I, Too, Left the Tech Industry

Evgenia Got Free

With a nod to Cate Huston.

I have resigned from a 20 year career in tech. For many reasons, I decided to flip some tables in 2015. I have some not yet coherent observations on this that I will share in case they help others. I benefitted greatly from others’ posts on their decisions to leave tech and how they did so, and would like to pay it forward.

“This is my last tech job.”
A few months ago, a thought struck me out of nowhere. It was not a particularly bad day at work and there was nothing obviously awful going on. I simply thought “This is my last tech job” with absolute certainty. If I were a person of faith this might make more sense, in that it may have seemed like “a message,” but I simply observed it and thought “Huh! Ain’t that something.”

But from…

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Burning Books

Of Books and Bugs

18777516955_317332837a_k Creeping Charlie in our yard, sprayed by our neighbor – June 2015

For close to a decade I’ve been documenting the plants and the animals that can be found in our yard, a rectangular lot in the city of Northfield, Minnesota. This is not a grand project, but a small, cumulative task, providing a lot of enjoyment and many surprises. Dragonflies, butterflies, bumble bees, mining bees, orchard bees, leaf-cutter bees, great golden digger wasps, grass-carrying wasps, ichneumon wasps, braconid wasps, stoneflies, caddisflies, soldier flies, gall flies, hover flies, crane flies, tree crickets, tiger beetles, may beetles, fireflies, ground beetles, long-horned beetles, lady beetles, jumping spiders, crab spiders, orb-weaver spiders….the list goes on. Just the number and diversity of moths attracted to a light on our garage astonishes; over a single year, well over two hundred different species visited.

Last year a newly married couple moved in next door. One of the first…

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What flesh eatest thou? A missing child and a suspicious meat pie in 1645

the many-headed monster

Brodie Waddell

On 26 June 1645, as the war between the King and Parliament raged, John Coleman sat down at his lodgings in London to eat a meat pie. As he ate it, a strange thought occurred to him: ‘What flesh eatest thou’?

At that moment, even as he chewed, a flood of doubts and suspicions swept into Coleman’s mind. Why had his landlady made meat pies on a fast day? Why had the girl who delivered it to his room been acting so oddly? What had happened to the child who had been missing the previous evening?

The answers must have struck him like a blow, because suddenly ‘hee could eate noe moore’, verily believing ‘the Pye was made of a Childs flesh’. Pieter Claesz (c1630) Still Life with Pewter Pitcher, Mince Pie, and AlmanacAccording to his later testimony, Coleman then went out into the neighbourhood to try to learn more. Here he heard from several women that…

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Vonnegut’s letter to the draft board.

Penguin Blog

It’s fairly rare that the written word moves us to actual tears, but we’ve shed a few reading the very moving letter that Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaugherhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle, wrote to the Vietnam Draft Board about his son’s registration as a conscientious objector in 1967. Demonstrating the meaning of fatherly love, it details the reasons Vonnegut is proud of his son for making the choice to refuse to fight.

November 28, 1967

TO DRAFT BOARD #1, SELECTIVE SERVICE,

HYANNIS, MASS.

Gentlemen:

My son Mark Vonnegut is registered with you. He is now in the process of requesting classification as a conscientious objector. I thoroughly approve of what he is doing. It is in keeping with the way I have raised him. All his life he has learned hatred for killing from me.

I was a volunteer in the Second World War. I was an infantry scout, saw…

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Now I am 54

Adrian G. R. Scott : A Poet's Faith

In honour of others, especially Matt Haig (see his book ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’), who have been open and honest about their own mental health difficulties I post this blog in the hope that none of us need suffer in silence and feel as if they are the only ones going through ,what can be, such excruciating difficulties. When I read this it sounds a bit grand, inflation is one of my problems so, just to deflate myself I do recognise my troubles have been like a midge bite that itches for a few days compared with what many go through, but these thoughts may have some value.

Last month was my Birthday, I have reached the heady age of 54. This last year has, probably, been the most challenging of my life and my wife’s. From the end of August 2014 I was beset with an attack of Severe Anxiety Disorder…

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An open response to Taylor Swift’s rant against Apple

Junction10 Photography

Dear Taylor Swift,

I have read your open letter to Apple where you give your reasons for refusing to allow your album ‘1989′ to be included on their forthcoming Apple Music streaming service.

(For reference:http://taylorswift.tumblr.com/post/122071902085/to-apple-love-taylor)

I applaud it. It’s great to have someone with a huge following standing up for the rights of creative people and making a stand against the corporate behemoths who have so much power they can make or break someone’s career.

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To Die Will Be an Awfully Big Adventure

Joey Esposito

Spoilers for Game of Thrones. And early ’90s Superman comics, I guess.

Death in stories is important. Or at least, it should be.

Coming from comics, we’re used to death being a revolving door. Heroes and villains die frequently and eventually return. It’s part of the tapestry that makes superhero comics what they are. The impact of these deaths, when done well, is a source of great drama and character exploration. Their purpose is to reinvigorate the ongoing stories with a new status quo and open up new paths of storytelling. Likewise when the same characters return.

Death_of_Superman_01

The most well-known example — and the best, I would argue — would be the death of Superman. By 1992 Superman had become sort of passe, an optimistic character in a pessimistic world. In an era of things like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, Superman had become almost anachronistic. The public’s wants…

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What Is A Rhizome?

Blurt

My friends and family would tell you that I am a picky eater. There is some truth in that. But I’d contest the idea a little too. I just have a higher than average number of things I won’t eat.

But there are things that I will eat, to the surprise of everyone around me.

For instance, just the other night, my wife and I had dinner with another couple. We met at a Thai restaurant because I like Thai food. See? I’m not hard to get along with. I’m fine with different cuisines. If there are dishes without fish or mushrooms, I can find something that I’ll enjoy.

Do you think that’s free-range serpent? (image by Thomas Brown CCbySA2.0)

Our group sat, chatted and looked over the menu. The conversation turned to what everyone was having. I settled on a chicken dish with an unpronounceable name. Fortunately, it was…

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Working big

Sketch Away: Travels with my sketchbook

I rarely post about the commissioned pieces I work on. But this triptych was so much fun, and I learnt so much from it, that I had to share it.

I usually work small: an 8×10 or 11×14 inch piece is as large as I work. So when I got asked to work on a set of 3 18×24 inch pieces, I did wonder about what it would take to work that large yet keep the loose lines and mixed-on-paper washes of my smaller works. But I was also excited at the possibility of working outside my comfort zone, trying something I wouldn’t normally try.
sky_test On the left are the colors I decided to use for my twilight sky. On the right, my first piece, edged with frisket, just before I painted in the sky.

It’s hard to see the detail on pieces this big, but I’ve tried to compare bits of the image I shot…

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