The Nine Faces of Dave
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2002-09-26 05:07:50 (UTC)

nightmares of information technology

Though I wish I could say nothing's changed over these past
several days, quite a lot has. Some of it for the better, a
bit for the worse, and most of it just a shift.

I switched from Honors Calculus into Discrete Mathematics,
and it's working out much better for me. The professor has
a lot more enthusiasm for what he's doing, it's much easier
to understand, and the professor is pretty liberal about the
deadlines for homework. That last bit is mainly due to the
fact that many people transferred in late.

A couple things happened with my job which were more than a
little discouraging, mainly dealing with unwritten, unspoken
policies and the management's inability to communicate when
things start getting hectic.

On Monday, I made the mistake of telling a caller from the
Human Resources department about Ad-Aware, a nice utility to
find and remove spyware from your computer. She was wigging
out over popup ads on her computer, and some of the ads were
displayed in such a way as to suggest that they originated
from programs on her computer (possibly even Bonzi Buddy).

So later, the department calls back, because she's flipping
out over Ad-Aware's discovery of cookies. I told her not to
worry, and barely restrained myself from shouting "You suck
at the Internet!"

I then received one of those mild "FYI" lectures about never
recommending downloadable programs to people in departments,
because apparently downloads can screw up their computers,
which might in turn screw up payroll, which would make many
people very upset.

The thing is, Ad-Aware is perfectly safe. And what my boss
apparently didn't understand (like a typical manager in most
technology jobs) is that from a practical standpoint, I did
the right thing, even if it wasn't consistent with policy.
Programs like Gator, Cydoor, and Bonzi Buddy are a whole lot
more dangerous (especially to sensitive systems) than a tool
like Ad-Aware could ever be. We had Gator on one of the PCs
at work, and it basically crippled the system. But although
I knew what the problem was and how to fix it, I couldn't go
ahead and fix it myself.

It would be one thing if the management would be honest with
employees about why the rule exists. I can deal with a rule
that exists so the department can avoid taking the blame if
the shit should ever hit the fan. But when they make a lame
technology argument about why they have such a policy, then
they're just being jerks.

I finally find a job in technology, and I'm little more than
a desk grunt, blindly following protocol for my wage. I see
now that working for a university combines the worst aspects
of government and private industry jobs into a glorious mix
of low wage and lower status. Ah well, at least the closing
shift on Saturday is easy as hell.

In my personal life, things have happened which suggest that
I will probably never get involved with a girl I know from a
couple of my classes. Now it's already pretty unlikely, as
she's an exchange student, two years ahead of me, and only
here for a semester. But we get along fine, and manage to
have pretty decent conversations. Plus she always says hi
to me whenever we see each other somewhere on campus, which
gives me some hope that maybe she doesn't see me as a total
doofus. However, my hope is waning for a couple of reasons.

Mainly, she's been hanging out with another fellow from our
classes together, who I believe is also one of the exchange
students hanging around this semester. I also have reason
to believe that they know each other from somewhere else (I
think they're from the same place). Now it's possible that
they're just friends, in fact that's probably the case. But
the very possibility that they're involved in some way (or
even that this guy is interested in her) is scaring me away
from asking her out. And here's why.

See, this other guy is kind of scary-looking. And I don't
mean scary like "big hairy guy" kind of scary, or "goth poet
with multiple piercings" scary. This guy looks like people
I've seen in my nightmares. It's probably heinously unfair
of me to make that sort of judgement, but when someone looks
like people in your dreams, it's freaky enough. When they
look like the evil that populates your nightmares, when they
remind you why children are afraid to fall asleep at night,
that's just fucking scary.

Now, I'm not the sort of person who usually judges people by
their appearance. But my intuition is pretty good, and this
guy gives me a bad vibe. A person's aura isn't just new age
mumbo jumbo; people do radiate a certain something that can
give pretty solid clues to their personality.

The point is, I wouldn't want to make the mistake of asking
out some guy's girlfriend just because I didn't know. When
that guy looks like something out of my nightmares, then the
apprehension is more than doubled.

So at this point I'm not sure what to do. Do I take a risk
that could lead to bodily harm if one of the other parties
happens to be a psychopath, or do I remain inactive and then
wonder "what if" for two months, but still retain my pride
and all of my teeth? Any feedback would be appreciated.

And on an interesting side note, the smoothie I bought today
had the mark for the Fat Burner booster written in such a
way as to look like "Fat Bum." Oh, how true it is.

Or maybe I should just forget the whole dating matter, and
spend my time fucking around with my computer. After all,
isn't that what tubby geeks are supposed to do?

This is Dave, signing off.