LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're a Real Geek When...
someone says you're all washed up and you get out your 12 sided die to calculate the odds that they are right.
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
Productivity Takes a Nose-Dive
For about 18 years I have worked from a barstool. I'd pop in, drop whatever incarnation of the Apple notebook I owned at the moment onto the bar, the bartender would set a Diet Coke in front of me, whether I asked for it or not, and I would start typing away at whatever project I was working on.
Long before this rag existed, I wrote screenplays to movies that were never produced. All sorts of software in many languages were debugged while watching Monday Night Football with one eye. One of my batteries was nailed to the wall when it became so worn out it would no longer hold a charge. And there were those times when writer's block allowed me to watch the games in stereo vision because nothing of consequence was happening on my keyboard.
New bartenders were brought over by the manager to have the rules explained to them. "If you see a computer, it's a Diet Coke. If there's no computer, it's a top shelf Long Island Iced Tea. Don't asked him what he wants, you should know."
What a sweet deal. No one tried to talk to me except in the beginning when laptops were new. One guy found it offensive to have a laptop at the bar, as if I had brought in a whore. (I didn't know there was a choice!) But, in general, although there was chaos all around me, I was left alone to do my work interrupted only when my bladder screamed loud enough.
When I was engaged I informed the soon to be Mrs. Fek'Lar of my writing habit. I explained that writing needed to happen and it needed to happen in a very specific environment. She's never understood this, and questions why I can't just write in my office. To quote Yoda, "There is no why!"
I'm sure you've already figured out the problem. My bar has closed. Out of the blue. No notice. There's a lame sign on the door that says it's closed for remodeling till further notice. Right, you always close a bar a few weeks before New Years Eve to change the flooring. People I know in the hospitality business tell me this is the nicest way you can say, "we went tits up" and not lose face.
So instead of writing, I've been driving around The Valley looking for a good bar to work in. It's not so simple. The old bar never presented me with a tab at the end of the bottomless glass of Diet Coke. I don't think anyone ever rang it up. I would always put some cash on the bar when I was done that would have paid the tab and the tip. By not putting the drinks into the system, the bartenders took the whole wad as a tip. Suited me fine. A new bar is going to need to accommodate this sort of behavior. I've been to some places where every refill is charged for. It's not the sort of place I would be very productive in.
Where am I working? The library. It's not nearly as fun. They close at 9, there's no Diet Coke, no sports, and no people having a good time behind me celebrating a birthday, or Bar Mitzvah, or making bail. They expect me to be quiet and not scream "shit!" periodically. Scaring the other patrons is prohibited. The library is a very dull place.
Whew! It's nasty out there! It's possible this is the hardest layoff cycle in The Valley's history. Companies jumped on the bandwagon early this time, because studies show that the earlier you laid off during dot-bomb the better chance you had at surviving.
I've written about layoffs in the past. I won't repeat myself here since I expect all of you to have memorized every single essay I've ever written. I think it's important to have a plan in case you get the axe. I was having lunch with Trouble the other day and he told me about his plan. He's going to do Geek work for charity.
His logic is that there won't be very many jobs for Geeks for a while, but it's important to keep your skill set up-to-date. At the same time, there are charities out there that could use some help. So he does some real work for a charity, keeps his skills fresh, and has something to account for the time on his resume.
Me? If I get the axe this month (and this is a real possibility) I'll probably travel. Maybe go SCUBA diving off the Great Barrier Reef, or off-roading in Iceland. I was going to go to these places eventually, and since I would have the time, why not? Then I guess I would have to decide if I wanted to stay in Tech. This has been my second career, maybe it's time to start the third.
English to hit 1 Million Words in April
The 1 Millionth Word will be "Fartwort"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"How dare you apply the rules to me! I'm the queen of this planet!"
"I'm enjoying my depression."
"Our stuff is shit. If I keep repeating this, perhaps I'll start believing it and stop being appalled."
"Are you hot? Should we have a vote?"
"All companies are shit. They are just different flavors of shit. You have to figure out which flavor of shit you like to eat. I like to eat AT&T flavored shit. Of all the different flavors of shit that I have tasted in my area AT&T flavored shit tastes best to me."
It's Last Call
They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people from the Christian Right.
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