Yeah, so, the last time I posted anything, it was about Amanda Batty. But she's fuckin' awesome.
For one, she's full of hate. For another, she was at the Utah townhall that sent Chaffetz packin' and was sending out reports. For yet another, despite the hate, she's somewhat of a voice for reason, even it it's filled with profanity. Like this.
But as for the townhalls, which are turning into a nice 10 Minute Hate, Chaffetz has made the opinion known that he thinks people in Utah were paid to be there. Does anyone recall the rise of the Tea Baggers, and how they packed the townhalls? The similarity stops where we get to the point that people showed up and shouted. Recent townhalls are because people are actually pissed off. Not because someone told them where to be and what to shout.
Amanda Batty is dismayed at the din, the chaos, and the lack of organization on the part of Dems, but shit man - these have been the first few townhalls since January 20th. People will rage, vent and then take some action.
Meanwhile, my local Congresswoman had the tact to see people in small groups. On one hand, that keeps the chaos down and makes for an intimate moment with your rep (for all of 10 minutes or something) but it also keeps the rabble from being organized.
Man, I'm just tired and annoyed. There's this guy I knew from a few gigs ago. He was just as disgruntled as I was when I left to do the start up thing. He stuck it out a little while longer before he split himself. He lasted a short span of time at his next position before ditching THAT to wind up at where I am now. And... he wasn't happy there, either. He moved on to his third new job in the span of what... three years?
My pissy attitude comes from the notion that this guy has been flushing away gainful employment while I was pulling teeth to get into the position where I am now. It's not that our skill-set is any different. I'm guessing he interviews better. Or something. I don't know. I'm really bitter. I mean - there's kids starving and he's throwing away food.
The thing is - where I am now - it's really amazingly easy. There's the every day challenge, and the codebase is a horrible, twisted mess. But it is so easy for the paycheck (which is solid). There's really no reason to quit other than, I don't know, you don't like being a code monkey.
There. I said it. Code monkey. But whatever.
And while so many of my cronies are doing the "Senior"-this or "Lead"-that and sharing all of the really smart blogposts or commenting on the next trends in user experience design, I'm just giving less and less of a fuck because I know it's all so incredibly stupid. Good design, good code, meaningful experiences - it's all bullshit when it comes down to one thing - will your product sell? It does? Then good. Keep going and try to do good work. The rest barely matters any more.
Just get out my way with the bullshit, let me write some code and get on with my life.
A month ago, the dryer took a crap. A few weeks ago, my catalytic converter failed. And yesterday, the washer quit.
That's three. And that should be it, right?
This was really a lot harder than it should have been. After three months, I'm off the queue and back in the working sector. In that time, I've received hundreds of emails from dubious recruiters, had many dozen initial phone screens, been subjected to office tours and "meet the teams", assurances from my network that "oh yeah - they're gonna snatch you up", ridden about one thousand miles on my bicycle and lost 15 pounds.
This really sucked.
Your best friend and worst nightmare. Truly a source of frustration. I received plenty of "Are you interested in this position" and not nearly enough of, "Yes, we understand that you're a designer and not a back-end developer". If you're going to work as a recruiter, at least try to understand something about the technology.
Please have a clue what you're looking for. Don't tell me one aspect of the job is not important and then tell me I wasn't a fit because you wanted that one thing. Don't be surprised when I question your HR rep about that bait and switch.
Don't offer to call me to talk about feed back and then never do so. I'm looking at you, JD from Salesforce. I didn't think you were a good fit when we interviewed YOU to be my boss with my now defunct company. But I gave you a second chance. Looks like you're not nearly as open when I came to you. I worry for my friends who work under you. Do you have their best interest at heart? Will I see you name in the ranks of Unizin soon?
Get your story straight with your HR department. Either you're interested or you're not. If I get one story from your HR, telling me that I'm super much the guy you want, prove it by talking me about the job, the future and other aspects that will make me believe that you do. Don't waste my time by bringing me in to a "final interview" only to give me a design assignment. Seriously? You make me wait a week, reschedule several times, make me get dressed up, drive to your office just to say "design something for me - I don't know what - surprise me". That could have been a phone call.
Stop offering me a drink. Not that some water isn't helpful, but carrying around a bottle or an open can of soda for three hours really sucks.
Ask me things. Don't spend all of your time telling me that you don't know what to ask me. If you don't have any questions, just have a conversation. Tell me about the tech or some problems you're having. I might be able to help out and in turn give you some insight into my own experience. If your lack of interviewing skills are the reason why you don't think someone is a fit, then you're doing a disservice to your company. Ask to sit in with someone next time.
I Ain't Mad
I'm just tired. So many times you can say "I'll take this as an opportunity to really go for that thing I wanted but never had time for", but no. Paying the bills is nice. Job hunting makes for a sporadic and unpredictable schedule. Unemployment benefits are a joke and the process for getting paid sucks. The job spam is endless and you just want calls from IT sweatshops to just stop.
The cult of LinkedIn rockstar wonder-kid high energy go-getter should not exist in software dev. But it's expected and somehow quantity over quality drives the job market. It's hard to pretend to be excited over marketing companies, social media tracking apps, and car sales corporations making a buck off of the backs of the poor.
It sucks that, in the end, I started to see openings with places that really excited me when an offer came though. I never had the chance to really explore those places, but oh well. I'm still going to be able to help people without feeling like a corporate shill.
I'm getting a lot of bicycle rides in.
I'm suddenly very qualified to sell insurance for State Farm.
Whilst out on the trail - on my daily commute or on the week-end sport ride - nothing gets the blood going more than these guys. And I may have mentioned this before, but it's been so common lately, it grinds the gears, so to speak, every time.
Bald, middle-aged men wearing ear buds on mountain bikes.
No one rides like a bigger asshole than these guys. Not the little kids with mohawk helmets, not the hipsters on the fixed gear chopped bar Schwinns, not the roadies in lycra, not the flock of families that stretch for a quarter of a mile on their Sunday rides.
Bald, middle-aged men wearing ear buds on mountain bikes.
I know they're bald because they wear no helmets. I know they wear earbuds because I see the wires flailing as they swerve across the path with abandon. I know they're middle age because... Because. Because of the mountain bike, really. It seems like the go-to form factor for some jackass that wants to "ride the trail".
I know that because that's exactly what I did about ten years ago.
All I see is their inconsideration, lack of care, disregard for etiquette, rules or common courtesy. All I see is them cutting off people - pedestrian and peddler alike. All I see is their brains oozing out of their melon of a shiny head, since helmets are out of the picture (or worse yet - dangling from their handlebars).
Every time I see these guys, I must destroy them.
It's easy enough to pass them and drop them on the road bike. It's zippy. But I also have to keep myself in check, lest I become one of "them" that cannot share a two-lane multi-use path.
But it's oh so much fun to do it on my commuter. Solid steel. Heavy as shit. Decked with racks, fenders and lights. And a bell. Drop them like a fuckin' rock. Watch their face as a fully loaded touring bicycle slides past them with ease as they "crush" their "workout". Signal with a gesture that I'm coming into their lane because I got tired of drafting and going slow.
And then I watch as they return the favor, doing a no-look cross of an intersection where I've stopped because I don't want to be a hood ornament.
And so the cycle repeats. Pun intended.
If I yelled this at everyone I passed, I'd go hoarse in the first five miles of most of my rides. On your fucking left. People expect it, they know cyclists are going to pass them, but get shitty when they don't hear every single warning, every single time. On your fucking left means I'm coming past you - either move or don't but be aware that I am coming past you, ready or not.
Some people scooch to the right or maintain their lane, say "thanks" and everything is awesome. Some do nothing at all. Some, I don't bother with, because they have headphones or earbuds engaged. But still - if you're close to the center line, I'm going to say on your fucking left.
A month ago, I moved to pass a man and a woman in their casual khakis, walking their mop of a yappy dog. The dog was on the far right of the couple, but shot to the far left when it heard me coming, barking and growling. The woman gasped in fear and shock. The man controlled the cur as I broke hard and swerved. He blew me the usual shit - "Say on you left next time!" What... do you think the dog would have behaved differently? "Control your dog!" said I.
Seriously, don't take your dog on a trail if it's going to go after runners and cyclists. DON'T.
Yesterday. Three people walking abreast, stepping over the center line of the trail. Fuck. Slow up and... on your left I yelled. Nothing - no reaction, other than to scooch over the center line into their own lane. I pass with as much room as I can - which wasn't close at all.
"Say on your left or something!" Oh fuck me. "I DID!"
"Well I didn't hear you!"
Go die. "Sorry about your hearing loss!"
After many years, I've finally been able to put some real time and distance on my bicycle and the only way to continue to do that is to ride the local multi-use path. There's no way to do that without dealing with a stretch of self-important and unaware jackasses who don't realize that the world does not revolve around them and other people are going to be out there, in the world, who won't meet their every level of expectation while on a frickin' trail of all things.
Pay attention. And look around some times. Coz I'm probably going to be there - on your fucking left.
I've heard the following words today to describe the action: riffing, separating, parting-ways, moving on, unable to support, transitioned.
I've heard the following words today to describe the people: capable workers, those affected.
I've heard the following words today to describe the situation: pivotal, crunch, opportunity, optimistic, redistributed.
No names were mentioned. Not in the company email, not in the team meeting. Only aside in whispered conversations did the managers speak the names of those who were (and let's just say it) laid off today.
I wasn't one, as the the people who do the heavy lifting are usually the last to get it in this industry. But being in the "design" department (for lack of a better term) means the situation is just as tenuous. Any more fat trimming and the knife is bound to fall my way.
The amount of spin is what makes me angry. It's the "stick our heads in the sand, thank the stars it wasn't me" vibe from the rest of the company. The "we can overcome this pitfall which has happened to the company".
No... it didn't happen to the company, it happened to five individuals who came to do some work here. Five individuals out of a group of fifty is a huge chunk of the business. It's not like we're not going to forget or the impact will be minimal. It's a blow to the confidence and the morale for a company that is suffering from attrition anyway.
There's fault here and it didn't have to happen to anyone. Call it what it is. Say it in plain English: We overspent, didn't pay attention to the money, hedged our bets on revenue that wasn't there and now we have to send someone to the unemployment office. Oops.
The really hard part of my job is dealing with all of the people who leave. I don't understand what the real problem is, but there's a serious retention problem with where I'm at. Either people get burned out or just burned or - who knows.
We'd suspected that one of our devs was getting ready to split just because the dumbass was stupid enough to leave his chat window open during a large meeting, where he'd been talking to about being offered a position elsewhere. One of our user researchers decided to move on at the end of what amounted to a highly paid internship to work for an accounting firm, despite a large amount of involvement and enthusiasm in what she was doing here. And... then... the finance guy decided to split.
I think he was just really burned out on keeping the numbers happy for a start-up that's moving slowly.
Chances are very good that now that our finance guy has put in notice, our office admin will follow. They were pretty close office pals and one of her other office pals left about six months ago.
What the fuck is the deal? It seems like I'm always the hold-out. I'm the one who is last to put down the flag and jump the sinking ship. But is the ship sinking? I don't THINK it is. Our numbers are slightly better than last year. Our product is definitely better than last year. Our sales force is better than last year.
I at least want to make it here another two years. Then, my stock will be fully vested and whatever happens then, I can at least get a pay out of some sort. The big rub is that I absolutely love being downtown. If I start looking elsewhere, I may have to go back to the soul-less north side.
I went with some friends to see Dick Dale Tuesday night. After missing him twice in Austin (once by mere minutes), I finally got to see the legend. He was playing at a local rock-dive, known for its rough looks but variety of music - the kind of real music venue that you'd expect to host a regular event called Punk Rock Night. It's a small joint but it's packed to the walls with tons of history with many decades of shows under its roof.
I expected it to be packed. I expected to see an older crowd. I expected to see some of the rockabilly crowd. But holy hell, I didn't expect a fight to break out.
Two, stupid, 50-something meaty guys, who should fucking know better, got into a shoving match about whom inadvertently brushed up against whom. These parrot-head rejects started to tussle when a third meaty guy (in a fake lei no less) starts sucker punching the smaller of the two.
We're on the outside of the grope-fest, trying to keep ourselves from getting stabbed by the one guys dangly pirate ear-cuff while attempting to get the attention of the bar staff. Quickly, a scrappy gal, who was certainly half the three mens' age but wiser in years, stepped in-between the geriatric grapplers. All she needed to do was raise a hand to the two, utter a few words and they stopped, hung their heads in shame and went back to watching the show.
I've been to many many all-age punk rock and metal shows over many many years hosted in many many dives with varying degrees of violent dance action. I've seen maybe two or three fights (Once in like - 1988 and then in 2002 - there may have been one other in Chicago in the '90s). Kids are better self-police than adults.
What buffoons. I hope they got pulled over on their drive back to suburbs because there's certainly no room for shit like that in the city.
I've been going through boxes recently. Boxes upon boxes. Some of the boxes hold other boxes. Most are full of things I've collected over the years - comics, sketch pads, scraps and mementos. Some of these things have been sitting in boxes for many years.
What in the hell do I do with these things?
Ultimately it's "stuff that'd need to stay in boxes and be stored" but... stored for what? What sort of rainy day am I waiting for? What sort of scrapbook can these things go into? What portion of my soul would I be chucking were these things to hit the bin?
An adult bicyclist was killed Thursday morning after colliding with an Indianapolis Public Schools bus on the Northwestside.
The bicyclist, whose name has not been released, was traveling west in the bike lane on Westlane Road when he collided with the eastbound bus turning north on to Ditch road, authorities said. The accident, just north of Westlane Middle School, was reported shortly before 7:30 a.m.
This is pretty personal. Not because I ride. Not because I ride almost every day to work. Not because I ride every day to work, sharing the road with traffic.
But because I knew the man.
We'd worked together for a year-and-a-half before he sought his fortune elsewhere last fall. He hadn't started commuting by bicycle then, but had decided to do so this Spring. He was moving into a new apartment with his fiance that overlooked the local multi-use path and said "why not?"
This is more or less my story as well. I moved into an apartment with a girl. The girl didn't stick around but the apartment that overlooked the trail did. So I started riding in to work. That was about ten years ago for me.
Neil (that was his name) didn't make it a month. He was 24... maybe 25. He'd been groomed to work for the company where we met when the CEO saw a demonstration of his at a local university when Neil was in his junior year. Neil was incredibly sharp, forward thinking and was out to make a true difference.
The guy had absolutely everything going for him.
Death at the hands of someone behind a ton of metal and fiberglass crosses my mind every time I leave the house. Sometimes I grit my teeth when I see others fly past me and cut the intersections and crossings. Why can't I be that fast? That nimble? And then... this.
Neil was a guy who was completely into cycling and the advantages of a bike-friendly city without ever owning a bike. This spring he bought a new Cannondale cyclocross bike (perfect for commuting) and outfitted himself with lights and a helmet. He wasn't some hyped up hipster on a bender. He wasn't a wrong way rider on a bike shaped object. For a month, he was a cyclist.
And now, the local cycling community will be placing a white bike at the intersection where he died.
Fuck everything about this.
Slowly but surely my machine of seven years is becoming a tad obsolete. The programs I know and love run just fine. The performance is getting slow-ish, but no real complaints. However, I know it's time. The new wizz-bang games won't run on XP and if I want to do anything remotely media related, I have to exercise great patience while Maya or Premier renders like slug in molasses.
But I don't want Windows 7. Or 8. Or anything related. I stuck with XP because Vista was certainly a no-go. I can't say that the Metro (or whatever it's known as these days) interface is stellar. My mom's new laptop runs it and I find it damn un-intuitive because it wants to tell me what it thinks I want to do.
My options though, are, what? Pay three times as much money for a Mac and still be behind the times on games? Sit down and learn some Linux so I can hope and pray that I know what I'm doing when it comes time to fix anything that may go wrong?
Maybe I'll just get a Chromebook.
My co-workers, who hate process and meetings, are currently extending a Monday morning meeting to talk about how to inject more process. Fuck.
I thought about this a while ago and just dismissed it. But now I'm really curious. It seems like everyone has the license to be a dick, except me... and maybe a few others. It's really in that global sense of the non-descript strangers that go on about their daily lives in faceless anonymity that I'm talking about.
I really think this sometimes. Everyone has a license to be a dick - to "get away with it" without consequence or care. However, the moment I make what could be seen as a dick-move, the universe calls me out on it. Instantly someone points and says "Hey - that was wrong!"
Really, this comes out moreso when I'm cycling than anything. If we think car drivers are generally self-entitled, that's nothing compared to the population of the multi-use path. Never was there a collection of self-absorbed and self-righteous segment of the population.
What sets me off right now is what happened about an hour ago, where I entered the trail and paused, waiting for slower traffic in the northbound lane go by. Two bikes in total. I was heading north too, so I figued I'd hang out in the south bound lane since it was clear and join the flow of traffic.
Well bike number two was going a little bit faster than I expected and had started to pass bike number one when I made my entry. "HEY!" a voice yelled. I thought they were yelling at bike #1 to wait up. It really was a full two or three seconds later that bike number two skirted around me and the rider let loose with a low "fucking asshole..."
I pedaled forward and laughed a bit at the realization that I was that fucking asshole. The rider, a man in his... 50s... with ear-buds, no helmet and an "I Work Out" t-shirt (sure ya do bud) was cranking along on his hybrid recreational bike at a good 10mph. It was pretty easy to catch up with him, laden as I was with my work gear.
And yes, that's where I belittle the guy by implying that he has no idea as to what he's doing on a bike if he can't take out the ear buds and put on a helmet.
We stopped at a crossing and I just laid it out "sorry man - I misjudged your speed. You looked like you were going a lot slower". His reply "Oh you saw me - what was I supposed to do?" I shrugged. "Sorry again."
Really I was trying to be the better guy just to shame him. But fuck it. I dropped him with no problem as the crossing cleared. He was pretty distant when I had to turn off again.
It's not the big confrontations - it's the little things - where someone just can't admit that they're just as much of an asshole as the person they're calling out. And if everyone can be a dick, why can't I?
Enjoy your work out, bud. If you can't handle some awkward traffic on a sparsely populated trail, good luck when you get into the yuppie part of town where you were headed.
With all of the hubbub over same-sex marriage, good ole Indiana Governor Mike Pence was pretty quick to promise pushing for an amendment to the state's constitution that would ban such a thing. In the usual political rhetoric, Gov Pence stated...
...I am confident that Hoosiers will reaffirm our commitment to traditional marriage and will consider this important question with civility and respect for the values and dignity of all of the people of our state.
A lot of people disagreed. A lot of people visited Gov Mike Pence's administration's Facebook page to disagreed. Some people were not so nice, but many were civil. And their disagreements were deleted and their accounts blocked.
I know at least two people this happened to, personally. The administration has been quickly covering its ass as the story has come to light, saying that a "handful" of comments were deleted. It was enough of a handful to start a support group for all of those who were blocked and a website archiving screenshots of deleted comments.
Technology is a wondrous thing, ain't it? This all went down within twenty-four hours. By evening news time today, Gov Pence was in front of cameras, issuing an apology, stating that he did not realize his staff was being so zealous with the administration's policy of removing vulgar and inflammatory posts. Here's a link to his official statement:
It still don't wash.
"But this is FACEBOOK we're talking about. No one takes that seriously!" Like hell. This wasn't the man's personal page, where he might expect a right to remove anything he were to find offensive. This is the page representing the office of the governor, where discourse and discussion should be allowed to take place regarding the policies of an administration that claims to represent all of its people.
Three weeks ago, after a not so happy meeting in my manager's office, where I tried to explain to him why a sincerely fucked up project a few of us peons had been thrust upon was fucked (and having him still not "get it"), I gave notice. I shut the door to his office and I suggested that my manager get ready for more bad news. "You're leaving?" he asked. "Yup" I said. "I figured this would happen sometime soon".
There was no moment of "why," "do you want to talk about it," or "what can we do to keep you". Instead there was simple resignation and slow planning for my eventual departure from my post of thirteen years. Even his manager merely said "Oh - sorry to see you go!"
Sure, maybe there's nothing that can really be said or done when someone gives notice after having accepted an offer from another company, but I would have liked some crocodile tears at the very least. But no - my manager of thirteen years, whom I had been bugging for a raise, a review, a something for about a year (and his old boss previously for an additional two years) just said "I figured this would happen."
I hadn't just asked him. I hadn't just asked his manager. I had asked him, his manager and the manager before him. I asked all of them because the only times I had been given a raise was when HR magically realized that I was no longer being paid an amount equal to the lowest market average for someone with my job title (There's a bell curve - I fell on the lower left slope. Hell - I turned down an offer for an entry level position making almost as much as I was making as a "senior UI designer! But that's a different story).
Last fall, when discussing how I might get bumped up a notch or two, my manager said that it'd be up to my manager and his boss to review and approve the request. "Isn't that manager you?" I asked. "Yeah - I guess it is," he said.
Motherfuckin', GEE, motherfucker.
It eventually came down to slowly surmounting frustration with management and the projects to which I was arbitrarily assigned. After knocking myself out for the past two years to cover for everyone's design asses on Big Monster Project With A Catchy Name, our design services were dropped in favor of more contracted developers who didn't give a single shit about quality. Follow that up with getting the run around from New And ImprovedTM management, who couldn't organize a distributed team around a simple process without completely undermining any trust that the grunts may have had... I was just ready for a way out. Things weren't going to change. I'd seen this pattern way too many times.
And it sucks. It sucks that it came to this after thirteen years. It sucks that I had to just shrug my shoulders and say "Oh well. I tried." In the end the slowly churning gears of the mediocrity machine that had no idea how to work with designers, or people for that matter, won.