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The meaning of life

tliet's Avatar Picture tliet – December 24, 2008 11:31AM Reply Quote
We are driven by many things, what's your view on the meaning of life?

Ron Burns – August 25, 2011 04:21AM Reply Quote
"We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation." Voltaire
next time..

Madaracs – August 25, 2011 01:00PM Reply Quote
Ooh! Scary! Scary! Don't we look mean? You can't see me! But I can see you!
Thanks guys. Haven't been posting a lot but I occasionally troll. And it means a lot for you all to be supportive.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2011 01:01PM by Madaracs.

Jeff Cooper – August 25, 2011 04:04PM Reply Quote
Very sorry, Madaracs. I hope the counseling helps. It definitely can.

Bruce Robertson – August 25, 2011 06:59PM Reply Quote
Of course everybody's experience is different. And divorce is a painful experience for most people.

I do think the counseling can be a great help, whatever the outcome.

As one small data point - I got married at 38; was divorced 10 years later. And it was really hard on me.

But I have gone so far socially since then, and it has all worked out OK, and I have had a number of good relationships that I enjoyed and where I felt i was contributing something.

It's such a tired saying, but it's true anyway. This too shall pass; and counseling can help. Get a good one.

El Jeffe – April 04, 2013 03:50PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
what jobs have you had?
auto dealer as a gopher in HS. Learned a lot.
Worked in a library.
cafeteria kitchen
Print/copy shop
21 year old chuck-e-cheese (they need someone to pour beer)
Assistant (TA) to Prof in Finance depart at Biz school (only undergrad in that role - hey he asked me)
If you look at trucks (OTR) and see a sticker on their door that reads IFTA, I worked on that project
Secret-clearance projects at DOD; and currently 5C clearance as well.
Inside sales for engineering company.
Various UAW/Labor tasks in a foundry - nasty place - good pay.
Quality Control manager for world's largest salty snack food plant
Various business/systems analyst positions; and project manager
freelance photographer/videographer

John Willoughby – April 04, 2013 04:06PM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
Pet Shop Utility Boy ("Never tell me that an animal is dead in front of a customer!")
Fast Food Drone (Burger King, McDonald's)
Convenience Store Clerk (Cumberland Farms, held up at gunpoint... and it wasn't even a good gun)
Electronic Security Monitor
Electronic Security Alarmist (The single greatest job title I have held)
Electronic Security Field Technician
Electronic Security Shift Supervisor
Co-Op Engineer for the US Army Concepts Analysis Agency (G5 I think, Secret Clearance, worked on operational and strategic wargames)
Hypercard, C++ Mac Engineer for a small company, mostly pitching products to DoD
C++ Engineer, MPW, MacApp for a company that mostly sold Mac software to Philip Morris
C++, Java Engineer for AOL (Getting yelled at by Porruka)
C++, Java for a local company dealing with large media handling (Getting yelled at by Porruka)
C++, Lua Engineer for a major video slot manufacturer (Missing getting yelled at by Porruka)

johnny k – April 05, 2013 09:26AM Reply Quote

held up at gunpoint... and it wasn't even a good gun
"That's not a gun. THIS is a gun."

Bookkeeper (unpaid, at my parents' school)
Pizza place cook (longest 6 weeks ever)
Clean room tech (got let go for falling asleep)
Designer at university newspaper
Web designer/salesman at computer store
Webmaster > lead digital designer at big self-moving company (did these last three all at once for a few months)
Freelance web/interactive designer
Research assistant (grad school stipend)
Product design consultant
Entrepreneur/product designer/web developer

El Jeffe – April 05, 2013 10:37AM Reply Quote
What a journey.
I thought pizza prep was pretty good. We could do 400 pizzas on a busy shift/night.
I like being able to HOLD (let alone EAT) the results of my efforts. Same with foundry. 300 yoke castings (Half of a U-joint), ground on one shift.
Programming, systems administration give me ZERO satisfaction. Just money.

johnny k – April 05, 2013 10:43AM Reply Quote
I did mostly the sides. Wings, cheesesticks, etc. Deep fryers aren't that fun after a while.
Totally agree with you on the foundry/physical stuff. That's why I moved back into it. Software is ephemeral, and no one's impressed by that kind of magic anymore.

dharlow – April 05, 2013 02:25PM Reply Quote
Scout Camp Counselor (cooked, ran scout programs, cleaned the bathrooms)
Freelance Designer
Mac Consultant
FileMaker Pro Consultant
Owner of Web & FileMaker Pro Consulting Company

Bruce Robertson – April 05, 2013 05:53PM Reply Quote
Mimeograph repair and cleaning
Motorcycle mechanic - Triumph/BSA
Highline Community College "Professor of Motorcycles" - startup and teach vocation motorcycle, marine, small engine repair program
Submarine Vibration Analyst, Bremerton Naval Shipyards
Manufacturing R&D, Boeing Commercial
FileMaker Consultant

Alan Lehman – April 06, 2013 12:52AM Reply Quote
Paper boy
Paper hanger
Miscellaneous crew at a small liberal arts college (college had cleaning, painting and grounds crews -- miscellaneous crew did everything those crews wouldn't do).
Cook at pizza hut -- didn't eat pizza again for a year. Didn't pay for pizza again for three.
House painter -- ask me about dropping a 32 foot ladder on a 12kv power line sometime.
DNA sequencing grunt
Grad. student (included bench work and TA'ing)
Post doc in a combinatorial chemistry lab
Project Scientist developing nanomolar affinity ligands directed at CDC select agents
Research Scientist formulating tumor suppressor containing nano-particles.
Senior Scientist ibid.
Ontology engineer at an established start up.
Data scientist -- employee #12 at a topological data analysis start up.

John Willoughby – April 06, 2013 03:13AM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
Damn. You people are accomplished. I'll just go back to cutting squares out of construction paper and eating paste.

porruka (Admin) – April 06, 2013 10:43AM Reply Quote
The cat has your pipe.
Computer consultant
Furniture delivery
Freelance handyboy
Supermarket checkout clerk
Subway sandwich maker (this was before everyone graduated to the level of 'artist')
College computer services monkey (VMS)
Freelance software developer
IT system manager at Tyson Foods (VMS)
IT system manager at Premier Bank (VMS)
Software developer/tech support at Visix Software (VMS, xplat stuff)
Freelance author (tech, non-fiction, VMS)
Software developer/manager/JW-yeller at AOL (Mac OS, xplat stuff)
Software developer/EIC/(very poor) advert sales at NMR Media (PHP, MySQL, etc)
Freelance developer (more free than lance, sadly) (PHP, MySQL, etc)
Manager/VP/customer yellee/JW-yeller at Bright Systems
Photographer (landscape, abstract mostly - NOT event photos)
Software developer/visionary (see below)/tester of services for gamblers and casinos with playerspot.com/gambletrak.com
Software developer/visionary (cataracts? what?)/local business consultant as EmpoweringLocal.Biz (HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, MySQL, FB, etc)
Software developer/too many other hats to name for Cycling Fusion (iOS)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2013 11:16AM by porruka.

Bruce Robertson – April 07, 2013 07:30PM Reply Quote
"Ask me about..."

Hey Alan, 12VK power and ladders. Sounds exciting, do tell! Though not your current job, did your capacity leak or your inductive reasoning resonate?

ARL (Moderator) – April 07, 2013 08:38PM Reply Quote
Hmmm... lessee...

Indentured servitude on the family hobby farm - everything from slashing paddocks to repairing electric fences (note to family members: if the generator has been turned off, DO NOT turn it back on while I'm repairing said fence...)
Summer job painting (Sadly, not a house owned by two hot girls vis-a-vis American Pie 2, just my Dad's surgery)
Cotton Chipper (glorified weed puller)
Various unpaid Uni odd-jobs
Board member of a medium-ish sized NGO
POCWACTSO-in-chief at a now sadly defunct website
Peer support officer (yes, that is a job title) & unofficial policy officer at another medium-ish sized NGO
Founding member of a now-defunct disability lobby group
Free-lance part-time web designer/IT tech-support butt-monkey
Committee member then Vice President then President of a small-to-medium-ish NGO
High-functioning alcoholic...

Dr Phred (Moderator) – April 08, 2013 11:05AM Reply Quote
owned by the mothership.
Snow shoveler
Paper boy
Theater lighting tech
Stage Actor
Stage Manager/set builder/etc
industrial film actor
Magazine phone salesman (worst job ever)
Security guard
Book store clerk
Sports equipment cashier
Department store assistant
Computer retail salesman
Merchandise Manager
Product Manager
Inside Sales Manager-Last 4 all at current employer 25+ years

YDD – April 09, 2013 07:31AM Reply Quote
Supermarket Cashier
Intern in charge of laser destruction
Accretion Disc Intern
Postdoc in Sweden
Postdoc in Rochester, NY
GPU Programmer in Boston
Microsoft SDET

El Jeffe – April 09, 2013 07:52PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
Any day I read accrete/accretion is a good day.

Alan Lehman – April 14, 2013 11:47PM Reply Quote
Bruce Robertson
"Ask me about..."

Hey Alan, 12VK power and ladders. Sounds exciting, do tell! Though not your current job, did your capacity leak or your inductive reasoning resonate?

It was this incident and one or two more that convinced me to stay in school and avoid a career that wasn't indoors. I painted my way through college. Typically old victorian homes. Some with gables way up in the air. A 32 foot ladder didn't always get all the way up so one day whilst working on the back of this particular house, out by the alley where the main feeder power line for that tract lived, I put up a section of 5 foot scaffolding with an aluminum plank, leveled the legs with sections of 2x12 planks and then put the ladder up on top of that to get the reach that I needed. I painted one side of the gable and after climbing back down as I was repositioning the ladder to paint the other side, I put my foot back to brace myself (as I had done many times before) and realized that there was no 'back there' because I was up on a plank.

Moreover, the act of leaning back to plant my foot in the non-existant 'back there' had now pulled the ladder right up to the tipping point and I knew that there was a power line behind me but I recalled that it was about 12 feet from the ladder when the ladder was straight up. In that instant, I was left to ponder whether I wanted to try and somehow save and rebalance the ladder or whether I just wanted chicken out and save my own skin. So I ditched the ladder and jumped sideways off the plank. And in those five feet of free fall off the scaffolding I learned something: The power line was only 4 feet from the ladder's tipping point instead of 12 and in fact, the ladder hit the power line before I hit the ground.

There was loud crack followed by a very persistent and very obtrusive BZTZTZTZTTTTTTZTTZTZTTT that started to draw a crowd almost immediately. My limited experience with electricity led me to believe that somewhere in some big box, some big breaker should have tripped by now and I kept waiting for it to trip so that we could skulk off back to work and pretend that none of this had ever happened. But the crowd grew and then the police arrived (two cars) followed by the fire department (one fire marshall and two fire trucks) an ambulance and finally, as the police were cordoning off the area and putting up tape to keep the bystanders from getting in the way, the power company arrived.

My coworkers had long since abandoned the job to watch the spectacle. The Fire marshall was lecturing me on workplace safety and explaining that a close friend of his had died this very same way not two weeks before (charred beyond recognition he said). The power guy was explaining to me that this particular power line, by virtue of being a feeder for several others, carried 12,000 volts and all the amps that I wanted. Meanwhile, sparks were flying and the ground was burning and the scaffolding was tipping inexplicably backwards. The power guy explained that the rubber feet on the ladder meant that the best path for the power would been from the ladder to me to the plank because my shoes were thinner (and sweatier) than the ladder's rubber feet. An apparently bored EMT kept asking me if I was certain that nobody had gotten hurt. And then two things happened almost simultaneously, the power went off for the entire neighborhood, and, my boss arrived back onsite equal parts furious (at me), panic stricken (that somebody might have died) and terrified that he was going to lose his business (insurance? what insurance?).

It was suddenly very quiet. My boss kept repeating the 'is anybody hurt' question to the point where the bored EMT stepped in and answered for me. A power company employee crossed the police tape wearing an enormous fire proof coat and the thickest rubber gloves I have ever seen, gingerly crept up to the ladder and after assessing the scene, unceremoniously knocked the ladder off the scaffolding and onto the ground. The crowd departed. My boss ratcheted down to just furious and terrified. The police and ambulances wandered off. The power company guy explained that they'd have been happy to put protective covers onto the power lines -- for free even, if only we would have contacted them (those same covers did in fact arrive next day with some ceremony). He then departed.

We assessed the aftermath. The ladder was fine except for the point at which it touched the power line where it had melted slightly. The ladder's rubber feet were slightly melted where the current had jumped across them the 3/4th of an inch from the ladder to the plank. The plank was fine. But the amps passing though the back legs of the scaffolding, by virtue of having the least leveling lumber under them, had burned through lumber and melted the legs into the ground. Indeed the ground itself was still glowing red/orange where the now foot and a half shorter legs were touching and those pools of color were almost two feet deep into the dirt. My boss fled to call a lawyer from a pay phone (in truth, I learned later that he had only called his wife who was an accountant). We did what any good midwestern boys would have done: we got sticks and poked at the burned ground. It had become brown glass and we prodded it until the color faded and the smoking subsided.

So, somewhere in some random brown grocery bag in my parents basement is a collection of dirty brown glass that I dug up before my boss came back and sent me home for the day. I didn't tell my mother about the incident until many years later despite her repeated questions about the contents of the bag. I wasn't fired. We finished that house the next week and moved on. And I wasn't allowed up on ladders for a while.

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