙄

    It’s okay, it’s going to make the book better, but I’m annoyed that I had to ask the question multiple times before I got the correct answer.

  160. 160
    opiejeanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s so frustrating. I was trying to figure out what various things cost between 1850 and 1860 and it was a massive pain. There are lists from other years/decade. Guns were the hardest prices to find which is odd, but you’d also think someone would have posted the sale price of a sewing machine from about 1860.

  161. 161
    Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    @Bobby Thomson:
    You must be self-employed.

  162. 162
    Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    I can’t use gel pens. I’m
    a lefty and apparently press too hard.
    I just end up with a smeared mess.

  163. 163
    Steeplejack says:

    I don’t have to write much longhand anymore, but I have had pretty good success with the Pilot pens that take the G2 cartridge. Mnemosyne, also a leftie, likes the Uni-ball Signo pens. I have ordered a couple of those and will check them out.

  164. 164

    […] John Cole Attends A Meeting […]

  165. 165
    Duke's Archives says:

    Damn John! I salute your strength in just BEING there!

  166. 166
    No One You Know says:

    @normal liberal: All that. I have a complete array of fountain pens to attack any writing job. The color-coordinated note cards would go on forever if Levenger still carried them. Don’t get me started on flags…

  167. 167
    Currants says:

    @Manyakitty: yes! I use re-read this whole thread for the fourth time. Reminds me a) how glad I am to be underemployed at the moment and b) how glad I am to have this as a model should I ever have more appropriate employment again (aka job where I have to go to such mtgs).

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