Coming out for the second time…


Today's post isn't a while, which is a wonderful change!

I'm not quite sure where to begin though…

well, I've been a Christian all my life. Parents were Christian, it was All I Knew.  Then, about January or so of this year (when I was looking for The Hitchikers Guide to the Universe TV Series by the BBC) I stumbled across, and began listening to The Skeptics Guide to The Universe podcast.  It was fun, the hosts were funny and smart, and they made a heap of good points.  Awesome.  Well, one day recently I heard them interviewing Richard Saunders, who is heavily involved in Australian Skeptics.  I had no idea that there even were Australian Skeptics… well, I did, but I didn't realise that they had actually organised anything, let alone a society offering a $100,000 Challenge for Psychics and Practitioners of the Paranormal.  Upon learning of their existence, I checked out their site, and bought a subscription to The Skeptic, their quarterly publication.  I also sent an email to the Tassie branch, wondering what there was.  Nothing.  But someone up here had enquired a similar thing only a week ago, would I like to be put in touch?  Absolutely!  In fact, I'm rambling. 

After listening to the AS episode of SGU, I went back through some older ones, and stumbled across one about Immortality.  Interesting to say the least.  The panel discussed what "Immortality" (here defined as a lack of death-by-natural-causes) might mean for society, and religion in particular.  They said that a big thing about religion was the fear of death angle.  I thought "but I'm not afraid of death?".  I then wondered "am I not afraid because I'm just not, or is it my Christian belief in an afterlife kicking in?"  after some consideration, I decided that I actually don't mind whether an afterlife exists or not. If the things I do in this life are governed by the things that will happen in the next, then I need to take a serious, long look at my life and make some changes.   But they're not, so I'm happy enough. 

But this opened other things up to questioning.  I went and bought Christopher Hitchins "God Is Not Great: How Religon Poisons Everything" and devoured it.  It's a great book which I plan on reading again soon.   It makes some great points, which I'm at a loss to remember right now. (mainly because I was reading the book as a diversion from the things I should have been doing, and while it was really good, I wasn't taking things in on more than a subconscious level.)  Um, oh, yes… I started thinking about things.  I started asking "if God exists, why do all these things happen when there is no person who you could possibly say is responsible for certain atrocities?" ie Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami, etc.  And that put me in a really awkward position.  It feels like there's something more than us just being meat, but what could it be?  Well, what about a non-intervening God? It starts off the big bang and watches.  Sure, It wants us to be happy etc, but It's not going to actually do anything about it.  OK, awesome, a God I can believe in again. 

I turn to my next topic of consideration: Jesus.  Problem.  God is a non-intervening God. Jesus came about because God intervened in Mary's life, and the lives of countless others.  Conclusion here? Jesus was probably a really, really great guy, but he was just human.  next? Holy Spirit.  Problem.  the glorious HS is the personification of God's intervention.  Damn. Well, no HS either under my definition of God.

So… I believe in a non-intervening God.  That would make me a Deist.  I'm not quite sure what to do about church and family and stuff.  I will be disappointing a whole lot of people when I come out of the theological closet.  A friend has advised me that she goes to chuch (with her partner) and views it as kind of a social club.  I sing up the front, and recently, I've had a hard time singing the songs that I'm supposed to.  Not because they're hard songs, but because I don't actually believe the words.  Then there's the guilt of being told "I love hearing you sing, because it's so obvious that you're really feeling what you're singing." I'm actually misleading these people! and that's not cool.  If I go to church and don't sing up front with the choir, then I get asked why so much that if I can't get to practice on Friday nights, I just don't bother going to church on sunday.  it's easier, pure and simple.  So viewing it as asocial club may not be for me.

But… I'm meeting with my pastor on Friday to hopefully sort this stuff out a bit more.  This is big, to really make any public statement about my Deism. Currently, hubby and one friend, who I knew was a bit of a far out Christian, know. and now you know too.  This isn't for people to feel sorry for me, or to convert people, just to say "here is where I am at the moment"

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Project idiots…

So, by now, the whole of Vox is aware that my degree is wrapping up, and that it depends on a team collaboration in which we build a piece of software for a client.

Well.  Throughout the whole thing, we've had a team member who just hasn't pulled his weight. (If you're reading this, you either know who you are, or you're going to get told by 3pm today in front of the Lecturer-In-Charge, with whom I've had a number of conversations about you.) His name is Ben.  I know a few Bens, so no, this isn't the one who forgot me recently, this is another one.  He has had 0 assignments left for his semester for the last week.  Every other team member has at least 1 and probably 2 due this week.  It's a part of why I haven't been blogging recently (expect that to change after Friday, when boredom will set in really quickly.)  now, recently, we figured out this guy was useless. I actually can't remember if I've blogged about him or not yet.  I've emailed the lecturer a couple of times asking for some advice. 
Well.  We (foolishly) said (nicer, but it's basically what we said) "well, you've done -no- implementation, here's a chance to do some documentation and regain some marks.  Would you be happy to do the general user manual?" 
"Sure, no worries" says Ben the Terminally Lazy.
"Cool, you need to do this this and this"
"No dramas"
and we were set. the rest of us actually had some time to work on our assignments since Ben was doing things.  Thursday rolled around.  "So, what have you done?"
"this this and this" says Ben.
"Cool, can we see it?" queries my lovely self in the sweetest, most non-threatening voice I can muster
"I'd have to go home to get it" responds Ben.  My urge to kill rose.
"Ok, well can you email it out when you get home?"
"oh, I don't know that it's ready tonight to send out" urge to kill: rising, subtext: I've done nothing.
"All I want is something so that I know what sort of material we're supposed to produce"
"Yeah, no worries"
"so can you send it out tomorrow?" Says I.
"I reckon"
and the conversation ended there.

Friday rolls around: nothing.

Saturday: nothing from ben, but Darren has produced templates because he was so sick of waiting, and a response from Ben saying "we don't need to use templates beacuse tehre will still be formatting differences and we'd need to reformat them anyway." at 12:30AM on Sunday I send an email asking for something so that I can take a look at to see what Ben wants us to write since he's collating the General User Manual.

An email came through to me (and me alone) at 11:08 AM Sunday morning with just over a page of text, a significant proportion of it bullet points. none of which I would deem sufficient for submission.
I forwarded this on to everyone since I worked out that I actually had nothing that I needed to contribute to that manual myself. then at 11:57AM, he sends out another one with a couple more paragraphs.  It was obvious that he'd been writing it that morning so he'd have something to send.

and eventually, I got the Times that Ben wanted me to use to update the project schedule.  He'd broken it up into sections. and his highest time was for presentation!  (I think I may have ranted about ben not wanting to come to an important meeting before)  He almost didn't come to the really important meetings about the presentation where we produce the thing, and it's only because I was nasty and said that it was disloyal, disrespectful and hurtful of him to decide not to come to what was arguably one of the most important meetings of the semester that he came!  His highest time! 2nd highest? meetings. yep, you heard me, meetings. I was appalled. I was disgusted. I was horrified.  and then I read the time he put down for the first instance of "user docs/manuals" 75 minutes.  my voice went black, and I did Death's voice. you know the one. THE ONE WHERE HE TALKS LIKE THIS.  I said something along the lines of "I'M GOING TO KILL HIM!"  and I continued reading.  I found User Manuals: 475 minutes.  Better. It would of course have been lovely if we had seen anything at all that suggested that he'd done anything like that much work.  On seeing those times, I started printing things.

  • The "manual" he sent to me
  • The "manual" he sent to everyone else
  • The email Darren said that he was sick of waiting. (Darren's single section was longer than Ben's "manual" by the way)
  • The Times that Ben sent me
  • The email where Darren tells me that he doesn't believe there's a template.
  • The email where Ben says that there's no point to a template.

I figure that will give me plenty to talk about in our management meeting at 2.40pm Monday 15 Oct.

and right now, I have something to say to Ben:
"Dear Ben,

This is going to shock you.  You're used to me being a nice person who is easy to get along with.  And, by and large, I think (I definitely hope) that you're right.  I mean, I'm a bitch, for sure, but who isn't?  This letter, however… This letter is a result of me being so nice and easy to get along with.  I didn't rant at you for not doing your work when I probably should have.  You've seen that I can play dirty, tweaking emotions when I need to.  Right now, I need to rant, I need to play dirty.  I need to write something so that if you ever do read it, you'll understand how I feel. I need to at least write about how I feel about you before I see you tomorrow.  So that when I see you in that management meeting, I don't absolutely blow my stack and lose all my professionalism marks.  With that said, here is what I have to say.  I know it's not pretty, but it's the truth.

I don't know what you thought project was going to be like.  I knew it was going to be hard work, and chew up a lot of my time.  That's why I didn't take an extra (overtime), completely optional unit in second semester even though I wasn't already failing units multiple times over. I would never attempt to do that uni load and work 2 jobs.  I actually quite liked you at the start of the year.  I figured you were a good student and a decent guy.  I don't understand how you can spend so much on uni tuition and not put in the effort.  I don't understand how you can be happy just failing. 

What I do understand? I understand that helping you pass cheapens the degree I'm working fucking hard to get.  I've already had one person pass for a qualification based almost entirely on my work.  I am not doing that again.  I understand that you need to get 45% of your internal mark to pass this unit, which is a core unit to obtain a computing degree.  I understand that you have done almost no work this semester, and there is virtually no tangible evidence that you have done anything.  I understand that your Work Product Pay Packet will be as close to Zero as I can make it and still have a clear conscience.  I understand that I am not going to sit idly by while you cheapen my profession.

What you need to understand?  You need to understand that in my eyes you have failed. You didn't pull your weight, wouldn't tell us you weren't doing things, and every time we bailed you out because it's better the devil you know, and we were understanding of workloads and stuff.  Well, no more.  As far as I'm concerned, your individual marks will be nil, nix, nada, zilch.  I don't know that I'll ever be gutsy enough to say this to your face,  but in the year I've known you, you have become contemptible to me. 

I'm sure you'll enjoy repeating project and making some other team miserable.  Thinking about that almost makes me want to let you pass.  It's not an experience I would wish on anyone.  But then, I wouldn't wish you on an employer either.

I'll see you around, I'm sure, because I start Honours next year, and you're still going to be around."

I'm sorry, everyone.  That venomous type/rant/vent/cry has saved me from actually going psycho on his arse, I think.  (I'm still not going to risk it, I'll leave the sharp objects in my locker before the meeting)  I hate feeling like that.  I hate feeling like I'm dishing out what people deserve. This post may not be pretty… but it's true for me.

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Yesterday, the day that nobody remembered…

… me.

that's not quite true.  The Divine Miss C remembered. but it feels like she was the only one.  I asked B on Monday if I could stay at his place last night so I could go to a group for gay Christians.  I also suggested a Wine Time afterwards.  Yesterday while I was killing time between the end of uni and the group, Ben came home, and when I asked about the Wine Time, he said he "forgot" and was going to stay at his bf's place.  How hard is it to remember for one frigging day?!?!  I mean seriously.  And it's not like the bf isn't invited to wine times.  So that was bugging me.

Then I went to my gay Christians group.  This is usually a really recharging experience, and I rarely go away feeling worse than when I arrive.  But last night was one of those nights.  Right on the heels of being forgotten by B, I got basically ignored by the group.  Now, I'm sure that it wasn't intentional, but it hurts nonetheless.  To explain:  The group I go to is basically a support group for GLBTI people and their friends/family/supporters with a bit of a Christian focus.  Each meeting we have a little bit of a devotional thingy and an opening prayer, and then we go around the group talking about how our month was.  Mine has been a bit crappy, a bit hectic, a bit up and down, and just generally exhausting.  We had a quasi-new member this week, (a number of the group had met him before and knew him for his efforts in GLBTI reconciliation in his local area)  and we got him to talk to us about his life and his locale.  then we went around the table.  I was sitting next to the newbie, and the guy on the other side of me started talking about his month.  They got right around the table to the girl sitting next to Newbie, and then just broke off and started talking amongst themselves.  I said in a clear, loud voice, to no-one and everyone in particular "My month has been exhausting!" and one person said, the third time I said it, "I don't think they've noticed, so just tell me"  This was quite sweet, and I must send an email to the guy thanking him, but it highlighted that no-one else had noticed at all.  I live the furthest away out of the whole (regular) group (the newbie was from further away) and going to the group impacts 2 days out of my week. (I stay in town, which involves all the inconveniences that staying somewhere not-your-home entail) Not to mention the fact taht I worked extra-hard so I'd have time to go to it. I'm left wondering if I should send an email to those present.  On any other day, or for any other month, I'd probably be fine.  but that day, the month just gone, I needed to have my spill, and it hurt that they didn't even notice that I didn't get a chance.

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Why I love Wifi…

Well… I'm sitting in a lecture theatre bored out of my brains, and I can sit here on my laptop looking like I'm doing an excellent job of taking notes, when instead, I'm just tapping out this blog entry to you…

That is why WiFi is one of the most awesome technologies around.  my laptop has 0 cords hanging out of it (courtesy of my battery) and I can still get on the net and screw around.

The fact that my uni has a great WiFi infrastructure really helps.  I can go to any of my lecture theatres with my laptop and connect and surf/research/work/blog/play.

Love your WiFi, you know you want to.

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QotD: MLB Playoff Predictions

What are your Major League Baseball playoff predictions?

a) that only a very few in Australia will care
b) the ones that care will be pissed off that it's not on TV here
c) that one of the teams will win.
d) that one of the teams will lose.
e) around half of those people who care will be backing the losing side.
f) that I will be among the majority of Australians who do not care.

Good god…  make these things global!

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Demo Day

Well! we got assessed right before I was due to start my shift, so that was a relief.  Just as I was starting, the TAFE Cotingent arrived, including one face I shall never forget, Henry Bush, Teacher extraordinaire of the TAFE Diploma Courses and all units Programming.

I have a number of Screenshots!


I'm VERY pleased with it!

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QotD: The Real Deal

What fictional creature do you wish were real?

After reading EWQ's answer, I have to agree.  Anything that can do my housework for me is a must.  I'm a little tempted by leprechauns, since they always have that cauldron 'o gold, take it away, and they have to have another one, right? having a leprechaun would be handy, because I can then afford to just pay someone to do my houseworkk, and I can pay for other things… I value versatility.  Things that can do the same thing (to the same standard) and more should be more valuable than single-purpose things.

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The Dreaded School of Computing Demo Day…

is today!

We have a big bowl full of lollies to give away, more lollies if those ones run out. I have my business cards to hand out when I'm on. We also have our incredibly sexy my.plan system, (I don't know how we managed to make "my.plan" funky, sexy and enticing, but I think we did!) (glory be to me, who fixed the design as necessary, and to Tom, who rewrote the categories section to include the new design) with its swipe card login and user-tailored interface, and now we need to demonstrate it to the public in general.  Tom and Darren are first, then Emma replaces Tom, Then I replace Darren, and finally Ben replaces Emma.  (We each have a 1-2 hour shift)  we have awesome Team Trainer T shirts with the Trainer logo (A big "T") embroidered on them, along with "<Team Trainer>" and our names.  Yay for my mother-in-law with her many embroidery machines!  I'm feeling really confident and pleased with how things are turning out.  It's all pretty much going according to plan.  I think it's time for my coffee though.  I'll blog about how it went, and I'm -definitely- taking screen shots to put up here soon.

I'm so happy, my hair looks decent, I have parking all paid for until well after Demo Day ends, when all is said and done, I'm feeling awesome, I even got a good night's sleep last night.

If you're local, drop by and see me! School of Computing, uTas Launceston, Newnham Campus, just follow the arrows in the SoC and you'll find us.

Love you all,

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