The Minorest of Gripes

The beginning of a Slack correspondence does not need to start with “Good Morning” or “Hi jess” or “Hello, can I ask you a question?”

Slack is an informal medium with immediate feedback mechanisms. When I see someone start a conversation with “Good Morning” followed by a solid two minutes of typing indicators, I don’t come away thinking “Oh how polite!”

I sit there thinking “Jesus fuck what did I do this time? What am I going to get chewed out about? It’s probably nothing, right? But then why is it taking them so long to spit out what they want?” And it’s usually nothing serious, but I’ve had terrible experiences in offices before, where every communication devolved into (often gendered) admonishment. So I have some precedent indicating that I should dread typing indicators.

I wish people would just say what they mean, and say it quickly. My manager at my previous job used to tell me “jess, you’re a straight shooter,” and he would laugh, but it was clear that it wasn’t a compliment. It’s possible I’m just missing a fundamental trait that would just make me better at office relations.

Getting the hell out

I gave my notice. It went fine at first. My boss was super gracious and I wondered if she’d been body snatched.

Then, of course, 10 minutes later she pulls me into a conference room to ask if my timeline is firm. I don’t fault her for asking once. But I re-explained to her that I had already accepted another offer, and that my last day would be May 10. She then proceeded to repeatedly state how stretched thin everyone is, and ignore the fact that I gave her a firm deadline. She asked if I could stay a month so that they could find and train my replacement.

I kept trying to say no and she kept cutting me off and instructing me to “think about it” and that I didn’t “have to answer now.”

I responded by emailing HR with my official timeline.

Of course, I know that the team is stretched thin. I also know that it’s stretched thin because many of the team’s resources are devoted to working on bullshit. It’s part of the reason I’m leaving. It doesn’t matter whether I give them one week’s notice or five. They’re not going to be ready for me leaving either way.

Also, Illinois is an at-will state. That goes both ways. The fact that I’m giving them anything is a courtesy and it’s one that they wouldn’t give me were they the ones to terminate our employment contract.

Babby’s first python package

It’s finally live! I detached the fork and decided to take on this project as my own a little over a month ago, and I’ve finally done enough to feel like I can release a beta version of it.

There’s still a lot of work to go before I’m ready for a 1.0.0 release, but I’m so pleased to have completed a side project that’s out there for public consumption. AND someone who is not my IRL friend has starred the repo. It’s very exciting.

Now that I’ve taken this little detour it’s time to get back to Bookpinions, which is the reason I took on the BetterReads library in the first place.

Morning invocation

A friend of mine has given me a prayer/mantra/wish to get me through these last few standups.

Please grant these men the strength to not say every dumb fucking thing that pops into their heads.

Business days since one of them made tasteless sexual harassment joke: 11

My intention for the day is to shore up a couple things that are at high risk of failure when I’m no longer around to maintain them. I will endeavor not to get distracted by how much I don’t really care.

Wish me luck.

Death in the Afternoon

Purportedly a creation of Hemingway’s.

  • Pour 1.5 oz of Absinthe into a coupe glass.
  • Top with 4.5 oz of Champagne.

Or that’s how it’s supposed to be served, anyway. If I were to make it, I’d probably chill the glass with ice and soda water first, and I’d swirl the Absinthe to produce a nice wash effect around the inside of the glass before adding the Champagne.

The devs on the other side of the office last Friday poured Absinthe and cheap Prosecco over ice into those little plastic wine glasses, and invited me over to join in on this ritual of bastardizing a classic American cocktail. I told them I didn’t like Champagne, but thanks for the offer. They laughed a little too hard at the notion that it was the Champagne I objected to, as if liking Absinthe is in any way edgy or unusual in this, the year of our lord two thousand and nineteen.

One of the promises I made to myself when I first started this job was that I wouldn’t drink with my coworkers for the first month. I didn’t like how much my ability to bond with previous coworkers was reliant on an altered state. It proved to be pretty easy since I had a massive health issue two weeks in that prevented me from drinking at all for several weeks.

During my recovery period, people around the office constantly kept tabs on me to see if and when I could drink again. I felt monitored and exposed. People kept inviting me to events where the only activity was getting drunk and were constantly surprised when I said no, even though they so generously pointed out that they wouldn’t be offended if I hung out with them sober. It never seemed to occur to them to engage in an activity which didn’t require being sloshed. As a consequence, I didn’t really make friends here the way I had previous jobs.

By the time I could drink consistently again, I’d developed a deep ambivalence to ever becoming friendly with these people.

I got a verbal job offer roughly two hours before Olivia tried to get me to have a Death in the Afternoon. I’d checked out of work and was playing with glitch art by then anyhow, and I almost went over and joined them. After all, my days here are numbered so nothing I do or say really matters from here on out. But I decided against it. Even after they offered to give me a full glass of Absinthe instead.

Some people just can’t stand to see other people not drink.

For an altogether more pleasant, more sophisticated, and less pretentious cocktail I recommend a Sazerac.

  • Rinse a chilled rocks glass with 0.5 oz of Absinthe. Discard any excess that lingers at the bottom of the glass
  • In a separate glass, muddle together 3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, 1 sugar cube, and 1/2 tsp of water
  • Add 1.25 oz of Rye Whiskey and 1.25 oz of Cognac into the glass with the sugar mixture. Fill with ice. Stir until sugar is incorporated and liquor is well-chilled.
  • Strain the drink into the glass prepared with Absinthe. Twist a lemon peel slice above the surface and swipe it around the mouth of the glass to express the oils. Discard the lemon peel.

I am being personally called out

A day off meant we could do things we’d always meant to do. Like go to the Botanical Garden, the Frick Collection, or something. Read some fiction. Leisure, the problem with the modern condition was the dearth of leisure. And finally, it took a force of nature to interrupt our routines. We just wanted to hit the reset button. We wanted to feel flush with the time to do things of no quantifiable value, or hopeful side pursuits like writing or drawing or something, something other than what we did for money. Like learn to be a better photographer. And even if we didn’t get around to it on that day, our free day, maybe it was enough just to feel the possibility that we could if we wanted to, which is another way of saying that we wanted to feel young, though many of us were that if nothing else.

Severance, page 199
Ling Ma

This paragraph should just @ me next time. Rude.

Kind of gets at why this whole personal blog/web1.0 throwback experiment is appealing though. I am giving myself space to engage in something that I will not be able to monetize. A piece of myself I am not leasing to a centralized social media giant in exchange for the hope of more social capital. It feels strange and uncomfortable, but also like I’m working to gain something back.

Why are Easter buffets so sad?

It’s become something of a tradition for me, my aunt, and my uncle to attempt brunch on Easter. The cocktails are uniformly great. This is, after all, Chicago. But the food is reminiscent of a Holiday Inn Express continental breakfast. Sufficient, I guess, but not worth the $50 they squeeze out of you for it.

Spent a large chunk of the afternoon entering books into a catalog on Inventaire. Because if there’s one thing I love it’s doing data entry about books, and the correcting inconsistencies in the database.

This blog is now a part of a webring.

Going to try to finish Severance by Ling Ma today. March and April have not been particularly good reading months for me.

Also going to try to release betterreads v0.4.0, a Python library for interfacing with the public Goodreads API, sometime this week. I’ve been dragging my heels on the authentication based integration tests and updating the documentation.

Trying to be responsible

This is a total stream of consciousness braindump about the fact that I’m bad at money.

An issue I seem to run into again and again is that I wait until I’m so miserable that I can barely breathe before I start looking for a new job. I tried to avert that this time around by telling myself in January that I would give it until the end of Q1 before committing to either staying or going. By the end of Q1 I was read to scream in each and every meeting I attended, and absolutely ready to move on. I should have trusted my gut feeling in January that this was an untenable situation and taken action then.

Part of the reason I’m so consistently waiting out bad situations is the fact that I’m bad at money, and I look at my savings account and know that it’s not going to go as far as I need it to if I quit without a backup plan. I’m very happy with the new offer that I got, and I’m glad that I waited for it, but it would have been so much nicer if I could have searched for a job knowing that I could walk away and devote my entire attention to a job search.

So, even though it’s solidly into Q2, I’ve decided that 2019 is the year I get serious about building up my Fuck Off Fund. I need to work on saving up enough money to live comfortably with no additional income for 6 months. I have a number budgeted out, and the worksheet I got off of the official Fuck Off Fund website says to announce to 3 people that saving for emergencies is a priority for me in order to increase external accountability.

Since there are about three or four people who know that this blog exists, I’m going to consider this my public accountability announcement. I’m trying to save money. Feel free to ask me how it’s going. I will try to update here every so often, but I don’t know that I feel comfortable discussing exact numbers. I think I should hit my 10% milestone by the end of Q2. Wish me luck.

Note: the hero image for this post is a piece of glitch art I made by vertically RGB channel shifting the image, and then pixel sorting it by white values, which creates the great green circle with the face shaped negative space in the middle.

Learned How to Glitch Art Today

I’m fascinated with finding methods of digitally destroying or erasing my own face.

Glitched jpg image with horizontal bands from three separate selfies.
JPG hex editing with three separate selfies, used in unequal proportions. My first glitch art attempt.
Horizontal colorful stripes. This used to be a selfie, and portions of the face are still visible if you squint, but it's not immediately recognizable.
One of the selfies from the glitch art above (not the primary one). More radical glitching and less image mixing applied.
An image that used to be a selfie, bu the pixels are sorted according to brightness, so only vague shapes remain, and the pixels appear to be drifting upward and to the right.
A pixel sorting glitch run using Kim Asendorf‘s ASDF Pixel Sort written in the Processing programming language. Sorted by brightness, using both horizontal and vertical sorts.
An image that used to be a selfie of me in a hat with a pearl necklace, but the pixels are sorted horizontally from black to white. What's left is black on the left, with a smear of color in the middle, and white on the right. You can tell where my mouth used to be.
The same pixel sorting algorithm on a different selfie. Sorted from black to white, using only a horizontal sort. You can tell that in the original image my hair was purple and i was wearing red lipstick.
The same selfie as above, but sorting horizontally by brightness. You can tell that I am wearing a hat. Most of my face is pretty blurred, but my eyes are strangely intact, which is a bit unsettling. My hair also retains most of its shape.
The same selfie as above, but sorting horizontally by brightness.

I attempted to databend some other photos using Audacity sound editing, but mostly managed to break them instead of glitching them. I’ll try again later.