Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Down The Rabbit Hole -- Rabbit Hole Day '08

(From Boing Boing.)

My rabbit hole was a cold Thursday in January. It began like any other with my arrival at the office. Despite the Styrofoam coffee cup in my hand, I was half-asleep, trudging through my morning ritual on autopilot. Even sitting at my desk, loading up my morning websites and checking e-mail accounts, my eyelids sunk lower and lower, hindering my meager efforts.

Sitting there, eyes closed and brain stalled, I heard the sound of slithering, a rough surface rubbing against carpet in a rhythmic pattern. At first I dismissed the noise as a byproduct of my latent consciousness, but the volume steadily increased. At some point the peculiarity of the swishing seeped into my head and my eyes flew open. It sounded as if something large in the hall was approaching the door to my office.

Silently turning my head towards the doorway, nothing appeared out of place. The sound continued to grow, approaching din-like proportions, until a man-sized figure came into view. The.. thing sported the head of a fish hunched over a man-shaped body covered in glistening, gray-blue scales, each about an inch wide. Its lower jaw protruded below a maw of black, a row of fangs readily apparent. Its "hands" and "feet" were webbed masses with little differentiation between fingers or toes. The creature dragged a tail behind it, leaving a dark, wet stain on the mottled carpet.

I froze, afraid to move lest I attract its attention or incite it to anger. As it slowly trudged past the doorway, I could hear melodic overtones like faint bells sounding at random, barely audible over the friction of its tail. The man-fish continued moving to my left out of sight, the slithering noise slowly diminishing until it became the merest hint of an echo.

Blinking my eyes, my mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water. Looking at the floor, I could barely discern a smear of damp, darkened carpet running past the doorway. My brain churned with the half-remembrance of my vision. Even as I struggled to preserve the clarity of the image, he slipped from my grasp. In the end, all that remained was a half-formed, hazy image of a hunched-over figure.

To this day, I am unsure what transpired that morning. Whenever I glance at the brown-gray carpet of the hall, I see a faint trail along its path. Sometimes I sit in my office staring out the doorway, listening in my mind to the rhythmic swish-swish and soft tubular bells. I hope to see him again someday. And I hope that when I do see him, when next he passes my threshold, I have the courage to say "Hello."

(Edit: Happy Birthday Lewis Carrol!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Immanentizing the Eschaton"

The phrase is from "Doktor Sleepless," one of Warren Ellis' current projects. Excellent book so far (I'm not finished with volume 1 yet). According to issue 4, "immantentizing the eschaton" means bringing on the end of everything, i.e., inciting the eschaton. Do not mess with Warren Ellis. He is King of the Internet.

A friend of mine commented on my lack of posting and, though I don't have quite enough time to give this post the attention it deserves, I thought it high time I put something up in place of that outdated Amsterdam one.

Work is... unsettling right now. A week ago Monday, they let someone go. Oh it was one of the "new" people (hired about six months ago) and it wasn't unexpected (one of our big clients drastically scaled back their work at the beginning of December), but it's a little off-putting. Yesterday, another of the new people resigned. The e-mail states that he wanted to go back to school, get a Ph.D., pursue a career in academia. Both of the aforementioned new people were unexperienced. Another of the new people, this one being experienced in the field, was told last week that he needs to "become profitable" within a month or he's gone. As for the rest of us here at work, the quantity of work is drying up a bit. None of us are overloaded, as we all were a year ago.

As for me, I don't think I'm in danger of losing my job. Do I want to lose my job? That's the real question. I know I want a new, different job, but I also want to weather the declining economy. I want to survive and, in this case, that means keeping my job until I get a new one.

Last night, I bought an iPhone. Yay. I am tempted to use it to begin Twittering. We shall see if that comes to pass.

While I was at the mall last night, it hit me – the downturn in the economy is making the world a scary place. Oh I've always been pretty insulated from the bad things(TM), but now the recession is making it real. The mall is already a pale shadow of its former self. More stores are closing all the time and the mall is becoming a hollow shell filled with empty stores and hanger-ons. It's starting to become real now and it's scary.

Home, car, family, dog, World of Warcraft, all going well. Catching the occasional movie. The DVR is a godsend. New furnace recently. A while ago, mom was in a minor car accident on her way to school. She's fine and her car is undergoing repairs.

As for me, well, I'm surviving. When I returned from my trip, things at work had changed. I was given a new system to implement and changed to an hourly rate. I swear the vacation did me well and I returned ready to work. I'm not working enough, not yet, but it's been better than it used to be and my bosses are okay with me. I'm getting things done and putting in time.

But I'm not happy. Though things have improved a bit, I'm still not happy with my career and I still view this as a temporary gig. Someday I will have to get a new job, move out of my mom's house, make my way in the world. In many ways, it feels like I've stalled for the past 3 years. I don't regret any of it, I almost never regret things, but I do need to change it at some point. Fear keeps me from diving over the edge, though, so no radical changes.

But it will change. It must.