thene: Frank at the end of TTS, with his facemask open. (frank)
-I have delirious flu except with totally unfun delirium that just makes my thoughts cut-out midstream. really. you have no idea how long it took to type this.

-so, Friday night, we went to look at a house in Somerville that we'd previously ignored because of how spectacularly ugly and weird it looked in the photographs. Up close, it was even more hideous than we'd thought. It's also huge, the batshit layout is actually amazing, and all the things that are horrifyingly wrong with it are fairly cosmetic. We really, really want to do this. We are trying to do this. It is SO DAMN UGLY no one else wants anything to do with it, which helps, and K intends to submit it as her undergraduate art thesis.

-the new love of my life is GIFT TAX RETURNS; I did six at the kitchen table yesterday morning. I need to write some posts about all the amazing ways in which Mr Slime is showing me how to Make Rich People Richer, The RPG (it is the best RPG, i cannot stop playing, partly because 'work from home' is a nebulous enough concept that it amuses me to see what else I can be doing while also billing Mr Slime for my time; driving to the Ugly House, playing board games, etc.)

-upshots; I had a short shift at job #2 today, made a really basic dinner for everyone, and then spent most of the evening vaguely bored because I finished that book and have forgotten what fun is.
thene: PROTIP do not fuck with Minette (minette)
-i'm annoyingly tired. This may be related to the 'I accidentally 3 jobs' thing. Had first shift with Mr Slime today, did one asshole's return for the sake of learning the program and took another asshole's return home with me to do, like, whenever. Tuesday night, I figure. It's a gift tax return; rare enough that I've never seen one before and Mr Slime admitted he had no idea how to answer my questions about how to do it. I will do it, feel wizardly about this, and then return it one morning before going to Zombies Inc. Due to lack of space at home, I have decided to keep all my Mr Slime-related paperwork etc in my Midnight Crew tote bag.

Mr Slime is still slimy, but I hate him a little less now than I did on first sight. This may be partly because he made noises about paying me more than the $15/hr figure that I had floated with the Useless People. On the minus side, he preemptively shot down my hopes that he'd let me abuse his software for self-employment purposes. Enough friends/coworkers want me to do their shit that I can cover my overheads, tho.

-OH AND my Enrolled Agent shit arrived on Saturday. There was a certificate, which is only surprising in that it's actually illegal for an EA to describe themselves as having been 'certified' by the IRS so i am a bit confused about them mailing me a fucking certificate. What is even better though is the WALLET CARD. I have a CARD IN MY WALLET that says i am ENROLLED TO PRACTICE BEFORE THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE so I can whip this out in social situations when appropriate, ie, never. (I did show Mr Slime, and he said congrats, aw.)

-we are househunting in a semi-serious fashion, hampered by the fact that M is kinda busy, I am really busy, and K's cat are sick. :( We have yet to see a place we liked enough for it to be worth piling out of here, though.

-over at Zombies Inc, I get my first minion tomorrow. I reaaaaally liked her in the interview, so I have hopes that this will be totally awesome. There has been this mildly excruciating back-and-forth about my job title; boss has been WANTING me to have minions since October, and the new business cards (ikr) have me down as a 'Research Manager'. I got bumped to salaried over Thanksgiving in an excruciating fashion - boss didn't tell me, and I got pretty freaked by getting paid for a whole week when the office was closed for half of it, and then had to go ask my boss why I was getting paid too much, excruciation etc. so tomorrow I am going to start using the title on my email sig, thus beginning my slide into the land of startup job title inflation.

-reading House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, and it is SO GOOD, especially if you like clonecest and sexbots and really, really huge units of time. wish I had something to write? I am making another push to finish sep, here and there, but unfortunately sep is both shitty and uncooperative and I wish I had something easier to write.
thene: Frank at the end of TTS, with his facemask open. (frank)
I interviewed for a part-time tax job on Thursday. I left Zombies, Inc at barely after five (a sin, but lately I totally hate myself for packing up at six because staying is accomplishing nothing and still being the first person to leave), headed for Back Bay after getting lost, twice, in Park Street station. I didn't know the street address, but the company's website was reassuringly grey.


Swankwass office suites with shiny tiled floors and a doorman who scanned my green card and printed me a paper sticker with my name and photo on it, four elevators and a layout like a maze; shiny, shiny numbered doors, too shiny and far too close together for the offices inside to be anything more than show. I stepped out of the elevator thinking about the kind of people who feel at home in such places - reassured by the shine, paying the rent on its aspirations.

I was only five minutes late by the time I found Mr Slime. He didn't appear to notice. He then spent the next thirty-odd minutes feeling out my tolerance for jawdropping bullshit, while evidencing absolutely no social skills. Not too unlike the Dingbat, but a somewhat younger, richer, less terminal, and completely amoral variant thereof.

The Dingbat got me used to the CPA firm model; use prestige of qualification to pull in work, and then hire the nearest monkey to actually do it, pay monkey in peanuts, cover rent of reassuring-looking (kinda, when he cleaned it) prime-location facility and have $$$ left over to gamble on the stock market & lose, which is what the Dingbat actually does all day. Mr Slime is not a CPA but appears to have more $$$$ than the Dingbat. Mr Slime, in his tiny, shiny, squeaky little plaza office, wants me to work from home. I can come by twice a week for all the paperwork and then take it home to do the monkeying. His former monkey, he told me sadly, had been monkeying for him for decades, such a shiny shiny professional relationship it had been, but the dear monkey had now retired and so he had asked the Useless People (yeah, still the same agency, because none of the other four I am registered with turned anything up this year) for a replacement monkey. I wondered how many other monkeys he has spun this story at in the last few years. It's about trust, he says. A long-term working relationship, he says. He made a seriousface and bragged about how rich his clients are, mentioned the standard noncompete agreement whatsits that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been considering outlawing, and which he takes to mean that I could not attempt to even contact my clients; the whole point is that the clients won't know I exist. This is high-end professional services, and it's like eating at a fancy restaurant, hence the post title. Some people feel at home in fancy restaurants.

Mr Slime is full of long pauses. I'm not quite sure what it is about accounting and social skills. I asked if he would like to contact my references and he said no, with no further explanation. He quizzed me, between the long pauses, on some really basic bullshit like foreign tax credits and when to use an 8453. He asked if I knew how much the Useless People billed for me - well north of 150% of what I get, I guessed - and if I'd worked for them before; clearly hoping to cut them out of the loop and get me under the table ASAP, as the Dingbat did last October. (We had already established that they had lied to him about which tax software I have experience with, but Mr Slime said he'd let that pass because I was completely upfront on the subject myself and perhaps he agreed with me that new software is a breeze if you know what the results are supposed to look like. Perhaps not). He's going to put his favourite program on my computer (a high-end program, he says; Cuddleboss has told me it's the second cheapest); in turn, I'll be feeling him out for swinging it for personal use once I have my damn EFIN [this is a whole other saga that involves repeated attempts to get the local police to mail my fingerprints to the IRS; doubly absurd as the DHS has like a billion versions of them already].

He asked me the question that Zombies, Inc forgot to even ask - whether I owned a laptop - and a further question that I am troubled by; whether I had children. I looked this up the second I got home - it's not illegal to ask this in Massachusetts (it is in Connecticut and DC), but it would have been illegal to discriminate against me if I had said 'yes'. I am not sure what action to take against someone who sexually discriminated in favour of me in a job interview.

But I'm so doing this. Why am I doing this? Because even when it has obviously zero future prospects other than a couple of experience boxes ticked and, going to guess, I'll get to see some some real accounting voodoo, there is no real downside to spending a couple of months taking $15/hr from a slimeball while wearing pyjamas & cuddling my dog. I was talking about it on Saturday with a coworker I adore; last year we were working together for Cuddleboss in Southie, but Ms Small World also used to work for the Dingbat a few years back, so shared my frustration at the prestige-and-handshake model of tax monkeying. Last year, I was able to enjoy the tradeoff; one job where I never saw the clients, one where I saw so many that one of them eventually hired me for a real job.

tl;dr why not. Downside is almost zero, given that nothing else was biting and I have an absurd level of short-term tolerance for shitty people who are giving me money. It's not what I'd hoped for, for this year, but it's money and grist. I like the tax code, and this will be a good chance to get acquainted with some parts of it I know less well.

But I also like my clients. A lot. They have taught me about America one hour-long appointment slot at a time. They're how I take the pulse of the year. I know what everyone earns and how much they hate their jobs - do you know how amazing that is? Ms Small World wound up switching her college major due to paying attention to her clients' lives. I saw three clients on Saturday, including one of my favourites from last year, who stripped half-naked in my office - I mention this in case you were under the illusion that taxation and random nudity do not coexist; he wasn't sure of his daughter's birthday, so asked me to read it off his back tattoo.

He's the kind of client I'd like well enough for himself; talks enough to make all the awful compliance questions I have to ask people come out naturally, and when he's not talking family, the boomer addicts and the gay restaurateurs and how hard it gets to put on a brave face for his daughter in the winter and why he does so anyway, he tells me about his construction jobs and why urban development in Massachusetts is a dead-end union corruption spiral that leaves you getting by on cash-in-hand work; I just put my finger to my lips and reminded him that he wasn't meant to tell me about that, because America's tax code has generated the grey economy it wanted to generate. But on top of that, he's going to marry the Obama fundraiser who was left unemployed and homeless after the 2012 election and I was just so relieved to hear that she was safe and well.
thene: Frank at the end of TTS, with his facemask open. (frank)
I was the first one at work on Thursday, which never normally happens; shortly later Chelski appeared, and then Small Voice, Spike and the Hat Man. My Friend had said he'd be there, and showed up a little before ten; the Carbomb (our boss) had said he would not be there, but nevertheless came, and was kind enough to buy a couple of pizzas to share.

Between the seven of us, we hold either six or seven nationalities - I'm not certain if the Hat Man holds citizenship in his parents' homeland or not; I know the Carbomb does, and he was the only other American-born person there. The lazyass just-Yanks were all taking extended breaks with their lazyass Yank parents, as was Wolfie (his family moved to the US when he was a child); only Curly had left the country to go visit family, in her mother's homeland.

That left those of us without much Christmas spirit, much reachable family, much that mattered more than stretching out transience and running the timeclock (all but one of the hourly-pay people were there).

We are a generation of mercenaries.

When we were in Pittsburgh, M's uncle said (pertaining to his son, who had just finished a specialised career-related undergrad degree and was therefore working at a Verizon kiosk in Chicago) that one trait of our generation that he kinda admired was that we held little abiding loyalty to our employers; I told him that we never even got offered a deal that would warrant loyalty. It was only later that I thought of soldiers - I have gathered that both nations and corporations used to want soldiers, before deciding that we were cheaper and less of a liability. I used to love the word 'mutineer', but it doesn't mean anything any more.

We sold ourselves rationally, in used dollars; M and me settled in the available country that had actual jobs (albeit shitty ones), as did the parents of Wolfie, the Hat Man and My Friend; Curly's father's homeland (where she grew up) is getting gradually eaten by religious weirdoes, Chelski's is busy tearing up its political system on the evening news, Small Voice says hers is so sketchy that her young married friends flatly refuse to give birth there; they all came over on F visas for college (as did Spike) and are now angling for H1Bs. The Carbomb noted how many of his employees from companies past had asked him to lie through his teeth for their H1Bs, got them, and then quit. We're not soldiers. Intermingling is common; out of all thirteen of us who work at Zombies Inc, only the Cyborg and Small Voice are dating someone of their own nationality - I think the Hat Man, the DJ and Spike are single, although in a sitcomlike fashion the latter two are visibly attempting to climb in the pants of completely oblivious coworkers of their own nationality.

London is, oddly, another shared touchstone; Chelski, Spike and The Bond Girl all did a semester of college there, and My Friend and Chelski's girlfriend did some high school a little further down south, I guess because their parents were working there. These are global cities - the places people go to learn and work if they possibly can, if they have any way to afford a chance. The first thing I did when I came by some money was pack up and move to Boston. Back in GA, I knew people - a client, a coworker's husband, a memorable butch I met in a bar - who hadn't come by money so had gone with the more literal option of getting a PMC job in Afghanistan. And up here, every ad in every bus is pitching either private education or paid medical trials; our generation are all either indentured or selling flesh, and a very lucky, elite few of us have been able to shortcut to a place where we stand a chance of breaking even at it.

As we ate together, our boss announced that we'd make $1.2m next year and told me to divide that by seven; a hundred and seventy grand, and he said that's what we would each be taking home next year because he was going to fire Wolfie and Curly and all the Yanks. The reality is that he is not firing Wolfie, Curly and the Yanks, and at present he doesn't even draw salary for overseeing this whole delusion although he owns the vast majority of it, but holy shit it's amazing to hear someone even joking about treating you fairly.

(Later, My Friend showed us a conference video that included a spot from the former CEO of one of our client companies - a man notable for raising a few million in venture capital financing and then literally spending it all on hookers, blow, and - a trifling expense - Zombies Inc products. He got fired eventually, but it's a nice little story about the startup economy and how effective VC due diligence & management expertise actually is.)

Background oddness; I am not the only one who bestows obnoxious nicknames upon my fellow Zombies, but unlike me, my boss does not keep his to himself. After tagging me as 'the druid' or 'the pagan' for weeks (also sometimes 'the viking'), at the party he finally outright asked me if I was a Wiccan. I'm not, and I'm bad enough at talking about it even when sober - I told him I was esoterically minded and mentioned a couple of specific things I dig, and left it at that. Because I am completely socially hopeless it took another few days of mulling before I even figured out the screamingly obvious reason why he asked me that; because he is. Or something like. There've been hints before - he talks about astrology in a way I mistook for mainstream. Over Thursday's pizza lunch, he was talking about pre-Christian monasticism in Ireland; I am now pretty sure he is Celtic recon, in addition to being one of those baffling Americans for whom pretending to be Irish is their actual ethnic identity.
thene: and the space is filled with stars (centuries)
-there are all these people doing wind-down end-of-year posts and I am still full-tilt not ready for 2013 to stop. It's the 22nd, baby, lights back up and speeding downhill again. It being Wintervalmas is just making my job obnoxiously hard and stressful. However, I get four days off; the 24th, 25th, 31st and 1st. I get paid for this shit. Wow.

Wintervalmas errands accomplished today; baked a completely disastrous cake, banked some investment returns for tax purposes and started the EFIN registration process (which I apparently should have done like 2 months ago). I am the best xmas.

I've also been manoeuvring for a part-time job; I am going to be training n00bs for cuddleboss as of January 6th, and there is hope of a CPA firm job in Cambridge that I imagine starts late Jan/early Feb; not totally sure about this as the Useless People were meant to set me up an interview and haven't yet done so. I'll call them tomorrow and scream at them or sth.

-I keep wondering how much to write down; in any new environment, my instinct is to write shit down because I need to hang on to how weird everything is when you first see it, before you learn to skip over those gulfs of reason that you're going to be dodging around, day and night, for the rest of forever. Being paid a living wage, having somewhat humane working conditions - I need to register my shock at these things before it goes away. There's no reason behind it; Zombies, Inc is not yet breaking even, although it probably will in 2014 - someone just decided that my job was worth money, just as someone decided my previous jobs were not. (My Friend remarked over lunch a few weeks ago that in 2014 he expects Zombies, Inc to pull in about a million bucks and become a stable, reliable workplace, at which point he will completely lose interest and quit.)

The big wheels turning in my head the last few months have mostly been Thene Learns Basic Social Skills; nothing new to anyone else, I guess. Seriously while all jobs are highly specific social-skills factories, this (as of the end of September) is the first one where I've been paid to get people to talk to me rather than it being an incidental, value-added thing that sometimes happens while doing my job. Plus, I've never worked anywhere so sales-oriented before so my base reaction is 'I AM SURROUNDED BY FUCKING WIZARDS, I MUST LEARN THEIR WAYS.' The rent-saving startup ethos of everyone (except our boss, and also Wolfie and Spike because we ran out of space) being piled into one room does help build the neural net; just listening to My Friend talking is one of the highlights of my day tbh, and I feel like I get to see everything in its full dysfunctional glory. The list of things (eg. the most fruitful sales strategies) we don't tell our boss about has escalated to the point where the Cyborg was thinking of getting into an internships arrangement with his fraternity to get some unpaid, work-from-home-for-college-credit datamonkeys - so Zombies, Inc would have employees we hadn't told our boss about. This hasn't happened. Yet.

-it's the intellectual curiosity suck, as ever; proximity is enough to make you want to understand a thing, even without the added $$$$ incentive. And bonus, I get to write about this shit. Double bonus, the Cyborg mandates that our team spend the first 30 minutes of the day reading the day's industry news so we know what the hell is going on out there. (That I get paid for this makes me think of all the smarmass tax clients I've had who write off a WSJ subscription as an investment expense every year. When we were roadtripping in 2011 I picked up a lot of different newspapers in motels, and I can therefore pronounce the WSJ America's most vapid shitsheet. But seriously, I am now on the mystifying level where knowing my shit is allegedly worth company time.)

-I gave cuddleboss back the SEE textbooks that she lent to me back when she'd decided she wanted to take the CPA exam instead; she's since changed her mind because the CPA exam is a huge bitch. She said she was way happy for me having like letters after my name and a proper 9-5 job but was also a) pissed that I wasn't an unemployed bum who would be able to work for her full time, and b) jealous that I passed my shit before she did when she'd got through part 1 of the SEE last year. I seriously love her, definitely one of the 2 best bosses I've ever had. (The other was Dani K, the ex-marine & Arthurian fangirl who watched Fox News at work and dreamed of moving to Cornwall one day. So confuse.)

-I've never worked at a place swank enough to have an an office party before. It was dinner at boss's house, which makes a sort of social sense as boss is literally twice as old as his oldest employee (that would be me), and his son cooks for a living; I am just not going to speculate on what it is like having to cater for your overbearing parent's party where the guests are all younger than you (I think) and your proud hostess stepmother's barely older (I don't judge, because o for the love of god), but everything was completely delicious.

As I had never been to such an occasion before, I had never had a chance to confirm the rule that someone has to get completely wasted and show their crotch to all of their coworkers en masse; I guess I can only be grateful to have learned that this is true without having to be the person who did it. It was an unfortunate and very inebriated hallway yoga accident, and she was wearing the tiniest dress, black tights and disappointingly plain underwear. She also says she's forgotten most of the party. We have therefore silently agreed to memory hole the entire incident.



Dec. 12th, 2013 11:11 pm
thene: PROTIP do not fuck with Minette (minette)
-today I passed the last SEE exam and then came home and paid the $30 application fee to get letters after my name. I am weirdly way more chill than I was after either of the other two; after studying so long for this section, actually sitting the exam was fairly reassuring, whereas the other two I just jumped into as fast as possible and pantsed my way through. Huge 'what now' feeling. I want to go back to reading fiction instead of studying - miss it. eventually I may start writing horror things inspired by my job, idk.

-also today, we confirmed for the first time that the Zombies, Inc product my team makes does, in fact, work. This is not as bad as it sounds I swear to god - the product is meant to be a cheap way for people to do a thing that usually a), takes about a year and b), fails at least 80% of the time, even IF you do it the incredibly expensive way; so finding out about six months or so after getting clients that that our cheaper way can really work for them is p cool.
thene: Fang, Vanille and the space between them. (awakened)
I have presents sat around not getting mailed; there are no blog entries to not write. Not decorated because everything is a mess. I should, because I like it and it would feel like accomplishing something and Christmas is the only season Boston looks good in. We've had some thin snow to set the mood.

Life is better? I feel less overwhelmed, and am definitely running into fewer of those social nightmare moments, or more likely am ceasing to find them as nightmareish because much like any other thing people can do the best way to learn social skills is to do them for a living; and yesterday, my boss looked me up and down and asked "who are you today?" He meant, he said, that he saw the layers of things I wear in winter as costumes, and last week he'd got at me about the dowdy browns and greys; but yesterday it was a good question as I was wearing a dress of my mother's and the reason I was in his office was to talk about the ghostwriting. best lines from Sound Mind: You will never be one person. This will never be one world.

Tomorrow I am going to the Latino Tax Professionals Boston Regional CPE seminar day with my old boss. Neither of us are Latina and I don't even need CPE credits, I just want to and she got us in for free. On thursday night I will fail an exam (ngl I actually feel pretty confident about it but at the same time I wouldn't feel down about it if I did have to take it again).

In January something I line-edited/rescued from complete structural disaster after the two credited writers (neither of whom can write) started arguing about what the hell the point was is going to be in a magazine that I guess is mistakenly still thought to be reputable. Allegedly millions of people are going to look at the unspeakably shit, I did not do nearly enough to it, first few paragraphs and then skip the rest because it is terrible. My name is on it, in tiny letters at the bottom. I'm unsurprised at how easy it is to ghostwrite after a decade in fandom; I'm a little more surprised that I get enough recognition for being good at it to keep on getting told to do it. i mean, who even cares about good writing and since when did being good at something mean you got to do it <--this has never been more apparent, really. I've gone from being underpaid for things I am great at to being overpaid for things I am shit at.

overwhat? C reminds me of that sometimes; there's nothing normal about no one earning anything. I remember the recruiter I spoke to (who never did squit for me aside from giving me this) who said that she knew the recession wasn't really over. In a very real sense, I did get out of the recession in 2013; I (accidentally) found the full-time, permanent job I'd been looking for since I finished university in 2006. I recently read something that points out that the recession began in 1974 and is not yet over - the real recession in terms of people continually earning less and less money. You do get older, you turn experience and happenstance into ways to make an inch or two more elbow room for you to get by, and it's all done by scrambling over the people coming after you. For a lot of people there's still a recession on. For a lot of other people it never really happened, other than as a vague dream that temporarily dropped the stock market and threatened their possible, maybe, future unearned income, and now the Dow is back up it may as well never have happened. this will never be one world. I cannot get over the disconnect here; I don't get not being a temporary worker at the same company for 4 years, not pulling 50 or 60 or 70-hour workweeks 'part-time' any more. I may even bother to get health insurance some time in the next year.

In MA I now earn over twice what I did in GA; M's pay has jumped by 50%. We make more than the US median household income now. I still remember being 16 and thinking, having worked for nothing for years because that's what women have to do (God says so), that it would be alright once I was out of the asscrack of Lancs and could have a job because even if I got very little, say £12000 a year, it would be enough that I could make a few choices. It seemed so realistic. This is the first year I have actually made that much and most of it was from investment income gambling, although that won't be the case next year. My pay is a bit over $30k a year now and this feels alarmingly much and is only open to further escalation due to this very odd bit of sideways luck that let me slink into the finance industry via a young company with big ideas. I am still finding it p hard to accept that I am getting paid so much more for doing things that, well, anyone could do if I can.

The people in the office across the hallway from us are a socialist group who are backing the $15 minimum wage campaign. I sponsored a Walmart striker over Thanksgiving. Once I'm done with this fucking exam I need to finish reading Taxing Women, which is a look at the structures America chose to implement to keep women working for nothing.
thene: The Joy is facepalming at you. (facepalm)
-not been blogging because stupid things have been happening far faster than I can keep up with. this post is also long )
thene: Fang, Vanille and the space between them. (awakened)
the finance industry is really just the terminal form of consumer culture, where your cache is determined solely by how much money you have to throw at brand-name trend items. It's one of the two reasons I keep looping West End Girls; if, when, where, what. I'm not detached from it in any way - total sucker here for the moneyceleb circus, at least within in the 9-5 coma where I am getting paid. But what I've not yet shaken off is that guilty feeling regarding relationship-forming. I still get flashes of pain whenever someone is nice to me on the phone, especially if they're one of the rare ones who're chasing something other than money.
thene: The Joy is facepalming at you. (facepalm)

^i love this album and this song in particular. Anyone who likes lesbian robots should listen to it. Link for readers who cannot see embed.

I need to post this post as it just keeps growing as I've begun to feel like talking again, and while K & M persuaded me to get a twit lately it's not the best medium for me and sometimes just leads to dragging people into injokes without warning. Mostly I just retweet cute dog pictures.

tl;dr work )

I'll stop this post now for the sake of posting it; definitely not exhausted the backlog of work-related ranting. Your cast, if I continue to rant about this job, are The Bond Girl (originally my manager; she has recently been adopting, via cellphone, a persona in which she is a TA for an entirely fictional finance class at a university several hundred miles away), The Cyborg (currently my manager, although not currently a cyborg), My Friend (not currently my friend, it's just this vocal tic he has), Folksy, Small Voice, Chelski (really! he likes them so much he did a study abroad in London just to go see them every weekend!), Wolfie (I'm still not sure what he even does all day), The DJ, and, idk, I guess I will have to refer to our boss as The Carbomb because that would convey the right combination of put-on American Irishness, hot air and people screaming. I like many of them but Folksy is the only one I suspect of being actually interesting. He's marrying an opera singer next year.

I think I want to rant more about how the things I do get assigned money values and why those values are inversely proportional to the raw effort required and what the financialisation of everything might have to do with that; about rebuilding one's neural reward systems; about that feeling of relief at being able to stop struggling, if only for a brief and unknown breather that isn't a breather in that it's hard for me in ways it shouldn't be, but at least I can stop jobhunting and I have some faint hope of never having to go back to school, at least not just in order to be on this not-just-scraping-by, which is all I really needed. Other things are looming instead; thinking about building some real-name-internets because there's now industry fluff out there with my name attached so why not, eg. if I'm feeling far enough away from the tax industry to talk about how broken it is and how the tax code itself creates that brokenness. I am still going to finish the EA exam, though it would be hilarious to put letters after my name that do not pertain to what I am doing for a living.

what you do is, you hand out jigsaw puzzle pieces, and everyone gets one, and sometimes they swap them without realising.

shut up

Sep. 16th, 2013 06:04 pm
thene: "'The spirit is a garden,' said he." Photograph from (snowdrops of gratuitous self-reference)
-on the 33rd floor (not of Happiness Ltd) sat on a piano stool and looking down at Boston, at the labyrinth next to the merry-go-round. The sea intrudes more than I tend to realise. Close to the glass, I can hear it talking to the stones. Quincy Market and piers-turned-parking-lots, cruise ships headed east.

Today I have been staffing a conference. Earlier, there was a panel about Europe, and when someone asked me the way to Europe I just pointed out across the harbour. /not big or clever

maybe people believe in benevolent gods because it's hard not to love somewhere at this height.
thene: PROTIP do not fuck with Minette (minette)
[15:35:21] fireholly99: /cgl/ is having a Lolitas With Guns thread
[15:37:27] thene a: yesssssssss
[15:37:59] thene a: omg so adorb
[15:38:13] fireholly99: not much more, unfortunately :(
[15:38:13] thene a: the scope is so kawaii
[15:38:52] thene a: i love the serif-style tripod, it's totes victorian and ever so modest
[15:38:59] fireholly99:
[15:39:27] thene a: omg is that real vintage?
[15:39:49] fireholly99: i seriously wish lolita firing squads were a thing :(


Aug. 8th, 2013 12:48 pm
thene: Nono, the moogle mechanic from FFXII (moogle love)
We finally got shit dragged out of the way enough for K to move in on Sunday. What this means is that a) I am sharing a room with my husband again, and b) there is now a CAT living here. CAT. It has yet to catch me any meeses but I assume this will be forthcoming.

Everything is still kind of a mess - still trying to get rid of between two and four large pieces of furniture. My old desk already went, replaced by something with about half the footprint and much more in the way of useful bits. Desk ;_; M had been trying to part me from it for years, on the grounds that it was actually a dining table and only had three legs, but goddamnit I loved that thing. I did keep the set of shelves that propped up the fourth corner, but have not yet figured out where to put them.

We kept doors mostly closed for the first few days but the fourfoots are doing surprisingly well now; Precious is treating Cooper as if he were a dog, ie. sneezing and snarling at him while she sits majestically atop her Favourite Human Of The Day and getting really offended when she sees M play with him, but they otherwise don't seem to mind each other too much. Grendel has only been punched in the face again once, for going for an ill-advised buttsniff, and the next time he saw Cooper he peed in terror. I think this means he is coming to accept his helplessness in the face of cat; he's certainly making steadily less noise about it.
thene: PROTIP do not fuck with Minette (minette)
Shady financial entity of the day is a golf course in continental Europe, I shit you not, that some rich guy is using as a funnel for his speculative dabbling. The golf course now owns all kinds of wild shit. My supervisor told me this was awesome, exactly the kind of unusual investment entity the company was wanting to list, and I should definitely do a writeup on it.

Also, today was Corporate Photo Day! I dressed up as an actual girl and felt kinda awkward and am sure my makeup was unspeakable. The photographer was the VP's cute girlfriend. The guys (the one time I mentioned I was capable of lifting things, this news was not well-received) cleared out an office we rarely use for her to set up all her lights and black backdrops, and she took pictures of each of us in turn, and when it was my go she told me to button my suit-jacket and she fussed over the position of my hair and then a huge cockroach appeared from god knows where and I semi-apologetically beat it into the carpet with her plastic Perrier bottle.
thene: Naomi Hunter is very suspicious. (naomi)
[Most of this post has been sat in a tab since July 12th because I meant to add more things and never did. Oh my shit it is actually August. :( ]

I'm having a hard time ordering my thoughts on this topic. I just deleted a gloomy paragraph or two from earlier this week, bitching about how hard it's been to keep my focus or feel much in the way of direction. Not that those problems are gone, just, I can feel them retreating into a manageable state. Anyway, facts: what I have been doing the last two weeks is research and datascrubbing for a dealsourcing database in a certain niche industry [henceforth referred to as 'bringing about the apocalypse' for absurdity value and occasional near-truth]. When I explained this to M he went "Ohh, you're a middleman!" YES. YES. I've never been a middleman before and I always wanted to try it because it appears to be where absolutely all the money in the world is. So, hello first ever finance industry job. It is, thus far, not very stimulating. That's partly a matter of learning to push on the neural buttons, but I figure it's mostly because no jobs are as stimulating as tax jobs, ever.

I am also not very good at it yet, obv. At first I just rode that usual groove of being accepting of my failsitude but also being a bit down about it, especially as I felt like I wasn't getting a lot of support. By Tuesday I was reflecting on how I would have been feeling about the setup if I wasn't getting paid. On Friday, I met the next-newest person and had that suddenly I don't seem so bad moment - don't know if he's being paid but he's got a high-level qualification in apocalypse-causing, no finance background and no common sense, and is high-maintenance as hell. So I guess I'll stay afloat with my ragbag of interdisiplinary knowhow - trufax, the bit of prior education that's been by far the most useful here was having read the whole of the The Compleat UberNerd's Guide To Mortgage Servicing for fun when I was stuck in FL last spring. (Florida is really fucking tedious, okay). <---no seriously if you want some useful practical knowhow about how debt instruments and derivatives work/how they fail, delivered in impeccable prose, get reading.

They do dress-down Fridays, which I had been instinctively revolting at because goddamnit I am an englishwoman and I like business casual. What I got was a chance to listen to a bunch of aggressively straight metrosexual guys who usually show up in pink and purple shirts all cooing over each other's hundred-dollar shoes. People seemed peoplelike all of a sudden, though I suspect this was mostly because management had wandered off to tend to unrelated personal drama. Maybe what I've been finding inaccessible isn't the atmosphere but the rhythm of it from one day to the next, the corners of the open space and time where it can percolate.

It was C's birthday, and he got out of work early - we don't work that close together, I'm in a downtown alley that always stinks of piss and cigarettes and he's in a shiny tower up in the financial district, but I am right next to one of his two equally viable trains home. I slipped out so we could get birthday coffee, and I found him on the corner with a bunch of yellow roses for his girlfriend. I told him how bad he is at birthdays.

"Web start-up companies are like play-companies. They stand in relation to real companies the way those cute little make-believe baking stations stand in relation to kitchens." <--Are Coders Worth It? by James Somers. I've had that feeling, although not exactly, because Zombies, Inc is not a web startup per se - we (dare I say 'we') are using borrowed tools to carve new information and sell it - and the mere lack of technical activity and the reliance on cheap-and-shitty cloud software, coupled with the grandiose titles, made part of my head want to say cargo cult startup? I may have been thinking too small by not seeing startups as a cargo cult phenomenon per se.

The other relevant thing I read lately was this piece on economic growth, the lack thereof, and 'information processing' jobs. This is actually my first information processing job, and I guess that was the cause of my lack of stimulation, my brain being roboticised and, ideally, interchangeable. It's the first job where I've been being paid to write anything, and I've been told I do well at keeping my text clean and to template; I am a good entry-writing robot. It's an open-plan place where most of us are in the same room. It took time for me to tune that out, to appreciate being able to know but not care what the sales team are doing this week. Money is made, by other people. What the lowly and supposedly interchangeable interns do is make the product, not hock it, but the same is true of any business.

I have been learning a lot, and I appreciate that. The gruesome details put most of a futuristic novel plot in my head (no zombies, lots of identity horror). I'm also building this web of how things in this world fit together, as one does; like, I run into new consequences of the Madoff scandal at least once a week. That dude got everywhere. The Enron collapse, too. Whistleblower lawsuits, fraud claims. Noisy success stories and silent failures. I get more interested in these details as time goes on, and therefore better at finding those neural buttons. This is about where I figured I'd be; glad I'm here, no intention of sticking around.
thene: The Joy is facepalming at you. (facepalm)
From Against Method:

The so-called scientific revolution led to astounding discoveries and considerable extended our knowledge of physics, physiology, and astronomy. This was achieved by pushing aside and regarding as irrelevant, and often as non-existent, those facts which had supported the older philosophy. Thus the evidence for witchcraft, demonic possession, the existence of the devil, etc., was disregarded together with the 'superstitions' it once confirmed. The result was that 'towards the close of the Middle Ages science was forced away from human psychology, so that even the great endeavour of Erasmus and his friend Vives, as the best representatives of humanism, did not suffice to bring about a reapproachment, and psychopathology had to trail centuries behind the developmental trend of general medicine and surgery. As a matter of fact . . . the divorcement of medical science from psychopathology was so definite that the latter was always totally relegated to the domain of theology and ecclesiastic and civil law - two fields which naturally became further and further removed from medicine. . . .' G Zilboorg, MD, The Medical Man and the Witch. Baltimore, 1935 pp. 3ff and 70ff. Astronomy advanced, but the knowledge of the human mind slipped back into an earlier and more primitive stage. Another example is astrology. 'In the early stages of the human mind,' writes A. Comte (Cours de Philosophie Positive, Vol. III, pp. 273-80, ed. Littre, Paris, 1836), 'these connecting links between astronomy and biology were studied from a very different point of view, but at least they were studied and not left out of sight, as is the common tendency in our own time, under the restricting influence of a nascent and incomplete positivism. Beneath the chimerical belief of the old philosophy in the physiological influence of the stars, there lay a strong, though confused recognition of the truth that the facts of life were in some way dependent on the solar system. Like all primitive inspirations of man's intelligence this feeling needed rectification by positive science, but not destruction; though unhappily in science, as in politics, it is often hard to reorganize without some brief period of overthrow.' A third area is mathematics. Aristotle had developed a highly sophisticated theory of the continuum that overcame the difficulties raised by Zeno and anticipated quantum theoretical ideas on motion. Most physicists returned to the idea of a continuum consisting of indivisible elements - if they considered such recondite matters, that is.
thene: PROTIP do not fuck with Minette (minette)
-so there I was, being not entirely sure that anyone at Zombies, Inc had even ever read the FLSA rules on having unpaid interns. Wednesday afternoon I get emailed an offer letter and told to sign it, which I assume is a primitive way of demonstrating what, to them, might seem to be the most important item on the list of internship rules; that I wasn't expecting them to pay me. I read it, and then I point out, very politely, that the agreement explicitly refers to college credit (this being the default token way to demonstrate that it's okay for you to not pay someone to work for you) and asking if it ought to be amended or if I should just sign it anyway (because I don't care). They said they'd fix it and get back to me. This never happened, so I just showed up today at the appointed time.

The first thing managerlady (she needs a sufficiently droll name, and I am sure fate will provide her with one shortly) said was 'O dang I forgot to tell you to bring your laptop.' Note that I was never, at any point, asked if I owned a laptop and it's been a fairly recent life development for me, but yeah, I am so deep in the rich-kids bubble here that they think Macbooks grow on trees and that even unpaid staff ought to be able to verily produce them from their assholes to be put to company use. Lol startups, maybe. I spent the day reading Very Important Things on other people's machines. I could tell they were important because they were full of words I had previously only come across in Metal Gear cutscenes and I filed away a few interesting concepts for sci-fi plots to not write.

And the second thing she said was that the offer letter hadn't been fixed yet because they weren't certain about the legalities of not paying me, therefore they might have to pay me. I nobly said that I wouldn't complain about such an eventuality. By the end of the day this turned into 'oops, we'll pay you, and because one of us was forced to read the FLSA website you also get a fixed term of 3 months'.

It's not a lot of money and it's only three days a week but hell yes. conclusion: it's amazing what you can accidentally bullshit your way into if you already have enough hereditary economic privilege to get through the door, and this is why everything sucks.

-about the other days of the week; the nicest person from the Mob called again and apologised for not contacting me for a month, and I said I still had one and a half free days midweek if she wanted them, plus Saturdays. Yeah, I am doing this. Honestly, I do better with more structured time and more immediate objectives, as a rule.

-I think the Dingbat is either done with me OR the Useless People are tired of his bullshit - either way, they decided to pick today to pretend to be less Useless than is customary. I enlightened them as to their excellent timing but told them I was still up for part-time gigs because I have no idea what the Mob are actually doing.

-yesterday I found out that Hotel Chocolat have two shops in the whole of America and today I tested the walking distance from Zombies, Inc to one of them. Oh dear.

-so now I need to set up a second user account on my computer; another extraneous virtual self with vital pieces removed in order to prevent engagement.
thene: Happy Ponyo looking up from the seabed (Default)
So I'm actually reading United States vs Windsor. It is almost as good as the one about the ponies. The interesting part for me was that the reason this whole thing was allowed to happen wasn't, as I thought at first, because the IRS claimed that Edith Windsor owed them money, but because she'd given it to them and they refused to give it back even after the Obama DOJ stopped defending themselves from her. The other upshot of this manoeuvre? Because the Obama administration wanted Windsor to win, the United States was classed as a prevailing party. Yes, American taxpayers: you fought Edith Windsor, she shook you down for $363,053, and you all won.

Roberts' dissent is a sad mixture of gee-golly-wiz he swears their WAS a legit, non-malicious reason for DOMA to ever exist, but he unfortunately neglects to spell out what it was, and some slippery-slope pearlclutching about how, if they decide this now, they might have to decide other things in the future; he doesn't explain why this is a bad thing. Scalia's dissent is literally six times as long and I can't be arsed because it is bedtime.

ETA aahahaahaa omg I changed my mind and tried reading Scalia's first page. This stuff is godtier. No really scroll to p35 of the document and start reading. Never stop reading. What the fuck am I reading.