April 2008

25. April, 2008 - nice weather

…if you’re a duck! It’s been raining since Thursday morning, and it might snow before the sun comes up. Could I have more spring, please? The cold and rainy weather around here the past couple days has made me a bit more cranky than usual. Or perhaps just returned me to the usual level of crankiness. At this point, I can’t say for sure.

Normally, I expect spring weather in Minnesota to be a mite “changeable.” Except that Monday begins the Saints pre-season, and the game-time forecast at this point is for a high in the 40s. Fahrenheit. This is not baseball weather!

The other cranky-inducing thing this week was an “all-hands” meeting at work. The VP of Human Resources (I am not a resource, I am a man!), got up on the video-conferencing stage, and said, after explaining our new and simpler corporate values (there used to be ten, now there are four), said with a straight face: Our ask of you is that you role-model these values to your coemployees.

I nearly fell out of my chair at that.

Now maybe it’s just the beer talking (it often is), but when I heard that, my first reaction was deep embarassment for the company I work for. This is the head of the HR department talking, and while I seldom have much respect for HR, she’s got the ability to set corporate policy and consign me to some serious heck. And I pray to Bog that she doesn’t say this sort of thing in front of any investors, because they’re going to be convinced that the company I work for is run by people who’ve been smoking too many crystals and our stock price will plummet.

I don’t want that.

I could go on, but Oh My Christ! what else is there to say that wouldn’t be hyperbolic?

20. April, 2008 - headaches

I expected to be doing this update earlier in the weekend. I really did. But Friday I stayed out later than I’d planned, which meant a later start than anticipated on Saturday with me hurrying out the door to get to the bank before they closed at noon, and then not getting home from the errands until a few minutes before 4. At that point, I noticed my server was down, but it was after 4 by the time I called to ask the colo to reboot it, and everyone had left for the day. So now I’m faced with a $160 service charge for that this morning or waiting until tomorrow. Grr.

So if you were trying to get your fix here yesterday, that’s what was up. Plus I spent all morning doing some long-overdue maintenance on the server, so now I’m not sure if I’m going to have time (and energy) for the photowalk I was planning on going on this afternoon.

But it’s pretty clearly time to finish kicking the last two customers off my server, and moving my websites elsewhere. I don’t have the time or energy to keep the server happy anymore, and it’s making me say Grr far too often lately.

That’s pretty much it for today, I guess. I had two rants that I was going to write yesterday, including a long bit on how I’d wasted most of the week at work trying to make my Vista machine happy again there (it has a scrozzed hard drive — I finally gave up and sent it to the IS guys to reinstall). But the energy for the planned ranting got sucked away by playing sysop. Maybe later, but most likely not. Enjoy what’s left of the weekend.

12. April, 2008 - in my day…

And that leads into today’s rant. How the heck are kids ever supposed to learn how to make smart decisions as adults if they’re insulated from the world and all decisions when they’re kids? I’m trying to avoid turning this into a “In my day, we ate lead paint and we turned out fine” rant, but we had a lot of freedom as kids. At age 10 or 11, a group of us were biking five miles in to school on nice days and shooting each other in the ass with bb guns on the weekends. At age 13, I had my own paper route, and I was late to that particular game. At age 16, I spent a year in Europe going to school. Sure there was some adult supervision, but a lot less than our parents figured. I was completely alone the night in Berlin when I was out taking night pictures of the lights along the Berlin Wall (I wish I could find those negatives), and was accosted by a mugger. I walked away from the encounter and he didn’t. Would I recommend that to everyone? No. But I would recommend the freedom to take the chance to get into (and out of) such a situation.

I see this around campus here in Minneapolis more often than I’d like. Kids who’ve been sheltered all through their deformative years get to college, and when they start needing to make decisions on their own, they go one of two directions. Either they remain timid, hoping that someone will keep them safe from all the bogeymen their parents told them about, or they get reckless, making decisions that seem stupid even in comparison to some of the drunk crap we pulled when I was in high school and college. The timid ones are afraid to even take a bus to a concert downtown, and miss out on a lot of the sorts of experiences you’re supposed to have during your college years. They’ve insulated themselves from huge swaths of reality. The reckless ones often end up screwing up far more elaborately than they would have if they’d had some experience screwing up (and talking their way out of trouble) as kids. The employment market for smart folks is still pretty good, but it isn’t so good that it’s easy to get a job if you’ve got a felony on your record.

The thing that worries me the most is that these people (and their overprotective parents) vote. And they vote while thinking thoughts like nobody should have a gun because I might get mugged, completely missing the fact that if you’re getting mugged, a gun might be a pretty handy thing to have, even if it does make loud noises and look a little scary. Or they think that we should have security cameras everywhere so I can feel safe when I take a cab downtown, even though we have a pretty safe downtown, aside from the possibility of getting harassed because you chose to cross the street in the middle of the block, and a security camera isn’t going to help in the slightest if someone menaces you halfway down the block and out of view of the cameras, or the camera catches you sparking some mooncabbage and you spend the night in detox. And the whole time, what they’re really thinking is nothing bad should ever happen to me, while something “bad” might be exactly what they need to <Red Forman voice>quit being such a dumbass.</Red Forman voice>

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go rub some liniment on my lumbago and sit in my rocking chair yelling at the neighbor kids to get the hell off my lawn until these vapors have passed and it’s time to go play bingo or watch Matlock. Have a nice day, but turn down that infernal racket!

10. April, 2008 - RIP, Chuck
6. April, 2008 - home again
Orlando Foggy Morning
Orlando Foggy Morning

I was down in Flordia most of last week. Work sent me down to Photoshop World in Orlando. It was a good trip, but there were things to gripe about, too. My body was still mostly used to temperatures in the 40s or 50s, and getting tossed into a swamp with temps in the 80s and dewpoints in the 60s made me uncomfortable and cranky.

There were a few things that caught my attention. The first was the sheer cost of everything down there. Knowing that most of the folks around where I was are attending conferences or going to visit The Mouse, prices are jacked up pretty high. Internet connectivity, as Davezilla points out in passing, sucks at high-priced hotels. And I still think that folks with no people skills really shouldn’t be in the “hospitality industry.”

And with all that in mind, the one photograph I brought home from Orlando is one that I ended up spending over an hour tweaking in Photoshop. Sigh. I guess I can’t be too hard on those who manipulate photos, eh?

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Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:02:01.