Sharpshooter

There is a sharpshooter at the corner of my building. He is laying in the grass with a scoped rifle. He has been there since about 7am this morning. My little quiet street in Decatur has become a SWAT zone. We can’t leave and people who are out can’t come in.

You see, it all started at about 5:45am this morning when I awoke to the terrifying screams of a female. My first thought was that someone was being raped over at the MARTA parking lot, then I heard her screech “My mother’s in there!”. I jumped out of bed and called 911, with the thought that someone was bleeding to death or somesuch.

With my heart pounding in my ears, I pulled on some clothes and rushed out into the darkness to help in whatever way I could. The thought that I might be in danger didn’t cross my mind at the time.

The screaming stopped as I crossed the street and approached a small cluster of women from the neighborhood. In the center of this cluster was a 9 year old girl that I knew from a nearby building. Then I realized that she was the one that had been screaming for help.

The little girl told us that her mother was ‘going to be killed’ by a man that used to be the mother’s boyfriend. She said that the man had been released from jail and had come back to her home. She said that he had a gun and he’d threatened to kill her, her mother and himself. When he grabbed her mother, the little girl had fled in horror and screamed for help.

As everyone in Atlanta knows by now, thanks to the oh-so-vigilant media, the perpetrator had been banished by the little girl’s mother almost a year ago and he had a restraining order to stay away from our street. We all risked our lives to rescue that little girl and we didn’t even realize the danger at the time. Even as the first officers rushed around the building, we stood across the street in plain view of the place where all the gun waving had occurred. The cops came and took the little girl away and shooed us back into our homes.

It is currently 2:45 in the afternoon and the perp is still holed up with the little girl’s mother and we watch the news to find out what is happening 2 doors down. The sharpshooter is still in the grass and SWAT team people tromp back and forth behind my house. At least the media are at the other end of the street.

I feel like I am in some sort of bizarre dream. I worry about the little girl and her mother. The 9 year old girl has always impressed me with her intelligence and bearing. I’ve always thought her to be very mature for her age, but when this trauma happened, I was jolted back to reality. She is just a little girl who doesn’t know if she’ll have a mother or not until this is over. And that is just not fair.

Mustang theft follow-up and a Jesus Freak anecdote in the Extra edition.

Stress!

It’s been a very “challenging” week. My partner’s car was stolen. I’m stressed out. We are having serious issues, brought about by all of this shit. [the issues have been addressed and won’t be aired here, sorry]

Pt. 2:

OK. I still feel totally ragged out, but at least I can explain what’s up. My SO’s car was stolen from a parking deck at Emory University last Wednesday night. The car is a 1967 Mustang (289), bright fucking YELLOW with big ole racing stripes. And very nice rims. We never thought this car would be a target for theft because it’s bright fucking YELLOW and it is not worth that much money. WRONG! Welcome to Atlanta: 3rd highest crime rate in the US, down from 1st place just a coupla years ago. I hate this town. It’s a pit. Smog, sprawl, crime, conservatism, buckle of the bible belt. Bah. I cannot get to the west coast fast enough! San Francisco may have some crime and smog, but the attitude is better and it’s NOT here. It’s worth every penny to live there. So now you know why I have those San Fran links on the other page! :-)

I read Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) recently. It was very engrossing, but seeing the A&E special last night really helped clarify what the kimono look like and how some of the words are pronounced. The book is written from the point of view of a geisha who was sold into that life when she was 9. It was interesting to me that Mr. Golden could capture the voice of a woman so well. Madonna really dug it, you know.

I still need more work. I was very busy last week, but I’m still behind with some bills. I’ve just paid off my car and now the Mustang is gone, so at least we’ll have fewer bills now. Ha. Small comfort.

Oh, Michelle and I saw American Beauty on Saturday. It is great–go see it now. Kevin Spacey is brilliant and Annette Bening is even pretty good. The plot is nice and twisty, not at all what I expected.

So, I think that’s all I have to say for now. I know it’s blather, but I just can’t articulate the blue funk I’m in. I’m gonna try to get the surprise that I promised up this week. If I can pull out of this funk, that is.

Industry of the Web

I’d like to expound some more about my view of the money machine called the web. I’ve touched on this before, but I was replying to a newsgroup post today that was asking for opinions and ended up with some good stuff that I wanted to pass along. The question was if a graphic designer could call him/herself a web designer just because he/she already knows graphic design. Here is my reply plus some more of my thoughts on the matter.

I think that there are 2 classes of web people: the techie programmers and the front end designers. Unfortunately the web industry is still very immature and flat, so the lines of who does what are very blurry. I am trying to change careers from Mac tech to web design and it has been very difficult so far.

The web is still cloaked in so much mystery to most of the public (and businesses) that all the HR people know to do is ask for every known web skill and throw lots of money at these 20 year old web designers/hackers, then hope for the best. I have a friend who is one of these 23 year old high end designers with 5 years experience who just got rid of a $55k per year job because the job is so far below her level of expertise it’s laughable. The HR person HAD to have a high end designer with server programming skills–so that the well paid programmer could do some web design and a lot of vanilla graphic design for POWERPOINT presentations!! I kid you not. $55k to do freaking powerpoint crap.

You see, here is the rub: people who are crossing over from other kinds of graphic design or whatever are overlooked because we don’t have years of WEB experience. Nevermind that we can do the job. It’s all about how much web programming you know and how much Flash you can cram into your online portfolio so you’ll impress the HR people who have absolutely no idea what they are hiring for in the first place.

What an immature industry! In a few years, when the web is no big deal, the industry will mature and have layers like all other industries and the job descriptions will start to solidify. Then, someone who wants to join the boundless energy and creativity that IS the web will be able to get an entry level job that doesn’t require 3-5 years of Java application programming. (!)

It’s a clusterfuck right now, with everyone trying to cash in on the web and precious few people who really know what’s up, so you see job descriptions that cover 3 different jobs and skillsets. And of course no one in HR wants to risk hiring a crossover talent because HR doesn’t know that Photoshop is Photoshop and layout skills CAN translate to the web. Or that doing press release updates does not require backend server support skills.

I know this is ragging HR mercilessly, but come on, now, people, how many HR and/or recruiters have you ever met that have a clue about what the hell they are recruiting for??? Personally, I have only been helped by ONE and hindered by too many to count.

I have proof (via a very talented web geek friend) that these idiotic hiring practices are being perpetuated. This friend is the one who is ditching the well-paid but stupid position at an unnamed large company and the silly woman who is hiring to refill the position is AGAIN hiring a very over qualified web designer/programmer to do their stupid shit. Amazing.

Meanwhile, there are hoardes of us wannabes who would happily do the grunt work for half the pay just to bask in the glow of the web’s movers and shakers.

But, you know, despite the craziness, I’m still hot for the web and I’m gonna jump in with both feet! I know that one way or another, I’m gonna find my web niche!

Whew!

Well, the AMUG site is up and the official rollout is tomorrow. Thank the gods of web design! I am so happy to have it up and public. I decided to use CSS and Javascripting (I used ’em here, too, go ahead and admire the source code…) to try and assuage the font problems of cross platform surfing, so I had to do some quick WebMonkey tutorials at the last minute. Believe it or not, it worked (!). The irritating thing is that the CSS seems to be more consistent on the PC platform than the Mac! Bugger!

I suppose everyone was thinking that somehow Floyd the hurricane had had an impact on us here in Atlanta, but no. It brought us some gusty weather and cooler temps, but that’s it. Not a drop of rain. [ed note: we have rain today (mon), yay!] The only thing we got was refugees from the GA coast and Florida!

I got turned down by yet another web company this week. As usual, I get some way lame reason: ‘we need someone with a bit more HTML experience on the coding side’. What the hell does that mean, and what should I do to fix it? I was impetuous and I replied to his lame mail, asking just what, exactly he meant by his statement and what, exactly I could do to get ‘ a bit more HTML experience on the coding side’. I was very nice and submissive in the mail, don’t worry. What have I got to lose? I figure he is cool enough to perhaps float some feedback my way. Whatever. I guess it’s more Mac for me! Eh, that’s OK. I’m sure I’ll get into the web when I’m ready. It’s hard for me to accept waiting,but I think there is a reason for this stall that I don’t see.

It’s almost time for yoga class again. I can’t wait. I’m really bad about doing my daily yoga when I’m not in class, so this will put me back on track.

I have a very nice suprise for you: a cool story written by an ex-coworker from the Loaf. I’ll have it up this week, so look for it on the personal page.

I’d love to write more, but I’ve been in front of this box for about 8 hours and I’m all typed and uploaded out.

Om shanti.

Age Gaps

Are not just for parents anymore! My friends have almost always been pretty much the same age as I. You know, children of the big haired, glossy lipped ’80s who all partied to Chaka Khan and Madonna records and who did NOT grow up with computers. Hell, many of us still remember AM radio and the advent of cassette tapes (barely). The music industry threw just as big of a hissy fit over cassettes as they did about CDs a decade later, by the way.

Anyway, these days I find myself with a few friends who are significantly (10 years or more) younger than I am. Hmmm, what to do? For the most part, I don’t really think about it and it’s no biggie, but occasionally I am forced to acknowledge my seniority (just to myself). It is really strange.

For instance, I went to DragonCon this year with my SO and one of our younger friends got a bunch of passes to go to the WhiteWolf party. Well, “YAY”, I think, “I can dress all Gothic Slut and no one will notice!!” So I do and off we go to the open bar party. We are all having a good time, when the youngest of the group, a 20 year old self-proclaimed wild child, became puking drunk. No more good time. Suddenly, I am the old, wise woman to this very naive 20 year old who is puking in a box!! Whoa, what a reality check!

Now, I am blessed with a cast iron stomach, so even in my wild youth I was not often the puker of the party. I didn’t really identify with this girl in that way, but all the sudden I was tossed back to the clubbing days, when I was usually the one taking care of the pukers. But now, I see it as “omigod what an idiot” rather than, “bummer, get me a beer while she pukes!”.

All this reminiscing is brought about by my SO’s 30th birthday this Sunday, AND one of my younger friends’ 23rd birthday (also on Sunday). I’m not often reminded of our age difference, except, like, my appreciating Led Zeppelin, hair bands and REAL tight jeans and her giggling at me for it. We go to 80s night at our fave dance club (where it is chock full of kids who were eating pablum in the 80s) and dance our asses off and we talk about web stuff. The truly weird thing is that she is sort of a mentor to me, despite our disparate ages! Funny!

I can’t help but think that things are SO different now than when I was 20…Technology has totally changed the way everything works and the way all of us interact. It causes a gap between people who are not separated by a generation, but by only a few years. I missed the beginnings of desktop computing–the Apple “1984” commercial totally missed me– and I would not be in computers today if not for the headhunter that jerked me out of radio and pushed me into a support job in 1995/96!

I’m damn glad that I got into technology, cuz I’d be clueless now (like AOLers and HR people) and I’d still be doing stupid boring jobs like I was before. AND I wouldn’t have met some of the fabulous younger people that I now know thanks to the web and my techie jobs! And it has helped significantly with my relationship to my SO. He DID catch the wave in the early 80s (Apple//, baybee!) and my learning about computers has given us something in common aside from, ummm, well, ummm, whatever it was we had in common in the first freakin place!! [sidebar: did you know that ‘foreskin’ is the first word on the list of replacements for ‘freakin’ in the DreamWeaver spellcheck?]

I’m happy to say that I truly appreciate my age and the perspective that I’ve gained, however, I really really like it when I get carded and people consistently guess my age at 8-10 years less than it is!! It’s like having the chance to sneak back 10 years and live it all over again–but with all the knowledge I’ve accrued. Be afraid, be very afraid! Or, as my favorite hacker would say: Ph34r M3!!