A quick update on the Lost Gems of Yesteryear: Odyssey Two quest:

  • 8 e2 users have submitted a total of 23 writeups to the Quest. They are listed near the bottom of the Quest node.
  • There are 20 different authors represented at present, as 3 authors each have 2 writeups in play.
  • Approximately 40 votes have been cast on these writeups during the quest period, ranging from 0 to 4 new votes per node. Reputation changes range from -1 to +5, with the Mode for the reputation change at +2, and median at +1.

I say 'approximately' because there's a chance that I can't see some of the votes. I suspected my data at first, because for a few writeups, the historical +/- counts had shifted since I recorded them on day one of the quest. I have since proven that this can be caused by shifting a previously recorded downvote to an upvote or vice versa. That is, flipping your vote changes it 'in the past' as the database sees it. I hadn't accounted for this possibility in my data collecting scheme. I do not think that the flaw is a fatal one. It does mean that if two users each reversed a previous vote, but in opposite ways, I wouldn't see it. For quest purposes we can ignore this edge condition. But to the mystery vote-changer(s), if you thought you were being sneaky, not so. :)

I would very much like to have more writeups nominated. If you haven't suggested any yet, please do!

Since I have voted on them all, and they were almost all new to me, that means I've done about half of the voting. Your votes matter! (Our UK noders can newly attest to the importance of voting.)

If you have not yet done so, please consider reading some (or all!) of these fine writeups. Peruse, enjoy, discover some of the fine e2 authors of the recent past and present. As well, please give the writers your feedback: cast your votes, use your Ching!s, use /msg to tell them what you think, or have RedOmega snuggle them. It's all good.

Finding ways to publicize your favourite writeups (writing a companion piece, adding a writeup to the same node, or otherwise drawing attention) is part of the fun as well. Can you slip some Cheese Mites into your next writeup?


Obligatory personal notes: No job yet. The expected rejections I alluded to 12 days ago have arrived. New prospects are slim at present. It may be a long summer. My leg continues to recover, and holds up well under low stress. I had the stomach flu for 2 days this week, and that was nasty.

Ever since I left the NOC, I've been doing work on a much smaller scale. Now, on the eve of going back to work in the Internet infrastructure, I'm thinking a lot about doing meaningful work, what it means to be doing meaningful work, and small actions in the context of a larger whole.

The kind of work I do, the managing of technical programs (change management, among others), the actual job role, only exists in medium to large sized companies. And, where I'm going, the company is large, the company is experienced, the company has gone through a few burn-in cycles. My uncles worked there, many of my friends work there, and in a lot of ways, it's kind of the family business. There is a sense of rightness of not only going back to big infrastructure, but also to a place where my own mentors came of professional age.

I can do meaningful work anywhere. Serving coffee is meaningful. Pulling weeds is meaningful. Taking care of people is meaningful. All of these things make the world better.

Those things are great, and I could have passion for them. It's not, however, what I've worked so hard on and trained for, sacrificed for. It's not what brings me the most amount of joy in the context of my life.

The Internet is how I escaped a sad life in Minnesota, how I got the strength from people and friends I never met. When the breakup mentioned in there is nothing more permanent than a temporary measure happened, it was three people who helped hold me up through lawsuit threats, the loss of my friend group. They were there for me working to find some sense of self after a terrible time taking care of a depressive parent and dealing with the other being a narcissist. They critiqued my writing, they spurred ideas, they helped me figure out apt.

I don't necessarily feel a debt, but I do feel that what I do, the improving of the Internet, maybe helps it become more solid. I'm not plugging in cables anymore - I'm helping communication in the departments that oversee large chunks of the cables, and helping push it up to decision makers and other departments. I am a cross-functional cog in a machine - and I'm good at it.

In a lot of ways, the Internet has saved my life. While I paid my dues back in the NOC, there's more good I can do, and I'm going to go do it. And I WANT to do it. I want to build systems made of light and glass, systems of people communicating well with the right information. I want to build a better infrastructure operations department that is an example to all the other dysfunctional places I've seen before.

I have the opportunity to go make the world better for people working 110 hour shifts, for teenagers dealing with depression, for engineers burnt out and dealing with the same shit day in, day out. And that - that is an amazing thing.

It's not something I can do forever. One day, I plan to retire to a place outside a medium-sized city or college town, build a chicken coop, plant some kale, and maybe some apple trees and an expansive garden. I want goats, I want a ceramics wheel, and I want a view of green hills covered with expanses of neatly ordered vines.

Right now, that's not in the cards. Major internet infrastructure providers don't co-exist with the grapes, or the chickens. The passion, the ambition to build something better from my career does not immediately coincide with this retirement plan. But one day, years from now, I hope to look out at my garden from my kitchen and think "look at what I've grown - isn't it nice? isn't it worth it?"

I think - I hope - that the answer will be yes.

My God, its been nearly 8 years since I did a daylog, and even longer since I kept a pen and paper journal. In high school I kept a journal, and burned several editions. They were incriminating; not like police incriminating, but you know what I mean. Then a few months later I would start again. Then my still adolescent self graduated and was employed on a cruise line, and a much older man told me to start journaling again, to put my thoughts on paper and sort them out, 'cause, you know, I was bothered. I tried daylogging instead. One time. It helped. Nowadays I seldom think of journaling type activity. When I write, I prefer to create some fiction, and prefer to share it. As such, I post nodes here and there on E2.

There just isnt as much stuff bothering me nowdays. Sometimes I just wish I could go back in time and have a talk with that teenager. Like look dude, maybe a few less cigarettes, a little more Cymbalta. Maybe a little less Fray, a little more Rancid. Maybe a little less pining after superficial girls, cause youre gonna appreciate your intelligent female friends you hang out with as attractive women at a point in the future when its too late. 

Obviously, I am doing this, so there must be something bothering me. I think writing it out would be helpful; maybe feedback would be nice. I'm not specifically asking for it, mind you, because Everythingians owe me nothing, in principle and certainly not after all E2 has been to me over the years. 

Okay, so, I live in Syracuse, New York. In the city proper. People in the sorrounding suburbs diss the city, as being a high crime area. I think personally, our city's issues are simply more apparent than they are in the suburbs. But I think this place has a lot of potential. I love living here; I love that my wife and I can have a $530 mortgage on a three bedroom house with a fenced in yard for the dogs; I love my ridiculously short commute to work, and that all the goods and services I need are within walking distance. And you mind your own business and nobody bothers you. Theres poverty here, theres slumlords from the outside with no skin in the game. They move African and Asian refugees here, and its a good thing, I believe. I like the diversity, and I like that these people are invested in our city when a lot of Americans moved into the suburbs.

Syracuse is 56% white, 30% black, 9% Hispanic, 5% Asian. Like many cities in the US, the demographics aren't spread evenly across all parts of town. There are parts that are all of one and none of the other, of course. Part I live in, my street has one black family, two Hispanic, three white, three Asian. Which is pretty good. Walk one block away, its nearly totally white. The other direction, nearly totally black. I'm part of the majority, for the record. So I think, anyway; how am I to account for thousands of years of sexual relations that ultimately produced me? Records get lost, memories are fuzzy, people lie.

I'm bothered because I was so naive as to think Syracuse didn't have the racial tensions of other cities, that the main problem was white bigots out in the suburbs who don't know whats good for this city when they discuss our refugees. This past Father's Day, I got a rude awakening, and I'm kicking myself for really thinking Syracuse was, while not perfect, better than other parts of the country.

This past Father's Day, maybe 15 minutes from the part of town wherein I reside, there was a barbecue in a housing project. A for all intents and purposes 100% black housing project. About 11 pm, I guess a single police officer was dispatched there due to a noise complaint and and individual on the sidewalk. From what I gather, the officer seemed to think the person down had a few too many, nothing too serious.

She was like, 23, I guess, tiny little thing, that officer. Apparently she fired her weapon at least once. Certainly, a man died of a gunshot wound.

Then no one said anything for a day or two. The police were accused of murdering the man in cold blood. She was. He was unarmed, apparently. This is all eyewitness stuff. No videos surfaced for a little while. There was talk of the dead guy using an alias, having a pretty serious record. Weapons charges.

Yeah, she's white, the deceased is black. Then a video was released.....she was pushing some guys, they were pushing back, hard to tell whats going on. Some dude kept demanding her badge number, threatening to knock her out. Cell phone video.

Then someone identified her on social media before the PD officially did. Her address, too. Posting photos of her on facebook with words like die, bitch. Apparently, her father was a cop, and not too long ago, he, a retiree, got into some trouble in a bar fight. Pulled a gun, did not fire it. Whatever, people are saying the criminal history of the deceased are irrelevant, too. I figure we must decide it fairly-are both relevant, or both irrelevant, and either way, I suppose thats a wash. 

Well, then couple days later, the police released some surveillance video. Real valuable surveillance video I must say, at risk of having my libertarian card revoked. You see people running in one direction. Then the officer, about twenty seconds later, in the other direction, wherever they are running from. Then you see two men following her with handguns, to which, evidently, she is oblivious. She disappears off camera. You see another guy firing in her direction, and then in the distance, you see another guy firing in a totally different direction. The video is telling in that it seems the shooting began prior to the officer's arrival, and in that the narrative was there was no shooting before the police showed up, perhaps no shooting other than that of the officer's at all.

So, well, we have no idea what happened, really. The PD, other than releasing this video, has little to say. Witnesses are uncooperative at best, hostile at worst. It fucks with my head the police havent said anything about it. I think the officer was in the clear, but I wish I had more facts. Mind you, I imagine if I'd shot anyone, under any circumstances, I'd certainly retain a lawyer and he'd certainly advise me to keep quiet about it for the foreseeable future. And I'm sure the PD has its own competent counsel, obviously. 

Its the divide. The police have since arrested people, raided homes. Some were multiple family homes, and it seems innocent parties in other units may have had their homes tossed upside down. Theres talk of killing pigs, and getting after the officer in question. I really would like to know what happened. 

But the racial divide is palpable as I walk down the street, even though the event was nowhere near here. Nobody of any color wants to give the other the benefit of the doubt. And I thought Syracuse wasn't like other places in America. No, we just hadn't been tested.

How could I be so stupid?

Having lost yet another IT-related job, it's time for me to make a five year plan to pay things up, pay things off, and quietly segue into barbering or doing something else that involves minimal hassle and cash on the nail. Men will always need haircuts: and nobody in a barbering interview ever asks about the principles of AC electricity and how good are you at metallurgy in case you need to create your own scissors.

I lay in the sun looking upwards, incredibly stressed - and realized I'm doing this to myself.

Well, time to un-do it.

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