May 24th, 2006

trust, best friends forever, snot-nosed brats

Work = kaboom.

Evidently there has been mass quitting. Cute Short Chick quit. Ponytail/Metal Dave isn't going to be around. My former Opposite quit/isn't coming back from leave. Comic Pirate Super is going in the back to Fulfillment full-time, now that Sampling is going to be shutting down. The Check-In Princess is not going to be in field (not sure if it's going to the back or quit). Chaos! Panic! Disorder! Random booths disconnecting from the telnet improperly, with things that involve a possible bad situation with routers outside of the immediate building!

That last took up most of my day. I came in and started getting stuff set up. I don't think I ever entirely got the job figured. I was starting to get Spanish set up when there was a spate of red-screens and I had to start running around telling people not to panic. It goes like so: red-screen, reboot, log in again, red-screen, move.

The custom telnet screens are set up to turn bright red when they lose connectivity to the server. When they turn red at the end of the night when you're logging out, that's one thing. But when something in a router somewhere goes astray and there are router loops going out of state somewhere (according to the rather incomprehensible response to the trouble ticket that the Clean-Cut Geek wrote up) and the thing red-screens in the middle of a survey, that is a problem. It screws up the timeclock. It loses the survey info. Doom! Lots of doom!

There was lots of running around with insanity today, lots of trying to get people to be all at the right place at the right time. Outsourced dinner with the gang. Went on break at a sane time. Comic Pirate Super started out attempting to teach me Emerald City (a spreadsheet) but got called off for meetings and didn't return until right before dinner.

I wasn't watching my job properly; Mountain went high (too many surveys complete in proportion to the rest of the timezones) and then they ran out of numbers. Comic Pirate Super wound up watching it for me.

In addition to supervisor trainees, there are monitor trainees. One of them is this tiny little lady with a daughter about my age. The woman reminds me of my own mother, except Mama does not look as if you will break her if you accidentally knock her over. There have not yet been monitor calibration meetings, so there is all sorts of crazy going on. The monitors are trying to calibrate the new monitors, there is training, there are insane computer problems due to end-user error, and then the Lunatic goes more loony, because OMG END-USERS.

My general wit is getting honed at work, though it's a rather lot more punchy than had been typical. I made some sort of riff on "talk to the hand" the other day -- "All problems should be addressed here," and I indicated the outstretched hand. Then (to a new monitor, talking about a certain OMG WTF individual not much more clueful than Mike JONES, the Used Car Salesman) I mentioned that he should talk to the hand, except the hand I displayed only had one finger paying attention.

I actually went on break something like on time today. Amazing.

Comic Pirate Super eventually did teach me how to use Emerald City. Very useful piece of spreadsheet, that. Flat file turn into spreadsheet! I did not break it! This digressed into work-related geeking. It becomes ever more apparent that those around me are not particularly tech-savvy, except for a very few. Those few, I can get into serious geeking with.

Homie G Super wanted to borrow my electronic TPS Report, except it was a little more involved than he was looking for. Now that I see what's going on with Emerald City, I think I'm going to be spiffing up the sheets something fun. The more I can automate these things, the more time we save. I get so excited when I get to work on all that stuff. It's just simple spreadsheet manipulation, pulling stuff from one sheet and generating about five more, but oh, we're doing too much by hand, and we needn't.

Spent the evening restoring my missing R.E.M. songs on iTunes; iTunes and I lost most of Out of Time for a while, and I've been deprived. Living with Sis was not good for my sanity all of the time, and the times when I should have been restoring my sanity with the music, I could not.
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running, bomb tech

The web is where I live.

There is a fair explosion of the good stuff over at bujold_fic.

I suppose it makes sense, to get high school students used to locking down their online activities from their high schools, if they're going to have to do it with their employers later in life. But "inappropriate" makes me nervous; I wouldn't want my child's blog policed for behavior that the school district found "inappropriate"; one's online life is an extracurricular activity so far as I'm concerned. If a sixteen-year-old Little Fayoumis wanted to draw and post pictures of naked ladies being very naked, I have no doubt that a school district would disapprove, but I would be encouraging his interest in art. (I'd also be attempting to make sure he knew the importance of taking all the appropriate precautions in his research.)

Slash fandom poll about second fandoms.

"Well, I like my money to be chilled." The rule of Barrayaran politics is: don't get caught. Maybe there should be a fan-made game show about politicians most likely to be kicked off Barrayar, and why.

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007577.html -- screaming asshole scare tactics sometimes work for a while. Then people get pissed off.

Via metaquotes: scleroti_rings has an open letter to a really vile customer.

How to protect your children from the internet. No, really. This is how we had to do it when we were kids: have the computer in a family room. It is not particularly more intrusive than having the phone in a public place. If you really feel the need to lurk over your child's shoulder every bloody minute, you have probably got a problem (either with yourself or with the situation with the child) but kids will feel far less free to go to bits of the net they're not supposed to be in when they are in a room with other people who may bust them for it around.

I do like the suggestion in the comments about VNC/similar apps. If you really need to know what your kid is doing on the internet, ask first, but if you suspect something shady is going on, you can watch. (Though it's a dead giveaway with the mouse moving on its own, for the record. Do not touch the mouse when you're connected.)

I do consider it a breach of trust to spy through a kid's private writings. So far as I know, Mama and Dad never looked through my journals, and I know I kept my journal files on the computer locked tight. Dad could not have resisted the temptation to make reference to something that he'd only read, and not heard. If you're going to be using VNC on a computer, you're going to be telling the kid you will be doing that from time to time, especially if they're chatting, just the way you do keep a weather ear out for trouble when you're on the phone.

An offline computer in a private room is also a good idea. Makes for better writing opportunity. Though to this day, I have trouble writing when absolutely alone. I need noise and people around me to write properly, unless I've gotten started and I'm really on a tearing writing kick.
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trust, best friends forever, snot-nosed brats

The Happy Relationship Side of the Table

The phrase "the happy relationship side of the table" has worked its way into my mental sorting of things and my day-to-day status. And while it seems to be Happy, today, it's not feeling dreadfully much like Relationship. It's more like -- we're both living our lives, and I'm holding out my hand for him and he's not quite grasping my hand in return, but he is letting me cling to his wrist. We're not Dating, but we are sort of Together.

The up-and-down freakout in the friendship-thing, the part where his really laconic and not-much communications skills have me freaking the hell out on a regular basis? Not so much his fault. I recognize that he has really lousy geekboy communication skills, and I bear the burden of communicating. I have demonstrated on several occasions that while this is not ideal, it is generally OK, and I can deal with it. What happens when it goes wrong is not that his communication skills have loused up, but, in fact, that I am having a really unstable episode, and probably need to momentarily up my dosage of St. John's Wort, put down the caffeine, take a nice long warm bath with a good book, and go to bed early. (Or, if it's too late to go to bed early, just go to bed.)

I realized that it was My Thing, not His Thing, one night when I was writing out a rather hysterical "OMG YOU DON'T REALLY LIKE ME AS A FRIEND DO YOU OMG PLEASE WRITE BACK TO TELL ME YOU DO LIKE ME AS A FRIEND BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T LIKE ME I CAN JUST GO OVER THERE AND SOB AND NEVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN" e-mail, and decided against sending it because I knew that I have the capability of being very cutting and cruel with my words, and I was going for effective writing, not hurtful writing. I decided to sleep on it and see if it looked OK in the morning.

It did not look OK in the morning. In the morning, it looked as though I had been having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Night. I got used to dealing with things like this with complaining about household chores. I was not used to the idea of me acting all crazy in the relationship. I made it stop.
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Fear death by fanfic

And it go boom.

Oh dear. The new woman? The one with the NOLA novel? Stomped out. She and M have not been getting along at all. We wound up going around in a circle. She wound up at the end of the circle. trystan_laryssa showed up tonight, hooray! Unfortunately, she fell right before this woman in the reading order. The woman did not double-check with her to see if she had anything. Doom and gloom ensued when M asked trystan_laryssa what she had to read. She did have something.

I whipped out the timer (I'd been timing turns for everybody) and started timing her explanation of the backstory. The NOLA novel lady started packing up her stuff and went to leave.

"It worked," she muttered to M as she went out the door.

Cue rant from M about the woman's infantile attitude. Note the assenting silence from the bulk of the group; trystan_laryssa was boggled at being thrust into the very uncomfortable situation.
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