How I Customized My Site

If anybody’s interested, here’s how I customized my site. Starting with the Twenty Sixteen theme, I set the following colors.

ColorValue
Background#16161d
Page Background#16161d
Link#4cd6f4
Main Text#ffffff
Secondary Text#fafafa

I then added the following styles under Additional CSS:

.site { 
	margin: 0;
}
.wp-block-quote {
	color: #fafafa !important;
	border-left: 4px solid #fafafa;
	margin-left: 0 !important;
}
.wp-block-pullquote{
	border-top: 4px solid #fafafa;
	border-bottom: 4px solid #fafafa;
}
.wp-block-pullquote blockquote {
	color: #fafafa !important;
	border-left: none;
}
.wp-block-pullquote cite {
	color: #fafafa !important;
}
[class^="wp-block-"] figcaption
{
	color: #fafafa !important;
}
.wp-block-code {
	color: #16161d;
	background-color: #fafafa;
	padding: 8px;
}
.wp-block-code code {
	color: #16161d;
	background-color: #fafafa;
}

I also took advantage of the Widget Visibility feature provided by Jetpack to set up the sidebar on the front page.

I know there are newer and possibly better themes than Twenty Sixteen available, but this is good enough for me.

The Skeleton Key

EPICA - The Skeleton Key (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

I never really got into Epica, even though symphonic metal bands with women on lead vocals has been my thing since I was a kid. I think it’s because of the whole “beauty and the beast” schtick where the beast usually means some dude doing death metal vocals.

But I might have to reconsider and give Epica another shot with their new album Omega, or dig up my copy of The Divine Conspiracy. Then again, I could just replay this video. The costumes Simone Simons wears are gorgeous, and one of them reminds me of the opera scene from The Fifth Element.

Credit to Metal Goddesses for bringing this video to my attention.

Obsolete Beings

I’ve been listening to Voïvod this morning since I borrowed their 2018 album The Wake from the public library.

VOIVOD - Obsolete Beings (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

This is weird, proggy metal—and I like it. There’s definitely some jazz influence in here, but according to Wikipedia some of the band’s members are fans of King Crimson.

That’s fine with me, since I grew up listening to King Crimson thanks to my dad, and if my life had a soundtrack I suspect “21st Century Schizoid Man” would be part of it.

Life as a Developer

This is me every time something goes wrong at my day job.

- Out of order. - Fuck! Even in the future nothing works.
Hey, man, it worked on my machine.

It’s a good thing I work from home, because dropping the F-bomb really isn’t appropriate office behavior. Of course, I can still think it even if I know better than to say it. (I have a lot of experience with self-censorship.)

In 1987, “even in the future nothing works,” was hilarious. In 2021 it’s merely tragic. If you haven’t worked in this trade, you wouldn’t believe how much can go wrong. We build cathedrals on quicksand, and have the temerity to be shocked every time the edifice sinks, never to be seen again.

This is a sampling of the crap I’ve dealt with while working as a developer over the last 20+ years.

  • Flaky wifi
  • Flaky VPNs
  • Flaky DNS
  • Not having enough RAM
  • Not having enough disk space
  • Being stuck with a crappy keyboard and not being permitted to replace it even at your own expense
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Outdated dependencies
  • Flaky database servers
  • Flaky version control
  • Flaky other people’s computer cloud services
  • Vague requirements
  • Contradictory requirements
  • Non-existent requirements
  • Requirements subject to change without notice
  • Sanitizing user input
  • Testing
  • Bugs in production because of user behavior nobody—not you, not the other developers, not the QA people, not the business analysts—anticipated
  • Trend-chasing
  • Emotional labor
  • Eyestrain
  • RSI
  • Obesity
  • Bad documentation
  • No documentation
  • Having to write the documentation yourself
  • Knowing that you will outlive your work
  • Bullying from management
  • Wage theft
  • Not getting thoe job—even though you’re qualified—because you’re not a “culture fit”
  • Getting a task with a deadline of next Monday at 9:00AM—at 4:45PM on Friday
  • Having to debug somebody else’s code
  • Having to debug code you wrote a year ago and having to find a better explanation for why it’s such a godawful mess than your boss’ assumption that you drink on the job

Stuff like this is why many developers suffer from burnout. Especially the emotional labor; we deal with a metric shitload of bullshit at work, even at good workplaces, but we’re still expected to be “passionate” about the work.

Many of us get into this work because we like solving puzzles. But instead of getting paid to solve puzzles like this:

Rubiks Cube GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
What we think software development is like before we get our first real jobs…

We end up dealing with puzzles that more closely resemble this:

Arrow Video GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
What software development is really like…

For Clare Higgins, solving the Lament Configuration was the most traumatic experience of her life. For the average software developer, it’s Tuesday.

We use regular expressions to parse HTML and end up summoning Cthulhu, and after the first time it just isn’t a big deal because it’s our own damn fault. We should have known what to expect. But we didn’t, and instead of looking for better careers we embrace the suck and quietly seethe with unexpressed rage.

a typical day at the office

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for sympathy. I did this to myself. I chose this for reasons that seemed like good ones when I was 18, broke, and thinking of running away and joining the Navy. Writers and musicians have to make a living somehow if they aren’t good enough to do art for a living, and it wasn’t like I had the looks or the personality to make it as a rent boy in Manhattan.

But if being a janitor paid as much as being a developer, I’d go back to scrubbing toilets in a heartbeat. Either way I’m dealing with other people’s shit.