I'm flying to Portland.

There's a strange freedom and joy that comes when you're exactly in that exact moment in your life and capable of anything and everything and it only gets better from here.

I leave in twenty minutes.

What's going to happen next?

(It's been a while since the below happening, and in order to move forward from the below, I've editted the below to de-personalize it.)

A small preface.

This was originally titled "please help," and I published it yesterday evening as a Facebook note. I've so far received no responses. I now publish this on everything2.com to see if I get a different response. At least, downvoted or up, I know somebody read this. 




Dear everyone,  

It may be a while since you last knew what I was up to, but I've been working in New York City as a web developer, at companies like Thrillist, NBC, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and most recently, Time Inc. It's been no news that we're unhappy with the "system", vis-a-vis Occupy Wall Street and similar movements, but until aforementioned system booted me out on my ass this Monday, I never knew I was the fortunate 1%. Monday, and today, I am 99%.  

Let me explain, and I hope this makes sense.  

I'll leave aside experiences like Thrillist and Martha Stewart, but this last experience at Time has me really impressed. I was hired as a contractor to be a part of a team moving essence.com from a legacy system to Drupal, as the Drupal expert in charge of "templates". On my first day, I was given four items.  

1) A print-out of a temporary log-in, username: hassan.timeinc, password: people12. I looked to put it away in a drawer, and found an identical print out. username: patrick.something, password: people12. Not a good sign.  

2) A chair to work in. Facing it was a Windows XP computer I rebooted two days later to find "(c) 1985-2004" on the loading screen, making it a 8 years old one.  

3) A timeline. Eventually an amusing document to read.  

4) Our existing code, one month into the project, of our soon-to-be new website.  

This, I kid you not, was a single functioning page of HTML. The rest? A useless back-end of legacy code. If you enabled modules to toggle on site functionality, pages on administration panels would start to break with errors. Additionally, it was hosted on the private clarencek.com website of one of the project leads. Extremely professional.  

At my first meeting with both of them, I was told I would have a month to finish the "templates", which were grouped by due-date milestones: Homepage. Channels. Articles. Feeds. etc.  So that over time, a website would grow.  The problem was, creating and theming template files is just one out of the many steps required to turn up suites of pages, like the "articles" milestones. Like I mentioned, I was being gunned for progress from the start, and I needed "articles" done by the end of the week, which Josh described as a "good first week". This, in steps I won't bore you with, I almost did. On our meeting on Thursday, the other project lead, Clarence, suggested the following week's Wednesday as our deadline. So I demoed what I had Friday morning, and it was deemed good progress.   However, it wasn't finished, and so Josh was hoping to see what I had at the end of the day. He came by later on the afternoon, for a friendly "status report". After having this conversation, I took my time, and then flipped.  

I went into his office for a private meeting, asking that he schedule these status reports into meetings, as being queried about progress after about six hours since he saw the latest, wasn't how I liked to work. He said that's how things worked around there, then asked if I didn't mind coming into Clarence's office. I complied.  

Inside, I explained all the above, and asked, that in addition to less of these informal status reports, I'd like additional structure added to the timeline document. I still have this. Deadline dates? June/July. So I figured the thing was porous enough to admit some dates of my own, reflecting the missing back-end functionality that I described working on a part of my status reports. This became a hostile conversation. However, I took a step down for a smoke with one of the project leads, and he seemed sympathetic to moving some of the dates of back-end functionality milestones, loosely defined for later July, up closer. He said we'd meet the next morning to discuss this.  

The next day, I went in with a tape recorder on. We had another ridiculous discussion. My favorite part was when I asked about speaking to someone more senior than him. "Someone more senior than me? Then you're asking to talk to the President of Time Inc., and that's just frankly a ridiculous proposition." The general thrust was that as a consultant and expert, I'm required to structure and manage my time on my own, and that the organization a whole wasn't the sort for "sympathetic handholding", and that if I wasn't a good fit in, then I'm happy to leave with a week of pay.  I kept trying to steer the conversation to issues about the website and additional structure, however, we meandered into topics, like how I must be insisting on a more senior position or pay raise, if I'm asking for adjustments in my role. None of these paths were helpful to a mutual conclusion, so when it became clear nobody would agree, the conversation ended with me being sacked, and Clarence escorting me off the floor. I asked about the week of pay I'd receive for our conversation ending this way, I got no response.  

I found out that president of Time Inc. wasn't his direct superior, and that a lady called Fran Hauser, Style & Entertainment and Lifestyle Group, was the president of the group I worked for. I tried finding her email address online, nothing was found. I then tried connecting with her on linkedin.com, and so far, no response.  

Finally, I emailed the project manager, ccing both Josh and Clarence, summing up all of the above, mentioning I had recorded our last meeting, and that I'd like to share it with her, or anyone interested in finding out what goes on in that building. I asked again about the week of pay, and sincerely tried to convey that I'd like to get back to work that day, if any sensible sort of conversation could be had about the issue I raised.  

No luck.  

One last email, to every email address at Time Inc that I had, maybe around 10. I asked for contact information for Fran Hauser, and what to do about the timesheet for my last week - was it 1 day or 5, and who would sign it.  Sorry to bore you all.  However, I'm a New York City-priced apartment I can't be in for much longer, and a trying three-month job search experience in the NY tech scene after the six-month Martha Stewart one.  

I'm no longer looking for help, which was the original intension of writing, however, I'm leaving this up, as a cautionary tale.

Thank you all for reading, and good evening.

- Hassan

Noded on July 12, 2014.

grundoon died on March 29, 2012, the day after my birthday.

I saw her last on March 22, 2012, the day before hers. Not the most fun birthday year we'd ever had.

Over the weekend between me seeing her and her death, the ex-boyfriend moved out. I suppose trying to elicit anger by moving out at the meanest possible time but I was so numb I didn't care. Glad, really. I was tired of him trying to get me to carry his anger for the six months before that. Every time he tried, I'd cry. I had LOTS to cry about and lots of grief.

So grundoon died. Then I watched Facebook and the email and everything2 and I could see the court case coming like a fucking train.

I told my neice's birth father. He did not believe me. "Go bring her up here." I said. "Now. She can finish 8th grade and go to Mount Saint Helen's and bond with the incoming class."

"No." he said. "She wants to finish school there. She wants to stay a few weeks after school."

The memorial neared. I shut down Facebook, signed off everything2, tried to ignore the email. I asked to have my e2 account locked so I COULDN'T write on it. I was chasing the local bug, nearly panicked. Realized I had it. I had tickets to the memorial but I didn't want to go. Bam! My immune system said, "Your wish is our command!" and I was sick.... and sicker.... and septic. Emergency room twice. Went to my doctor. Frantically rattled cages, asked for help, took myself off work immediately. The night before the memorial, was hospitalized for observation. Septic but they decided I was nuts. Great. Thanks. Support from my peers.

Treated sepsis at home. Sick as snot. At one point I sat in my pink velvet chair with my eyes closed and thought, "All I have to do is not get up. I am losing 10 liters of fluid daily. I can feel it starting again. If I stop drinking to keep up, I will die. Fast."

I considered it. I was so fucking tired.

I got up. Two reasons. One was that I thought that if I died, Kwan Yin and my sister would meet me at the gates of Hell and scream at me: "You were supposed to take care of the fucking children!!!" The other was that I might not die. They might find me and the local hospital might pull their fucking heads out of their asses and pull me through. With a stroke or kidney failure or heart attack from low blood pressure. Then my kids would have to deal with that. Fuck. Also I'd promised my sister, "I will try to stop the Bad Pig from hurting anyone else." Even though I didn't know what the fuck she meant by the Bad Pig in her house. Greed. Envy. Untruthfulness. Any of the 7 deadly sins I suppose.

I continued to rattle my brother out laws cage as I recuperated. My so called family and the noders did not seem to give a shit that I had nearly crossed the River Charon* with my sister, but they were distracted by the Cult of Grundoon. I fucking hate cults. And fivenoders cared about me. Youse knows who youse are. Maybe five people caring is enough.

My brother out law put me on avoid and ignore, I was obviously nuts and obsessed.

Until today. Today the legal documents arrived and he showed up at my clinic.

"I can't believe she signed this." he said. "It says I haven't been an involved parent. It says she doesn't know me. It says she has no friends in our town."

"Yeah, well, we know those are lies. And I have 12 years worth of photos. You have the lawyer. I don't like lies and we are going to fight."

It was the day before my sister's daughter's 14th birthday, which is when the California courts will take the teen's wishes into consideration.

But courts, too, dislike lies. They do not like teens to lie and they don't like adults to encourage teens to lie. And neither do I.

And two years later, my question is, what game was my sister playing? She said to herself, when she didn't realize I was in the room, "I have to keep it all separate. I have to keep them separate." I said, "No, you don't anymore, do you? Can't you let it all come together?" She wouldn't answer.

She was subtler than me, for years. When I get upset, my black bat wings, fangs, claws, armor, sword, knives, katana, all pop out, like a super evil heroine's outfit. That is, I don't hide it too good. I don't know what she wanted, if there was a deeper game.

Dang sister. Trouble right from the start.

*River Styx. Fucking details. Charon is the boatwoman. She got tired of being a man and had a sex change. She spells it Sharon now.

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