Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Relationships at Work

First, a new Heartless Bitch classic: "A Girlfriend or Carry-On?"

That link leads to a post about the many ways a relationship status eclipses the individuals involved. It's written from the female perspective, though I suspect guys go through their own form of it. It is particularly fitting because it describes something I went through, and something a friend at work is going through right now.

We'll call her FAWcett, both for Friend At Work and because she's pretty and blonde. She's lovely, a divorcee, and met a rather cute and sweet guy in the company where we work. (He's also divorced.) We started at the same time, so we're both still pretty new, but they've hit it off.

The problem is, everyone knows and everyone has an opinion. Being a sweet guy, Sweet Guy has lots of friends, all of whom fervently diss his ex-wife and feel the need to come up to Fawcett an explain how happy they are that Sweet Guy "finally found someone" and how happy they are that Fawcett seems so nice because Ex-Wife was a bitch and Sweet Guy deserved so much better and they really only pretended to like Ex-Wife because Sweet Guy liked her and on and on and on.... Nearly everyone Fawcett's met since the two of them decided to date has given her some version of this speech.

This blows. First of all, it tells Fawcett that all of these people are firmly in Sweet Guy's camp, and should the two of them not work out, she won't have any kind shoulders here. Secondly, it tells her that they don't really care who she is as long as she is "nice" to Sweet Guy. Thirdly, it means her identity in the company has already become Sweet Guy's Girlfriend. WTF?

Now, the name "Sweet Guy" is not meant to be ironic; he really is pretty cool, if a little- ah- rebound-y acting. I've heard him say that Fawcett is the first really nice woman he's met since the Ex-Wife. And he acts accordingly- as if Fawcett will restore his faith in womankind. So, no pressure.

In any case, I'm rooting for them, but not as much as I am rooting for Fawcett. She deserves to been seen as her own person- and she is fiercely independent, which means the attention and the pigeon-holing is getting to her. She'd like to take things slow, to see how they develop, but everyone already has them married off in their heads and it is making her crazy.

So, to everyone else: back the hell off! Give the kids a chance, for pete's sake.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Does this look obscene to you?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Social Engineering > Hard Engineering

I saw a talk by Clay Shirky on YouTube about the coolness of Perl (a programming language). Now, I am not a programmer. I follow hackers and programmers the way some people follow sports; I like the game, I can even commentate, but really, I've never played. So rest assured, the geek level of this post will be moderate to low.

Shirky's talk is about the community that Perl has; if you program in the language and are confused, you can go online and talk to other programmers who use Perl and get pretty reliable help. This is not surprising to me, but I get the feeling this is a talk aimed at people who haven't had google search for literally half of their life. In any case, the point is that a community of people who love a Thing is a better predictor for success of the Thing than, say, the existence of a corporation selling the Thing.

What all this is really saying is that, gee, I guess people did have a way to work together before capitalism. Huh. In his defense, he argues that this isn't a new thing, just something that has been given new life and breadth via the internet, but I think that is even a bit much.

The pyramids weren't only a feat of civil engineering, but social engineering. The Egyptians and the Mayans had to convince enough people to show up for it to happen; otherwise, all the math in the world would have been useless. They convinced them through a combination of religion and force; the carrot and the stick. The medieval cathedrals in Europe are similar; built over hundreds of years by generations of archetects and laborers, they were complete money and resource-sinks- unless you count the "spiritual" benefits, the "squishy" stuff Shirky refers to towards the end.

I'm quibbling over details; I know people matter and devoted people matter even more, and so does Shirky. (A darker example would be terrorist organizations- capable of great chaos more thanks to the fervency of their beliefs than the strength or legitmacy of their backing). I simply want to point out that none of this is new, unless that's what he needs people to believe to get on board ;)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Playing Smart

I'm a huge nerd... I applied to refinance a loan the other day to get a better interest rate. And it worked! Yay money.

It makes me feel better about buying the car- I know I need it but it sucks to go into a dealership and know you need to walk off the lot that day, even if you don't tell them. Bleh. But now I have a pretty car AND a good loan. Sweet!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I love marzipan!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Down and Dirty Linguistics

Stephen Fry has a brilliant bit over about language and freedom and pretty words and angry ex-grammar teachers here.

And if I sound as if I've been reading his stuff for hours and mentally absorbing bits of his accent, well, I have. Which is rather interesting in light of the post.

What are you doing still here? Go forth!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Anybody Still Need Holiday Cards?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home for the Holidays

This weekend has a surreal length. Having achieved Thanksgiving, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. Well, besides write and catch up on video games, but my wrists are starting to hurt. Tomorrow I get to help put up Christmas decorations. Meaning, tomorrow I get to be a part of a logistical nightmare lightly glazed with holiday cheer.

I watched Fight Club with my sister last night; she'd never seen it. I didn't realize that movie came out in 1999. Some of it is downright eerie in light of 9/11. But watching it again helped me clarify where exactly the generation gap is between me and some of the people I'm working with (who aren't really old enough for there to be a legit gap). September of 2001, I was a freshman in high school. The nineties were my childhood, and a thick ashy line marks the changeover to being a teen. I had plenty to worry about, as a teenager, plenty of issues to grapple with. I didn't have to create my own. Plus, the men of Fight Club didn't have Youtube and Myspace, where those 15 seconds of fame are closer and the middle ground between true celebrity and complete oblivion has been explosively expanded.

I think this may be a disadvantage for me. I've met some people who are genuinely angry about the state of the world today, and I am fascinated. Not coffee-wise angry, but that pissed off feeling you get when somebody trashes your stuff. These people take the world personally. I am intrigued.

Of course, the age difference could be a false correspondence, and it could something else entirely. We'll see.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sami, come get your hot chocolate damn you! PS This is a cold ass way to get to florida

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snow in November

So it was in the twenties all day and snowing all afternoon. My face was almost as pink as my hat from wind burn; we're excavating in the middle of an open field. But I'm working again, and it's snowing in November, so I can't help but smile. Ohio is so darn gray in November. It's our fifth season, cold and wet and monochrome, no blaze of autumn, no sparkle of winter, just dull plain old November. Except for rare days like today.

Dustin Kensrue of Thrice has a Christmas album out. I particularly like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." It's almost polka, except it's all acoustic guitar and something that might be a bassoon and this weird haunting near-melody that shows up around 1:40 and makes you think that the wind is whistling past your window and singing along because it's so subtle and insistent. The man is an artist. It sounds like something you'd hear from a traveling musician in a pub a few hundred years ago in a place where the locals still leave milk out for the fairies.

I should write today.

I heart my hippie neighbors.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hypocrasy and Writer's Block

So I was reading about coffee and I came across this sentence: "Writers are another example: it is common to sit around for days or weeks waiting for inspiration to hit ('writer's block')."

My gut reaction is to sneer. I place myself firmly in the bum-glue tradition of writing- write everyday, even if it's crap, because the Muse requires a courtship. You don't lie around hoping she notices you. (This metaphor is starting to slide into a rant about "nice guys" so I'll stop now.) In any case, I reacted to this particular sentence with my normal mixture of annoyance and superiority before it occurred to me that I am completely full of it.

Not often, but every once in a while, I get too busy to write. Things interfere- like the rent- and I find myself working like a sled dog for a month or two. And looking back, I see that this just happens to correspond with sticky parts in my stories. I'll find myself horribly overworked and then I return to my chair after a bit, relieved and determined and write on like nothing happened. Like I couldn't have done it weeks ago if I'd stopped bull-shitting myself and spent that half-hour doing yoga working on my book instead.


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Novel

I've been writing since I turned thirteen. And now, just like then, it calms me down. It bleeds me out, all the messy emotions drained onto paper for someone's amusement. I don't mean that in a bad way; the chance to tell a good story drives a lot of my decisions. I have a fear of being boring. Or bored. They're pretty much the same.

What's funny is that writing is about the most dull activity imaginable. You sit in front of your computer until the screen starts to wiggle, and hopefully you've written something by then because if you keep going you'll ruin your eyes and you can't afford glasses. But the stuff in your head (hopefully) isn't boring, and that's what it was all about.

I'd love to make a living as a writer, but the average for published novelists nowadays is only $15k a year. It's a hell of a supplemental income, but hardly enough to go it alone on. If I can manage to get published, and keep writing while doing CRM, I could be sitting pretty. Heck, I could even afford glasses!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Ick. Well I'm done, early even, and all that makes me feel is nervous about not having another job lined up. Yay car payments. Plus it's getting close to Thanksgiving, and my expectation is that people will try to avoid sending people out over the holiday. Which limits my immediate choices a bit.

Yelch. I feel like that girl in high school, waiting for a boy to call after the second date. I say 'that girl' because I was a compulsive overachiever and barely had time to sleep, let alone wait by the phone, back then. At least, until I discovered cell phones- take the nerves with you!

At least I got a lot done today- bought some eggs, played at rifle with my color guard friends and... well, shit. That's it. Oh, and finish this post.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Almost Done

Almost done with my first Phase I! I should probably be home by Wednesday. I'm currently at the local McDonalds, since our hotel, the Potato City Country Inn, doesn't have the internets... or any cellphone service to speak of. Yuck.

It's snowing :)

Not a Point

Fresh from mother nature's factory... Wtf!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Test Post

Mic check.

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