Wednesday, December 23 2009
I took the seven uninterruptable power supplies with me into one of the prisons today and proceeded to set them up in a computer lab. I hadn't really looked at the damn things, and it was only in the process of installing them that I saw the stuck-on noticed telling me that I would have to open up a hatch and hook up the battery. Unfortunately the dopey guard was standing there when I was doing this and decided that it didn't look right. He asked if the uninterruptable power supplies were going to be secured. I obviously didn't have any way to do such a thing, so I shrugged and said no. So then he went off to talk to some official in the school, who escalated to some sergeant. Ultimately the Deputy of Education was called down from the front and, with apologies, it was decided that all the power supplies be put in storage until a means of securing them is found. This was all done to the tune of observations such as, "When you've been here as long as I have, you start thinking like a prisoner. 'What could I use that battery for?' Stuff like that. They're thieves. And murderers. You can't trust 'em."
Such occurrences are no longer stressful for me. I work according to the rules of the house, no matter how contradictory or absurd they are. In this particular case, nobody was really even at fault. The college that wanted uninterruptable power supplies installed had viewed them as essentially "oversized powerstrips." That's what my liaison with the college had told me. He probably didn't know they had hatches and the batteries could be removed. If only I'd hooked up the batteries before getting them into the prison, this whole clusterfuck could have been avoided. But then they would have been loudly beeping, and that would have caused different problems.
The only actual work I managed to get done was set up an automated task on a Windows XP web server so that it restarts at 2:30 am every morning. That's the kind of kludge you find yourself implementing when working "with" task-critical Windows "solutions."
This evening Gretchen and I met Jenny and Doug and their friend Nemo at our favorite Indian restaurant, the one in Uptown where we dine at least once each week. It's only about a ten minute drive from our house, but for Jenny, Doug, and Nemo, it was more like a half hour (they'd come from Willow).
The food hadn't even come out yet and already someone had introduced the subject of butt finger, that is, the condition of a finger after interacting directly with an anus. While some people never directly touch their buttholes, there are those who at least take note of having done so and take measures to clean their stinky fingers at the earliest possible opportunity. But a
a surprising majority at the table tonight claimed that they don't think anything at all about scratching their buttholes. One person (and I've decided not to name names) claimed that he happened to walk past his girlfriend the other day and stopped to caress her shoulders only to be interrogated, "Do you have butt finger?" She could actually smell his localized lack of hygiene!
Later Nemo told us a story about what it was like soon after moving to Brooklyn. One sweltering summer day he happened into an Hasidic neighborhood and heard a woman crying out, "Help me! Help me please!" So went to find out what the problem was. He found the woman who'd been calling, and she led him up some stairs into a large apartment furnished with cheap gilded surfaces and accent. By this point they'd been joined by a man and several children. Eventually Nemo was led to a switch on the wall. His job, he was told, was simply to lower the thermostat on the air conditioner. It was a Saturday and he'd been tricked into serving as a Shabbos goy. The sages tell us that Yahweh is content to look the other way just so long as the letter (if not the spirit) of the Law is technically observed.
Today in my cinematic self-education, I decided to see what had been bought with the 200 million dollars spent to produce Waterworld. My expectations were low, but I wondered if perhaps there would be mind-blowing waves or something like that. Sadly, though, the ocean in Waterworld is an inert featureless plain, always crystaline blue beneath sunny skies. It's actually much worse than I expected, full of dreary chase scenes, tiresome plot devices, and a dreadful soundtrack that sounds badly dated only fifteen years out. I watched the bulk of the movie in extreme fast-forward. The single greatest indication of the movie's poor quality was the cognitive dissonance I kept feeling during the action sequences. These looked and sounded like bad screwball comedy even as characters were being brutally dispatched.
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