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Nerdy Ninth: James Spader

So ages ago, my friend Curt rolled out the idea of "Nerdy Ninth", which is where we take the ninth day of the month every month to unabashedly talk positively about the things we like. It's a positive-feedback-only idea - no yucking other people's yum, and if you have something good to say, say it with enthusiasm. If the thing being discussed doesn't roll up your socks, then skip it; go play in your own sandbox if you wanna lay turds. I like it: it gives people the space to be positive about stuff, which sometimes in modern nerditry isn't something that happens often. It was a big thing on G+ for a while, and now that G+ is going away I'm going to try and drag that over into my own blog for a chance to talk about things in a positive way. So here's a Nerdy Ninth post to get started.

This month for Nerdy Ninth I'm going to go back to my roots and talking about something I like (in this case, someone):

James Spader.

James Spader has always been an odd…
Recent posts

Managing Difficulties.

The single biggest speedbump on my transition from Individual Contributor to Manager is the realization that I need to hire people that have skills that I don't have, but I'm not sure how to test for those skills to make sure I'm hiring correctly.

Listen, hiring is HARD. It's hard, y'all. Interviews are difficult and as far as I can tell don't actually give a good measure of how a person is going to react or what a person knows. Technical interviews can only do so much, especially when you're hiring for niche positions. Eventually, you just have to make a call and trust you do it right. Sometimes, you get to take a chance on someone who maybe doesn't exactly fit the background, but you like their spirit and you want to give them an opportunity and so you get a great self-learner who is eager for each task and really knows her shit and is working actively to learn more. And that's great!

And then sometimes you give into time pressure and you go with …

Jerome's 2018 in Review, for Posterity.

As I said in a tweet the other day, I thought about doing an end-of-year roundup but 2018 has been seventeen years long, so it felt like a lot of work. But really, It's only been 11 and a half months, and that shouldn't be so bad if I stick to the important points. I mean, sure, the world is boiling and the government is a tire fire of garbage and nobody can manage to get things pointed in the right direction, but what about the personal stuff? So that's what you get.

Right after New Year I started seriously taking classes for my bachelor's degree. Well, prerequisites for it, anyway; I've been attending classes at Portland Community College with the intention of transferring to Oregon State to finish up, mostly because they both had strong online class options. And boy, did I learn a LOT about myself in that first term. I took CS 120 (Computer Concepts), Math 75 (Remedial Algebra), and English 201 (Shakespeare's Early Plays). It doesn't sound like a lot, bu…

Occasional Media Consumption: Swordheart, by T. Kingfisher.

I'm not sure how to say what I want to say without saying it wrong.

I don't think I have been this excited for a new author's work since I was in the rapid process of discovering and then chewing through the back catalog of C.J. Cherryh, who at that point had just published Foreigner and grabbed me by my whiskers and screamed (metaphorically) "Look! Here is an author whose style of prose and choice of character speaks directly and entirely to you!" Or that moment in my high school years when I stumbled upon Melissa Scott's Trouble and Her Friends and I suddenly knew, with a certainty that has still not yet left me, that I wanted to be a part of the future (and the culture) of technology. And yet that's not fair, because T. Kingfisher, nee Ursula Vernon, is her own writer, her own voice, her own authorial person, and doesn't deserve to be compared to others.

To say that Kingfisher's prose style and choice of genre (which is to say, a particularly dar…

Things I learned.

My sister posted a really excellent summation from her point of view:

"My Dad taught me to fly fish, to understand the importance of organized labor and the value of work, and that it was possible for people to change for the better even well into adulthood. I think that was good parenting." And my other sister summed it up thus:
"Take pride in your work. Take all of your vacation days. What you can't handle, surrender to God. Help people when they need it. Let people help themselves when they can. Be faithful." And so I've been thinking about the things I learned from my father. And I learned a crapton of really useful, everyday stuff from my mom: compassion never hurts; charity isn't a contract, it's a gift; when in doubt, try to give rather than take. My mom taught me a lot of those things by example.

The stuff I learned from my dad was different. It was more technical and experiential, and I often learned it in conflict with him, because nearly ou…

What I Did This Weekend, And Why It Mattered

A while ago some friends of mine pointed out to me online that they were involved in a kickstarter that was live, so I went to check it out. And it was a kickstarter for a gaming convention in the Bay Area in October, and a whole bunch of people that I cared a bunch about were going to be involved and wanted it to succeed. And I was a bit flush that month, so I said 'fuck it' and I backed the kickstarter and that got me a ticket to BigBadCon 2018.

And so I had a ticket, and I made reservations, and bought a plane ticket, and everything was looking up. And then I broke my foot. And now I was mobility-limited. And then my mom died. And I had to go out of town and deal with all of that basically the week before the con, which included taking a bunch of unpaid time off from work. And I thought really seriously about not going, but then I was like: no, there are cool people there that you haven't seen in literal-years. And you've already spent the money. So I said 'fuck…

Grief is weird.

(CW: death and dying, Catholicism, Bible quotes)



My sisters are planning my mom's mass today. So, lemme back up: my mother, who's name was Joy, (and a good chunk of my family) are devout Irish Catholics and the home parish for this is the local Jesuit church, St. Francis Xavier. Because my mother was basically a pillar of the community for so long, there's a lot of weight about doing her final appearance Right. Mom would demur, but in this case I think she'd be wrong; lots of people knew my mother as "Joy From Church" and lots of people loved her, especially because she was always about the open arms of love that she thought was the Basic Catholic Message. My mother was not without (sometimes great) flaws, but she believed in her heart that it was her job as a Catholic to love everyone, and she worked hard to make that happen.
Anyway, for the Catholics, there's a specific mass that's said as part of a funeral. And so my sisters are working out the var…