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Thursday, June 27, 2002

I started working at a new company a couple of months ago. This company rocks the house. They allow flexible schedules, telecommuting, and have many other great benefits. Now, in the past I've worked for a company that is almost entirely comprised of a "mobile workforce" (i.e., everyone works remotely), and I've found that I'm more productive when I work at home. I think there are several reasons for this, the main one being that I tend to get more sleep when I'm telecommuting. I'm not really a morning person, and I generally find it difficult to get to sleep before 11 or so, which usually leaves me with a sleep deficit of varying degrees. In addition, when I work from home I don't have to make the hour-long drive each way to and from work. I can take breaks on my own schedule, work in comfortable clothes (usually jammies), and tend to household issues like receiving deliveries or being present for repairs or installations. All these things reduce my stress levels, which in turn increases my productivity and concentration.

Now, I realize that not all companies can easily transition to having a mobile workforce. Some companies are uncomfortable with the concept of not having their employees physically present in their offices. Others are concerned that no work will be done at all by the mobile workforce. Other companies simply don't have the technology infrastructure in place to support a large number of employees connecting to their networks remotely. In these cases, I have some suggestions for some simple workplace enhancements that will reduce stress for employees.

First, I believe that cots should be installed either in each cubicle/office or in a quiet room where employees can engage in power naps as needed. I've found that taking a 20- to 180-minute nap mid-afternoon to alleviate the exhaustion caused by lack of sleep and long commutes can do wonders for my energy and concentration levels. Having a siesta during the afternoon would surely increase workers' energy and productivity.

Second, on-site masseuses would be a good addition to the benefits package available to employees. Many of my colleagues share similar ailments- sore shoulders and necks resulting from tension and long hours in front of a computer, sore backs from jobs that require lifting, and general overall muscular tightness as a result of stress. Massage therapy, available at the workplace, could reduce or eliminate these problems. Employees would return to their desks refreshed, recharged, and ready to be productive. (A shower post-massage is strongly suggested to avoid massage oil stains on workstations and keyboards.)

Third, conjugal visits at work would be a welcome addition for many workers who spend long hours on their commutes and in their offices. Many times, these workers are too exhausted to engage in sexual relations with their spouse/significant other/sheep at the end of a long day. Increased sexual frustration can increase tension and distract an employee from their day-to-day tasks, unless your company blocks pr0n websites via your firewall. (In that case, they will simply become more frustrated.) Allowing them to attain sexual release with their partner during the workday would give them the opportunity to have a better work/life balance. For those employees who do not currently have a sexual partner, specially trained assistants can work with them to attain the results they need.

Adding benefits like these to a company's current benefits package may seem cost-prohibitive; however, increasing worker's job satisfaction in the above listed ways will undoubtedly reduce the need for other benefits that are currently being offered. Employee turnover will be reduced, and many workers will gladly forego pesky benefits like 401(k) plans, health insurance, and lunch breaks in order to have a b.j. at their desks. In the long run, adding these benefits would reduce overhead and increase employee productivity and satisfaction.

I will be available for consultations as a workplace efficiency expert to discuss increasing employee productivity using these and other means, like strategic use of cattle prods. Please contact me for further information.

babbled by Kat @ 12:41:00 PM | |

Friday, June 21, 2002

I post, yet again, but this time it's going to be much nicer, and much more concise.

Wil and his wife Anne are participating in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-day walk in Los Angeles on October 18-20. Wil's goal is to raise $5000 in sponsorship money. My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, so this is an issue that is really important to me. I donated. You should too.

babbled by Kat @ 3:50:00 PM | |

There's an old saying that I like: "If you want to have a friendly conversation, don't talk religion or politics." This saying exists for good reason, as people tend to have deep convictions about both subjects, and discussion of said subjects tend to incite impassioned and heated debate even amongst the closest of friends. That said, today's post is mostly about religion and politics, not because I want to be unfriendly, but because that's what's on my mind. Well, ok, maybe I'm a little unfriendly. Kind of surly, actually. But I digress.

The first thing I'd like to blab on endlessly about is that nice little scandal going on in the Catholic Church. I've had an opinion on this (and many other policies in the Catholic Church) for quite some time now, even before the latest rash of accusations, but I figured I'd wait until the media ruckus died down a bit before I commented. If you're tired of hearing about this subject and would rather gouge your own eyes out with a fork than read one more word about the "Catholic Church scandal", then go ahead and skip down to the "I'm not anti-American, damn it" section.

Priests molesting children: Holy shit, the jokes were all true

The current situation in the Catholic Church in the United States is alarming. It appears that the Church's leaders have been engaging in the cover-up of serious child molestation allegations for decades. Reports of various cover-ups in several archdioceses that have happened in the past are now coming to light, and new allegations, some of abuse that may have occurred decades ago, have surfaced. The questions that are immediately facing the Church are thus: Why did this happen? What can the Church do to stop it? And how can the Church recover from this horrendous turn of events?

First, let's examine why pedophilia seems to be so prevalent amongst Catholic priests. Many people seem to think that Catholic priests sexually abuse children because of the priestly requirement of celibacy, or that eliminating the celibacy requirement would be a cure-all for the Church's ills. Celibacy could be a contributing factor, but it is not the main factor. Priests who are required to be celibate could break this rule by engaging in intercourse with an adult more easily and with far less harm to the both the Church and the participants in the sexual activity than they could with a child. Why, then, does this aberration happen? The most likely reason for this high occurrence of pedophilia amongst priests is that the priest is already afflicted with this particular mental disorder when they enter the priesthood. To some, this may make it seem as though people become priests in order to indulge their pedophilic tendencies; on the contrary, the pedophile becomes a priest so that they may attempt to overcome their pedophilic desires through their devotion to the Church and to God. Similarly, in the past, homosexual men who were raised as Catholics would be drawn to the priesthood because they would rather devote themselves to Church and God by being celibate than admit that they were attracted to other men. Pedophiles who are raised in Catholic families are likely drawn to the priesthood because they mistakenly believe that they can overcome their desires through sheer willpower and devotion to a higher power. However, their jobs require them to work closely with children, who are the objects of their desire, and so their willpower and devotion is tested on almost a daily basis. This, of course, leads to pedophilic activity amongst these aberrant priests.

The above is only applicable to those priests who are true pedophiles. A small percentage of the priests who molest children are probably not clinically pedophiles, but become attracted to children over time because their young charges show them affection and admiration. These priests generally make advances towards older children, mostly teenagers.

Another matter that needs to be examined is whether all of the claims of abuse are substantiated. The United States is a notoriously litigious society. When word of Church financial settlements with families of abuse victims was first publicized, it is reasonable to assume that there were unscrupulous persons who learned of these settlements and invented false claims in order to collect money from the Church. The Church is notorious for being extremely protective of its priests and preferring to keep all charges against them away from the public eye, so it is also reasonable to assume that the Church would probably offer a financial settlement if a new allegation against a priest, especially one who had already been accused by other families, came to light. Therefore, it is entirely possible that some of the allegations that have been made against Catholic priests are unfounded or false.

Unfortunately, it is far more likely that many of the accusations are true. This means that the Catholic Church's leaders have taken an active role in not only shielding their priests from deserved criminal charges, but also in hiding the allegations from the public and placing more children in harm's way by placing priests accused of child molestation back into parish service. This is a grievous offense against the Catholic faithful. It appears as though the Church is taking steps to change the way it handles these types of allegations, but there is far more work to be done.

How can the Church begin to remedy this situation? First, it should implement a zero-tolerance policy against child molesters. If a priest is accused of sexually abusing a child, he should be immediately removed from parish service pending an investigation by both Church officials and police. If the allegation proves to be true, he should be defrocked and turned over to civil authorities for a criminal prosecution of his actions. This is the only way that the Church can ensure that the priest will not harm any other children. Second, the Church should maintain a strict screening process in seminaries. Potential priests are require to attend seminary for several years prior to becoming ordained. This provides ample opportunity for the Church to provide psychological counseling and screen out persons with a tendency towards pedophilia. Third, I think that the Church should reconsider its policy towards married clergy. I do not think that allowing priests to marry is the only solution, nor do I think it will prevent priests who are already clinically defined pedophiles from molesting children, but I do think that it will open up the priesthood to many people who would not consider becoming a priest while the celibacy rule is in effect. This would help the Church with its current shortage of priests as well as provide the Catholic faithful with a priesthood that understands marital issues from their own life experience, and therefore will be in a better position to counsel their flock.

This isn't a problem that has a quick fix. It will take a long time for the Church to repair this serious breach of trust. Let's just hope that no more children or families are hurt in the process.

I'm not anti-American, damn it

I'm a pretty freakin' patriotic person. I love my country. I love baseball, apple pie, and strip malls. I especially love the fact that we have the freedom to say whatever we want in this country and not have some commandos show up at our house at 3 a.m. and take us away to a secret interrogation room where we'd be beaten and tortured for 2 months. But I've noticed a disturbing trend in the past nine months.

People get pissed when you say anything critical about the government or the president.

Granted, there were people who got pissed about this sort of criticism prior to Sept. 11. But it seems that now, anyone who speaks out against the campaign in Afghanistan, against internment of prisoners without trial, against the bills that have been passed that are tossing our constitutional rights out the window - anyone who criticizes the disintegration of our civil liberties in exchange for our so-called safety - is branded as an anti-American. The favorite slogan seems to be, "If you don't like it here in America, then leave." Remember back in August, when everyone used to make fun of President Bush? Can't do it anymore, you're anti-American. I think that's a load of crap, and so did one of the greatest presidents in American history. Refraining from criticism of the president is far more unpatriotic than just blindly following him.

As I said, I love my country. And as an American citizen, I have the right, if not the duty, to pay attention to what my elected leaders are doing and speak out if I think something's not right. I disagree with a lot of the policies that have been implemented in the last nine months, to varying degrees. But there's one thing in particular that's been bugging me, so I'm going to bring it up, because it's my constitutional right to do so.

Our government has been holding over a thousand prisoners who they suspect were involved with the events of September 11. Some of these prisoners have been categorized as "enemy combatants", which means that they can be held indefinitely and are not entitled to legal counsel. The Justice Department says that this is because "There is no right under the laws and customs of war for an enemy combatant to meet with counsel concerning his detention, much less to meet with counsel in private, without military authorities present." They also say that civilian courts cannot challenge the military's determination of the detainee as an enemy combatant.

This doesn't sit well for me, for many reasons. First, there has not been an official declaration of war. If this policy applies to "the laws and customs of war", and no war has been declared, then why is this policy being implemented? Second, it is quite frightening that a court cannot examine the military's reasoning for detaining a suspect in this manner. Under this policy, anyone (including U.S. citizens) can be held indefinitely, without a lawyer, and without a hearing. Third, haven't we learned from our past mistakes? Our country interned thousands of Japanese-Americans and German-Americans during World War II because they were deemed "security threats". We interned German, Austrian, and Hungarian people during World War I. We persecuted and detained people who were members of the Communist Party during the Cold War. All of these actions were deemed to be serious mistakes in hindsight. Does the current government, not to mention the American public, not see the similarities between the current detainment activities and these past errors?

Obviously, this issue doesn't have an easy answer. We can't just detain everyone who looks "different", practices a particular religion, is a recent immigrant, and so on. On the other hand, we can't just look the other way and not defend ourselves against people who are attempting to destroy us. But internment without trial is not going to stop terrorism. It's only going to create more people who are willing to martyr themselves.

I'm done now

Send hatemail to me!

babbled by Kat @ 10:40:00 AM | |

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

One of my favorite quotes:

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president,
or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not
only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to
the American public."
- Theodore Roosevelt

More later.

babbled by Kat @ 4:45:00 PM | |

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

I was perusing my logs recently and found some very interesting search strings that were used to get here. I thought I'd share some of them with you. I'll probably be keeping an archive of the more interesting ones.

"sentence using behoove"
"is fingering considered sex?"
"wil wheaton penis" (heh)
"kick puppies"
"pictures of my roommate's boobs"
"starfleet uniforms buy"
"sofa king we todd did shirt"
"mofo definition"
"seamus heaney crap"
"los angeles sushi party"
"oogle at my goodies"
"stinky pinky logo"

Now, really, what could possess a person to look up how to kick puppies? Come now, do we really need to be quite that disgruntled? If you want to see TV's Wil Wheaton's penis, I think it would be better to ask him directly. And Seamus Heaney is not crap.

I'll probably be playing around with the site design shortly. I'm either going to completely change the skin, or I'm going to narrow the blog area so that I can put in some links in the sidebar instead of at the bottom. I'm not sure yet. You should tell me what you think.

babbled by Kat @ 4:26:00 PM | |

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

I promise this will be the last time that I say how long it's been since I've posted. If you read this page and have any concept of dates, you already know that. I must add, however, that I feel I should provide content that is interesting on at least some level, so that's why I don't update very often. I want to hold your attention.

I've been racking my brain trying to come up with something interesting to discuss. I went to a couple of gallery shows this weekend, so I could probably write an essay about the pretentious L.A. art crowd, but I don't want to alienate all of my friends & neighbors who happen to be part of the art scene in L.A., though I think that some of them secretly agree with me. So I think I'll discuss cohabitation and utilizing an enormously stressful life event (such as moving to a new home) as a gauge for the strength of a relationship.

This past weekend, I moved all of my belongings and all of my girlfriend's belongings into one of the other lofts in our building. Ok, I didn't do all or even most of the actual moving. I packed and cleaned and hated life for two solid days. We recruited Liz's ready-made team of assistants (a.k.a. her kids) and a friend to help us lug all of our stuff over to the new place. Boy howdy, we have a lot of crap. There will be a lot of giving away, shredding, and donating going on within the next couple of months. Also, we have to get the apartment ready for viewing audiences by the end of the month, because there will be an open studio event for LACMA members, which means we'll have a bunch of people marching through our living room on June 29. So we won't be able to actually relax until at least July.

I am really enjoying the new loft. It's the same size as my old one, but it's got insulation and air conditioning and a nicer kitchen and skylights. The only problem seems to be that the walls are really thin. They're thin everywhere in the building, but our neighbors in this loft are loud talkers, so we need to devise some way to block the sound coming from their place. Other than that, it's perfect.

Well, due to all of the moving, I missed our friend, TV's Wil Wheaton, in the "Wesley Crusher day" Star Trek marathon on TNN. Oh, well. If I'd sat and watched a bunch of Star Trek reruns, my girlfriend may very well have been so disgusted by my overt geekiness that she would have left me, so it's probably for the better that I didn't watch it.

I've decided that moving can be used as a gauge for the strength of a relationship. Seriously. I spent the last three days packing, sorting, lifting, carrying, dusting, mopping, vacuuming, connecting, disconnecting, and sweating. It sucked. Obviously, it doesn't suck nearly as much as any number of horrible things that could happen in a person's life, and I fully realize that my bitching and moaning about the perceived horrors of moving to a new house when there are thousands of people living on the street is a pretty petty thing, but that's not the point of this rambling little post. I probably don't actually have a point, but that hasn't stopped me from writing before. Anyway, my point is that stressful conditions can test the strength of a relationship. At some point during the move, Liz made a comment along those lines, basically saying that if a relationship can stand a move like this, it's on pretty solid ground. I agree. A move can make or break a relationship. Really, any majorly stressful event can make or break a relationship. When I moved back to California from New York two years ago, the move killed the relationship I was in at the time. Granted, it wasn't very strong to begin with, but the stress of moving across the country basically pushed it over the edge. In a similar vein, my relationship with my ex-husband went sharply downhill after we moved into a new apartment. We'd been living in one apartment for 3 and a half years, and less than six months after we'd moved to a new one, we split up. I think that any major life-changing event (and no matter what anyone says, moving is pretty major) can alter the course of a relationship if it doesn't have a strong foundation.

In any case, so far Liz and I have made it through with flying colors. Granted, we've only been in the new apartment for two days, but still. I've been surprised by my comfort levels in this relationship, actually. In past relationships, I've been anxious, worrying about a myriad of issues that haven't even crossed my mind in this one. The most amazing thing about it is that I haven't been freaked out by the whole commitment thing - it feels like it's the most natural thing in the world to commit to her. I couldn't be more thrilled. I'm sure some of my friends would fall off of their chairs after reading that!

I'll leave you with this thought:

"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes." - Oscar Wilde

babbled by Kat @ 11:19:00 AM | |