Ghotiheads, ghotiheads, roly poly ghotiheads...
Saturday the Fifth of July, Two Thousand and Eight
Man I am never going to maintain my position as the cat's pajamas with all this introspective crap.
How strange. A few days ago I found myself reminiscing (rather out of the blue) about a mistake I once made through a combination of immaturity, inexperience, and ignorance. Basically, something good happened to me, and I screwed it up. But just now I was looking at my blog archives and I discovered that the good thing that led to the stupid thing happened just about exactly a year before the day that I found myself reminiscing about it. It's not the first time this sort of thing has happened, either—apparently, the only part of me with a working sense of time is the regret center of my brain.
It's very strange, thinking about who I was a year ago—which is to say, before I started this job. On the one hand, I've changed completely; on the other, I haven't changed at all.
(And of course, sometimes I have the experience of remembering doing something embarassing, but not being able to remember what. Every now and then I'm haunted by a memory of standing in the hallway behind my high school theatre and feeling incredibly stupid about something I'd just said, but what the hell it was I can't remember for the life of me. Something to do with CBS? What could I possibly have said about a TV network that would make it the archetypal memory of embarassment for me a decade later?)
bashfully posted by Martin Marks at 11:50 at night // comment? by:
I swear my grade school textbook had the cherry tree in it.
So it occurred to me today that I didn't watch Cox and Combes' "Washington" yesterday. My favorite thing about this video, apart from everything about it, is the fact that it is entirely in keeping with how the
Ka Faraq Gatri Caunotaucarius was popularly viewed in the 19th century, when he was literally considered a god. If Brad Neely had lived a couple centuries earlier, modern textbooks would tell the story of how he killed his sensei right next to that cherry tree thing.
Also, because I can't seem to go much longer than 24 hours without linking to Kate Beaton, here is a link to Kate Beaton about the real meaning of the Fourth. And here is a further link to Kate Beaton demonstrating that, throughout history, Canadians have always considered America to have a very large nose.
painstakingly posted by Martin Marks at 4:34 in the afternoon // one comment by:
"I believe the figure 1 1/16 will be sufficiently accurate for poetry."
I don't understand how this day has lasted so damn long. I woke up at my usual time out of a paranoid fear that maybe they would actually tow my car on the Fourth of July, so I had to sit near the window from 7:00 on listening for the sound of tow trucks. By eight o'clock, I figured I was safe, and went back to bed. I went in to work for a few hours, finished the new Rushdie, made vague overtures toward writing, but basically spent the entire day doing astonishing amounts of nothing in particular. The moral of the story is that I'm really bad at having time off work. Every now and then I say to myself "one of these days I'm just going to take a long weekend and relax", and then I realize that relaxing makes me miserable. It seems like the less time I work, the more miserable I am. When I'm pulling fifty-hour weeks, I'm tired, but I'm content. But when things slow down and I'm actually leaving work on time most days, my apartment is no cleaner, my nutrition is no better, and my writing is no prolificer. Yet I have no excuse, so I feel way more guilty about it.
Well, I'm going on Proper Vacation in a month. If I can't enjoy a week in Vienna with Schwamelia and Johannes, there is no hope for me. Anyway, there are worse things to be cursed with. Plus earning large quantities of Life Points™ and never bothering to spend them has certain advantages, such as financing Proper Vacations. But I really need to learn the art of less pathetic weekends. (To be fair, the heat is a factor. I'm one of those people who finds it all but impossible to get anything much done above about 75°—and cooking, which was developing into a proper hobby there for a while, is right out in this weather.)
condescendingly posted by Martin Marks at 12:00 at night // four comments by:
Thursday the Third of July, Two Thousand and Eight
My love for this flows like a fountain.
The greatest license plate holder I ever hope to see:
MY OTHER CAR IS
tersely posted by Martin Marks at 6:20 in the evening // four comments by:
Wednesday the Second of July, Two Thousand and Eight
BIZARRO SANTA AM TAKING PRESENTS AND LEAVING MILK AND COOKIE!
Has there ever been a childrens' Christmas special in which the main characters went to the South Pole and met Bizarro Santa? And if not, the inevitable question comes, why the hell not?
congenially posted by Martin Marks at 10:39 in the evening // two comments by:
Friday the Twenty-Seventh of June, Two Thousand and Eight
"Excuse me, Doctor, but I think we can handle a single tin robot."
So I've finally broken down and started watching Doctor Who. I have never been a Who fan, which is admittedly weird, given that I'm a British nerd and all. I remember I owned one Who novel, something with the Master and a murderer in some extraterrestrial colony or something. I enjoyed it, but never really connected to it, which is extra weird given that this was at the height of my pulp-lust phase, though this may be partly explained by the fact that, as I recall, it had no nekkid ladies in it. I have a vague memory of being taken to some kind of Who-themed event as a kid, possibly by my father, but all I can really remember is the logo. And I'm pretty sure that I tried watching the show when it came on after Red Dwarf on MPT Saturday nights at least once, but it didn't do a thing for me. And I remember the last time I visited her (several years ago—this must be rectified) Mirabai showed me "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances", and I definitely thought it was top-notch SF... but I never got any deeper.
Now I'm most of the way through the Ninth Doctorate (that being what's on Instant Watching) and I feel like some primal part of my soul has been awakened from its slumber. I find myself promising "just one episode" and watching three, while the final Cowboy Bebop disc I was waiting so patiently for languishes. The writing I was making such progress on has lost all momentum. Despite the miserably oppressive heat, I've taken to turning off the air conditioner so I can hear the dialogue better.
Oddly, the cheesiness of Doctor Who is something that seems to get more appealing as I age, while the cheesiness of Star Trek gets more bothersome. (Though I guess that's hardly fair; I've been watching the same 178 Next Generation episodes for the past seventeen years, after all.)
compulsively posted by Martin Marks at 11:59 at night // six comments by:
Where have all the Rosies gone?
The database I'm building for work has a contacts table which includes a field for "title". So out of curiosity, I decided to do a quick SQL survey of the contacts we have entered into the database so far (a small, small percentage of the ones still to be entered, I'm afraid), with the specific goal of analyzing the prevalence of women in the building trades.
Of the contacts we have entered with a title, just over 14% are "Ms". Everyone whose role is described as "accounting", "administrative assistant", or "assistant" is female. Everyone described as "site superintendent", "architect", "office manager", "project engineer", "purchasing manager", "vice president", or "president" is male. However, there are really not enough data points there to make a fair determination; with the exception of site superintendents, who currently make up almost 8% of the database, none of the positions mentioned account for more than 3% of our contacts so far. The bulk of the contacts in the database are either estimators (22% of our contacts) or project managers (41%), as those are the people we need to call most often. 18% of the estimators we deal with are female, compared to only 10% of the project managers.
This sort of surprised me, because I can think of several prominent female project managers that I've worked with recently. However, thinking about it, I realized that my perception of their commonness was, paradoxically, an illusion caused by their scarcity: I notice female project managers more simply because I see them less. (Also, women who have risen to positions of power in the construction industry tend to be somewhat forceful personalities on the whole.)
As for my own company: currently, one third of our educated work force is female. (There are no women laborers.) However, of the people who regularly interact with people outside the company (and therefore would appear in someone else's contacts database) it's more like 20%.
(Note that the data is inherently flawed; 5% of the contact records in the database have no title information, which generally means their names aren't gender-specific enough to risk the possibility of a faux pas in a form letter. While some of these names, like "Chris", are most likely male names, there are more that lean female—like "Robin"—but which are just ambiguous enough to not get a title.)
amatorially posted by Martin Marks at 4:42 in the afternoon // comment? by:
Tuesday the Twenty-Fourth of June, Two Thousand and Eight
Sorry, neighbors! No more free internet from me.
Alright, well, clearly the excruciatingly slow internet issues I've been dealing with the last few days are a problem with my wireless router, not my cable modem. I think it might have overheated.
absentmindedly posted by Martin Marks at 7:46 in the evening // comment? by:
"They need to fully realize the liver of the triangle rulers!"
So after I bitch about Evangelion's confusing and unsatisfying ending, the next movie on my queue is, of course, a Satoshi Kon movie. Specifically a Satoshi Kon movie about dreams merging into reality. So I guess I don't hate confusing and unsatisying endings on principle, I just hate the bad kind of confusing and unsatisfying endings.
furtively posted by Martin Marks at 6:55 in the evening // comment? by:
Monday the Twenty-Third of June, Two Thousand and Eight
With your torrent of ardent pathos!
So I'm getting to the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and I'm really excited because it's been leading up to a brilliant climax, and then I watch the final episode, and I go "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?"
And then I realize there's actually another episode on the disc.
And then I watch the final episode, and I go "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?"
scrupulously posted by Martin Marks at 8:47 in the evening // five comments by:
They're cops... in space!
A great sadness; via TV Tropes's article on Artificial Gravity, I learned of an obscure 80s BBC Two science fiction series called Star Cops, which is a wonderfully ridiculous name for what was apparently a really good hardish SF television series. But alas, actually getting my hands on the DVDs (which are Region 2, but I think I could get around that by ripping them and reburning them) for less than $80 seems to be impossible. I can't justify dropping eighty bucks on a series I have never seen, but there's no other way for me to see it! TWENTY FIRST CENTURY, YOU HAVE FAILED ME.
I did manage to find a few clips on YouTube, including the infamous title theme, which has apparently been called "worst single theme tune of any TV show ever". It is definitely a contender.
literally posted by Martin Marks at 6:11 in the evening // one comment by: