February 21, 2005

ET stay home. :: 12:11

Ever heard of the Fermi paradox? If you're a SETI fan, you have. If not, it goes like this:

"The galaxy contains roughly a hundred billion stars. If even a very small fraction of these have planets which develop technological civilizations, there must be a very large number of such civilizations. If any of these civilizations produce cultures which colonize over interstellar distances, even at a small fraction of the speed of light, the galaxy should have been completely colonized in no more than a few million years . Since the galaxy is billions of years old, Earth should have been visited and colonized long ago." (

But obviously, it's not. So there are a lot of theories out there about why we've had no known contact with alien species yet.

I like to think about that. I watched the movie "Contact" again recently, and spent a moment imagining what it really would be like to receive communication from an undeniably non-human source.

I found myself wishing for that, if only to have a moment wherein all cultures across the earth would have something larger to think about than their hundred-year old conflicts and wars and problems. I imagined how liberating that could be, humans suddenly pooling together over this incredible news, instead of focusing on the problems that divide them.

But then I remembered that I have an atrocious track record when it comes to predicting how certain events will mesh with human nature. When I first started using chatrooms in 1995, I thought: Here it is. This is the only medium we've had so far where you can be judged solely by what you say. What a great egalitarian opportunity. And since people will only be judged by their words, they will be careful about they say.


ET, give us a few more million years. Thanks.

February 15, 2005

^_^ :: 07:57

February 11, 2005

Phew :: 19:31

Sorry my blogs have been so ranty and dark. It's been a hard two weeks, with the side benefit being that they felt like two months. And hey, life is short, so when it feels longer, that can be a good thing.

Things are looking up at the company where I'm working. My boss and his boss looked over last week's time sheets and both realized that they're going way over-budget with our hours.

So they sent us home at a decent time and I was told not to take any work home this weekend, even though I'm behind schedule.

This is called light at the end of the tunnel.

And I'm SO happy I have painting class tomorrow, so maybe my entries here will stop being so bleak, at least for a day or two.

And now onto the history of the guillotine.


Wish anyone reading this a most delightful and charming weekend.

February 10, 2005

This is your Homeland Security :: 16:22

So I went to renew my green card today, because of my name change.

I was armed with all my documents, I'd re-read all instructions this morning to make sure I had every little last piece right; I had an overkill of 5 pieces of identification, just to make sure, and a check for $185.00.

Alas, I had that last part wrong, as I found out after waiting an hour in line outside. They haven't accepted personal checks since March of 2003. I should have seen the announcement, which was a letter-size computer print-out behind tinted glass, the one with 50 people lined in front of it. I shouldn't have believed the instructions that came with my form, that said that personal checks are accepted. The woman at the window, after telling me that she's not in charge of updating forms, did find a small flame in her antarctical heart, and gave me 15 minutes to go get a money order. But she wouldn't give me back my appointment sheet. No idea why.

They are 15 minutes away from the nearest 7-11. There was road construction. It was at peak lunchtime traffic. I drove like a bat out of hell, cut in front of people at the store, and made it back in 30 minutes.

The woman was no longer there, of course. Another officer, who must deal with liars on a daily basis, wouldn't believe me that I'd had an appointment without my sheet. He asked for my 2 driver's licenses to check (the one with my old name, the other with my new). He went inside and I was hoping, hoping they'd let me in, though I was now obviously way past my appointment time. He came back and told me I was too late, that I'd have to reschedule. He gave me back my license, and I took 3 steps away before I realized he'd kept the other. He was already back inside. I had to wait until he came out again, and when I told him I needed my license back, he said to check to see if I didn't have it. I said, "I've already checked, sir, and I distinctly remember you only giving me back the one." He said, "Check again in front of me."

Flabbergasting. I had to open my folder on the ground, and take out each document one at a time, then turn my pockets, in front of him and several gawkers.

He came back after another 10 minutes, and said "It was on the floor." I'm not making this up, he said it in a way that made it sound like it was my fault. Totally surreal. I said, "Thanks for your apology." This neanderthal replied, "You're welcome."

Now I will reschedule and lose another day's pay. The form instructions haven't been updated in two years, but hey, it's not their fault.

I hope you enjoyed this little update on how efficient and upstanding some offices of the Department of Homeland Security can be.

February 08, 2005

sheeeeeeat :: 07:26

13-hour day yesterday, and today's lining up to be a rerun. Need I say it? Bleh.

February 04, 2005

From the Oversensitive Department :: 20:18

I got told today, by a co-worker and in front of 5 people, that I'm too sensitive.

You know what that feels like? It feels like what I call the Denial Trap.

Goes like this: someone accuses you of being in denial. You say, "No I'm not." And they say, "See?"

Hate that, hate that.

February 03, 2005

4th day report :: 20:41

I've worked more than 40 hours in the last 4 days, not counting lunches or breaks. Roughly half of those hours were spent in meetings.

I'm drowning in a sea of useless words. It's painful.

I'm talking: 4-hour meetings from which you can milk about a half-hour of actual substance. Haha! You think I'm exaggerating. I'm talking: feeling so much tension in one day about communicative inefficiency that my whole body aches from it. I do well in meetings for the first half hour, and then two inescapable thoughts take over: 1) I get it; and 2) Shut the fuck up.

And these are nice people!! And I'm a nice person. But after Irrelevant Annecdote #37, and Painfully Detailed Story Barely on Topic #14, followed by 200-Sentence-Explanation that was clear after 5 sentences..... all empathy goes right out the window, and you start fantasizing about how it would go over if you suddenly stood up and started screaming.

I'm getting paid per hour, at least. This is a one-month project on a mutual trial basis. So I've been trying to establish what kind of salary I'd ask for if they offered me a job at the end of the month.

My number has gone up 5k for every meeting I've had to attend. No one could make me back down from my now astronomical asking price.

You have to grab sanity where you can find it.


I'm going to go sit quietly and worship Silence now.

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