Month: November 2009

All the places that I’ve been

There’s a thread going on at Polt’s Palace and now Sticky Crows so it’s probably time for me to do the same.

It’s all about careers. Mine has meandered at the beginning. I started out at age 15 working for a hardware store called NHD. Spent five years ended up managing a store or two and finally had enough. I have this innate ability to read the writing on the wall and I knew NHD wasn’t long for the world. They folded a couple years later. I did manage to learn a lot though, probably why I can easily do my own electrical and plumbing.

From there I moved on to CVS, as an assistant manager. In essence, a manager except with half the pay. Stood there for a few years until I got one manager who was for lack of a better word, a cunt. Again, I’d been there for about four years and she had me fired. Oh well… no big thing. They bounced me from stores in Providence, North Providence, and Bristol, RI and Bellingham, MA. So that was one part I hated, the other was the ungodly store delivery hours, 3:30AM to 4:30AM. That and having a work schedule that included night shifts, etc. It was kind of a relief to be fired from there.

My next job was at Brown University in their Alumni and Development Information Resources (ADIR) unit. Spent a couple years there managing an ancient Data General MV9600 microcomputer and about 100 Macintosh LC desktops. Did a major document conversion project in house that saved them about $70K too.

From there I moved to Ernst & Young, LLP as a member of their Technology Support Services (TSS) group. Kind of a boring job, and when a new area director came on board and started micro-managing I just said enough and quit that job.

The next part gets interesting. From Ernst & Young I jumped to a local awards manufacturer called Emblem & Badge. Spent almost five years at that job and overall I enjoyed it except for the idiocy of the company president. I could tell he was driving the company into the ground while not paying his employees very well so I started job hunting.

Now here’s the thing. We had been running a a Novell 3.20 server and it worked well for us and I knew how to manage it. It was getting old so we bought a new server and myself, the company controller and the president had numerous arguments about this.

The company president was a Novell head. Meanwhile I had been out in the field installing POS systems that included tons of Windows NT4 servers. The president wanted Novell 4. I told him and the company controller told him it would be a several month learning curve, that we’d be better served because the POS vendor was moving towards support of Windows servers only to no avail. We had heated arguments over this over a period of months.

That is when I decided to move on. I saw an ad for an I.T. Director position at the RI Department of Attorney General and sent my resume along. Imagine my surprise when I got the call. Went through three interviews for that job, one with the Administration and HR director, one with the IT staff at Dept. of Transportation, and then the final one with the AG himself and his division directors.

When I took the job I warned the HR Director that my former employer might try something. Sure enough, two months after I’m there I get a call from the chief of the Bureau of Criminal Identification/Investigation, and he asks me to come up to his office.

He asked me how the hell I spent nearly five years in a place with such negativity. I told him I thrived on confrontation. That made him chuckle. He told me there was no basis for the complaint and that it was a sealed matter.

However a couple years later it was time for an election and I had to interview with the transition team for the incoming AG. The interview was strange but I found out in a couple of weeks that I was being let go as of January 3rd that year.

Here’s how it goes. The former boss who complained, well his next door neighbor was the Speaker of the House at the time. So you can pretty much figure out how that went down.

My next stint was almost four years at the RI Secretary of State’s Office. Managed Windows and Linux servers, desktops, phones, printers, you name it. It was an enjoyable enough job and I even got a project management scheme pushed into the unit because we were getting hammered with requests and no way to prioritize.

I also figured out a vexing phone issue that both the State Telecom and Avaya couldn’t figure out. We had two phone systems, and on transition we had to move a bunch of people around. One curious problem popped up, the message waiting lights stopped working once you moved to the other location. Turns out the phone system itself doesn’t turn light on, or not how you’d think. It was the Audix voicemail system that set the light. And if it had the wrong system ID in the 3rd page of a mailbox setup, it’d never set the light on or off. So if you moved them you’d have to change them (The system ID’s were 221 and 222)

I made it nine months into the new administration. But again, I ran another woman with whom I didn’t get along. It think what really sealed it is that when we’d moved our offices I did all the due diligence to insure the move went smoothly from an IT perspective. Part of that process was getting references from other state agencies and one story came back about a rack full of servers that was dropped off the truck. Total data loss.

And who managed that project? The above mentioned woman. I probably undid myself but she was a clueless horse trade aka political favor from the outgoing Treasurer. I’ve come to the conclusion, the only way to survive in state government is to act dumb or be dumb. People with a brain either move on or piss someone off. I fall into the later category.

I recall one particularly galling incident. I was in the Corporations division fixing a printer and the Director of Admin comes out and starts yelling at me. Here’s the thing, when people yell at me I can turn on the cool as a cucumber act. I looked at her and told her that we’d shown her numerous times how to use the eTimeSheet application, and that what she wanted it to do was not what it was designed to do.

Little did she know that the application developer had written the changes but because she was such a nasty cur he just left it on the server and never told her that it was ready to roll. That woman pissed off literally every director level position and quite a few people in between.

It was so bad that one day I’m in the Chief of Staff’s office and he apologized to me for her behavior.

When she canned me she mentioned that I didn’t fit the structure. I told her that was interesting as the word structure implies direction which was sorely lacking under her leadership. It felt so good to say that.

She also said I’d be better off in the corporate world. Indeed, for four months I did a contract job that netted me more than I’d made in almost two years at the SoS. Every day on that train to Boston, as we’d pass the facility I worked in for the SoS I’d throw the finger and mouth “Fuck you Catherine!”

BTW, when I got canned I made a prediction. I told the Archives Director that within two months they’d suffer a major web crash. Sure enough, it happened. They claimed a virus but I know better. You see, the web server had a database replica that had some bad SQL (Standard Query Language). Some badly formed SQL over time will corrupt database indexes. The fix was that when it happened, you just stopped the database engine, did a table repair, restart the database and all was good again for a couple of months.

Even went so far as to document this process and email it to the relevant people. But it fell on deaf ears. Ok, I did my part. That’s how I know they lied through their teeth. Of course by that time they’d either canned or lost everyone who had any clue about the MySQL databases.

So that consulting gig I talked about, database development. It was supposed to be a six month contract but again I finished up kind of early and it was only four months. Not to mention there was one bitch in the process who couldn’t wrap her head around a file change so we had to cater to her the whole time.

Now I do my own thing. Much better, now if only I could get one client to pay.

So here’s the breakdown:

1) NHD
2) CVS
3) Brown University
4) Ernst & Young, LLP
5) Emblem & Badge
6) Rhode Island Department of Attorney General
7) Rhode Island Secretary of State
8) A large consulting group – that was the well paid 4 month gig.
9) On my own

Pushing equality forward in RI

As you probably know, I’m a member of both Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI) and the Providence Equality Action Committee(PEAC).

At the PEAC meeting this past Tuesday evening we had two people show up who wanted to have a mock funeral for the vetoed dp funeral bill here in RI. So this evening, Thursday November 19, 2009 at 7:30PM we’ll hopefully all be in black, carrying a casket with the bill inside. When I think about this, it really evokes strong Christian themes of death and resurrection doesn’t it. We rally at the south end of the RI State House, otherwise known as the side that faces the Providence Place Mall.

Another thing brought up at the meeting was the growing discontent with our elected representatives, not only over the issue of marriage equality but on economic and other issues.

I stressed that MERI and their staff and volunteers have made great strides in getting us almost to the point where we have the necessary margins to override a veto in the House, next we have to work on the Senate.

Part of what was brought up at the PEAC meeting was that this is an election year. I then explained that the voting public for the most part has the memory of a gnat when it comes to their elected representatives and what they voted on what.

I also brought up the point that on average, we have at least 200 people per DISTRICT in RI. That’s a hell of a political motivator. My house district has 7,322 people in it and has 227 MERI supporters. My senate district has 13,580 people, and 329 MERI supporters. Say each supporter has access to 10 other people in the district and now you’ve amplified the effect to 2,270 and 3,290 respectively. This is especially true if you can drive voter turnout.

We also need to send the message to our elected representatives and senators that their vote to support marriage equality won’t cost them their seat in the legislature. In each state where a legislature has moved to secure our natural rights, there has been no electoral backlash.

I also need to get in touch with the Executive Director at MERI. For awhile now MERI volunteers have been collecting peoples information and signatures on post cards that we’re going to deliver to the representatives and senators. Wouldn’t it be spectacular if we could deliver them when the legislature goes back into session sometime around January 10, 2010. Make it ceremonious, make it grand, but most of all make it memorable to each and every legislator who gets those cards.

As to whether the state effort is worth it, I say yes. Look at every other civil rights battle. It’s never gone right to the federal level and when it has it has been through the offices of the judiciary, not the U.S. Congress. Congress only acts when the courts tell them to act when it comes to civil rights. Look at Title IX, the Civil Rights Act, Womens Suffrage, etc.

Brian Brown of NOM – What a prick!

So I watched Brian Brown of NOM’s testimony before the DC council. I have to say this, yes you are a bigot Mr. Brown. No doubt about it.

Particularly galling was at the end where you called on the council member as a religious bigot. You sir are just a civil rights bigot. Your very stance on marriage equality violates my constitutional rights. And you’ve shown your hand, your entire argument has a religious basis.

Religion had its chance to do things right. Instead over two millenia it’s managed to screw up human societies left and right. Let secular society reign without the interference of religious bigots like yourself Mr. Brown.

Meet the Ex-Jihadis

I’ve long been the opinion that Wahbist Islam is the most dangerous form out there. And curious how it started up about a hundred years ago, just when the British were realizing how much oil was under Saudi Arabia.

I always say that if you wanted to solved the problems of the world, achieve energy self sufficiency for all nations. When we don’t have to buy their oil, the funds for spreading this virulent version of Islam get cut off. After a few years the money trails completely dries up and too bad for Wahabi Islam.

As to the Sunni and the Shi’a…. they’re pretty much concerned with killing one another.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Bigots on the prowl in ProJo article on Domestic Partnerships in RI

I note that the Providence Journal (ProJo) has been blowing up with the gay rights issues here in Rhode Island for the past couple of weeks.

The lastest is this:

PROVIDENCE –– Governor Carcieri surprised political rivals this week when he told gay-rights activists he would consider comprehensive reforms giving many, if not all, of the rights of marriage to same-sex couples.

But the unexpected announcement from the Republican governor has found little support among Rhode Island’s gay community, reinforcing a division among gay-marriage supporters that could kill Carcieri’s idea before it’s even put to paper.

You can click the above block quote to go to the original article. Be forewarned, ProJo requires registration in order to view some content.

But what I’m really here to comment on is some of the more bigoted response comments in the ProJo survey which asks if DP would be acceptable. You can take the survey here.

You can see all the responses if you take the survey. But I’ll just copy/paste a couple of the more egregious ones:

No, the Governor should NOT consider domestic partnership agreements. The homosexual agenda is not only only marriage, is about FORCED ACCEPTANCE of their deviant lifestyle, UNDER PENALTY OF LAW. To legalize “domestic partnerships” is to legitimize the homosexual lifestyle. Anyone who dares object will be punished. Our freedom of religion will be GONE. Don’t believe me? Look at the many examples of what’s already happening in other states! A Catholic adoption agency CLOSED in Boston because they were being forced under interpretation of Massachusetts law to be required to have same sex couples adopt children out of their Catholic agency, which is completely against the Catholic religion. If we had a “domestic partnership” law in Rhode Island, that law would be used to do the same and similar things!

I went with this one first to demonstrate something. All caps are used to stress a point, or to shout when it comes to text on the net. The above demonstrates proper usage of all caps btw.

Now to take issue, well I’ll do that in video form but first I have to post the other all caps message.

MY FEELINGS ON “GAY” MARRIAGE ASIDE, I THINK THAT ALL THE LEGAL AND FINACIAL TROUBLES THAT THIS MOVE WILL BRING UP WILL MAKE IT FAR TOO EXPENSIVE FOR REST OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PAYING TAXES. IT WILL CLOG UP THE COURTS. COST INSURANCE COMPANIES MORE (GUESS WHO WINDS UP PAYING THAT BILL ULTIMATELY?). YOU KNOW WHAT? JUST GO TO YOUR ROOMS AND DO WHAT YOU LIKE. I DON’T ADVERTISE MY PREFERENCES. IT’S NOBODY’S BUSINESS. AND I CERTAINLY WOULDN’T EXPECT MY NIEGHBORS TO FOOT THE BILL.

Three things on the above. To begin TURN OFF THE CAPS LOCK! Next, spell check is there for a reason. Use it. As to your FEELINGS, civil rights should never be decided on feelings. You need a cold logic when it comes to civil rights something the above commentator fails to grasp.

And now my response to both. Sorry for the annoying UV streak. I’m experimenting with lighting.

Carcieri indicates possible support for domestic partnership law | turnto10.com

Carcieri indicates possible support for domestic partnership law | turnto10.com.

Go watch the video.

We see Brian Crandall saying the governor would support domestic partnerships, almost the same as marriage but not quite marriage. Even Carcieri is caught saying the phrase “…Short of what we call marriage”. In other words Carcieri (And the house leadership!) are still stuck on semantic issues surrounding the word ‘marriage’

I find it interesting that the opposition has gotten Meriam-Webster to change the dictionary definition of marriage but it does now contain this bit of verbiage:

1 a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage

Prior to this change I recall it used gender neutral pronouns. Now of course it splits it out. But the matter still remains that as part of the first definition of marriage, it includes same sex marriage. I’m sure this definition will cause great distress to the likes of Maggie “The Loathsome” Gallagher.

Then camera then turns to Susan Heroux of Queer Action of Rhode Island who says “Every bit of process is great. Just the fact that we’re able to talk to him directly. We’re able to show him how his actions and words affect our lives. A great step forward. The fact that he’s willing to talk to us is a great step forward. I think that we are interested in getting all of the rights, no just some of them.”

I’m happy she threw in that last part because when I first saw the video my thinking was that this meeting would actually hurt the marriage equality movement in Rhode Island.

I still have that feeling because now this puts the legislators on notice that they might be able to get a DP bill through the opposition of the governor and the leadership.

So I’ll continue to fight for full marriage equality, with or without the support of the Governor or even the leadership of the legislature. There is some confusion over the ratio necessary for a veto proof majority. I say 2/3’s as most of the RI Constitution likes the 2/3’s rule, others say 3/5’s. In percentages it comes out to 67% and 60% respectively. Either way it would mean we need anywhere from 45(3/5’s) to 50 (2/3’s) of the 75 members of the house (And we’re very close!), and 23 to 25 of the 38 in the senate. In essence we need anywhere from 68 to 75 people in the house and senate to push a marriage equality bill forward. Completely doable. At last count we’re just about at the higher end ratio in the house. Senate is next.