keryx: (Default)
At Wilderness Office Park, we have a monster television next to the coffee on every floor. I just spent the last hour standing there with nearly everyone else from the 4th floor staring and smiling and trying not to openly weep. The guy next to me periodically doing the fake-out "oh, my head hurts" whole-hand eye wipe did not help.

I love that our president (with assistance from the Chief Justice) goofed the oath of office. Someone said "He's been president for 5 minutes already! He has other things on his mind!" and wouldn't that be nice? To watch your president think like you might watch a dancer's bare feet. I love the wabi sabi, imperfection, demonstration of the work and consciousness that goes into producing leadership (or anything, really - I love the front row). I hope it means we'll care about craft and effort. I hope we'll see a line blur between the civic and the political, because really? It's not that much of a line. I hope there's something to this - grassroots action, politics 2.0, user-created citizenship, whatever it is. I hope the country is self-organizing. I hope this is a sign of a real change in the ways people think.

Mostly? I just hope.

Also, props to the man for the shout-out to non-believers, though I like to think of myself as just ethnically Unitarian. My people thank you, Mr. President.
keryx: (bored lj - p&p)
Waiting for data migration to finish. I'm sitting at the office listening to a series of songs that all sound like DDR tunes. I miss DDR, but I'm not enthusiastic about housed-up Madonna versions of "American Pie".

I can, however, totally imagine that this particular stretch of music would feature a lot of center-right-center-left steps followed by a series of jumps and spins.

Oh, but wait. Here's "Beat It". That's better.

I bought mats for my trunk room so I can have a matted room again [90 year old floor is cool, but a recipe for ass splinters when you're doing yoga on the floor, and Prasara does not confine itself well to a yoga mat.]. Between the mats and the camp fuel [Hey! I have a yard! I can have my own fuel and fire toys!], I ran into a series of boyfriend-themed tshirts.

This is kinda cute and ironic. It was grouped with other Nike shirts, one of which said "Your boyfriend likes my game". Like. Seriously? Does even women's sporting trash talk need to be about men? What about OUR MOMS? "Your mom likes my game" (now with 10% more lesbian innuendo); I think that's better. Cause you know there aren't any dude's shirts about girlfriends.

I suppose there's an alternate reading of the shirt, too - it could be a "feminist" critique of women being focused on men & being pretty or something: you know, sport-boyfriend woman vs. man-obsessed woman. In which case, I'm actively disgusted rather than the amused sort of offended I'd be in response to my original reading.
keryx: (excuse me?)
I work on the 4th floor now, which is officially the number of flights of stairs I am too impatient to climb. So. I take the elevator more often than not.

Invariably I get in the elevator with a couple of guys, end up in the back because they insist I enter first, then have to wait for them to carefully step to the side when we all get to our floor... so they can again insist that I leave first.

This is mind-bendingly inefficient. And then! I feel obligated to say thank you, because that is the agreed upon polite response to someone holding the door. Grr.
keryx: (mudflap girl)
I've been struggling for a couple of weeks to put into words how weird it is to work with all dudes suddenly. Most of them claim to not notice that they're in a room full of dudes, for one [I can understand that - without someone pointing it out, there are many ways I wouldn't notice my own majority/privilegedness.], although I suspect from their initial circumspection and silence that they are lying.

It's weird in a surprisingly pleasant way, though. The lack of other women coincides with a general absence of gender-role-play. That thing mixed-gender groups (at least mixed-gender white people groups, which is where I've seen it) do where they divide along gender roles, and there's supposed to be some kind of kinship with your own gender... not happening here. I'm not reminded of any perceived affiliation with All Women Everywhere, so in some ways my network affiliation seems more pure: I am primarily affiliated with the team, the project, the work. It's as if gender doesn't exist in this bubble of the team. It's. I mean. It's strange. It's as if I've inherited that whole male-privilege thing.

By the way. No one has said anything that directly offended me in any way; it occurs to me that more often than not it's been the women at work who've managed to push my fat queer feminist liberal buttons. Men, if anything, are curious about those things. Which. Well, duh.

Stay tuned for: 1000 ways in which I am culturally insensitive and refuse to let my Indian peeps call me "ma'am" and "boss". I'm not kidding. My metaphors and mannerisms are so influenced by American popular culture that I have to work harder to be understood (that is, to not be a jackass). Meanwhile, the guys are accustomed to a more hierarchical model in which I am the boss, so they won't admit that they have no idea what the hell I'm talking about.
keryx: (line weight)
It's not easy being a political hardass sometimes.

Did I tell you about my colleagues' shenanigans with their weight/fat loss pool? It's like a football pool, but they're weighing and fat-measuring themselves. As you can imagine, my initial reaction was OH $DEITY NO GET THAT AWAY FROM ME, and it's morphed into WILL YOU SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY? as time has worn on. They're using the "I'm doing it for myself" argument. Also, the "but I'm a feminist!" argument (which totally makes everything okay, cause it's all about CHOICE, you know). And the "argh my clothes don't fit and I desperately hate shopping" argument. So, okay. That is at least practical. I mean, I don't like losing weight for the same reason. I'm still bitter about the gorgeous party dresses that couldn't be taken in.

It's hard to be uber committed to my point of view on this one, though. I mean. The email they sent introducing this craziness let you vote "yes", "no" or "I find this completely offensive". Many of them are also discovering the magic of the gym, too, so I have people to bond with over that.

So. I find myself surprisingly not bothered by other people's weightloss talk all of a sudden. WTF?!
keryx: (Default)
I've never managed to keep a to-do list at home. I get tired and exasperated when dealing with "organization". But I've been coaching at work for awhile, and I finally, after a sense of mounting stress and impending DOOOOOOOM, made a teeny step just by making the stuff I think has to get done more visible & putting it on the back of my door. TADA. Turns out I'm not really THAT busy, just convinced enough that I am - and often subsequently paralyzed.

There are probably more lessons I could be taking from this into my non-Agile program at the office, too. I'll have to keep sitting with that.
keryx: (Default)
In the past month, I've gotten good leads on two jobs. In Austin. And Charlotte. They're really cool jobs.

And I? Cannot take them.

At some point my life came to be in Richmond, and that's just how it is. I'm perplexed to feel this way, since I spent so much time hating this city. I can move somewhere because I feel like Moving Away is something one is supposed to do at some point, but that will not bring me happiness. it won't necessarily bring me unhappiness. This is just. It just is.

For now, anyway.
keryx: (muppet - gay)
One: David Hyde Pierce comes out of the closet. No doubt to a chorus of people saying what I said: he was IN the closet???? Does anyone else remember his one-man Off-B'way (possibly off-off) show about... well, gayness... from the 90s? If that was from the closet, I can only imagine what he does out of it.

Two: To the Earth is performing at the 2007 ROSMY art auction. You should go, and give money, because ROSMY rocks. I even like their website now, and you know what a site snob I am.

Three: My colleagues, on reading the announcement about Pride Month on the intranets, were all are there really a lot of transvestites at Wilderness Office Park? which turned into this fabulous conversation wherein I? Was not a self-righteous asshat for a change. We even talked about the idealogical tensions between feminism, the pushing-gender-boundaries trans perspective and the wrong-body trans perspective. This ties nicely into the conversation we'd had earlier about the Sex Workers Art Show wherein one of my (white, yuppie, male) colleagues was way more up on contemporary anti-porn feminism than I.

Four: Big Eden is a sweet sweet movie. Almost all of its emotional content is stilted and unsaid, and yet it is filled with the squee and the happy communityness. I have now watched it like three times, and want to hug all the fictional people in it.

Five: This isn't exactly about The Gay, but reflects the same message from the universe (namely: dumbass, stop underestimating people and faking it): Kent Beck on ease at work. He's one of the original Agile dudes, but this is an hour of him talking about people (well, programmers, but you can generalize from that) being authentic and kind with each other in a professional way. Work is like middle school - no one ever seems to feel they can get by without fakery. And yet, Mean Girls style, maybe if we just start from somewhere, we all can. This is, I believe, my lesson about the world these days.
keryx: (Default)
The possibly positive impact of my current work situation (summarizable as ARGH) and a conversation I had with the SSWB at lunch today have me thinking a lot about what I want to be when I grow up.

And you know what? I don't know. Nor do I even remember what it was like to have a plan, to be a long-term-planning kinda person. This is really odd for me. A lot of you haven't known me since my deeply planful days, but some of you can remember.

So I wonder about y'all.
[Poll #955225]
Bonus question... what do you want to do when you grow up?
keryx: (kills fascists)
I kinda wimped out on the Operation Love Handle thing. Or maybe I didn't wimp out. What I didn't do is send the organizers a strongly-worded note, cite the dreaded anorexia or anything else counter-alarmist to go with the obesity crisis.

What I did do is start telling everyone I feel comfortable saying "ass" to at the office about various things we'll do as part of Operation Fat Ass. Number one - eat almonds! They're full of fat and DANGEROUS. Number two - drink beers! Or, in my case, vodka tonics and cough drops. Number three - go out for Thai at lunch! Eat carbs! And fatty, sugary coconut soup. Cause hey, mental health first.

It's less obviously political, but it also touches more people. It's personal, and maybe a little obnoxious (but funny as hell, you have to grant me that). I don't know - it just feels right with the way I want to live my life.
keryx: (Default)
A woman at work last week guessed that the guys who got onto the elevator must be going to the fourth floor (our buildings generally don't have more than four floors). She said "men don't get on the elevator unless they're going all the way". I'm pretty sure she's wrong. Also, I sadly didn't pick up the unintentional innuendo until just now. That's awfully slow.

Then today I waved at someone as I got on the elevator and he went up the stairs (both headed to the third floor - I won). And I thought not about the gender assumption, but the idea that stair climbing is some sort of testament to one's Fitness. We commonly apologize to each other for taking elevators. It's this wacky Official Corporate America Wisdom: climbing the stairs will save your immortal soul... or at least your mortal cardiovascular system.

And I? Am rather ridiculously defensive about this in my head. I want a sign: I am taking the elevator because I danced for 3 hours last night. Did you dance all last night? STFU. Whether there's any actual indication of this or not, I suspect random people I don't know of believing that I - and all even remotely fat folk by extension - am lazy and Unfit because I don't take the stairs. And... I care. I want them to not think wrong, stupid things. Chances are, no one's thinking this in any direct, conscious, point-and-stare-at-me way. If they were doing anything so obvious, I'd probably notice, and you know if I noticed I'd have to call it out. I suspect them of thinking these things deep down, and I just know these thoughts are so far off base, know they (and I shouldn't care anyway), know how little you can actually extrapolate anything other than what a person is going to be doing in two minutes from what she's doing right now, know that what I do or don't do and how Fit any of us are matters in no way to anyone else (or at least it shouldn't).

I suspect the thing with the food list might work like this, too. If I want to eat nothing but vegan cookies for the next 30 days, I should be able to just do it and not have people tell me it's unhealthy or healthy or fit or unfit or any of the other intrusive crap we like to foist on each other. But rarely is that possible - people do police each others' food all too often. It masquerades as concern - hell, it is concern - but it's misplaced and confused.

In other news: I think I totally eat more than everyone who posts on [livejournal.com profile] incendiaryfood. Rock!
This is the sign that goes with my food. It matches the sign about the stairs thing. )
keryx: (factories!)
I'm on hold waiting for someone at Expedia to talk to me. You know those "for quality assurance purposes, this call may be monitored or recorded" messages?

When I worked in customer service on the phone a million and a half years ago, it always felt like that was a license to spy on me. Well, it's not. What it actually is is an opportunity for people like me who create stuff that, way down the line, gets used by my colleagues on the phone, to understand just how complicated customer service is and how badly the 'simple' things we want people to do work out in the end when we aren't vigilant about communication, training & support for those colleagues.

I know some of you are phone workers, and I thought you might appreciate that. Line management in a call center is rarely even aware of the forces that create change to what they do, but the people behind those forces listen to calls and realize just how much they fail to help to folks on the phone. Call monitoring isn't about how well phone folk do their jobs (although there are a million other monitoring tools that are supposed to do that - like those stupid "how fast did you get them off the phone" metrics); it's about how well a company is doing its job.

Of course, what would be ideal is if we structured phone work in a way that emphasized craft, so phone workers could tell us about these problems and work with us to solve them directly. I know people (including phone workers) tend to think of customer service as repetitive drudgery, but I think you could change the things you measure people on from just cost-based (did you get off the phone, how many calls did you take, what did you sell) to primarily service-based (how did you solve something, what corporate problems have you found) and change their perspective on the work like that. Yes, I do I live in a utopian world of imagination where work is concerned, thankyouverymuch.

By the way, the Expedia representative was just lovely, and it turns out that the most viable option is to cancel the current Hawai'i trip entirely and plan a new one later, not in August. Never try to book a hotel (or an effing flight - what, $900??!!) last minute in an island state during the summer.
keryx: (factories!)
The bankers list sent me this article today Apparently workers spend less time on identifiably work tasks, if you ask AOL job seekers (which might be a bit of a population bias, ya know).

All the press on this sort of thing is always all "ooooh, workers are laaaazy", but I think it may actually be a good sign - like, people have a little bit more feeling of self-determination. Even when their work isn't structured that way and the self-determination is rebellious.
keryx: (hawaii)
It's snowing at Wilderness Office Park (and you know, all over town). A lot.

I'm really quite terrified of snow, and wearing all stupidly tall shoes cause I was thinking about making sure I was warm and my pants are too long, so there's a good chance that (since my chucks are in my car and not my desk drawer) I'll end up walking mostly barefoot in the snow to my car. Doh. And then I'll have to drive in the snow.

That sucks. And, yes, I'm totally sulking now. Snow should come during the night so it keeps me from going to work, not from getting safely home. Everyone knows that. Stupid weather!
keryx: (Default)
Texas is an hour behind us. California is three hours behind us. There are timezones. Which are different. Across the US.

I think people in California - heck, people everywhere - should just live on my time. I don't care if they have to get up and work in the dark and sleep in the day. There are eastcoasters who work nights, after all. None of them seem particularly scarred for life.

Of course I'm joking, but it sometimes seems like I have some sort of special problem with understanding what time it is in more than one place at a time. I'm working on a project with some people in California and others in Texas, and I keep having to reschedule meetings and work slightly odd days because of this - like, I'll think "10AM is a perfectly reasonable meeting time" and then remember it's actually 7AM for someone. And this morning I tried to schedule a meeting at 8AM my time thinking that was 9AM Texas time. It's not. It's 7, too. No reasonable person works at 7, and if they do, it's to catch up on the work they missed while going to all those meetings.

But it's not just me.

There are tons of business-related books, classes, and such on just this topic - one of the most awkward things about teams at multiple locations is this logistical stuff; the what time is its and how is the weathers of life. Clearly knowing what time it is everywhere else is the future. [Hmm, that sounds funny.]

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