Regarding Those Things I Mentioned

  1. So, it turns out that I really like software testing ("Quality Assurance"...orperhapsyouprefer "Business Analysis"). It's tricky stuff in that you need to understand complex software at a pretty deep level and you need to be able to apprehend problems from a user perspective and from a development perspective. BUT holy crap is it easy compared to what I have been doing: the constantly-escalating technical challenges and playing-with-live-ammo aspect of production systems management. I mean, I'm still doing that, but at least now there's a lot of totally unthreatening testing in there, too. As an added bonus, my time is billed to the clients, so I'm actually i>making the company money.
  2. Riding that them thar bike! It's like free exercise, you guys!
  3. Also: had a terrific pants day the other day. Pants were located! Pants were purchased! We discovered that the Goodwill on Broadway near Lloyd Center is great. I got an apparently unworn pair of Gap jeans for 10 bucks. I got an amazing green cowboy pear-snap button shirt for 6. ET CETERA. Also: some weird generic Chinese pseudo-cords from Sears for 15. WELCOME TO THUNDERDOME.


My Cup Runneth Over

With events! I have been doing things, and the fact that when I'm at work I have to work and when I'm at home I'm hanging out with Plan C means that I don't get to blog much. As a result, the whole world suffers. Here's what's been up:
  1. I went to Sunriver with my mom, stepdad, brother, B and Plan C. We had a very nice time drinking all the wine in central Oregon. Also, there were bike rides and games of Ticket to Ride.
  2. We have been pretty darn social. This means that we eat dinner with people, basically.
  3. I started riding my (borrowed - thanks E!) bike to work. It's about 30 minutes one way, going from 47th + Stark over the Burnside Bridge to the office, then later reversing that process to go home. It's very satisfying, albeit a little scary, and if the first few days are any indication, I am going to be back in cardio-related shape very quickly.
  4. I seriously need some new pants AGAIN.
  5. I'm moving very quickly into QA (which means software testing) at work as the operations stuff sort of starts to fall off.
  6. I have initiated the house-buying process. I've sent off reams of financial paperwork, albeit digitized, to the loan officer lady, and I expect we'll be seriously at it by mid-August or so.
  7. Plan C grew like a vertical foot in a week.
I have pictures on flickr, which is where I put pictures, because I'm wary of putting pictures on Facebook. That is all.



So...funny timing on blog posts. I was hired full-time at the software company two days after my latest online bitch-fest. All I can say about it is that I feel completely unequivocal about my priorities; even if this means that teaching becomes entirely a sideline activity for the rest of my life, I really don't care. I find that at 32, with a kid, living in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of American capitalism, I just want to take care of my family and try to keep my head above water.

I was IM'ing with K about it yesterday and she was pointing out that it's also something of a stand on principle to reject the endless treadmill of part-time, insecure and unsupported academic employment (i.e. as an adjunct/lecturer.) The system works because so many people like me / K* are willing to chase after the elusive full-time jobs, sacrificing everything in the name of a career and a system that almost no one actually gets access to.

Looking back, I think I'm most bitter about the attitude of tenured / tenure-track faculty, who treat adjuncts as kind of embarrassing plague-bearers; they walk past them in the halls of academic discourse (virtually and literally) like most of us walk past bearded hobos wrapped in sleeping bags begging for change. Of all the causes academics try to associate themselves with, the fate of the entire profession doesn't seem very important to most of them.

So, fuck them anyway. I'll go fix servers and do software QA.

* K is calling bullshit on this, too. By "people like me / K," I just mean "people with PhDs who are old(er) and want to not be as poor as they have been forever."



The setting: since about 1980, real wages in the US have stagnated or declined across the board. The "growth" of the economy has been based entirely on financial and commodity speculation (stocks, real estate, currency trading, and so on), meaning only people who are already wealthy have access to further wealth. The social standard is still that of the so-called full-time job: a 40-hour work week (not counting commute, lunch and breaks, and heaps of unpaid overtime for salaried employees) with a decent wage and modest benefits. Full-time jobs are, however, the privilege of a relatively small elite of educated, well-connected people, and they're always vulnerable to outsourcing / downsizing / restructuring / further corporate euphemism.

The protagonist: a basically well-meaning and friendly fellow with a lot of degrees and some technical skills.

The challenge: can our tinhorn hero navigate the treacherous waters of postmodern capitalism and arrive at the shoals of a semi-secure "full-time job," having despaired of the larger context improving in the slightest? Will he scale the ice wall of technical certifications armed with the crampons of a mediocre understanding of networking and domain administration, or will he skip from stone to stone across the river of community college education, earning barely enough to keep his family fed (to quote the Beverly Hillbillies theme)?

Or will his metaphors get even worse?!

Tune in this decade as we find out if the far-off dream of buying a small bungalow in a livable neighborhood of Portland, going on the occasional trip to a nearby spot featuring a river or something, and modern amenities like new socks once in a while are on the horizon!