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April, 2009:

My “ideal” job

For various reasons I’ve been asked several times over the last few days what my ideal job would be. Good question, potentially boring answer.

A job that pays?

(Hey, it’s a start.)

I think I gave different answers each time, based on what I was thinking about at that precise moment, so here’s an amalgamation of the points I made, for future reference.

  1. DBA work where I’m responsible for databases and their surrounding systems, where people have me design databases and help optimize their queries and do all the stuff that developers find tedious.
  2. and development work, in Java or PHP or whatever language the company is wanting me to learn. I specifically like back-end stuff, i.e. reporting/data warehousing, data imports and exports, and all the stuff that front-end developers find tedious.
  3. I mean, I’d like a job with both DBA and dev work, in case that wasn’t clear. Thx.
  4. where I’m learning new skills, on the job and potentially in outside training, so that I feel that I’m getting better and my brain isn’t atrophying.
  5. where the work atmosphere is comfortable, and I can consider my workmates to be friends (I have been very lucky with this in the past).
  6. where my obsessive workaholic nature will be appreciated and not taken advantage of, that management will realize that despite my attitude I should still be allowed to go on vacation once in a while (I have had less luck with this).

I’m finished my contracts and am currently back to my unemployed state of feeling rather apathetic (I crave work like a bad junkie), except for some BCIT courses I’m taking in databases other than MySQL because there are jobs in those, at least. I’ve been contacted by recruiters for MS SQL Server DBA positions, and I wish they’d just wait a few months until I’d done more with that software than incorrectly installing it on my school computer.

In the last couple months I realized that while contract work has its benefits (pants optional, the 10-second commute, etc.), I really miss full-time work. I miss having a specific work schedule, and getting weekends off (usually). I miss having coworkers, and I spent last week visiting several former workmates and feeling all nostalgic and sad. I don’t like the uncertainty of whether or not I’ll get another client before I starve to death. I miss health benefits; I just dropped $410 on new glasses, which I didn’t think I needed until I incorrectly installed MS SQL Server due to the instructions on the front board being fuzzy. And I especially miss being around people on a daily basis through no extra effort of my own: being alone is not relaxing if you’re always alone.

If more interesting contract work shows up I’ll definitely take it, but my long-term goal in life is to go back and work for The Man and be one of the sheeple. Because all I want to do is work: I don’t want to go looking for work, I don’t want to have to prove myself worthy of the work, I just want it thrust in front of me. Hopefully with dental insurance.

Friday Cat Blogging: Turtle loves cat

I’d say I’m sorry to those of you who were disturbed by my turtle rapes shoe post a month ago, but then I’d be lying, and lying is wrong. In fact I have yet to be as entertained by anything since, and the idea that some of you were grossed out only makes it funnier. Ah, good times.

But I don’t want to upset you all the time, so here’s something sweet and innocent involving a turtle with absolutely no simulated sex in it whatsoever:

So beautiful, so sad. The turtle loves the kitty, but the kitty couldn’t care less. Maybe because the turtle humped it earlier, who knows?

Not really a Les Miz fan either, now that you mention it

Everyone seems to be blogging about or Facebook-posting about or twittering about Susan Boyle, the middle-aged Scottish chick who sang “I Dreamed a Dream” (snore) on Britain’s Got Talent. It’s so old a story, even my dad’s heard about it, because he brought it up today when I was visiting.

Fine, hurray, dowdy old lady looks like a walking embarrassment, comes onstage, everyone’s laughing at her and then as soon as she starts singing they’re shocked. SHOCKED.

Why the hell are people shocked?

Do people really think that your age, size or otherwise appearance have anything to do with whether or not you can sing? If everyone on Top 40 looked like Beyonce, maybe, but come on. You can’t have heard about the stereotype of the well-padded opera soprano and then be stunned that someone over 25 years and 120 lbs can make happy sounds come out of them.

I shake my head at this, I do. It’s a feel-good story and I’ll admit I was moved when I watched the clip the first time, but while people are surprised at this woman’s singing talent, I’ll remain surprised that they’re so surprised.

Hillsborough

I’m sure those of you in England and Europe are possibly sick of, or saddened by, all the coverage today on the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, but I only noticed the date from a rather emotional Metafilter thread I saw a few hours ago. Wow, 20 years.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it was a tragedy at a football (soccer) stadium in Sheffield, England where, due to bad crowd control, 96 people were crushed to death. By the crowd.

The whole story boggles my mind, even now. I remember when it happened, because both my dad and stepdad were football fans and I was often forced to watch matches on Saturday mornings when I really would’ve preferred cartoons. I remember Dad asking me about it, too, the next time I was at his place. And I remember it never really made sense.

While I recall watching video footage of the crowd pushing onto the field, and of a few people being pulled up out of the crush by people hanging over the upper stands, my 11-year-old brain was confused. People die from being hit by other people. Or being shot by other people. Or by falling. They don’t die from being squished, right? Nobody dies of too many people around you.

I’ve always tended to push out of my head things that were beyond my comprehension, and due to the lack of further news coverage at home I compartmentalized the memory to just images from the TV and the connection to Dad’s family (he grew up in Sheffield) and erased the bit about the deaths. I think it was only a few years ago, maybe even when looking it up on Wikipedia, that I relearned the specifics.

What I didn’t know, until today, was about the aftermath, how the Sun newspaper originally blamed Liverpool hooliganism for the deaths, and how much the police screwed up that day but nobody was made accountable (to any satisfying degree) for the tragedy. “Justice for the 96″. After 20 years, you’d think people would’ve been granted closure.

But, going back to the cause of death, I still don’t get it. I do, but I don’t. What an inhuman way to die, by the crush of a crowd of regular people, fellow sports fans, pushing against you, none of them with angry or violent intentions towards you or anyone around you. The SPCA shuts down farms for putting animals in these conditions.

Today is also the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs, so I hope my friends who go to the Canucks games (may there be many) will appreciate that good stadium design and crowd management is helping keep them safe, because otherwise we’d never give it a second thought. Maybe we should.

Pretend it doesn’t exist

I was reading Raincoaster’s story about her experience with Robert Pickton (if you’re not from around Vancouver, the dude’s a serial killer) tonight with great interest. Strangely this is only one of several stories I’ve heard from people recently about their altercations (luckily with no result) with serial killers, which kind of contradicts my view of the Lower Mainland being a safe and wonderful place.

I remember seeing flyers up, sometime in the 90s, showing pictures of missing prostitutes and complaining that the police were turning a blind eye because they were prostitutes. I don’t remember exactly when that was, but it was many years between that and my first hearing about Pickton, so God knows what damage was incurred because nobody in authority wanted to pay attention at first.

If some prostitutes came forward with accusations of rape and torture, and the police ignored them, I don’t think it was just because of the women’s career path, but also because people of authority want to pretend that everything’s okay when it comes to sexual assault. Pretend it doesn’t exist, and it magically disappears, right?

When I was in high school, there was this dirty old man gym teacher. He was Czech or something like that, and had a thick accent, and was old but hard and wiry. And he had a reputation for touching the girls. I got him in Grade 10, and I had already been warned of him, though thankfully he seemed not to find me attractive enough.

I don’t know if it ever got beyond him “correcting our posture” and “demonstrating the exercise” in front of the class and with his hands on the girl’s torso. But it gave a lot of girls the creeps, to the point that I remember some of them hiding behind the group, keeping their distance from him, and refusing to do anything which put them within reach.

Time and time again, for who knows how many years, girls would go to the school counselors and complain that Mr. S. was giving them the No Feeling, because we were all taught in elementary school to go and report that sort of thing. And the counselors would go to Mr. S. and tell him to stop touching the girls, which would result in him continuing to touch the girls, but saying at the same time he was touching them that he was only doing so for the class demonstration. Because saying that makes it true, and makes it okay. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…

I remember at the time thinking the girls were overreacting a little, probably because I wasn’t one of them. It turned out I was oblivious to similar behaviour years later in Air Cadets. But I’ve carried this memory of that gym class the second half of my life, as a joke to tell during road trips. And it’s only dawned on me recently how utterly stupid and wrong it was that we girls were forced to have this guy as our teacher, and that his antics were considered a slight embarrassment but otherwise harmless. Then again, my high school was all about its reputation, so if they pretended it didn’t exist, it magically disappeared.

I don’t want to equate a dirty old gym teacher with a mass murderer, or the experiences between the women involved, but the situations have some basic similarities. The female goes to the person in charge and tells them she’s been hurt and she’s scared of some man; and the authority figure does nothing. So the female is taught that there’s no point in reporting anything, because nobody will take her seriously. Or worse, if young enough, she might believe the person telling her that she was overreacting, and from then on will question her own intuition when bad situations come along in the future.

And all this, after the female spent most of elementary school being taught via hand puppets and videotapes and ABC Afternoon Specials that you should always go to an adult you trust when anyone touches you where they shouldn’t. The teachers meant well, but they forgot to send the memo to the rest of society. Anyone for a glass of mixed message?

I don’t really know what the point of this post was, now that I’m at the end of it. I guess I have some latent anger about situations where “adults” promised to be there, and weren’t. And I worry about the damage such situations have put on the women, physically or emotionally, either directly from the trauma or from the message the authority figure gave them. I’m glad for my friends who escaped from “bad men”, and I’m glad that most of my childhood traumas were minor (and boring) in comparison. But maybe all of us were in some way damaged, in learning the futility in reporting such things to the authorities. And we pretend it doesn’t exist.

Friday Cat Blogging: nom nom nom

Shebang in a sunbeam

I don’t remember why I was searching for this but earlier this week I was wondering the chances of my cat eating me, should I unexpectedly die and nobody notice for a while. According to a Straight Dope article: very good. “In a day or two”.

It seems your dog would wait several days before feasting on longpig, but your cat is obviously going to toss aside any pretend feelings towards you and consider you dinner, should they run out of regular cat food. Which seems like incentive to make sure the pet food dish is always topped up, though really, what would you care, you’d be dead.

I’m actually more worried that given my cat’s sensitive stomach, she’s unlikely to digest me that well, as I’m hardly Grade A meat. And being found half-eaten by your pet somehow doesn’t sound as bad as being found eaten and then puked up again.

I hope my family members, upon hearing of my death after the landlord finds me due to my nasty corpse smell, wouldn’t mistreat my cat for eating me. It’s “postmortem predation”, yo. The cat’s gotta be fed. Consider it my dying wish.

Honestly, I’m not in a morbid mood. It was just a weird question that had an answer online, that I’ve given far too much thought to. Happy Friday, people. Have you pet your animal today?