Elan

NobodysHome's page

18,138 posts (18,266 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 8 aliases.


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Just how comfortable is NobodysHome with his job security?

(1) "Problem" co-worker sends another lesson for review.
(2) NobodysHome acknowledges the significant improvement but still has half a page of suggested fixes.
(3) Not wanting to discourage problem co-worker, NobodysHome pings new manager to find out how to proceed.
(4) New manager admits that she wrote that lesson.
(5) NobodysHome hits Send.

Yes. I have no fear.


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Speaking of Doctor Who...

LM, you and the kids should watch The Androids of Tara (S16E13-16). You might find that the main villain looks a bit familiar.

It saddened me to read of yet another companion (Mary Tamm) who left the series because her character had been reduced to nothing more than a damsel in distress trope. Considering the quality of the writers they had available to them for the Fourth Doctor (Terry Nation and Douglas Adams were there during that time period), watching every female companion reduced to, "She's dumb. She gets kidnapped. The Doctor has to rescue her," is damned depressing. You'd think SOME writer would be able to think of SOMETHING different to do with a female companion... especially considering that in my recollection neither Zoe nor Polly (companions of the Second Doctor) ended up as helpless damsels in distress, so the writers had already shown that they could do something different if they bothered to try. (I don't count when everyone got captured -- if Polly, Ben, and the Doctor were all strapped to a death machine, that's fine. But if it's only ever the female companion who gets captured and strapped to the death machine and everyone else is fine, I get irritated.)


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The plot progresses... slowly.

GothBard now has a series of interviews this week at New Company. Both Shiro and I are under the impression that this is the standard formality for a direct hire: "Interview with your potential new teammates and make sure none of them hate you." GothBard does extremely well in such interviews, and shouldn't have a problem.

GothBard's convinced that she's been tossed into a pool with dozens of other candidates, where she always meets the, "We really like you, but we've found someone <with more experience/with more technical skills/who's cheaper>, so thanks but no thanks" bar.

We'll know in a week. And at least things have started progressing instead of the whole, "Finance is holding up your hire until April" shenanigans.


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Erg.

Got my second Shingles vaccine on Saturday and spent Sunday in bed with a massive headache and a 102°F fever. And the terrifying part is that everyone I know who's had shingles says, "Get the vaccine! It's worth it!"

Shingles must be a truly nasty beast...


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Amusingly enough, Drejk's fears were realized: Impus Minor's computer up and died yesterday. I sincerely doubt it was the vacuuming -- I think that running the CPU at 100°F did significant damage to it, and once it was restored to "normal" operating parameters it up and died.

Fortunately, Impus Minor has a friend who repairs computers for a living, so we don't have to rely on my analysis -- he'll come by on Tuesday and issue a final verdict.


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Drejk wrote:

I had spent an hour and a half sitting at an empty table at pub until I got bored waiting and went home.

And it still wasn't my worst birthday party.

The folks that would be the most likely to come already said they can't come, and those few who responded in any way marked maybe, so no one actually promised to come.

I regret that I hasn't listened to a hunch two weeks ago that told me it's not worth to try to organize anything.

When I was coming back home, I came to conclusion that I could use a cake, and (adding about an extra kilometer or so on the walk back) went to hypermarket where they sell cakes... Except the backer section that has cakes was already closed at half past eight.

You want supervillains?! Because that's how you get super-villains!

Happy birthday anyway! And just compare yours to Captain Yesterdays'! His birthdays exist to make us feel better about our own!


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Dancing Wind wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

we still lost about 20% of the bag cutting out rotten bits and eyes.

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the green beans in the middle of the bag were rotten and we lost about 33% of them. The bread was OK.
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But yet again, you cannot get decent fresh fruits or vegetables there,
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the new owners can't seem to comprehend that decent produce is a foundation of a grocery store.

(And yes, I've mentioned it to the new owners, and nothing has changed.)

Let's assume that the store owners are trying to match their inventory to the local demand, so that they have satisfied customers and they make a fair profit.

If the produce is rotting on the shelves because your neighbors aren't buying it fast enough to keep it from going bad, then the store owners are losing money.

If they change anything, I'd suggest they stop providing perishable vegetables entirely. Obviously, they can't predict the occasional 'fresh produce' demand well enough to match the goods they stock with your neighborhood needs.

Even in big grocery stores, sales of fresh produce is down slightly. A small store with more volatile demand is going to feel that sooner. These days "convenience food" isn't fresh produce.

I'm afraid that assumption is faulty. The store ran for 19 years with the best produce in the area; even the farmer's market had trouble competing with it. It was a labor of love by the owner, and might have been a money-loser in and of itself, but it drew in a large loyal local following. I personally spent $300-$400 per week there, and many of my neighbors were similar. After the takeover they kept the butcher because he was obviously profitable. They kept the produce guy on for under 6 months. I'm sure produce was either a zero profit or slight loss for them. And rather than realizing that the produce was what attracted customers, they went for high-profit-margin items.

It's no coincidence that lottery tickets and hard liquor appeared in the store at the same time that the produce guy was let go.

So since I'm not privy to their thoughts this is only guesswork, but having spoken with them and seeing how they managed other areas of the store, they focused on, "How do we maximize the profit for this product type?" rather than a more holistic, "How do we serve the members of our community and keep our business, even if some areas aren't profitable?"

So I think the produce section got dumped because it wasn't profitable, and the owners didn't realize that that department was what drew people into the store in the first place.


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Just how cheap is GothBard's company? She's now doing development work in Unreal Engine, which has a minimum RAM recommendation of 32GB. They sent her a "development" machine with 16 GB. When she complained, they upped her to the bare minimum of 32 GB.

In comparison, I'm running Global Megacorporation's generic cheap-a$$ craptop that they give to all of us run-of-the-mill non-developer types. It came with 32 GB of RAM.

So GothBard's current company expects her to transition from being a game designer to being a full-blown designer/artist/engineer, but are reluctant to shell out for the basic levels of equipment needed to do that job.

Yet another reason she needs to get the flock out of there.


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My family has the oddest conversations.

GothBard: Did it! We have tickets to Babymetal!
Impus Major: Woooooo!
GB: We need to make your dad wear cat ears!
IM: And his old French maid outfit!
NobodysHome: So, you want an overweight, middle-aged white guy to dress up in a French maid outfit and cat ears and go out in San Francisco at night? I have one word for you: "Nope!"
IM: Fair point, Dad, but...


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captain yesterday wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

The truly depressing thing is that the video game industry is laying off employees as fast as they can, yet virtually every single game we've bought in the last year has suffered from terrible design...

...with the notable exception of Baldur's Gate 3, which may just be because Larian is privately-owned and doesn't answer to shareholders.

Redfall? An unmitigated disaster -- not only was it bug-ridden in ways only Bethesda can achieve, but game balance was terrible (even on its hardest mode it was ludicrously easy) and the save system out-and-out sucked.

V Rising was a really interesting concept, but just plain got boring.

Enshrouded *might* have been fun if not for incredibly terrible UI design and controls that make no sense.

...and Shiro just bought Nightengale and strongly recommended against it, once again because the UI and controls were impossibly bad.

The common theme? All of these are fundamentally design problems with the game, and the industry is in the process of laying off all its designers.

Coincidence? I think not...

Play Elden Ring.

Hmm... once again, FromSoftware is a privately-owned, rather than a publicly-traded company. Beginning to see a pattern here about where great games come from?


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The truly depressing thing is that the video game industry is laying off employees as fast as they can, yet virtually every single game we've bought in the last year has suffered from terrible design...
...with the notable exception of Baldur's Gate 3, which may just be because Larian is privately-owned and doesn't answer to shareholders.

Redfall? An unmitigated disaster -- not only was it bug-ridden in ways only Bethesda can achieve, but game balance was terrible (even on its hardest mode it was ludicrously easy) and the save system out-and-out sucked.

V Rising was a really interesting concept, but just plain got boring.

Enshrouded *might* have been fun if not for incredibly terrible UI design and controls that make no sense.

...and Shiro just bought Nightengale and strongly recommended against it, once again because the UI and controls were impossibly bad.

The common theme? All of these are fundamentally design problems with the game, and the industry is in the process of laying off all its designers.

Coincidence? I think not...


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Speaking of despising the stock market (aren't we always?), GothBard has been informed that her potential new position is "stuck in finance", which translates directly to, "If we hire her this quarter it will affect this quarter's stock prices, so push her off 'til next quarter when it'll (somehow) be someone else's problem."

So at this point any hope of a new position is almost certainly pushed off 'til the new quarter (April), and the most frustrating thing is that Shiro called it almost exactly. But of course, as he said himself, EVERY time he's been hired it's been as a direct hire, so he's far more familiar with the process than we are.

The silver lining is that the fact that it's in finance means the higher-ups have already approved it, so as long as neither the stock market nor the company tank in the next month and a half, she should be golden.

But it *is* more waiting, and more hoping that the company's finances hold out well for the quarter.


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captain yesterday wrote:

First day of garden show exhibit assembly went well, it always cracks me up how surprised our crew is at how quickly it goes up.

And it's ALWAYS fun rolling into the convention center with a 7 truck caravan and start setting up an hour before everyone else is allowed to (I used to work with the people in charge of the convention center at a different convention center, and we're always super nice to them and never make demands).

Niceness always wins.


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Syrus Terrigan wrote:

Shaper of Worlds proposal:

an Azorius-style bureaucromancer from California -- high taxes, high regulation, massive virtually no penalties for infractions . . . .

FIFY. Only Lawful people suffer under California law.


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Speaking of despairing for humanity, it's time for my quinquennial colonoscopy, which involves over 40 hours of fasting. So a natural question is, "How long do I have to wait to eat after my colonoscopy?"

I forget my original Google phrasing, but it was similar to that and two of the top five hits were, "Can I have a hamburger after my colonoscopy?" and, "Can I eat McDonald's after my colonoscopy?"

The fact that those questions are so prevalent kind of indicates why we're expected to get these things.

As a side note, I was astonished how much of my diet vanished because of the pre-fasting restrictions. No high-fiber foods eliminated my primary diet of leafy greens and granola. No seeds eliminated my dried cranberries. I had to switch from brown rice to white rice. It was actually pretty hilarious how much those "minor" restrictions impacted my personal diet.


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Well, other than the, "It takes us 5 months to process physical mail" part of it, the California DMV's phone system is impressing me. I've gotten callbacks from three different agents so far, one of whom was actually able to help me, and I should be getting a fourth call today or tomorrow about sneaking me an operating permit. They're not legally allowed to issue one as long as the car is marked as totaled, but given that I have letters from both the insurance company and the state insurance board that it's not actually totaled, they're willing to look into whether or not they can make an exception.


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Well, I *finally* got in touch with someone at the DMV who knew what the heck she was talking about. It turns out the original agent's 2-4 weeks estimate was a work of optimistic fiction; this agent said it would take at least 90 days and probably longer.

She did say it sounds like the letter was correctly worded so once they process it it should all work out, but right now the letter is most likely in a massive Inbox that was being worked through on a "first come, first served" basis so I shouldn't expect to hear anything until May or June.

They're not technically allowed to give me an operating permit until then, but she wrote up a case on my behalf and is asking the field office to make an exception for me.

So at least progress has been made.


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There is nothing quite so cruel as a life on hold not because of sadism or malice, but out of sheer bureaucratic indifference.

It's been 5 weeks since Progressive notified the DMV that totaling the Celica was an error. I've heard *nothing* from the DMV, and even when the Impii went in, the agents said that they have no visibility into the Total Loss department. It's a black box that provides individuals no mechanism for even contacting them. So they expect me to wait and hope and do nothing until my insurance comes due in June. I am helpless against a government wall of indifference.

Even worse is GothBard's situation. Her employer has made it abundantly clear that he plans to fire her whole department at the end of March. The gaming industry is in a shambles right now, so without a lead GothBard would be in serious trouble. Fortunately, her former manager is trying to do a direct hire of her. Unfortunately, that hire is bogged down in corporate bureaucracy and there is nothing she can do but wait to hear the final outcome.

On the "bright" side, I expect two different outcomes: For the Celica, I expect I'm finally going to have to get a lawyer or the local media involved to get anything to happen. The DMV is far too huge of a monolith to do anything out of the ordinary for any reason, even a good one. For GothBard, direct hires are usually just getting a high-level executive to sign off on them, so it's waiting for the executive to have the time and inclination to do it. I doubt GothBard's former manager would have given her such hope if she weren't fairly sure she could get the sign-off, so it's just waiting for that signature to come through.

We'll see how things play out...


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OMG. My mother is in the ER today as well!

For what, you might ask?

Getting a black eye while working out at the gym.

At 92.

Yep. That's my mom.


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I swear, my brother is on some spectrum somewhereorother.

As briefly as possible, growing up we did all of our backpacking and skiing trips with another family. The father passed away some years ago (15-20). (He's the one I always talk about who brought everyone in from around the country to tell him stories about how he affected their lives before he chose to end it.)

The mother passed away this morning and I got a text from Elder Brother to let me know.

The literal exchange:
NobodysHome: Oh! Sorry to hear that! Let me know if I should come up for a wake.

Older Brother: I don't think there'll be a memorial since she outlived everyone she knew :-) but will keep you posted.

Yes. Somehow he believes that if you live so long you outlast all members of your generation, then you don't get a memorial service. Somehow I think her son, daughter-in-law, granddaughters, and those of us who grew up with her would beg to differ. Plus my mother, who's only two years younger so counts as "someone she knew" of that generation.

So I'm fairly sure I'll be heading up to Seattle within the next week or two. I'm sure younger brother'd appreciate the visit...


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It's a glorious, pre-thunderstorm morning where the hot air moved in first, so we have clear, sunny skies and 60˚F temperatures at 9:00 am and I've opened up the house.

At first I felt guilty about opening the bathroom window: What if our resident rat comes in?

Then I thought, "Y'know what? This house reeks so strongly of cat that any rat entering the domain might as well be passing under an, 'Abandon hope, all ye who enter here' sign."

We'll see whether the rat's survival instincts are sufficient.

EDIT: The Cranky Calico just wandered in, looked at the bathroom, and muttered, "Now I am Death, the Destroyer of Worlds". Hide, rat. Hide.


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OK, one benefit of the COVID-inspired service-oriented economy is the simple question, "How much would I be willing to pay to NOT have to deal with that?"

We needed to do a Costco run, and GothBard wanted to come with, so we didn't get there until 2 in the afternoon. And without realizing it, during a President's Day Sale weekend. (I honestly didn't know that Costco did sales.)

It was a madhouse.

So I said, "I'm not going in there, but I'll pay someone else to do it," calculated how long it would take that poor person to deal with the insanity, placed the online order with a tip commensurate with how much *I* didn't want to go and how much time I think they're going to lose in that crush of humanity.

The Costco shopper will be very happy. I will be very happy. Win-win!


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Speaking of "How to teach math", I find it depressing that:
(1) I still believe that the Socratic method is the best method of teaching ever invented.
(2) I also believe that 99.9% of all teachers believe that they're using it, but they aren't.

Hint: If you've been talking for two minutes straight without a single student saying a word, you aren't using the Socratic method. Teaching is a conversation, not a lecture.


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Dancing Wind wrote:

Algebra is back, baby!!

Apparently there are "math wars" in California

Quote:
California ranks in the bottom quartile among all states and U.S. territories for 8th grade math scores.

Don't. Get. Me. Started.

It's been an eternal cycle of stupid since the late 1970s, and none of this is new:

(1) "Aaah! Our kids don't have a 100% pass rate in math! We need to do something to improve their scores, get more of them to pass, and reduce math phobia."

(2) "Hey, I'm someone with a degree in Education (almost NEVER math) and I think this new way to teach math would solve the problem!"

(3) "That's awesome! Let's implement it at once without doing ANY field research or surveying a significant number of people with degrees in mathematics. What can possibly go wrong?"

(4) Return to Step 1.

It's not that California keeps trying new ways to teach. It's that we're so d**ned reactive that we mandate new ways to teach without doing any significant research on whether the new ways are better or worse than the old. Heck, my infamous story of the student who couldn't figure out six times seven without a calculator comes from someone who went to California schools in the 1980s.

Bad California math is nothing new.


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Drejk wrote:

Wait, what?

Impus Major returned a laptop before I had the chance to get my claws on it?!

Dammit! Lazy kobolds!

Wow... I'm amazed I didn't tirade about that little "gem" of a laptop. When Impus Minor started at DVC, we got him a little mini-laptop for note-taking and working at school. He wanted something sturdy, ultra-light, and with a long battery life. It wasn't cheap, but we got him a really nice Dell.

So this semester Impus Major said he needed a laptop. I asked, "Do you want the same one Impus Minor has?", and he said, "Yes."

And hoo, boy. I am really getting sick to death of minimalist designers who think that people don't like things like menus, touchpads, or even keys.

The 2024 version of the laptop doesn't have a visible touchpad; you just have to guess where it is and there's no tactile feedback for when you try to press the mouse button. I suggested to Impus Major that he should use a Sharpee to outline the mouse pad, then put clickable googley eyes on each corner to simulate mouse buttons. But then they also removed the top two rows of keys -- there were no function keys at all, and the top row was a touch-sensitive panel instead of a keyboard. Try typing with that if you've grown up touch-typing.

Impus Major declared it unusable and said that he wanted an old-style goblin laptop with a full keyboard that actually felt chonky like a laptop should. So GothBard took him to a brick-and-mortar store and he got a really crappy old-school laptop for 1/4 the price of the newfangled one, and he luuuuuurves it.

Thus, my return.


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Syrus Terrigan wrote:

i certainly hope that GothBard gets the good word today, NH!

---------------------

** spoiler omitted **

I've actually neither read the graphic novel nor seen the movie; it's on my "eventual To-Do" list.


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I swear...

Email #1: Congratulations! Your group has been re-added to this organization's mailing list!
Email #2: An announcement that Monday is a holiday in the U.S.
Emails #3-10: A bunch of Reply Alls talking about various coffee brands.

Y'know what they call it when you are involuntarily added to an email distribution list and then inundated with messages in which you have no interest? They call that spam!

Just had to spend 60 seconds of my work day filtering out the new list. Then 2 minutes tirading about it.


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Today feels like a very anticipatory day. It's not just that it's the day before a 3-day weekend. There's also a massive storm moving in and hitting tomorrow. And then there's the fact that the things we've been waiting for have started to trickle in: Our tax returns are done and the news was fantastic. Impus Major's laptop return was successful and the refund should get processed today. Impus Minor soldered the first of the new Celica speakers and I should be able to test it today. HR hates leaving things over long weekends so if they're going to make GothBard an offer it'll far more likely be today than any time next week until Friday. (I don't know why offers always seem to come in on Fridays, but I strongly suspect it's HR thinking, "Hey, if we send this out now, they can't possibly respond until Monday, so we can relax for the weekend!")

So there's an ominous excitement in the air that things are going to happen today. Let's hope they're good things.


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On the other hand, my accountant went 100% paper-free and it's pretty darned awesome. Upload all my tax forms to a secure site, download the prepared tax documents from the same site, pay by Zelle, and we don't need a single piece of paper.

Needless to say, every company still ignores our requests to be paper-free, but it was fun to see how smoothly it all worked in principle.


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Qunnessaa wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

Bad Portmeirion. No biscuit.

Who is Number One? :D

My sister-in-law collects Portmeirion ware, though she inexplicably favours the more minimalist stuff. My kid brother was horrified when I told him that, of course, Portmeirion is The Village from The Prisoner. I may have inspired a certain low-level paranoia in him. What are sisters for, after all? :)

The entire reason that we learned about Portmeirion ware was that when we went to Europe in 1997, GothBard knew I was a HUGE Prisoner fan, so she arranged for us to visit. Then we found out that in addition to making eerie shows, they sell dishware.


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Wooooooo!!!!!

First news came in and it was our taxes. Our refund is 3.5x what I was expecting!

I have no idea what California did, but our refund nearly doubled year-on-year without us doing anything differently. And then I overestimated our Federal taxes by quite a bit as well.

I'd love to say, "Time to go shopping," but this is all, "Hallelujah! We can pay down the debt we incurred while GothBard was unemployed," money.


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GM Fair Wage wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

And... sea of suck.

Just got a message from one of my colleagues that they were hit by a RIF today (Reduction in Force = Polite term for Layoff). I've complained directly to our upper executives about the whole, "Surprise! You're laid off!" approach, but they are of the opinion that it's kinder to the people being let go, so yet again today I got a "surprise".

I don't care for these surprises.

I know this is a bit late, but just an fyi...

WARN Act Avoid nasty surprises if you hear a rumor.

For better or worse, tech companies have bypassed the WARN act by providing vastly more compensation than necessary in exchange for former employees not complaining.

For example, Global Megacorporation could well cut me tomorrow. They'd offer me 6 months' salary in a severance package, and I could choose whether to take a lump sum or be paid over the next 6 months. In exchange, I'd sign a document waiving my WARN rights. Or I could refuse the severance, sue, and get my 60 days, losing several months' salary on principle.

Here's the relevant quote:

WARN Laws wrote:

What if my employer pays me for the 60 days instead of sending me a WARN notice?

WARN requires 60 calendar days' written notice. The law makes no provision for any alternative such as pay in place of a notice. While an employer who pays workers for 60 calendar days instead of giving them proper notice technically has violated WARN, the provision of pay and benefits in place of a notice is a possible option. Because WARN provides for back pay and benefits for the period of the violation, up to 60 days, generally this approach by an employer—pay in place of notice—means that the employer has already met the penalty specified in the Act, if the payment is not required to be made. WARN allows voluntary payments of wages and benefits to be offset against any damages that might be awarded. If, however, a payment is required by another law, contract or company policy or practice, it may not be offset against WARN damages.

EVERY tech company I've ever heard of gives employees at least 60 days' severance and benefits so they don't have to worry about WARN; they've already paid the maximum penalty.


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Syrus Terrigan wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

On the one hand, back in the 1980s when they loved to run articles on, "What is the hardest/easiest college major?", a major in Business beat out even P.E. or cosmetology as the easiest major offered by any school anywhere.

On the other hand, when even basic mathematics is assumed to be beyond your reading audience, it's embarrassing.

Money 'magazine' did an article about a TikToker pointing out that hard work and dedication is no longer worth it. To paraphrase: "She said that making $200,000 a year, you'd be expected to work twice as hard and put in 16-hour days, so in terms of an hourly wage you'd be no better off than if you made $100,000 a year and only had to put in 8-hour days. We did the math, and she was right! You get the same hourly wage in both cases!"

It was... painful... to read...

it was painful to read your recounting of this intellectual disaster . . . .

but i find myself laughing in the face of the despair this prompts.

we're doomed.

Next CY is going to tell us he makes twice as much for working 30 hours in a week instead of 15... for the same job!!


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Owls well that ends well.


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This February is really giving me 1980s flashbacks: Yet another storm front is moving in mid-week, with potential rain from Wednesday (Valentine's Day) until the next Wednesday, and totals in the 3"-4" range. I remember when I was in middle school (so circa 1979-1980) there was one February where we got measurable precipitation every single day of the month, so this kind of rainfall isn't unheard-of. Over the weekend I even had to do the requisite "mosquito check" on my property (which is seriously just, "Did the sump pump drain the lawn? Are there any buckets holding standing water anywhere on the property?", so it took under 5 minutes).

It's just been a long, long time.


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Dancing Wind wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
you have to opt out of it.

My guess is that it's probably easier to hide the whole set of numbers than it is to spoof the main number for all the extensions,.

If you want to show the generic number (555-222-1200) instead of each individual number (555-222-1234, 555-222-1235, etc) it is either too complicated or too expensive, or perhaps not even tecnically possible with the telephone software package they buy.

And they probably want a group of people to be able to answer your call when you call back, not just the individual who place the initial call.

Again, I think that's extremely plausible for large companies. I was honestly surprised when my Progressive rep's direct phone number showed up on Caller ID. But for businesses like the doctor's or dentist's office where there's only one line for the entire office, I'm still perplexed.

I'm sure something has changed, and I like the theorycrafting, but I think at my next dentist appointment I'll ask and find out. The entire office is under 12 people; they should know what's going on.


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Speaking of Things that NobodysHome Hates™: Legitimate companies that have started turning off Caller ID.

My life used to be very simple: If a call came in with no Caller ID, or with a Caller ID I didn't recognize, I ignored it. But first my dentist, and then my doctor, and now my GI specialist have all turned off Caller ID for reasons I can't comprehend, so their calls look just like any other random spam calls from random numbers and I ignore them.

At least they leave messages. But gee, with the modern necessity of never answering your phone unless you recognize the caller, you'd think turning off caller ID would be a bad idea, eh?


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Impus Major got a new mini laptop for his schoolwork, and it's always amazing to watch Microsoft bend over backwards begging you NOT to turn everything off. "Why are you turning off OneDrive? Why are you downloading a new browser?"

Oh, I dunno... a 30+-year history of screwing over the consumer and other businesses for your own ends?

(I'm laughing because just the other day I saw the whole thing about Microsoft purportedly using users' OneDrive data to train their AI, and Microsoft's response was a typical non-denial of, "We do not use user data without their permission," which means, "Yeah, they clicked 'I Agree' so we can do whatever we want.")


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Wow... speaking of cell phone nonsense...

Whenever a friend calls or texts on my cell phone, I tell them, "Please delete this number. I don't use it, and frequently I won't see any messages or calls for up to 24 hours. Either call my land line or text or call GothBard."

I try really, really hard to be courteous and to explain that because I work from home, it makes no sense for me to have my phone in my pocket for the entire day. It sits on a shelf by my work computer so I can do all the two-factor authentication stuff, meaning that any time I'm not at work I'm not near my phone.

And yet because of the way phone software works it's always,
(1) "Hey! We're going to this event together! Give me your cell number so we can find each other during the event."
"OK, but you need to delete it right afterwards because otherwise your phone will try to use it and I won't answer."
"No problem!"

(2) "I was trying to call you all day yesterday! Why didn't you answer?"
(Checks cell phone log)
"Please don't use my cell phone. I'm very unlikely to answer it."
"You're a jerk!"

I don't have my keys or my wallet on me when I'm working from home, either. Does that make me an idiot?


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So I've learned, "How an introvert can keep a cell phone handy at all times."

I set it permanently on Do Not Disturb. It doesn't ring. It doesn't buzz. It just sits there... forever...

Then I enabled registered contacts to ignore Do Not Disturb.

At the end of the day, I delete all the missed calls, voice mails, messages, and anything else that came under the radar because of Do Not Disturb.

And my phone and I can now co-exist in the same room without defenestration.


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And today is GothBard's other "Big Day in Employment Opportunities": Her former manager is meeting with HR to see whether she's allowed to open a req for a specific person and hire them on the spot. She says she's got about an 80% chance of getting it through.

So once again we're thinking that by Friday GothBard may have one or two solid offers to get out of the hellscape that is her current job.

Crossing my toes, since my fingers were already crossed.


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On the other hand, the classic "protect your stuff by being nice to people still holds".

There are contractors working on our neighbors' house. I told them if they ever need me to move a car, or if they want to block my driveway, they're welcome to do so; I'm just trying to "keep my rebuilt Celica safe". So of course they asked about it, and now they're being ultra-careful around it.

Because I didn't yell at them. I offered to be as helpful as possible, then mentioned that I really cared about my car's safety.


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And speaking of, "This is NOT a helpful feature!", Slack now automatically updates your Status to Active whenever you log in.

So of course the inevitable happens:
(1) I take lunch and hang out with GothBard and Impus Major.
(2) One of them asks me a question, so I sign in and Google an answer.
(3) 15 minutes later, one of my co-workers sees me as Active and Slacks me a question.
(4) I don't respond for 45 minutes because I'm not at work, which is what I told Slack to tell people!!!!!

Simple rule: If a user sets a status, you don't get to change it. Period. Full stop.


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Drejk wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
I swear, I should confiscate the keys until we get the sticker...
Narrator: And that's how Impus Major taught himself how to start cars without keys...

Impus Minor. He already broke into the house using bobby pins once. The boy has talent.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

When our newfie brought home an entire baby rabbit in her mouth it was adorable if scary. Since the thing fit entirely in her mouth, my sister thought she was getting a tennis ball or something out of her mouth and then IT MOVED.

Despite the screaming the bunny was set outside in the front lawn without harm.

It was much less adorable when she brought home half of an adult rabbit.

One of GothBard's most epic tales of cat horror was when she was house-sitting my parents' place while we were off backpacking, and the uber-stupid, uber-lazy tom brought in what she thought was a dead baby opossum. Then it twitched, and she didn't have the heart to kill it herself so she called a friend.

And the tom brought in a second baby opossum... and a third... and a fourth...
...and then they all showed GothBard what "playing possum" meant.

Apparently she and her friend took 90 minutes rounding up the horde of baby opossums running loose in the house, and the tom who brought them in did NOTHING to help. (He panicked the moment they moved and hid for the duration.)


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Well, pretty much exactly what I was hoping for out of the interview: She did quite well, but everyone kept talking about how "hardcore" the position is, and how "there's always something happening". So now she won't be disappointed if she doesn't get it because she's old enough not to need the high-stress lifestyle, but she set her pay demands high enough that if she does get it at least she'll feel she's earning the stress.

As I said, we'll know on Friday.


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Well, today is GothBard's Big Day: She has 5 interviews over the course of the day to determine her fit and fitness for the managerial position.

In terms of "fit", I doubt they'll get a better candidate. Over the years she's shown an amazing talent for getting groups to work together and communicate. If I were recommending a manager at Global Megacorporation, I wouldn't hesitate for a second in putting her forward.

Unfortunately, the job description lists "5 years' experience as a manager" as a requirement. She's never once even had "manager" in her title, and her longest stint managing people was about 8 months, though the entire reason she has this interview is that the hiring manager is from her former company and saw what she was able to do with her team in just that 8 months.

At least the process should be extremely accelerated from this point forward -- I expect an offer or a rejection by Friday.

Crossing my fingers!


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I think this says more about our family than anyone needs to know.

GothBard was getting ready for her shower late last night when she heard a loud thunk against the bathroom window, then some scuttling and scraping. She put her glasses on and there was a rat, pressed against the window pane and nibbling at one of the lemons in our lemon tree. Of course, she squeed in delight and tried to get the kids to take a look. Impus Minor agreed that he was extremely cute, but Impus Major was in bed so GothBard took a video for him. She took her shower, and the little guy spent the entire time nomming away at the lemon.

In the morning, GothBard warned me that we needed to keep the window closed to avoid letting a rat into the house. I agreed, but not for the reasons she was thinking. She was worried about a rat infestation. I watched the Cranky Calico kill two rats over the summer while outside and on a harness. A rat trapped in her home territory where all the furniture is raised up just enough for her to be able to recover her toys.

I don't want to clean that mess up. And after being so cute, the family would be sad about that encounter.


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David M Mallon wrote:

This is going to be a rant. It's not political, or anything earth-shattering, but it does have to do with my family, and it's really been bothering me. Mostly, I just need to vent. Again, in the grand scheme of things, not that important, but here it is:

** spoiler omitted **...

Ugh. So sorry. GothBard's grandparents had a similar place she visited in Strawberry just off Highway 50, but even worse than renovating, her grandparents sold it without a word to any of us. I would have bought it from them if they'd told us!. We just learned one day that it was gone, and now every time we drive through Strawberry we have a touch of sadness at what might have been.


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The human brain is an eternal mystery to me.

While the Bay Area's violent crime rate is enviably low for a region its size, its property crime rate is everything the media would have you believe. For example, last night we had to park in downtown Oakland. Like good little locals we removed the trunk cover, spread everything in the car on the seats to show that it was all worthless, and otherwise spent 2-3 minutes "bip-proofing" our car. In return, we returned to an intact car. But that's what life is around here; if you're going to park in a downtown area, you need to pretend that you're in Yosemite keeping food from the bears, but you're just ensuring the locals don't break into your car looking for something shiny.

So Public Service Announcements like the one I saw this morning utterly baffle me: "If you are going shopping, please do not leave your purse or wallet unattended in your cart. There has been a recent uptick in thefts related to this in the region."

As a local, leaving a purse or wallet unattended in a cart is (weakly) comparable to forgetting your dog or child in the back seat -- it's not something I'd ever imagine doing. But apparently it's common enough we needed a PSA about it.

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