Frances Hocutt's session at Open Source Bridge, "Exit Condition: when to ragequit, raise hell, or duck and cover", was pretty awesome. I got a lot out of the session itself, out of bouncing ideas off of other conf attendees, and out of just thinking through this stuff in general. My takeaways kinda blew up too much to fit into tweet-sized points, so here they are.
Support your complainers.
When something goes awry and needs to be complained about, one person often ends up being the Designated Complainer. This is the person who is willing or expected to pipe up about any given problem (voice) even though it affects many people, not only them.
If you keep doing this to one person it will burn them out.
When raising a grievance, the Designated Complainer will eat the consequences of any disfavour from above. Worse, if they pipe up and nobody else has their back, it looks as though they are the only one who is upset. This undermines the effectiveness of their complaining and puts them at even greater risk of reprisals.
A couple of suggested strategies:
- Rotate the complaining duties amongst everyone on the team.
- Complain in pairs—both for mutual support, and to show that more than one person is having the same problem.
- If, for whatever reason, the Designated Complainer has to go it alone when making the initial complaint, at the very least make it clear that they are representing you as well.
Not my circus, not my monkeys.
It can seem cold, heartless, and selfish to say "fuck this" and drop a project on the floor. But when you are perpetually grappling with a task that is causing you pain, ask yourself: is doing this thing actually your job?
This often shows up as an issue that is your problem because it is causing you grief, but not your responsibility, because you are not the one with the authority to fix it:
- If you were hired as a Software Developer, it is Not Your Job to unfuck your company's broken product strategy.
- If you're a Community Manager, getting your CEO to unfuck their broken open source policy is similarly Not Your Job.
You can advocate for these things, or even try to fix them outright if you want to and have the spoons. In a good environment, your efforts will get traction; this kind of thing can even be a growth opportunity. But when things are not so cheerful, you can keep spinning your wheels until you've run yourself well into the ground.
Think realistically about consequences of your actions.
Back in my army days, when someone was stressing out about the possible consequences of a trivial screwup or an act of principled disobedience, they were frequently told
"What're they gonna do, stamp 'NO DESSERT' on your meal card?"
Speaking for myself, I find it easy to freak out about the Horrible Consequences of some act without evaluating what these Horrible Consequences might actually be. While you don't want to be cavalier, you also shouldn't let yourself be held hostage by fear of consequences that are exaggerated or impossible. They can't fire you if you've already quit, they can't force you to work if you're a volunteer, and they can't take away a raise they were never going to give you in the first place. Think carefully about both formal and informal consequences, but don't be hemmed in by fences that weren't even real to begin with.
Don't save the world, just make it better.
Those of us who care deeply and who see all the things that are wrong in the world are oft given over to trying to save the whole world. We feel like a utter failure unless we manage to catch every ball, right every wrong, and save every kitten.
This sort of perfection is literally impossible. It is a one-way superexpress ticket to Burnout Gully, population you.
Instead of taking it upon yourself to save the world, and kicking yourself when you don't succeed at this Sisyphean task, focus on the fact that you are making the world better than it was before. Every helpful thing that you do, no matter how small, wouldn't have happened without you and your hard work. Go you. ♥
The University's been facing a tough time with declining enrollment. To make the books balance for next year, they had to cut eight staff positions.
I got called into the Dreaded Uncomfortable Meeting with five other staff members yesterday afternoon, where we learned we were being laid off. They went to great lengths to say that these reductions were a strictly financial decision that had nothing to do with our individual performance.
While I'm understandably annoyed that my position is winding down, I'm not bitter about the situation. The current leadership at AlgomaU has a lot going for them, and I truly wish them well in meeting the challenges they face. The University has the potential to be a profoundly important institution for all of Canada, and a crown jewel of our local community. I hope I see them turn that vision into a reality.
That said, I'm taking this as an opportunity to springboard on to greater things. =)
Because of our family situation, I very strongly prefer to stay local (Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada), but at this point I'm open to substantial travel -- say, 25%, possibly even 40% or more depending on how it's spread out? So if there are any cool places out there who could use a *nix nerd in Software Development, QA, or Systems Administration, right now I'm all ears. ^_^
Unfortunately, the candle lanterns that replaced them don't work very well. They don't provide any substantial illumination, and in the winter, the candles burn out quickly -- they don't retain enough heat to melt their own wax well, and burn down the middle instead of across their entire width.
I went looking for a better solution, and was surprised to find that new kerosene lanterns are actually still a thing sold in North America. Like, ones for real use, as opposed to collectables or antiques that are just supposed to sit on a shelf and look nice. So I ordered one.
( Read more... )
Friends in the USA: if you would like some Remembrance Poppies for 11 Nov (Remembrance/Veterans Day), tell me how many you'd like and your mailing address if I don't have it already. I'll make sure they get to you. ^_^
(Comments screened for your convenience; I'll unscreen any that don't contain addresses.)
Welp...one of the few recipes that we use all the time that hadn't been on this blog is this one for chocolate zucchini cake. I originally found it here, and would just link people to it...except that that whole damn site is now dead of linkrot. So....( Recipe... )
So, my major learning for the evening: it turns out, applying proper wax to skis does indeed make them more slippery, and therefore faster! However, it also makes you more clumsy...! Going to have to check the package to see if this side effect is listed on there. Will be in touch with the wax manufacturer if not. ;)
Aaaa, this blast from the past rolled around on my partner's spotify tonight. So much power pop goodness...I have ~feels~ about this song. ^_^;
Also notable: apparently Weezer did a cover of this song for the movie Cars 2. It's pretty good! They didn't stray very far from the original. =)
Ever feel so strongly about the non-existence of a given image macro that the world just seemed out of balance until you went and made it yourself?
Yeah, uh, me neither. ^_^;;( Well, actually, images are under the cut )
Pro Tip™: if someone walks like a racist, talks like a racist, acts like a racist, they are, for all practical intents & purposes, a racist. You really do not need to know if they feel like a racist deep down in their heart of hearts to figure out what to do about them. This isn't rocket surgery, y'all. For a group of folks who coined the term "duck typing", we should be all over this.
To put it another geekly way: if someone does or says something racist, then follows it up with "I was just trolling, yo! I'm not really racist!" then one right response is "I voluntarily fail my Will save! I am thoroughly convinced that you are a shitbag racist, and henceforth will treat you like one! :D"
(Note: expanding on my twitter mini-screed here.)
I don't understand the rational basis behind people's opposition to Anita Sarkeesian's work, if indeed there is any.
I grant that I haven't plumbed the depths of Reddit, 4chan, and sundry gaming forums looking for reasoned argument, because those places are fucking gross. But what I have found seems to be naught more than a paranoid chorus of "she's out to get our games!"
Some self-identified "gamers" seem to think that Sarkeesian's saying "Stop making games". She's not. She's saying "Games can be better than this. Make better games."
The myriad cries of "censorship!" and "political correctness!" suggest the perceived danger is that games will change as a result of Sarkeesian's critique—that the amount of abuse and misogyny will decrease, and that the number of female characters with agency and development will increase. This makes the rallying cry of "she's out to get our games!" sound more like "she's out to emasculate our games!"
I have news for you, gamer dudes. If gratuitous misogyny and violence is how you define masculinity, then you've got a big fucking problem.
You would think that some things are just so racist that, on encountering them, everyone—even white folks, almost to a one—would say "holy FUCK that is some racist-ass shit, what the FUCK are you even thinking?" A sort of Maximum Ignorable Racism Threshold, if you will.
Apparently you'd be wrong, because you can be the most vilified racist shitbag in recent memory and still have people going to bat for you in the mainstream media: arguing that happened to you was wrong, telling people they should "calm down" over your racist remarks.
If this supposed threshold did exist, these racist-ass shirts would never have seen the light of day. Like, seriously, just think how many people have to have been party to that production, with none of them raising sufficient hue and cry to put a stop to it.
I sorely doubt that this is much of a revelation to anyone who's not carrying around a gigantor sack of white privilege. Chalk that up to yet another example of how privilege works to hide the realities of the rest of the world from people possessed of it.
CW: Brief mention of stalking behaviours.
It seems to be that time of year again where every retail purchase you make comes with a side of "We're doing a survey!!!1 Can we please have your postal code? :D"
Of course, the store is compiling data on where their customers live, and what people who live in each place buy, so they can try to market to you more effectively (iow, more creepily).
I'm not sure everyone's aware of this, but your full postal code gives your home address to a high degree of precision. One postal code represents
- all houses on one side of one residential street for a block or so, or
- one high-volume recipient of mail, like an apartment or office building, or
- in rural areas, a single small village or hamlet.
To put this another way, if you take a look at a postal code directory, the entries in it look something like this:
D2D 1S1: Even numbers 38-52 Strange St Anytown ON D2D 1S2: Odd numbers 53-79 Strange St Anytown ON D2D 1S3: Even numbers 56-128 Strange St Anytown ON D2D 1X5: 1000 Charm Ct Anytown ON
By disclosing your postal code, you're essentially disclosing your home address. Especially from a personal safety perspective, if somebody knows your postal code and what you look like, they can almost certainly find you and your residence.
Now, given how personal this snippet of information is, you might not feel comfortable giving it away. If so, you can spread some holiday cheer and test their computing systems at the same time! Just tell them your postal code is:
...which is the code for Santa Claus' workshop at the North Pole.
Just think! As the poor statistics sorters sift through mounds of boring data, their faces will no doubt brighten as they see that Jolly Old St Nick's helpers were indeed busily working their way through the stores, stocking up on goodies for the holiday season. Just Imagine the glow on executives' faces when they see in the reports before them incontrovertible evidence that Santa's elves have been hard at work all year picking up toys, toasters, and tequila for good little children to find under the tree on Christmas Day. ^_^
Might as well save this reply for posterity; dollars to doughnuts says I'll have the chance to roll it out again all too soon.
Here's an archived version of Mika Schiller's post, if for some reason you are wont to subject yourself to it.
( Comment body... )
I am just now starting to come up to speed on the Ani DiFranco / plantation retreat thing, but...
If somebody says that a given person's slaves were "probably well treated for the time", and the insidious depravity of that statement doesn't immediately thump you on the head, perhaps this quote will help put it in perspective:
The cells of the Inquisition were, as a rule, large, airy, clean and with good windows admitting the sun. They were, in those respects, far superior to the civil prisons of that day.
That from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica's article on Thomas Torquemada[trigger warning].
A little while back, I was asked on twitter: if tech conferences are, for women, an experience that's dangerous at worst and uncomfortable at best, how do we go about fixing it?
This is rather a big question—basically akin to "how do we eliminate sexism in society?" Conferences are a microcosm of the larger world; they transmit most of its problems and amplify some to boot. That being said, I'm certainly happy to outline what I think some reasonable starting points for allies might be.( Read more... )
We got a sudden cold snap here in the Sault overnight, which reminds me of this story from back in the day.
For us, remembrance is a very abstract thing. Up there with ideals like heroism and valour.
Sacrifice is a very concrete thing. Like trying to get your goddamn frozen boots onto your feet yet again. Or being halfway around the world and years away from your loved ones, in a reality so far removed from your past life that it might as well be a different universe. Being sick every day. Or in pain, or worse.
It's a lot to think about as I sit here and watch the snow and wind blowing outside.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
A friend on twitter asked us to recommend interesting conferences, so I looked through my notes to see what I had. One event that I'd made a note to check out further was KalamazooX. The focus of the event is on "soft skills", so I was kind of surprised when I couldn't find a Code of Conduct on the site. The "What people are saying" section, on the other hand, made me raise an eyebrow:
"I've discovered @kalamazoox is a hidden gem. Today was like a braver, more profane set of dev-oriented TED talks. Lots of passion and humor."
"In a time where organizers are censoring speakers and their content, @mjeaton and @kalamazoox is a bastion of freedom. He is a luminary."
"@mjeaton @kalamazoox believes in the open exchange of ideas, however uncomfortable, and trusts humans to think, collaborate and create."
To be sure, though, I asked the organizers if they had a Code of Conduct via twitter, and got this reply:
@shadowspar We do not have a published code of conduct. Our entire conference is about communication, respect and passion.
I parse this as
( Read more... )
We don't feel as though we need a code of conduct, because we have a "culture of respect".
- be completely shitfaced drunk; and
- offer me a drink by offering to give me an actual beverage that is already in your possession. (Your intentions may be completely aboveboard, but I have no idea where that drink's been or what might be in it.)
I identify the problematic behaviour that's being called out.
I try to honestly and searchingly reflect on how much I manifest that behaviour.
If I do evince that behaviour, then I think about what I can do to improve.
If I can honestly say that I've substantially banished that behaviour from my life, then the comment doesn't apply to me, and I let it pass.
...aaand then as soon as I opened the page, I was all like OMG, THAT PAGE IS BEING GENERATED IN PART BY MY CODE NOW. :D :D :D
The answer is apparently "HELL NO" more often than one might expect!
The BIOS is too old to boot from USB.
The CD-ROM drive won't open on its own, and doesn't seem to recognize the contents of the Debian install CD, even after booting Windows.
None of the usual methods to boot Linux from a Windows partition are working for me. Take one last stab at getting grub4win to work for me, then reboot the machine, exasperated.
The CD-ROM drive suddenly decides to clue into Debian install CD that's been sitting in it all the while, for like the last dozen reboots. O_o ... woot!
I was damn sure that I was heading for PXE territory for a while there! :D
That being said, I am long tired of the assertion, either implicit or explicit, that if I choose to treat a condition I might have with medication, that I am somehow "selling out", or better yet, that I am merely a guillible, brainwashed pawn of "Big Pharma".
Big Pharma on Youtube.
Dr Glenn Richie: "I'm not willing to keep my cancer cure under wraps just because the government tells me to. I'll call my congressman." (grabs phone)
Ben Hayflick: (snatches phone away) "You just don't get it, do you." (slams phone down)
BH: "Who do you think runs Congress? Big Pharma! It's the big pharmaceutical companies, Glenn, that make all the big decisions!"
BH: "Big Pharma paves your roads. Big Pharma delivers your mail. Who do you think teaches your kids how to read, teachers? Try again. Big Pharma!"
BH: "Big Pharma took us to war in Vietnam, synthesized crack, and killed Kennedy. Big Pharma came from outer space, invented Ben Franklin, started a little company called 'The Internet'. And polluted the ocean with high-fructose corn syrup!"
BH: "We're everywhere, Glenn. Even this..." (grabs pill bottle) "...is Big Pharma."
GR: "The heart medication I give to my patients? Nooooo...."
BH: "Now, hand over the cure, Glenn! And start enjoying the soon-to-be-free public wi-fi, courtesy of Big Pharma!"
GR: "I'll pay for my own wi-fi, thank you very much!"
BH: "Let me put it to you this way, Doctor Ritchie! If this gets out there, you'll be suffering from an acute case of cancer yourself!" (cocks revolver) "Bullet cancer."
BH: "Ha, ha, ha....bullet cancer."
- cheese or cheese-like substance
Peel, cube, boil and drain potatoes.
Add cubed cheese, cheeze whiz, or what have you, while still hot, so as to melt the stuff.
Wait a bit to let the cheesy stuff melt, then mash it all together.
Add a bit of salt and a lot of black pepper. Stir well. Adjust to taste.
- ~ 3 cups flour
- 1 egg
- ~ 1 cup water
Mix together, turn out, and knead.
Roll out fairly thin and cut into squares.
To pinch perogies, first roll up a ball of the filling then place it in the middle of a square. Fold over to form a triangle, then pinch the edges together to seal.
To cook: Boil about 5 min. They're ready when they all float to the top of the boiling water. If you like them crispy, you can then pan-fry them.
To freeze: place them on trays, with a bit of space between them, and stuff them in the freezer. Once they've frozen, you can take them off the trays and freezer bag them. (If you just bag & freeze them, they'll stick together.)
My parents & grandparents usually served these fried in butter or bacon grease, with fried onions and bacon on top, and a generous dollop of sour cream on the side. That being said, there are untold numbers of variations. This recipe's pretty easy to bend to your whims, and perogies are traditionally peasant food, besides. If you want to make perogies filled with shallots and paneer, or refried beans and salsa, or whatever, go for it! The Perogie Police will not show up with a warrant for your arrest. The Perogie Preservation Society will not picket your house. Seriously. =)
Laundry piling up? Kitchen table overrun with junk? Recycling begging to be taken out? Too bad. Protecting my sleep is too important, and after having run all day since tumbling out of bed at 6:30am, I don't think one hour to myself is too much to ask for.
What I didn't know, though: naloxone (Narcan) will block that placebo-induced analgesic effect. O_o
If your kids get some of this headache-disguised-as-modelling-compound for giftmas, do yourselves a favour and throw it right in the trash.
War is a catastrophic event and there are no more ardent peacemakers than those of us who have experienced it.
:Ian Townsend, Secretary-General, British Legion
Going to be on the road for Remembrance Day today. What'll be going through my mind? That, ironically enough, the pacifist folks who are often derided as being unpatriotic and anti-military oft seem to be the only ones doing one of the most benevolent things you can do for the troops -- namely, asking the questions, "Do we need to go to war?" "Is battle the appropriate solution for this problem?" "What do we hope to achieve by 'sending in the troops'?"
We honour our soldiers and our fallen heroes by refusing to allow their service and sacrifice to have been made in vain.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
I've had a whole bunch of stuff going on in my personal life that's made it difficult to get in much practice. Despite this, my shifting is coming along shockingly well, at least relative to how much time I've managed to put into it. Starting to work on Bach's Minuets #s 1 and 2 from the first Suzuki book. They actually sound pretty good once I get everything together.
It's frustrating to feel like I could be progressing a lot faster if I actually managed to get organized enough to put more time in. Hopefully things will improve in the coming months, and I'll manage to do just that, so I can take off like a rocket. ^_^;