Update on a Tuesday (er, I guess Wednesday now)

November 26, 2008 at 1:45 am (Uncategorized)

Oy. Even when I’m “on vacation” I feel like I’m being pulled in too many directions.

This week work gave us Thursday and Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I decided to take Mon-Wed off as well giving me a full nine days off of work. School also takes wed-fri off, and I decided that I wasn’t going to bother going in on Monday for a 45 minute lecture when it was my only pseudo-obligation that day… especially when there was a warm body snuggled up next to me under the covers giving me all the more reason to not feel any urgency to leave the house that morning.

There’s only about a month left of school, and I’m quite ready for it to be over. The history class has been more interesting than I anticipated, the art class not so much, but either way it’s just taking up much more of my time than I’d like – hell, even while “on vacation” I’ve had to do a bunch of reading, and sometime while I’m off this week, between holiday visits, dinner dates with the girlfriend, and other such things, I’m supposedly going to try to get most of a research paper done for the history class (my chosen topic: the origins of astronomy in ancient civilisation). I’ve had a stack of books for nearly two weeks and so far have barely had time to even look at time.

Things are still going pretty good with me and LabGirl, though the winter doldrums are already starting to kick in a little bit. We both enjoy doing things together outdoors, but not as much when it’s crappy-ass cold outside (28F and falling as I write this, with only much colder weather to come). As a result our last several weekends have sort of turned into days of just hanging out around the house watching movies or whatever, and mid-week we’re still making dinner for each other every week. It’s nice most of the time but nothing that I’d really call fun, and we’ve already had a few instances of falling asleep on the couch. In between there’s been random stuff here and there – last weekend we had a gaming night with her family, and yesterday we had a short adventure installing new light fixtures around the outside of her house – but as far as fun activities to do, this town pretty much shuts down for the winter starting in October, so we’re going to have to start getting creative. We’ve been tossing around the idea of buying some cold weather gear so we could still go play outside in the cold, but it hasn’t happened yet because of that whole thing about how we both hate the cold. May still come to pass though, we’ll see.

On the work front, I’m conflicted. There is a part of me that is really, really annoyed and has been for a while, in regards to scheduling and work hours. The problem is that due to “budgeting constraints,” they’ve limited how much work each employee can do on any given day … we are paid on a production basis, which means basically the the more work items you complete, the more you get paid. Well, problem with this daily limitation, is not all of the work we do is equal. The majority of the people in my section do pretty mindless work – hit a few keys on the computer, done. I, on the other hand, and among the “select few” of people who were able (as in, had the cognitive ability) to work on an aspect of the job that actually took more thought, and thus requires actual reasoning and effort, and thus takes longer to complete.
Well, in their wisdom they decided that it would only be “fair” to make sure that everybody gets paid somewhere in the same ballpark every day, and then once they’ve hit that point, they can go home. So everybody makes about the same, so everybody should be happy right?
Uhhh… no. Us “select few” are pretty fucking pissed, and the only thing keeping us from walking off the job is the fact that we don’t think there’s anywhere else for us to go right now.
See, the folks doing the “hit a couple of keys and you’re done” work are able to fly through the work so fast that they can hit their daily limit within an average of 3-4 hours. Then they go home for the day.
The “select few,” on the other hand, have been lucky to get to leave after 7, and actually more often end up having to work overtime in order to hit our daily goal. Which, as I mentioned, is set up to pay about the same. As the people who get to go home after 3 hours.
Mind you, I have no problem putting in a full shift, or even overtime if it’s needed – I just have a problem with the people with easier work for half the amount of time making the same wage as us every day.
And the ones most vocal with the bitching? Mostly the ones having to go home after 3-4 hours, because, unbeknownst to us “select few,” they were apparently getting seriously overpaid previously, and on an average eight hour day apparently were taking home about twice what I was with my work that actually fucking takes effort and thought. So of course they’re now upset that they’re no longer making a windfall that the others of us didn’t even know was happening.
Which once again proves that just like in most workplaces, showing that you actually have a brain only ends up fucking you over in the end.
All of this, along with the school issues mentioned a while back, is another catalyst in me making plans to look into a trade of some sort.

Ummm… a couple of quick computer notes, over the weekend I got rid of OpenSuse and decided to go with Linux Mint instead. Mint is sort of a modified version of Ubuntu – Ubuntu being by far the most popular version of Linux for home use. However, Mint takes it and makes it even easier to set up and get around in, and since I’m a big “I just want it to work” kind of guy, that sounded good to me.
(Side note – the “I just want it to work” is apparently not a popular stance in the Linux community, as it is very heavy with geeks who enjoy the challenge of stuff not working right out of the box and thus requiring their computer-ing skills. Personally, although I have a few computer-ing skills, I find instances where I actually have to use them to be a pain in the ass, and thus don’t really understand that mentality. I want to load the software, and have it work. The first time. Without having to jack around with it for hours. Thus, Mint).
So far not a huge amount of difference, though it has been kind of nice in that due to the wider support community and the fact that when people program for Linux they usually focus on Ubuntu first (frankly Ubuntu is sort of becoming the “Windows of the Linux world” in that respect) I’ve been able to get a few things to work right off the bat that I had trouble with on OpenSuse, such as a few games.

Speaking of that, while off work, I installed a new game (well, sort of a game) that I’ve caught myself staying up waaaay too late playing around with, and for no real good reason that I could point to. I’m talking nights staying up til 4am here.
My curiosity finally broke me down over the weekend, and I installed Second Life.
Now, the complaints I had previously about just the concept in general really kind of proved to be true – mostly that there doesn’t really seem to be any real point to the game. There’s no real goal to achieve. You just create a character (or “avatar,”) drop it into this virtual universe, and really just sort of wander around aimlessly.
Well, unfortunately I’ve found that this whole wandering-around-aimlessly thing is a huge time-killer, because there is actually quite a lot of interesting, odd, and just plain weird stuff to see.
On the nicer side, you can create your character in whatever image you’d like, go explore countless fantastic locations from city locations to medieval castles, and interact with other characters from around the world.
Interestingly I also discovered that Second Life has a bit of a “dark side,” where you can find just about any kind of “alternate lifestyle” interest simply by clicking on a “include adult content” checkbox when searching or browsing locations to check out. You can hire a virtual escort, and take her/him to a sex club if you’d like, of which there are an apparently endless variety – just all-out orgy clubs, female only clubs, male only clubs, bdsm clubs, latex/rubber clubs, furry clubs, even a club for the hentai “girl on alien tentacle” crowd. In fact, if you’d like, your avatar can pick up some extra cash by working as an escort or exotic dancer in one of those clubs.
Well, OK, I’ll have to admit to my curiosity getting the better of me and that I went and took a look around at a few of these types of locations – and I’m still trying to decide which is stronger – my sense of being intrigued, or my sense of being disturbed. I have no problems whatsoever with the idea of “alternate interests” when it comes to sexuality, but the idea of fantasising about a crappy 3D image of a sluttily-dressed woman that is probably being controlled by a 13 year old girl (or worse, boy) somewhere might be a bit too much.
Still, even the non-freaky stuff gives plenty of weird stuff to explore, so I may have some trouble keeping away from this one when I need to – hopefully I’ll get bored with it quickly.
Another side note – SecondLife has apparently become popular new place for “cybersex,” which has resulted in more than one news story being released to the ‘net about marriages coming to an end because of a spouse getting involved in “relations” in this virtual world, and there was even one story about a girl who tried to file charges about being virtually raped.
Weird. Just weird.


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