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small gray square Tunes I heard in public today: "The Waltz of the Flowers" and "Ava Maria", both very elegant solo guitar; and in the Safeway, that great late 80's song by Crowded House:

"Hey Now Hey Now Don't dream it's over..."
...which made me feel very positive. Unlike in that same Safeway a few days ago when John Lennon sang "Happy Xmas (War is over)"
"And so this Christmas...
and what have you done?
Another year older..."
a song which bums me out, rather than lifting my mood to some festive ideal. In fact I think it's included in playlists inappropriately - it's hardly a jolly carol, really a dirge.

small yellow square People are here from the New Jersey office, including the jolly Big Boss; last night I had to dine with them (and they'd like a repeat performance tonight, but I declined). Another stupefying meeting this morning where my presence was required; how can everybody else stay awake and alert in this situation? Even with the uncomfortable chairs, I get drowsy after only about fifteen minutes - but meetings are never that short. My mention to the big boss of my interest in the possible new work in Germany may trigger a favorable sequence of events. These are the few details I heard from my manager back east (whom I've never met in person - perhaps next month). (the Big Boss is a couple levels above him.) The few details I've heard: same field I'm in now, six people needed, a one year commitment Over There (somewhere south of Frankfurt), and they want SysAdmin and network types - unfortunately those aren't my skills, but they may be so desperate that they'd accept a candidate requiring a little OJT.

small red square Some current reading:

  • "Colliers" #4, a comic book which has enlightened me about the World War I "Raid on Zeebrugge". This page will tell you more; the hero of that battle's great nephew maintains it.
  • This big cover article in the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly about our Prison-Industrial Complex: "a set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need." Another representative line from the article: "Fundamental choices about public safety, employee training, and the denial of personal freedoms are increasingly being made with an eye to the bottom line." Fun fact from the article: transport of detainees (to use an irritatingly euphemistic expression from the popular media) to and from private prisons is often performed by contractors with little or no training, experience or even protection - it cites instances where violent criminals escaped by overpowering their driving crews; and on the other hand, situations are also described where convicts were made to spend days during transit, confined to old vehicles waiting in parking lots ("Diesel Therapy").

OJT - On the Job Training
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