Remembering Mom

Today is the three year anniversary of my mom’s death. Even now a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of her.  Sometimes it’s only in passing—a fleeting memory of something she once said to me, while other times it’s more of a dull ache that rears itself when I realize she’s not just living in another city (as had been the case for most of my adult life), but that she is truly gone.

And yet, I’ve never cried over her death. It’s probably because Alzheimer’s had robbed me of my mother several years before her body finally gave out, and even if there is nothing beyond this life, I take solace in knowing she’s in a better place—if only to finally be rid of the frustration and mental anguish she was feeling toward the end.

This is a small tribute I put together in 2009, scenes from her life that are set to a tune that first came to my attention shortly after her death. The synchronicity of her passing and the arrival of this music in my life was eerie.

Quote of the Day

“Long ago, homosexuality was something refined, sublimated. Concerned with reaching for the greatest heights of artistic expression and often achieving them. Now it’s just a bunch of musclebound idiots running around in t-shirts.” ~ Fred, in Damsels In Distress.

Any Advice? Drink.

Texts from Hlllary: they’ve gone viral, and rightfully so.

Oh snap!

That one left a mark.


R O F L M A O !!!

Amen to that.


Teh St00pid Is Not Just Limited to Microsoft Users

Recently I started reading posts over at Apple’s MacBook Air Support Forum for, as they say, “shits and giggles.”


Do people really buy this machine without knowing its capabilities (and, more importantly, its limitations)? Apparently so.

Some examples (verbatim):

  • I have sims 2 disks. And i recently got a macbook air which i realised doesnt have a disk holder thing. I dont want to illegally download it. Does anyone have any ideas so i can play it on my laptop?
  • How can I add a firewire port to MacBook Air?
  • I am confused about the new MacBook Air. It would appear it does not have an internal DVD/CD drive as most computers do. Does this mean after the price of this Mac Air I still would have to purchase an external DVD/CD player to load software or play DVD’s and CD’s ??? That seems like technology is going backwards and the owners just want more money.
  • i recentely brought a apple macbook air 13 inch 128gb and am running low on gb. Is there anyway to obtain more as even software updates are taking too much gb up!

Do people just walk into an Apple Store and say, “Oooh! Pretty!” and drop $1200 without researching the product first?

Knowing that the internals of the Air are not upgradable, I anguished for months before I got mine.

Will 4 GB RAM be enough? (Yes, because I didn’t see any real difference when I upgraded my old 4GB MacBook Pro to 8GB.)

More importantly, will having only 256GB of storage be sufficient? (I had a 320GB hard drive on the MBP that was only about 2/3 full, so yeah…after some much needed archiving of old stuff to an external drive it was more than sufficient.)

Will not having a disk player impact the usability? (I used the disk slot on the MBP only a dozen times to install software, and only once to watch a movie. Worst case scenario I have an external DVD drive that I can pull out of storage for occasional use or drop $79 for Apple’s proprietary player if it ever becomes an ongoing need.)

Ben can attest to the fact that I had several rough weeks adapting to the Apple ecosystem when I first abandoned Microsoft, so I can’t read the forums with a totally jaundiced eye, but some of the postings tell me that no matter how intuitive or user-friendly Apple makes their products, there will always be a certain demographic—the same demographic that undoubtedly would quickly embrace a product like pre-chewed food—that simply will never get it…

Because, as Ben and I are fond of yelling out the car window, “THINKING IS HARD!”

Saturday Dance Party: Patrick Cowley – Tech-no-logical World

Tech-no-logical world
Tech-no-logical world
Mankind’s splendor spread out far and wide
But the flags of doom unfurl
Our tech-no-logical world
Our tech-no-logical world

Tech-no-logical world
Tech-no-logical world
Automatic satisfaction guaranteed
But the flags of doom unfurl
Our tech-no-logical world
Our tech-no-logical world

Tech-no-logical world
Tech-no-logical world
Communication network everywhere
But the flags of doom unfurl
Our tech-no-logical world
Our tech-no-logical world


I was raised in a very design-oriented family.  My dad worked as an architect before his retirement, and my mom was an interior designer, so I’ve always had a bit of an an eye for design.

I had hoped to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become an architect, but for a variety of reasons college and I just didn’t work out and I never got my degree. I regret it a bit, but it’s all water under the bridge at this point.

My failure to get an architectural degree did not, however, prevent me from getting into the business. Before I quit to go into a career of  babysitting PC tech support, I had worked as an architectural drafter for about seventeen years.  Even today there are still times when I sorely miss it and question my wisdom having given it up. When I was producing architectural drawings, I always felt like I’d accomplished something at the end of the day. And when the things I drew were actually built…it was a tremendous source of personal pride and satisfaction.

During my junior year of high school I was perusing one of my dad’s architectural magazines, and I ran across a spread documenting a new development on the Chicago shoreline called Harbor Point.

I was in love.

This was my high school vision of the future, what living in the 21st century would be like.

Somehow in those pre-internet days, I managed to locate the address for the sales office and wrote to request more information.  They sent me a beautiful portfolio that included  an overall building floor plan, prices, and brochures for each of the individual units. As I recall the units ranged in price from $50-$70K (a lot for those days).  Unfortunately, everything except the overall floor plan was thrown out in one of my various purges. How it managed to survive all these years speaks volumes about the persistence of youthful dreams, I suppose.

 (click to embiggen)

Back in the day, I often dreamt of owning one of the units with the curving glass windows, overlooking the cityscape far below, lights dimmed low and jazz softly playing in the background. (I seem to recall George Benson’s Breezin’ being the soundtrack at that time.)

It’s still a beautiful building in my opinion, and with the advent of the internet finding pictures of it was fairly easy.  But it wasn’t until the other day that on a whim I actually found pictures of what the interiors looked like. Squee! Apparently there are a quite a few units available for sale. Despite the rather dated luminous ceilings in the kitchens, it would appear they’ve aged fairly well.

These units so fired my imagination that several years after receiving the floor plans I designed a house around one of the curving-window units. The layout was pill shaped, raised one floor off the ground (to provide garage space) with a central atrium that I envisioned being open to a huge skylight above. The hand drawn paper architectural floor plan is one of very few out the dozens of dream houses I designed over the years that’s survived.

If I ever won the lottery, I’d snatch one of those bitches up in a heartbeat (most are selling for well under $500K), even if it meant only living there part time. (I can barely tolerate a Denver winter. Can you imagine me in Chicago?!? Me neither.)

Oblivious to the Irony

This douchenozzle is completely oblivious to the irony of what he’s spewing. (Emphasis mine.)

“We are commanded to spread the gospel for the salvation of many. I know this hasn’t been a big part of Jimmy Carter’s life. But it remains the unequivocal, central role of the Christian in the world. We’re not supposed to just live and let live—because to do that actually means death for those we don’t confront with their sin and the salvation message. [snip] This is why I call Jimmy Carter a truly evil person. He still tries to masquerade as a Christian, though his views are increasingly heretical if not those of an apostate. Jesus says when judgment day comes, there will be some He turns away, even though they claim to have prophesied in His name. ~ Three-time Just For Men Beard & Mustache gold medalist and World Nut Daily founder Joseph Farah, writing about Jimmy Carter’s recent endorsement of same-sex marriage.

This is coming from the same type of ignorant, hateful bigots who were claiming that Jimmy Carter was the fucking Antichrist when he won the Presidency back in ’76.

Willful Ignorance

This was posted by a friend on Facebook:

TRUE STORY: I ran into an acquaintance at the grocery story today that I hadn’t seen in several years. Somehow she got onto the subject of politcs and said, “President Obama just wants to make everything in this country Socialist, example: that Obamacare.” I looked at her and asked, “Didn’t you move into that Senior Federally funded low-rent housing a few years ago, aren’t you on Medicare (she’s 74), and you just used your food stamp card to pay for groceries – those are all “Socialist programs.” She replied, “That’s different!” I asked her how is that different, and she just looked at me, huffed and said, “You’re just a liberal!” and walked away. Hmmmmm.

This is the image that immediately came to mind:

“Does not compute…DOES NOT COMPUTE!!!”

Well That Was a Waste of Time

So much for all the opportunities the recruiter told me she had yesterday. Turns out she was only collecting resumes. The entire interview lasted less than ten minutes. “We have several things we’re working on at the moment and if you’re a good match for any of them I’ll be in touch.”


And she couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to move into the I.T. Director position.  I said, “Look, I’m a desktop tech. I love being a desktop tech. I hope to be doing desktop support until I retire.” I don’t expect to hear anything more from her, and frankly, that’s okay. I also got in touch with another one of the recruiters I worked with last summer to let him know I was on the market again.

I didn’t have quite as much luck contacting the firm that placed me where I am now. No one there was answering their phones and the emails I sent to the recruiter who handled my account were getting bounced back.

At least it was a nice day off. And I got to have lunch with my man.


Back Into the Job Hunt

About a month ago my boss bore the brunt of anger from the CEO over the fact that “50% of our faxes are not being received.”  Aside from the fact that I’m tempted to ask why our business is still dependent on technology from the last century, I think the powers that be overreacted completely to a situation that was only marginally under I.T.’s control.  (How exactly are we responsible for ensuring that paper faxes are delivered to the intended recipient after they’re spit out of the machines?) There were a lot of other, smaller incidents preceding this, so I guess it was the proverbial straw.

Within days of the beating, (while there were no physical bruises, he really did look like a dog who’d been savaged by a rolled up newspaper) he resigned his position as I.T. Director. This was devastating, not only because I truly liked working with the guy and looked up to him, but also because he had a hell of a lot more knowledge about what went on “behind the wall” (a phrase the I.T. Director at my last job used a lot) than I ever could hope for. But none of us in the department were too worried; he was going to stay with the firm, “in another capacity.”

Well that changed today. He’s officially leaving as of the end of the month. This follows on the heels of one of our application analysts quitting earlier this week. We were a small shop to begin with, and this is going to seriously cripple the department. In a meeting today, the COO said she expected all of us who remain (a grand total of 3) to take up the slack and “take on additional responsibilities” until a suitable replacement can be hired.

Yeah, we know how that works, doesn’t it?  We somehow manage to keep the spice flowing, and all of a sudden they realize they don’t need to hire any replacements.

Before you know it, Alexander finds himself as I.T. Director at the same pay he was making as a desktop tech. WHAT A SAVINGS!

Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

I have no interest in his job—even if they tripled my current salary—and yet it’s obvious that I’m being pushed in that direction.

I am a desktop tech, not a systems administrator. Not an I.T. Manager. I like what I do. I know what I do, and frankly just keeping up with the changes occurring in that aspect of technology is hard enough without having to now know and understand (to the point of being able to fill in when they’re out) what the the other members of the department do.

As usual, management is clueless about tech works. Clueless.

So, my resume was updated and reactivated on Monster and Dice right after I got out of the meeting, and tonight I’ll be hitting all the other job sites I utilized last summer.  Almost immediately after finishing on those two initial sites I started getting emails from recruiters. I have a meeting scheduled tomorrow with one of the bigger recruiting firms (I’m taking a sick day) and have followed up with another who claimed I’d be a perfect fit for a position they have coming available in about two to three weeks.

Having been through this all before, I can only say, “We’ll see…”

I take some consolation in knowing that when I originally moved to San Francisco the first job I had there didn’t work out either—but led me to a place I where I stayed for the next 8 years. The same thing happened when I moved back to Phoenix in 2002.

Fingers crossed.