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:
   connecting the dots of doom
Wednesday, June 13 2018
A little rain fell this morning, which was the first rain since I'd installed the sheathing on the screened-in porch. Gretchen got up early to attend a graduation at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility, and that meant I had to take the dogs for a walk in the late morning.

It was yet another fucked-up day in the remote workplace. During the all-hands Optimization meeting, GSlice tried to sell us the same horseshit as always about Mahrise's machinations against our proprietary systems. My feelings about this had been calmed somewhat by the news yesterday that the issue before the board today would be about whether or not to hire a consultancy to "examine" the question of whether or not the CRM should be replaced. But then Allison (evidently the only person who does due dilligence in The Organization) had realized that this particular consultancy also does implementation, and that they had an inherent conflict of interest. So at the all-hands Optimization meeting, my dismay had returned, and I pointed told GSlice to do her job and communicate this to the board (since it was pretty clear Allison and I were unwanted at this evening's meeting). At one point I said, "I'll keep writing to the board if I have to! What do I have to do, start talking to donors?" That was how the meeting ended, though I quickly had to go to another meeting at which I dispassionately discussed the tehnical problems of a legacy offline contact gathering tool.
For the rest of the day, I was little on edge, though I felt like I'd communicated what I needed to communicate. I fixed a few bugs in a few systems and began the work I installing a reporting system on the main web server when I suddenly was informed by Mahrise that Allison and I actually would be invited to tonight's board meeting. Had GSlice actually done something useful for a change? Or was sanity breaking out in this deeply dysfunctional place?
At least an hour passed beyond the start of the board meeting before Allison and I were told we could enter it. When we did, it was just the board and Mahrise, nobody else. Others who had been invited to the meeting to discuss this matter were absent, including the Director of Development, our boss (GSlice), and the new factotum guy in development who has been used of late as an alternative IT department (to get the answers Mahrise wanted). It was clear they'd been talking about us, and they weren't exactly friendly. The founder and erstwhile president of The Organization exchanged some crisp pleasantries with me. Then, without really saying anything at all about the issue at hand, the chair of the board (who also happens to be General Counsel) asked us what we had to say. Allison had just been put on probation before the meeting on a bogus pretense, so I decided to begin. I explained the matter of conflict of interest and the fact that we probably had enough expertise to do any such study in-house. I was very calm and professional as I said all these things. At that point Allison (using her most cheerful voice) chimed in to make similar points. Later I allowed that conflict of interest is real no matter the person, and I owned up to my own conflict of interest in supporting the existing CRM. Mahrise said nothing at all, and the most conversational of the board members was the new woman, the only one there I didn't know (I think she was hired as a response to #ARMeToo.) I wondered if perhaps the solution was that the contractor doing the CRM evaluation could be forbidden from doing any implementation work, which made the new board member say something she'd forgotten to say before, though she wasn't in agreement that this was the proper course of action. And with that, the meeting was over.
It was after 10:00pm my time, but I wanted to finish some things I'd been working on, and so I kept working. But then I happened to notice a meeting had been unexpectedly scheduled for before the workday tomorrow morning. That was suspicious. So I wrote to GSlice to ask if I was being yelled at or fired. She never wrote back, so I began connecting the dots until I was completely certain that I was being fired. This was madness; there are lots of complex, poorly-documented systems that only I understand. But management doesn't understand how tech happens in the organization; this was why Allison and I were so persistent about getting into this momentous board meeting. Perhaps they imagineed Dan and Allison could fill in for my absence. There's also a new guy named Aaron being rush-hired without any of the normal interview process. I knew a lot of irrational faith had been placed in him.
I forget to whom I broke the news first: Gretchen or to my co-workers (in a secret Slack group discussion we'd had to make to avoid spies). I'd told Gretchen just before the board meeting that I would be meeting with them about important technology issues, but I hadn't discussed all the other gut-wrenching issues along the way; I'd wanted her to enjoy our coming vacation to Mexico. She was in shock of course; she'd thought things were going fairly well at The Organization, and she knew all my immediate colleagues love me. But the evidence left no room for doubt. Bad as all of this was, it was good to have Gretchen fully briefed on the situation so she could provide emotional support. Emotionally, I was actually doing surprising well. Part of this was shock, but things had seemed to be moving in this direction for weeks, and I'd come to the realization that if things were to the point where I might be fired, this probably wasn't a healthy place to be working.
My colleagues were as aghast and devastated as anyone. I got on a Google hangout with Dan and Allison and we all drank together and discussed the madness. By this point, I was more bemused than in pain. I'd evidently been working for an insane organization all along, though it had only recently become clear just how insane.
The only way to get to sleep in this situation was to take 20 milligrams of ambien. I then retired to the couch in the teevee room.

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