Nope, I didn’t almost forget

Nope, I didn’t almost forget today. I read my daily dose o’ news @ Salon while eating my fajita burger from the cafeteria, and here I am, right on time.\
Wow, this is really uncomfortable. There was about 5 minutes there between “right on time” and “Wow”. What do I tell you? What can I say that won’t come back and bite me in the butt? Not much, I’ve come to learn. So, let’s do a little history, shall we?\
I’ve been on the web since early 95, and have worked for the same company (the giant blue triangle) for almost my entire adult life. I started there in May of ’95, in tech support (which I may talk about at some point, along with some other weird stories from that time period if I get brave). Now, I write frontend/middleware code for one of the largest search engines on the planet. I wonder almost daily about how I got here, why I never went back to school, and what it was about the job that kept me there for so long, when I SHOULD have quit and gone back to school. Not that any of that really matters now. I’m 26, married, have one kid, two cars, a mortgage and am starting to go grey. So, what does thinking about any of this do for me? It’s kind of fun, really.\
I loved my first year in tech support. I learned about modems, Win95, Mac System 7.5 (and its babies .1 .2 and .3), and all about how things get gummed up. I took calls from people all over the country, calling about things that had nothing to do with our software, calling about their kids’ saying bad words in chat rooms, and how they HAD to get their e-mail, but couldn’t because their account had been cancelled.\
I also met some amazing people (and got in lots of trouble for a good little Mormon boy). Some of them are my best friends, even though we’re 3k miles apart. They helped me grow up and realize that my parents weren’t always right, and that my politics were WAY over in Rush-territory and needed a correction (not through preaching, just because I got to observe people that weren’t like me). I’m rambling now, but it was a real system shock to meet my first lesbian, openly gay man, and wow, lots of other people I’d never met before (transgen guy, my first bisexual couple – they were funny, etc, etc ,etc). The list goes on, and I figured out they’re not the evil people I was brought up to think they were (not through preaching, just by example). I miss that. Here at the “Corporate Headquarters”, everyone’s so apparently normal. I don’t see the variety I did in tech support, and it’s kind of boring.\
Tomorrow… Early life online, or How E-Mail Almost Got Me Fired.

Ok, I almost forgot today.

Ok, I almost forgot today. This is a process, of course; one which I’ll soon memorize and do daily. Today is an unpaid plug for my favorite OpenSource/Free software. What do I use everyday? A bunch of free stuff. I work for one of the largest companies on the planet, and my favorite toys are free. Is that ironic (or is it just funny?)? So, here’s a list of the stuff you should use if you want to be a cool corporate rebel like me:

  • AOLserver: This is the coolest. I work with AOLserver everyday, and find new reasons to love it all the time. It’s fast, uses Tcl (my favorite language, after English), is threaded, and allows me to create some really cool stuff (like the stuff in the list on the right).
  • Arachnophilia: This is my Windows text editor. It does awesome find-replaces and has cool customizable tool bars. I love it!
  • LinuxPPC: I have this Powerbook on my desk. It’s my “other” computer that I was having a hard time coming up with a use for other than watching DVD’s (a bad thing to do at work while anyone’s watching). So, I figured hey, Linux is fun, let’s try that. LinuxPPC is cool. It’s easy to install and configure, and it rock-solid. It sits on my desk as a glowing testament to cool free stuff (although I paid for my copy).
  • Ximian GNOME: For a comparative newbie like myself, Ximian GNOME is a lifesaver. It provided me with a cool interface, all the programs I wanted, and an easy-to-use updater. And, soon, it will provide a really cool e-mail client (doesn’t currently work with my mail, but I trust it will shortly).
  • Mozilla: Mozilla, how do I love thee? This would be farther up the list if it work work on my Windows machine. But, it’s the best browser Linux has ever seen, and they keep building a LinuxPPC version. How cool is that? I can now get my mail with it, and my pages look almost the same as they do in Windows. Yummy.\
    And, as I think about it, I’d switch to Linux altogether if I didn’t have to keep using Office for work stuff. I love the idea of it; that something done by thousands of different people, all for different reasons, actually works. Linux competes with operating systems built by gigantic corporations, and wins in a lot of cases. I just love the thought of it (actually, sometimes more than the reality of it… Linux still pisses me off too often). But, ok, that’s enough for today. Time to get back to work.

I’m going to start keeping

I’m going to start keeping this thing up-to-date, promise. It will be my lunchtime habit from now on. I will post something, ANYTHING. I’ve been writing code too long. I’ve forgotten how to communicate with people, and how to write. I can’t even spell anymore. It’s sad sad sad. So, here we go… whooooopie!

I’m starting to go grey.

I’m starting to go grey. I admit it. I’m 26 and have this nice grey spot on my right temple. I always figured that I would lighten and eventually go white like my dad’s doing (he’s 48, and I didn’t notice until last year… lucky him). Welp, here I am, at 26 with a grey spot the size of a quarter. My brother, Tim, and I always talked about what would happen if we started losing our hair, and I always said I wouldn’t care. I’d shave my head before I’d dye out the grey, or wear a toup. Now that I’m here, though, I’m not so sure. I’m definitely not losing hair, cuz I have to go to the hair-cuttin’ lady’s place every 4 weeks, or I get what I affectionately call “preacher hair”. But grey? Come ON!! I’m not even mature yet. So, here’s my plan. If I go super-grey, like all over, I’m dying my hair Kool-Aid Blue.

I don’t know them. I’ve

I don’t know them. I’ve never even conversed with them through e-mail or in person. So, why do I care that a bunch of people lost their jobs? Meg, Jack and Ev (who didn’t lose his job, but losing a large chunk of a dream has to hurt). Through their writing, a lot of us have come to know them, and many others. It’s a great testament to the idea of weblogging that their problems have affected me, and apparently many others, so deeply. Good luck to all of you, and if I could, I’d hire you tomorrow, even though I don’t know you other than by your writings (and webcams).

You know, we just got

You know, we just got back from Tucson, and you’d think I’d be all refreshed and ready to work after a week of loafing and losing Pinochle games repeatedly (and not to make them feel good or anything; they just kicked our butts) to my in-laws… I’m not. The same old frustrations are still here. Why do we think that things will be different if we’re gone for a week? Duh… silly man.

So, here we are in

So, here we are in sunny Tucson, visiting Jen’s parents. It’s so nice to be away from work, and home and everything for a week. I even hesitate to check mail, but I guess I have to. Well, we’ll enjoy the company, the Pinochle, the food and the weather for a few more days and then head back to chilly DC… oh, and work too.

So, it’s apparently all over.

So, it’s apparently all over. Poor Al, poor us. You know, I was raised a Republican, and as I’ve gotten older and moved out on my own (well, not my own, with my wife and Max) I’ve moved closer to the middle with lefty-type leanings. I voted for Ralph Nader. I decided we needed a non-Nazi third party, and I wanted them to get federal matching funds for next time. Whoops. Oh well, maybe next time.
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Wait, where was I? Oh yeah… this whole process has been fascinating. From Jesse Jackson comparing the election to Selma, to the constant spinning by both sides, to the courts, I have loved it all. I just hope we never have to do it again.
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I hope that we can go to an electronic system (not web, just electronic), like touch screens or something where the votes are counted instantly, and you have a chance to review your choices before submitting your “ballot”. Wouldn’t that be nice?