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Into the Mind of an Autistic Web Junky

03.07.2008 @ 4:00 PM in Technology
Of of the participants in my lab is a non-verbal guy who happens to be autistic. On the outside, he tends to grunt, get in your face and doesn't like people in his way. On the inside, this guy is chock full of intelligence; he loves technology, and can operate a PC better than most staff. No one really taught him either. When he comes to the computer lab, his favorite (ok, only activity) is getting online. He'll come in, grunt hello, point to a few interesting things in my lab (I leave computer parts laying on a table for him to look at, he loves it) and goes right to his station. In his hand is a small stack of papers, and on them are the contents of his interests. LabDrawing_small.jpg

[click above to view a larger version ala flickr]

The graphic above is a inverse scan of the paper he showed me today. I've been meaning to scan one in and really inspect it, the information contained is an amazing look into an otherwise forbidden mind. Obviously the first thing is an exxagerated drawing of a muscled man. My guy (can't say his name for confidentiality and stuff) LOVES body building and everything associated with it. I often see him walking down the hallways pointing to his arm muscles and if he sees a buff man he will stop him and squeeze his biceps and then point to his. He's always on muscle sites, looking at pictures and the products associated, like steroids. For fear of him glamorizing steroids, we tend to communicate a negative connotation about steroids, and he now draws them in the garbage, or sometimes, the word crossed out. From the "muesum" drawn on the upper left, I deduced that he also enjoys the greek sculpture, which also celebrate the male figure. Not everything is men and muscles, he is an avid lover of tech as well. you can see the circuitry and "wifi" in the drawing. Easter seems to be on his mind too, with a smiling easter egg posted at the top. Notice his use of a heart to depict the muscleman's face. i've yet to figure that one out. I plan on saving a few more of his drawings.. they really intrigue all of us here. Its like a puzzle.

More Office Mess, This Time With Eye Candy

02.01.2008 @ 12:41 PM in Lifestream
plumber.jpg They moved the chaos into my  room for the better part of the morning. I get in, pipes are everywhere, a layer of dust has settled on my desk and i'm greeted by the not so furry crack of the plumber. I try to avoid the sight of "coffee grinds" dripping down my wall, but the smell of old pipes and what they used to contain is unmistakeable. I'm not too sure how much longer I can handle the environmental disruptions, noise pollution and sweaty contractors coming in and out. They say that today is the last day for plumbing in my room, and later next week someone else will be in to put up a plywood barrier for concrete. I hope he's cute.

I shoulda called in

01.31.2008 @ 10:45 AM in Lifestream
upstairsbathroom.jpg Today is the big day in the beginning of the upstairs bathroom renovations at my agency. I'm all for it; I'm tired of the "dirty water" leaks that happen from the mens room upstairs that ravage my lab and damage my computers. The renovation plans should take about two weeks to complete. New urinals and stalls, and accessible everything. The old set up had a step up to three open wall-style urinals, which is what at this very moment, a jackhammer is trying to eradicate. I'm a patient guy, very patient. I'm also a martyr. I've taken about 4 Excedrin and I'm calmly sipping green tea while the sounds of destruction echo above me ALL DAY. If you would like a sample of my madness, hit play below and turn up the volume while you bang your head on the wall. Viva la Breakdown! [audio:http://www.buffawhat.com/files/audio/jackhammerin.mp3 ]

Kitten Tenders

01.14.2008 @ 9:05 AM in Culture
When the first link you find this morning is an ad for "Kitten Tenders," you start to wonder about the impending quality of your workday.  Enjoy a savory treat below. [youtube width="600" height="501"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nahQ-jHcElU[/youtube]

So Long Andrea! So Long Scroll Lock

01.04.2008 @ 12:06 PM in Technology
scroll.jpg My inter-office fag hag Andrea is leaving the agency (teh day jobbie) today, and going to work for some other underpaying DDSO controlled agency, where no doubt she will miss me terribly. To help counter her impending misery I've gone about and collected a good assortment of scroll lock keys from offices around the building, to present to her along with her very own memory/key nameplate. Why the scroll locks? Well, since I'm the unofficial tech guy and MS Office guru, I get to instruct and save the day when it comes to mail merge, Excel, and other little productivity puzzles. Andrea always seems to get herself into trouble with Excel, as she manages to flip on Scroll Lock and panics when the arrow key refuses to change cells. I swear she makes me feel brilliant. I've probably fixed this "issue" for her about 6 times in the last few months. She even called me the other week when I was home sick with the flu. Diguised as a get well call from my department, I quickly learned she just wanted to know what broke in Excel.
  • "scroll lock you psycho!" I moaned.
  • "OMG! it worked! Thank you I Love you!"
Like I said, she makes me feel genius. Wikipedia says this about the scroll lock:
  • The scroll lock key is a remnant from the original IBM PC keyboard. In the original design, scroll lock was intended to modify the behavior of the arrow keys. When the scroll lock mode was on, the arrow keys would scroll the contents of a text window instead of moving the cursor. In this usage, scroll lock is a modifier key like Alt and Shift (which modify the function of other keys) and, more specifically, a toggling lock key like Num Lock or Caps Lock, which have a state that persists after the key is released. Today, this particular use of scroll lock is rare. Only a few modern programs still honor this behavior, such as Microsoft Excel (in the behavior of arrows — when scroll lock is on, the selection does not move), Lotus Notes and Forté Agent. In modern GUI environments, scrolling is usually accomplished using means such as scrollbars or scroll wheels. Therefore scroll lock can be regarded as a defunct feature in almost all modern programs and operating systems; some keyboards lack scroll lock altogether.
In other words, pretty useless. I've taken this as a great opportunity to rid the agency of future scroll lock related problems once and for all.
  • update! - Cause I'm teh gay, I had to wrap it. Because I'm teh Uber Gay, I had to draw perpendicular  and parallel lines on the paper. And Because I'm The Magnificent Gay, I handmade a German star bow.
wrapped.jpg

Should Office Coffee be a perk or a Convenience?

11.29.2007 @ 10:06 AM in Lifestream
mug.jpg Office Coffee comes in many flavors, colors, and smells, but we can all agree - unless you live in Seattle - that its not too particularly good. Whether 3-day old grinds, Dollar store brew, or the tar-like qualities a pot gets when its reheated for the umpteenth time, we still drink it. It's a commodity and a convenience, a welcome blessing when rushing to work so unprepared your cowlicks bear calves by noon. Sometimes the coffe pot was brought from home, if you are lucky, you have a Bunn. And its all managed under the watchful eye of the "coffee clutch" The clutch is that group of up-in-age office management bitties, the ones that order supplies and do your timesheets. They don't actually drink the coffee, though some claim fealty, but by god there is always a full jar of sugar packets and a box of creamers, straws, napkins on the table; everything you need to forget that the coffee still tastes like shit. All they ask is that you pay. Our coffee has the bittiest of crones to oversee the clutch. We have a 2 dollar/week subscription to coffee. There are 4 gallons of water at all times under the table to refill the pots, and if you empty one, yo must immediately go in search of a faucet to replenish it. Another thing, the 50cents refers to "one" serving in an 8oz. cup. I buck the trend, and incur the ice stares when I walk in with my 20oz Starbucks seasonal mug and gingerly fill to the top. I pay when I feel like it; random coins in my pocket making the jingle in drop box just loud enough to satisfy the ears of the clutch. I'm quick and determined in the morning, as i have just five minutes to walk in my lab, grab my mug and run upstairs where the clutch is sanctioned. I slosh out yesterday's stains with hot water, refill it with black death and trot downstairs, spilling a trail of black tears which are symbolic of my disdain for the morning. The other day, this email popped up, note the "Angency Wide" email.gif The clutch has been disbanded, the refrigerator moved. No more the quiet trot upstairs, coffee is now at the opposite end of the building, in the noisiest busiest room in the mornings... the cafeteria. Stealing coffee is impossible, too, you must wait in line like a poor orphan waiting for soup, mug in hand. I tried this today and immediately got into a fight with the cashier over the size of my mug and how I take up a whole pot in one shot. The upside, however, to cafeteria coffee is that Karen (the cafeteria manager) understands portions. The amount coffee you need is determined by the size of the mug you bring; $0.50 per mug. Period. Same grinds, same taste, but now I have to pay. I don't think its fair. The agency buys giant boxes of bulk office grinds from some paper supply company, The 50 cents isn't going to the people managing the clutches either, just back into the agency to "cover" the costs. Bullshit. I don't think its right that I should have to pay for something I need to ensure my happiness in a company designed to make me miserable. Coffee provides insurance against incidents and loss of patience, a very serious thing at my job. I don't wanna pay anymore, I guess I'll have to sleep with the lunch lady... again.
  • UPDATE: A few co-workers and I have decided to get our own fancy coffee pot and have our own special clutch, course I'm still paying for coffee but the principle of the matter makes us rebels.