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I voted today... [Nov. 3rd, 2015|07:22 pm]
I don't like most election days, because I know so little about what's going on. But this is one where they had a lot of initiatives, and I knew exactly how to vote on them.

There's a really noxious idea out there, that the state legislature should not be responsible leaders who make difficult decisions, and that anything unpleasant and unpopular should be subject to a popular vote. Like taxes. Because, you know, when tax rates are fair, everyone is happy and overjoyed to pay them, and the only possible reason people could hate having to hand over some of their hard-earned is that taxes are TOO HIGH...
...said no competent historian, or, heck any competent, informed, adult human being, ever.

This really upsets me. People want to set a very high bar for tax increases (not reductions, of course - so if taxes were cut a wee bit more than was wise, you couldn't correct the issue easily). But grown ups can and should recognize that good governance requires resources - money included - and recognize that putting hard choices to a popular vote is often a very bad idea, since not everyone has the information and skills to make a good choice. The legislature might also lack information and skills - but at least you can vote them out of office!

So, I vote against any and all initiatives that try to set a high bar for increasing taxes, or that demand repeal of taxes (unless they seem grievously unfair - "mildly unfair" isn't enough, but "definitely unfair" might move me).

I also voted against Zack Hudgins, because his campaign made *so many* annoying robocalls that there was no chance I could fail to remember his name. Sorry Zack, you might be a great guy and might be a fine candidate. If you'd knocked on my door, and shook my hand - old fashioned canvassing, hard work but also very memorable - I would gladly have forgiven the robocalls, that shows real dedication, but robocalls take nothing but money... AND THE TIME AND RESOURCES OF UNWILLING PARTICIPANTS, i.e., THE RECIPIENTS OF THOSE CALLS.

And yes, I know - even if I'm on the Federal Do Not Call list, it's not a crime for a political campaign to call me. But geez... I wonder if maybe I put my number there so I wouldn't be annoyed by random strangers, for their own purposes, regardless of whether those purposes are of interest to me?

I got other robocalls, but they didn't call, again, and *again*. So I didn't remember who they were.
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Still alive... [Nov. 3rd, 2015|11:11 am]
Low-ish energy, but there are some hopeful signs.

I'm here, trying to read (trying to catch up!) and trying to respond as I can.

Life has been interestingly busy in some ways - I've been fascinated by an idea and playing with it far more than is my usual wont (which, alas, too often becomes a "won't"). It's not a big idea, or an important idea, but playing with something, and wanting to see how it works out, is a big deal.

I hope life is treating you all well... and hoping for rapid turnarounds for those for whom life *isn't* treating them well.
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(no subject) [Oct. 16th, 2015|10:33 pm]
So... one of the jobs I do best is SQL Server support. It plays to all of my strengths. I'm smart, and able to learn a lot of interesting specifics, gaining a deep and broad knowledge of a subject. I get to tell people to check X, Y, and Z reports every day, or change their development procedures in A, B, or C ways - I don't have to follow through on the grind.

Oh, I can do the day to day grind, if I have to - if, in return, I get to stretch my mental muscles once in a while. And if I'm getting paid really well.

Well, I've been contracting at the job for two and a half years. The contract is up at the end of the year.

Now, sometimes this doesn't bother me. I'm damn good at SQL Server. No, really. Better than that. Yeah. *That* good.

There's always a position for me (no, not *that* kind). I'll get by; I'll make some money.

But one thing that's been really nice. I got fired from this job in 2010 - I just wasn't good enough, according to my manager. That manager... he's the one who taught me to believe in myself even when other important people didn't believe in me.

Think about that for a moment - it's *not* a compliment to his managerial skills!

I came back two years later, and I kicked ass and I took names, and have continued to do so for another two and a half years. I've proven I can do the job someone told me I couldn't. I think I've gotten to the point that there are people who will are someday going to say to said manager "and can you believe some *moron* fired this guy? Clearly, that guy didn't know how to develop talent!"

Still, I was nervous about how things were going to end.

I'm feeling a bit better today. Microsoft has a need for support engineers (that's my job) and Premier Field Engineers. Those are the people who go onsite to fix things. They're the people who often need to call people like me for help - except, they'll be getting one of the best of people like me baked right in.

I'm not sure if either is going to pan out, of course. But just knowing that the possibility exists is awfully relieving and more than a bit exciting.

The PFE job actually has a bit of dashing romance in it. They sometimes have to travel. And if travel expenses include enough for a cat sitter, that would really be kind of cool, if air travel wasn't too frequent (unless it was, you know, business class or better)>

Anyway - tonight I have a chance to dream that I might continue to do the kind of work I do best. Wish me luck.
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Thank you all for birthday wishes... [Oct. 11th, 2015|06:01 pm]
As I was joking with a friend - you know what chronic fatigue is? Chronic fatigue is realizing it takes *two weeks* to track down and remember all birthday wishes.

I can now add to it. It's waiting a *month* before posting a general "thank you" because you never quite have the energy to make a post! I actually started this post a few weeks back. Sigh.

Thank you, to anyone who sent birthday wishes, and to whom I didn't respond. (And thanks again to those to whom I did respond!) I noticed, and was very grateful - but if I didn't respond, I just lost the reference I tried to keep so I could respond.
This got longCollapse )
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(no subject) [Sep. 26th, 2015|09:55 am]
Because my SQL blog will never have many readers, and I had to create this entire XML block just to get this one blasted joke out of my head....

(NB: it only makes sense if you've seen (or learned the joke within) a particular Babylon 5 episode) Read more...Collapse )
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Minor adventures [Sep. 1st, 2015|09:35 pm]
So, earlier, I thought I had crabgrass in my lawn, and this is the year I was going to master it, by grooming the good grass to out-compete it.

It turns out I was wrong.

What I have is sometimes called "Brazilian wiregrass" or, occasionally, "devilgrass".

Wiregrass spreads by root and shoot. It will burrow underground - and, if my lawn is an indication, it will form a tight root network almost an inch thick. And it will send out runners that can also spread.

It's said that you can kill it with RoundUp - apply 3x at 2 week intervals. It's very hard to eradicate.

It's also not entirely a bad thing. It's considered a good turf grass (whatever that means). Some people cultivate it because it won't grow very tall, and if watered once in a while, will keep green.

It might not be worth fighting, but I found myself deciding that I'd clear a larger-than-ordinary section of my back yard, and try to grow some plain old ordinary grass.

My main weapon is tenacity - and a willingness to use limited amounts of RoundUp. My two main weapons are tenacity and herbicide... and a realization that wiregrass lays flat, letting large patches be stripped at once.

My *THREE* main weapons are tenacity, herbicide, stripping of patches... oh, yeah, and fall is coming, and at 60 degrees, wiregrass goes dormant. Sigh.

AMONGST my weapons are such diverse elements - ah, forget it. Monty Python did it far better.

But just as I got a large patch stripped and seeded, the Seattle rainy season started. If I can keep stripping patches of wiregrass, then chopping up the root network so I have loose earth to cover the seed, and can then seed the newly chopped earth, I might be able to put in a lawn strong enough to hold through the winter, growing in some roots before the wiregrass wakes up in the spring.

At that point, keeping the grass tall, so it shades the wiregrass, might be enough to keep it going. Tall grass can usually outcompete wiregrass. And if I can do that for a season, I just might be satisfied.

This is what substitutes for excitement in the chronically fatigued. Ah well.
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So, they have a complete collection of Peanuts comic strips... [Aug. 26th, 2015|05:54 pm]
They've probably been out for a while, but I just started reading them - ordered the first four books covering way too many years of strips, and found myself binging on them all over the course of a few days.

("Way too many years" - I think it covers strips published from 1950 to 1958 - 7ish to 8ish years in a long weekend.)

I'd heard some people sing the praises of earlier strips, and they're not bad, but I think some people have a overblown memory based upon the better days they remember. Peanuts was always a pretty - not entirely, but *pretty* - safe strip. It was cute, and endearing, and human, and sure, funny, but not brilliant. (Though its hard to say - maybe it was brilliant in its day, and other comic strip artists had to clear a higher bar to be syndicated, so what seems "not *brilliant*" today was a trailblazer.)

The thing is, I fondly remember some of my favorite strips: Charlie Brown and Snoopy "mmmmMMMMMmmm"ing through three panels, before the fourth panel punchline of "chocolate creams!" - and the next,having another, mmmming through one panel, before doing a nasty take, and adding "...with a little bit of coconut".

When I was a kid, I loved it, it was so *adorable*, and hilarious. And now - now it's still adorable, and hearkens back to the day when it was so much easier to find something so adorable it would make my self and my surroundings glow. But I must confess, it now doesn't seem brilliantly hilarious. That's not a defect - human, cute, and endearing are intensely valuable things, and more than enough in their own right.

I've seen people saying the strip's quality went down hill, and maybe it did. But I think a lot of people got a bit older, grew a bit more callous on their spirits, lost a bit of the ability to glow from a single iconic bit of comic strip humor, and felt that it was the strip, not their lives, that had changed.

I don't know - I think I'll follow the journey as long as I can - the prices of the hardcovers isn't a big hurdle for me - and see if my opinion changes. At the moment, though, I don't think Charles Schulz got worse as he got older - I think, in a tiny way, *we* did.

Anyway. It's had an interesting effect on me. It's given me a nostalgia kick, of course, it's made me wonder if there's a Joe Schlabotnik bubble gum card out here... and I just ordered three Beethoven CDs from Amazon. (helpless smile) Schroeder comes in early!
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Any good news? Anything to celebrate? [Aug. 6th, 2015|09:58 am]
I was about to post another not-very-happymaking post and decide I'd rather hear if there's some good stuff going on in other people's lives.

Things aren't great in my life - I'm having a multi-day mood crash, and I *think* I'm doing all the right stuff to avoid it, but it's happening anyway. Okay, the thing is, if I write about it, that helps me wallow. I'm not sure about this, but it seems to me that *talking* out pain usually helps, but *writing* it isn't as helpful for me. It might be a more general thing too... I don't mean one shouldn't write about pain, I just mean, I think there needs to be care about not digging in deeper. Any mood seems to be vulnerable to being dug into.

So: What's going on good in your life? Besides [personal profile] ladysprite doing some amazing stuff in silks!. I mean, you can mention it and all, but I've already seen it :-).
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(no subject) [Jul. 14th, 2015|09:12 pm]
A belated happy birthday to [personal profile] wcg! Here's wishing for happiness, prosperity and wisdom in the coming year!
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Not the brightest of ideas... [Jul. 4th, 2015|04:22 pm]
So, I was going to travel to visit someone Saturday and I was going to have someone else visit me Friday, and both of those collapsed, so I decided I would do a heavier-than-normal workout, since Saturday was no longer going to be busy. I could spend the day recovering, if needed.

I found that with a lot of stimulants, I feel bad, definitely under the weather, but it is survivable. That was, honest to goodness, not what the title of this post is about.

No, I then decided to do a normal workout today.

I suppose it's good to learn limits and sometimes, they can only be learned the hard way. But, as the subject suggests, not the brightest of ideas.
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