December 19th, 2005


Bad news / Okay news

On the downside, we slightly mismeasured the Billies (the new bookcases) for the office -- we didn't have nearly as much leeway as we expected. On the upside, the result is that they fit *precisely* into the space, with nary a millimeter to spare: they don't quite look like built-ins, but they're close. I did have to tap them into place with a rubber mallet, though, so if we ever decide to remove them, that'll be an "entertaining" project.

Also on the downside, the house has sprung its first serious problem. The tub liner in the main bathroom appears to have been badly installed -- the caulking between the tub part and the wall part cracked open while we weren't looking, and so much water got down under the tub liner that it now *sloshes* when you step on it. So we're going to have to get someone in to either reinstall the liner, or rip it out and redo the tub correctly. I *suspect* that we'll find that the tub and tiles are hideous but intact: that they put in the liner to hide the original-equipment avacado green, rather than to hide real damage. But we'll find out soon.

On the upside, the house has 2.5 baths, and the downstairs shower turns out to be nicer than the upstairs tub anyway. So having to switch bathrooms for the time being isn't a tragedy...

Latest job posting

We're looking for a solid, junior-to-mid QA Engineer. That is, we're looking for a programmer who likes designing test suites and other such QA automation tasks, and can pull their weight on day-to-day QA jobs. The environment is C# focused, but this particular job is decoupled enough from the core code that I suspect there is a little more leeway in the requirements than usual -- I would guess that strength in QA engineering is more important than the specifics of the background. I don't think we're looking for someone hugely senior here; not having the details in hand, I would guess that the ideal candidate has a few years serious experience.

If you or someone you know seems to fall into this category, and is looking, drop me a note and I'll get my hands on the details of the posting...

RIP Carl Bornstein

Wor. Carl Bornstein passed away a few days ago. I don't often talk about Lodge deaths (which are sadly common, and mostly people I scarcely know), but Carl is worth a proper obit.

When I first met Carl, he was probably already 80 or so, and a bit past his prime; that only underscored how remarkable he was as a ritualist, though. He was a bit frail the entire time I knew him, his voice a little quavery, and he occasionally forgot a line here and there. But he still showed up for Lodge nearly every month, and was still one of the most dependable ritualists I've ever seen -- someone who you could come up to on a minute's notice and say, "Carl, the Senior Warden didn't show up tonight -- can you take his part?" And he could: whether it was just the routine ritual of a quiet night, or serious speechifying for degree work, he could take any part and perform it with aplomb. While I think I'm just a shade more expressive than he was, he was in most ways what I aspire to as a ritualist.

He was dedicated to Masonry in rather the way I am to the SCA: it was his family and his home, and he sometimes indulged it to excess. He told stories of the year he was in the OES grand suite, and was typically out 6 nights a week on Star and Masonic functions. Even in his latter days, he never let his slowing limbs slow down his activity too much, taking on any floorwork (if a bit stiffly sometimes). He was one of the two most inspiring lectors I've seen for charges to candidates (the other being Carl Atlas, who gave me my charge); with both of them gone, I suspect I should start finding some poems that I really like for the job. (Time to track down the Canadian Charge, I think.)

He was well-known and well-loved among the brethren, and the memorial service showed that. For many guys it's all you can do to muster a quorum of a few officers and a few people to walk in with them. Carl's funeral was Sunday afternoon, and was packed, with a full turnout from both of his lodges (Mt. Carmel and Hammatt Ocean). I'd guess that we had around 50 people on the suite, far more than normally show up for a Lodge meeting, and a remarkable number for someone who wasn't a past District Deputy.

He'll be missed. For all that we probably still have 150 members on the books, I'd guess that there are less than two dozen mainstays of Hammatt Ocean, and he was one of them. He was precious, both for his unassuming versatility, and his quiet confidence in the goodness of the work...
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Bloggame Suggestion

Whilst I attempt to calm down enough to keep the upcoming political rant well-focused, let's do something calmer. Here's a little intellectual exercise I sometimes indulge in, when I'm thinking about how things change, and how they don't.

Say that you have a time machine. But in order to prevent paradoxes, the only way you can interact with the past is by mentally communicating with people in their final moments, who can't pass on anything you tell them.

Pick a historical figure to talk to. What do you ask them, and what do you tell them? How do you expect them to react? Do you pick a great person and tell them what they accomplished? A villain to torment with their ultimate failure? Or just a normal person in the hurly-burly of normal life?

This line of thought brought to you by musings of how Henry VIII would have reacted, had he known that his child would solidify so much of what he set out to do -- but that it would be Anne Boleyn's daughter, not Jane Seymour's son, who did it. (I just finished a fascinating course on Henry's life and times. Now I really need to listen to the one that puts it in the context of what happened next...)