Wednesday, April 27

By the way ...

<Manager> is one of the primary culprits in the infamous you're too stoopid incident.

Tuesday, April 26

Why are we on this ship and where are all the rats going?

This came in my e-mail today:

To: All Employees

<Manager name here> has submitted his resignation as <upper management position in the <agency>, effective June 30.

While I am personally sad to see him go, and I know I am not alone, <Manager> is excited about starting a private sector position with <X> Consulting. I want to take this opportunity to thank <Manager> for his efforts to shepherd critically important enterprise initiatives within <agency> over the last two years. His leadership and commitment to the organization has been the key to their success.

As you know, we expect to hire a new <A Different Vacant Manager Position> in mid-May. <Manager> has been, and will continue to be, actively involved in that process and other <Agency> projects until his departure. Please join me in wishing all the best for <Manager> as he enters the next stage of his career. He will be missed. In this case, it is not an exaggeration to say that the public sector's loss will be the private sector's gain.

Apparently my fatalism is contagious, since this was A's response:

<Manager> is excited about starting a private sector position with <X> Consulting, where he will be issued a state contract to administer the entire information services division for the state. While <Manager>'s salary will increase 10-fold, he only hires high-school dropouts for minimum wage, on part-time employment arrangements so that they are eligible for food stamps and partial Medicaid in life-or-death emergency health care situations, allowing them to increase their standard of living. Once again, a shining example of how privatization and outsourcing is good for the community as a whole, saving taxpayer money that would have otherwise been diverted to actual payroll expenses for full-time professionals, who will now be receiving unemployment benefits at a substantially reduced cost compared to their payroll costs.

I damn near fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard.

See kids? Fatalism is fun!

Sunday, April 24

Random thought for the day

Some days you're the windshield.

Some days you're the bug.

Wednesday, April 20

Shamelessly stolen

This is so damn funny I can't help but use it!

Today's Terror Alert Level:
Terror Alert Level

Thanks to the mysterious pankleb for turning me onto the source, which was shamelessly stolen from yet another source.

Tuesday, April 19

What's in a name?

I'm not going to bother commenting on the continuation of the stampede off the conservative cliff, but I do think that Cardinal Ratzinger's choice in names is ... amusing, considering his political leaning:


A newly married man who was previously considered a confirmed bachelor.

Err. Yeah. Let's get all those priests married off right quick!

Friday, April 15

More on Li v. Oregon

So I started this as a reply to Andy and Pablo below, but it started to look like a real post, so I'll put it here instead.

The "separate but equal" argument seems, to a layman like me, to be the strongest argument and the argument most likely to gain traction in the minds of the voting public. The importance of the concept and its meaning to the civil rights movement has been drilled into the heads of anyone who attended public school in the US since the late 60's.

As Pablo (welcome Pablo!) mentions in his blog, the decision did have embedded in it what could be considered a recipe for how to properly present the equal benefits argument. So while the Court may have slapped the good guys down pretty hard, they did also seem to offer up an alternative strategy on a silver platter.

Here's to hoping. Frankly, I'm proud that my years of monthly contributions to Basic Rights Oregon are helping to fund cases like this. Y'all hear me? We'll keep contributing as long as you keep fighting!

Thursday, April 14

A sad day

I am aghast. The Oregon Supreme Court completely invalidated the marriage licenses that Multnomah and Benton Counties issued last year. As best I can tell, the Court categorically rejected every single aspect of the plaintiffs' case.

The decision was written by the Honorable W. Michael Gillette:
In summary, we conclude as follows. First, since the effective date of Measure 36, marriage in Oregon has been limited under the Oregon Constitution to opposite-sex couples. Second, Oregon statutory law in existence before the effective date of Measure 36 also limited, and continues to limit, the right to obtain marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples. Third, marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Multnomah County before that date were issued without authority and were void at the time that they were issued, and we therefore need not consider the independent effect, if any, of Measure 36 on those marriage licenses. In short, none of plaintiffs' claims properly before the court is well taken. Finally, the abstract question whether ORS chapter 106 confers marriage benefits in violation of Article I, section 20, of the Oregon Constitution is not properly before the court.

The judgment of the circuit court is reversed, and the case is remanded to the circuit court with instructions to dismiss the action.

I am disgusted and appalled. I really don't know what to say beyond the fact that I am thoroughly ashamed to live in a state and in a nation that institutionalizes hateful discrimination and Constitutionally deprives some of its citizens basic civil rights - the very same rights my wife and I enjoy only because I have a Y chromosome and she does not.

I'm sure I'll have more to say later, but I need to think about it a bit before I can form a coherent opinion.

Tuesday, April 12

Seen on a car on Hawthorne

with a bumper sticker:

I don't suffer from insanity,
I enjoy every minute of it.

I love my neighborhood.

Monday, April 11

P O P ! ! !

Pardon the mess. I think my head just exploded.

Some M$ drone down at the helpdesk has the gall to whine that the streamed video from this morning is not available in a FOURTH format. What the hell do they want? They want me to drive down to their office, pick them up in a limo and deliver them to a theater where we will be projecting the completely content-free hearing on the big screen in Technicolor and THX surround sound? After all, only offering it in a paltry three formats is grossly negligent and simply can not be tolerated!

Solution pending, peon sysadmin valiantly trying to refrain from making sure the solution consists of toxic, explosive or painfully sharp and pointy components.

You're too stoopid to do your job ... let's outsource it!

It's lunchtime, and I need to vent. But first, a disclaimer:

Anything expressed in this post is purely my opinion as a private citizen and not in any way to be taken as an official post in my professional capacity.

While I may occasionally think we have some upper management who seem to be lacking two functioning neurons to rub together, I still love to do my job - when they get out of my way and let me do it. I'd hate to lose it simply because someone thinks this post is anything except me as a public servant exercising my right to speak on issues of public importance
(PICKERING v. BOARD OF EDUCATION, 391 U.S. 563 (1968)).

So then ... CYA complete, now on to our regularly scheduled programming:

If any of you out there ever consider working for the government, listen up. This is one of the reasons why you should run away as fast as you can.

As many of you know, I work for the central IT division of a government entity. A couple of years ago, someone near the top of the food chain arbitrarily decided that the current central web server was not meeting our needs. Consequently, our reliable and functional web server (which, by the way, was running the free open source web server Apache that runs 70% of the world's web sites) was summarily trashed and replaced with a multimillion dollar proprietary commercial web serving and content management system. About the same time, our chief information officer stood up in front of an all staff meeting and told us all that we did "not have the skills in-house" to manage large enterprise-level systems.

Umm. What? Excuse me? Did you just tell the people who built these self-same systems that we don't have the skills to make them run?

Gee. Thanks. Could you slap the other side of my face so that the bruises match? I'd hate to be unsymmetric.

So here we are, many months and millions of dollars later we have a system Rube Goldberg would be proud of - bloated, slow, horrendously expensive, excessively complex, fragile, and singularly lacking in useful features. All those folks screaming about DMV or Water billing computer systems are missing a boondoggle of a whole new order of magnitude.

What's worse, just last month the stuffed shirts decide that we're so far out of our league that we just have to outsource the whole thing entirely - to the same company that built this white elephant in the first place. Our core web server just trotted off to Texas.

Fine, I grit my teeth and pretend it works well and is a wise use of our taxpayer dollars. As I am blowing a huge chunk of my morning changing one character on a web page ("April 10th" to "April 11th" - a 30 second job on just about any normal system), I hear a ding from my mailbox. Lo and behold, what do I see:

Subject: E-Government Web Servers at max capacity: Need to shut down from 12:30-1:00pm




<hysterical giggle>


Support personnel will shut down and restart all identity servers and web servers to enable E-Government technical staff to quickly diagnosis the surge in intranet traffic that is causing significant slowdowns on website page loading, etc.

<fall out of chair>

Let me get this straight, Mr. Public Administrator Manager Who Has No Friggin' Clue How To Read His E-mail Without Having His Secretary Print it Out For Him ... first you decide to spend tens of millions of dollars on a system we don't need. Then you decide to insult the people who make all this technology work by telling us peons that we are too stupid to do our jobs. Then you decide - because we are so stupid - that you need to outsource a core system to the same incompetent contractor who built it in the first place.

With me so far? Now that we have the sundae, let's add some toppings, shall we?

Let's take one of the most mission critical information systems anywhere in the organization down in the middle of the business day because it's too bloated, over-engineered and underpowered to handle the load.

Wow. Whipped cream, a ton of nuts, and a cherry on top! Wow, they really take stuff over the top, huh?

It's not every day the organization's core web server gets shut completely down in the middle of the day so they can troubleshoot it because the morons who designed it - the very same incompetent idiots who it got outsourced to - managed to spend millions of dollars on a system that barfs when it sees a load spike. After all, us peons are all too stupid to do anything so complicated as operate a letter opener, so by all means, let's ship the whole damn thing to Texas! They seem to have enough idiots down there that the whole million monkeys banging away on the typewriters effect will eventually kick in and produce a work of art - it worked for Shakespeare, right?

Friday, April 8

As if anyone needed proof

... that I am a die-hard geek.

This is so cool!

NASA image

"Dude! Look out the window, you can see my ride."

Sigh ...

Flying freeway

I maxed out my upload limit on Flickr again. One of these days I'll have to get over my aversion to recurring charges and pony up the cash for an upgraded account.

Pfft! Like that's gonna happen. Y'all will just have to wait until next month for the next batch of pix.

Wednesday, April 6

More photos!

I took the borrowed Canon EOS Digital Rebel to a friend's wedding this weekend.

I took approximately 190 pictures, the vast majority of which I am quite happy with. Since the bride and groom are off in Hawaii on their honeymoon, I won't post the people pix here without their approval. I will, however, post a few of the images of the cathedral itself.


The light in that building is unbelievable. I've never shot any location quite like it. The golden quality of it is simply breathtaking.

Choir loft

The wedding was beautiful and perfect. The bride and groom, fortunately, did not find out the Pope died minutes after the ceremony (while we were all taking pictures). I'll post more pics provided the people in them give me permission.


Does anyone find this ironic?

NPR was doing interviews with some of the protectors on the street outside hospice facility the day she died. They were talking about how they were sad that she died, but that they were happy that she is "in a better place" now.

Hang on a second ... half an hour before you were screaming to keep her brain-dead body alive, but now you're happy she's gone?

Umm. Yeah. Whatever. Go to hell you hypocritical fanatics.

Also, has anyone wondered what would have happened it the Pope had lingered on for 15 years in a vegetative state?