I don’t recall many of my college successes with great clarity, but I do recall my few failures. Two in particular stand out: both D’s on short papers because “the assignment was not addressed.” One was for a course on art in New York City, where we were to pick a work that moved us, […]
Home Economics is not “Consumer Sciences”
Nestled among the advertisements for upscale apartments (Enjoy Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale! Only $4,300,000!) in this week’s edition of The New York Times Magazine is a thoughtful piece by Kyle Chayka not entirely about Roam, a company offering a selection of live-work spaces for the discerning digital nomad: “The World is Your Office.” And this one time I’ll […]
I’ve been reading stories from the November/December 2017 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine that I picked up at Barnes & Noble before Christmas. They seem so immediate. The first I read, “I Met a Traveler in an Antique Land,” by Connie Willis, was a pleasant tale of a new media guru encountering an archive […]
Looking at my résumé, I feel like I have to justify the decisions I’ve made. It’s not the curriculum vitae I thought I’d have. At each step along the way, each fork in the road I took made sense. Looking back, there’s some regret — and envy. Regret that I didn’t see opportunities, not of […]
This still doesn’t answer the question of how to afford food without a job.
The ocean of the Internet tosses up interesting flotsam, and then it sinks below the surface again. I read some passing reference, perhaps by Niall Ferguson, to the British Empire needing a lot of clerks to do the computing, and thus schools to train them in the essentials of empire: completing and processing forms, and […]
Today is a sick day. I’m not often sick. Well, here I am: sick again. It’s not from work, exactly. My love brought something back from Santa Fe, and I provided it with a fertile environment in which to grow, helped along by scheduled weekend work that resulted in around 40 hours without sleep. The […]
My work — the employment for which I’m paid, that is — is invisible. Nothing to see here; move along. Long ago, the company asked us to let undergraduates, prospective employees who were interested in the field, shadow us for a day so they could get a sense of the job. Instead of an internship, […]
Only try to do it yourself and you will learn how arduous is the writer’s task. It dims your eyes, makes your back ache, and knits your chest and belly together. It is a terrible ordeal for the whole body.[*] I sit hunched over the keyboard or this book. That is how I sit: hunched. […]
The most satisfying work I’ve done has been sweeping an empty room, turning off the lights, and closing the door. Because the work was done. Had come to an end. Fin. Entropy reduced to zero. Having small children and other creatures living with me, it rarely happens that a task is completely done. There’s one […]
My father is a Presbyterian minister, and has been for fifty years. Sometimes I hear rumors that he’s retired, but it’s a working retirement. His labor is a calling. Each week is a new sermon. I remember Saturdays reading on the couch in his study while he wrote, first long-hand and then on the Smith-Corona. […]
For someone who works with computers, I have very little respect for them. Perhaps that’s left over from a programming class where the teacher reminded us that the computer only does what we tell it to do. It’s mindless. Or more likely it has been experience reinforcing this: the computer program is only as good […]
Norway’s SlowTV film of the Bergen to Oslo railway is beautiful and deeply moving: nostalgic. Though I’ve never been to Norway, I’ve ridden trains. While I can count long train rides on my hands, my time commuting on MetroNorth Rail-Road, the New York City subway, and the London Underground are some of my favorite memories. […]
I have, since I found out about it, wanted to go to space. I remember, vividly, watching Star Trek in color in the basement of a friend who had television and shag carpet. I was young: older than five and younger than eight. (I remember, vividly, watching all of Star Trek in one weekend at […]
I spent the other day driving around. First to the doctor, where he confirmed my self-diagnosis of bronchitis, and then across the county for an x-ray to eliminate pneumonia or another cause of my limited breathing. In addition to a course of antibiotics, my doctor prescribed at least 48 hours of rest. That was Wednesday. […]
Certain things aren’t talked about — or at least are avoided because they are uncomfortable to talk about — in polite society; that is, beyond our immediate circle of intimates: politics, religion, race, gender, sex, salary, feelings, whether or not I’m happy at work and seeking other employment. The strange personalized anonymity of the Internet […]
I’m reading an excellent book right now that’s discussing how we surrender our judgment to detailed rules and procedures: The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America, by Philip K. Howard. These problems plague any large organization, not just government. An example from today: One of the applications I support needs to increase […]
You’d better have a damn good reason for waking me up. Ask yourself this: “Is somebody dying?” No? Then it can wait until morning.
With the office abuzz with rumors that IBM might purchase Sun, I’m tempted to ask myself if I really needed any reminders why I don’t read trade publications.