Friday, August 29, 2014

Grieving is weird shit

Mum's been dead a while now.

Approaching two months, I think. I cling to a few things - her speed dial is still on my main screen on the phone. And I'm still using her shopping bags.

For a while there, Mum was getting Coles home deliveries and for some reason they would send them to here in super super biodegradable bags. (I get why, I just don't care).

Oh alright. If it's a home delivery service then there's no real possibility of reuse of the bags, so for Coles to "stay cool" they needed to send out their home deliveries in single shot bags made, basically, of cornstarch.

So I have a pile of Mum's old bags and have been using them. They're falling apart as I do but wth. I was horrified to see that Sylv (sensibly) used one as a hanging garbage bag last week. I kept it to myself but how frail am I?

So I'll use these bags until they fall apart and I have to schlep groceries one by one to the car after a (predictable) catastrophic failure.

Grieving is weird shit.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Deserve got nothing to do with it"

I was recently scourged in a shouting match with someone close to me "all of the good things you've got; x,y,z etc - you don't deserve any one of them".

In context, it's probably the most hurtful thing I've had said to me in a long time but sometime you just have to roll with the punches.

That was a week or so ago, but I have mulled over on it and continue to get stuck on the scene in "The Wire". Gang people are killing others in cold blooded harshness and the character driving - Snoop - was taking Michael to a setup. Michael tested her out, talking about someone else who got capped and she retorted "it was his time, deserve got nothing to do with it."

Isn't that the truth? If deserve had anything to do with life, things'd be very different for many people. It's a roll of the dice - you're equally as likely to get what you deserve as to get what you do.

So, secure in my knowledge of the random allocation of life's favours and pains I can agree. I don't deserve the good things that I have. And the good news - I don't deserve the bad.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Data, as important as keys to your car or your house.

When did this happen?  That an 8GB USB stick is as important as a car key, key to your house or to your dead mum's?
I expect data became important long ago, just that I'm only noticing it now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A subcontractor has no boss. But neither of us are "King of the Road"

"I'm a man of means by no means king of the road"

The lyrics tell of the day-to-day life of a vagabond hobo who despite being poor (a "man of means by no means") revels in his freedom, describing himself humorously as the "king of the road".

Early in my life my dad became self employed. As a ten year old I didn't get it - "you have no boss - the who pays you?". I never really got a satisfactory answer there. But I get it now.

A subcontractor has no boss, and dozens of bosses

You get offers to work and you can accept them or reject them. So who are the dozens of bosses? Those legions of bosses are not the administrators who prepare the contracts for you.

The subcontractor's real boss is the end user customer. Everyone else is just a facilitator.

So when my dad would install a gas heater in an existing home, he'd get a yellow slip from the (then) Gas Company. And there were a few production planners/inspectors that my dad would be forced to deal with - employees of the gas company. They'd allocate the jobs and confirm whether or not he'd done it properly. He generally held a light contempt for most of them and now that I know the animal I can understand why.

But it was the "mum and the dad in their house" who was Dad's boss. And to his credit his customer skills were good - a few hours per customer was worth the effort, I expect.

But you, administrator, are not my boss..

As a ten year old I'd heard the song "king of the road" and wondered "how do you become 'king of the road' when you're driving around town? It's not really a race. Everyone's going to different places and if you're stopped at the next set of traffic lights you're not really coming first, you're just the guy who didn't get through on the last run of lights.

And in a subcontracting game, just because you're the one who gets to say "can you do this job?" you are not in charge of me, just a part of the machine that spits out yellow job tickets. That said - in my case I have many people I would call good friends working inside the machines. It's funny how life throws us together.

It's a small power, but I do get to say "no" if I want to. But I rarely say no. And I quite often bite my tongue, instead of biting the hand that feeds. It all becomes a part of the business process.

I might live from one paycheck to the next but there's something nice about not completely being part of someone else's machine. I haven't yet had to collect shopping trolleys to keep the bills paid, but I will if I have to.

One of the good ones..

I like the perspective of one of those who gives me work - a chief instructor who just agreed to let me take a rating that will earn me a little more money when I go to his place. "We're all just scratching around, trying to make a buck"

The fact is - whether you think you're a boss or not, we're all in the same game. Scratching around trying to make a buck.

Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah, but two hours of pushin' broom buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I'm a man of means by no means, king of the road

Third boxcar, midnight train, destination, Bangor, Maine
Old worn out suit and shoes, I don't pay no union dues
I smoke old stogies I have found, short, but not too big around
I'm a man of means by no means, king of the road

I know every engineer on every train
All their children and all of their names
And every handout in every town
Every lock that ain't locked when no one's around

I sing, "Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah, but, two hours of pushin' broom buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I'm a man of means by no means, king of the road"

"Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah, but, two hours of pushin' broom buys an eight by twelve four-bit room"


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Forget right and wrong - ethics can be a purely economic decision

Don't get me wrong, I believe in doing right. I forever seem to be doing myself out of money because to make the money (in certain instances) just doesn't feel right.

There are many filters you can run to test whether an action is ethical - utilitarian, disclosure, if everyone did it etc. But sometimes it can simply be an economic decision.

A place I work seems to have dozens of 1 litre cartons of milk at any one time. They seem to always look like they're ready to go out of code. Nobody would notice if I took one, or two.

But what the fuck? Even beyond the fact that it would simply be stealing, I'd have to be the biggest dick in the world if I was to endanger an ongoing relationship (worth many tens of thousands of dollars a year) for a few dollars of "free" milk.

Barry O'Farrell was probably set up. But when he received that mysterious $1000 bottle of wine from a building contractor he could have said "fuck that, perhaps the intentions are good but I can't let this happen". He was probably too busy to cover all that minutiae in his early days in office, but it ended up being a fatal error.

Even beyond right and wrong, ethics can be a sensible economic decision in the long run. But right and wrong matter, even if doing right comes at a price.

I was taught a few years ago (by practical demonstration) that a person's reputation is the only asset that matters.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad