FEBRUARY <-- MARCH, 2002 --> APRIL
It turns out that I know a lot more about California's energy crisis than I thought I knew, and in the end it all boils down to the system being influenced by greedy corporations to the detriment of the larger economy.
So, the utilities are in the business of selling power to the consumers at a fixed rate. They get this power from their own generators, buying and selling surplus electrity through interconnecting grids to other utilities, as needed. Since the electrical transmission wires grant them a monopoly on the consumer's choice of electrical utility, the rates that they can charge consumers are regulated by franchise agreements with the local governments in which they operate.
Now, this is all fine and dandy, but all this government regulation makes it hard to develop creative ways to profit from this business. It's pretty boring stuf, you generate electricity, you sell it, you generate, you sell ... BORING! So, we can improve things! Let's make the utility a seperate sub-corporation, and divest its power-generating capacity to other sub-corporations, and open up the market so that anyone can produce electricity and sell it to the utility. Comptetion drives down prices! Lower prices mean higher profits for the utility! If this works out well, we can lower the consumer's electricity rates too, and everybody will be happy!
So, California passed energy de-regulation law, and things came to pass.
Electricity is an interesting product, because, on the large scale, it is consumed the very moment it is produced. You can't buy up surplus and then sell it later in times of shortage. So, a new energy trading system is developed, where everyone who can generate electricity submits the price and the capacity at which they are willing to sell their capacity to the spot market, which also takes figures from the utilities as to current demand for electricity. We start adding up supply, starting from the cheapest producer, until demand is met. Energy is then purchased from those producers by the utility companies. The price is set at the highest accepted bid, which the utility pays to all producers. This way, the more efficiently you can generate electricity, the more likely you are going to be able to sell it, and the higher you will profit from it in times of shortage.
Now, for the most part, the wholesale price for electricity is well below the rate that consumers pay. So far, so good. The energy market has been opened up, prices have fallen, and companies are profiting. I'll tell more of this story a bit later. Time to grab some grub and get to work!
Frog it. Note to self: if you start an essay, don't leave it half-finished in the log. :)
Cat sleeps on clean laundry
There's more in the wash
And when will I fold it all?
I changed the colors some. No more green on black, you cry-babies! What do you think? I also, for the nth-time, re-started, a new Friends List.
I was at Tellme the other day, and a dude named Matt strolled by, and I remarked on what a pimp he was, but like in a cool, effortless, unassuming way. He said he's been reading my journal. He also said to drop by his desk on the way out, but he wasn't there. So as not to show up in Google, I have not mentioned his sirname, because he's quiet and unassuming in that sort of pimping way.
I've set up a white board. The white board, I hope, shall be my friend and allie in the coming week, where I've dropped many of my hours at the restaurant in favor of consulting work, and interviews, and restful, computer-based relaxation during daylight hours. Let us see how this bold experiment works. I need to roll out of bed and get jiggy tomorrow morning. 9AM at the latest! Be my own boss, travel light, get in, get out, see the country?
I caught the Colin Quinn show last night. He seems to be trying too hard, but I did laugh, and it does leave me thinking the next day.
There was a sketch where the guy from the video store, an Arab, drops off some videos for Colin, and Colin, the average arrogant white guy, harangues him for being some Arab guy named Mohammad and not knowing which president is on the $20 bill. But he invites him to sit for a moment for a very abrupt dialog, and the question is, why do they hate us?
"Well, we are very poor ..."
Colin's character interrupts with some blah blah observational humor.
The real answer?
"I don't know."
And even though the show has been trying too hard, you feel the pause that follows that answer.
I figure we complete the first thought with "We are very poor, and you are very rich. We have a long, proud, ancient civilization, that has made the best of a rough environment, and your young nation is very rich, having exploited the best that a brand new continent has to offer. Your country has a lot going for it - it is open and free and very energetic. However, your country's prosperity depends on a continued supply of our oil. We should be partners with you in the great times, but we are stuck, as bad as we have ever been in the past, and maybe worse, with social ills and corrupt leaders, and we can't shake the problems because, since you are very powerful, and your power depends on our oil, you do what you can to subvert change in our society, propping up corrupt monarchs and pitting us against each other, so that we can't move forward, slaves to your extravagant demands for oil. So, even though your society has a lot going for it, you can only hurt us. You keep consuming more energy, enriching our oppressors. You do not care enough to observe the harm that you are doing to us, and it makes us crazy, and some of us turn towards fundamentalist thoughts, and a few of those are frustrated enough that they will go and live in your country for many years, looking for ways to topple the system."
Mohammad Atah was a sick young man. If we can understand the cause of the illness, maybe we can look at what we do and think of how we could live in such a way so as to cause less illness in the world. It used to be we didn't have to care about the woes of the rest of the world, but our happy, open prosperity can be fucked with in very bad ways by ill people who aren't on board for the ride, and can't stand this fact, and have sufficient intelligence and organization to hurt us.
This realization is what over 3,000 Americans died for six months ago. It was a very painful and expensive lesson, one that we are scared shitless will be repeated. Let us value the understanding that we gain from our experience.
And, for heck's sake, would it kill you to walk or take the bus once in a while?
... we'd like to make you an offer. I'm working the details (salary and stock). Salary would be in the ...
I have had several interviews with a company that have what, on the face of it, seem a very very good position for me. That said, the champagne stays on ice until I have accepted an offer. Meanwhile, I try not to let the suspense get to me.
You know the feeling when you've driven a car a few thousand miles, and are now only hours from your destination, and you know the end is near, but all the same you don't want to get your hopes up, because you never know what could happen in those last few hundred miles? Well, let's say that you've been "on the road," as it were, for the better part of a year ...
Time to step outside and get some sunshine.
I think I may have just discovered the coolest piece of software ever written: FIST: EMPHATIC MESSAGE GENERATOR.
Unlike poseur programs, this one actually traces its lineage directly back to September 1969, and has survived migration from mainframes to personal computers, across a variety of programming languages, and from punched card six bit character sets all the way to ASCII.
You can't aggregate options, separate options from their arguments with a blank, or other cool
getoptfeatures because the program doesn't use
getoptin order to preserve its retro look.
Kurtz: Did they tell you why ... they want to terminate my command?
Kilgore: They said that you had gone completely insane, and that your methods were un-sound.
Kurtz: ... are my methods un-sound?
Kilgore: I don't see any method.
Kurtz: Are you an assassin?
Kilgore: I'm a soldier.
Kurtz: You're neither. You're an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.
Paperwork Friday. Let us not jinx it. The fat lady has yet to sing about the end of my prolonged under-employment. Meanwhile, I'm taking it easy. Very easy, and restful. I'd like to ditch the restaurant on good terms, which means two weeks final notice, which means that I may be working weekends and weeks for a brief while. I call it payin' dues.
As Indian citizens we subsist on a regular diet of caste massacres and nuclear tests, mosque breakings and fashion shows, church burnings and expanding cell phone networks, bonded labor and the digital revolution, female infanticide and the Nasdaq crash, husbands who continue to burns their wives for dowry and our delectable pile of Miss Worlds. I don't mean to put a simplistic value judgement on this peculiar form of "progress" by suggesting that Modern is Good and Traditional is Bad -- or vice versa. What's hard to reconcile oneself to, both personally and politically, is the shizophrenic nature of it. That applies not just to the ancient / moern conundrum, but to the utter illogic of what appears to be the current national enterprise. In the lane behind my house, every night I walk past gangs of emaciated laborers digging a trench to lay fiber-optic cables to speed up our digital revolution. In the bitter winter cold, they work by the light of a few candle.
Well, Vern was in town for a conference this week. I managed to catch up with him and Juan and Angel and his friends on Thursday at the Mission Ale House, which was insanely crowded, especially for a Thursday. There's some sports thing going on is why. Well, the gender ratio at Mission, which is in San Jose, is not great, but as Vern observed, what lacks in quantity is compensated for with quantity. Then, he took off, because Juan was outside. You see, when we got in, the bounced wouldn't let Juan come in because his pants were too long!? Yeah, we can't quite figure that one out either. Conferring inside with Angel and Vern, we decided that I could run Juan back to Mountain View and lend him a pair of pants. I went back outside with our eccentric Mexican friend, and he just didn't see the point of putting effort in to getting in to such a capriciously cruel establishment. We tried calling Vern, and Angel, but cell phones had been turned off. I headed back in.
After much searching, through the horribly dark and crowded bar, I determined they must have gone out back. So, I got in line for the out back, and eventually was able to convey the news of Juan's situation. Well, Vern bougt me a well-deserved drink, and made his way out, then I noticed Angel had disappeared. You see, he and his friends had been romping around the whole area partying ... ah, it was just too much to keep up with, so I headed home.
No job offer has been signed yet. I'm told that things ought to be official early this week. I did the math and realised that next Monday, April Fool's Day, is the first of the new quarter, so maybe timing-wise, personnel budgets work that way. Well, we'll see!
Meanwhile, the few shifts I'm working at the restaurant grab me a cool $250 in tips per week. So, the finances aren't ... aren't ... well, they could be worse!
It is late, and I am hungry, and there is no food in the house, and I'm too lazy to go and get some. Instead, just cleaning up some weird back-end stuff on the web page, so this way if I'm editing an HTML document, and I type something like, say KQED, then it will automagically replace the text with a hypertext reference that points to a CGI that reads a data file where I can set the "most current" link. That way, KQED or the like will atomatically get referenced when I write, and I can update the hypertext reference if it ever changes, or, for some reason, I want it to point somewhere else.
There's a method somewhere in that madness. No, really!
Next Monday I'll be showing up at Transmeta between 8:30 and 9:00AM to start on the new job.
April Fools Day.
But, no, I just signed an offer letter! I'm employed! Yay! That's super! Awesome! Wow!
Today is Joe Doyle's birthday, so we're heading up to Frisco tonight for dinner and a movie with Joe and his buddies. Yay!
Meanwhile, there's a piece on Marketplace right now about much traffic on 101 has improved since the dot-com crash. I have to smile.
So, today I signed the offer letter for Transmeta, which will pay me what I was making at Tellme, plus about what I was making at The Pizza Place. I resigned from The Pizza Place. I'm still scheduled to work this weekend, and since I want to give Jefe two weeks notice, he has the option of scheduling me next weekend too. That's probably just as well to have some cash while waiting for the giant paychecks to come through.
Today was also Joe's twenty-seventh birthday. His girlfriend procured for him a turducken, which is a turkey stuffed with a duck and chicken. Something like fourteen pounds of meat to serve twenty people. For the first time in my life, I definately ate too much. We've all had that experience where our stomach hurts a great deal, and we feel that we've overdone it, but my body went that extra few feet this evening, suggesting that I retire to the bathroom. I knew what it had in mind, and I wasn't eager to suffer in that way for my gluttony, but the event came upon me suddenly, as I leaned over the porcelain throne, and concluded in a few seconds. My brain processed the thought that that was exactly what I ate should look like at this point, before the smell hit me and I flushed.
Quick, tidy, no violent retching muscle spasms, I felt like a million bucks afterwards! The body simply tossed out that which didn't fit! What a wonderful experience. Something completely new and a pleasant surprise to behold. I felt like I lost my virginity tonight, only it was more special, because it was a surprise. That first sexual experience tends to be a let down, because it's been hyped so much, when it is really something you need to practice at. Eating too much, though, well that event was something wonderful in its own right that you never want to find yourself practicing with any frequency. Damn.
Oh, I got a hair cut too.
Barry had a baby! Well, Lisa had the baby. I'm sure Barry pitched in as much as one could expect, but the result is ... a baby!
Next week I'm going to the ballet with Joe, Joe's girlfriend Kris, and Kris' girlfriend who wants a blind date. Of course, I'm scheduled to work at the restaurant at the same time, as with all the suspense over the new job, I forgot to put in a request for time off. I could easily blow The Pizza Place off at this point, but I think I can pull some scheduling magic, and everyone can have their cake, and eat it too.
But, more responsibly than a turducken.
Oh, and I made a new toy today: http://lnk.to/.
Might I also reccomend Google News! It is so cool, that it can give you the World-Wide Monkey News!
188.8.131.52 - - [29/Mar/2002:10:33:48 -0800] "GET /resume/resume-unix-danny.html HTTP/1.1" 200 5303 "http://google.yahoo.com/bin/query?p=resume+AND+ldap+AND+iplanet+AND+administrator&b=21&hc=0&hs=0&xargs=0" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows NT 5.0)"
That means that someone found my resume on a Google search for "resume ldap iplanet administrator." Yay.
Just read a good quote from an article in San Francisco Magazine about the Dot-Com bubble. "The Fall, 2000 to 2001" describes things starting to really fall apart, "and September 11 casts a final pall over the economy and the spirit of the city." Well, somebody named Halsey Minor is quoted as saying "There are cycles. This was the mother of all cycles."
The page before has a little blip: "Internet jobs posted on Craig's List: February 14, 2000 > 542 // September 17, 2001 > 24."
These are beautiful spring days in California. Those of us who are left, are looking up. We're still taking turns with unemployment, but it is not anywhere near as bad as it was six months back.
You can tell a new job is cool when one of the Interview questions is "Do you have any objection to running Linux on your desktop?"
"Well, can I use fvwm2?"
"I think it's the default. I mean, NO! WE FORCE YOU TO USE GNOME! HAHAHA!"
On Friday, I was asked what I wanted on my desktop: Linux or Solaris? What is missing from this picture? Yay!
Things I get to do Monday are the new employee orientation, including paperwork, and build my desktop, which is an opportunity to learn the Transmeta way of building desktops. Should be cool.
Meanwhile, I'm still scheduled to work at The Pizza Place next weekend too! With all the suspense on the job finally coming through, I neglected to reserve next Friday off. I have a much earlier commitment to join Joe, Kris, and Kris' friend at the ballet, so I'm trying to find a substitute for the evening, so I don't just tell Jefe to go to Heck. Well, Friday's really busy and most folks are working and the best candidate to substitute doesn't share any hours with me, nor do they have his phone number at work.
Just one of those things I need to stress over just enough to take care of business, but make sure I don't lose any sleep in the process. It may well come down to me leaving a note on the board for the potential substitute to call me on Monday.