The old woman has returned. I had been anxiously watching her house for the last week or so, for signs that she had come back or worse wasn't going to come back. Today I saw her, outside speaking with one of the neighbors. Her garage door was up and her familiar blue Chevrolet Lumina sat in its accustomed place.
From my quick view of her, I would have to say that she looked well. Her color was good and she was obviously enjoying her chat with the other woman there. I hope that she has gained some perspective about being hydrated when she performs the yard tasks that I know she will do over the summer. For now it isn't an issue, with up to eight inches of snow due in the next twenty-four hours. I intend to watch her closer than I have in the past.
Moving on to other things, I seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut. I find my job unsatisfying, and the work being done to be largely useless. The predatory nature of the magazine business wears on me, even though I have only been back into it for the last two months or so. In my ideal world we would serve the readers with every word, graphic, and title. But the realities of a publication that doesn't charge for the subscription (you only need to qualify via a survey) are that we need to be sensitive to the vendors as well.
We keep that very much to a minimum. What it really amounts to is that sometimes we end up covering topics that many of us on staff do not feel are really relevant. But the vendors do. It doesn't harm the reader, we don't allow vendors to skew our opinions, but they have skewed what we cover on occasion. The magazine, management and staff, we all do our best. We serve the reader as best we can. We call out the vendors when they speak bullshit, which is pretty much most of the time.
I often harbor childish fantasies that some things in this world are good and pure. Yet I find that there are only shades of grey. I will not do anything unethical at the magazine, and I would probably resign if I thought that the magazine at large was doing something unethical. Yet the reality of the business and of IT in general, always muddies the water.
I have had friends ask me, "What would you do if you didn't do this?" I think to myself that I would do something high-minded, like helping the poor, or something charitable. Setting aside the fact that there is no money whatsoever in that kind of work, I know I wouldn't like it. I sympathize with people who are poor and/or uneducated and can't get ahead. I also know that I am not a big enough person to work with them on a day to day basis. It would crush me with sorrow or contempt. I could fail under their weight or become so hard that I can't care anymore. My ability to relate simply isn't big enough.
I do what I can. Had I been more cognizant of how the world works when I was a young man I could have engrossed myself in history or another academic pursuit. But I took the easy road. Computers and networks came easily to me and I managed, against all odds, to parlay it into a good career. Yet I find myself wondering if the vapid marketing-driven world of business and technology is where I want to stay. I am good at what I do and some days I even enjoy it. Yet there remains a kernel of hard truth that I would walk away almost without regrets.
This little self pity-party I'm having right now is probably merely the result of stress and the miserable weather. Either that or I have turned into LIAD. I imagine that when I can again walk out of doors without a coat and feel the world renewed this vague fugue will dissipate like a morning fog.
In other news, I have been brewing beer for the last several months and it has turned into a bit of an obsession. I really enjoy it, even with its odd terminology and plethora of unscientific wisdoms/myths that the home brew community has. We have put three different beers in bottles, starting with a brown ale, an American cream ale, and now a Vanilla Carmel Cream Ale. The last one is looking like it will be our best beer yet. The brown ale was damn good. The American Cream Ale was…..well its not bad, but the recipe we used was not the best and the resulting beer is….mediocre. The VCCA, however, was good warm and flat right out of the bottling bucket. It will no doubt be superb.
We have just purchased some Cornelius kegs (soda kegs) so that we can get into kegging beer. Bottling is a bit of a pain and there are several advantages to kegging. The Corny kegs need to be cleaned and reconditioned, but they will do the job admirably. I am now on the lookout for a cheap fridge either for conversion to a kegerator or just to lager in. While it seems I am spending a lot of money on the hobby, compared to my last computer system, this is nothing, less than $300.00 invested so far.
Anybody else brew? I know the unequalable Georgeha has done some, how about the rest of you?
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