sergebroom: (Default)
2015-10-22 06:46 pm

noir gold

"They say that respect has to be earned. The problem is that, unlike gold, the value of each achievement that you can put in your 'respect' bank is determined by totally arbitrary criteria. Well, tonight I'm going to rob an actual bank."

The opening line of another noir story I'd write if I knew how to write.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-09-14 08:35 am

"All The Colors of the Rainbow"

“Yes, we have white folks out there, about one in every ten thousand, and they don't think anything of it and neither do we. You can't hide from the universe. You're going to be tramped under with color – all the colors of the rainbow!” And he understood then that that was exactly what they feared.

In 1957's short story “All The Colors of the Rainbow”, Leigh Brackett has Earth join something like the Federation soon after entering the Space Age. Many aliens have been coming down to Earth to help us eventually reach the organization's technological level and to clean up our environment. That's how an alien couple finds itself driving thru a small American town of the South which is proud of never having had any issue with racial integration because, well, black folks had all decided they wanted to go live elsewhere so it never was an issue. But... The couple looks like white humans, except that their skin is green, and that is enough for the town to feel threatened – and inferior – to these two 'colored' people. Things do not go well for anybody involved.

It is but one of the stories in Brackett's story collection “Shannach the Last”, published by Haffner Press in 2011. It makes you remember that Brackett's storytelling ranged far beyond her tales of Eric John Stark's Mars. And even one of the last stories she wrote of that Mars in 1963 puts the lie to this year's assertion by certain people regarding this year's Hugo Award that political statements in SF are a recent thing. I highly recommend that you read this book.

I wish I had met Brackett.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-21 07:15 am

experience & smart

"Your experience will never win when your boss is smart and thinks he knows everything."

The opening line of another noir story I'd write if I could write stories.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-19 01:59 pm

I really dislike being second-guessed by someone who knows less than I do.

I really dislike being second-guessed by someone who knows less than I do.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-18 10:14 am

foot and hand

"Many cunning plans go wrong because the right hand isn't paying attention to what the left foot is doing."

The opening line of another noir story I'd write if I could write stories.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-17 08:38 am

the plight of the essential person

I am essential.

Until our new system becomes fully functional ("In every way," as Data said to Tasha Yar), our old system will be kept chugging along. Now, I've been transferred to the new system's crew (bilge handler) more than one year ago, and have not been involved in the old system's support since then. When I came in today and saw an email warning everybody that the old system had gone belly up, I figured that the people in charge would take care of it. Then I was pinged by my boss. She wanted to know if I knew whether or not the issue was being addressed. I did what she could have done. I looked up the well-documented cell phone of the old system's manager and brought the situation to his attention.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-17 07:44 am


"I came of age at almost-57. It was over a few months later."

The opening line of one more of those noir stories I'd write if I could write a story.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-12 08:49 am

midyear and unsubtlety

I just had my midyear review. It was good. There's no rating, official or not, but the comments were positive, so I can live with that. I kind of surprised the boss when I said I want to actually work with our new system's new tech. Her reaction is a relief because it indicates that my limited responsibilities are not part of a goal to make me obsolete, but that it just hadn't occurred to her that I might want to do *more*. Oh, and I asked about flying me to the Bay Area. I was quite unsubtle about it, as I've noticed that anything less than a sledgehammer gets me no reaction.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-07 12:32 pm

the chicken of depression

This morning I woke up feeling like the blue bird of happiness was hanging around, instead of the usual chicken of depression, but the former flew away and it's back to fowl life.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-07 12:08 pm

carps die

Yesterday it looked like a 'carpe diem' might be offering itself to me at the office, but it turned out to be slippery as a fish. So it goes. I think I'll leave early today and go buy a book or something.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-07 11:29 am

from one end to the other

Tuesday: "We must deploy this change asap next week. No need to test."
Friday: "We need to test this after all. It can be deployed one week later."
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-06 09:59 pm

six comments about the Four

First... "Fantastic Four" is better than "Man of Steel", and is not a complete insult to characters who've been around for a long time, and does not ignore the reasons why those characters have been around for so long. Except for Ben Grimm, who really got screwed up.
Second... It's not a disaster, but it's frustrating when someone who's not a storyteller can look at a tale and say "If you had changed that bit of writing, it'd have easily fixed that other thing".
Third...The movies from 2005 and 2007, for all their cheesiness and flawed writing, embrace their origin as a comic-book.
Fourth... It's better than "Man of Steel".
Fifth... I didn't come out of it angry.
Sixth... I'm not easy to please, when it comes to comic-book movies. Ask my wife.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-08-06 10:02 am

old Mars and beneath ceaseless skies

Good time yesterday at the Villanueva State Park, sitting by the Pecos River while I finished reading the anthology "Old Mars". Strangely enough, nobody wrote in the mode of the Angry Red Planet tales of the first explorers to Mars, but a few folks went for the Bradbury mode, and my favorite was Melinda M. Snodgrass​'s "Written in Dust". After that I read a few issues of webzine Beneath Ceaseless Skies​. A few mosquito bites, but that was it. I did have to keep our parasol from pretending it was Mary Poppins' umbrella a couple of times, but, again, a good time was had.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-07-29 09:11 am

a nice start

That *was* a nice way to start the day. A former co-worker just pinged me to ask about a bit of software that he knew I've handled before so I emailed an example to him so that he can do it quickly. I say this because, while I am just a toolmaker, it's nice when a descendant of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan asks me how I did this or that.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-07-28 02:32 pm

all those technological changes

Did I really go thru all those technological changes since I graduated from college as a computer programmer in May 1977? I guess I did, and successfully too.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-07-25 08:12 pm

"The Improbable Virgin"

"A few hours ago I thought I was alone. It's nice not to be." She gave his shoulder a little thump with her fist, pulled his head down and pressed her lips hard against his cheek. "Welcome back, Willie love. And please - don't do it again. I've never felt so lonely."

Modesty Blaise to her closest friend in "The Improbable Virgin".
(My thanks again to Susan de Guardiola for convincing me I'd love Modesty.)
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-07-23 10:22 am

taken, but not a chance

"It wasn't a chance. I saw talent and a very intelligent person. You got the job because you were the right one for it."

This morning I wrote to my former/former/former/former/former/(catchbreath)/former manager to say that the 20th anniversary of my being with the company is coming up, and to thank her for taking a chance by hiring me. The above is what she responded.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-07-21 09:23 am

a few minutes later...

Yesterday, a few minutes before I was about to log off and catch the bus home…
(“Serge, we need you to set up two urgent change requests for Friday!”)
A few minutes after the bus has gone, I say…
(“Here they are. Please approve them.”)
A few minutes later, with the next bus coming soon…
(“One of the requests should really be scheduled for Thursday,” one of the coordinators says.)
A few minutes later, with the next bus gone…
(“Both requests should really be scheduled for Thursday,” says *another* coordinator.)
A few minutes later…
(“I will contact the other team and ask them when the requests can be handled,” says yet another coordinator.)
A few minutes later… That coordinator’s email finally goes out.
A few minutes later… No response from the other team.
A few minutes later… No response from the other team.
A few minutes later… I leave and go home, and have hot dogs for dinner.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-07-20 06:52 am

"Death's Good Dog"

Recent reading...

TL Morganfield's e*novelette "Death's Good Dog", another story where the American West meets Aztec gods. Recommended.
sergebroom: (Default)
2015-07-20 06:49 am


Recent reading... "Luckstones", an e*collection of three short stories by Madeleine Robins. Fun. I especially liked "A Writ of Exception". When two Families work to come together by having one family's only child - a girl - marry the other family's only son, it kind of throws a wrench in the works when the son gets killed. Not to let such details get in the way, the Family heads get a Writ of Exception so that the dead son's sister can marry the other family's daughter. The problem is that one of the girls has no interest in life but to become a scholar, while the other girl would by far prefer a husband to a wife. Things are eventually worked out. I wish the author wove a novel out of this.