I very rarely talk about work and the people AT work, but this one it TOO GOOD to pass up.
So its the stuff of a bad sitcom - you call in sick, go to the ball game instead, you catch a home-run ball in the stands and your picture is on the front page of the local newspaper. Then you spend the next day trying to hide copies of the paper from your boss.
And sometimes the situation is reversed. Here's a picture of the line outside the Apple Store up in the U-District of people camped out for the new Iphones, from the front page of the Seattle Times site.
The guy in the center, in the green shirt, is one of my bosses, Jeff Strain, who is currently on paternity leave. I will note that he IS working on a laptop, probably has WiFi, and even as this picture is snapped was reconfiguring our Wiki.
(But I am going to be in SUCH trouble for this).
Update: Bonus! Then they give Jeff the lead quote in the article from the OTHER daily paper in town (Heheheh).
I just looked at the journal, and it has been a week since the last posting, and that a snarky political one-shot. Have I grown beyond public displays of my crankiness, or are blogs just too, too 2004?
Truth of the matter is several things. One of them is a heavy day-job schedule as we surge forward on Guild Wars: Eye of the North. Another is work on The Settlers 6. And also there's the fact that the weather has been very, very nice out here of late, and what time I do have free I choose to spend on the back porch, reading the latest translation of The Three Musketeers and drinking a frozen rum punch.
Oh, and incipient alcoholism from all those rum punches. That's been slowing me down as well.
Yep, clamming. I've spent the past two days out on the Hood Canal (which is not a canal, but rather a fjord, but never mind), engaged in clamming.
It was a rest well-needed. We've been a little spotty on the postings of late, mainly because the workload has been a bit intense recently. Both the day-job and the freelance job are at critical junctures which need a lot of immediate attention to make sure everything works. As a result, there has been precious little time for anything else in my life.
But not for the past couple days. I took Friday off in my first vacation that did not involve bringing along a computer in over a year, and the Lovely Bride and I bundled into the hybrid, crossed to Bainbridge on the ferry (part-way escorted by Coast Guard craft with machine guns on the bows), crossed Bremerton Peninsula, across the Hood Canal Bride and down the other side to the beaches at Quilcene and Dosewallips.
Friday Quilcene was mostly empty, and it is a rich beach for manila steamers. Pick a spot, dig down an couple inches, and you come up with a handful. Saturday, when the low tide hit around noon, it was a zoo - everyone was clamming, including a lot of first-timers (you can tell they're first-timers - I'm giving clamming advice).
Doswallips was where the geoduck hunters hung out. We went there for horse clams, but were not successful (of course, our strategy was 'dig in a random location and hope for the best'). The geoduck hunters here are akin the deer hunters back in Wisconsin - good old boys that are heavily kitted out, packing post-hole-diggers as opposed to rifles, and clamming buckets with padded lids that can double as camp seats.
Civilization, such at it is on the canal, is clutched tight to the seashore, along a thing band between the high tide line and the National Forest. We ended up walking a lot in the national forest, down Falls Creek Canyon and into the murky wilds around Murhut Falls. They were strange hikes - beautiful, but oddly silent. I don't know if it because of the habitat, the season, or the recently-reported plummeting of bird populations, but the woods were strangely silent with only the occasional call.
But the clamming worked out (at least as far as the manilas). We're allowed to pull off 40 clams per person per day, so that means I have had around 80 clams over the weekend. The first batch we steamed over a primitive propane stove. The second batch made it home and were thrown into the pasta.
But I'm all clammed up for the moment, and ready to go back into the fray.
That was about this, an attempt to Blog like it was the end of the world. Sort of a Blogging flash mob Several of my companions chose more realistic (and depressing) approaches to challenge, but I had to be a smartass.
As God is my witness, I never realized that zombies could drive.
I mean, it makes sense. Zombification strips out the upper brain functions, leaving only automatic responses - shuffling, biting, chewing, clawing, digging the gooey parts of the brain out with a forefinger, that sort of thing. And for a lot of people, driving is pretty much automatic, without a lot of attention from the higher brain.
Don't believe me? Tell me about your commute, yesterday, before the restless dead rose up to slay the living. Tell me about one other vehicle you saw on the road. Unless you've seen something out of the ordinary, it has just passed by you without a second thought. Yah see, automatic functions.
So when the world slipped into its present undead state, it really should not have surprised me that hundreds of zombie commuters rose up, lurched to their cars, and drove to work. At the same time I had to make my own commute. Just my luck.
And I know you're asking - with the living dead heralding the end of the world as we know it, why am I going to work? Because my company doesn't have a Zombie Day plan. Sure, I could stay home, but then it's a sick day, which is also a vacation day. I swear that this one business practice was more responsible than anything for the Zombiepocalypse. You get up, and you're feeling a little undead, not so undead that you want to spend one of your precious vacation days on it, so you go to work and before you know it, the front desk staff has killed everyone in accounting and is feasting on their entrails.
Anyway, you know those "slow zombies"? The Night-of-the-Living-Dead shamblers? Well, they drive just as slowly. No lie. So the 405 is a literal crawl. I pass one talking on his cell phone. Who does a zombie talk to on his cell? His broker?
Pulling out into the HOV lane was just as bad. And yes, it is breaking the law since I was alone, but the only cops I saw were lunching on an SUV filled with nuns, so the social order was a bit tattered at this point. No slow zombies here, but only those passive/aggressive fast zombies. One of whom decided by the Frye's exit to suddenly let go of the wheel and consume her car-pool buddy's eyes. So that tied up the HOV, and I'm back in the slow lanes with the shuffling corpses in their Detroit coffins.
The upshot was that by the Newcastle exit I gave up and turned around, with stop and go traffic through Renton. And since EVERYONE is moving like a zombie in their cars, there was no real prob with the undead looking for fresh meat. Got home, patched in remotely to the job, and am taking a vacation day (there will be a stiffly-worded memo coming out of THIS, I can tell you). The Internets are still up (insert IT/Zombie joke here), and the Lovely Bride is out getting something for dinner. So it is not like it is horrible.
But I tell you, if this keeps up, I'm going to consider going freelance again.
UPDATE: The Lovely Bride just got home: Me: Hey honey, what's for dinner? LB: Braaaaaainssssss!
So it looks like its another evening of experimental cuisine. End of a perfect day.
It is not that I don't love you anymore, nor do I love you any less. I have just been very, very busy for the past couple weeks. So busy I haven't had a chance to soak in my hot tub. So busy I haven't had a chance to play LotRO. So busy that the last deep discussion I've had involves whether rum punch can be considered in the "Fruits and Vegetables" part of a balanced meal.
So here's where I shear myself away from some of my fellows. A lot of them (in mailing lists and in journals) are comfortable with the idea that science and religions are opposites. Black and white. On and off. Thinking and feeling. Up and down. One cannot exist in the presence of the other.
Actually, I think of them as salt and pepper, which can be combined (in various amounts) but really two completely different things, and have completely different paths to your kitchen table. Salt is a mineral, an edible rock that appeals to certain parts of your tastes, while pepper is a plant (a dried fruit of a flowering vine, actually), which appeals to other regions of one's taste buds. To say that the two are polar opposites is kinda silly, and in the same fashion I think the science/religion split is a false dichotomy as well.
In fact, the two work together better than working apart. Over the course of my lifetime, there have been Biblical stories that have benefited from scientific support. As a lad, the Great Flood was a "bible story", a religious tall tale with a moral ("Don't cheese off the Lord"). Yet over the years archaeological thought has moved from "was there a Great Flood?" to "Was there a single flood or a series of localized floods?") Indeed, discovery of previous legends, like that of Deucalion, act to support the existence of a biblical flood, not diminish it.
Similarly, faith has supported science over the years. Gregor Mendel (genetics), Roger Bacon (scientific method), and Copernicus (astronomy) were all men of the cloth and received encouragement from their church. There are the monks in Ireland who kept knowledge alive in the wake of the fall of Rome, and the flowering of Islam brought new concepts, even new words (Algebra, Algorithm, Alchol) into European thought.
I think that both science and religion are spectrums as opposed to absolutes, and when we have a hard orthodoxy in control in either case, there difficulty for the rest of us. In religion we currently seem to be under the sway of the orthodox forces, but not too many years ago we were in the porgressive grips of Vatican II and the Ecumenical Movement. In science we have seen where the hide-bound individuals who control the mechanisms twisting vital research for their own ends (Gallo and the HIV virus comes to mind). Yet in both cases it is moving across a spectrum (of course, in both cases, the installed orthodoxy wants to KEEP their power, and to that end seeks to exclude others who might disagree. The spectrum becomes a single wavelength).
There is pseudo-religion and there is psuedo-science. Both science and religion can have bad ideas, false leads and dead ends. The Catholic Church, seeking to answer the question - what happens to the unbaptized innocent? - ended up with the concept of Limbo, which was recently abandoned. Science similarly has a long history of mechanisms created to make the theory work - Ether (if light is a wave, how does it travel through a vacuum?) orphlogiston (what is that makes stuff burn?). Now dark matter and superstring theory are similar constructs. Both science and religion have a tendency to pick stuff up, examine it, and discard it if it does not work. In both cases, problems show up when the thought process becomes rigid and rejecting (Papal infallibility, corporate-paid research think tanks), seeking to exert temporal power as opposed to seeking knowledge, comprehension, and understanding.
Science and religion are playing fields, where conservative and progressive forces move back and forth. Orthodox forces in both seem to limit both what is going out (in the way of sharing understanding) and what is coming in (as far as believers or theorists who may hold contrary views). While it is very easy to identify an established extreme as an enemy, it is not representative of the entire spectrum. Indeed, calling all scientists heretics and all faithful people ignorant supports those orthodoxies by restricting the number of participants that need to be controlled, exiling those non-, un-, and wrong believers into some sort of darkness where they may be ignored.
The answer for both spectrums is "more light". More thought, more discussion, more examination of both science and faith. Because only then can either sphere move forward.