Hanging with my Gnomies

I, at the moment, am at a slow point of day with nothing much to do and no ambition to do any more ‘real’ writing.  I asked a friend for a little topic help.  He said I should write about gnomes.

As I am, even late in the work day on a Friday, a dedicated writer, I decided I would at least do a little research.  Lo and behold, I discovered gnomes were not only little earth elementals living underground, but also an entire computer ‘graphical interface’.  For free!

I am referring to GNOME (pronounced Ga-NOME) which is a collaborative effort to collect all the software you need under free licensing.  Basically the idea is to promote user-driven development of software and related stuff and to re-offer it to the larger public across the globe.  Kinda cool, thinks me.

But there are other sides to this word of wonder –  there are also ethical groups concerned with issues that America was founded on – freedom, and equal protection under the law.  Sites like this one help ensure that protection for our gnomen brethren.  And whether you consider them peaceful dwellers of the northern forest, or dirty earth grubbers who hoard their cash, they certainly are ripe for persecution.

While I still haven’t written anything, I have learned a lot.   Gnomes rule, little red hats or no.

Urban Caving and the Oven Glove

After noticing this post online, I decided to do a little digging into this ‘new trend’ known as urban caving or urban exploring. Wikipedia has a pretty complete article, if you’re interested in learning more yourself. And it’s nice that this idea of really looking at our buildings and built structures appeals to me. It’s something that I’ve always been interested in, just seeing how all the spaces fit together, even if they aren’t meant for human habitation. Maybe especially if they aren’t meant for human habitation.

The idea of UE that really got to me is examining our history through the remnants of built structure.  It’s an almost archaeological sensation, like visiting a ruin or a sacred space of past ages.  I can remember climbing up into the attic of our church in my teens, watching the light filter down over various stored boxes and old church school supplies.  There was something magical and maybe a little spooky about it, like an abandoned building or a cabin sitting empty and alone in the woods.

In addition, there’s the excitement of exploration.  This I’ve seen most actively at college, both at the one I attended and the one I am currently employed by.  Higher educational institutions, with their array of buildings, comfortable nooks, and display areas for various departments and groups, are prime for non-trespassing exploration, simply because even the private instituions often open thier doors to the public at large.  There are some restrictions, of course.  At my alma mater, WUSTL, every building except the U College, where night classes were held, was locked down at 5 pm.  If you didn’t have the right security clearance, you weren’t getting in.  This was a bit frustrating for me at times as a major in Architecture and minor in Composition – I had full access to the Architecture building, but none to Language Arts.

Security is not so tight at my current employer, which I will henceforward refer to as the “Oven Glove” to protect the innocent.  The Oven Glove has no such wide-ranging security.  Offices and some classrooms are locked up, but mostly with physical locks only rather than any sort of electronic system.  I’m sure the labs are adequately protected, or else we’d be losing much more money to theft.  Still, the Oven Glove is basically an open campus.  Which means, while I haven’t nearly explored it to completion, I have found a few niches of my own already.  As an active member of the Oven Glove community, I look forward to finding more.

The Perils of a REAL JOB

For those of you who don’t know, my job is mostly boring.  I spend the majority of my days online, interspersed with answering the phone when it rings, opening the mail, and maybe running a few copies if necessary.  There are occasional projects for my boss, some of which I actually enjoy, but really there’s not that much for me to do.  Which is a little annoying, considering everyone around me at the office is so busy and pressured.  But that changes for a period of about 2 weeks every quarter with our Board meetings.

I get to be in charge of editing and compiling the reports on everything we’ve done for the past quarter.  This includes all the financials as well as the written documentation explaining our decision-making process in depth.  I love this part of my job.  I get to do a little bit of editing, and a little bit of layout and design to make things pretty.  And these are all things I’m good at.  Sure, it can be a little grueling to shift gears from extreme down-time to super work overdrive.  And my writing certainly suffers during this period because my free time at work is gone.  But it does really break up the monotony, and I enjoy that.

So today is the beginning of the end.  It marks the first part of my two-week disconnect from my usual lackadaisical work attitude.  Probably my blogging will go down, as will my Scrabulous scores.  Still, without a little actual work once and awhile, I probably would be someplace else now.