In dread silence reposes

My parents cruise. A lot. At this point, they've been to every continent and, if I recall, every nation. They go to small villages, climb isolated mountains, and walk on beaches far from the trappings of modern technology.

All across the world, in small places, on top of hills or in the shadows of cliffs, there are grave stones, carefully tended, and usually some old man in a faded uniform who lives in a nearby shack or hut or old building.

And on a plaque nearby, some version of the phrase, "We remember... and we thank you."

Above these stones, waving gently in the breeze, you'll see the flags. British. Austrailian. And the ol' Stars and Stripes of the United States.

I'm often conflicted on the notion of supporting those in the military. I believe that killing is never a morally valid option, even when it's the best option available, and often people seem to sign up to participate for all the wrong reasons. We get into unnecessary wars for political reasons and sometimes do more wrong than we are trying to prevent.

But on Veteran's Day today, I'll offer this statement: to those who fight for the rights and freedoms of others, who defend the line that should never be crossed, and who bear the moral cost of decisions that are not right but may be the best ones that could be made... To you, whether military or civilian, where living or dead, I salute you.

Stress lines

Okay, it's been almost a month, and that's a little ridiculous.

Tons happening, but a lot of it "not fun". Mostly work stuff - we gave presentations in a project we've been working on for the last four or five months, so that's done. I'm going out of state to have a meeting with someone high up in a tech company who may be interested in partnering with us on Sunday, so, we've spent a lot of time prepping for that. And I'm having quite a bit of frustration working with certain individuals in my company.

So, yeah, not fun. Oh, I also get to give my self-assessment for the year, and looking over the numbers that my boss gave me for my last assessment, this isn't likely to look good. Though, I have to take that with a grain of salt - apparently, the last assessments prior to that were "so positive" that people were actually yelled at. "We can't have everyone exceeding expecttions," is one quote I heard. Gotta love corporate culture. We also had a conversation with some of it, and some of what she "dinged" me for is cultural difference.

- Let me explain that. I'm a programmer at heart. When developing code, we don't worry about the easy stuff - it's easy. What we worry about, extensively, are the things we don't understand at the start, because those are the things that you can't incorporate into the system as a whole and are, therefore, most likely to bite you in the ass later. So, most programmers mentally review an idea, toss out all the "easy" stuff, and bring up all the potential roadblocks - not to stop the conversation or to say "we can't do this", but because we have to have at least a basic understanding of how to get around them when we start.

Social workers, on the other hand, spend most of their time working with people on emotional or psychological issues. There, the best approach is to generally focus on the positive and deal with the "bad stuff" when you get to it. This helps people not fall into depressive loops and such.

So, I'll sit in a meeting with them, and most of them are all, "yes, we can do this! yay!" and I step in with, "This point here might be a problem we have to look at; we have no plan for dealing with it," and everyone thinks I'm trying to stop the show.

I explained this to her, and then to them, and everyone understands it now - that I'm not being negative, I'm actually being positive (if I was being negative, I wouldn't say anything and let them fail) - but I still have "tends to be negative in meetings" on my review.

Oh well.

On a more personal note, a paleontologist I know from online flew in from Paris (via PA and NV - don't ask), and we pal'd around for a few days. Awesome guy, and it's a blast walking through a place like the La Brea Tar Pits and having the guy next to you know more than what is written on the placard about pretty much everything. Sample comments: "Oh! We dug one of those up in Poland last year." "They always get the taxonomy on this wrong, it's not really a - [video states that they changed the family] ah, they updated it, good." "This is really cool, they only made this find in July and it's already on display here!"

Also, I finally got to hang out a bit with my language geek friend at UCLA. So, that was fun.

I also got back into World of Warcraft, since my consulting project's ended and I have the time once again. We'll see how long this lasts.

Nothing on the dating scene. Changed things up a bit, added a new pic, see how it goes.

Back later (hopefully not quite as much later).