First week...

I've got a short-term contract with Intel working at the group I was with most recently.
By short-term I mean six weeks, but it's both fun and rewarding since it's repairing and putting finishing touches on the project I was working on when my previous contract was abruptly terminated by bean-counter fiat.

I'm rather annoyed by that latter thing. I know there was as much of Intel's infamous parsimony involved in the decision as there was the "one year consecutive rule".

The one-year consecutive rule is that no "contingency" worker may remain at Intel ANYWHERE through ANY contractor or provider, for longer than a year. After a year there is a minimum six month 'cooling off' period before they're allowed to return to any other contingency positions.

Naturally there is nothing preventing Intel from hiring such a person full-time, except for their astonishing corporate blindness to the reality of staffing that says "If you want a job done you need to hire enough people to complete the work in the time required." There's a tendency at Intel to expect employees to destroy their lives and health by over-work; if you're NOT someone who has the ability to thrive with 60-hour work weeks, then Intel may WILL not want you for a salaried position.

This is, in some ways, a ploy to under-compensate their workers. After all, if you have to work 50 percent more then you are earning less. And Intel is a cheap, skinflint employer in some ways that simply don't make sense and are very surprising, and which go directly against the Intel Core Values which the company claims to be organized around.

And oddly, they claim (and I can back this up by my experience) that there is a not-insignificant benefit to working there, in terms of the challenge, technical edge, and impact that one's work can have. They're not kidding about that. I've worked on projects which were, subtly or not, world-changing in their scope, and felt that I was making a positive difference. That has not happened in other companies, simply because Intel tries always to follow through, where some other places don't, or won't, or the impact of the work is so very minor.

So, I've logged my first week by the calendar, first part-week by the timecard and halfway through the second. And I've really enjoyed the work, though I kind of miss being overloaded so much because I've got a tendency to need to switch after two hours.

And now it's time to go perform the ritual of pain and suffering that fends off death by inactivity. (Personal Trainer. Yay.)
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Good Friday

This is the day when Christians remember that Jesus was hauled in the middle of the night, before a political kangaroo court with no reliable witnesses (the political Sanhedrin) who didn't want to hear his politically and socially disruptive message; dragged before the full religious Sanhedrin they repeated the parade of false witnesses without corroboration, but he finally said the thing that they thought was blasphemous, so they beat him then dragged him to the Roman governor. As an occupied state, they had no law that permitted them to kill him, so they took him to Pontius Pilate to be charged with insurrection. Not with blasphemy, but insurrection.

This is the day when Christians remember that the Roman governor didn't want to deal with him, shipped him over to the Roman-installed King Herod Antipas, who fancied himself a Greek, and sent him back to Pilate. The tradition was to release a prisoner to the people, and Pilate offered to free Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Barabbas, and the crowd called for Barabbas, a murdering terrorist. (The crowd was apparently Sanhedrin employees, followers, and partisans in some part, the rest being like Judas Iscariot, people who expected that Jesus would, at any moment, call the Army of God from heaven to destroy the Romans and bring about the new world; but he'd possibly failed to do that too often for them.)

This is the day we remember how Jesus was "crowned" in mockery, using a crown woven of thorns. The roman soldiers felt that it was unfitting that a king should be without a crown, and (if the bits of the supposedly preserved crown are authentic) wove thorns from a jujube tree with some reeds into a spikey crown, then jammed it onto his head, beating him around the head and shoulders with a staff.

This is the day we remember that Jesus was scourged. There's a medical account of the scourging and crucifixion behind this link. The salient points: Scourging is done using a weighted whip with sharpened bones and lead balls on the end of braided leather thongs, about the length of a sword; the scourge was slammed into the back and yanked across, causing deep bruises, and tearing the skin open. They did this at least forty times. After the first two blows, the skin and muscle in an area is deeply lacerated and bruised. Ten was considered a crippling sentence, thirty could kill. Jesus was then required to carry the cross-bar to the crucifix that he would die on, from the center of town to the place of execution. This was a typical sentence, but Jesus was too badly weakened by the scourging and fell too many times, so they grabbed someone from the crowd and compelled him to carry the approximately 120 pound cross-beam.

This is the day we remember the crucifixion. The nails were square, probably six inches long, more like railroad spikes. They were driven into the wrist below the thumb and between the two bones so that they wouldn't tear loose from the weight of the body. The cross bar was then hung up on the post, and the sign stating the "crime" was nailed so it showed above the head. They didn't use seats or foot-posts in Jesus' time, they simply nailed through the arch of the foot at the top of the ankle, then the other foot, then into the post. This was intended to be a painful torturous death. The position is one where it's hard to exhale. The only way to do so is to push up with the feet (impaled on the spike at the bottom) and pull on the wrists (partly shattered and in excruciating agony) for just long enough to exhale. Jesus, like anyone who was crucified, was expected to suffocate. He was already nearly dead from the beating. His death was faster than expected; it only took a few hours instead of more than a day.

Since it was approaching evening, and thus the beginning of the Sabbath, the Sanhedrin representatives asked the Romans to finish him off; they would have broken his legs, which forces suffocation in about five minutes. But he was already dead; in order to make sure of that, one of the soldiers stabbed him with a spear or sword into the heart. Blood and pericardial fluid gushed out the opening. That blow itself would have been fatal.

They normally gave the bodies of the crucified dead to their relatives, and Mary the mother of Jesus was there, and Joseph of Erimathea (a follower of Jesus' and a wealthy man) had the body taken to his own tomb that he had recently finished, and the women prepared it for burial. Soldiers were stationed at the tomb to prevent the body being stolen, and a very large rock was rolled across the doorway.

This is the day we remember that Jesus died a horrible, agonizing death by slow torture.
If that isn't enough to satisfy our view of God's requirement that transgression is paid for, then there is no satisfaction for it.
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    cold Somber
teh sickness


SO. A quick note to document this in my memory replacement device.

About three weeks ago, I started feeling a bit of pain in my back left teeth. I figured it was a cavity or something. It kept getting worse, so last week I ended up at the dentist on Friday, having it the back molar front filling drilled out, some minor new decay removed, and a new filling placed. Joy, I haven't been paying for dental coverage because it was ridiculously expensive.

Then I discovered that wearing my mouthpiece, the one I wear at night to keep my jaw from sliding back and my airway from closing, was PINCHING the teeth, and that I was SQUEEZING them at night. Grinding teeth together, apparently... it resulted in a powerful ache that hasn't really stopped.

And the top molar is now sore too, though the dentist didn't see anything wrong with it. He suggested that there might be a hairline crack or two in teeth there.

Anyway, the first day I didn't notice it, but day before yesterday I couldn't wear the mouthpiece at all, it was so sore. Last night, I was able to wear it by reminding myself hard, "Do not bite down hard."

Still. Upper tooth store, lower tooth not quite fitting the mouthpiece, I may need to visit the people at Sleep Medicine again to get another adjustment made. :P
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    sore ow
Presence Light

Blech. Sick.


I was supposed to go in today to participate in the healing service; I overslept, completely ignoring or disabling my alarm, and finally woke up at 10:45 (service started at 10am) with a nasty sore throat.

Ugh. The irony is scratchy and makes me think of coughing.

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Grave Undertaking

requescat in pacem

Diana Wynne Jones, lung cancer, aged 76. Author. Howl's Moving Castle, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland

Geraldine Ferrarro, multiple myeloma, aged 75. Congresswoman and vice presidential candidate.
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    sad i hate cancer
Grave Undertaking

Ash Wednesday

ronebofh says that Ash Wednesday seems to him to be more like a Viking thing ...

Yes. I am going in to the noon Mass for Imposition of Ashes. IMPOSITION.

Every year on Palm Sunday we do this 'celebrate the triumphal entry into Jerusalem' and march around singing and waving palm leaves. Then we hide away the salvaged palm leaves (which are, after all, blessed and therefore sanctified and cannot be just thrown away) for almost a year and the clergy secretly burns them on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, and on Ash Wednesday, they use the ashes from that in a deliberate irony that's been so long going that it's lost its power to rust.

You kneel and they tell you "remember o man that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return" and wipe gritty ash in a cross on your forehead, squeak, squeak. And we remember that we're going to die and that everybody dies and that it is utterly out of our hands when this happens.

Thus, yes, rather Viking ... could only be moreso if we were to wear bearskins and run around with swords, but that's more in keeping with Mithraism that with Christianity.
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Faceless Aliens

How do they know that?

Sometimes the 'internet generation' thing gets to me a bit.

I've got an annual to Pandora because I like their experiment at how to link up music.

I've got an 'alternative rock' feed. I just heard a cover of "Come On Eileen" by the band Save Ferris.

And the page told me that Stax Blackmoor likes that band. staxxy is an internet friend, of course, but I never told Pandora to look for that kind of interconnection.

I'm not sure if I find that annoyingly intrusive or annoyingly convenient. I'm sure part of the connect-the-dots code is facilitated by my using Google Chrome for a browser.