December 17, 2007: The Freeze

Today is the most exciting day of the year for those of us who work in the New York financial markets. Today is the winter “freeze”. It isn’t a very exciting event to those outside of IT but for us it is the “vacation” period at the end of the year. For almost a month we go into a “no changes” made mode to the infrastructure which means we do only a small amount of normal support work and no “project” work which massively reduces the workload.

It is cold and windy today but the weather isn’t bad. Oreo was so exhausted last night that we decided that I should stay home with him today so that he could get some rest. The long weekend at daycare was just too much for him. He was out like a light as soon as we got him home last night and today he slept pretty solidly until around four this afternoon when he finally asked me to take him out for his first walk of the day.

There was a lot of cleaning to do around the apartment today. We had lots of packing from all of the stuff that has been shipped here recently. And the dishes were out of control.

Oreo is liking the new armchair. It sits very close to where I sit while I work at my desk and that means that he can sleep very close to me and I can just lean over and say hello whenever he wakes up and looks to see if I am still around.

Dominica got home early since she did not have to make the trip up to pick up Oreo from daycare. We got dinner from Market City downstairs in our building and had a quiet evening in spent mostly reading. Min is trapped in R. A. Salvatore’s “Homeland” now and will be doing little else until the book is done, I imagine.

Andy got back to Rochester this evening after having been in North Bay, Ontario, Canada over the weekend. Not the best of days to be doing lots of driving.

Things were very, very quiet tonight. I didn’t receive any work emails between six and nine and so I decided to just shut down and let people find me in the morning.

I did a little equipment hunting on eBay tonight. I am looking for bargains on HP Compaq D325 workstations. They were a great workhorse machine not long ago but were not all that popular with businesses who were gunshy of the 32bit AMD AthlonXP processor that they came with having not seen it in the business world in any serious machine until that particular model even though it was well proven in the consumer space. The AthlonXP ran hot but had amazing 32bit performance and ran circles around any similarly priced 32bit Intel processor. So now I look for the D325 because it is one of the best values in recently used commercial equipment deals.

I took the time to join the alumni association for my undergraduate university this evening. While doing so I noticed the rather offensive “what race are you” question that had about thirty possible answers which included: African American, Native African, Indian, East Indian, American Indian, Mexican and about twenty different Asian nationalities and… white. Now seriously, how prejudice is this list?

First of all, there is no black. Just African American and Native African as slaps in the face to blacks from anywhere else who don’t make the list (other than the ubiquitous “other”.) For those who claim that there are no other blacks first of all, tsk tsk tsk, and secondly, what about Australia?

Then, secondly, what does “Indian” mean when you have American Indian & East Indian in the list? Is there some Indian that I don’t know about?

Thirdly, why do all of the Asian countries get listed as nationalities when all of Europe and the Middle East and lots and lots of other places get listed as “white”? We don’t deserve national identities like everyone else does?

Part of the list is racial. Part of the list is national. And part of it is indeterminate or continental. What about a white South African who grows up in Hong Kong and is a citizen of China? You would fall under Native African (obviously they thought all Africans are black but forgot about the dozen or so countries that are mostly white there), white (because you gotta sneak a race in there somewhere) and Chinese. So you have specified a race, country and continent. But which to choose when you only get one? And, conversely, if you are a Native Australian you are left being “other”.

Why are whites singled out as the only group explicitly mentioned by race anyway? I can’t tell who is being slighted here (other than a few completely unmentioned groups – they can take the time to mention Singaporean within “Asian” but can’t mention black? That seems a pretty obvious slight to those who are black and not from Africa or are black and just don’t want to make claims to a continent of ancestral assumption.) But “racial equality” was definitely the farthest thing from the mind of whoever was writing this!

Speaking of college. We did some research and there is a very real possibility that Dominica might be able to qualify for a two year Associate of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Empire State College with just one more four credit class. We don’t know for sure but we think that it looks likely. We are trying to get a definitive answer as quickly as possible. We had determined that her second BS degree was going to take a really long time and it was daunting for someone who is almost thirty and already has one four year degree to be looking four years out to hopefully be completing her second one after already doing two years towards it! And until she has the BS she would have mostly nothing to show for all of the work (and the expense!) But with an Associates under her belt she will have something to show for her work thus far and something to put on her resume instead of having to wait several more years for it to help in the least. So we are hopeful that that will work out.

Speaking of college expenses – I just noticed that Dominica’s original college loans are still costing us over $1,000 in interest payments alone!  The interest rate on her college loan is about the same as you would get on a used car!  (In fact, it is the same as what we got on our last used car.)

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