In honor of only two days of work this week as Holiday!Monday and Escapade Starts Thursday, I've been contemplating the more esoteric parts of my career, or more specifically, my least favorite part.

For those who don't know, I'm a Quality Control/Quality Analyst; my formal title is System Analyst IV, my job description is program testing, primarily, UAT, aka 'User Acceptance Testing' but have done and will do everything from unit testing to testing live in production literally during and after deployment. UAT is the last line of defense before a program is released in production, and our job is to break it with only the tools and general knowledge available to the average user of this program aka Everyman.

And when I say 'the program', that refers not just to 'one single program' but 'an entire program ecosystem that all work together to do shit'. We call the latter Integration Testing, which combines 'so breathtakingly boring even death avoids you when you have to do it' with 'astronomically high stakes'. For System Integration is literally repeating all your tests on those same damn programs (sometimes you're on your fifth repetition and resent key parts of the alphabet) but now while all programs are connected to each other.

In general, if there are problems, they're tiny; earlier testing of the individual parts of a program and then the program itself should have and generally does catch everything with a realistic chance of happening, quite a bit that realistically won't but possibly could, and some that is technically impossible but when you were on repetition three of the same set of ten to twenty goddamn tests, dev was naturally the target best suited to share your suffering. At that point, they were so goddamn tired of seeing your name on defects they didn't care if it was possible this situation would ever occur, they'd code as if it would happen every day just to avoid how rejection at end of business day inevitably meant that the first thing they'd see in their inbox the next morning would be a gratingly cheerful email that included an essay (and references) on why the defect was not only very possible but could cause the apocalypse if not fixed like right now please, sometimes with malice aforethought in thirteen point Comic Sans.

But I digress.

stress is both a constant and a variable )

...yes, I am doing integration testing this week. How'd you guess?
Friday, January 4th, 2019 07:15 pm

scanners hate me

I have complaints. So. Many. But also just this one that rules them all.

We have new ID/keycards at work. Half the people reading this already know where this is going.

About a month ago they replaced the scanners with new improved ones that only work if you flash your card at a specific spot for an arbitrary amount of time, unlike the old ones that just let you flash your card and be done. We got used to that.

The new card requires you be a fucking wizard. There is no right angle, or correct area or anything; there is only trying at various distances and angles and levels of frustration until it briefly blips green and you can go in. Every. Scanner. Does. This. Some require nine to ten tries. Tech, dev, testers, admin, it matters not; none of us can use the goddamn door scanners. By now, someone should have gotten it on the first try; no one has.

So that was my day of low-grade frustration and rage because there is nothing more lowering that working tech in a building in which the tech is fighting us and winning.

Also of note: Child stockholmed me into watching more anime, now stuck in Seven Deadly Sins. I am seriously considering getting the manga. This can't be happening.
So for years I adamantly and totally refused to watch Parks and Recreation because by policy, I don't watch shows about people in public service for any reason, especially comedies. I have yet to see one that wasn't baseline mean.

(Though honestly, dramas are worse.)

Not by design, either; that's what made it frustrating, because public service is absurd. They just didn't get why. It's like someone who wanted to make a good cake but hasn't seen one and only had a list of ingredients and a blurry picture to work from. And they didn't know how to bake but had once heard their mom talk about an oven and though she meant the microwave type.

So imagine my shock when I was in Netflix and flipped it on for background noise and then accidentally six of seven seasons. Truthfully, I can't tell you what this did differently except maybe everything?

parks and recreation more meta than spoilery )

Personal Note: The story of the TANF workers above? This actually ended up super-personal.

oh the tangled webs we weave when we don't lie and are kind of excitable )
Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 06:58 pm

things that go right

So last week and this weekend were--terrible, to be honest. Mostly the weekend, actually; the week was fine, but an emergency release went out at work and I was validating one portion when they brought up the system (there was a PDF of the entire nightmare) and when my time came (late, I expected) it failed (that, we didn't).

Finally by Monday it was up, but working Saturday and Sunday even from home is just freaking stressful when it's something like this. And I do take it personally; it's like, why, app, do you hate me? I may or may not have said that out loud over several days until Monday, when the failure fixed itself (no one can figure out what the hell; we just go with it).

Three things made this weekend and week not suck balls:
1.) downtoagincourt - there is a tumblr about my fic series! FUCK YES I READ IT ALL LIKE FORTY TIMES AND FAVORITED EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. Also, an amazing review here by bert-and-ernie-are-gay that I indeed do re-read. Like a lot.

I have no idea about the etiquette of reblogging really literate (more literate than the series, to be honest) reviews of your fic. Can you do that?

2.) Two tumblr uses liveblogged some of their reactions while reading. This is one of them.

Fireintheimpala here:
Gah, nonstop agony thanks to Down to Agincourt…maybe I should live blog my read of it for cathartic release…


Day 1,231: the destiel glacier is reported to have advanced 1.52 millimeters in the south. Scientists are being dispatched to test for possible measurement errors.

Day 3,456: the scientist have returned and bring with them exciting reports of moderate precipitation! Will this add to the mass of the glacier? Stay tuned.

Day 7,278: tragic news from the glacial front: a scientist has been killed! Though the surface of the glacier is by all measurable accounts benign–inert even!–inexplicable emissions of angst have increased. Eruption danger: Orange.

And here:
Down to Agincourt update.

Day 10,000 or so: I should have taken a break for smut, fluff, or single chapter episode codas 3,000 days ago. Now it’s too late. Now I can’t imagine these characters progressing to any sort of self awareness for at least, oh, 50 more years.

It's funny because it's true.

3.) I bought six inch heels and learned to walk in them.

My Relationship With Heels

I'm a switcher; I go through phases of wanting nothing but ballet flats or low mary sues, with various exceptions in various heels; my work encouraged it, especially when I was at the ombudsman's office where no denim allowed at all and business casual was barely casual. When I became a QC Analyst, however, the dress code was "not naked" and never again having only one pair of jeans because all my clothes income was for button ups, slacks, and skirts. Generally I devote myself to Black Widow and Batman t-shirts, hoodies, jeans, and semi-regular showering (and flats, comfy ones). I'm QC; there are very low expectations in our dress sense. Then I got a promotion (WHEE ME), and for no reason (I can't explain this), I kind of went crazy and bought dresses and tops to wear with jeans (or tights) and dragged out all my heeled sandals to gloat over (I. Don't. Know. But I now own five dresses, three pairs of skinny jeans (one glittery: GLITTERY) and two very pretty new work-appropriate sleeveless tops and adorable cardigan sweaters to wear with them.)

Which leads to the next part.

Last year, I decided to start training myself up again with heels without ending up with feet that will hate me all my life due to the purchase of a three and a half inch pair of kick-ass sandals that were viciously on sale (chunky heel, utterly gorgeous), a pair of wedges, and a cruel Fry's sale on adorable brown suede sandals. The chunky three and a half inch sandals took work, but seriously, they're adorable and had decent ankle support, and successfully did not die in them.

Last month, I saw a pair of stiletto booties and said "I'm getting me some of that."

And I also said, "And not kill myself wearing them." That part is important.

Luichiny Women's Hi N Low Boot, Size 10. Two inch platform, four inch shaft, so effective four inch elevation for my heel. They also look fucking amazing, not gonna lie, but they are not walking out clubbing shoes (my sandals, oddly enough, are).

Here's the thing; they are also my first real experience (other than at Vividcon) wearing stiletto heels and not chuck or wedges (and then I was also drunk, they were thigh-high boots, and Vividcon means miracles occurred when I jogged up and down the stairs).

Balance wasn't a problem--I'd been wearing my sandals once a week for a month to get used to the shift in my center of balance, fix my posture, and automatically align myself on top of my heels instead of the balls of my feet--but learning to walk was very new. Chunk, even with sandals, do generally allow a lot of leeway as long as my posture is correct; stilettos, I found, require perfect or nothing.

(Chunk with no platform also (gently) trained me out of one problem I have due to being a sprinter in high school and never getting over it; my weight when walking in shoes at all unless I'm thinking about it comes down on the outer ball of my foot, not the inner, around the fourth and fifth toe, and my heel doesn't come down often (almost never) when I'm walking fast, which I usually do. In flats and barefoot I still do it (and can afford to), but when I hit about two inches in a heel or any boot, I have to adjust and that takes practice to remember to do before killing myself. I still have to think about it when walking or yes, I will topple over like the saddest bowling pin in history and die or something.)

The nice thing with these boots is, they fit close; if you're not exactly a nine and a half (low end) or ten, though, the 10 will not fit (go to 11). I had to wear trouser socks to get my feet in and adjust, but they were literally a perfect fit, skin close but not painful or pinching other than foot adjustment time while walking until they shaped to the balls of my feet correctly. They also have fantastic ankle support, which I didn't realize would be so important but should have, since the entire strength of walking in them was keeping my ankle straight (and not trying to go up on my toes; it's almost impossible at this height, which helps).

After checking numerous websites on walking in heels, and trying many things to help the process of not dying (while being six fucking three in those things and gleefully staring over everyone's heads at work because I can do that), here is what I learned.

1.) Leaning backward does help like a lot. Centering my entire weight on my heel isn't really enough; without the backward lean, I pitched forward.

2.) Wearing them improves my posture one hundred thousand percent just on the strength of not wanting to topple over. Not just a straight back either; shoulders back, head up, stomach in, chest up, and I can feel the second I go out of alignment and fix it (because otherwise, death by heels).

This actually bleeds over to when I don't wear heels; I'm a slumper and sloucher and training myself out of that is almost impossible without sufficient motivation (ie, death by heels). The last two months have definitely helped in that much; I've noticed I don't slouch automatically (now it's by preference, really), and more importantly, I am aware of when my posture is bad because I know how it feels when it's good.

3.) Walking and staying alive I've mastered, but walking gracefully is still hit or miss and I usually stumble (sometimes literally) into doing it right (ie, the sweet spot). It's harder than I thought, but once I hit it, I'm fine for the rest of the day. I know it's a matter of how I'm shifting my center of balance and weight to the ball of my foot and using the heel only for balance, but it's not something I can do consciously yet. It's not a stride issue, either; long or short, something clicks and boom, I have the walk. Or it doesn't and I'm just terrifyingly tall and no one can stand against me. No one.

4.) Everything is much lower when one is six-three (I love those shoes), including people. I will not say that made me mad with power, but I won't deny it, either.
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 03:40 am

moment of zen

Fortunately, my job and how television portrays it (Quality control, aka program testing) isn't a subject for television because generally one hour drama doesn't focus on the minutia of a company building a program step by step because come on, that can be a multi-year process.

....with one exception.

I once ran across the dramatization of the dev process (montage-like) on TV and watched because it's kind of soothing to watch developers suffering (they're like a floor away from me and I've had a bad week, okay?) until we got back to real time and I promptly lost my mind.

A Summary of the Horror:
They're like "almost there after weeks of (montage) work, oh noes there's a null character mcguffin plot reason thing must get it out like right now tonight no waiting!" or something like that, how do you even know this you just finished the last line and haven't compiled it...hold up, where are the design docs, I haven't seen any since this started, how are they--and they're all scanning the source code--scanning a million lines of source code with their eyes ON SINGLE MONITOR WHY, not even using a search algorithm--who does that, what kind of fucking IDE are you using, why don't you have color enabled to make this easier, wait, that looks like microsoft notepad with the background painted black-- "OH FOUND IT FIXING IT NOW" wait, no, did you erase something and then hit enter that's a new line, but go back, problem, the mcguffin wouldn't be in there, that's in a class file, why are you--hold up, what language is this-- "Okay, compiling now!" holy shit did you just-- "Almost done!" wait, what, no, you can't do that, you don't fly edit your code (that did like magic or word processing, they weren't clear) have you ever heard of debug or like-- "Okay, done, send it--" IN TEN SECONDS REAL TIME THAT WASN'T A MONTAGE "--to whothefuckever we can start distribution like next week awesome going to hawaii!" WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING YOU DIDN'T EVEN RUN IT-- "Everyone go on vacation now bye!" NO NO YOU UNIT TEST SYSTEM TEST USER ACCEPTANCE LAST HAS TO CHECK FOR MEMORY LEAKS AND LOAD AT LEAST RUN SOME AUTOMATED SCRIPTS WHAT ARE YOU DOING DID YOU EVEN CHECK TO SEE IF IT EVER WORKED IN A REAL-TIME ENVIRONMENT BECAUSE YOU MACHINES ARE SET TO IDEAL CONDITIONS NOT THE WILDS OF PRODUCTION--

I'll spare you the rest--they say when the trauma becomes too much, the memory's blocked so sanity can be retained--but one thing's really just bothering me here.

In this ultra-tech, totally pro too many coffee cups suspiciously unstained and without chips or being shattered against the wall and no crumpled up design documents because the analysts are sadistic fucks and will give you three contradictory rules and don't understand how to use Visio or the concept of driver flow...all the super-cool computers only had one monitor each.

I get it now.

This is about a desperate dev team torpedoing the project due to hideous working conditions, inadequate equipment, lack of support personnel, and no design documents because they were set up to fail by an evil CEO who wanted to cut corners and get rid of the entire dev department to bring in an alien design team from Mars (who secretly plan to conquer the world because even aliens wouldn't agree to this nightmare unless they had another motive entirely) and now it all makes sense!

this is totally what happens next )
Things that are both weird and true: three quarters of my skillsets and knowledge base are quite literally pleasant side effects. There is quite literally nothing--and I do mean nothing--I learned by saying "I'd like to learn x, it sounds cool." I start with "I really need this; how do I make it happen?"

At work, people are generally wondering what the hell, because three quarters of the time I'm just the vaguely there employee who hates mornings and generally doesn't make extra work for anyone. In other words, functional, forgettable, and whatever. I don't mind, trust me; it helps, lets put it that way.

Then there's the other one quarter.

yeah, and about that )
So, to renew my habit of posting here more than once every three months (other than for fic):

I applied for a promotion at work, interviewed for it a week from last Friday, and got offered the position today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Yes, I accepted after staring at my manager and sub-manager like 'what?' Because I am really smart like that.)

The hilarious part is that during my interview, one of the interviewers (who is my lead) asked a question off script.

all about me and job, very boring a lot of digressions, it's been that kind of a day )
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 06:18 pm

absolutely nothing

So today at work was Foodapalooza, or Fourth of July (minus two), which as usual was a gut busting success where the food coma started at 10:30 AM and proceeded for the rest of the day.

Generally, participation is always high when we do these, because one, everyone likes to eat, and two, we have a lot of dietary restrictions (kosher, vegetarian, vegan, and no beef) so meat dishes are discreet from vegetables whenever possible. This also means we have not just variety but massive amounts of each variety because the universe loves us when it comes to food.

Which is how I ended up eating my weight in fried chicken, a chickpea dish (whole chickpea, not hummus) I would kill people to get to, lemon rice, chicken enchiladas, a tangy lentil mix that looked like refried beans and tasted like what I'm sure Heaven serves in the buffet line, a two gallon crock pot of cheese dip, and a huge massive tupperware dish of a spicy rice and vegetable dish I didn't get the name of but will bear more offspring to find again. That was Round One, by the way: we won't speak of rounds two, three, four, or the Holy Shit Dessert Are You Kidding Well Okay Sure course, and the Drink and Dip Annex where the sodas tea, chips, and dip were stored.

Like I said, participation is high, and we had stealth people from different units helping us get this done. We just feel as a group that it's an insult to leave a single item of food in a dish, you know? We don't let that happen.

In other news, Duolingo is adding Irish to it's roster of languages soon as well as Dutch. The only reason I'm mentioning this is for the Dutch; the day I found out about it, I was talking to a coworker who--completely randomly--told me she wanted to learn Dutch because she and her husband were retiring to the Netherlands when they were ready to retire. She was interested to find out this.

The universe is strange, and I'm in food post-coma; lethargic and vaguely wanting cookies. It happens.
Doing two months of MEPD training in two weeks means after the first week I have no idea what my name is anymore, but I can figure out eligibility for MSP programs with a pencil and a determined expression (and uh, a client).

This training isn't for caseworkers, but for the help desk staff who answer questions from caseworkers and other staff about problems they find with the eligibility program. Testing was offered slots in the class, so me and a coworker both signed up, and it's been deeply fascinating. Policy is fascinating, no lie; I had no idea there were so many kinds of burial resources, and not kidding, that section on resources was insane.

MEPD, in case anyone is curious, is Medicaid for the aged and disabled. Usually people think nursing homes (institutionalization), but that's only one type: among them are MSP (Medicare Share program) which pays the monthly premium on Medicares Part A and/or Part B, CAD, which is a program that gives home health care to clients if they don't qualify for MSP and the function of which is to delay or prevent institutionalization of clients but instead let them stay in their homes, CBA, all the SSI's, and several community based programs. Generally, nursing home care is the care of last resort if possible; the goal is to make it easier for clients to remain in their own homes. Interesting note: the elderly, even the very elderly, do much better at home than nursing homes, even very nice ones, and a lot of programs are geared to extend their time at home as much as humanly possible.

This is where I do my random reminder that if you live in Texas and want a job that I guarantee you will change lives every day you go to work and help people for whom you will be sometimes their last resort, consider applying for a Medicaid Eligibility Specialist or Texas Works Advisor position with HHSC.

Openings are here.

Generally, a college degree isn't necessary until you get to the higher manager and directorships. Starting with a clerical position can and will get you a heads-up within six months to caseworker (also, clerk is fun, no lie), and Worker III, which is just below supervisor, can be done in as little as two years and supervisor in three. And inter-agency hiring is legion; from there, there's pretty much an entire world of jobs with the state to make at least this part of the world a little better. Many jobs with HHSC prefer or require caseworker/eligibility specialist experience.

Training is two to three months; you go to class, eight hours a day, five days a week, where workers and specialists are guided through policy by trainers who were once caseworkers themselves--you don't memorize it, promise, we're not that cruel--and how to use the eligibility programs. By the time you're done with training, you will be able to take a pencil and a worksheet and calculate benefits for any program you've been trained in within ten minutes. Within one month on the job, you can read an application and know before you even start if they're likely to qualify and what they qualify for. I trained 10 years ago; I can still do it on a glance, though I need the income limits charts somewhere nearby. After one week of MEPD training, I can do it for CAS, MSP, and several of the waiver and post-SSI programs, though without the full two months, I wouldn't since it's slightly more complicated than that.

It's not a hard job, but it's one you have to learn. You'll be taught not only policy and how to use the programs we use to determine eligibility, but how to interview, how to look up and access information, what kind of questions to ask, and most importantly, the first thing I learned: my job is to approve people for benefits and get them the help they need. My training was to make sure I could do that the best I could.

After training, you'll be assigned to an office where you'll be given--and this will drive you crazy--two (or four) cases a day for two weeks, after which you go up to three or four (or six) for two weeks, and so on until you get to what's considered a full load. If you're like me, you'll start sneaking up to the front desk and stealing walk-ins within two days and secretly working them while your supervisor sighs and pretends not to notice. If you're in a call center, your supervisor won't ask questions; we're that overloaded.

Throughout your time on the job, you will be send to periodic training for changes in policy, in budgeting, federal law, et al.

We have high turnover; the caseload can be ridiculous, and working with the poor, the disabled, and the elderly can be difficult when you can't get them the help you know they need. However, this job is one of those I can say with certainty that you being there will assure more people get benefits the first time they apply. People get overloaded, there's too much to do and too little time to get it done; that's a problem. More people doing the job--you doing it--means that many more people get their benefits faster.

A lot of jobs will say you will be helping people. This one, you will literally be watching it happen as you do it. My caseload was between 10 and 18 people each day with an extra thirty or forty children's Medicaid I'd certify each month; during Katrina, I saw more than that. My approvals outnumbered my denials by a huge margin; every day, the world was made better by ten to eighteen people getting what they needed to live their lives.

That's 2,400 to 4,300 people a year whose lives you could be changing. You want to change the world, this is a very good way to start doing it.
Saturday, January 11th, 2014 05:44 pm

many things at once

It's 72 F in Texas, after hitting a boggling 17 F a week ago, which I get is nothing compared to the Deep South and Northern US, but was in a word freaky.

To clarify )

Reading about Atlanta and Nashville and Winnipeg (aka, The Place That Got Colder Than Fucking Mars, Holy Shit) and checking in with friends in New York and Chicago (IM: "TELL ME IF YOU ARE A POPCICLE PLEASE"). Luckily, cousins around the country checked in with various relatives--some for the first time in about a decade--to announce they were still alive and give us a narrative of their lives and times, so apparently the Polar Vortex brought family together. I honestly had no idea some of my great-aunts and uncles were still alive, or that they knew who we even were, since the last conversation I remember having with them was about thirty years ago at my paternal grandfather's funeral. They are all well and my, it's cold.


At the moment, not much, but that changes as of these coming weeks. We're doing an Oracle update, which means a full--and I do mean full--regression of all functionality, which includes SQL queries for database functionality, which as I foolishly learned SQL, I may also be called in for that. One of the big problems that came up during downtime was database mismatching, which is kind of the nightmare scenario for testing.

very boring work minutia )

Learning SQL seems to have been a mistake; now I know enough to worry about a whole host of new things and how they can go tragically wrong.


Because I need to cheer myself up. These are exclusively by way of Pandora, because I ended up buying a subscription and now wonder how I lived without it. And so revoltingly easy to buy a track when you really like it. Damn them.

Sooner or Later, Matt Kearney - he seems to be growing on me, no idea why. Maybe it's the striped shirt?

Wrecking Ball, Miley Cyrus - Dude, judge away. I can't even tell why I like this one, but it got into my work playlist somehow. Goddamn Pandora.

End of All Time, Stars of Track and Field - Okay, I forgive Pandora everything; I love this song. It drew me in a week before Christmas and went onto my home playlist for regular melancholy brooding at the stars and whatnot.

What a Shame, Shinedown - I think they're officially hitting critical on the number of tracks to qualify as a favorite band. The only thing that makes sense is that I need a harder rock presence in my life or something to leaven out the alt. I have no idea.

Face Down, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Another Pandora find. It's definitely not subtle, but the beat is seriously awesome.

Show Me What I'm Looking For, Carolina Liar - I love them. I love them.

I Lived, OneRepublic - So continues my shocking descent into loving OneRepublic. It only took like, ten years?
Friday, August 16th, 2013 06:57 pm


Okay, so this build at work is kind of destroying my sanity. However, the duckling testers are awesome.

the new testers: life and times )

Okay, so work. This is gonna be fairly short yet terrifying.

work work work )

This week I have to finish writing my tests for the next build, try to pass everything that's still open this build (I'm going with a hopeful 85% pass), because as of August 24, I'm on vacation for ten glorious days, some of which will be spent with my family and extremely adorable Infant Niece, my officially as of this next week kindergarten Niece and Nephew, and my still-preteen Niece, and God help me, a high school junior Child. Which is insane. Just--what the hell.

I also get [personal profile] niqaeli for four entire glorious days! So you know, get through this week. I can do that.
My least favorite time to write anything is when I really have something to say. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it's true, and this is why; when I do have something to say, that rarely if ever coincides with any desire to talk about it, which sets up a conundrum in that everything else piles up behind it. As many a apocryphal mother has said, you can only eat one bite at a time, except that would end with choking and a tragic yet easily preventable death when you have too many bites and don't get with the program, while this just ends in not being able to talk about anything at all. Or at least, nothing that makes much sense. It does lead to a lot of uploading old Smallville fic to AO3, so if you're curious, almost everything is there now.

TW: abuse, alcoholism, etc in part two.

this is what I'm not talking about, part 1 )

this is what I'm not talking about, part 2 )
Apparently This Matters: The worst time of day for work
(CNN) -- A lot of people don't know this, but for every 30 minutes of legitimate work, all employees must be allowed one full hour of Internet cat videos.

People who don't know that the internet at work is for cat macros need to understand: they block porn and gaming websites. It could be argued--and be totally wrong, but hey, let's see who contradicts me--that macros were a socially-progressive, dynamically charged form of civil rebellion against the corporate fat cats--(is it backshadowing if I use this after the mention of the cat macros?)--in the pay of the Illuminati who control the government and want to deny us the god-given right to stare at the beauty of the human form au naturale because society, economy, morals, communism, reasons.

(Later, we added DYI demotivational macros, because if we're gonna be at work anyway, it's not like we had much motivation to lose, and it combines surprisingly well with cats.)

And that's how Tumblr was born. All because of cat macros and server-level software that reported on us if we tried to disable it on our work computers.

This has been a True History of cat macros. And Tumblr.
Oh, for people who need teapots, especially for work:

Adagio Teas teapot - it holds plenty of tea, it is ridic easy to wash, and it's infinitely storeable. Only warning--when full, pour very carefully at first, I have no idea why, but it will leak a tiny bit. I've been using it at work for about a month and it's kind of perfect, but it does get hot, especially the lid, so I use a pencil to maneuver it off to remove the tea when it's done seeping.
My ducking is now making fun of me in three languages, and at least I have a fighting chance with French and Latin, but his first is Fon, which he swears he's calling me a very nice tester, and like, I can't call him a liar, because how would I know, but I'm suspicious. Also, there is no way to ask him to speak clearly into my phone so I can see if google translate will confirm, since he looks terribly innocent and then I feel uneasy, because thing is, he would be saying that all this time just to see my reaction and you see where this is going.

I swear I am tempted to refresh my college Russian just to see what happens, but that feels like admitting some kind of really strange kind of defeat or this becomes a really unnerving kind of linguistics war, and while education is never wasted, I don't see this ending any other way than both of us abusing the internet to find ways to be nice to each other in languages the other person doesn't understand, which--I mean, there's something wrong with that. I don't know what, but it's just there.

OTOH, my duckling is still more awesome than all ducklings, and I could be totally prejudiced in his favor, I did have a moment of pride when one of my coworkers mentioned he got the same look on his face I got when a test failed and you have to start over--that would be, one part wtf, two parts, you're kidding, a half-part I am not paid nearly enough to deal with this, and a tiny part, how would this respond to some part of this computer being set on fire? Which is of variable size depending if this is retest 1 or 8--it can get larger.

This build is a lot more fun with all the new testers involved, no matter how frustrating it usually would be.
This post was going to begin with something work related, but then as I was getting ready to type, I realized that I didn't--technically--know all the types of metaphors, and also, this leads to a fan moment IRL.

Specifically, Common Types of Metaphors, which I feel needs a new category; specifically, metaphors using common metaphors from pop culture. So I can cite this at some point to people who have never seen House and I can feel smug, instead of uncomfortably aware these people really don't watch enough TV, when I say, "That is my new duckling!" at work.

Per usual, it took me several seconds to realize their expressions indicated they were looking for infant fowl, not y'know, one of the new testers.

So someone get on that, please. Metaphor that depends on a metaphor and the circumstances surrounding its use in pop culture. I like 'pop metaphor'.

Also, I have a duckling! Due to my lead being--herself. and I love her--I was assigned one of the ten new sort-of-temp-testers, if you can call a minimum year and a half contract temp. They were hired and paid for by our vendor but work with us, which leads to about half of us assuming we're training them to take our jobs, which is possible but woudl increase the suicide rate by ten people if they expect ten testers to do the work of almost forty and who they were hired specifically to supplement.

So I--and the other ten testers with our ducklings--introduced them around and made much of them and currently Duckling is on a donut reward system of the future, as while I do not have donuts now and cannot guarantee when they appear, the number he receives depends on his good behavior. He's like, three negative donuts right now, and in addition, I will deliberately feed all the other ducklings donuts in front of him if he goes on like this, which I suppose means we have a pretty good working relationship.

Also, and I do not say this lightly, I got one of the best ducklings. Another one--not mine--I worked with was methodical to the point of insanity, and didn't seem to hear me telling him anything unless he had a question and agreed with my answer after a lot of thought. Mine is bright, willing, sarcastic as fuck (we bonded) and to my growing interest, is already developing a testing style of his own, which I approve of a lot. One of the bigger mistakes is to either a.) take your mentor-type-person's--your Duck Hen, if you will, though no, I'm not using that so that's the last time I'll say it--style as your own with slavish devotion and repeat all their mistakes or not know why some of it you do, or b.) take up the idea of Best Practices like you plan to start a cult and recruit followers.

testing in the new age )
So I had an interview Thursday. I don't expect to get the job--this one is definitely going to be decided a lot on tenure--but I went ahead and applied because it's been a while since I applied for a job and since I really do like what I'm currently doing, it wasn't a big deal. Plus, I felt my interviewing skills needed a brush up.

This interview did not go as expected.

really, not at all )
Mostly for my own sanity, the reason why I ended up ordering new boots from Amazon in a fit of retail therapy due to work. They are goddamn awesome boots, and just wearing them made me feel better as a human being, so.

In this entry, I said that two weeks of work was basically scrubbed. That's inaccurate.

it's actually a lot worse )

In case anyone is curious, I went for an eye exam earlier today and during the process there was a period of intense light per eye that has since developed into a headache that eased off just in time for me to reach terminal insomnia. This is fun for me.
Work on Call

Being on call for sudden, inexplicable testing (I literally do not know why they want me on call or what it is that might be tested. That could be a problem should they text me. Strangely, they didn't seem to think so) is possibly second in boredom levels only to those days we have REALLY IMPORTANT TEST TO RUN AT NOON and you're still waiting, breath bated, at two wondering if you can dial it down to defcon three now because that level of alertness is both exhausting and weirdly frustrating. This happens a lot with REALLY IMPORTANT TESTS, you see. And you can't move an inch from your computer because inevitably, once it starts you have a narrow window to finish the test due to reasons and life as we know it will end if you fuck up, so no pressure or anything.

I don't object to testing on weekends. Much. I object to being at defcon three for twenty four hours because REALLY IMPORTANT TEST NARROW WINDOW FUCK UP END WORLD and I still don't even know what it is we are testing. It involves, I understand, mass update triggers and batching. And possibly skynet and Romulans destroying Vulcan and soylent green.

I have a feeling this is a preview for what the Oracle update is going to be like. Oracle updates require teh equivalent of simple regression testing, ie we just do a lot of tests we always do to make sure nothing is legitimately broken, you might say, because there are not just levels of broken, there are shades within those levels. One of the most important is how long will the goddamn tester argue this is a problem?

because I can )


Being bored.

Students, experts recoil at alcohol enema case - the only reason I'm even mentioning the weirdness of this was that for the life of me, I knew I'd heard of something like this before. I realized just a few minutes ago it was Law and Order: Criminal Intent, specifically about a woman who organized hen parties (bachelorette parties, I think?) and she'd been using cocaine vaginally, which killed her, but at least did not involve an enema.

mild tmi anecdata )

Also, Bullied Teen Gets Last Laugh - if you need something heartwarming, read this.

ETA - thanks to [personal profile] green_grrl for the link:
Sikh Woman Teaches Reddit a Lesson in Tolerance - I can't think of what to say to this but amazing. She's amazing.
“When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are.” - Balpreet Kaur

Last Notes

Oh look, still not called. This is going to be a long night.
Work hates me. I'd actually go into detail on this, but the detail is boring. However, I can detail that the build after the one I'm currently testing I was (ridiculously) worried that all five of my assignments seemed smaller than I'd been given recently and my lead had taken teh two biggest. Please shut up; I know what you're thinking. Anyway, I worried I hadn't done a good job with the last huge build etc adn faith had been tested in my work, because when I'm not overworked this is the shit I think up, and then realized one of them was testing the Oracle update.

I have never, I think, actually talked about the last Oracle update. I wasn't directly responsible for planning the testing, as I wasn't in this section of testing. I also possibly blocked it out in horror. People talk of it in whispers. Loud ones.

I can't tell if this is proof that there is faith in my work or a hope I'll finally snap.

also, people ask me things )

also, work is moving us )

I'm hoping to get Monday off for reasons and this week so far is not shaping up to go well at all. Also, I'm reading during breaks the most horrible Pride and Prejudice spin-off series I have ever had the misfortune to see, and yet I keep going. I can't explain it except okay, one scene: a Transylvanian princess and a Japanese samauri whose boyfriend committed seppaku with her husband's help during her and her husband's run from her murderous father and end up in Japan after fleeing through St. Petersburg and spending time with a famous Jewish philosopher in possibly Siberia have a swordfight in the middle of the road in Derbyshire on a theoretical point of honor. Also, the husband's brother is married to Caroline Bingley and they sekritly adopt the illegitimate son of the Regent (her husband's boss) and a dying prostitute. And a Scotsman swung from the ceiling of Pemberley in a kilt to rescue Darcy from the Scotsman's murderous younger brother and later ended up marrying Georgiana. I cannot make this up. And this is like, not even the least believable.

Honest to God, these are not well written (at all, even by accident) and kind of hideously anachronistic in various ways, but I read this just to wonder what is going to happen next.
Trufax: the day before a major deployment at work is stressful.

Trufax: yesterday me and my boss mused if we shouldn't be so hard on dev, being as a.) obviously they'd never seen a computer before and b.) probably lacked opposable thumbs.

Trufax: my very first supervisor in the agency is now supervisor of a different unit that is equivalent pay to ours and was poaching in my unit with my lead. I made my feelings on trying to lure away my lead clear. Because I do not say this lightly, our entire section will collapse and die forever if she does. He laughed at me. Goddamn him for being awesome.

the state is kind of like this )

The deployment was tonight, and they already scheduled people to come in tomorrow due to anticipating how badly this is probably going to go. By the grace of God I am not one of them this time.
My Weekend

Saturday - Prince Birmingham the rabbit makes a break for it by leaping wildly over playpen fence and is captured. Rain the rabbit dug his way out of his playpen and under the fence to run far, far away.

Sunday - Prince Birmingham is depressed. Rain returned, apparently offended by the world not being what he expected.

Like, I have no idea of Rain's expectations of the world here, but sometimes, I wonder about his planning skills.


First day back after bout of pneumonia, long and tiring. While I was gone, we both gained and received an employee. Also, we may or may not be moving and may or may not be doing so with a change in our cubicles to a sort of pod formation. Seriously, nothing happens at work for months, I leave for a week and it's all CHANGE EVERYWHERE. Also, teh new place may have only one fridge. It's stressing.

Friday I discovered that our sharepoint individual sites at work have their own wiki-esque thing, where one can paste in entire Excel test scripts and create tags for them. To say that was the best thing to happen to me since January says something.

Okay, almost the best. Third best, let's say.

The second best thing was that this build is over and the next build is light. To combat this, the next build is light because the build after that one is going to be like this one, and God help me, I am going to be testing the arrival of IE 8 as the state browser of choice for eligibility programs.

Note about the wiki, however; my supervisor wandered over and I excitedly showed her wikiness, because I've really wanted a way to organize the last four years of tests and yeah, this will take a while. She stared at it and then at me.

Her: Will people see this?

Me: No? *realization* Oh, no, I'm not blogging on this. This is to organize my tests.

(Note: there is also a sharepoint blog for each employee. Hilarious.)

Her: You're sure?

Me: If I blogged under my name in public, I'd be nice.

Her: I've read your defects. They're also public in the agency.

Me: No, no worries; when I blog in public, I never do it under my real name.

As you can probably guess, everyone felt so much better hearing that.


So far this morning [ profile] svmadelyn has been receiving offerings of depressing CNN news from me in lieu of staring at the wall vibrating with impatience.

I've felt super distracted for a few days, and I can't really explain why except for the fact I apparently skipped out about a week of thyroid medication somehow, which even for me is strange, because--and if you have a thyroid condition, you know this--going off for too long is like an instantaneous attack of Famine combined with the attention skillsets of a magpie and hard insomnia fighting the good fight against wanting to sleep all the time.

Okay, that last part is new; I didn't know my body could do that, or do it so bizarrely, combining periods of half-sleep with unbearable awakeness with some kind of near-coma that covers a period of time long enough and still enough to wake up with everything--and I do mean everything--hurting, especially my back.

It's not that I have ever modeled healthy sleep patterns--my very first bout of depression in my teens means I still don't trust sleep entirely and I'm not even going to pretend at least half my insomnia problem is pretty much entirely subconsciously training myself to ignore it until I can't anymore.

I'm saying, I feel very, very weird.

So Yeah

So this is going to be very cute, so I need you to brace yourselves before clicking. Because it's been four years, okay, and I can do this.

so my mom was at this place and found this thing )
So a week ago, we got word that the deployment would be delayed an extra two weeks, which one might assume was because it doesn't work, and boy I wish I had that kind of faith. At this point, I feel it's more likely that it was ordered by the Illuminati than anything reasonable like rationality was involved.

the benefit of the doubt )

My work related rant for the week.

Interesting, I realized it's been about four months since my last episode of hard depression; I'm frustrated and tired and angry about work and everything, but that's actually a positive sign.

It's been two years and three months since I realized it was happening, and ten months since it began to lighten, and four months since the last time I couldn't even breathe deeply because the effort seemed wasted.

whatever, this is just a cut )

Code freeze is Monday, which means that it should be a weekend of some kind of breakdown, because dude, prime time ready it is not. I can always tell my stress level by whether or not I voluntarily ask a coworker for a condescending or sarcasm check when filing defects; when I have to do it three times in one day because I genuinely can't tell how normal people argue that a scrollbar should scroll, being its functionality (you would think that wouldn't even need a defense, wouldn't you? No, I had to actually explain this when they were trying to withdraw it).

malice for high quality job performance )


I'm staring at 110,000 words of fic that has come to the point of worrying me. To be fair, I usually don't have a really hard time with length because by this point, the end game is in sight, or at least, telescopically viewable, and I'm writing toward a defined goal. I'm really not right now. Right now, I'm writing toward diy solar panels, which I tricked Child into researching for me pretending he would do his next science fair project on them. Which I suppose two for one?

I'm just weirded out by this )
I will be talking about work when I have words that aren't exclusively used in a famous George Carlin routine; having said that, and with the understanding that I do not approve of shoddy programming, I have to admit that there is nothing quite like writing up one line defects because they are so painfully obvious I can literally say "See subject line for details". I was told that is condescending, so yeah, I'm back on condescending watch by sympathetic coworkers so I do not accidentally tell a developer that as a child, I collected eggs from the henhouse (no, I really did, we had a short affair with chickens that ended in coyotes) with a higher level of sentience.

The thing is, you have to know your audience when you make sassy remarks.

Example: early in Child's development, I decided that the only way I would be able to deal with asking teh hard questions (are you sexually active? Did you build a bomb in teh bathroom? What the fuck is with all those carefully filled holes in teh backyard? Why for the love of God do you have cream of tartar in your bedroom?) by effectively reversing lifelong conditioning to filter. The growing pains of doing this did lead to our first sex talk with Child worriedly wondering about the eggs in the refrigerator and nesting (no, really, I wrote about it here; I made a lot of LJ parents feel really competent), but since then, my social conditioning has effectively been compromise, which is how I end up with a condescending-checker when I send certain emails to certain people or file certain types of defects. Once you have forced a meaningful talk on your child explaining the ways and means of condom use, offering demonstrations on various vegetables, and forever codewording raincoat so he never, ever feels entirely comfortable when weather is a conversational topic, pretty much everyone is fair game.

Which again, why I have coworkers check my email in case I am truthful about my feelings in metaphors not entirely suited to conversation or possibly, anatomy.

More people need to try this.

In general, it is far more likely that you can get your frankly medically dangerous, not to mention fucking ridiculous bill on requiring women to carry a stillborn child after twenty weeks because it's natural to be listened to if you don't phrase your concerns at any time by comparing it to the time you helped cows and pigs give birth.
“Life gives us many experiences…I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive. Delivering pigs, dead or alive. It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.”

This is equivalent to the Republican candidate of a few years ago who expressed his own wild and woolly days actually getting down with that which owns wool and baahhhs. As apparently, he was of the opinion this was something men do when they are young, carefree, and that ewe was gagging for it (metaphorically speaking).

(Note: no, really.)

My point is, know your audience does not, in general, possess four legs and give birth in straw in a barn like structure; they will not feel this is the best method of achieving your goal of a.) literally killing women due to medical neglect, b.) promoting anti-abortion, but it may achieve c.) reminding me we have enough bacon for a sandwich because I'm starving. Which yeah, that hit the spot.

The War on Women is being fought across the country by people who, quite literally, need the equivalent of a condescending-checker. Do not tell them that. I see no reason to refuse them weapons with which they so brutally shoot themselves; admittedly, it's the equivalent of watching a SAW marathon being carried out in the public forum (messy!), but think of all the comedians whose careers are being made by this, the comedy club revenues, the expansion of the economy, and any hope this particular spate of legislation will last.

The free market in action. We are living the dream.
Recycling Tip from gmail: You can make a lovely hat out of previously-used aluminum foil.

Every time I try to imagine life without gmail, I kind of twitch; no where else on the net freebases me spam recipes, literally. I don't even like spam (the food or the email), but it's just comforting to know that someone, somewhere, really did think Spam Jello Salad was a good idea. It wasn't, but still. Human imagination. Terrifying.

The first week of testing didn't formally start working until much later in the week due to testing things that aren't working, environmental failures, etc; you may not know this about me, but when something starts cascading in its failures--literally, me and K started competitive filing of defects--I hit a state of mind not unlike giddy, where I wandered through the cubicles whistling Taps (I have been told my whistling could wake the dead with its piercing quality) and singing Billy Joel, because We Didn't Start the Fire is so appropriate at that moment (we didn't REM until early afternoon when we started getting server errors). A developer and I did a high-five in my boss's cubicle when we got the very mother of defects; we lost all our web services.

(For the record: I hate web services. Everyone uses them, and they are just evil. One code problem there takes everything down like a house of very unstable cards. I mean, they are cards made of jello, that's where this is going. It works badly even in the ideal.)


Currently checking my top five and then my last twenty-five (nothing like iTunes for useless statistics to stare at blankly), I notice two key points; one, even if I was amnesiac abruptly, I would know I'm writing, because nothing says your creativity is awake like a mix of Pucifer, Switchfoot, Gregorian Chant, Dido, and the complete Linkin Park (don't ask). To be fair, thirty percent of my musical choices come from what vids I've been watching--that is how I ended up with a Dido album once upon a time, not to mention Britney Spears--but even that cannot excuse how Michael Bolton made my top fifty in a surprisingly shoot to the top of the charts. Fucking Jack Sparrow is screwing my stats.

Most recently, for various reasons, music purchases of the past month or two:

Scars and Stories, The Fray - to say I am beyond irritated is to understate the case. I like one song on here, and can listen to three without being overly annoyed, but Jesus, I was at eighty percent on their earlier albums and I bought their live tracks just to complement it. In general, I do not have those kinds of odds with any band, so I find it more than a little unsettling that this album isn't clicking. But I am grimly determined to learn to like it. The Fighter so far is my only repeater, and not that dramatically.

Trekka, Pucifer, V is for Vagina - they continue to be the band that I literally hate all of their music, then one day they come up and I listen and no matter how much I hate the song, I suddenly love it and need it like air. Yes, I do mean this is vidding's fault. Goddamn it. I did a twenty-five repeat and feel like I may or may not have had some kind of quasi-religious experience, but oh, so worth it. You know, when I stopped mourning the fact I will never have a universe beneath my heel while I gleefully conquer plants and blow up anything that doesn't bow to my will. It's that kind of a song.

The Unforgiven, Gregorian chant, Masters of the Chant V - not easy to find, but [personal profile] svmadelyn sent it to me so I wouldn't break into hysterics when I realized both iTunes and Amazon were failing me. Yes, vidder fandom, damn you all. Seven minutes and it's on one hundred repeats. The math is scary. The thing is, I like Metallica's original, but there's something just beyond unsettling about the translation into chant. This holds true with a lot of their famous covers, to be honest; I still feel deeply uncomfortable with the Bad Romance one. It should be funny; mostly, it feels vaguely dangerous, and makes me really wonder about monastic orders. Just saying.

Recommended: these two cut with Linkin Park. Very something. I'm not sure what.

Empty, Neverbetter, Still Feels Like You're Here - the best I can figure from my Genius six degrees, this is because of Theory of a Deadman and Absence of Concern (and 10 Years and 32 Leaves). Apparently, they're in the same family of semi-generic post-grunge return to no way is this classic Rock; it's more Rock that got its heart broken by emo and is using its guitar to express its pain in ways not necessarily compatible with the chords they're expressing, but. Unlike One Less Reason (Someday, let me show your lifeless body locked in my closet when you try to leave me because I love you too much), I'm not vaguely worried about anyone cutting their wrists with their guitar strings, so I can nod along and enjoy the not-emo. Also, I like this one.

Dare You to Move, Switchfoot, The Best Yet - this just makes me happy, mostly. Yes, vid fandom, this one I am happy to listen to like a lot, and not worried when I want to start breaking guitars with a whiskey glass because I don't have any eyeliner left to cry into smudges.

Jack Sparrow, The Lonely Island featuring Michael Bolton, Turtleneck and Chain - it is possible that this may be the greatest song in the history of vocal music. It has Jack Sparrow and Scarface. I mean, where do you go after that?

Any musical interludes to report? I need more now.
I have decided that there is no project on earth, professional, open-source, or non-profit, that is at all professional, ever.

As of today, I have written no less than sixty and no more than seventy and change tests for the massive redesign that I have been working on off and on since December. We started system tests (pre-tests) in january. We start primary testing Monday.

As of Tuesday, they 1.) randomly changed the driver flow in a very key place, 2.) randomly changed up the titles and text and 3.) pdfs stopped working for no reason and tasks arent' being created. All of my tests--that took me months to write and rewrite and polish--have to be rewritten.

For the record, I have owned archives, worked on archives, worked on projects, both in fandom and professionally and as a side thing when I got bored. Today when they told me of the horror that is my life, I asked "were they drunk?" and meant it. There is no godmod in fandom who can hit this level of loss of sense.

Then I said, "They are doing it worse than LJ." I have never, ever felt such existential horror as realizing that livejournal's ongoing breaks with reality are less utterly insane than the vendors writing our code. My four spent half the day talking me down, and I have spent the day writing up epic fucking level novel-length defects for this, I am so not kidding, and testing hasn't even started yet.

And they are still better than the previous vendor, so I just--here is what I have learned. Privatization sucks. I have yet to see any benefit at all whatsoever from paying someone to fuck up or letting us hire in house and fucking it up ourselves. At least if it was in-house, there would be a shitload of accountability both professional and also, us showing up to hate them. Accountability as far as state contracts go is more "Did Perry think you were really cool?" which is so fucked up this hurts me.

I have literally spent quality time trying to get my other BFF's husband to take a job with them and take over the project.

There is no excuse and no reason and no possible justification. The tests we write are to protect and help the most fucking vulnerable populations in Texas, people who cannot and do not have the power or even the chance to fight for themselves, and this is tiny, it's such a tiny part of it and not just in the scheme of things but in anything, but it's huge when it works because it's one of the few things that does and let's not lie to ourselves, we are living a Randian utopia and the only thing I am getting satisfaction from is the fact they hit seventy and medicaid is gleaming on the horizon, they have a goddamn religious experience with the value of the safety net. Our net is not a great one, and honestly none of them are all that sturdy, but a whole bunch of shitty safety nets means there's a better than average chance you can get a fingerhold in one of them before you hit the ground, or at least break your fall enough so you can stand up again. It makes all of so much less than we are that this is the best we can hope for. Rome pulled off this shit better.

It does not help that it takes them facing vulnerability to admit it exists; I do not forgive that it is not and never will be about others but always about themselves. I do not on a fundamental level of my existence get how anyone can decide that another person's pain is just not worth even the pretext of caring on the basic survival level of food, clothing, shelter, medical care; I am not even rarified enough at this point to imagine they would understand feelings here, I'm asking remedial level ability to work with the human experience of living; I don't forgive that lack within them either. I have this horrible, uncomfortable feeling that these kinds of breaks is how you get fanatics, and people, I am happy being lazy, but a fire could motivate me to move, and the metaphorical equivalent seems to be getting a lot larger these days and inertia is goddamn dangerous when motion is involved.

So my week, not good. There is the possibility that I will be taking cities in the name of a working social safety net program, so I'm taking applications for followers. Must have a working empathy, a strong desire to do good, and a fanatical desire to burn every copy of Atlas Shrugs you come across. I'm open to further suggestions on method, but I think I got the goal down cold.
I am kind of currently looking for a way to get customized stress balls for my unit that are like some kind of computer-related shape, are very squeezable and able to bounce without harm off walls, windows, or posibly other people's heads (by accident, of course) with our unit name on it. All the places I'm looking at require at least a minimum number of 100 or so or are really expensive. Does anyone have anyplace they've used or have heard good things about that have a much smaller minimum?

Help is appreciated, thank you.
I'm assuming, anyway. Please God. News this week did not get any better, so this is a weekend of sloth and reading and carefully faking a lack of worry, which isn't working as well as one might hope.

In less depressing news, for a random pick-me-up, [personal profile] lanning's Identical series is currently being read cover to--more covers. Because some days you really need to read something where the universe tries to play fair. Eleven stories, ~281,000 words, still in progress.
Monday, December 19th, 2011 02:04 pm

today in a life


I have never worked out if it is good form to rec podfic of your fic, but I finally had a chance to listen to some that I downloaded, and my God.

Fic: It's My Death, My Rhythm, My Arithmetic, AIRPS, Adam/Kris, AU
Podfic:It's My Death, My Rhythm, My Arithmetic by [ profile] reena_jenkins - I rarely creep myself out during writing, but this one was an exception. Reena dialed it up to eleven in the reading. Just. Whoa.

Fic: Marked, Smallville, Clark/Lex
Podfic: Marked by [ profile] reena_jenkins - I get weirdly self-conscious reading my own fic a lot, but listening seems to get it a remove from me enough to enjoy it. I so enjoyed this one. She also inspired me to add a few more fics to AO3 since this one wasn't up yet and I felt bad she couldn't link it properly.

Fic: The Tale of the Sea Serpent, Merlin, Merlin/Arthur
Podfic: The Tale of the Sea Serpent by [ profile] eosrose - this was such a fun listen. I love her voice.



For some reason, Cisco VPN stopped working entirely yesterday and even after reinstall, I could not get it to run. It kept not starting and I have no idea why. So had to go into the office for validation in the evening, and did two hours of COLA validation in an empty building. Child bravely came along and was disappointed to realize how boring it was to go through dozens of cases to validate that everyone receiving RSDI/SSI got their COLA update.

It wasn't bad, per se, just repetitive; open case, check dates, get calculator and do rough math to make sure the amounts were correct. Considering the horror that will emerge after the new year in testing, I am taking repetitive and a little boring to the alternatives.

about my unit's management team )

ETA: I forgot this earlier. Child's school introduced rugby to PE class. My child can play rugby. I can never send him to regular public school now.

...I am not knocking rugby, I'm just saying, that is not a sport I would have thought an American high school, even charter, would toss out there. For context, his school doesn't have organized team sports like regular public high schools; they have after school sports that competes--I think?--with other charter schools in our system. Soccer (yes, football, fine) makes sense since the founders are Turkish and a lot of the students are from immigrant families, some of whom have a colonial background* from Britain and other European nations, but I didn't see rugby coming. At all.

Also, he passed the semester with all A's and B's and kicked Algebra's ass, so for the record, my kid is deeply awesome and is currently glued to the X-Box engaging in parental-approved first-person shooter violence with friends on his headset. His kill ratios are superlative. I leave it to you to imagine my personal pride in his accomplishments.

more than slightly enraging )

ETA 2: Fixed link to podfic for The Tale of the Sea Serpent.
In a weird and honestly uncomfortably miraculous turn of events, the next build isn't scheduled to deploy until December. That's an entire two months away, and testing so far has been--dear God knock on wood--going well.

(I say this knowing that the next huge build will doubtless be assigned to us at the beginning of November, but--still. Since last year, it's been so ridiculously frantic a pace that this seems downright lazy.)

On the downside, we have auditors in the office. I am not clear on their function other than to watch us work--fun--and check our testing results. They are also on the other side of my cubicle wall which means I have been told, in small words (my God my coworkers know me) to keep my voice down at all times in hopes they won't hear my less than cheerful comments on the intelligence, ambitions, hopes and dreams, and probable non-human origins of the developers, the project managers, the vendors, and the entirety of the agency hierarchy. I'm actually more likely to cut the developers slack; they're programmers who have never worked directly with clients or in a capacity to understand what caseworkers do. But theoretically, the agencies high-ups have been caseworkers or at least seen one in the wild, so really, no.

I'm also having a bout of job satisfaction, which yes, it's weird, but there you go. Learning the program area I'm testing helped, but that most of that was due to the de facto head of that part of testing who a.) knows pretty much everything about it and b.) has an interesting habit not caring how many times she has to explain something, which makes her the only human being in history who doesn't mind doing that, and most of that, I think, is her understanding of the difference between being explained how something works and actually having to do it. Ie, explanations are good, but seeing is understanding.

Having skipped work (for legit reasons!) am currently loafing and resentfully noting it's still a month until my Kindle Fire gets here. Dammit.
I have come to the very uncomfortable realization that I am apparently adapting to breakneck release schedules; most recently, I was completely unalarmed when I had to do a requirements meeting a week before code freeze (aka, the last day that we can test and expect anything will get fixed before release). Requirements, by the way, are just a glorified numbered list of What This Particular Change to the Program Will Do.

testing is for people who love frustration )

I can't actually tell if I'm good at my job, but I'm pretty sure I'm competent at it, at least from how much I'm given to do (or you know, not a lot of people to do the work could also be a factor), but I do like the fact that more personal interaction with a few of the developers--and their willingness to respond quickly and willingness to listen and watch a demonstration of a problem before making a proclamation on it (surprisingly rare) has been far more effective than I ever imagined in regard to getting a working program.

slight personal digression on one developer )
So far my morning has consisted of:

1.) getting up
2.) staring blankly at a coyote a few feet away at work

In general, one does not expect coyotes to materialize near one at work while one looks on in an orgy of 'wtf' and 'why am I here' and 'seriously, a coyote?'. And yet here we are, with coyote. Currently severeal persons are eyeing the area out back suspiciously for further canine intrusions. least I am really awake now. There is that.
I just realized I've become exhausted having to think up some kind of intimate, personal connection with something to be able to express a strong opinion on why something I may or may not be working on is bad for clients/persons/women/children/non-computer people/etc. For the record, there should somewhere be a saying or old wives tale or something that says; "Altruism is a-okay. That means you have a working sense of justice and a soul. You do not need to be personally traumatized by this issue to say you think this is an issue and should be fixed. Do not require other people to exercise their entire life history to get a connection of some kind so they can say it sucks."

I know, that's way too long. I'm just saying, I need more fumbling but well-meaning people who overthink things in my line of work. I keep hearing about them out there, wandering about being well-meaning and occasionally clueless and they do a lot of recycling and protect salamanders, and maybe some overemotional, overinvested people--God, I would love some of those--who actually never met a person on welfare/benefits/disability/SSI but have all these feelings about it and pop out feeling very much client-advocate like a Lifetime movie. I love those people. I am so very tired of making myself into a model because I have managed just enough mistakes in my life for legitimacy; that shit is exhausting.

t minus two days until deployment of this build, new build in progress, god help us all )
...we are one week from release of two builds and all our environments--all our environments--are down.

One. Week.

Oh, and got our assignments for the next two. Which I don't care about, because I have a three day weekend and this weekend there will be nothing worky whatsoever.

And it's been two weeks since I last posted. You know, going to the beach in November no longer seems so much self-indulgent as a way to salvage my communication skills with people who are not developers. I wonder what that's like. *wistful*

In the meeting room, people keep breaking into song--choral and in key, even. It's very pretty and, I'll be honest, I'm pretty much terrified. I'm pretty sure there's a soprano soloist breaking out and seriously what the hell is going on in there? We don't have a chorus. I would have sworn all of us had our souls beaten out of us entirely. There is no singing in public service. There is drinking and various psychiatric treatment for public service.

...God, this is unsettling. There's at least half a chorus worth in there, and no random group of meeting goers should be that much in tune. If someone breaks out some instruments, I'm making a run for it.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 09:57 am

this is a cosmic joke

Work lost all water and we have no bathrooms.

This is not my life. For the fucking record.
I have achieved--don't ask me how--two SQL and one Oracle database. That are working. For what value of working there is when they all seem to be, well, less than perfectly easy to use or like, and this is less of a surprise than it should be, put data into.

Granted, I didn't think everything would be Microsoft Access Import and puppies, but I expected, IDK, a way to go about it that wasn't seven hundred steps or would take longer than hand-typing it. There was also the IDE issue; I could control the SQLs from MySQL workbench and Oracle from command line or Eclipse (badly), then NetBeans let me have all of them and true story, you can copy and paste tables from Oracle to MySQL.

You know, I'll be honest; I didn't expect that to actually work. Download the basic structure sans data from MySQL as a grab, reupload it to Oracle to set the structure, then copy all records and paste them. That shouldn't work--I mean, the gods of logic state if it is easy to do, it shouldn't work. Because that is disturbingly easy and wrong on a basic level of my understanding of the universe as it stands.

Well, easy as in, my current fastest way of getting data around is to import Excel to Access, add the primary key, export it to the local MySQL instance, grab and download the table structure and then import the structure to Oracle, then--copy and paste the data.

I just went to check and see--it's still there.

This is what I have learned so far:

1.) Everything works much better if you make no effort to read the installation guide or like, choose options with some kind of logic in mind. It took me three database tries to get one running, due to finally just defaulting everything. It seems to work? I am okay with this.

2.) Do not try to recreate work conditions by setting it on a network and try to access it as one would if one were at work. That way lies madness and hysterics. And rage. So much rage.

3.) Microsoft ODBC Administrator is more useless than anything in the world ever.

4.) I will be dead before I get environmental variables to work. I followed the instructions carefully and created them and promptly nothing worked. Thanks, variables.

At least my sql is getting easier, though conditional statements are getting on my nerves big time. I'm trying to create a simple generic variable-intensive script for fast querying and it just. Won't. Work.

In other news, this is what I do when I'm not at work; worry about work. This build is the first one that's scared me this much.
Worked all morning and honestly to God, I feel like I got nothing done at all. The only consolation is we're overkilling our documentation in hopes that when asked about this build, we can drop it all on their heads in horror.

I have a pile of print outs large enough to kill should it collapse on anyone. I am not saying I hope it is me; I am saying, I am not like, moving it to a less dangerous location.

The thing is, during, I'm fine, but when I stop, I'm exhausted suddenly, like I'm just saving it up until the second work is over and then it hits all at once, and I'm mentally wiped and just don't even feel like moving, much less thinking; otoh, was this a good week for amazon to release all those Roberta Gellis romance novels for sale? YES. That's called how I keep sane. Well, that and life-affirmingly fascinating email from [personal profile] domarzione, but that's about it.

During, I don't realize how little forward motion we're making because of the breadth of what we're testing; after, I keep staring at it and wondering why anyone doesn't see the impossibility. This is actually fantastic because I'm spending most of my waking hours testing and far fewer of them not testing, so the majority of the time, I am way too caught up in what I'm doing with each tree to realize the forest is reaching a practical form of infinite.

This is self-pity. Also, hopefully, a working crosspost.
To say work is trying to drive me crazy borders on a lie; I hit crazy last week and completed part of it today in a fit of sheer dark rage against the machine to create a document/application map.

explanation )

That is my work vent for the week. Since it is also my period, I am guessing my mood about this will take an upswing when a.) it's over and b.) I get a test to pass. Please God.
Years and years ago I dated a business/history major A Type overachiever--this is relevant--who was going to be a millionare by the time he was thirty or somesuch. Now he owns his own business that got featured in CNN, which makes me boggle because--I mean, wow, I was apparently really goddamn amazing in bed because I don't think we ever so much as shared a working thought. There's really no other explanation.

This is, in fact, something I ponder sometimes.

Anyway, he was also a natural salesman.

After I started ill-fated work in retail--do not even ask--he had the idea that this was a teachable character moment in salesmanship, and he tried to introduce me to the hard sell.

Now, over a decade later, I realize I had at some point internalized that lesson; my current defects on the programs read like ice selling above the arctic circle. I am in the zone of breaking them down into terrifying detail not only explaining the problem, but also why the problem is bad, with bullet points, all the reasons that the problem can't be rectified by other than a code change--with numbers--and occasionally, I break everything into small words. I am attacking their arguments like I am going after tuna and the dolphins are tragic but necessary casualties.


Which is, granted, unfair, because if I use a lot of words and then sometimes get a normal human being there and translate between them, they get it! Also, it's possible I have become a little dismissive. And possibly hostile.

My last two defects had fifteen, four, and twenty-two separate points each with illustrative screenshots of before, during, and after. They are going to light me on fire if I don't hide in a new cubicle soon. One was a step by step of what a Normal Human Person on a Computer has to do to make what they want to do work. It's surreal.

And shaming because writing it out I had to go and do it and then stop and go, okay, wait, write that down because yes, that's kind of important even though I do that when I first configure my computer.

Then the Normal Human Beings do this:

NHB: ...what is that about?
Seperis: Three pixels off left. It's throwing the entire page.
NHB: You're serious.
Seperis: *takes out ruler and piece of white paper for comparison, then hits print*
NHB: What did I say about wanting to be educated?
Seperis: What did I say about asking what I'm defecting?

I don't think hiding in a different cubicle is going to cut it when my coworkers hold me down for the fire-lighting. I want to be remembered as dying for consistent markup. You should see my reaction to inconsistent font size. Yes, eleven is bigger than ten and I see what you did there.

I am this person. Somewhere my teenage self is crying hysterically and has no idea. But whatever, my teenage self totally had no clue the horror of the emergence of geocities and Everyone Color Their Backgrounds Crazy Like. I have scars. They still bleed.
To say that one of the bigger joys of my career right now is that I have my own white board and four colors of dry erase markers probably should be a worrisome development. I do not care. I have four colors of marker, a whiteboard that's also magnetic and with corkwood at the bottom, and life is awesome.

I have a thing for office things, sue me.

Now to collect more magnets!
Proclaiming today will be a good day is kind of failing when the day itself is making a sincere effort to fuck with my zen. I did not get interviewed for job and am not amused. Also, my new awesome coffee pot I got for Christmas burned out. I mean, if I had a puppy, I'd be trying to give him away before tragedy struck.

My day is one of Lowered Expectations: here are my goals.

1.) I will not refer to end times as a certainty to be initiated sometime within the next two hours.
2.) I will not google for ways to achieve this.
3.) ...I will not google for ways to achieve this anymore today.
4.) I will not start singing along to Rammstein or Fuel.

I like keeping my expectations realistic. I need to write some mindless violence.
Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 09:05 am

(no subject)

Moment of Enlightenment:

After a few too many go arounds up against the developers this build, it's faintly possible I am losing a sense of perspective in that I just had to go and quickly erase a comment in reply to a condescending explanation of why this program is not working no matter how I test it.

The comment? In public? To several paragraphs of explanation of why wrong is right and of course this program is working, people (you) are the problem?


...I really need to get out more.

In this order:

1.) My kindle screen broke.
2.) youtube stopped working.
3.) Mozilla errored out on googledocs and then crashed, failed, and no go.
4.) Firefox 4 Beta also did that, then erased my extensions, then did something horrible to itself. Also, on principle, wtf, app pin is so not a replacement for Permanent Tabs.
5.) Chrome cannot load my gateway email addy and has no extra toolbars and okay, it needs more extensions and it's not very intuitive. And it crashes.
6.) Network problems at work continue to make it hard to get consistent access. As my entire job requires me to test networked and internet accessible programs, this is kinda a downer.
7.) Company who owns my thegateway email addy says I have not paid for three months no matter how many times I verify I did.
8.) Student loan payment went up like whoa.
9.) Still cannot get into googledocs.
10.) Had to work on holiday.
11.) Still have a menstrual cycle. It really reminded me. Like, a lot.

If I get eaten by a whale, I honestly won't even be surprised. I mean, the surprise will be if I make it through the day without my aura of technological destruction sending satellites crashing down on our heads and EMPing us by the force of my will or something, IDK.

There is not enough coffee in the world for this.
Happiness means one of the stores on my way to work sells Mexican Pepsi and Coke. In actual bottles. Which means I had the dubious pleasure of trying to remember a.) what a bottle opener looked like and b.) how they worked while fumbling around with the can opener (on the side, btw), but humiliation at my own fumbling is totes worth it.

The thing is, pretty much every country in the world makes better Coke and Pepsi than the US. I mean, yes, drinking something with delicious sugar does help, and yes, I actually do think glass bottles give better flavor than plastic (but I have no objection to metal cans; maybe I like a faint metallic aftertaste? IDK), but it also just tastes more cola-ish. Like the spirit of cola is strong in this one or something; having this discussion in real life always ends up with a lot of wary looks, but it's true.

You wouldn't think a good day would hinge on so little. Believe me when I say, this will be the best part of my day. The code push didn't go through, so the code for the tests we were supposed to start last Monday isn't there. And yet when we say that we haven't tested this, everyone, including the people who do code pushes, will be totally surprised by this. Because I work in goddamn Dilbert, but I have no sociopathic dog, which you would think would be an improvement but it totally is not.

I have Mexican Pepsi. Right now, I will interpretive dance our answer to testing delays. And maybe sing. Bring it.
Thursday, January 6th, 2011 12:32 am

life as I know it

Okay, so it's been almost two weeks? I keep thinking I'm posting here, but no, just to market_roulette.

So I like being busy. This is--I don't know what this is.

my life, in many words )
...kind of fun, and kind of repetitive.

Mostly, logging into my work desktop is surreal and still novel enough that I enjoy doing it. It's also a little dangerous, since I'm anal enough that sometimes bringing work home is really tempting.

Of course, I'm on my third day of VPNing and I think I've doubled my week hours, not including the overtime I did yesterday at the office, then came home and logged back in until midnight.

Currently finishing up leftover testing. As I have been since noon. Its possible if you see me tonight, I will still be doing this. God, my life. level with me, how many five hour energy drinks can you have in say, two hours? 'Cause one just isn't cutting it.

This building is so depressing on Saturdays.

*pokes keyboard glumly while working*

Oh! To give me something to look forward to--anyone have LUSH recommendations? I think that is what I'm getting my sister for Christmas this year.


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  • If you don't send me feedback, I will sob uncontrollably for hours on end, until finally, in a fit of depression, I slash my wrists and bleed out on the bathroom floor. My death will be on your heads. Murderers
    . -- Unknown, BTS List
  • That's why he goes bad, you know -- all the good people hit him on the head or try to shoot him and constantly mistrust him, while there's this vast cohort of minions saying,
    We wouldn't hurt you, Lex, and we'll give you power and greatness and oh so much sex...
    Wow. That was scary. Lex is like Jesus in the desert.
    -- pricklyelf on why Lex goes bad, LJ
  • Obi-Wan has a sort of desperate, pathetic patience in this movie. You can just see it in his eyes: "My padawan is a psychopath, and no one will believe me;
    I'm barely keeping him under control and expect to wake up any night now to find him standing over my bed with a knife!"
    -- Teague reviewing "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones", LJ
  • Beth: god, why do i have so many beads?

    Jenn: Because you are an addict.

    Jenn: There are twelve step programs for this.

    Beth: i dunno they'd work, might have to go straight for the electroshock.

    Jenn: I'm not sure that helps with bead addiction.

    Beth: i was thinking more to demagnitize my credit card.
    -- hwmitzy and seperis, 12/24/2003, AIM
  • I could rape a goat and it will DIE PRETTIER than they write.
    -- anonymous, 2/17/2004, AIM
  • In medical billing there is a diagnosis code for someone who commits suicide by sea anenemoe.
    -- silverkyst, 3/25/2004, AIM
  • Anonymous: sorry. i just wanted to tell you how much i liked you. i'd like to take this to a higher level if you're willing

    Eleveninches: By higher level I hope you mean email.
    -- eleveninches and anonymous, 4/2/2004, LJ
  • silverkyst: I need to not be taking molecular genetics.

    silverkyst: though, as a sidenote, I did learn how to eviscerate a fruit fly larvae by pulling it's mouth out by it's mouthparts today.

    silverkyst: I'm just nowhere near competent in the subject material to be taking it.

    Jenn: I'd like to thank you for that image.
    -- silverkyst and seperis, 1/25/2005, AIM
  • You know, if obi-wan had just disciplined the boy *properly* we wouldn't be having these problems. Can't you just see yoda? "Take him in hand, you must. The true Force, you must show him."
    -- Issaro, on spanking Anakin in his formative years, 3/15/2005, LJ
  • Aside from the fact that one person should never go near another with a penis, a bottle of body wash, and a hopeful expression...
    -- Summerfling, on shower sex, 7/22/2005, LJ
  • It's weird, after you get used to the affection you get from a rabbit, it's like any other BDSM relationship. Only without the sex and hot chicks in leather corsets wielding floggers. You'll grow to like it.
    -- revelininsanity, on my relationship with my rabbit, 2/7/2006, LJ
  • Smudged upon the near horizon, lapine shadows in the mist. Like a doomsday vision from Watership Down, the bunny intervention approaches.
    -- cpt_untouchable, on my addition of The Fourth Bunny, 4/13/2006, LJ
  • Rule 3. Chemistry is kind of like bondage. Some people like it, some people like reading about or watching other people doing it, and a large number of people's reaction to actually doing the serious stuff is to recoil in horror.
    -- deadlychameleon, on class, 9/1/2007, LJ
  • If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Fan Fiction is John Cusack standing outside your house with a boombox.
    -- JRDSkinner, Twitter

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