Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   right-handed deep double-bore shimmy
Tuesday, January 9 2001

This morning bright and early at 9am, the members of the technology group were all herded into a meeting room and the CTO explained yesterday's layoffs to those of us who'd managed to get up so early (not really that many). Actually, what had happened hadn't been firings and they hadn't been layoffs either, we were told; those poor suckers had the misfortune to be reorganized out of jobs. Indeed, the company "is still growing" and there are still positions that need to be filled. Why, if the right people could be found, there were even funds to pay for the filling of those positions! Nobody asked so the CTO never bothered to explain why it was that some of those "reorganized into unemployment" couldn't have been simply steered into one of the many empty positions. But then the new workchart was passed around and we realized why: the only positions available are in mid-to-upper-level management. Indians, what the fuck were we doing with so many Indians? In today's crazy go-go dotcom reality, it's all about the chiefs!
The very first thing I did when I got my copy of the new workchart (and this is always important), was to look for my name. I expected to find it in the Data Systems group, but, with a growing sense of bewilderment, I realized it simply wasn't there! The thought of, "Wait, do I still have a job?" passed through my mind and I started scanning the other pages looking at the other teams and then, at long last, I finally found my name in a group called "Technical Development." My old title of "Data Architect" had been replaced, completely without warning, with "Software Developer." I didn't really know how to feel about this except a certain relief that my boss is no longer the guy who had so pointedly not invited me to his Christmas party. In fact, after examining the workchart in detail I realized I don't actually have a boss at all! That position, as well as the one above it, are both vacant. My direct superior at this time is none other than the CTO himself, which is interesting because I do not think he actually knows my name. It's important to note at this point that this CTO is vastly more prestigious than the UK subsidiary's CTO and the two shouldn't be confused. While the UK CTO may act like my boss, she is actually considered my "client" for as long as I'm loaned out to supervise the building of the UK site.

From the "disgusting things you would never notice unless you paid careful attention" department:

This afternoon I was attending another one of those endless fidget-provoking meetings, absent-mindedly mouthing a ballpoint pen, when I happened to notice the damn thing stunk of popcorn cheese. I never eat popcorn, especially not at work and I find the processed cheese smell that normally accompanies it downright repulsive. But there it was, visibly on the pen, on my fingers (where its fragrance was particularly strong), hell, now it was even in my mouth! Oh what a horrible unfresh feeling! Some popcornivore must have left the pen on my desk as a sick form of corporate sabotage. I sat there through the rest of the meeting feeling gross and unclean.
Later I was sitting at my workstation and Neil from the UK team came to show me some little HTML glitch that was plaguing him. People from the UK are much less self-conscious about publicly picking their noses, and there he was, directly in front of me with his thumb up one nostril and his index finger up the other, unabashedly doing the right-handed deep double-bore shimmy. From then on I kept track of those fingers and it didn't take long before they were given an entirely separate assignment. Needing to indicate the place on my screen where an HTML table was breaking, he pressed them hard against my monitor and smudged them back and forth. I don't know if they left any residue, but I wasn't interested in looking too carefully. The moment Neil was gone, I took a piece of paper and polished that part of my monitor until it was immaculate.

Meanwhile back at my house, my housemate John continues to line up students for his private tutoring service. Since he charges nearly as much as a freelance web developer, he figures he only needs to work 10 hours each week in order to survive financially. Having hardly even planned things out, it seems, John has managed to set up a good system for himself. He used to do tutorial work back when he was a special education teacher for the Beverly Hills School District, but in those days he was specifically forbidden from working with children within his district, and was forced to depend on word spreading from parents of his students to the parents of students not in the system. But now that he's not employed by the district, he's free to teach anyone he chooses. And evidently there's plenty of demand. A good number of the parents and kids who loved him so when he was a teacher are now scrambling to secure him as a tutor in their off-hours. For the most part, parents in Beverly Hills don't know how to solve problems without throwing money at them, and John is the perfect solution: he gracefully accepts the copious cash flow and the kids improve dramatically. One girl who was failing geometry is now destined for an A.

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