did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Job Update

1

Congratulations!

Also re corporeal interaction - you have a family. You might feel differently if you lived alone.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
2

Yes. Families provide a great reason to go to the office.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
3

Congrats! I'd get cabin fever if I spent all my time at home, even if I was comfortable with the lack of interaction variety.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
4

Fully-remote full-stack consultancy is precisely what I do these days. As lifestyles go, it ain't bad.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
5

I don't even know what that is. Sounds like porn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
6

I work from home one day a week, from the office the other four. On my WFH day I muddle through, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't stay employed working that way full-time. I get distracted too easily by obviously unprofessional stuff without the peer pressure of co-workers around. Hell, right now I'm taking a break from reading A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic to comment on Unfogged, but at least it's not comic books or computer games while I'm supposed to be working.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
7

I work three days a week for minimum wage at a yarn shop to force myself to talk to people, but I'm not sure any of that is a good thing, just a justification for childcare.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
8

I am fully remote as of this spring and since I also have severe ADD problems it's been kind of a disaster. Also the lack of exercise is dire. Transit commutes really do get you moving.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
9

There's nothing like chronic pain after drinking to make me really see to my exercise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
10

I take long walks or go stand-up paddleboarding in the middle of the day and I end up getting way more exercise than I did when I worked in an office.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
11

To clarify, I don't think lack of exercise is likely to be a problem for many people, but it is for me, because I am weird and bad.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
12

Don't get me wrong, I'm still too fat.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
13

Ogged, I'm sorry we never got together for lunch after I had to cancel!

I did full-time remote when we first moved to Chicago and learned the hard way I need corporeal interaction to do anything other than read internet.


Posted by: Lambent Cactus | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
14

I tried to find out what "full stack" means. Am I understanding right that it's like you have a whole deck of cards? Or from soup to nuts? Alpha to omega? Omniscient?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
15

Transit communing is the best for playing Pokemon Go and Wizards Unite.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
16

Congrats, ogged!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:52 AM
horizontal rule
17

15: Does the whole group ride on the bus together?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
18

No. It's mostly normies on the bus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
19

Basically, full stack what they used to call "web development" before that got split into two roles, between the people who could handle making a decent user interface (front-end developers) and the people who could handle storing and processing data (back-end developers).


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
20

I did full-time remote for a bit over six years. I did several phases:
- working out of my bedroom or living room (living with housemates made this complicated)
- renting a cubicle and commuting to my telecommuting
- having a home office

It worked tolerably well because the majority of my company was working this way, so we prioritized online chat and regular phone conferences. I think trying to do it as a one-off is much harder, because you have to actively dig information out of people that they otherwise are disseminating casually in the workplace.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
21

Isn't ogged mostly just a kept man anyway?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
22

8: Agreed. I eat like a pig. If I didn't bike to work I'd be in really horrible shape. (Or would have to start eating better. Also scary.) The rare times I take the bus are a chance to do some long-overdue reading.

6 was self-deprecating and mostly true, but I've been working harder than usual for the past few weeks, actually, if I can brag a bit. Most of the time, my job as a technical writer seems almost pointless. Documents usually already exist, I'm just improving them, just in case the usual user of them is unavailable or we get audited. But several months ago I was asked to create a more user-friendly way to store and view our documents, about three weeks ago we basically finalized the design, and two days ago we finished backfilling it. This actually should make it easier for people to find things, coordinate, and do their jobs. We're just talking about helping people in this office, a few dozen or hundred at the most, but still.

I put a fair amount of thought and work into something and it will probably make a difference. It's an unfamiliar feeling.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
23

My job update is that nothing significant has changed since 2006, except various people have decided it's time for me to pay my dues in different leadership positions, so that's annoying.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
24

Thanks, congratulators!

Isn't ogged mostly just a kept man anyway?

How dare you, sir? How very dare you?

But I guess we should define "mostly".


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
25

Ogged do you still hoop?


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
26

I withdraw the 'just'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
27

Ogged do you still hoop?

Nyet. I shoot baskets, but if I tried to hoop, you'd hear my tendons snap from wherever you are right now. Swimming was my replacement for basketball, and I haven't had time to do that in the last few years, either. One of the reasons I wanted to work from home was to carve out time for exercise of some sort, and swimming if I'm very lucky. (My commute is about 75 minutes door-to-door, so while I'm giving up about three miles of walking per day, I'm getting a lot of time back.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:35 PM
horizontal rule
28

I put a fair amount of thought and work into something and it will probably make a difference. It's an unfamiliar feeling.

Wow! I'm trying to think back through my 35 years or so as a paid worker, and...nope, I don't think I've ever had that feeling.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
29

I guess you could hoop vicariously through your kids.

Interesting that swimming could be a bball replacement for you. When I run out of knee cartilage I'll switch to tennis and then golf and chess but it'll need to have some sort of direct winning/losing component to scratch the bball itch.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
30

Let me be the first to suggest going to the pool and yelling at women to swim slower than you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
31

Ironically, when I felt my work was most likely to make a difference, it was about knee cartilage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
32

29.2: Swimming doesn't have a winning/losing component for you? Even if you aren't racing someone, or trying to beat your best time, there's still winning = making it to the end of the pool versus losing = drowning.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
33

Nah, need to hear the wails and teeth-gnashes of my [temporary] enemies.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
34

Basically, full stack what they used to call "web development" before that got split into two roles

So they split one thing into two things, then they felt that was too constricting and they made a new term to refer to the two things all together?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 1:04 PM
horizontal rule
35

Right. Also they needed to grandfather in those of us who already had both sets of skills.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
36

28: Heh, I might be overselling it a bit, and/or being overly optimistic. I should know better. In the end, this project is just setting up a set of pages on a wiki. But I really did have two different exchanges with people in the past month where they asked where to find something and there was no easy way for them to find it on their own at the time. Once this thing is live it'll be easy to find those and other things they don't even know they could use. It'll also change my job a bit. Hopefully make it better, although I can't be sure about that overall, but definitely quite a bit different.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 1:14 PM
horizontal rule
37

I love the other job where I work (sort of) for a fellow commenter and I do feel that I'm improving my own skills and making some small things better, which I guess is how editing is supposed to work. Being at home is wonderful. It doesn't do anything good for my health, but I can work from bed or from a hospital waiting room or my girlfriend's couch and it's all about the same. It's the best.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
38

33: my [temporary] enemies.

To paraphrase Family Guy: Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
39

i'm still trying to find a dog with any number of heads who won't eat the cat and will be my briskly-walking/jogging buddy. The cat thing seems to filter 85% of them out. I'm not going for a run with a shih tzu.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
40

Also, good for you, Cyrus! Is it Confluence? If so, I hope you don't mind having the docs in Confluence form forever, because conversions are not so fun.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
41

Working at home has been a big adjustment, but concern is an excellent internal motivator.

My boss isn't the best at keeping the remote half of his staff in the loop, and I get annoyed before each holiday when they let the office staff off early, but don't let the rest of us even know that they'll be unavailable for the rest of the day.

This last year I've been introduced into more leadership roles, mostly training, which is a bit weird since most of my trainees are in the office, and I'm remote. But I'm only an email away, and it's probably less embarrassing to reach out to me with a quick email than expose their inadequacies to every onlooker.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
42

Leadership roles kind of suck. Responsibility without authority.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
43

40: Heh. Confluence is involved, yes, and difficulties converting documents from Confluence pages to Word or other formats is part of that upcoming change I'm not sure about. I definitely have a lot of practice converting Word documents to Confluence pages at this point, though.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
44

I think mixed onsite and offsite teams are a bad idea. It's just too hard to keep the offsite people from feeling second class.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
45

After thirty years of commuting by car and train into the big city, I've been a stay at home lawyer for a few months now. Not my first choice lifestyle, but when you're laid off past a certain age, you take what's out there. The one guy in America who needed my very specific skill set happens to run a law firm a tousand miles away, so we worked it out. If all goes well we may move there, but not fro two years so my son can finish high school here.

So every day has an hour and a half more time for things other than commuting. A plus for me, if not for those who read my blog comments. I don't miss having more people around. There are still lots of conference calls and a few video meetings.

Greatest annoyance of being the only one of about 20 employees who isn't on site: the everyone@ emails, like "stop by for tomatoes I picked this morning!" or "surprise birthday cake for Janice in the break room," that make me hungry.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
46

Amazon will send Zingers to your house. Probably, I haven't tried.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
47

I'd check, but then Amazon would try to sell me snacks for the next six years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
48

I am a huge skeptic (in my own profession) regarding remote-work arrangements. My boss's boss is very lenient with that stuff, and the part of the business that he cares about is suffering as a result. (He doesn't actually care about my end of the business.)

Mooseking:

My boss isn't the best at keeping the remote half of his staff in the loop

It's hard! Anything that requires more effort creates disincentives. Ogged understands:

It's just too hard to keep the offsite people from feeling second class.

Well yeah, but the answer isn't to demote everybody to second-class.

My organization is international. This morning I was on a conference call with people in Brussels, London and Hong Kong. (I'm in Washington.) It sucks! Even with modern communications, it's a real handicap. The Managing Director travels a fair amount - and he insists that I travel more than I'd like to - because he correctly understands the importance of at least occasional face-to-face contact. (Although, as I said, he's willing to let inappropriate numbers of people work remotely day-to-day.)

There is a woman who reports to me whose husband got transferred to another continent. I had two choices: to part ways with her, or to let her work (as a supervisor!) remotely. I picked the latter, convinced that she was a really unusual talent. It turns out, nonetheless, that I underestimated her. She is as good a supervisor working remotely as I am in person. But that's kind of the point: I am only as effective as I am because I am there in person. I couldn't do what she does.

Mooseking inadvertently explains a key advantage of having an office full of people:

But I'm only an email away, and it's probably less embarrassing to reach out to me with a quick email than expose their inadequacies to every onlooker.

Too bad! The onlookers benefit from seeing people's inadequacies. I spend a big part of my day explaining to people how the job is done, and I do much less of that because when I'm explaining something to one person, everybody else can hear it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
49

45 Good thing it's working out. Ten years on, I'm still not missing big city lawyer life. It's been a fair mix of local and far away stuff -- including, right now, a piece of a case in the DNJ. I rent an office downtown: it's an 8 minute commute, and a bit of an expense, but I think both I and the clients get something out of my not being actually at home. (I have any empty office in my suite I'm trying to rent out right now, if you want to consider being even further away).

Anyway, your skills translate to a whole lot of different kinds of cases. Pop in to your local courthouse, and I guarantee you that 19 of the first 20 lawyers you see in any courtroom are worse at whatever they are doing than you would be.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-14-19 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
50

Congrats Ogged!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 12:20 AM
horizontal rule
51

a piece of a case in the DNJ

Which I automatically read as the De-Nilitarized Jone.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 1:06 AM
horizontal rule
52

The onlookers benefit from seeing people's inadequacies.

Maybe business casual has gotten too casual?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 3:53 AM
horizontal rule
53

I have continued to actively avoid management and (most) leadership positions by posing as a wise old man. When I WFH, which I sometimes do, I always get frustrated by the inadequate size of my laptop screen but am too lazy to connect my large screen to it. 21st century angst!


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 5:15 AM
horizontal rule
54

I got my first work laptop a year ago. Before that, I didn't have a way to work from home except on my personal desktop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 5:24 AM
horizontal rule
55

I think it's easier to get stuff done when people are in the office, but don't go too far. Anyone who never works from home and never takes vacation is probably embezzling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 5:51 AM
horizontal rule
56

the answer isn't to demote everybody to second-class

There are trade-offs, and it might not work for all jobs. For software development, I think the trade-offs break pretty far in favor of remote work, but ask me in six months.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
57

When we moved into our new house a few weeks ago, I bought a new external monitor and a docking station for my laptop, in the hopes that I'll be more productive on the days I don't want to go onto campus. We shall see if it works once I'm done unpacking.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
58

It's so nice. I think it will.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
59

This week I'm in the horrible limbo of important-but-not-urgent, and I've been procrastinating like it's going out of style. I'm dreading the semester, but I'm already no longer in summer headspace, so it might as well arrive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
60

It'll never go out of style.

Like mustaches or blue jeans.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
61

The hubris of the riveted legwear culture.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
62

48: It's one of those things that definitely varies by profession. It probably helps that we bill hourly, so there's only so much time that I could waste before it got pushback from our clients.

They've now had me come into the office and train people for a week twice; they'd like for it to happen every 6 to 8 weeks. After a few years of grinding projects out undisturbed, it's annoying, but I'm game for a while. (We did pick up 4 staff in the last 6 months or so, which is rapid for us -- and they proved to be a bit less ready to work independently immediately for varying reasons, mostly about translating international building experience into a CA & US construction context.)

Part of my reluctance is star treatment when visiting the office, which feels terrible to complain about, but my productivity in the office is so much less due to the constant disturbance. It's pleasant to chat, but restarting your review after every 5 or 10 minute "quick question" or "how about X" gets tedious.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
63

Pop in to your local courthouse, and I guarantee you that 19 of the first 20 lawyers you see in any courtroom are worse at whatever they are doing than you would be.

I finally got around to watching My Cousin Vinnie. Delightful, but man, that scene entirely about prison rape.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
64

Wait, Ogged is a _full stack_ developer??


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
65

Wait, arthegall still lurks??


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 5:41 PM
horizontal rule
66

Occasionally? I'm tangentially around even tho I deleted social media years ago. Unfogged is the only social media that ever mattered


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
67

When it matters, you post a comment every decade at least.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 5:56 PM
horizontal rule
68

I guess what I'm wondering is, how can I hire Ogged


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
69

The eternal dream


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
70

The eternal dream

*sniff*


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 6:02 PM
horizontal rule
71

neb!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 6:10 PM
horizontal rule
72

We haven't been willing to hire people remote, but I couldn't tell you exactly why. Also, in theory that's my decision to make. So things are moving along swimmingly over here.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
73

Like mustaches or blue jeans.

Charley's a full-stache developer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 7:18 PM
horizontal rule
74

We haven't been willing to hire people remote, but I couldn't tell you exactly why

Seems to me, if you're solving problems, you want people in the room together. If you're implementing solutions, let them stay home.

As for full-stack, I guess it depends on what you mean. If I touch css, .NET, and AWS in the same day, I think it counts. But to be honest, I'm not a particularly good developer. That might be because I don't sleep and my brain doesn't work (things I've utterly forgotten recently: my social security number, my wife's birthday, that my wife and kids were going out of town). I'm hoping the new job is more conducive to self-care, so I can find out whether my mental shortcomings are domain specific.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 10:25 PM
horizontal rule
75

And hello, Art. Been a while.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
76

On the subject of brains not working, I have noticed that I find it harder to concentrate these days, which is fine, and might just be an effect of modern life: Ume and I just spent a fortnight completely unplugged walking in the Swedish arctic beyond the reach of any mobile signal, and at the end of it I was able to think with so much greater clarity and depth (or so it seemed at least to me). But I also find it much more difficult to unconcentrate as it were: once my brain has settled on a problem, even if only for ten minutes, it requires a huge effort to jerk it into thinking about something else. This is a nuisance in offices, where you are expected to be constantly distractible; combined with the way in which even apparent concentration does not actually lead to any depth of thought.

Auden, of course, must have visited newspaper offices:

Those public men who seem so to enjoy their dominion,
With their ruined faces and their voices treble with hate,
Are no less martyrs because unaware of their fetters:
What would you be like, were you never allowed to create
Or reflect, but compelled to give an immediate opinion,
Condemned to destroy or distribute the works of your betters?


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 10:49 PM
horizontal rule
77

DNJ

Distributor of Notional Justice


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 11:07 PM
horizontal rule
78

"I've been procrastinating like it's going out of style"

Quick! You have to procrastinate now or it will be too late!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 11:12 PM
horizontal rule
79

I missed the whole thread but I am definitely one of those people who without ever having had to handle the isolation or blah blah whatever of working from home thinks not going to an office would be like being fed chocolate-covered Valium by a unicorn in Elysium.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-15-19 11:21 PM
horizontal rule
80

Get back in the pool, ogged. You know it will improve your life. I love being in the pool. But if I am out of the pool for any length of time, it is incredible hard for me to get back in. I started swimming again a few weeks ago and it is embarrassing how much the joy speeding past old people in the pool brings me.

Re: remote lawyer work. The vast majority of my work can be done remotely. I have to some face time with clients. But not much. If it weren't for kids, I would consider working from some far away place like where Carp is or Narnia. I could easily live two weeks a month somewhere else.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 4:49 AM
horizontal rule
81

May I be the first to congratulate you!


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 7:00 AM
horizontal rule
82

Many people at my new workplace work from home on Fridays. It was 83 in my apartment at 6 this morning and I'm on my way to work.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 7:20 AM
horizontal rule
83

This is a nuisance in offices, where you are expected to be constantly distractible; combined with the way in which even apparent concentration does not actually lead to any depth of thought.

Absolutely true. There are about 4 parts to my job. One involves writing beyond the email level (writing, comprehending and editing SOPs) and there are zero hours in the average month when I can do this.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
84

Seems to me, if you're solving problems, you want people in the room together.

That's a nice way to put it. We're also really annoying (another thing that is nominally in my control but... it's complicated)


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
85

83: Zero hours in the average month seems incredibly bad. I'd either look into ways to drastically change my work environment or look for a new job. On the other hand, if this is only one part of your job out of four, who knows.

In fact, come to think of it, are you one of my managers? It feels like huge amount of my job is just reminding people to approve documents or answer to my previous questions, recording when and how I reminded them, and pushing back due dates and figuring out if maybe I can make an educated guess at one of the questions. It doesn't seem to matter too much whether I remind people in person or by email. I shouldn't worry about it too much, nobody's blaming me for deadlines slipping, but it's annoying to have tasks 90 percent done and stuck there for weeks or months.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
86

Congrats! Shiv has been working remotely for three years and it's been awesome. No commute = more time with the family.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
87

If you work travel for work enough, you can have two families.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
88

87: The Captain's Paradise.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
89

And claim to be of two races.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 5:45 PM
horizontal rule
90

Is there a way to buy edibles in the Denver Airport. Within five minutes from the middle of the C concourse?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 6:07 PM
horizontal rule
91

Within three minutes?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 6:10 PM
horizontal rule
92

Surely.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
93

Forget I asked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 6:17 PM
horizontal rule
94

I know I will.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 6:41 PM
horizontal rule
95

Maybe this is the thread to share the weird but amusing (-to-me) story of my ridiculous ex veining a giant goodie bag of CBD stuff into the mental hospital where we were having an exit meeting for our child who'd spent a week inpatient to give to me because when she thinks of people with chronic pain and stress I'm top of the list and she thought it might help me. Which is unusually kind, I suppose, but I've been banking on being the one who can always test clean since our judge is the sort who cares about that kind of thing, so I haven't experimented with whether it can heal bruises and mosquito bites and ennui.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
96

I thought the good stuff was the THC?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
97

I thought 737-800s were grounded but I guess not all of them?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
98

The new rental car terminal in Omaha is very spacious.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
99

737-800 is different from 737 Max 8.
The first generation were the Classics - 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 from the 60s and 70s. Then they gave it a new wing and glass cockpit and rolled out the New Generation 737s which were the 600 700 800 900 in the 1990s.
The next generation after that is the 737 Max, rolled out a few years ago. That's the ones that are grounded.


Posted by: Ajay | Link to this comment | 08-16-19 11:46 PM
horizontal rule
100

96: Turns out you can't bring non-THC CBD products across the US/Canada border even though they are legal on both sides. (In fact at the border crossing in question regular old Cannabis is legal on both sides.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 4:06 AM
horizontal rule
101

Technically the same between different US states with marijuana legalization. Airport enforcement is a different story, though.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 7:30 AM
horizontal rule
102

You can't bring fresh fruit into Canada even though it's legal there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
103

100, 101 [pedantic voice] There is no place in the US in which possession of regular old Cannabis is legal. 21 USC 844.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
104

Same with fresh fruit if my new lobbyist does well.


Posted by: Opinionated Raisins | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
105

Re: the OP. Congratulations! Also, as someone who would like to be full-time remote within a couple of years, I am curious how the salaries compare to on-site jobs in your city. There's already so much variance in average developer pay across cities (some of which is down to the difference in jobs/companies across those cities, but a lot of which is just down to compensating for the cost-of-living-differences) that it makes me curious about the remote job market. Do you find that they generally try to set pay scales based on where the company or candidates are located? Do they just pay less on average?


Posted by: CriminallyBulgur | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
106

||

So, have folks been listing to Woodstock on XPN? I might just get up at 7 for Jimi.

It's the Band right now. Johnny Winter at 12 eastern.

I am not getting up at 5:30 am for Sha na na.

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
107

105: a friend and former colleague moved from Palo Alto to Chicago in 2015, taking her job with her, and the jerks in HR lowered her salary according to their regional payscale differential. I assume they would also not continue paying me $ridiculousnumber if I moved up to Alaska.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
108

I have the opportunity to move to Chicago, but it would apparently involve a 15% pay cut, which makes it somewhat less attractive. Though my manager did suggest I could probably wield sufficient leverage to not have to submit to that indignity.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 9:33 PM
horizontal rule
109

During a fortunately brief period when I wasn't sure if I'd leave my old job without having a new one lined up, I started thinking about applying for an online degree program and then moving to a lower cost of living area before enrolling. Presumably it would have allowed me to take smaller loans.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-17-19 11:39 PM
horizontal rule
110

Every tech company that wants to move itself or employees out of the SFBA wants to do it to pay less. That's the whole point. On the other hand every tech company has a hard enough time recruiting that if you're already an important technical contributor there and known to be effective working remote (and it's not a tiny company with nobody remote like mine) then you could basically ask for anything you want -- "I'll be moving to Alaska, keeping the same salary, and I'd like my title to be Principal Software Engineer Of The North, and please note that from here on out I'll be screaming naked in a streambed during Zoom calls" -- and probably get it, right?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 6:33 AM
horizontal rule
111

We used to use WebEx, then switched to Zoom. I'm not sure why. WebEx worked pretty well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 6:54 AM
horizontal rule
112

Even from the streambed?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
113

I know someone who started outr doing Chemistry but dropped it because she loved English and she had been sick with cystic fibrosis and figured I ought to do what I like and got a Ph D in English. Then she had some weird career moves because of her health. She went back and finished the Ph.D in Chemistry.

Now she is a very well paid technical writer, because there aren't enough people who really understand science who can write well. She makes plenty of money doing freelance. Though she's nominally based in Hong Kong, she lived in London for a while and basically works remotely, picking and choosing her projects.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 7:48 AM
horizontal rule
114

110: "SORRY, THE INTERNET ONLY WORKS FROM HERE AND IN THAT SPRUCE TREE AWHOOOOOO"


Posted by: Lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
115

Every tech company that wants to move itself or employees out of the SFBA wants to do it to pay less. That's the whole point

Well, yes (except that there is also an NYC office that has an identical pay scale). Fortunately I happen to know that someone who went off to Austin, not even to join a remote office, just to move to Austin (officially not even a thing we permit), did not take a cut to do so.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
116

113: sounds like she kicked the ass of cystic fibrosis. Good for her! I think my version of that would be more like "you've outlived your life expectancy by twenty years, long enough for you to fail at three or four endeavors in series."


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
117

110: "We used to use BlueJeans, but it lacked naked streambedded web app functionality. I mean, just look at the name."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
118

Because I'm sure everyone is wondering, they turned the grocery store by 70th and Van Dorn into a giant indoor kiddie play zone complete with zip line.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
119

They unpaved the parking lot and put up paradise.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
120

No. Same parking lot and same building.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
121

110:

The most common satellite locations for bay area tech companies are NYC and Seattle, both of which are basically on the same pay scale.


Posted by: SV lurker | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
122

The entrance for the zipline is where the liquor used to be, so moving away from paradise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
123

121: are they really? In my experience the SFBA scale isn't matched anywhere, but certainly NYC would be a good candidate to approach it.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
124

In Pittsburgh, it's getting hard to find anything to with a payment of less than $1,000 a month unless you're willing to commute for more than 30 minutes or have a roommate or have no off street parking. That's probably the same.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
125

I don't know of any major companies with a different pay scale between SFBA and NYC. Some have a lower pay scale in Seattle, but they'll match offers from SFBA or NYC, so it's effectively the same if you're willing to spend a day interviewing.

And you have to pay similarly to hire people away from Amazon anyway due to their backloaded stock comp scheme combined with the stock going up by 3.4x over the past four years. A typical senior offer four years ago would've been $145k in salary, $400k in stock, with a vesting schedule that's 0.05, 0.15, 0.4, 0.4 over four years, plus a signing bonus to make up for the backloaded stock vesting. The $160k of stock from 2015 that vests this year is actually $540k due to stock appreciation and the stock was even higher a year ago today.

From what I've seen, companies will give you a bonus to cover your unvested stock if you're getting hired into a level where your compensation would be out of band due to stock appreciation. Amazon is a big enough entity in Seattle that this impacts the Seattle-area market in a way that's similar to how FB was able to move the SFBA, Seattle, and NYC markets during the Google & Apple wage-fixing era.


Posted by: SV lurker | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
126

My favorite cost of living calculator says Chicago is 31% cheaper overall, with housing 52% cheaper. 15% pay cut, while stupid, is probably less than the federal salary adjustment. Then again, some folks couldn't possibly be paid enough to make up for winter. (I would prefer to flee to the east coast when feasible, but AJ keeps reminding me of the perks of living somewhere cheap. The best argument for staying is the charm of nieces and nephews.)


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 5:56 PM
horizontal rule
127

125: Your comments are super interesting to me; thanks for exiting lurkdom.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 5:58 PM
horizontal rule
128

125: ah, interesting. To be honest I don't know a ton about how big tech works. I've mostly bopped around startups, and we aren't particularly in a position to compete with big tech on salary. It's possible that salary scales for the big players Boston are closer to SV than I think they are.

That backloaded vesting from Amazon is kind of a weird dick move?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 6:58 PM
horizontal rule
129

Living in Western Pennsylvania with someone who makes a California tech salary has been good for us. She's not on precisely the same pay schedule as she would be if she were in the Bay Area, but it's close.

On that note, an announcement:

Because of teams getting moved about (well, it was a bit more unpleasant than that), she saw an opportunity to move offices with moving expenses covered. So in about two months we're going to leave the sunlit uplands of Pittsburgh and move to London. Our timing is questionable.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
130

Nah, stock up on food and prescription drugs and you will probably be fine. Congratulations!


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
131

128: in my opinion, both of the Seattle tech giants have compensation policies that are bad for most employees when compared to FB, Google, Netflix, Pinterest, Snap, Twitter, and other tech companies that are trying to stay competitive on compensation.

I think at Microsoft, you're better off if you're in the top 1% to 2% but you're otherwise worse off and at Amazon it's more like the top 10% to 20% are better off and other are worse off. In both cases, the pay bands are top-loaded compared to competitors. The back-loaded vesting scheme at Amazon is just icing on the cake since they have such high turnover for new employees.

Amazon's stock as appreciated by so much that it's worked out well for people who joined Amazon and stuck with it, but if really believes that Amazon is going to outperform they can take a better offer at Pinterest and then buy Amazon stock.


Posted by: SV lurker | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
132

Congrats dalriata!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
133

132 was me


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 10:02 PM
horizontal rule
134

129: by that time cable will have gone through the floor so if you keep your USD salary you'll be able to afford somewhere really quite nice to live, like Blenheim.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 10:36 PM
horizontal rule
135

Quite. But we will welcome our alien overlords anyway.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 10:54 PM
horizontal rule
136

In the hope of being granted a grace and favour cottage in the grounds of their new home. Nothing fancy: just a few bedrooms, a walled vegetable garden, a small orchard and the use of the estate's trout stream ...

[I went to Yeats's tower once and realised that he could have caught trout out of his dining room window]


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 11:06 PM
horizontal rule
137

Surely one would want to catch them from the kitchen.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 11:37 PM
horizontal rule
138

Sloshing towards Bethlehem


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-18-19 11:48 PM
horizontal rule
139

Or away from it, in this case.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 12:32 AM
horizontal rule
140

[I went to Yeats's tower once and realised that he could have caught trout out of his dining room window]

Give her a few years and heebie will be able to do the same thing, or whatever they have there instead of trout.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 2:03 AM
horizontal rule
141

longnose gar, I believe, which can only be caught with hanks of wool because their mouths are so hard and full of teeth. [This information comes from a book called "sex death and fly fishing" so it may not be entirely accurate]


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 4:17 AM
horizontal rule
142

The three main kinds of fishing.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 4:34 AM
horizontal rule
143

Q. What are the main symptoms of old age in the rural English married couple?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 5:28 AM
horizontal rule
144

Thanks, all. The misses has signed on to be paid in pounds, so we're already seen her future earnings shrivel up by the day. I'm still working out with my current employer how I could continue to be paid in dollars.

134: More seriously, my god rentals are so expensive in London.

136.last is very on-brand.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 6:30 AM
horizontal rule
145

You'd think it would be easier to continue to be paid in dollars. Or is it going to be coming from a UK entity?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 6:52 AM
horizontal rule
146

Do you find that they generally try to set pay scales based on where the company or candidates are located?

Some do, some don't, I think. The place I'll be working is an agency and although it's fully distributed, a lot of their folks are in SF, and salaries are fair but not crazy for SF (and no options, because it's not a start-up in that sense) and there's no cost of living adjustment. On the other hand, when I looked at the Gitlab salary calculator, which takes location into account, it would have been a 25% pay cut from what I'm making now in Chicago (and Gitlab is explicit about using lower cost of living as a tiebreaker between candidates).

From what I've been able to tell, not only is there a wide variance between cities, but between companies as well. It's definitely possible to make good money working remotely.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 6:59 AM
horizontal rule
147

The misses

The missus. And congrats!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:01 AM
horizontal rule
148

Congratulations, dalriata! I was confused at first, but now I've figured out that you're not moving to London, Ohio. I bet that other London is nice too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:08 AM
horizontal rule
149

145: Still uncertain. The problem is that my employer is a fairly tiny entirely American company (excepting Indian outsourcing) and doesn't have any experience with the tax implications of overseas employees; their payroll systems can't handle it, can't do PAYE, etc. (I've read that permanent establishment risk is also a potential problem but am not entirely sure if that'd apply in my case.) Their legal is still looking at a UK entity that could serve as intermediary, but its looking like my best bet is establishing my own limited company and working as a a contractor. We've had a lot of fun learning about the edge cases and peculiarities in US, UK, and Pennsylvania tax law, yet we still know nothing. I'm sure the ex-pats here will tell me that this is all a massive pain when you start out, if somewhat less so for the non-Americans.

Her employer has provided us with some consultations with experts at one of the big four accountancy firms, but everybody we've talked to has entirely siloed knowledge, and we're uncertain about how things work at the interface.

147: Huh, not sure how that was a linguistic blindspot!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
150

||
An unrelated thought, which I need to dash down. The progressive interpretation of ugly eruptions like gamergate is that they represent the rage of the dispossessed white male, who sees women and people of colour rising to a position of something like equality. This seems to me to take for granted a rather questionable idea -- that status and security are in this sense a zero sum game, so that if gamergaters are losing status and security, women and PoCs must be gaining it proportionately. But suppose that's bullshit. Suppose that actually, everybody except the 0.1% is losing status and security. Things on this reading are not getting better for - say - black women just because they are getting worse for white men. They are getting worse for both and even the relative position of the two groups may be changing very little.
|>


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:18 AM
horizontal rule
151

Everyone could be losing security, because security is an absolute. If, suddenly, meteorites started hitting the earth, everyone on earth would become less secure. But status is relative to other people; you can't have a situation in which everyone in the world loses status. You could have one in which everyone except the 0.1% loses status; going from a modern democratic market economy to a worldwide North Korea would involve almost everyone losing status, but the 0.1% there would gain status by going from being merely "rich people in a free society" to being "god-kings".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:25 AM
horizontal rule
152

149: That does sound a pain. Though, if you do become a contractor, you could still bill in dollars, surely? Wouldn't address the other hassles, but at least it would address the rapidly declining income part.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:27 AM
horizontal rule
153

I think you're supposed to incorporate yourself in Luxembourg, or Bermuda.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
154

150:

This is a century of wounded pride and anxieties about status for almost everyone.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
155

This seems to me to take for granted a rather questionable idea -- that status and security are in this sense a zero sum game, so that if gamergaters are losing status and security, women and PoCs must be gaining it proportionately.

Regardless of the objective reality, that is certainly how gamergaters perceive it. Any increased/improved representation of women/minorities in games is to the detriment of games as they want them. Even if the games with better representation are in addition to the bro-centric games, or even if the games stay exactly the same in every other respect! Somehow including female character models in Battlefield, say, without changing the gameplay at all, is a disgusting affront to history (unlike the actual gameplay of Battlefield, apparently).


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
156

154: this did arise from a dialogue with the guy who wrote those words.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:38 AM
horizontal rule
157

I think the term of art these days is intersectionality.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
158

152: That's probably the case. I'm not so much worried about the getting dollars part--that's one of the main reasons I'm staying with my employer--just the details of making it happen.

153: I met a South African guy who worked in tech in London during the pre-Y2K boom years. He volunteered unprompted that at the time he was a contractor incorporated in the Channel Islands, so he only paid consumption taxes. It says something about our world that this is something you can say in polite company.

155: absolutely. They complain that not every game panders to them, or that it panders mildly less than their ideal (eg the "vagina bones" debacle) and see that as a loss in status.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
159

I've never really got into complex computer games -- not out of snobbery but from fear of addiction. But my sense is that they are emotionally entirely compelling, not least because they are not a collective, social experience, even more than listening to music was in my adolescence. OTOH they don't encourage thought or reflection at all. And this builds a dynamic which is inherently violent, socially, at least.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
160

/not/now/

Dare I google "vagina bones"? I've already been slightly shocked by the results of a query for "Kate MIddleton's tits" (in the context of tabloid precursors to gamergate)

I'm trying to work out what was new about gamergate and subsequent outbreaks of mob violence online, and what had been prefigured in the way the tabloid press treated slebs considered hateful


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
161

Ok, reprobates! Should, I should I not, open this Cabernet? On topic, because it says it's from Northern CA.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:55 AM
horizontal rule
162

159: yes and no. I play games that give me lots to reflect on. I play games that are stupid addictive time wasters. I play games to connect with friends. I play games to be happy in isolation.

Games are as varied in their purposes and experience as text. As for society's effects, misanthropes have used them to be more misanthropic, but I'm not sure if that's any more than replacement level.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
163

161: Have you purchased it already? If that is the case, I recommend drinking it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
164

AIHPMHB, I never got into games solely because my family is late-adopting. I avert my eyes from the kind of person I might have become (and the programming salary I might have earned).


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
165

160: This goes over it. Somebody got mad that when a game was brought over from Japan the publisher reduced the shading on the hips of a jailbait character, making her very mildly less sexualized. Complaints about censorship, with inaccurate anatomy, ensued. Censorship is a big concern with the GG crowd--unless someone wants to put women in a game, ala what GY said above.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
166

White man drops to the level he sees as appropriate for women or persons of color, and is upset about that. This doesn't seem particularly complicated or mysterious to me.

Are women and people of color partially to blame? Well, some among them have been saying about the white man that his feeling that he was better than them is the result of unearned privilege. And they've been right about that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
167

162: examples of games that provide material for reflection?


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
168

I'm trying to work out what was new about gamergate and subsequent outbreaks of mob violence online,

4/8chan.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
169

Yup: self-organisation within anonymity, like a mob. That, and the way in which the victim need not have had anything corresponding to fame in the outside world. I mean, lots of people had to move house temporarily because of tabloid harassment and mass doorstepping before. Jade Goody and Princess Diana were both in their time the targets of concentrated hate campaigns. But in all those cases they had done something to catch the attention of the wider world. They had not just dumped a self-important boyfriend


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
170

167. Go, English Country Tune, civilization, and sim city are all thought-provoking.

To the extent that games are like interactive film, even GTA has something to convey, and Machinarium or Gorogoa or
Monument Valley are all communicating somebody's vision of an imagined world.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
171

169: It reminds me of the Francine Gottfried story. Basically a random woman becomes the subject of prurient attention from, basically, a mob. But now it's worldwide.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
172

171 I had never heard of this. Amazing. It's a wonder that we still know how to breathe.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
173

And it's anonymous. Meaning it can turn nasty with no consequences to the mob members.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
174

Some pop star of the future will have some variation of We Didn't Start the Fire than includes Justine Sacco and a selection of other random victims of a 15 minute hate.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
175

162: examples of games that provide material for reflection?

They tend to be indie, adventure or visual novel type games, rather than big mainstream games (no different from Hollywood in that respect, really) - a very recent example would be Eliza from Zachtronics (not played it yet myself, but it's getting interesting reviews), an older one maybe Papers, Please. There are some bigger budget games that spring to mind - Shadow of the Colossus is often cited in this regard, is a or even Bioshock, though I doubt you'd find either all that thought provoking compared to serious literature or philosphy/theology. The Witcher 3 has surprisingly good and nuanced writing for a mass market game, though it's still at the end of the day a fantasy game about killing tons of monsters (and/or playing cards).

To throw some other names out there:
Firewatch
Cart Life
Journey
To The Moon
The Last Of Us
This War Of Mine


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
176

Good shout with Gorogoa.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
177

Thanks, both of you!


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
178

167: Oh, this is an interesting question coming from you. To establish ground rules, I'll restrict it to games I've played myself, but I assume you aren't dogmatic about any difference between "computer" and "video" games. I don't expect you to actual play any of these.

On the complex simulation side, the games of Paradox Interactive give much to reflect about the time periods they're set in. In Crusader Kings 2, you take charge of a family in feudal Europe, playing as some nobility. Your choice--you could be the Duke of Bavaria, the King of England, a minor count in Leon, whatever. When your character dies you play their heir. Over time your situation will change; maybe you slowly gain more titles, or by gavelkind or war lose them. It's very much a roleplaying exercise--characters have needs, preferences, and skills, which you have a limited degree to shape. It leads to lots of questions: why is my character doing this? Do I care about them, or the family, and what do I do when their motivations differ? Why do people at this time act so weird to modern eyes? Why does my wife keep on poisoning my kids from my first marriage?

The other game by them I'd recommend is Europa Universalis 4, where you play as some country during the early modern period and the beginning of colonization/imperialism. Any country. (Within reason, only the biggest three dozen or so HRE countries are simulated). It's less personal and more abstract than CK2, but asks the big questions--why do countries do what they do to survive? What is it to be a great or regional power? Horrible things occur (highly abstracted). Were they avoidable, done by rapaciously cruel people, or necessary byproducts of the system? You can also pick specific historical scenarios--could I do what Napoleon did? Could I win the Wars of Religion? Could I get a non-European state--Vijayanagar, Aceh, Haida Gwaii, etc.--strong enough to repel the storm of western invaders? The game is unfair, but meant to be so.

Going to the other end of the spectrum, for a while there was a trend towards a kind of game called "walking simulators", short games where the player explores a space from a first-person perspective without combat or puzzles. Dear Esther is about a man on a Hebridean vacation dealing with his grief over the death of his wife in a car accident--beautiful, haunting landscapes, with their own sad past, intertwining with the protagonist's desperation. Unclear what's real, what's just him torturing himself. There's also Gone Home, about a young woman who returns from college to her empty family home in early 1990s suburban Portland. Bit of a bait and switch as it's presented as a haunted house/horror game but it becomes clear that no, these are just normal people with normal issues who just don't know how to talk each other (e.g. younger sister is clearly lesbian but knows family isn't ready for her to come out.) These are narrative heavy, but correspond to what the main character knows, making them feel like first-person novellas. (Although in Gone Home you never talk, so ironically the protagonist is more of a cypher than her family.) If you were going to play a game, these are the least time sink--only a few hours each, they have limited replayability, and don't require much skill. I suppose they can be disorienting if you're not used to first-person games.

When I was young, I loved Japanese role-playing games. Long, ponderous, beautiful music, overwrought plots. Some of them you can only really appreciate if you played them when you were precisely thirteen years old, but luckily for me, that's when I did. They were among my first exposures to thinking critically about religion. Xenogears can be thought of as Neon Genesis Evangelion: the game, in the medieval-fantasy-but-also-high-tech mashup so beloved by these sorts of games, with clear criticism of Catholic Church-like religions. (This is not uncommon in Japanese games.) Final Fantasy Tactics is a tactical RPG with thoughtful combat, in a medieval world vaguely modeled off of the War of the Roses. (I haven't played it, but the developer's previous game did something similar with the Yugoslav Wars.) It's told in retrospect: a historian, a descendant from one of the game's minor characters (executed for heresy), has discovered some lost books that reveal that the history of the current dynasty is entirely wrong, and the founding king's story as a noble peasant leader (think Hongwu Emperor) is far more complex. (Also, evil Catholic Church stand-in. Of course.) Was he justified? What about the woman who becomes his queen, a heir apparent used as a pawn who desperately wants her own agency? Or the protagonist, forgotten to history, the youngest son of a corrupt noble family who's just trying to make things better in any way he can?

Shadow of the Colossus is like a fairy tale: a boy travels to a magical and mysterious land, full of ruins, to save his beloved from a corrupting disease (or maybe she's dead, can't remember). He goes to a temple where a god tells him she can be saved, but in turn he must destroy the giant beasts that roam the land. At first, they seem like wild monsters, to be killed as games expect you to. Each battle is a cinematic experience, with the hero having to climb up the giants. But over time, the game makes clear--entirely through camera angles, musical cues, etc.--that they're noble and pure, and to kill these innocent creatures is corrupting the protagonist. He becomes more haggard, almost zombie-like as the game goes on. When he defeats the last beast, the god is able to possess him and has to be vanquished by knights/witchhunters who protect this land. In the end, there is no longer god nor beasts, and the beloved is returned to health, and the land is gentle. Was it worth it? (There was a movie, Reign Over Me, about a man who is working over his grief for his wife dying in 9/11. He'd play this game, with shots of the colossi falling serving as visual metaphors for the towers falling.)

Skyrim is an open-world fantasy game in a pseudo-Nordic land. "Open world" means you can walk around and do what you want; there's defined narrative content, but you can do it at your own pace, at your preferred order. It does an excellent job at creating the illusion that you're in a real, breathing world. Lots of chances to ask who these people--regular joes, blacksmiths, inn-keepers, peasants, soldiers--are, and why are they doing what they're doing, and does this make sense a place? And maybe it doesn't, but it's interesting how well it can fool you.

In terms of time-wasters, I've spent far too much unjustifiable time playing Euro Truck Simulator 2, which is exactly what it says on the tin. Drive a truck around Europe, delivering stuff, and turn that into a business. Gives a better sense of where things are, and cheaper than actual tourism. (Turn up the graphics settings and a sunset over the Alps is, if not as good as the real thing, still very satisfying.) Also gives a lot of empathy for just how hard of a job it is.

On preview, seconding Journey and To The Moon (this might be even easier to pick up than the walking simulators; it has no real gameplay and is 2D, so no potential for motion sickness), and of course Civilization.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
179

Also throw in the Metal Gear Solid series, which is what you get when someone who really wants to direct auteur-style action movies makes games instead. With such themes as: nuclear weapons are bad! Digital technology is scary and reduces our grip on reality! Mullets!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
180

Yeah, if we're counting the sort of reflection you do in good strategy games, there are loads (especially if you include board game ports). I'd definitely second CK2 and EUIV, which are made particularly rich by their dynamism - they're among very few videogames to make major setbacks interesting, rather than an occasion to reload or start again.

Firewatch, which I mentioned above, is one of the walking sims. A couple of others I'd highly recommend are Tacoma (by the Gone Home people) and What Remains Of Edith Finch.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
181

Now I really, really want NW to play Metal Gear just so I can see the look on his face.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
182

171: Wow, she is straight out of Hairspray.

And congrats to Dally!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
183

Fine, peep's is the only advice I'll be taking. And next time I'm buying southern hemisphere.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
184

Thanks, Heebie et al! But I should repeat that it's my wife who is impressively employable transoceanically, I'm just along for the ride. And the larger pints of deliciously warm beer.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
185

And congrats dalspouse.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
186

Modern hobbyist text adventure games, aka "Interactive Fiction", as a genre has lots of experimental thought-provoking games.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause Endlessly, Then Go In" | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
187

162: I play games that are stupid addictive time wasters.

Chronophages. Coinage I just (somewhat surprisingly) learned form a Richard Powers novel.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
188

The last level of Braid still really really sticks with me. (As does the game in general, though you gotta ignore the pretentious and largely irrelevant writing which attempts for Calvino and fails miserably.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause Endlessly, Then Go In" | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
189

186: Yes, this! A quick search for games made in the Twine engine should lead to lots of great indie games. This is one reason why games can be so powerful: they're a melding of one or more other artistic media, with a dash of interaction. There are games that are barely not novels. (Or barely not concerts, or barely not sculpture galleries...)

187: Great word. See also this mechanism.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
190

I play stupid logic puzzles compulsively: nonograms, cross-sums, sudoku, etc. It's just a finite number of tricks that you cycle through almost meditatively, and then every now and then you have to dig in a think a little harder.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
191

Congrats, house of dalriata! I'm envious. NW, I just emailed you some stuff...


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
192

I've been enjoying Frenetic Phonetics lately. https://www.puzzazz.com/book/frenetic-phonetics-01


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
193

Oh that looks like English cryptic crossword clues!


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 12:00 PM
horizontal rule
194

I'm really, really bad at word puzzles. I just cannot retrieve vocabulary.

The worst is when I'm trying to talk about locations - I was getting coffee with someone who was new to town, and they asked me which local restaurants I enjoy, and I was literally like, "Oh, so many! I can't retrieve their names or the names of the streets of any of them! One of them is right there, you can see it from here."

It's not the same as remembering or not remembering someone's name when they walk up to you, because that's a visually prompted retrieval and so I'm much better at it. This is like free association retrieval of vocabulary and it's impossible for me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
195

Let's pretend I couldn't see the restaurant in the second part of that comment, to make it consistent with the third part.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
196

I just had a browse of the EU4 wiki and, my God, I'd never get out of that alive. But it's an interesting idea, and I can remember times in my life when it would have been completely irresistible.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
197

Yeah. I've spent a lot of time in it. (This is an understatement.)

I'm not sure if it's clear, but you can start a new game at any time between I think ~1450 and 1826. So they had to decide the religion, ethnicity, and controller of every province for every day in that time period. It's a pretty fun historical atlas tool.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08-19-19 2:07 PM
horizontal rule