azurelunatic: Blue-iced cupcake with sprinkles.  (cupcake)
Friday was more boxes. Putting olives and pineapple and a few other things in a sturdy box half-filled it, but it was already heavy enough. I made up the rest of the space with dry noodle soup cups: not easily crushed, but hella light.

It was beer bash day at Virtual Hammer, and my last one. My former manager's last day had been the week before (onward and upward). I was skeptical of the food choices, as the theme was "pizza party", and I was aware of what the "catering pizza" was like.

By 2pm, when the maintenance guy hadn't shown up for the pre-departure inspection, I called the office. I didn't want to miss beer bash. He came through at 2:45. No major issues, and maybe X place would be good for the moving pod, but it was a hard problem. (In this case, "major issues" is holes in walls, destroyed appliances, etc. I am sure there will be "minor issues".)

I headed for beer bash, slightly melancholy. (My partner urged me to try for not too much sadness.) I chatted with Nora, of course. I walked briskly up the path, but paused at the duck pond to take a few last pictures.

The duck pond at Virtual Hammer, glowing in the sunlight (with a certain amount of algae bloom).

Purple called just about then, as he was about a hundred meters behind me and wanted to catch up. He had a new-ish teammate with him, someone of a delightfully compatible sense of humor.

We grabbed some pizza (fortunately, there was sufficient pepperoni pizza, as the veggie pizza was laced with bell pepper), and contemplated the desserts.

1) Streusel pizza, an uninspiring-looking cinnamon-sugar crumb on something flat and pale.
2) Brownie pizza, with toasted mini marshmallows and peanut butter cups.
3) Popcorn with some red coating on it; this would prove to be mostly spicy.
4) Cookie pizza, chocolate chip with frosting, coconut shreds, and walnuts on top.

#1 looked like a waste of carbohydrate. #3 looked like not-dessert (and upon tasting, was indeed not-dessert).
I texted my partner with the descriptions of #2 and #4, and got back some incredulous punctuation. I loathe peanut butter, and have an oral hypersensitivity reaction to walnuts. (It burns and the lining of my mouth peels off. It's great.) My partner has complementary reactions: oral hypersensitivity to peanuts, and loathes walnuts.

Purple and his teammate and I had a lovely time in one of the tucked-away back tables. There was a lovely view out the windows. We talked about squirrels (Purple's noticed that modern squirrels know how to freeze and duck for cars), bees (Purple's childhood home had a prodigious amount of comb removed from a wall), the nature of "Netflix and Chill", and other such things.

Eventually, Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly called, and we figured out dinner. I spotted the cute receptionist across the upper quad, and said goodbye. We wandered back down to the lower quad, and Purple wrapped up. I dropped some spare buttons from the 2015 department conference, because I didn't really need that many as keepsakes, and someone at work might think they were cool.

We headed off for dinner. Goodbye, campus in the hills. You were beautiful, and I met so many lovely people there. Perhaps I'll visit again someday.

Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly had been delayed in leaving for dinner, because as she was heading out, there was a machine overheating, so she'd had to spray the fans with compressed air and such. I was careful to avoid "blowing" jokes at first. The restaurant had the air conditioning cranked up high, which had likely been appropriate in the heat of the day, but was less and less appropriate as the air cooled. I put on my jacket. Purple ran out to his car to grab his button-down shirt.

The on-table tablet thing behaved itself this time, by which I mean Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly was able to look at the drinks menu and pick out something, and then we were able to aim it away from us without it blinking. I got a sip of Purple's drink, which was just about the right amount. (Two would have been an okay amount too, but it was a little sour for me.)

Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly has picked up a new online game, where she is now known as "Finger." Most of the obvious jokes were less made than they were implied. She observed that it's very important to not (as someone had) leave the punctuation out of the greeting "Finger, my friend!" What happened was that she'd joined the game and picked a nickname; some dick had immediately taken offense to her basic existence. She'd argued that this was the internet, perhaps she didn't exist at all! Perhaps she was just a disembodied finger, typing. And thus her new name.

Purple walked me to my car. We chatted about this and that, and the move. I'll be fine. I tend to pre-react, rather than post-react. (Purple post-reacts.) My partner and I have good communications. I'll be sad to leave California, but not heartbroken like I was about leaving Darkside.

We set the date and time for our last dinner: Tuesday night, in the hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean place where they treat us like family. I'll want to say goodbye there, too.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
This document was compiled at old-work, for amusement purposes.


The name in the signature (as opposed to the .sig file) is possibly what this person would like you to call them when you write back.

(message is in all caps, there is no signature)
Either $NAME lost their caps lock key, or really needed to yell at you.

Love, $NAME
$NAME probably does not love you all that much.

Read more... )

British Signatures

Cheers, $NAME
Not friendly.

Cordially, $NAME
What is the sound of something very sharp being applied from behind?

Kind regards, $NAME

Regards, $NAME
Unkind regards.


I didn't bother to pay attention to your signature.

Dear Frederick Douglass,
I mistook your .sig file for your signature.

Hidden Messages





29/12/16 21:09
azurelunatic: Bust of Archimedes. "Eureka: (interj) the bath is too hot." (eureka)
Today was a day for trying to come back to normal: for attempting to unearth my desk from its accumulation of items, for putting away the air mattress now that Ev is safely back out of state and won't be suddenly needing my floor again, for looking at the candidate shirts for my tech company quilt.

I spent some time at a particular tech company, one that is t-shirt happy. Now that I'm no longer there, the shirts have very little use, other than to clothe me, and I'm doing fairly well on that on my own. I don't sleep in t-shirts, and while there's always some use for knit fabric scraps, I'm full up on those from all the dead pairs of shorts.

However, I do have a fairly ugly comforter that is nearing the end of its normal life. I also treasure that time in my life, and want a way to bring some of the artefacts of the time forward in a way that's friendly to my eventual plan of moving out of state. And I've got a sewing machine.

I grew up thinking about quilts as something that had to be carefully cut with precision tolerences and heavy equipment, and planned out on paper (later, computer), but the tradition of quilting has always included "woops, this dress is super worn out, but I love the fabric and it reminds me of good times", and "aaaaa I just need to cover this blanket in something".

So perhaps, in the coming weeks, I'll throw together a quilt, to remind me of the good times at Virtual Hammer, and something that can be folded up neatly in a corner of the closet without feeling like I'm wasting precious space, then spread on a bed to keep me warm.
azurelunatic: Computer with a wind-up key captioned "Which version of STUPID are you running?" (stupid)
Ev is applying to All The Internships, at a very sensible and sustainable rate. This week's applications includes a little company whose product I was ... privileged ... to have been introduced to during my time at Virtual Hammer.

I speak, of course, of the "new" (July '14) helldesk software.

Ev: "how did you hear about our company?" "my godmother wants to stab the hci designers"
Azz: not *just* the HCI designers
Azz: also the API designers
Ev: "my godmother wants to stab everyone"

I have asked Ev to ask some mutual friends about their impressions of the place, based on the words I've emitted about it over my 1.5 years of experience with the thing. So far the timing hasn't worked out so well.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
Monday was a quiet day. I had dinner with Purple. It was unremarkable, other than the way I was a little sneezy.

A little sneezy turned into explosively sneezy and then my sinuses were an impassable wall of woe. I got approximately three hours sleep, out of 7+ horizontal.

Tuesday was not a great day. I realized that I should not be driving anywhere. I also had a care package to send, a package to pick up, and building plumbing problems. I made the best of it, and walked to the post office to grab a shipping box.

On the way there, the sleep department in Oakland called me to let me know that they saw that I had an appointment in SSF, did I want to take that appointment in Oakland too? I wasn't near the computer, so I had no idea; I wasn't expecting the call, and I had three hours of sleep. I had no idea, and very little vocabulary to put things together. I informed them to email me.

I sent a care package of old tech off to my Gentle Caller. The great thing about flat rate boxes is, it's the same price to send a small box with three bits of old electronics as it is to send that same box with three bits of old electronics, two plastic bracelets with a plastic recorder and a plastic maraca each, a baggie of glitter, and a handful of dark chocolate.

And that was only Tuesday. )
azurelunatic: "PIE DOESN'T HAVE TENTACLES!"  (tentacles)
Open Source Bridge update: I am going, though #DWgoestoOSB is not an official or refunded thing this year. Woez. Kat can't make it either (alas).

Birthday prep means letting my aunt know who's coming, and this year seems much less haphazard than last. My sleep schedule is still wacky, but this time I was completely coherent by noonish. I even had time to wash all of my hair and do makeup (including glitter, now that I know there's no exclusion month needed).

Fishie is encountering some internship challenges. I have advised her to take *detailed* notes, and she has written an email to her mentor back at her college, who is offering various advice and contacts. We also talked about the concept of Being A Grownup, and how generally terrified and impostor-y I was back when I first acquired the fish. She had that moment of dissonance when she looked at how old her parents were when she was a baby. She also had the dissonance of "wait, other people my age are HAVING CHILDREN HOLY SHIT", and "wait, this person I know is a grandfather and he is five years younger than my dad NO WAY AM I HAVING TWO KIDS IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS!!!" I reminded her that children and chronological age cease to be a necessarily meaningful concrete benchmark at a certain point.

And then I went off to beer bash. There was more traffic than I was anticipating, but I arrived more or less on time. I immediately saw lb and sfa from a distance, and hailed them. We went in search of Purple, but Purple was afk (and Mr. Bananas was plugged in to headphones, head down, and not acknowledging strangers by the door).

We all trooped up to R's office, where I dropped off a small box of papers and stuff. One of R's teammates told us that R had gone down for beer bash. So we went down and in to the cafeteria where it was cool. There I saw phone and hailed him. Then people of the group saw codepoetica, and hailed him. I introduced myself as Azz (because he is #cupcake); he looked confused. "ajl", I elucidated. "OH! HI!" he said, and glomped me.

We wandered about inside for a little while, looking for seats. I picked my way through the tables, avoiding the place where there was a photo op with some of the 501st. I saw R, sitting with someone I didn't recognize, and flagged down the rest of #cupcake. They came trooping up. I was texting Purple to let him know where we were, and looking at the spinning "lol your text has not sent" when my phone rang! It was Purple, wondering whether I'd arrived. I had! I told him where to find us, and he came to find us.

R and I had some shop talk over conference stuff. Mostly we have to get the videos squared away.

Some of the tables cleared out, and we took over. codepoetica was in rare form, and there was all sorts of giggling and hijinks. R wanted to know what we were talking about. lb let her know that no, no, she did not want to know.

* What if you had a whole bag of jello-molded hands?
* What if it was out of that sticky stuff that sticks to windows?
* A sticky hand with the hand full sized would have a really long handle/arm thing
* You would swing it around like a baseball bat
* well, what *else* could that gesture mean?
* "Excalibur!!!"
* if your dick was really that long, you'd have to sort of trudge around like a dinosaur with its tail dragging
* imagine a wilderness tracker, sort of a Sherlock Holmes kind of situation, and he could tell all sorts of improbable things from the track, like that it was a penis
* also how many tattoos and what color
* "I can tell from the number of dead bees on the left side!"
* "oh, I thought it was 'Because I slept with him last night!' "
* No more blowing bees at Purple in the courtyard
* getting abducted by UFOs because you wave at them
* asymmetrical docking
* M2MA (nsfw!!!)
* general anatomical improbability
* Bee dick
* Chocolate penis

The table started to clear out. R texted me to make sure that it was okay that she had invited Mr. Tux to my birthday party (of course!)

codepoetica and I talked weather and geography. He wants to get a link to the YaaS video once it's up. He talked about some other things that the same back end engine is doing, and I looked in horror at the two-day autoclose for low-priority tickets, the effect of which is to redirect some of said low-priority tickets via phone and no documentation, lest the motherfucker be closed over the fucking weekend.

Purple observed that there was a fleck of glitter on codepoetica's nose, glinting in the sunlight. There followed an interlude of codepoetica trying to get the glitter off his nose, us observing more glitter on his person, and the inevitable question "WHERE DID IT ALL COME FROM?!?!?!" I raised my hand. He had, after all, glomped me...

Sadly, he was not to be in town tomorrow (flying back on a red eye), and thus could not make it to my birthday party. His director and his wife had a custody argument over him, and he is not allowed to spend more than 50% of his time traveling. (He was mostly not a party to this discussion, he said.)

We all wandered outside, to split, more or less. Purple's director wandered past, and asked Purple to please let him in, as he'd left his badge on his desk. So we retreated inside to the air conditioning, and codepoetica showed Purple some of his scripts.

I will have to practice my non-profane ejaculations for the purpose of having things to say for YaaS that are emphatic but repeatable. I am taking suggestions.

Purple and I walked in the direction of our cars. (I park next to him when I have the chance, since he has a favorite spot and is thus easy to find.) He had security issues finding a key storage solution. I shared some of my hackerspace's recent smart lock shenanigans.

Purple will see me tomorrow. :)

I went to Fry's and found that there was a dashcam in an appropriate price range! Yay! However, upon plugging it in to my desktop and having google photo sync slurp the test videos off, I have discovered that despite the timestamp imprinted on the video being correct, the timestamp on the file is some 6 years out of date. Oops. I ... guess I am getting what I paid for??

I appear to have nearly entirely swapped over to the Pebble for step counting and sleep tracking.
azurelunatic: stick figure about to hit potato w/ flaming tennis racket, near jug of gasoline & sack of potatoes (XKCD)
Last weekend: pleasant dinner with Purple and Ms. Antisocial Butterfly, followed by FOGcon and Seanan's book launch party and more FOGcon.

There followed a week of mostly face-down in Freelance Conference Stuff, interspersed with the odd doctor here and there.

I entered into a dialogue with one of the doctors about gender, and how I don't want any. The upshot has included a formal entry of a note to this effect in my demographics section, my proper honorific (Reverend), and swapping my gender marker to Unknown. We'll see what havoc this plays on my medical records.

This came up in discussion with Purple, and some extensive clowning followed. The upshot of all that was that I may actually have a short-form description of my actual gender, which is: Langford Death Parrot.

Thursday evening, my general feeling of malaise resulted in a short walk down to the hot tub, where I soaked my ergonomically annoyed muscles and listened to some neighbors chat about this and that. One of the horror stories involved some really disturbing behavior from a random small child involving a watermelon. I went back and googled; I didn't find anything about a kid (not surprisingly), but I did find a story about an increasingly acrimonious divorce case which had included the following escalating bad behavior:

Includes implied threats of violence. )

Today was beer bash at Virtual Hammer, followed by dinner.

Purple had a baby shower before beer bash, which was why he was late. (The baby is a co-workers; he's not pregnant.) I warned him about the bread pudding fruit pies (not recommended) and he emerged about 15 minutes later, having been waylaid by a random conversation with a random friend. He is a sociable guy! He was slightly chagrined at having taken so long when he'd said he'd be right back, but I can't complain, since I benefit from this habit of his fairly significantly. (He's very sociable, and observes that I can be very sociable when I know someone, but rather less with new people.)

phone arrived, and Purple had just wondered if Mr. Tux were going to show up at all. I looked at my watch and said that it had just gone five; Mr. Tux didn't usually arrive until at least then. Sure enough, Mr. Tux emerged a few minutes later. R wandered through and chatted with the crowd. My hair and my earrings and my headphones all match. It's great!

Surrealist Band Guy dropped through and visited for a bit.

The fire pit did not light. Someone, not me, will need to file a ticket.

I'd been working steadily on the current dreamsheep, and Purple asked was it the nose I was working on. I sort of distinguish between "nose" and "chin", although in sheeps it's pretty much the same area. Purple took that distinction, and ran with it to some pretty terrible places. He later contemplated the topology of my original plan, and asked some fairly salient questions about the double-eversion phase and terminology related thereto, and also the stealth phase. "Why does this sheep have a green asshole?" The nose vs. chin question led down a chain of logic which ended on etsy with the phrases "docking muff" and "machine washable" (very important, that last).

We'd thought that Ms. Antisocial Butterfly wouldn't be joining us for dinner, but she called. She doesn't leave town until tomorrow. So we decided on a dinner location (Mountain View) and topic (pizza).

The rubber chicken for help system ticket 1,000,000 has seen better days. I had handed it off to Purple upon leaving, but it was in bad enough shape that he really did not want it around. We ceremonially consigned it to the trash, after a last commemorative picture.

Circumstances under which gender-policing can be actually hilarious: mention of genitals, non-explicit. ) Purple is great and I want to keep him. We headed off for dinner.

Purple and I circled the first parking garage and failed to find a spot. (I got there first, I believe.) We went up the second, and finally found spots on the fourth floor (out of five possible). I found mine, then he arrived and parked just as I was getting out of my car, so I waited for him while he juggled bluetooth and phone and he joined me at the elevator. Ms. Antisocial Butterfly had arrived on time, and we were a little delayed for once.

Ms. Antisocial Butterfly disapproves of any cracker-eating jerks who give her initials a bad reputation.

We had salad and wings and pizza and scurrilous discussion. Purple commented on weaponized earrings, after observing how my earrings do a delightful little shimmy when I shake my head. We iterated on that a bit. I draw the line at explosions near my ears.

Walking back, he helped me liberate my long loose hair from my briefcase strap, pulling it a bit in the process and apologizing. His weekend plans include heading off with Cousin Antisocial to see the aunt and uncle and helping them haul stuff around, then coming back on Sunday and presumably collapsing a bit. I may inquire after sociability on Sunday, but am not expecting necessarily anything. :>

I have no idea what I'm doing for April Fool's Day.
azurelunatic: Thalia, Muse of Comedy, in a plaster relief sculpture. She is adorned with an ivy wreath, holds crook & mask (Thalia)
Swung by Purple's desk on my way in to tell him to find a hat (so he could lift it to me, for technical victories); he'd apparently just headed off for what turned out to be lunch.

I had lunch with the guy who used to be on the A-Team but who was in HR now. From his perspective, I've "come out of [my] shell" quite a bit, what with asking awkward questions in front of all-hands meetings and such, compared to going "aaaaa wtf icebreaker woe :(" -- from mine, I've certainly gained confidence about what exactly will go over well here, but I haven't exaaaaaactly been terrified of public speaking for 20 years, and I'm still an introvert. It costs to be socially On, except with a very narrow range of people. (It may, come to think of it, help that I've been spending several hours a week with one of those people fairly regularly for the past two years.)

Madam Standards dropped by to thank me for putting a reminder about dietary information on the potluck sign-ups.

Purple returned from lunch to tell me that one of his friends had told him: "Wow, your friend [Azure] has some big, um ... balls?" re: last week's pointed question. Heh.

My whole team has been hit by the plague. The Stage Manager sounds about like I feel, and was also from-home on Monday and Tuesday. I'm feeling much better! (I'm still coughing, and still have a damaged throat.) Purple was out with it last week, I think, but for him it was just a head cold.

I have not yet got the information for User Acceptance Testing for the new helldesk software iteration. There are some things that ARE APPARENTLY NOT WORKING AS THEY OUGHT, THE BASTARDS, and I am threatening to assemble a crew of engineers in someone's office. Pitchforks optional.

There was an emergency team ping from the other end of campus. I didn't take it. There was a second ping, still calling for people. I eyed it. The third ping was much more emphatic. I grabbed my gloves and bag and hustled (mindful of my delicate lungs). By the time I arrived, of course, the area was saturated with security, and what they'd needed the emergency team for was crowd control. (In the event of a medical situation, the last thing you need is onlookers going all popcorn.gif.) So I headed back down.

I have been slowly making my way through an album that Purple had mentioned that he was digging (it's good; not the sort of thing that I would have picked up myself, but good) and therefore was lost in a combination of chill noise and inbox when the Commandant poked me in the arm. "Augh! Don't *do* that!!" I said. No, the Lunatic will not notice your approach! This is why there is the doorbell! They have apparently filed a ticket to get the room they're planning to use for the potluck next week, but it is (likely) caught in some godforsaken corner of the helldesk, since the Dean hasn't seen it. I gave sage advice. The fact that I am helping plan my own goodbye party is not lost on anyone.

Eventually the building got cold and lonely enough that I needed to not be alone in there. So I pinged Purple, gathered up my gear, stuffed some stuff in the outgoing mail, dropped the portable hard drive back on R's desk, and wandered down to Purple's office. He was chatting with someone at their cube when I wandered by. I waved, drifted into his office, dropped my bag, drifted out, made myself a cup of tea, and settled in with the iPad quite cozily. His office is warm.

He came back in. We talked for a while. If ever I find myself near Palo Alto at the time of a beer bash, I should consider myself his guest. Was that lemongrass? No, it was "sweet orange" tea; I'd been looking for mint but didn't see any. Had I looked in the other, unlabeled drawer? No? Oh, that's where it might have been. I suggested a "MAYBE TEA?" label to go with the "TEA" label -- sometimes there is tea in that drawer, and sometimes there is not. Purple evidenced amusement at the thought of opening the "maybe" drawer and wondering wtf is in these bags, if there's doubt as to the tea status. I declared that the herbal ones would go in that drawer... This idea met with his approval.

Eventually, we braved the cold and the lingering smell of natural gas that nobody has ever got pinned down and the uncertain traffic in the parking lot. A little bird pecked about, nearly camouflaging itself against the white line, before flittering out of sight. There has been a wire coat hanger stuffed behind one of the pedestrian crossing signs, apparently for days, though this is the first time I noticed it. I held out my arm, and Purple obligingly shuffled closer so I could loop my arm through his as we stood there, chatting about things you find on Goodreads, and old movies, and all manner of wackiness.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
So Sunday I was feeling somewhat poorly... Sunday night I had a hard time getting to sleep for the coughing ... Monday there was no question of stepping out ... Tuesday I was still weak and sore, but much more coherent. Today, finally, I felt somewhat human again.

Therefore I wound up at work. phone is back from Australia. I had lunch with Purple and the guys. Purple was teasing me that oxygen isn't really necessary, because without oxygen, people don't complain at the lack ... therefore it isn't necessary ... right? I told him that he was one of the nicest assholes I knew. (That's the sort of compliment he likes.)

lb came by, and we strolled up in search of pastry. It was a slow stroll as my lungs were not all the way up to the hill yet. On our way back, I decided to try going through a nearby building to see if one of the people I knew from IRC was in. He was. I said goodbye, quite regretful that our first in-person meeting was both hello and goodbye.

One of the new hires had arrived while I was WFH-sick. I helped him navigate the helldesk in order to place the order for his new-hire software. As I popped back out of his office, one of the fellows from down the hall (towards the salesy side of engineering) stopped to tell me that I'd been very courageous on Thursday what with the asking inconvenient questions in public and all. (I hadn't felt *very* courageous, just a little bit. It gets easier after the first time, and it wasn't my dangerous question.)

I am still surprised to work in a place where people go out of their way to tell me that they like me and will miss me. I am still expecting the elementary school paradigm where I'm too weird, and then too oblivious to notice that everyone wants me to shut up and stop being weird at them.

The evening was a bit of an exercise in aslkjdfasdklfjalskdfj, as R had a sudden conference deadline, and therefore there was a bit of a scramble! Factors included: me being out sick, the high-quality photos being on the portable drive, the portable drive being Mac formatted, the general difficulty of getting things off a Mac-formatted drive when what you've got is Windows ...

... and the true helpful glory of a company full of very creative engineers who specialize in certain things, and have certain recommendations and pro tips. For example, they can tell me that certain paths are a fool's errand, and that possibly the simplest route is to plug the drive into an actual Mac. And some other things which might actually work. I decided I would try one of the other things first.

Purple said that he would have to take his hat off to me if I got stuff loaded without resorting to an actual Mac. (He doesn't wear a hat, so this will be hard.)

*gazes serenely at the progress bar*
azurelunatic: Blue-iced cupcake with sprinkles.  (cupcake)
As part of my attempt to leave the workplace better than I found it, I have been leaving thank-you notes via not!Facebook. If you do it in a particular way, it will wind up in the HR admin system flagged to the positive attention of their managers.

Community Thanks to: R, codepoetica, lb, Purple, sfa, jmeme, radius, Mr. Zune, the guy who was having the trouser situation that one time, phone
All of you embody the spirit of helpful cooperation that I have come to enjoy at Virtual Hammer. You offer a listening ear to frustrations, and offer your technical perspective towards solving problems, and of course it's great to see you over some beer and a cupcake.

Mostly the responses were variations on "thanks". And then --
Read more... )
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
Over lunch this week, the engineer from the Ukraine allowed as how knowing that software in general was developed by careless jerks just like him made him less confident in things like self-driving cars. "And how about planes?" (He is a pilot.) "They let just any asshole fly!" he said, or words to that effect.

This whole week has felt off-balance. The ice storm that hit the East Coast this past weekend delayed the processing of my car insurance payment, so while I had in fact paid twice (once manually, once automatically) neither had actually gone all the way through the computers due to things having been shut down.

A brief digression about computer rooms! (This is all simplified, though I know a chunk of my people know more about them than I do; anyone who knows more can leave helpful clarifications if they wish.) You might think that these days, computers are magical creatures that can stay up through all manner of physical insult, and you might be partly right! You can do amazing things to computers compared to what used to take them down, but there are a lot of moving parts behind that uptime.

First, modern management tools allow the people running the computers to switch which physical computer is doing the work, very very quickly across long distances. Read more... )

A lot of modern computer stuff happens in shiny modern data centers with fancy uptime promises, and the ability to automatically fail over to remote sites if something happens to the main site. Those are very shiny and new. The world of finance is ... not always on the bleeding edge of technology. They may have some somewhat older stuff. Plus, ice storms are serious business, and if you know it's a matter of time before the power goes out and you're not confident that the generators will hold out, and if the person responsible for making sure the machines stay up is snowed in at home ... maybe it just makes more sense to shut everything down gracefully for the long weekend, so even when the power goes out it won't matter. Then they can bring it back up once they get back in the office, and stuff won't be screwed up, even if it's late.

The customer service agent told me that everything was shut down on account of weather, so I very quickly saw why taking computer systems down would be a sensible move. I confirmed that my policy was active so I could legally drive to work. Yay people being sensible even when the computer is not cooperating.

Purple was not around for lunch this week much -- one day there was a leaving thing on his team, one day he was working from home with the sniffles, another day he had another offsite lunch, and then I had a leaving thing for someone on my team (Sparkles).

It's been the kind of week where people need walks.

Wednesday afternoon I got an email from a person at a company. We called and set up an in-person meeting for the following evening. That turned out to be a five-person interview; I realized that I actually missed the rush of uptime problems.

Other writers out there -- if you're ever beta-read or edited, you get to claim writing as an exercise in collaboration, if you're hard-pressed for an example while interviewing. I really ought to have pointed out the sit-down that lb and I had over a potential question that I was going to ask at a meeting, where we condensed from a large chunk of text to a few lines with bullet points. Writing for a goal means the occasional "I think the way you originally had it doesn't work" with optional "here's why" and "here's what I think you should do instead". lb at more than one point apologized and told me that he didn't want to trample all over what I was trying to say; I pointed out that this wasn't an exercise in my artistic employment of language, this was a text with a very specific goal and two very specific audiences. Therefore my ego about my original draft was irrelevant, and we only had an hour. We got it down to two post-its, eventually.

Friday was the aforementioned goodbye lunch for Sparkles. I was sitting next to the newest person. He quietly asked me if I could help him with the names of the people at the other end of the table. I confirmed the first one, but the second two people were people I interact with a lot less, and naturally their names weren't retrieving through my face. (I possibly could have typed their email addresses, and thereby come up with names, but there was no computer; I was stuck with face-based meat noises.) I apologized for the difficulty. He apologized for it as well, mentioning that he was bad with names. "And I'm moderately faceblind," I allowed.

The new guy lit up. "Oh, so you know exactly where I'm coming from; me too," he said. So we compared notes. If I have time, I may make him a book of flash cards.

Friday was also the day that the department that had suffered the intercision decided to meet for drinks at a local watering hole. I had been included in the invitation, and thought it important to show the colors (mostly blue). So I went, and after a little parking angst, found myself a place against the wall with a cider. I chatted and commiserated and reminisced and even may have uttered some language. One of the remote folks tried to join in via Facetime, but it was noisy and the connection was unreliable. There was some jocularity about one of them there newfangled presence robots, and how one might attempt to jury-rig same via hoverboard, broomstick, and iPad (someone objected as she did not want her iPad to go on fire), and then there was talk of remote control cars and the like.

There was standing around and talking outside. At a reasonable hour, I called Purple to see about dinner; he didn't pick up and I reckoned it was early yet and didn't leave a message. I tried again a half-hour later, and left a message. All told, at the two hour mark I was waiting patiently in the restaurant while getting the odd sympathetic glance from the intercised department (the nuances between "got stood up" and "the rest of the party is 25 minutes late" are mostly dependent on texting) and then there was dinner. Dinner was good. No standing around chatting this time, due to rain.

Various denizens of #cupcake decided that it would be a good idea to meet up socially. R decided that Saturday lunch at her house would be perfect. We had lunch and everyone except lb's girlfriend complained about work. (Sorry, lb's girlfriend!) Then we played cards (Purple had brought his deck) and there was hilarity; lb won and Purple and I had the same score. Every now and then Purple would fall over backwards laughing. Once someone played something meanish and Purple was sure it had been me; it had in fact been R.

Purple and I hung around chatting with R on our way out the door for "just a few minutes"; it was not just a few minutes. However, the moment that R and I started to sound like we were having a conference business meeting, Purple excused himself, gave me a hug, and scrammed. Heh.

A spider inside the "No Soliciting" sign is a nice touch. R needs to (quite literally) debug one of her little technology projects, as the spiders got inside that too.

As a result of the conversation, I started to contemplate a world in which StPatience runs a foundation for women in technology, with me as the administrative person and Nora running a lot of the people side. It's an interesting thought experiment.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
azurelunatic: California poppies, with a bright blue sky and the sun. (California girl)
Word count on the new project: 1743, not including notes. (There are a lot of notes.)

I finally managed to call Darkside at a convenient time yesterday, and we wound up talking for approximately the expected length of time (2 hours). Today I met up with R for lunch and to talk conference-running. I'm going to run some numbers and get back to her.

Since we'd met up in Palo Alto, I dropped by work for some of the hauling-stuff-to-car which wouldn't benefit from helpful commentary from teammates. (Since the effect of said helpful commentary is generally me crying on Purple, I felt I had made an excellent choice.) I then called Purple to see if he was up for anything fun, given that I was ostensibly in the area.

He was not up for "out" particularly; I proposed that since what I was seeking was company, one of the traditions that Darkside and I had maintained was frozen pizza and terrible movies. He was amenable, so I picked up a frozen pizza and a package of spinach (know thy favorite software engineer) and only got slightly lost on the way to his place. (When you're coming from a nearby main drag, the wrong turn before does not have a stoplight. The correct turn does. This means "fun" trying to get back out onto the main drag and down the street due to our friend the left turn.) He was unsure of the gate code, but I was able to "shark in" after someone.

We proceeded to settle in to his infamous couch to watch things. I've had Black Mirror recommended from several trustworthy directions, so I went for that first. Apparently my limit there is 2 consecutive episodes. We mutually agreed upon Black Books to follow that up.

People who are allowed to call me "milady", a very short list:
* Purple

I would be pleased if this were to become a regular thing.
azurelunatic: "Are you challenging my ingenuity?"  (ingenuity)
My priorities at work are: get the participant database in reasonable working order (including the yelling at vendors), and get the process for the yearly conference in as well-documented order as I can get it.

There has been database WTF-ery. The response from the vendor is sort of shaped like "yes Reverend thank you Reverend" as I tell them that this is unexpected and not in the good way. Purple is amused.

I'm starting to apply places, and collecting my references and paperworks.

More people continue to find out and/or ask me about the status of the contractor deadline. I feel somewhat socially obligated to put a good face on it, at least to people who aren't #VirtualH, #dreamwidth, #cupcake, #adventuresofstnono, or closer. This results in scenarios like:

ajl: I've heard vague rumors to the effect that people are talking about getting us a paid Slack, but only rumors. In the future, you should probably ask [R&D IT Flashlight Guy] about that, he might be best placed to know.
MrBlueHair: Wait, "in the future" ARE YOU LEAVING US
ajl: Well, there's that contractor policy, and my team wasn't able to get me converted to full time before the deadline, barring a miracle.
MrBlueHair: ... !!! D:
ajl: :( :( :(


R2, the guy on my team not my else-team friend: Well, I'm headed to India to get married, see you when I get back!
AzureJ: Congratulations, and it's been a pleasure working with you.
R2: Oh, I'm coming back! At the end of February!
AzureJ: When in February?
R2: The end ... omg, you won't ... ? Where are you ... ?
AzureJ: The 16th. I don't know yet.
R2: Oh. It's been good working with you too. :(

When that happens, I tend to IM Purple with the gist of the conversation and try to not let it go from tears leaking out my eyes to actual audible sobbing. He says that long notice in situations like this is kind of torture. I'm inclined to agree, though I also appreciate it so I can prepare.

One of the things helping me keep it together is the way that I know I am cared-for and well-regarded, on my team and off, and especially amongst #VirtualH and #cupcake. Purple hugs me goodnight, shoulder-bumps me, occasionally pets my arm, and lets me take shelter next to him. I keep rediscovering that undemanding sustained physical contact with folks who don't set off my alarm bells is a thing that does me great amounts of good. (Even while the same amount of proximity to people *not* cleared for unmonitored access to my blind spots would leave me worse off.) Mr. Zune has joined #adventuresofstnono, which goes a long way towards keeping the people I cherish most from #cupcake in places I will see them regularly. (We have yet to coax radius in there.)

Recently, #adventuresofstnono have been talking about the reverse of popular internet emotional signifiers. What is the opposite of LOL? Throwing up? Crying inside? The simple D: ? This inevitably led to 8===D and its opposite, 8===D: the aghast ascii penis.

I have Scrivener set up, and have embarked upon a project which is intended to be a tropey tropey paper bag which may contain a magician's bird of definite fjord-pining status, and might also possibly -- well. So the other day on Twitter...

Naturally I hunted down the reference (like a good fishmum) and while the story was sweet and hot and I was happy to have spent a fancy coffee's worth on it, the writing quality was not what I'm accustomed to. In fact...

"I can write better than that," I groused to myself. "In fact, I've half a mind to..."

[personal profile] norabombay and [personal profile] sithjawa promptly started incorriging me.

I now have:
* working title (terrible, terrible pun)
* a possibly viable pen name
* a main pairing, several supporting couples, and some names
* a terribly on the nose pen name for the bad fanfic written by a supporting couple
* tons of incorrigement
Pray for me.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
Initial reports are that Thursday's event was well-received amongst the team who needed the perspective on empathy.

Manager Can You Even YouTube, Bro seems to be the most tactful member of his team, which is saying something. He's the guy who has been saying (in general) that the state of videos produced by members of his generation, members of engineering, and the company at large is sort of bush-league next to the things that the younger generation can do with only rudimentary tools. Like his teenage daughter with her makeup vlogs on YouTube. What he is trying to express here seems to be a simultaneous dissatisfaction with the quality of video coming from the grown-ups, and a serious admiration for the self-taught/peer-taught video editing skillz shown by the generation that's grown up with easy access to basic video editing tools. Unfortunately it's coming off super un-tactful. It may be worth mentioning here that this guy is manager to Mr. With All Due Respect Bite Me and Racist McMansplain (both of them).

(Also Brutus Cochin is the main point of interface.)

I showed up to see setup in full swing. It gradually dawned on me that there were no desks in the room. Nobody from the haulin' shit guys had showed up in the afternoon to wrangle desks. So we were deskless. I called the Dean in a panic. It turns out that about 4 guys can set up desks for 100 people in about 20 minutes, given that the chairs were already there. Live and learn. But we got underway only 10 minutes late, and while we variously hauled ass to get back on schedule, the day wound up finishing only 10 minutes after it was supposed to conclude.

During the section where the participants were supposed to go through a series of tasks actually using the software that they built (zomg), I observed that one of the handful of people still in the plenary room chatting (and not off doing the thing they were there to do) was Racist McMansplain. The surprise of this gave me the vapors and I had to break out the smelling salts. (I didn't recognize any of the others holding back, but damn skippy he was one of them.)

Manager YouTube Bro had been resistant to my suggestion that we not micromanage the menu, and just get the food requirements to Catering and let them have their way with Chef's Special. He approached me after it was all done and told me that he should not have doubted me, that the food was great.

Aunt-Manager and JJ and I had a great ol' gossip about stuff, including about the Fate of Kipper-Llama. He's fairly sure that it's going to keep getting hot-potato'd about Silly Valley until its street value is approximately a gum wrapper (his choice of currency, not mine). One of the main problems was lack of resources. I talked about my helpdesk strategy (and how I bypassed them whenever possible when the problem was a specific vendor, which was how I wound up in the Kipper-Llama bugzilla as often as I did).

JJ and I ran the loaner laptops back to the Sub-Genius Bar. I taught him the elevator trick.

I posted a "You Are Here" & "Conference Room Is There" sign on the wall across from the elevator in the murderbasement. I hope this'll help reroute lostlings to the place they need to be.

Purple'd not been in the office that day due to his sinuses, so there were no hugs. Alas.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
My first act of the morning was to respond to the guy newly in charge of Helldesk 2.0 thus:
As a general philosophy of Helldesk 2.0, I would caution you against using Helldesk 1.x as a user-accepted baseline. Helldesk 1.x has been violently rejected by the users.

This is why I had concerns about the intended survey for Helldesk 2. Using Helldesk 1.x as a point of comparison is similar to "do you like this better than being punched in the face". Nearly anything else would be better.

The lady who's been doing bug triage on the thing for the past year replied in a state of hilarity.

I called lunch as it was after 12:30 and I was hungry. Then I headed off to the cafeteria without waiting for a response from Purple. I'd had my eye on the macaroni and cheese served from the pizza station. I regarded the salad the guy was transferring between containers with suspicion, and was "rewarded" with the sight of some bell peppers. Yay. Not yay. )

I have sent an email to the main cafeteria address, and also included the manager. Also also included: caps lock, swearing. I have additionally forwarded him about nine months of previous communication on the topic.

As I told Purple, the thought of how long I have been fighting this battle is an unguarded path into the depths of my anticipation of missing this beloved workplace.

I was thinking about Manager Can You Even YouTube Bro's mention of Greek cuisine, and contemplating that I was in the mood for Mediterranean as an option for dinner tonight. Then the email about the theme for beer bash crossed my watch, and I had to open the email to see what food was going to go with the somewhat ridic theme. Greek. Naturally! I was amused by the coincidence.

A previous designer stopped through. My manager still has her cat (the cat is now timeshare, apparently).

I made an appearance at beer bash. I looked at the food options but saw that everything except the pita bread and hummus was laced with bell pepper. I got a bit of two of the lovely fruit crumbles, and wound up chatting with Chicken Guy.

I let him know that it had been a pleasure working with him all these years. That's one of those phrases that heralds "and I'm leaving".

To be clear, I think the trend towards limiting the institutional memory of the groups responsible for your infrastructure to a year and a half at most is a stupid-ass move that's in the process of very slowly and methodically shooting off any organization's toes one by one before moving on to larger and more important foot bones. This is what relying on people who you can only keep for one year (or a year and a half, in rare circumstances) will do to you. I wonder if there's a suitable all-hands coming up, because people are still talking about the helpdesk question that I asked in the last round. (oh god. I am imagining my manager's look of horror.) On the gripping hand, the drawbacks are minimal and the possible benefit to other people in my boat (and there are so many) are huge.

Designer Sparkles said hi to Chicken Guy, who tried to introduce us. Designer Sparkles said that we worked together. "Assistant, hero." She'd not heard the previous topic, so her comment was illustrative.

We wandered in different directions. Purple not being visible, I settled down with teammates (Huckleberry and R, the guy who's getting married shortly). Rocky joined us. Rocky wound up telling us this amazing story about an early 80s concert a friend had let him sit in the booth for, where the main attraction guy was on serious drugs and got into a beef with a punk in the audience heckling him. The punk was climbing on stage, whereupon the guy wallops the punk with his guitar, to the detriment of both punk and instrument. (Punk here is both general and fandom-specific.)

The Chicken Guy joined the group at the table. Purple showed up, and the group cycled, so it was Chicken Guy, me, Purple, and Mr. Tux. I pulled out my crocheting. Chicken Guy mentioned that there was crocheting in his family, but he'd never quite picked it up. He thought it might be good to be able to do the thing, as he has that AD(H)D thing where he needs to be occupied with something physical in order to focus on information.

Somehow the topic of crop circles got us on to Viagra jokes, and they just kept popping up.

At length, I pulled out the other yarn and one of the other crochet hooks, and walked Chicken Guy through the process of crocheting plain old chain stitch. He made a decent start before heading off.

I laughingly suggested Greek cuisine for dinner; Purple contemplated some Mediterranean places he knew of. I looked up the place he was thinking of while he was on the phone with Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly. It turned out they were booked solid for a while, but there were other places.

I ran into the Singing PM while washing out my coffee cup, and we chatted about our breaks.

I complained to Purple about the current state of my mouth, as two taste buds had gone rogue. Apparently his mouth does not do that. We compared notes on our least favorite colds while waiting to be seated.

Dinner was lovely. I got a sip of Purple's lemonade (definitely tasty, and this was the place that had had the inch worm on the fresh mint that time) and we shared our side dishes. He took some of my carrots, and I had one of his balls. The phrase "Where have you been all of my life!" when uttered to vegetables is amusing. (Purple had said this to the cucumber and parsley dish some years ago.)

A note: if you have an object that's roughly cylindrical, except for a wider part at the base ... plastic wrap is not going to help the phallic effect. Just so you know.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
On Wednesday the 30th, I rolled a will save against sending an email to someone offering "support, moral or immoral" on the grounds that I didn't actually want to embarrass myself that badly to someone whose good opinion I valued (and if I didn't value their good opinion, why in the hell would I be offering immoral support?)

radius had said that he was probably leaving for Australia on New Year's Eve. That being a holiday, most sensible people were not in the workplace. He'd said that he got everything that needed shipping sent off with the removalists. (Earlier, he'd mentioned that he'd likely be left with some very odd odds and ends of food, but he was trying to use up what he could before he left. He'd had some ... innovative ... sandwiches prior to leaving on some previous trips.)

I wound up spending my Wednesday evening with some Star Wars, and discussing the new Star Wars with some of the other people who'd stayed until the end of the credits -- Read more... ), about Empire engineering vs. US handrail regulations, and all sorts of lovely things.

I had a nice low-key new year's eve, and a nice low-key new year's day. I decided against getting the rather heavy piece of IKEA furniture which would have solved some of my space woes on the grounds that I wasn't sure I could wrestle it into and out of my car on my own, and I might want to save any such things for when there was a bigger vehicle and someone else to haul things with.

New Year's Day was also a day for laundry, checking the mail, and getting my new registration tag on Vash. Fuck yeah adulthood.

Saturday evening was my aunt's game party. I invited some of the guys (lb, Purple, [personal profile] jld). It was good to see jld! We had two tables playing CAH. Everyone had a lot of fun, and I think we did a good job in making a space in which it was safe to say "yeah, that's actually too terrible for me", since somebody promptly named one of the cards which was entirely unfunny to him, and we all said "yeah, fair" and resolved to discard it quietly if it came up. (Which it didn't.) Dick Cheney was this game's trump card.

Another quiet day Sunday, during which I slept (and then didn't sleep) through a number of uterus malfunctions.

By the time it hit 7am, I was awake, and reckoned I'd best get up. Fortunately, I got my coffee before the coffee machine went down. Non-Boring Manager was the first person to punch me ("That was more of a fist bump.") this year. Dogesitter Designer and Madam Standards were the second and third. I filed a coffee ticket, then wrote up how to do a pour-over by balancing the filter basket on top of the open airpot and using hot water from the espresso machine and anemic fizzer. It may not have been strictly good, but it was still coffee.

Purple's table wound up in the depths of B, below and somewhat within earshot of lb's table upstairs, as the cafeteria was overcrowded and the outside seats were all damp. Purple called me to make sure I wouldn't become lost.

lb approached us, waving a brightly printed something. Someone had left yeast packets on his desk that morning. He'd determined that no one else had received yeast. Purple speculated that it might be the corporate overlords' way of telling everyone that more beer was needed. lb eventually concluded that it must be from radius; the former officemate agreed that this was likely.

<some dude> because they do yeast inspections?
<lb> yes
<lb> there could be bullfrogs or rabies in that yeast

I chivvied Mr. Zune to join #adventuresofstnono, and contributed to technical help in the arrival.

There was also a digression about whether or not people can read Braille with their genitals. Apparently not, generally. (Purple and I would later spend time in the parking lot discussing possible schemes for making it easier. I suggested an array of piercings.)

I chatted with my emergency birthday twin on the team, about custody of my toolkit after the contract end. He'd had a lovely Alaska vacation, and they'd taken a number of my suggestions for good local fun. They did get some aurora sighting! Only level 3, but hooray them!

There was some strategy chatting with lb. phone had passed along a message. I expect that the Singing PM's message which hit inboxes back in December will start to get shoveled out soonish ... maybe.

radius, having arrived in Australia and recovered some from the journey, got back on the internet.

<lb> radius confirmed as the yeaster
<Azz> Happy Yeaster!

Yeaster, I clarified, is where we celebrate the rising of Yeezus.

Purple had spent much of the afternoon away from his computer. Later on, he popped back in, and inquired whether I'd just dropped by his office. I hadn't. He allowed as how it had likely been the evening janitor; the scent was close to mine but not quite the same. He then sort of tripped over himself in attempting to explain that he hadn't meant any of this as a bad thing, just a nose thing. I replied mentioning the day I'd dropped in to his office, inhaled, and from the scent/heat/humidity wound up with a fairly accurate estimate of how long the office had been uninhabited that day. (He'd been at a hack day, it turned out.)

radius notes that I would be likely to get on with his family, based on my sense of humor.
azurelunatic: Large LJ user head with 6 smaller LJ user heads inside.  (multiple user)
Last night some people from Facebook brought themselves, a slide presentation, and a handful of their crack support people to a San Francisco LGBT center to give an update on Facebook's position in the ongoing #nymwars.

The short version, as I understand it:
* They're working on more things; they wanted to bring a few things to the table as a token of goodwill with their update
* They sincerely toe the company line that fake profiles are a cause of abuse (rather than framing it as, people who commit abusive acts sometimes using fake profiles to carry out their violence, while plenty of other people also use names that aren't theirs without doing it for bad purposes)
* There's this girl in India who killed herself after being harassed by a bunch of fake profiles (the dude came back to this story several times until the audience had some words)
* They purport to understand that many people including many people in the lgbt community use names that aren't on their ID and are best known by those non-ID names
* They want to make the process of reporting assholes and shenanigans better, and are 1% testing changes to this in the US (show the test to 1% of US users, make sure there's no horrible grinding and flood of terrible things happening)
* The changes involve having to include a reason when reporting someone as a fake profile
* The changes include an "Other" option with a way to explain wtf is going on that requires reporting
* A 7-day grace period before your account gets turned off if it's just a name problem
* Confirmation before the name gets changed on you
* Allowing other forms of testimony that you really go by your real name instead of your wallet name, besides just ID
* Hoping to build goodwill with the people who were lucky enough to be in the room by giving them in-person technical support
* Admitting that their business model does not scale well enough to allow phone support

The original format of the evening was supposed to be:

* Pizza and coke
* Presentation from Facebook
* Intermission
* Panel discussion, moderated by some reporter guy, with questions submitted in writing from the audience
* Maybe some live questions?
* Tech support session

Things did not quite go that way.

My deep sympathies to the two-spirit person from Oakland who left the room in great pain. The community stands witness to your pain and anger and powerful choice to turn your back on a microphone full of some really ignorant bullshit.

Read more... )


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Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz) 🌺

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