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Andrei in the office


Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness

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Andrei in the office

Busy, busy, busy...

Realizing that I haven't posted for a week or so, I figured I'd catch up...

Work and the order have kept me running very ragged of late. I like to joke that we have I have 4 checkpoint blocking bugs and checkpoint is 2 weeks ago. Which I guess is a good thing because 2 weeks ago I had 15.

Corporate calendars and reality.

Which gets me on to today's topic. Entertainment vs. reality.

I've discovered that I like my reality delivered in allegory and symbolism when presented by entertainment. I don't like it shown to me as reality. I don't need that. I get enough reality in the time that I am not in front of the big or little screen.

Reality is a sharp edged sword that is dulled by entertainment. Allegory is a concealed weapon that goes deep to the heart.

Walking into the office I noticed that our manager of marketing for consumer based products had put up several Dilbert cartoons.

I stopped reading Dilbert in 1998.

For someone in the IT industry and software engineering in particular. This must seem an odd statement. The explanation is simple...

After 17 years in the software engineering field... Dilbert isn't funny anymore. The occurrences are too accurate and true to life.

One of my two theater professors in college made a comment in class about the masks of tragedy and comedy.

Tragedy occurs when the central character can't simply step away from the fantastic situations that inevitably will doom their life. The situation becomes so impossible it's almost laughable.

Comedy is our gut reaction to the truest situations that leave our only defense as to find humour. When in truth the absolute highest from of comedy is often a topic we should cry at.

Dilbert isn't funny. When in my career I have watched employees (in past jobs)
  • steal ideas and present them at their own to obviate co-workers positions,
  • get laid off because their employment made it harder for a floundering management to show revenue liquidity,
  • misrepresent technology in the name of sales and appearance

It becomes harder to read these and laugh, "Ha... that's just like my life."

Maybe I've become an idealist. But personally, I'd like my entertainment to be fantasy based on allegory because I'd like to hope, that in the long run there is a chance that in 'the real world' it could never get that bad.

Dilbert reminds us that in the I.T. industry. It does get that bad.

Strange idealism coming from my little windowless office. Especially from one who considers his full-time conversion to cynic (give your self to the dark side) complete.

But the idealism stands. I live by the tenants of my religion and ethics that maybe.. just maybe... it's not a Dilbertain world. So I don't read it.

Side note: for similar reasons, I could never watch "Married With Children"

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(and again with the correct html tag...)

Reading this made me go look up a passage from Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land:

"I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts... because it's the only thin that'll make it stop hurting. ... The things that do happen on Mars which we laugh at here on Earth aren't funny because there is no wrongness about them. Death, for example."

"Death isn't funny."

"Then why are there so many jokes about death? Jill, with us - us humans - death is so sad that we must laugh at it. All those religions - they contradict each other on every other point but each one is filled with ways to help people be brave enough to laugh even though they knew they are dying."

Hmm. A treatise on humor seems to be bubbling up here - I'll put further thoughts on this in my journal.

The reason I stopped reading Dilbert is that it got too darn repetitive. Which in itself was far too forceful a reminder of what office life is really like. And yes, many of the supposedly humorous situations are far too accurate to be funny. I've already given up hope for most of humanity - I don't need constant reminders of why!

yeah, dilberts too real

"We need to schedule a meeting to update our process for making software processes" - actual quote from one of my former supervisors

Hi Greg. I thought I'd take a gander at your journal, since I noticed through mutual friends that you were active again.

I agree with you about Dilbert. Sometimes it isn't funny because it hits a bit too close to home. I've been involved in some form of IT since 1994, longer, if you count cconing as being in IT and the mirror of reality can be a frightening thing.

I had not realized you've been a software engineer for seventeen years, though. You were holding out on us all those years in Pittsburgh! If I had known you had been in the SE business since 1986, I probably could have hooked you up with some jobs when you were out of work here.

So how did a guy who went to college for theater break into the burgeoning software engineering field in 1986, anyway? Why didn't you stick with it for all those years? I know directing has always been your big dream, but I would have thought that programming would have helped you through the lean years....

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