Saturday, November 29, 2008

BYBS: Things I Haven't Achieved

Sometimes I complain about how I haven't managed to achieve everything I've wanted to. OK, maybe I spend a lot of time complaining. In BYBS form, therefore, I came up with a list of things that I'm glad I haven't done:

  • Become a drug addict.
  • Become a drug dealer.
  • Flunked out of college.
  • Screwed over a friend.
  • Killed anyone.
  • Started a war.
  • Bilked people out of large amounts of money (a la Enron).

Now mind you, I have cheated at Monopoly. And then there was that geography test and ... oh never mind.

The thing about BYBS (at least for me) is how you look at the world. The world doesn't change, just my way of looking at it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

BYBS: Thanksgiving Edition!

I came up with a special BYBS entry, it being Thanksgiving and all. VYSW will be back next least in theory.

As anyone who read too many comic books in their formative years, I'm a bit nervous about saying "life is great!" since that is the time that the writers choose to drop a 10 ton safe on the character as a reward for saying such a thing. However, I'm also a rather negative person so I find it rather therapeutic to force myself to look on the bright side. Therefore here are some things in my life I think of as blessings:

  • A person who, despite the mountain of evidence, seems love to me.

    When I gaze into her loving eyes, she will sometimes mutter about some "term of contract" or "once my time is up, I'm outta here!" I really don't know what she means, but I'm sure it will become clear one day.

  • Health which is relatively free of serious illness. Health is rather like air and water: when you have them, it nothing special; but when you don't boy are they important!

    Now mind you, there are some who liken the author to some sort of pestilence, or maybe even several at once, but nobody has died from exposure to me. Yet.

  • People who seem to like me.

    True, not enough for them to want to play "Clue" or other board games, and not because I cheat! I deny that completely! But we still seem to get along.

  • A job which, while I take great pains to bitch and moan about, at least keeps me off the streets and out of trouble.

    Some coworkers have said things to make me suspect that the state has some sort of "deal" whereby "special" people such as myself get employment and the hosting company gets a tax break, but there is no evidence of this. Honest.

So there's my Blather-n-Rants special Thanksgiving entry! I figure I should quit while I'm ahead. Furthermore, rather than becoming negative, I'll save some of the more amusing ideas about holidays for a VYSW. Till then, avoid gnomes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

BYBS: Meaning in the Clouds

Consider clouds or oil on water. Some people will try to say that "it looks like a continent" or "the cloud looks like an elephant." The interesting thing to me is not so much whether some milk in a coffee cup looks a tree so much as that people strive for meaning in things have none.

This led me to wonder what other sorts of things we assign meaning to. Seeing as I have something of a shortage of ideas these days, I think I'll leave that for another posting...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

VYSW: What I Do for a Living


Vent Your Spleen Wednesday

It's not always easy to explain my job to people.

As a person who has worked in the field of all things computer, people sometimes ask me "how do the damn things work?" My answer is that they don't.

I spend a huge amount of time working on some ridiculously simple aspect of a program, only to be told that what I have done is broken. You see if you hop on one foot, rub your tummy, whistle and operate the mouse with your foot it turns out that what you have done does not actually work. Such arguments are constructed by strange and evil people called testers, who will go on to explain that this odd group of one-foot-hopping people are the majority of our customers.

Now mind you, this is on a good day.

Most of the time, all someone has to do is just glare at something I'm working on and it will break.

Other times the entire goal will be insane, like creating what amounts to an underwater barbeque grill. At the end of the process, the same group of fools who insisted on this in the first place will look at you like you are crazy and ask "whose idea was this?"

I've tried to come up with a short description of my job for non-computer people after one friend asked me "what is it that you do?" I usually find myself blathering on about .NET or Java only to discover that whoever asked me is now asleep. After much time and effort, I've come up with a short explanation that still manages to capture the essence of what is going on:

I bang my head against a wall until I make a hole that I can crawl through.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

BYBS: A Profound Event

Something profound happened the other day and I missed it.

I was voting in the election and when I cast my ballot, the race of the candidates did not factor into my decision. I was more wrapped up in the issues at hand, whether the candidates could be trusted, etc.

When I listened to the coverage of the election today, I discovered that the race of the president-elect had made a huge difference to some people. They spoke about how they were proud of their country, and that it was amazing to have gone from 1968, when Martin Luther King was assassinated, to 2008, where Barack Obama was elected president.

Reflecting on it, I realized how it could be so meaningful. This is after all, the country that had the Rodney King beating and riots. This was where Howard Beach happened. This is the country where Martin Luther King was killed.

That my country could have changed does not mean that the problem is gone. But it is a sign that just because we may have a past that includes racism, does not mean it will be our future. We can change.

* * *

Just to reassure everyone, VYSW will be back next Wednesday :-)