New Lamps
(25 August - 3 September 2003)

3 September 2003
-Finally met the kids I'm going to be working with full-time last night.  Each day gets easier than the last.  While people say it takes 3-6 months to learn the job in full, I'm just slightly more optimistic.
-I fear I'm on the verge of hitting an awkward wall with this webpage.  Most of my focus for some time to come is going to revolve around my new job... it will be rewarding but difficult & thus somewhere I might actually find the magic of being challenged that I was looking for in the first place.  But the job itself is, while a subject I could discuss at great length, shrouded in privacy agreements.  Now, I'm not much of a fan of privacy as a concept.  In most cases, I think privacy is another word for fear or even cowardice.  But when dealing with individuals who wind up in group homes, I can well understand the call for privacy.  Especially since they're kids.  Even I will grant that, privacy agreements or no, posting their names or obvious identifiers about them would be inappropriate.  But after that, the lines get a little blurry for me.  & the lines are also blurry as far as Seneca's statements on the matter.  How much can I say about what happens in my day?  Are certain events too extreme to talk about?  Does time play a role in this?  In other words, if I just tell a story in a few months about "something that happened to me at work", is that different than pinpointing it to "today, this happened"?  Seneca encourages us to err on the side of privacy & while I'm striving to do that, privacy is a tough one for me.  These aren't just events in my life, these are pretty much the only things that will be happening in half of my days for the foreseeable future.  & unlike my last work, they'll actually be eventful.  Hrmph.
-The "Intent Case" has reared its interesting head in the web journals of many ex-debaters.  I hit versions of this case & a couple folks on our team ran it a few times as well, usually with me helping on the prep.  Basically the idea is that attempted crime should always be punished the same way as committed crime.  I find this perspective very intuitively appealing, because the moral acts are the same, while the results differ... very pleasing stuff to equalize from a deontological means-based perspective like mine.  One of my favorite opps to the Intent Case when I hit it was always that there is often (not always, granted) something faulty in a person's will to commit a crime that ends up making it go awry in process & become attempted.  In other words, Jimbob might pre-meditate to hack someone to pieces with an axe.  As he raises the axe for the first blow, however, he has the slightest second thoughts, hesitates, & misses by a hair.  Suddenly police rush in & arrest Jimbob for attempted murder, functioning the same as actual murder.  Of course figuring out what goes on in Jimbob's head is extremely murky, & something that an adversarial court system is 98% guaranteed to screw up.  The point is, often attempted crimes don't become actual crimes because there is a loss of will on the part of the criminal.  But certainly not always... sometimes they just get (un?)lucky.  So I agree that luck should never be a moral arbiter... & I'm sympathetic to Lauren & Sep's description of all the inequalities that make luck a moral arbiter anyway.  This is why a just society would focus more on equalizing everyone's standing than punishing people for anything in the first place.

2 September 2003
-The days are getting better & better.  My trainer at last night's shift was impressed with my progress & I'm feeling much more comfortable with the kids.  Before too long, I might have the hang of this.
-It seems like my Nuevo license plate has somehow calcified on the back of my car.  I'm dreading getting pulled over because one digit is obscured from my new California license plate as it hangs in the back window of the Kia.  When I have more time, I'll ask someone actually strong (Em) to try to hack at the Nuevo plate.

1 September 2003
-Hey, maybe this is the right job for me after all!  Nothing like nearly 16 hours to knock one into shape in a job setting.  I'm feeling much more comfortable about everything.  & the 8-hour shift today is going to seem like nothing!  This is a great schedule I've got going.  All is looking up.
-Having the morning off is clutch.

31 August 2003
-15-hour shift today.  Hoooo-boy!

30 August 2003
-I am far from convinced that I'm cut out for this job.  Though the first shift would've been much better had I not had a migraine for about 85% of it.  Nevertheless, I got the schedule I wanted (Sunday morning through Wednesday around noon) & should be following that schedule from here on out.  Unfortunately, I'll still be bouncing around this week till I wind up at my designated location next week.
-The new Weakerthans disc ("Reconstruction Site") seems, well, weaker than their first 2 discs upon first listening.  & while it's growing on me, as discs always do, it still seems to lack the clear great songs of the other 2.  Even with "One Great City!" (the "I Hate Winnipeg" song I heard live in San Diego years ago) on it.

29 August 2003
-First day of non-training work today.  Somehow I still don't have an official schedule beyond this week, but there's a possibility that I have my desired first-half schedule.  Hopefully these & other questions will be resolved by tonight.

28 August 2003
-A little clarity goes a long way.
-I can't believe the slump that the M's are in right now.  After dominating the AL West since tax day, they're now 2 games back in the division & even trailing the Sox for the Wild Card.  Better to get the losses in now than in a month's time, though.  Assuming we're still playing then.

27 August 2003
-Mars is really close right now.  Fog is closer.  If there is life on Mars, I'm glad we haven't discovered it yet.  Humans don't do very good things to living things.
-I finally caught up with my reading of other people's webpages (not that I've archived my own yet, but...) & have again noted Phil's great love of Risk.  Despite our mutual support of the game, Phil apparently plays a version of the rules fundamentally different from the version that I prefer.  The rulebooks have varied over the years on which one is more traditional, but I think his holds popular favor these days.  My version, famed on Scheffres Hall 1998-99 at the 'Deis, involves placing only one army in each randomly-drawn territory you receive & then playing out the game.  His version involves placing a pre-set number of armies in turn around your randomly-drawn territories, thus accelerating the game towards consolidation & build-up.  I have a strong preference for my version, but I'm not sure if I could cogently argue why.  Perhaps, after 60 games were played that freshman year at 'Deis, it's because it leads to more variation in strategy & a diversity of gameplay.  It seems like there's a better shot at a comeback when everyone starts small as well, when there aren't armies of 20+ storming territories on the first turn.  Regardless, it's a great game that I miss playing.  I've been short on games lately... bridge & poker & Risk are hard to pull off with 2 people.  It just occurred to me that I may have played more than 100 full games of Risk in my life.  Not counting the games I'd play when bored at home with me in the role of all six different colors.  I wonder if they have a national tournament.  I miss those too.
-Well I've backed myself into a fine corner with the archiving.  I got all geared up to do it & I'd completely overlooked that I'm due for a new theme.  Considering that the theme break (every 300 days) comes after my applying for Seneca & giving notice on the jobs, but before actually leaving the jobs, it's not a bad time to make a transition anyway.  Kinda funny how life can work that way.  But I'm due for a words-based theme & realizing that most of the words I appreciate do not come with 30-50 titles to choose from.  Most of my favorite authors (other than Bradbury), have not been prolific enough to give that kind of wealth of material.  I have a couple possible ideas, but I'm not certain enough to declare this era's theme yet.  So now we're down to 2 months on the page instead of almost 4... an improvement, at least.
-After all this meta-discussion about themes & such, I'm tentatively running with Franz Kafka's short stories as the new era.  I have some reservations about this theme, mostly that there are only about 60 of them to choose 30 titles from, & some of the titles would just never work.  I may only have about 40-45 viable titles to choose from, & this means that some of the later ones will possibly sound forced.  Perhaps more annoyingly, far too many of them start with the word THE.  However, I have read all of Kafka's fiction & he is one of my favorite authors by far, so on he goes.  This concludes the endless parade of meta-journaling for now.

26 August 2003
-I am starting, just a little, to understand why people have difficulty with food.
-Today I kept feeling like I had to be somewhere, but I knew in fact that I didn't.  It was vaguely reminiscent of the dream I had a couple nights back where I went back to a random high school, even though I'd graduated from Brandeis (I was conscious of most of the facts about my actual life in the dream, aiding its realistic effect).  I remember giving someone a justification that high school was one of the only phases of school I hadn't been to twice.  Then I woke up & slowly became very thankful because I'd spent most of the dream thinking about how much I hate school.  Talk about instant gratification.
-Em & I went bowling today for the first time in far too long.  Most of the bowling I've done lately has been on Creme Savers Lanes.  In real life, we realized that Albany Bowl has emulated the old tactics of the other bowling alley in 'Buquerque.  $4 pairs of shoes, people.  If only I had purchased bowling shoes in 1996... but I still think I want to buy bowling shoes now if I'm going to have to dole out $4 to rent them for an hour or so.  Anyway, I rolled a tolerable & a very bad game before salvaging my night with a 197 to complete a 438 series.  Perhaps more impressively, Em rolled a 272 series "claw-style".  After she'd recentered her game, she admitted that she felt like she was re-learning how to bowl.  We quickly discovered that she'd placed her three leftmost fingers in the bowling ball, rather than the traditional thumb, middle, & ring fingers.  Apparently her bout with candlepin bowling in Beantown last week, which uses a skeeball & ends up being more claw-style in effect, was responsible for the mix-up.  I doubt I'd be capable of such a good score claw-style, though I do recall Schneider rolling a mean fingerless game.  The moral of the story is that we need to bowl more.

25 August 2003
-Coffee really is essential.
-I now have a CDL (non-paper copy pending).  I missed only 3 questions of 28 (6 misses are allowed to pass).  It would seem, by those taking the test with me, that about 90% of drivers fail their first time around.  This seems problematic to me.
-Today was quite productive for a "day off"... in the wake of training, I finally did all the things that I needed to do during training.  I should have an actual work schedule soon.

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