I don’t do Baby Showers

I got an invitation today from a friend to attend her baby shower.  Yes… another one of those.  This friend had tried for three years to conceive and eventually managed to get pregnant without any medical intervention other than some acupuncture (which probably did more for her mental state than her physical state, but I digress) so she’s one of the lucky ones in my book.  But seeing she is someone who struggled for quite some time with the whole conception thing, you might expect that she would have a teeny weeny bit of understanding how those of us who have turned into the epitome of an IVF Cautionary Tale, would feel about attending the baby showers of well… the pregnant people.

I don’t want to go to this thing!  Are you nuts?!  To sit around and watch the cooing and the oohs and ahhs over cute little baby stuff that people will bring.  It sounds like a special fucking torture to me… and I can’t perceive a reason why I SHOULD willingly put myself through that.  Especially at the moment when my own circumstances feel so precarious.  If I go, I get to spend an afternoon gritting my teeth and smiling appropriately and trying not to say things that are negative or depressing or just plain sad.  If I go, I get to spend the afternoon trying not to burst into tears inappropriately or running off to the bathroom to hide when I feel myself getting upset.

But if I don’t go… then I’m an awful friend, perhaps even just an awful person all round.


Just Sysadmin Things… for which I’ve been reprimanded

Reddit is a particularly special quagmire of geeks gone wild, so I am copying this in here so I can find it later.  You gotta wonder just how indispensable someone has to be, before they can get away with this sort of shit in the workplace… Seriously.
From /u/Mr_U_N_Owen:

In the fourteen years or so as a UNIX sysadmin:

  1. Annoy-a-trons are not appropriate at work and show not be placed in supervisor’s office, causing him to dismantle everything electronic in his office. It’s not funny the second or third time, either.
  2. Referring to supervisor as “brotato” or saying it ever again, in any context, is grounds for a formal writeup.
  3. A poster of my supervisor with a potato for a head is not funny and still violates rule number 2.
  4. Not allowed to rename coworkers.
  5. A tip jar on my desk is not professional.
  6. Crossing out “TIPS” and writing “BRIBES” is no more professional.
  7. Putting “DBA team sniffs cat butts” in Oracle server MOTDs doesn’t cultivate a good relationship between UNIX and DBA teams.
  8. Writing a proof of concept exploit for software deficiencies labeled “will not fix,” while effective, isn’t acceptable.
  9. Printing and hanging a Certificate of Failure when a coworker brings down a server isn’t funny.
  10. In competetive team-building exercises, while not against the rules, its not productive to sabotage the Windows team by filtering, redirecting, or modifying their network traffic.
  11. Calling someoe a Decepticon because she has big ol’ stompy robot feet is neither polite nor constructive.
  12. Not allowed to call block management.
  13. Not allowed to redirect management’s calls to a VoIP system that puts them on indefinite hold with a message saying their call is important.
  14. Replacing a user’s shell with a script that only does an animated nyan cat is counterproductive.
  15. Removing a user that annoys me from all servers is also counterproductive.
  16. “Solar Flares” is not (generally) acceptable in a root cause analysis.
  17. Appending a technical email with a summary labeled “Manager Speak” and using small words, while effective, is not acceptable.
  18. I should not use the phrase “as to not enrage management” in a team email when dictating corrective action on an issue.
  19. I should not follow the complaint about said email with another to the team stating “I’d like to strike ‘as to not enrage management’ from the previous as it has perturbed management.”
  20. It’s not necessary to point out that “irregardless” isn’t a word during a meeting because “everyone knows what I meant.”
  21. Vodka, martini glasses, shaker, and mix should not be stored in my desk drawer.
  22. Or anywhere else in the office, and is not the “life juice” of a UNIX sysadmin.
  23. This is not a democracy.
  24. May not stage a coup d’etat, either.
  25. It’s not appropriate or necessary to threaten to replace someone with a few hundred lines of code, though technically feasible.
  26. Coworkers are not to be subject of psychological experiments, regardless of how benign they may be.
  27. Sniffing the SSH and Kerberos password of the chief security officer isn’t funny.
  28. Sending inane messages to management when a user leaves their desktop unlocked doesn’t effectively promote desktop security practicecs.
  29. Challenging a developer to a duel because he constantly fails to do bounds checking or input validation will not fix the problem.
  30. Calling desktop support to my desk to deliver a mouse because playing a first person shooter with trackpad only is not a valuable use of company resources.
  31. I’m not allowed to trade on of my coworkers to another team.
  32. Nor am I authorized to fire anyone.
  33. “I’m still a little drunk” is not an approiate answer when asked how the late night server maintenance went.
  34. A box of crickets is never to be brought into the office again.
  35. Conference rooms cannot be reserved all day because my cube is too small and doesn’t have a good view.
  36. Telling a supervisor that I’m too busy doing real work to attend a meeting isn’t sufficient cause to skip the meeting.
  37. Responding only in memes and youtube clips of movies is not an effective means of communication with management.
  38. Hiring PHP developers does not contribute to the quota of employees with disabilities.
  39. While its advisable to confer with the team before writing something in Ruby or Go which they don’t know, Brainfuck is never an appropriate language.
  40. Comments in code are not only “for those of weak constitution and simple minds”
  41. Quoting Oscar Wilde’s “The Soul of Man Under Socialism” during a charity function isn’t helping.
  42. “Project management may be compared to a primate attempting sexual congress with a football” is right out
  43. An hourly crontab from 3am-6am stating the time via SMS to a coworker doesn’t convey any useful information.
  44. Reverse engineering the encoding in a closed source messaging protocol an employee uses for non-business related communications and posting the study with the live data is in poor taste.
  45. Exploiting and shutting off compromised routers leveraged in a DoS attack directed at the company, while more effective than upstream filtering, is still a federal crime.
  46. “Do you suffer from a learning disability?” is likely never a proper response to anything.
  47. Fluffy bunny slippers are not authorized protective footwear on the data center floor.
  48. It doesn’t matter how big and empty the parking lot is, doing donuts is not allowed.
  49. Nor are donuts necessary for server component stress testing.
  50. Placing realistic looking stuffed animals under floor tiles in the data center isn’t funny.
  51. Telling new hires that the break room microwave is a viable means of secure hard disk destruction isn’t prudent, even if they should know better.
  52. Making up forms required to be filled out in blue ink and faxed in to grant system access is not permitted.
  53. Pushing vendors to compete with eachother for lunches, kickbacks, and giveaways is of questionable moral turpitude.
  54. Part of my salary is not “hush money” and I should never suggest that it is to anyone inside or outside the company.
  55. Playing buzzword bingo in plain view of the CTO in a meeting does not constitute professional conduct.
  56. Even if he looks at my card and blurts out the word I needed to win.
  57. RJ-45 ends are not “network seeds” and should not be scattered under floor tiles in an effort to cultivate a server farm.
  58. Making caltrops out of drinking straws and a hot glue gun is not a produtive use of company time, and the product should not be spread around the core routing cabinet because it lacked sufficient area denial measures.
  59. Shipments of ammunition are not to be sent to the data center’s receiving department and I’m not to task the department with loading it in my car for me.
  60. Don’t leave a 110v plug wired to an RJ-45 jack lying around for someone to find.
  61. Do not assign contractors numbers and refer to them by number alone, even if they take well to the system and begin addressing eachother by number.
  62. It’s not necessary to conduct a turing test on new hires to ensure they’re not robots.
  63. When a developer writes code but cannot articulate how the code works, its inadvisable to rally for him to be thrown in the retention pond to see if he’s a witch and floats.
  64. Using a server dolly and PVC pipe for jousting matches on the data center floor is not professional conduct.
  65. When there’s a tour group in the data center, don’t come into the office.
  66. When taking vendors or new hires out to lunch on the company card, drinks should not cost more than the meals.
  67. The server lab is not to be used for LAN parties after hours.
  68. Even if management is invited.

    and in among the comments, another user /u/undeadbill chimes in with the following:

    Things I’ve seen people do over the years that resulted in workplace policy changes:


1. Running your personal side business on production equipment or desktop workstations.

2.Running porn sites on production servers or desktop workstations.


3. Wearing an animal skin to work as a spirit guide and assistance animal.


4. Spinning around in a chair during a sales meeting and saying, “bullshit bullshit bullshit” whenever sales oversells something in front of the customer.


5. Replying to mail lists with the name field set to “Spanky the Monkey God”.


6. Keeping a bat with the words “Clue Bat” by the desk.


7. Putting a glass case with the phrase “Break in the event of stupid” enclosing a 9 foot bullwhip tagged with “Everything is better with Clue Whip” is not allowed.


8. Christening the latest newest high end piece of equipment received by having sex on it.


9. Keeping a filing cabinet solely to kick the snot out of it because sales or management did something resulting in stupid policy changes. Exposed metal edges became a safety hazard O_o.

10. Keeping firearms and ammo in the office for mid-day meetings at the shooting range.


11. Using QoS or other packet filtering to mess with competing player’s ping times on customer networks.


12. Using a punching nun doll to underscore issues with sales promises in customer meetings.


13. Shoulder surfing and blurting out destructive changes to things people are typing.


14. Proving that the Exchange admin did not properly filter a virus spread by email attachment by rewriting virus to email “Free Pizza in the Break Room!1!!” to all the developers. <–over-ridden by CTO, Exchange admin had to pay for pizza.


15. Using dirty limericks as password cyphers.


16. Greeting customers in pajamas and godzilla slippers.


17. Failing to cease “certain personal night time activitities” when answering a call from the NOC at 3am.


18. Commenting to customers about the same behavior from them.


19. Telling customers that “underwear gnomes are stealing the packets” when they refuse to believe a rational explanation, isn’t acceptable.


20. Playing “Indiana Jones” on the data center floor with the Clue Whip causing a production outage.


21. Attempting to hire an African pygmy goat as a way of criticizing management on how low wages limit the hirable talent pool.

Totally wants to make you work in IT…

network cable cat o nine tails

Groups are my speciality…

So we had a group counselling session today with Nicole, the TrickCyclist and our surrogate angel who is turning out to be someone who is so excessively generous and genuine that I can see us being life long friends… it is rare that I find a female friend that I just ‘click’ with, but I have felt that she is just our kind of people, if that makes any sense.

We had pretty much the same chats with Nicole that we had had in our individual counselling sessions and covered off an extensive checklist of ‘stuff’ that they need to review.  Basically the psych’s job in this situation is to make sure we have discussed a lot of the hard stuff up front and that there are no ‘red flags’ that would indicate that we shouldn’t go ahead.  If anyone is interested these are the sorts of areas that they are required to discuss:

Areas covered with Intending parents:
Relationship stability
Family and social support
Financial and work considerations
Relationship with the surrogate (current and future)
Disclosure of arrangement to others (including work and family/friends)
Considerations around informing the child
Intentions regarding continuing treatment in the case of failed attempts
Impact of the arrangement on their son
Implications of an unsuccessful outcome(s) on all parties (including their son)
Possibility of a multiple birth
Possibility of complications that may affect either or both parties (including loss of job, relationship breakdown, severe illness, injury, or death of partner, or death of both).
Control and complications during pregnancy (including activities/conduct/health of surrogate, prenatal screening, foetal abnormality, termination of pregnancy)
Possibility of a breakdown in the surrogacy agreement (particularly dealing with a disabled or seriously ill child issues around birth complications and decision making.

Areas covered with the Surrogate:
Motivation for entering into a surrogacy arrangement.
Current/ future relationship situation.
Family and social support.
Financial and work considerations.
Relationship with the intending parents (current and future).
Disclosure of arrangement to others (including work, family/friends).
Impact of the arrangement on her own son.
Future relationship with any potential child and the intending parents.
Intentions regarding continuing treatment in the case of failed attempts.
Implications of an unsuccessful outcome(s) on all parties.
Possibility of multiple birth.
Possibility of complications that may affect either or both parties including control and complications during pregnancy.
Possibility of a breakdown in the surrogacy agreement (particularly refusal of Intending Parents to accept the child).
Issues around birth complications and decision making (particularly the relinquishment of the child by the surrogate).
Possibility of loss of job, relationship breakdown, severe illness, injury, or death, including death of both intending parents).
Activities/conduct/health issues, prenatal screening, foetal abnormality, potential termination of pregnancy.

All good hard stuff to discuss I can assure you.  And while everyone is entering into this with the purest of intentions… the whole situation scares the living hell out of me.

I just can’t bring myself to be happy about this, let alone be actually excited at the prospect.  I have spent so many years managing my expectations regarding infertility, pregnancy, babies, children and all these things, that the idea of it actually working is such an anathema to me that I just can’t see it happening for us – and yet here I am going through all the processes anyway.  The psych says ‘You should allow yourself to be excited about it, there is plenty of time for disappointment down the track if it comes to that’… but it’s just not that easy to let go of a mentality that you’ve been carrying around for a decade.


Black Books Motivational Posters

I love Black Books (probably due an inappropriate self identification with Bernard and his misanthropic ways), such a shame they only had a couple of seasons.  I have copied these ‘motivational posters’ here, for ease of finding them down the track, and with a view to perhaps making a few more with some of my own favourite quotes.

black books motivational posters 9d black books motivational posters 9c black books motivational posters 9b black books motivational posters 9a black books motivational posters 9 black books motivational posters 8 black books motivational posters 7 black books motivational posters 6 black books motivational posters 5 black books motivational posters 4 black books motivational posters 3 black books motivational posters 2 black books motivational posters 1Unapologetically appropriated from BF, who probably unapologetically appropriated it from some other poor bastard… such is the internet today.  :/