Sunday, February 24, 2013

So what do I think of Girls

Ever since it went on the air, the (hipster) media has been awash with stories about Girls. Being too cheap to get HBO I have become more and more curious about the show that has supposedly changed modern television. Recently I noticed it was on Netflix, so I got to view the first season of the show.

Girls is loosely based on Sex in the City, except the women are younger and don't have their careers together like they did on SITC. The show is of interest to baby boomers, methinks, who have fond memories of their early twenties (living at home and selling hot dogs at Two Guys?) Well, at least we are curious to see how things have changed. In some ways things are similar (nobody had any money in the late 70's and life after college sucked) except there seems to be more sex going on nowadays.

Girls shows what it is like for women who don't have to live at home and live in an exciting if grungy place. The show centers around the trials and tribulations of Hannah. The main revolutionary thing I can see about the show is that it has a female star who isn't pretty. Ugly Betty wasn't pretty, either, but that's another story.

Because she isn't pretty, Hannah appears to be destined to have a crappy boyfriend (Adam) and go through a series of crappy jobs (although the sexual harassment job had its points). If she was pretty she could get a job as a go go dancer or a more influential boyfriend could get her a job as a gaffer.

Not wanting to be too revolutionary, the show has three comely co-stars. The other women are interesting, intelligent, but tend to have drippy boyfriends. I guess shows that are aimed at women audiences, (Parenthood comes to mind) tend to have strong women and pathetic male leads. Maybe this is how the world really is or maybe it is a female fantasy to live where all the women are strong and the men are good looking.

It looks like Season 2 is promising. Hope to see it soon on Netflix.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Change in the workplace

We have all gone to those reorganization meetings where the managers talk about change and how we all are going to have new job titles and responsibilities. We are quoted from people like Woodrow Wilson who said 
“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”  At the meeting everyone is smiling and cooperative, but in the break room the grumbling begins. Catherine's Career corner has a nice piece on why workers resist change

Spoiler alert: If you supervise more than five people, please close the blog now. The rest of this blog is not for your eyes. 

The workplace is, for most of us, a series of negotiated advantages and disadvantages that are developed over the years that changes and realignments can eliminate. Say for example, Sally always comes in fifteen minutes late and so Cathy has to open the safe every morning. In return Cathy gets Christmas week and the day after Thanksgiving off. If Cathy is transferred there will be no one to open the safe. 

Perhaps after repeated attempts to show Al the new computer program he still doesn't get it. He is quietly moved to a different task where that can be hidden. Change can expose Al's deficiencies. 

Lucy distrusts Mary.  This can be traced to the fact that Lucy remarried and still takes Communion on Sunday mornings. Mary hides this knowledge in her pew. The new reorganization will cause the two to work together on the same shift. 

In other words, change can upset the applecart. Higher ups often are not aware of how delicately apple carts are assembled in a workplace and should tread lightly when bringing about change. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Here is a classic from a few years ago. Happy Valentine's Day. Don't drink too much champagne.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A new book about bars

This book that has been getting some publicity lately. An idle moment of nothing much to do led me to download it onto my Kindle. Not a bad book, really. We get to go through the authors' Grateful Dead phase, her college in Bennington Vermont phase, her Ireland phase, as well as her various meanders through the bars of greater New York. An occasional habitue of bars myself, I can see that see has discovered those bars where people talk about the arts.

I have rarely gone to a bar where people talk about anything intellectual or artistic, save perhaps when I went to Zach's in Denver. However the author, no matter how many flannel shirts she may wear, is clearly from a higher caste than most of us. To get to hang it in a bar in Bennington, you first have to pay the tuition at Bennington. Drinking Jameson's in Manhattan requires resources beyond the jobs she describes.

The worst part of the book is that, if it's a hit, it will ruin a number of bars. Bars that are undiscovered and have reasonable prices and available stools will suddenly be places that are hard to get into, full of tourists that have read the book. I guess that's the price of success. Try getting into MacSorley's on a Saturday night nowadays.

Editor's note: A previous blog that dealt into a theoretical class on the art of barzology.