Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An abrupt change of plans

I decided that I'm going to start over on P90x. Basically this means that when I am better prepared, I am going to act as if that week was Week 1 again.

I was reading a little bit online about P90x yesterday. Previously, the research that I had done was basically to see if it really worked. Once I established that it did, I just kind of jumped right in, not knowing what to expect. Yesterday, I looked to read up on tips and advice that people had, and I wanted to get answers to some of my questions (I'm going to have to skip a day every now and then inevitably - what are the major consequences? After a skip, should I do the workout I should have done the previous day, or should I move on to the next day? What's the deal with the nutrition guide - is it really necessary?)

While I was finding answers to those questions, I also confirmed a couple of other things that I had suspicions about in my mind. One was that several people mentioned beginning the workouts and just doing them to get a feel for them before they actually started the program regimen. That way, their benefits wouldn't be compromised by being so out of shape that they wouldn't be able to do the full workouts, like I've been experiencing. Those people said that by doing a casual week or two of the workouts to just get their bodies adjusted to the idea of working out, they experienced much better results from Phase 1 of the program. I myself had been wondering how beneficial it would really be to have two throwaway weeks out of four in Phase 1.

Additionally, I'd mentioned before I have a couple of other problems. One is that I didn't have a pull-up bar, which is crucial for one of the workouts in Phase 1, and for two of the workouts in Phases 2 and 3. Another is that I just don't have the motivation (yet) to get up 40 minutes earlier every day that I have to do the Yoga workout.

So my plan is this: for the remainder of this week, I'm going to do some low-impact pilates stuff. I'm realizing that my weaknesses at the moment aren't in cardio, because I get through that stuff okay. Don't get me wrong - I'm tired after - but where I really fail is in the stuff that requires strength. So I'm going to do some pilates stuff to jut work on muscle control. In the meantime, I'm ordering the P90x chin-up bar online. When that gets here, I'll think about starting up the program again, but - I'm pushing back "Day 1" such that Yoga X day falls on a weekend. I'm potentially going to have to make adjustments during the recovery week and subsequent phases, when yoga will fall on days other than 4 like it currently does, but I'm hoping that by the time I get there I'll also be more mentally prepared for the routine and I'll be able to motivate myself to get up earlier.

I always knew getting on an exercise routine was as much of a mental challenge as a physical one, and I'm really learning that the hard way now. I've never liked "working out," so training my mind as well as my body is doubly difficult at this point in time.

Monday, February 22, 2010

One week down!

As of yesterday, I completed the first week of P90x, as best I could. For those wondering, the daily workouts for the first three weeks are:

Day 1 (for me, I started on Monday): Core Synergistics. As the title implies, this workout does focus on the core. It's not quite cardio, but with me being not in great shape this one definitely gets my heart rate up. The workout is all about engaging, so even if it seems like the particular movements aren't directly targeted at the core (like say, Ab Ripper X is), the power center of each movement is still meant to be the core. I'll definitely wake up tomorrow (Tuesday) with a sore butt and probably sore abs as well - at least, this is what happened last week.

Day 2: Cardio X. This workout incorporated some cardio-kickboxing type maneuvers, as well as other assorted aerobic motions/exercises that are meant to get the heart rate into your target zone as well as strengthen muscles.

Day 3: Shoulders & Arms + Ab Ripper X: This is a muscle-targeting day. It's weights-intensive for the shoulders and arms (whoda thunk it), so I definitely felt soreness in those areas the next day. This and parts of Core Synergistics are very tough for me because I've always been very weak on the upper body, so it's really difficult for me to get through the push-ups. I'm hoping that it won't take me *too* long before I'm actually able to complete the suggested repetitions. And Ab Ripper X is, well, basically what it sounds like. By far the hardest abdominal workout I've ever done, and I was unable to do full reps of this as well. By the time I get to the last exercise, my abs are jello and I'm pretty sure that I would look truly pathetic to anyone observing me try to do it. Again, it will be interesting to track not only the way my body changes visually, but how well I actually am able to complete the workouts themselves.

Day 4: Yoga X. This is the one I skipped last week, so I'll have to report back with how it goes. From flipping through the video, it looks like I can expect the usual P90x treatment, which is to say: yoga on steroids. It will in all likelihood be great for muscle strength and control.

Day 5: Legs & Back + Ab Ripper X. This day didn't go so well either, because nearly all of the exercises intended to target the back were pull-ups related. 1) I can't do pull-ups; 2) I actually don't have a pull-up bar. I'm headed to Sports Chalet (or equivalent) to get something like that to put in a doorway because I only really got the legs parts of this done last week. The routines were tough, but for me, very do-able compared to some of the other movements throughout the week - perhaps I still have a bit of residual leg fitness from years of dance and soccer? One can hope.

Day 6: Kenpo X. This was cardio, and fun! But hard, obviously. It was a lot of martial arts maneuvers: punching, kicking, etc. Toward the end of the rep sets, the video instructor suggested doubling the pace and making vocal fighting sounds (think hieeeeya!) to keep intensity up. At the beginning, I did double my pace but I refused to do the sounds. I was all, "I'm by myself, what difference does it make?" But by the end of the video, I was making sounds throughout the whole workout and wishing I had done so earlier. It really did make it more fun and easier to keep going! Sometimes people's crazy tricks actually do work.

Day 7: rest, or X stretch. Out of time constraints, I just opted to rest and not do the X stretch video. It was a nice day off!

I was back on Core Synergistics today. I had forgotten how much it sucked. Like I mentioned above, there were surprisingly a lot of push-ups. I had traditionally thought of push-ups as all upper-body, but the truth is that to really maintain good form and get maximum benefit, you really do need to control the core muscles to keep your body straight. Which makes it a great addition to Core Synergistics, but really tough for me because of the obvious upper-body element. I'm doing everything on my knees right now, which the video says is okay for beginners, but hopefully it won't be long before I can firm up and try the real deal.

I don't mean to scare anybody!

I had a conversation a few weeks back which left me under the impression that a few people have been surprised, and even a bit uncomfortable, with some of the feminist content of my older posts.

Here's the deal - if you've read any of my other rants, you'll probably have recognized that when I rant, I can get a little angry sounding. But when you couple that with rants that happen to deal with women's issues, it comes off very "angry feminist." But my response to that is kind of, well, yeah - that stuff bothers me. Anyone who has ever been angry about something that bothers them should be able to understand my reaction.

I know that the problem is that people read a lot into feminism. A lot of people assume that feminism isn't just about being bothered by women getting the short end of the stick on several issues (and wanting to do something about it); a lot of people think that it's also tied-up with hating men, or loosening up personal hygiene standards, burning bras (which actually never happened) or for some, "going" lesbian. And well, it is maybe about that for some feminists, but the problem is that in the process of making feminism a scary thing, people against feminism had to create one image of a big, scary feminist to turn people off of it. And those people chose to fixate on a very radical, non-family friendly version of what a feminist can be in order to do just that. And it worked - that image is conjured up in the minds of many people who might in fact consider themselves feminists if not for that negative association.

People who know me know that I am not like that (I think.) But I think some of the people who would read the feminist stuff on my blog and be concerned by it were concerned that I might become that. That I might change. I'm not changing in any way, other than that throughout my life I've become increasingly cognizant of some things that I've dealt with as a woman that I feel most men don't have to deal with on the same level, systematically, that women do. That's all that made me a feminist - I just came to believe that women haven't achieved true social, political, and economic equality in this country. And frankly, if you suspect that might be true, or if you believe in general that women and men should be equal in those respects, then you are a feminist too.

I'm writing this post to possibly open minds to the idea that feminism doesn't have to be scary. Like I said, the media and anti-feminists have really planted this nasty image in neutral people's minds that feminism has a laundry list of unappealing requirements. It really doesn't. And being a feminist doesn't overshadow the rest of my personality - it just adds to who I am. It's kind of like how in the sorority we'd protest against being assessed as a "stereotypical sorority girl" - we'd say, being in a sorority is part of who I am, but it doesn't define me. Feminism is the same way, and I think if people thought of feminism more as just a facet of people's beliefs rather than as something that encompassed their entire being, then it wouldn't seem like such a scary thing.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

First workout fail (kind of)

It's too soon to start blowing it, but I already missed the P90x scheduled workout today, which was "Yoga X." It went like this - I got up at my usual (new) early time, turned on the video, and found that it's nearly 40 minutes longer than all of the other workouts, presumably because yoga is less cardio and more sustained series of movements.

I did, however, turn on a Denise Austen pilates video I also have on my computer and did her core, hips, and thighs workout. I got a good little burn going and am proud of myself that I still pulled together a workout rather than just going back to sleep (so tempting), but paranoid and disappointed about skipping a day of the P90x regimen. Note to self: on yoga days, wake up even earlier. Ew.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Mid-Winter Resolution

I am two days in (not many I know, but two days is better than zero) after starting the P90x workout, which is proclaimed far and wide across the Internets as being one of the most intense workout plans out there. I've seen results photos of real people not affiliated with program marketing that seem to indicate that yes, this program does deliver on its promise of whipping your body into shape in 90 days. This is something that appealed to me when I heard about it, because I've been thinking to myself for awhile about getting back into shape. I haven't gained a significant amount of weight in pounds, but I can see changes in my body that indicate that I've lost a lot of my muscle and gained back the volume it used to occupy in fat.

I've used other workout tapes periodically (8 minute abs, Winsor pilates, Slim in 6) but never for an extended period of time. P90x appealed to me because it first and foremost relies on a strict schedule of 12 different hour-long workouts that rotate every day, and the workouts really must be done daily in order for the program to be effective. I realized that I needed that kind of disciplined schedule to really motivate me to keep up with the program, because otherwise when left to my own devices it would be too easy to skip workouts.

And good lord would I have loved to skip today. I began yesterday doing the first workout to start off the plan, "Core Synergistics." It was really tough. Even though I know I've been out of shape, there was this small part of me that still thought in the back of my mind that I could probably handle it, having been pretty fit before. I was so wrong. It is so easy to lose your fitness and so hard to get it back. I could barely complete most of the reps in each set of exercises, and even worse, my form was (probably) terrible. I found myself staring longingly at the count-down clock in the bottom corner of the screen, begging for the hour to just end already. I did the workout in the early afternoon, and by dinnertime I was already feeling sore.

This morning, I woke up early (this is another terrible part of starting to work out - finding time in the day to do it. As it happens, the only truly plausible time occurs when I would usually prefer to sleep.) and felt the burn all over my body. The Core workout was a pretty telling lead-in to the program by helping me to realize that even though each workout targets one specific muscle group, the program is effective primarily because while targeting that group, everything else is engaged. My core is sore, sure, but so are my upper back, pectoral area, biceps, and triceps.

Somehow I got myself out to the family room to do workout #2: Cardio X. This workout had a nice, long yoga warmup, which I appreciated. Even though holding the warrior poses while my already sore thighs were trembling with despair was difficult, to say the least, the warmup got in some nice therapeutic stretching, which always feels amazing when your muscles are sore. It stopped being nice shortly thereafter. There was a cardio kickboxing twist to several of the moves, which was kind of fun, but again I was hit over the head by the fact that I am just not in good enough shape to do 25 minutes of sustained tough cardio without wanting to die. There were repetitions of movements, some of which seemed really stupid (a variation on jumping jacks called "Wacky Jacks" would have made me burst out laughing if I weren't more inclined to cry out of non-fit frustration), and even worse - some of my (least) favorite moves from Core Synergistics re-appeared in Cardio X in the last 5 minutes, when I would have hoped that the workout was going to wind down.

At the end of the day though - or at least in the middle of the day where I am now - I am kind of feeling like even though my body hates me at the moment, I'm still motivated to continue this workout. Partly it's because I feel like this kind of pain would only come out of something that's bound to make me stronger, and partly because I feel like this kind of pain would be all for nothing if I didn't keep going. It's a good hurt.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"turns me to gold in the sunlight..."

I heard about this artist from the Daily Trojan's "Ten Best Albums of 2009" - Florence and the Machine's Lungs came in at #2. First off, I'm always looking for female-driven rock. I know it sounds trite to automatically be more interested by the promise of a female voice, but in a world where I feel like a lot of females in the music industry are relegated to become pretty pop tarts and musicianship is apparently best left handled by males, I give credit to talented women out there in the rock scene.

That said, I can't really describe Florence and the Machine as "rock." I'm not sure what I can really describe her as at all. Amazon has her listed under "British," "Rock," and "Indie Rock," and I suppose that will have to do, but the playfulness of different sounds and rhythms in her songs suggests the kind of genre-bending that I think begets more than a "rock" classification. Though I suppose there is an attitude of, "when all else fails, if there are actual instruments it's probably rock" among music labels and retailers these days.

Anyway, suffice it to say that this album grabbed me upon first listen and has held me ever since. I've replayed it several times since acquiring it and am thrilled that she's going to be performing at Coachella. So, even though I love every song on the album and it was hard to pick just one for the Song of the Day, I've selected "Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)." I love the melody and the lyrics. It's catchy but not simplistically so, and while employing a rock beat it's actually also very evocative of gospel. Give it a listen!

Much ado over a red belt - when is it appropriate to stand out?

In the past few days, a few different scenarios have flitted across my radar that all present the same conflict: when is it more appropriate or advantageous to just be a part of a group or community, and when is it best to just be an individual?

It's tricky. Many, even most, socialized people do desire on some level to be a part of something greater than themselves, be it a group of friends, a neighborhood community, an activist group, a sports team or artists' collective. However, for the past several decades it's been seen as distinctly uncool to be one of the masses, to be a conformist, and to not assert yourself as an individual. So we operate within these groups, or within these understood rules and boundaries, but we try to stand out at the same time.

I was watching an episode of Bridezillas (don't judge me) where there was a battle going on between the Bridezilla and her sister, because her sister didn't want to take out her nose ring for the wedding photos. The bride-to-be was a loathsome human being, as evidenced by the rest of the episode, but the show was suggesting that she was being unreasonable over this particular point as well. I kind of wonder if she was. Not because I'm personally against nose rings (I'm not and wouldn't ban them from my wedding photos) but because I don't think it's out of line to ask that your wedding party look how you want them for your wedding photos. The sister was shooting back at her like "My nose ring is a part of ME, and MY individual expression, and you should understand because you have a tattoo for the same reason," etc. I get that it's tough to have to sacrifice your personal expression to conform, but I think the sister needed to understand that the bride is the one that's going to have the wedding album, to have her wedding pictures framed in her home, and who is going to generally be seeing a lot more of those photos than anyone else will. It wasn't like the bride was demanding that her sister permanently take out her nose ring; she just didn't want it in the photos. The sister eventually agreed to take out the ring, but then on the day of the wedding she interviewed to say that (I'm paraphrasing here) she was taking advantage of the fact that the Bridezilla was distracted by a bunch of other stuff and hopefully wouldn't notice if she left her nose ring in. As much as by that point I wanted to see the bride suffer (like I said, loathsome human being) I felt bad for her that her sister was basically playing her just so that she could make her small individual statement that would mean so little to her, but so much to the bride, in the long run when the pictures came out.

This me vs. group conflict was a constant one as part of being in a sorority. In my house, it was there on the individual level - "I'm in a sorority, but I'm not like other sorority girls. I'm different." Amusingly, it was on the level of the house too - "Our house isn't like those other houses. We're different." And after awhile I started to wonder to myself, "Does every sorority say that about their house?" Even the top houses - the "typical" blonde, bubbly, you name it houses - why wouldn't they say that about themselves? It might be that they say "We're not like those other houses because we strive to be the best" and we say "We're not like those other houses because we strive to be ourselves" (how alternative! how hip!), but we're still committing ourselves to a group. And that group comes with its inter/nationally-prescribed rules, expectations, and mentality that each chapter chooses either to accept or to work around (but never ignore - they're always there.)

As much as a sorority seems to people who never went Greek as one of the prototypical conformist organizations, catering to Stepford Barbies and no one really else, there were actually lots of opportunities where we were encouraged to be ourselves. Ironically, rush was actually one of those times. The more individually cool, different, and uniquely awesome each of us were, the more it reflected on the house as being collectively cool, different, and uniquely awesome. So even though rush was all about pushing the house as a name brand, we were required to stand out from the rest as individual people and give the girls going through rush a reason to remember us by.

But then there's the conflict. It seems many sororities seem to be having a personality crisis wherein the best thing to do to seem relevant in today's universities is to push individualism; however, they're deeply rooted in traditionalism and, indeed, rituals that separate the Greek system ideal from other clubs that group like-minded people on campuses. This last week, a picture went up that reminded my friends and I that during an event meant to honor one of our sisters, another girl in the house (perhaps unconsciously) tried to stand out, specifically, by not following the all-black dress code imposed on all girls in the house who were not the sister being honored. It may have been that she just thought the red belt would add a nice contrast and dimension to her personal outfit, and it probably would have if it weren't for the fact that everyone else was wearing black and not allowing themselves to "pop" for a reason.

Based on these two anecdotes, it would seem that a good rule of thumb is that it's almost always appropriate to be an individual, but when there is a day or event where specifically someone else is meant to have the spotlight, it's probably prudent to defer to them. That doesn't mean, in the case of the Bridezilla, giving them whatever they want without blinking, but it does mean allowing her to have a visual aesthetic where the eye goes to her. It's okay to sacrifice a few hours of your individualism to allow her wedding pictures to look the way she wants, or to let the honored sister's colorful dress be the standout in the room.

At the end of the day, you're still you.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I have a lot to blog about today! (Though I suppose "today" is a different "today" than it was since my last post.) I'll keep this one short - I fell in love with this song today. It's lush, atmospheric, and recalls the 1980's in a completely sincere, non-cheesy way. Absolutely gorgeous.

From the album Saturdays=Youth, this is "Skin of the Night" by M83.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Top Ten: Songs over closing credits in film

An entertainment blog I frequently read posted a list today of the best songs that were featured at endings or over closing credits in movies. The author's explanation was as follows:

"Closing credit songs — it’s the last thing you hear as you leave a theater, and can very often influence your opinion of a movie slightly one way or another... Anyway, with that, I bring you the Most Memorable Closing Credit Songs. Not the best (God knows, some of the ones below are awful), but the ones that seem to stick with you the most and/or fit the tone of the movie the best (regardless of the quality of the movie), or — in the best cases — actually offer a substantive musical epilogue to the narrative."

Being a music fan myself, I've previously engaged in the type of posts on LiveJournal back in the day what songs I would include in the soundtrack of my life, as well as having done soundtrack type projects in school. The post today made me think about what my top ten would be, knowing of course that the impact a song can produce is very subjective. There are a few overlapping songs between my list and his that I think he got right, but obviously as I've chosen to make my own list most of his are replaced.

I suppose I should mention, since some of the videos are the ends of movies and all (as many as I could find), that if you haven't seen any of them, this could be a bit spoilery.

10. "America Fuck Yeah" from Team America World Police (Honorable Mention: "I'm so Ronery" also appears over the credits)

I'm So Ronery

9. "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monthy Python and the Life of Brian

8. "Extreme Ways" by Moby from The Bourne Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum

7. "Mad World" by Gary Jules & Michael Andrews from Donnie Darko

6. "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds from The Breakfast Club
No embed on this one -

5. "Born Slippy NUXX" by Underworld from Trainspotting

4. "Wake Up" by Rage Against the Machine from The Matrix

3. "Oh Yeah" by Yello from Ferris Bueller's Day Off

2. "Where is My Mind?" by the Pixies from Fight Club

1. "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve from Cruel Intentions

A commuter's plea

It's a common trope that Los Angeles is filled with asshole drivers. I wonder, really, which type of asshole people are referring to? Depending on who you ask, an asshole driver could be one of two main types: the asshole who drives too slow and the asshole who drives too fast.

Now see, #2 is definitely scary - they include the weavers, the swervers, and the tailgaters. And I have a hunch this is the type that people are usually referring to when they talk about asshole "LA Drivers." But after several months of commuting downtown, and having to deal with all kinds of erratic driving behavior in bumper to bumper traffic, I've got to say that the true #2s I come across are few and far between, and it's the #1s that make my commute that much more traumatic.

I mean really, is it so much to ask that if you want to drive in the fast lane, you should feel comfortable keeping up with the flow of traffic and the car in front of you? The thing is, it's totally fine if you think the car in front of you is going more quickly than you feel comfortable driving, and if you think 65 mph is the speed limit for a reason. The thing is, you just need to move over to the right - into the "slower" lanes - and not leave a huge and ever-widening gap between you and all of the cars in front of you, forcing the ever-growing line of cars behind you to hold your pace.

I can't tell you how maddening it is (unless you've experienced it yourself) to feel in your gut like there is no reason for traffic to be this bad, so then you somehow maneuver your way to the front of what turns out to be a pack of cars all practically next to each other - all going 65 or less and forming a nearly impenetrable wall. This should never happen! The people who want to go 65 or less should form a queue behind one another in the slower lanes, occasionally passing if someone in front is going a hair too slow, but moving back to the right if the traffic behind you and to your left appears to be going noticeably faster than your preferred rate of speed.

Now granted, you'll still get the assholes who will try to thread the needle with their cars - the needle in this case being the none-too-sizable gap between two other cars in heavy traffic - in order to get somewhere marginally quicker than everyone else. You'll still see the guys (and gals) who play like the freeway is that level in Mario Kart where they're swerving in between all of the cars to get through. But I've actually gotten to a weird place of acceptance with those drivers - they're kinda freaky for a second as they're passing by and getting really close to my car, but once they've done that they're pretty much gone, zoomed by and I don't have to deal with them anymore. The suckers that hold up traffic are actively interfering with my ability to get from A to B.

Interestingly, I've also noted that one driving maneuver that really pisses people off isn't actually limited to aggressive types. I'm talking about getting cut off. Sure, the aggressive ones have no qualms cutting you off if they think there is an advantage being in your lane and in front of you. But curiously, the slow, meandering types are often just as likely to cut me off just out of being oblivious. They slowly drift into the lane in front of me, taking no note of the fact that my rate of speed is significantly faster than theirs, and then they don't accelerate. The aggressive types who cut me off because their end goal is to go faster actually only just cause me to kind of tap my breaks for a second, just to allow them room, but I don't need to slow down significantly. The slow cut-off is therefore worse because I really need to throw down on my breaks to very quickly get down to the speed they're going. That SUCKS.

What do you think? Am I a lawless #2 who deserves to get held up by a more upstanding citizen who follows the speed limit? Or can slow drivers and fast drivers learn to peacefully coexist in different lanes?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All unique snowflakes are we

Did you read the posted sign? No? Well you should - it applies to you... you and everyone else.

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you are special. And that you have special circumstances that might help me to understand why what's posted on that sign doesn't apply to you. My bad.

I work in a building now that has a certain set of safety precautions that all labs and lab members in the building are expected to follow. This building contains the microbiology and immunology department, which means in the labs we work with squicky things like e.coli, HIV, other viruses, human tissue, etc. Basically, things that you wouldn't want to be infected with or contaminated by if you had the choice.

We wear gloves with pretty much everything we do, because we don't want to be touching the stuff we're working with. But we have to respect signs that say things like: "No gloves on door handles." "No gloves in the elevator." They make sense - other people touch those door handles, and you don't want to expose them. And elevators are a given, to me, as well, for the same reasons.

So it baffles me when I see people doing those things. And it especially bothers me, because I'm just a first year grad student, and I don't really have the balls to be like, "Look man, I'd rather not be contaminated by what's on your gloves. Can you leave that baggage back in the lab?" But I have seen people confront others about it, and rather than apologizing and acknowledging that the stuff we work with warrants consideration for the safety of others, people get defensive.

"Well, I didn't touch the BUTTON with my gloves!"
That's nice. But the sign doesn't say "Don't touch the elevator buttons with your gloves." It says "No gloves in the elevator."

"My gloves are clean!"
Well, I don't know that. And I work with HIV. Would you like to take a chance with my gloves the next time I see you? Also, I see that you're carrying a tray of culture tubes with your gloves. So, you clearly don't want to be touching it, but your gloves are still clean. Okay, that makes perfect sense.

What's kind of funny to me about all of this is that one of the things that I hated most working in customer-service jobs was people thinking that the rules didn't apply to them, and that what they read on the signs was for all of the other sheep that didn't bother to try and get out of it.

When I was working in the mailroom at the dorms, there was a very clear rule that packages that we received that day would be available for pick-up at 6PM. This wasn't an arbitrary rule designed to piss people off who had read the tracking information and saw that their packages were delivered. It was because when we came in at 3:00, we needed to start logging in all of the packages we received so that we had a record of them. What the logging did was generate a list of the packages received for the day. It would send an automatic email to each of the people on it telling them their packages had arrived, and that would also allow us to have people sign for their packages to confirm they received them. This was important for us to be able to do, so that we could keep track of all of the packages that came in and out.

So where did the 6PM rule come in? Well, basically, it was because it often took us that long to log in packages and get the list out. If we finished the list early, we weren't going to be pricks about it and not let people get their packages, but more often than not it was 6PM. This rule was clearly posted on signs around, that packages wouldn't be available for pickup until 6:00, but people would come to the window all the time before we'd logged in the package, because the tracking info from the company would show it was delivered, and request that we just give it to them. I and others heard all manner of excuses as to why people's packages were SO IMPORTANT that it just couldn't wait, but to me it just seemed that the bottom line was that people feel entitled to take all that they can get, so silly little regulations like having to wait until a certain time could be easily sidestepped.

Once I stopped working those kind of jobs, for some reason I thought that I was going to be less exposed to people selfishly assuming they're above some pretty basic rules. But now, it's actually worse. In the mailroom, it was something silly like having access to a package that made people try and test the system. Now, it's kind of a big deal that people are so careless with infectious material and proximity to others. Since when did we as a culture get so accustomed to caring so little about everyone else?