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10:41 pm: Karma storm

The world is moving in unusual ways today.

The cashier at Starbucks talked to me this morning. I was reading my web comics, and while collecting my plate she asked what RSS reader I used (Google). In our brief conversation, I admitted to writing software for biology. “Like, bioinformatics?” she asked? Said she used to work in DNA large scale structural analysis. Asked for my card. If she actually follows up with an email, I’m going to try to help her out. Anyone with the hustle to pick a job like “cashier at starbucks” and work it for the opportunities to talk to people is someone who should have a better job.

Went to Cafe Intermezzo for dinner again, because it appears to be the only bar / restaurant in Atlanta. Seriously, everyone recommended it and nobody had a second option. The kitchen is open until 2am every night with a wide variety of vegetarian options, the wine list is killer, and it has personality. There are real people there.

When I’m on the road, my life is a struggle for consistency and personality (mutually exclusive, I know) in the face of overwhelming blandness and suck. I stay at Marriott, not because they’re better – but because they tend to be consistent. I rent from Hertz for the same reason. In terms of dinner, though, I don’t want to be fed in assembly line fashion – no matter how heavy the tableware or cold the beer. I want to be surrounded – for that hour of my day – by other people. Real people. Not stage extras … but interesting stories to blog about that night. Intermezzo satisfies that. The girls to my left were reading “missed connections” personals from their laptop. The guys to my right were practicing stumbling French on each other and then trying to be suave with it for the bartender. There I was, in the center of the five seats between these groups. After the guys left, the bartender asked my opinion on her crossword. I was able to help out with the author of On The Road. Kids these days. Then we talked about how business is slow all over, and building contractors are in just as tight a spot as bartenders with the recession. Recovery, my ass.

Read the news off my phone while there, and it was odd: A federal judge threw out a settlement against one of the big financial houses, in part because:

“It is quite something else for the very management that is accused of having lied to its shareholders to determine how much of those victims’ money should be used to make the case against the management go away,”

I mean, damn. How often does that happen?

I read about evangelical churches in Brazil hosting “Extreme Fight” nights to bring the kids in. The 29 year old pastor winning with an arm bar in seconds and then grabbing the microphone. The next article was on a food stampede for charity food for Ramadan that left 12 women dead. Confusion to my enemies and all that, but maybe they could avoid hurting themselves quite so much? Fight night for Jesus? Killer stampedes for free food? Seriously?

The air was heavy today. It broke the computers I was working on. Software that worked in the morning failed in the afternoon on the same systems. I’m reduced to installing in text mode and re-burning CDs because of vague feelings that data might be corrupted somewhere.

Finally – I couldn’t seem to make progress with the contractors. We specified shower parts only to encounter massive FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) about the quality of Home Depot parts – same name brand as the plumbers warehouse, mind you. But if you don’t buy from the Plumbers Warehouse – woe betold. Evil Home Depot will fill your brass fittings with plastic guts. It’s how Home Depot makes things cheap, you know. We caved and went with the warehouse in the hopes of having a shower online by the time my dad stays with us, only to be told that the stuff we picked wouldn’t work together. Can’t work. Well, maybe, except that it would take weeks to get the parts. Do you want to stop all work for weeks.

So fine, says I: What should I do? My choice line was “If, at any point, you think that I’ve asked you to make me a shower where I can’t turn off the water, then I’ve mis-spoken and I apologize. Above all things I want a shower that works well. On a grand scale, I care very little about the part numbers, finish, and fixtures. I care very much about being able to turn off the water. I am ignorant on these matters. Your stuff costs more, bt I’ll pay it because I trust that we’re on the same team here. Please help me.”

In my last performance review, they said I was “edgy.” I think that this is the sort of thing that they were referring to.

Thus ends the day.

Originally published at chris.dwan.org. You can comment here or there.

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