They've given you a number and taken away your name...

Have you ever looked at yourself in the context of where you work and what you do for them and wondered if there was an ulterior motive behind your hiring? A more nefarious purpose for you at your place of employment?

Do you mean like that little catch-all tagline on your employment contract that reads "and other duties as assigned"?

No, no. I'm talking much darker. Far outside the scope of what would normally be considered a reasonable job expectation.

Like when Jim Carrey was promoted to serve as a scapegoat for his tech company in Fun With Dick and Jane?

Closer. But still much more evil.

Oh, do tell.

I shall.

I'm a Web designer and my willingness to adapt and learn other skills has resulted in me doing some graphic design work as well as writing, proofreading, and photography on the job. But I wonder, sometimes, if maybe my current job has really hired me to be a payrolled assassin.

What?!?! Have you lost it, dude?

Perhaps. After all, I am holding up two ends of a shared conversation within a single post.

Good point. So what evidence do you have to support this theory?

Well, only one bit of evidence so far. But it may just be enough.

Okay, give it to me, big guy.

Here you go. It's my ID badge. Well, more specifically, the cable winder that attaches the ID badge to my belt loop. This thing is a weapon. I don't know if it's a purposeful or an unintentional weapon, but I've seen enough spy and assassin films to know just what kind of damage this sort of thing can do.

If I pull on the badge, a thin, 2.5-foot-long string is exposed.


I always thought that the purpose behind this is so you don't have to detach your ID badge to scan it or show it to security.

Uh huh. That's what they want you to believe.

This should be good.

I think this device exists for the sole purpose of strangling an enemy at a time to be determined later by one of my higher ups.

Please stop it now. This really hurts.

Wait, just hear me out. It's kinda like The Manchurian Candidate... I could just be sitting there typing away and then a message will be received subconsciously by my brain which will trigger the killer instinct that has clearly been programmed in me by our HR department during those "sensitivity training sessions."

Yeah, some good that "brain" has done you to this point.

What did you say?

Oh, nothing. Don't mind me. You haven't thus far.

Anyway, they want you to believe that it's nothing more than a convenience item... make life easier... riiiiiight. They also want me to believe I'm just a Web designer, but I've uncovered the truth! I have seen the light! And it has an eerie blood-red glow to it.

Sorry, buddy, I'm outta here. I just can't take this.

Wait, you're supposed to be my moral compass!

Pal, you're beyond my help now.

Hey, got a meme for you in the extended post...

Saw this book meme that came from francesdanger and SJ before her and I just had to steal it. Would you expect any less?

Book Meme

Science fiction, fantasy or horror?
I have no preference, honestly. I've liked and hated each equally.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
Typically hardback because they last. But they're so expensive that I really prefer trade paperbacks because the weight of the pages makes the book sit open. Mass market paperback spines break far too easily. And broken spines drive me nuttier than dogeared pages.

Amazon or brick and mortar?
Brick and mortar because I love the smell of bookstores as strange as that may sound.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Borders... B&N charges too much for their Starbucks coffee and they don't give free refills.

Hitchhiker or Discworld?
Hitchhiker. I'm not familiar with Discworld.

Bookmark or dogear?
Bookmark. Frances said it best.

Magazine: Asimov’s Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction?

Alphabetize by author, alphabetize by title, or random?
Author. Then I put in order by publication date.

Keep, throw away or sell?
Depends on how much I like the book. Some I keep, the rest I sell. I never throw away.

Keep dustjacket or toss it?
Keep it.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
Remove it.

Short story or novel?
I have always been a short story fan. Comes from my college English classes. Love, love, love 'em.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Harry Potter. Although this is biased as I have not read any Lemony Snicket books. Saw the movie and Jim Carrey weirded me out.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
Chapter breaks, if at all possible. It's hard for me to pick up a thought in the middle. Although if there is a natural break within a chapter, I may stop there.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
No preference

Buy or borrow?
Depends on the author. If it's one I love and am pretty sure I'll want to keep or loan to others, I'll buy. Library otherwise.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation, or browse?
Recommendations and browsing. Although browsing isn't easy in a big place like Borders. Too much stuff.

Lewis or Tolkien?
I've read two out of three of the LOTR books and no Lewis novels whatsoever. But that doesn't mean I give the edge to Tolkien because I have yet to bring myself to read Return of the King.

Collection (short stories by the same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
Collection. Especially if it's a quality author.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
If I'm behind the times and the subsequent book is already out and available for me to read, then a cliffhanger. If I have to wait for it to come out, then no. I have too much trouble remembering what I read to be able to come back months or years down the road.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?
It used to be night because I got a lot done. But I get so wiped at work these days, I prefer to read during lunch because I fall asleep in bed far too easily.

Standalone or series?
See my answer to "Tidy ending or cliffhanger."

New or used?
I can handle used if they are gently used and I prefer to support indie stores such as used bookstores.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green by Joshua Braff

Top five favorite genre books of all time?
Am I supposed to stick within one genre? I'm not sure what this question means. Since I don't quite know what it means, I'm picking a single book within a series that I love. Sound okay?

Favorite genre series?
I really don't know. Perhaps Harry Potter?

Currently reading?
I've got a few going right now, but I'm actively reading Cross by James Patterson because it's due back to the library on Thursday.

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First of all, just don't use the badge thingy. I never did.

Secondly, love the meme. You really must try the Lemony Snicket -- highly addictive. Especially now that he has finished the series. I'd also like to recommend the Sisters Grimm series. The fourth book is not due out until May though. And I'm kind of scared to rush through the third book because the second had a total cliffhanger ending. Grrr.

Also having worked in bookstores in undergrad, I have mastered the art of not breaking the spine on mass paperbacks. People who do that without wincing are usually the same folks who dogear pages. That means they are not allowed to touch my books.


The line on your badge isn't long enough for a good strangling... you'll never be able to get a good enough grip on so short a line to strangle somebody efficiently.

Unless maybe you're strangling a small child or a kitten.


You kitten murdering bastard!


I always knew you were too nice to be real. ;-)


Leave it to you to imagine your badge holder as a garrote.

ms. sizzle

i love how they programmed you during those "sensitivity training sessions."

your overactive imagination is part of your charm. :)


Dagny, well, it's not my ability to keep spines from breaking that worries me. It's loaning them to others. I can do it without a problem.

Dave, I didn't stretch it out all the way. I don't have Photoshop CS3 to be able to give me the cool panoramic blending on a photo that size. ;-) I like kittens, BTW. Owned two myself until they died... of natural causes, BTW.

Sandra, the truth comes out.

Karl, that's the name! Garrote!

Sizzle, I liked that touch, too. Made me laugh when I reread it.


Oh, yours is much more evil than mere strangling, yours is a micro-thin decapitation device. I saw one once, on the alien mothership.


Interesting comments on Jacob Green...


Oooo Just like the movie Cypher!!!! Check it out. DO you have a pen?


You must read Lemony Snicket and completely disregard the movie, which was abig bag of suck. It's an awesome series.


Those pully badge holder thingees frighten me, but mainly because of the "snap" factor if you let it go too fast. Ow!


Won't the wire get stuck in the holder after you've used it once? Carrying around all that incriminating DNA would make you more of an assassin-patsy.


You are wicked. I'm only forgiving you because of what you said about book dustjackets. That's the ONLY reason, too.


Watch out. THEY read everything on the internet, have seen your post, and are preparing your "re-educationing" session as we speak. Are those ninjas outside your window I hear? Go with them quietly and it will be easier on you.


Rick, yeah, I knew it could do that, too. But I didn't want to get too morbid in my post.

BA, those comments crack me up. That guy went off the deep end.

g-man, Cypher? Pen? Huh?

frances, that's a bit more reassuring. I may check them out of the library.

diane, I'll sit there playing with it in a meeting and accidentally let it go. The snap is not a good thing during a meeting.

claire, I'm assuming they would give me all new supplies once my hit is complete. Burn the garrote to incinerate the evidence. Should cover my tracks effectively.

Mocha, geez. You'd swear I was participating in bookburning. Gawsh! ;-)

Erin, I already took them out. Not as stealthy as you might think.


you get a BADGE!? I'm quite jealous... I only have a magnetic name tag to wear at super important events. Boo.

But Harry Potter? Hurray!

Tracy Lynn

Oh, so stealing this meme, although I worry about it's obvious effect on your sanity, dude.
And you really, really, really need to read Terry Pratchett.Because in my opinion he is one of the foremost satirists in this century. And I LOVE him. If he wrote a phone book, I'd read it, and I have to say...I think he is more nuanced, funnier and a better writer than Douglas Adams, who's work I always felt was better spoken.


Dude... if there are parts of the day you don't remember, I'd seriously consider looking elsewhere for employment.

How much did I love Silence of the Lambs, the book. I haven't seen the movie.


Bre, I had one of those magnetic name tags when I was in college. Pretty dang strong magnets, too. Harry Potter rocks.

Tracy Lynn, steal away! You know my policy. Pratchett better than Adams! Dang. I'm going to have to check this guy out. Any good place to start?

Nat, wow, now that I think about it, the other afternoon is pretty blurry. Woah.


Discworld! Start with Mort or Hogfather (because Death is the best character) and then just oooo, all of them.


Fun meme! I am stealing it...


Bec, a clerk at Anderson's told me Mort was a great place to start as well. Then I saw the shelves of Pratchett books. Geez, he's got a ton!

kilax, by all means!


It's one of the great joys of being a Pratchett reader. There's always a new one coming out!


Clearly. He's nearly as prolific as James Patterson.

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