At Least It’s Not a Fruit Cake: A Response to “Résumés – How the French Spell It”

I sometimes write novel-like comments on blogs that are self contained posts in their own right. I posted this comment as a response to flygirl0’s post on resumes and the process of interviewing. I thought it might be worth sharing it here.

—–

You’re giving them too much credit if you assume people who are interviewing have any idea the hell they’re doing. I have a lot of very clear “WTF” interview memories, and I haven’t even interviewed in like five years. It’s such an artificial and horrible process, and admittedly, I’m terrible at it.

I get nervous. I feel like the only way I nail interviews is that I accidentally channel some deity/ancestor/alien for the length of it, or I’ve interviewed so much recently that I know what they’re going to ask before they ask it. Manhole cover? Answer that makes even the foremost manhole experts, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, take notes. Stapler? Caught and made into a stunning stapler entree to be judged by the Master Chef celebrities.

At the end of it all, you don’t even know if that was really the job that would have made you happy. Sure, you can assume or expect this or that, but usually jobs are full of that day job work thing. You have to go to meetings about meetings, work on working your work in a more workly way, and design review everything (yes, including the design review process). I’ve always suspected that I’m just not cut out for office life, but I’m doing an okay job pretending. I have an office plant that isn’t dead yet, two monitors, walls, and even a window. I’ve reached so many echelon ladders above cubicle farm monkey that I should be positively ecstatic.

The truth is, it’s okay. I’m not dying here, but I’m not fulfilled by this alone. It’s an office. It’s a job where people tell you what to do and you do it. I know there are people out there working for themselves, but I suspect a lot of them are just monkeys to their clients (still not doing what they really want).

I wish I could close this with some kind of epiphany or inspiration other than, “Yes, I agree,” but that’s all I got. My big consolation is that even if you dodged the stapler, there’s no proof that your life would suddenly be fulfilled, and it probably wouldn’t be. That’s such a horrible consolation. It’s more like a fruit basket for a funeral. At least it’s not a fruit cake, but I’m sorry all the same.

—-

I’ve posted on this topic before a couple times (probably more than I remember or list here):
Interviewing Tip Toes
Interviewing: The Real Life RTS Game

Ingress

I’ve played a lot of games.

Hundreds. I might even be approaching a thousand, if I’m honest with myself. I’d guess closer to 700, but it’s possible I hit a thousand. I never really counted.

Ingress is its own planet.

A friend described it to me as “Bloodless nerd gang warfare.”

The more I play, and the more I play it, the more I think he’s right.

But I can’t deny, it’s goddamned fun. Time consuming as hell, but fun.

In short, there’s these portals about the world, generally on historic sites, but more are added as people submit more.

It’s a world within the world. It’s a social experiment. It’s a weird attempt to get nerds wandering around. It’s just really cool.

Short post, sure. But it doesn’t change the general idea- Ingress is a fantastic idea. It’s not perfectly executed, but it’s getting better daily.

And the communities do their own thing, of course.

Signs That You May Take Ingress Too Seriously Part Two


If you’re just joining us here and don’t know what “an Ingress” is, head over to the last post Signs That You May Take Ingress Too Seriously

With the Cassandra Anomaly ending this past weekend, I think it’s appropriate to add a few more thoughts on this topic. While everyday game play is enough to bring out our inner mega frog or super smurf, the anomaly certainly pumped a lot of us up even more.

Keep in mind before you get offended that most of these are not only based on real life, but are things I might have been guilty of myself. I completely believe in self-examination and even laughing at oneself. Laughter is pretty cool stuff.

Anomalies

The Casandra anomaly was the highlight of your summer. You’re not sure what to do with yourself now. Farm?

You farmed so much for gear before and after the anomaly that the ache in your fingers and neck could be described as a new disease: Ingress Arthritis.

If you ran out of gear at the anomaly, you started engaging the other faction in polite small talk to distract them. While it hurt to talk to “the enemy”, it was worth it!

You convincingly spoke to the actors playing characters in Ingress as of they were their characters were real and we all lived in the world of Ingress. You didn’t do this because you’re a good actor. You asked them to help if they were sympathizers or agents for your faction. Otherwise, you argued for them to come over to “the right side”. You interrogated them for Intel about things in the story, what things meant and how they felt about things, to the point where the actor felt sure they were going to muck something up (“Uh… line?”).

You resolve to work on your cardio, but only so that next anomaly you can move between portals more quickly.

You documented the whole experience with detailed notes, analysis, and conclusions (completely with glossary, spreadsheets, more spreadsheets, etc.) so that your faction can be more effective next time and to pass Intel to your faction in other Casandra anomaly cities.

You biked 150 miles in one day to help erect a mega field for your faction in a different city.

You got so pumped for the anomaly and your team, that you started shouting orders at them like a quarterback. Your loud mouth and gestures did coach Sue Sylvester from Glee proud. You feel great satisfaction that you were able to get your whole team to move from one area to another particular area.

You got so disgusted by the quarterback type shouting from the other faction, that you and your team mates took several pot shots at the other team after calmly telling your own team, “This way, smart people,” and moving along.

You were confused for a minute when the latest Anomaly battle result wasn’t in the regular news headlines. -Submitted by UsernameCensored

On anomaly day, I looked at the sky and briefly panicked when I saw that it was blue. I thought for sure that the Resistance had put up a mega-field and we were going to lose horribly. -Submitted by Agent Danbsmitbo

Faction Action

You ‘ban’ someone from real life because he requested a faction change to the opposing faction. -Submitted by just some dude

You spend a good amount of time coming up with catchy operation names so that your G+ invites will sound cooler than “walking in a circle for an hour or so”.

Your faction propaganda is distributed via glossy, printed media that looks on par if not better than most art gallery promotions.

You leave your own birthday dinner to go outside and see who is wrecking your nearby portals.

Ingress events for your faction are usually followed by another Ingress event in the same day/night.

You get 3am portal attack notifications from an agent who lives at least 50 miles away. You still refuse to turn the sound off on your phone while you sleep at night.

There is some public record of a post office that doesn’t actually exist. This post office is on your living room, and you think it’s awesome.

Your local players get so bored they decide to create a third cross faction unofficial team called “team grey”.

Lingo of the Land

Ingress definitions of words become the default instead of the definitions used by the general public.

Ding is not the sound a bell makes, but instead has something to do with reaching new levels.

Capturing MU has nothing to do with chasing around cows.

You refer to yourself as an agent even though your work in a regular office building.

“Thinking with portals” still applies, but has less to do with cake and lies.

Hacking isn’t difficult. You just tap a touch screen a few times.

Power comes in cubes.

XM is not satellite radio. Actually, we’re not really sure what it is.

“Drop rate” is not morbid. It refers to items, not bodies. (“Boom! Head shot! …just kidding.)

Farming has nothing to do with plants or soil, though patience is still involved.

You consider it normal to burn farms often, sometimes the same one twice in one day. – Submitted by Agent Kiashien

Sponges are people, but they don’t live in a pineapples under the sea.

There is more than one female Smurf in the world. -Submitted by Agent Kiashien

Getting a virus is a good thing. -Submitted by Agent Kiashien

Signs That You May Take Ingress Too Seriously

Ingress is a free, invite-only game that a subdivision of Google devised. I normally describe it as a cross between a scavenger hunt and capture the flag. I also may comment that it’s what I always wished geocaching was like. It uses Google maps and landmarks. It encourages geeks to get outdoors and walk around while learning about their neighborhoods and history. It encourages geeks to meet people and stimulate their local economies. It’s a pretty neat game in all of those aspects. On the darker side, it’s also highly addictive and appeals to the geeks tendency to become obsessed with the game and fake world and story surrounding it sometimes a bit too much. While we’re used to seeing this with people glued to their computers in World of Warcraft, it gets a bit weirder when instead of a computer, it’s a phone and the great outdoors.

Below is a list of some signs, many inspired by things I’ve seen, that you may be taking Ingress too seriously. These are in no particular order. Please don’t get offended if some of these apply to you, especially since some of these stem from silly things I’ve found myself doing…

I’m sorry if these don’t make any sense because you don’t play the game yourself. If you’re interested in getting an invite and live in Massachusetts, look here. Enjoy!

Faction Pride

  1. You won’t wear any clothes that are the color of the opposing faction.
  2. When you accidentally do, you feel like a traitor and hope there isn’t a meet up to play later (or if there is, hopefully it will be too dark, or maybe they’ll accept that you’re being ironic?).
  3. You make blue and green arts and crafts that show your Enlightenment or Resistance team spirit.
  4. If you’re a member of the Enlightened, you now look at your favorite pair of blue jeans with trepidation.
  5. If you’re a member of the Resistance (especially if you live in or near Boston), you might have severely conflicting feelings with what to wear, drink, and celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day.
  6. If you’re a member of the Resistance, frogs are not people and they club baby seals. If you’re a member of the Enlightened, smurfs are not people and they eat kittens.
  7. Gauging if something is awesome or horrible is mostly based on whether it’s your own faction that’s doing or saying it.
  8. When hiring someone at your company and looking at their resume, you wish it said whether they already played Ingress and which faction they belonged to.

Rules

  1. You have spent more time, energy, and thought on what constitutes cheating in Ingress than you have on real social and political issues such as bank bailouts, gun control, and human rights combined.
  2. You have a tiered list of what is “unforgivable cheating”, “regular cheating”, “sort of cheating”, and “uh, I hope this isn’t really cheating because I was doing it last night”.
  3. You’ve tried each form of cheating, but only as a painstakingly documented scientific experiment which you intend to submit to the game makers so that they can make the game better.
  4. You’ve spent so much time customizing your IITC map, including your own plugins, that you’re ready to either write your own version and rerelease it if it’s ever taken down due to TOS violations or weep uncontrollably.
  5. You’ve actually read the Ingress TOS.
  6. You’ve started the game over and leveled to 8 twice or more due to account suspensions. It’s not due to cheating, since you love the game too much. It’s because you used an iPhone.
  7. You consider yourself a protector of the game and it’s community. You watch the comm like a hawk to look for suspicious activity both from your own faction and the opposing one. You use IITC plugins to assist (which is not cheating because it’s being used for good!).

Portals

  1. You submit new portals for areas you don’t even play in.
  2. You refer to certain portals as yours and get personally upset when someone tries to take them. You will remote charge from anywhere to defend them (toilet, funeral, your own wedding, jury duty, meeting with the boss, etc.).
  3. You write Niantic lengthy, scathing replies to their portal rejections (whether or not you send them to Niantic or just post them to G+).
  4. You’re seriously considering getting a permit to make a public art installation as close to your residence as possible just so you can get a portal that you can hack from your own home (possibly naked).
  5. You already have a portal that you can hack from your home, and you hack it with more dedication and regularity than brushing your teeth, caring for plants/pets, eating, sleeping, or just about anything (often while naked).
  6. You’ve submitted fake things as portals just to get more by where you live or work. “That advertisement counts as a mural, right?”
  7. You’re really unhappy and bitter that Zip Car and Jamba Juice are portals, especially since it interferes with the plausibility of the premise and overall game immersion.

The World of Ingress

  1. You’ve watched every single Ingress Report. You’ve read the The Alignment Ingress book. You’ve written articles (or at least long G+ posts) and consider yourself an expert with a valuable opinion.
  2. You loved every second of watching the Ingress Report (if you’re a part of the Resistance). You’ve been annoyed and made the joke about it being such and unbiased news source (if you’re part of the Enlightened). “Unbiased news source!? Yeah, just like Fox News!”
  3. You were excited to get an autograph from Klue or another Ingress actor as if they were a real celebrity. OMG, they let you get a picture with them too!
  4. You feel like you personally identify with the philosophies of a faction. You compare them to real life movements and ideals often.
  5. You have a very hard time calling Ingress a game or hobby because it all feels so real and important.
  6. You scroll back and read messages you missed on the COM when you open Ingress (if you close it).

Time & Money

  1. Being late to just about anything is acceptable if the detour was to hack, take, or upgrade portals.
  2. You pay a taxi driver to drive around a monument a bunch of times.
  3. Your faction pays for a Zip Car for you since you’re willing to drive anywhere at just about any time for the game.
  4. You’ve started the game over and leveled to 8 twice or more because you wanted the experience of going to level 8 again.
  5. You researched what battery pack to buy to recharge your phone in the field more than you researched you car, house, pet, or major appliances before purchasing.
  6. You give out real life incentives to players to encourage your team: money, prizes, promises of beer, etc.
  7. You don’t obsessively check for Homestuck updates anymore because you’re too busy with Ingress. You’ve also stopped your regular WOW raids, haven’t played a board or card game recently, haven’t donated to hardly any Kickstarter projects, and almost missed the Steam Summer Sale this year completely.
  8. You actually have connected and memorized the faces, names, and Ingress handlesof the people that play in your area, even the ones you’ve never talked to. For those who cannot do this, you made a spreadsheet to help yourself.
  9. You’ve actually bought (or considered buying) people you know with Apple products an Android device so they can play with you.
  10. You wake up early so you have more time to play on your way to work. You go home from your job late so you have more time to play.
  11. You now walk or drive around playing Ingress when you can’t sleep at night instead of turning on the computer or TV.
  12. You never had a problem with your GPS, battery life, or RAM until you started playing Ingress. Now you are convinced you need a new phone or tablet.

Have your own ideas of what should be in this list? Add them to the comments below or send to TheSeize. They may be featured in a ‘part two’ post!



Insomnia Part 2

The raw lack of comment clearly demonstrates how people feel about insomnia.

I have literally never experienced anything as brutal, and chronic, as truly not being able to sleep for long periods of time.

So if you haven’t commented, I essentially assume you have been damned lucky and have never met a person who truly doesn’t have the option of sleep, or you just don’t care.

Insomniacs aren’t people who opt not to sleep. They’re not people who choose not to sleep. Most of them have a literal chemical imbalance in their blood that means… they really really want to sleep. In some cases, they consider suicide, because sleep just doesn’t happen for them.

My meds apparently keep changing. But my issue, my real annoyance, is that people think that this isn’t a problem

It’s a huge problem, and it needs help.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a beast society treats as a “issue.”

I can tell you as an Insomniac, that it is a brutal, punishing disease. And worse, it’s hard to treat.

Some drugs work for others. Other drugs don’t work. Some drugs work TOO well (Surprise, you’re unconscious for 12 hours, and fuck all will wake you up.)

Meanwhile.. I have been dragging on, on my seventh day, with three hours sleep, and had someone say to me “I wish I was an Insomniac.”

I briefly considered murder.

I’m not proud of that. But Insomnia is unbelievably brutal. I literally would not wish it upon my worst enemy. You devolve. Your brain links stop working. Slowly you become more an animal. Slowly, attack becomes the plan. Slowly, weakness becomes a threat shown. You know you are weak, animalistically, and that means to defend yourself, you must show overpowering might. Or die.

Or at least that’s what our genes tell us. I have managed to work with severe insomnia. This literally took all of my effort.

I was not a kind person when pushed past the edge of sanity. I was never violent, but I was never nice. I never backed down. And everything was a fight.

I’m not proud of this. I generally am a very kind person. But when you don’t sleep for a month, your brain shorts into survival mode- and at that point, you aren’t a person.

You’re a thing in the way of me sleeping.

I still struggle with literally surrendering to fate for at least a few hours, since I grew up in a very violent place. I slept lightly, because I literally thought I’d be stabbed. And I wasn’t completely wrong. It is very hard for me to take things that… mean I will not know if someone breaks in and kills my cats in the next three hours.. and even worse, if my girlfriend tries to wake me, I won’t wake up.

But my choices are limited. I can take it and sleep… Or be a right bastard to everyone everywhere.

I should have taken it earlier. I’ve started taking it already, but I learned the hard way that taking it undiluted is bad. Very bad for me at least.

Worse though, than anything I said… People forget that Insomnia really is a thing, and that it PUNISHES people. It’s a real problem- whether it’s biochemical imbalance or psychological. Or both. This is not some joke- it is something that destroys lives, and relationships, for no good reason.

I was shocked when I looked for a support group, and realized it doesn’t exist. If you sleep normally, imagine being sleep deprived by a week or more- that is an insomniac’s LIFE. Day in and day out. A day sleep a week, maybe. Possibly two. Still, impossible to maintain.

Life isn’t easy.