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Amparo Bertram

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06:47 am: When it hits the fan...
I began the week thinking about television. I watch a lot of TV programming, but it seems that recently everything is merely entertaining rather than exciting. Of the shows that I've been following from previous seasons, most have either turned unpleasantly dark (e.g. Person of Interest) or have taken plot twists that I don't appreciate (e.g. Perception). Even Mythbusters made a huge cast change. The one new show that I appreciated enough that I would recommend it to other people was The Librarians, and that had a very short season.

What prompted all this introspection was watching the new series Battle Creek. I decided to check it out because it's set in Michigan. I only half-watched the first episode. I paid more attention to the second episode, and it struck me how much it reminded me of Due South. Heck, the plot was even about a maple syrup cartel; that would totally have been something a Mountie would investigate. That reminded me of my DS fanning, and how excited I felt at every episode, and how my entire family loved the show so much we went to a convention just for that show.

Would I go to a convention to celebrate any of the shows currently on TV? Not likely. Maybe NCIS, if I didn't have to travel too far. That's kind of sad. On the bright side, though, that frees me up to attend gatherings for other things, like board gaming.

Anyway, after all that introspection, I turned my attention toward pie. I decided to bring a pie to work on Wednesday, when everyone would be there for training. I went with blackberry, which turned out to be a good choice, as it went over very well.

After training, however, we were all called in for a meeting with our new supervisor, who relayed to us the changes the new chief wants to make to our department. Let me just say that the proposed changes are not only drastic, they are freaking insane. Without going into details, the gist of her message is, "You are all lazy bums who need to stay on your feet working more hours to cover more flights at more times of day, and stop giving your dogs so many breaks." (Note, if you look at national stats, we are the NUMBER ONE airport canine team in the country for quantity of seizures. You don't get in that position by being lazy.)

We have until the end of next week to propose a new schedule to satisfy her demands, and if she doesn't like it, she'll make one up herself and force us to follow it. (She already kicked out the supervisor who had been in charge of scheduling and put herself in charge of that department.) We suspect that she already has a schedule that she wants for us, and she'll reject anything that we propose, no matter what we turn in. (We'll still try, though.) Needless to say, it has been quite stressful for all of us.

I was glad that the weather was nice on Saturday. I was able to spend pretty much the whole day out in the yard, weeding and transplanting more strawberries. Hopefully I will be equally productive today.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:March 15th, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC)
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Ugh. I am really sorry you are going through this stress at work. :-(

Hooray for good things like gardening and pie to balance out the stress a bit.

I barely watch any TV any more, which I think is sad. It goes through cycles, I guess. Oddly enough, though, one thing I have picked back up watching in the last week is Babylon 5. I always wanted to go back and rewatch the whole thing (I own all the DVDs!), but chatting with gnine about it a little while ago gave me fresh motivation.

Even knowing how much I loved the show back then, I've been struck at how much I'm enjoying seeing it again, and how much I had forgotten. I'm even enjoying the terrible wooden acting of the first season! Definitely a level of excitement and engagement I haven't had with any American TV show in a long time. What was the last one I felt that way about? Buffy? SGA? That's going back a ways.

Haven't had much time for watching B5 though, as there is G-Defend to read and Haikyuu to watch, and always WoW to play.
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 15th, 2015 04:32 pm (UTC)
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Hooray for good things like gardening and pie to balance out the stress a bit.

Yeah...I have a little crust left over, I may need to bake another pie today. All for myself.

I always wanted to go back and rewatch the whole thing (I own all the DVDs!), but chatting with gnine about it a little while ago gave me fresh motivation.

I've thought about doing that, it's just such a serious time commitment that I never managed to take the plunge.

What was the last one I felt that way about? Buffy? SGA? That's going back a ways.

That is a good question. I think I'd say either Psych or Chuck (both of which have now ended), though even those didn't produce quite as high levels of excitement as older series.
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:March 15th, 2015 06:21 pm (UTC)
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This seems like the perfect time to suggest Haikyuu!! Though it's only 25 episodes. And you're kind of already going to a convention for it (and 10,000 other sources) in August.

Edit: I went to see if Hulu had The Librarians. It has a show called The Librarians, but I'm going to assume you are mildly enthusiastic for the TNT show, not whatever this thing on Hulu is.

That message at work sounds completely uncalled-for. I thought the dog breaks were mandatory? Anyway, I know you and your fellow handlers will cooperate to come up with a more rigorous schedule. (is it that you need to spread out your shifts? Or do more scheduled overtime?) I hope the new supervisor doesn't blow the opportunity to accept it.

Edited at 2015-03-15 06:26 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 15th, 2015 07:40 pm (UTC)
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This seems like the perfect time to suggest Haikyuu!!

I did watch the first episode. I felt a lot of sympathy for Hinata. I was always the shortest person on the team when I played volleyball, but I didn't have the advantage of super jump power. (I could serve fairly well, though.)

I'm going to assume you are mildly enthusiastic for the TNT show, not whatever this thing on Hulu is.

Yes, the TNT show is what I was talking about. Apparently it's based on some earlier movies that I haven't seen.

I thought the dog breaks were mandatory?

Right now, the detector dog manual says that the dogs must have a 15-minute bio break every two hours they work. That doesn't take into account the fact that they get tired and/or bored after about two hours and generally start refusing to work until they can refresh with some play and/or nap time. (Benny will drag me to the door when he feels he's done. I ignore him at my peril.) The most dedicated dogs, on a good day, can work for about three hours, max. Our chief wants us all to work six hours straight. It's ludicrous.

is it that you need to spread out your shifts?

Right now, the schedule is such that we have more people present on weekdays than on weekends. The chief wants there to be the same number of people present on every day of the week.

If we do that, though, we won't be able to have everyone together on the same day for our training days. The chief thinks we should break up training and do it on two separate days, half on one day, half on another, so that the people who aren't training can be working. She isn't taking into account the logistical nightmare this plan would cause us. (This isn't the only training-related issue that we take exception to, but it's a big one.)

Or do more scheduled overtime?

The exact opposite. She wants us to REMOVE the overtime that is currently part of our schedule. That way she can economize the overtime budget.

There are so many things wrong with her demands, it's unbelievable. I spent about an hour on the phone with megory yesterday just ranting about it. Ugh.
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:March 15th, 2015 08:26 pm (UTC)
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I find the first episode so sad now. My brave little hamster, never giving up! Thanks for watching; I hope you'll be inspired to continue with it and join the discussion.

Apparently it's based on some earlier movies that I haven't seen.

I loved the movies! They were a little cheesy (and I'm concerned about this "handler" change), but if I knew they were making a tv series, I totally would have watched. (Unfortunately, I don't watch enough tv to see the promos for what's coming. I only learn about things via word-of-mouth.) I've added the title to my Netflix queue, though there's no release date yet.

Since I don't understand the logistical problems around training, I'm willing to give the chief the benefit of the doubt on that issue, but the demand that the dogs work 6 hours straight is unacceptable. Surely you humans are doing work while they rest? You have paperwork to do, yes? It's not like it's wasted time.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 15th, 2015 09:11 pm (UTC)
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I've added the title to my Netflix queue, though there's no release date yet.

I have the whole series saved on my DVR, if you ever feel like a marathon viewing session some weekend.

Surely you humans are doing work while they rest? You have paperwork to do, yes?

That is correct. The problem is, us doing paperwork is "invisible." No one sees us do it. So to them, we're just sitting on our butts playing on computers. Either that, or we're completely out of everyone's sight (such as when we're washing the kennels or grooming the dogs or making vet visits, etc.), so they can assume we're hanging out at a coffee shop or something. The impression is that if we're not out on the floor actively working flights, we're not working. It's the whole "I don't see it, therefore it doesn't exist" phenomenon.
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:March 16th, 2015 11:37 am (UTC)
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Whaaat? Does she think travelers spend all their time in the airport counting how many animal handlers they see working? She sounds toxic.
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 16th, 2015 12:48 pm (UTC)
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Does she think travelers spend all their time in the airport counting how many animal handlers they see working?

Not the travelers. The other non-canine Ag Specialists. They complain that they are working all day while we sit around and do nothing.

We are constantly offering to have anyone and everyone shadow a canine handler for a day, from start to finish, to experience exactly what we do. None of the staff (or supervisors) have taken us up on it, though the new trainees now get the chance. (We wear them out.)
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:March 16th, 2015 12:40 pm (UTC)
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so they can assume we're hanging out at a coffee shop or something

I feel I can safely say that no person traveling through an airport has ever had this thought. "Gee, no beagles sniffed my luggage today! I guess the handlers must all be off drinking coffee somewhere."

The more you write about this new supervisor, the more I hate her. She sounds awful.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 16th, 2015 12:50 pm (UTC)
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I feel I can safely say that no person traveling through an airport has ever had this thought. "Gee, no beagles sniffed my luggage today! I guess the handlers must all be off drinking coffee somewhere."

The chief does, however, believe that the travelers keep track of which days that we work. She feels that there are people who intentionally plan their travel to arrive on our training day so they can smuggle things while no dogs are working. (This is her excuse for why we should have split training.)
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:March 16th, 2015 12:55 pm (UTC)
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The chief does, however, believe that the travelers keep track of which days that we work.

I am skeptical that anyone actually does this, but it certainly is possible. But it seems to me that a more reasonable fix would be to rotate the training day to fall on different days of the week. (Not necessarily a different day every week, just change once in a while.)
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:March 16th, 2015 01:01 pm (UTC)
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My brave little hamster, never giving up!

No, no, Suga is the hamster, Hinata is the pomeranian*.

(I just noticed that hamster!Suga still has the mole, but because he's a hamster, it's almost as big as his eye, haha.)


*Maybe? I'm not so good at dog breeds.
[User Picture]
From:gnine
Date:March 15th, 2015 07:13 pm (UTC)
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My gods but your new boss really does just sound INSANE! That sucks so so much!

Is there anyone higher than her that as a group you could appeal to? Letter of protest or something? Because that's truly crazy, and seeing as you ARE number 1, you have a pretty strong case of going "look, we ARE doing good work, GREAT work, just look at our numbers and this person seems to be going out of her way to FUCK IT UP! SEND HELP!"

And yeah, in terms of TV, I've been feelling that kinda too. There are some shows I quite enjoy, but nothing that's pinging my fandom button. The last things that have done that have been movies (oh Avengers :-p) and even that was several years ago now.

I feel like the overall quality of TV has gone up in the last few years, but the aspects that draw me into a fanning side have dwindled :-p
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:March 15th, 2015 07:51 pm (UTC)
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Is there anyone higher than her that as a group you could appeal to? Letter of protest or something?

The problem is that she was specifically brought in by the person higher up. He essentially pushed our previous chief aside to install her in the position. He will back her no matter what she does.

We're doing what we can to raise our issues with the union. Most of what she wants isn't against union rules, though, it's simply against common sense. There's no remedy for that.

I feel like the overall quality of TV has gone up in the last few years, but the aspects that draw me into a fanning side have dwindled

There are a number of shows that I would say are well made. I just watched the "If Then Else" episode of Person of Interest, for example, and it was absolutely brilliant. Brilliant...but dark.

I've had to stop watching a lot of things because they were just too dark for my taste. I want to watch shows where the characters are HAPPY.
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