Friday, January 8 2021

intentional mispronunciations, smart watches, and joke fridays

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! I can't believe we made it to Friday. It got just a little dicey at the beginning of the week. Time felt like it was standing still, and we'd be trapped in the work week forever. But on this dreary overcast Friday the metaphoric sun is still peeking out of the clouds, making me think that soon the warm metaphoric sunshine of a lazy Saturday will be shining upon us. Emphasis on metaphor, it is anything but warm and sunny right now.

I'm on kind of a weird time table today. Rolling into bed last night I barely remembered that I had an appointment this Friday morning. I'm finally getting my stitches removed. If you have coffee with you now, let's raise our mugs and toast to the long awaited reunion of all ten of Alex's fingers as well as his new found respect for sharp knives.

Sip. I think it's going to be a good day today. After I get back, I have a pretty flexible work day. Today is the first full Friday I've had in a while. The half day thing my work was doing expired with the end of December, and just to make sure that I don't instinctively crawl into bed for a 2:00 PM nap, I sprinkled in some afternoon meetings. I have a remote story time with the cousins over lunch, and I'm wrapping up the day with a 1-on-1 training sessions with our new teammate Sarah. In a weird coincidence, Sarah and I grew up in practically the same suburbs. "I lived in Schaumburg for a while," she said, her voice trailing off with the expectation that nobody in the zoom room knew or cared where Schaumburg was.

"That's my hometown!" I chimed in. "Scumburg. Straight outta Schaumpton." We exchanged some of our other favorite intentional mispronunciations of suburbs in the Chicagoland. The Strolling Ghettos. Hangover Park. Hoffman Mistakes. And probably the most childish of all - Smelgin.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I had a nice spread of quiet working time and easy meetings. For lunch, I slapped together a box of mac and cheese to go with our paella leftovers. I helped out with an interesting vault and terraform snarl another team was having with our stuff. I finished out the day with a 1-on-1 with our intern Connor. He signed on to the call sporting his new smart watch he got as a Christmas present.

"It's good for me," he said sleepily staring past the webcam. "I feel like I should wear a watch."

"Who says you need to wear a watch?" I chided.

"I don't know," he laughed. "I just feel like a normal functioning person needs to have stuff like that - a watch, a wallet, keys..."

"It makes you feel like someone who has their shit together," I laughed.

His glowing review of his new Garmin smartwatch piqued my interest. I told him that I practically fell in love with my Pebble Watch. It was the perfect device, and it only pessimistically makes sense that the company would go under. After the Pebble, no other smart watches really appealed to me. The Apple watch only works if you have an iPhone. The others just seem hit or miss to me.

"But Garmin I trust," I said. "Did you know I still have a Garmin GPS in my car?"

"I remember that," said Connor. "It came up when we were talking about how we still have an appreciation for technology that does only one thing, but does it well."

That's what I got today. Hope you have a wonderful Friday.

New Segment Alert! from hence forth, Friday journal entries will include a joke. I don't know many, so I'm enlisting your help. If you'd like your joke featured, please send an email to with the word "joke" in the subject line.

A professor stoically sits at the front of a large lecture hall. In front of him, all two hundred seats in the classroom are filled as students work in a quiet frenzy. It's finals week, and in this particular class, the final exam is notoriously difficult. Minutes turn to hours, and slowly students begin to get up from their seats, making the long walk up to the front of the classroom to leave their paper on the professor's desk. The bell rings. The professor barks out "pencil's down! The assignment is finished." The rest of the students reluctantly get up and flock to the front of the room, leaving a large stack of papers on the desk. Just before getting up, the professor notices one student left in the back of the classroom. "Excuse me sir," says the professor angrily. "The exam is over - pencils down." The student ignores the professor and continues to write. Getting irritated, the professor raises his voice a little louder and more forcefully. "Sir, pencils DOWN." The student ignores him just as before and continues to write. The professor, now brimming with anger, stands up out of his chair. "PENCILS DOWN!" The student looks up and smiles, gives a small wave, then continues to write. The professor takes a minute to compose himself, then addresses the student again. "Sir, I'll have you know that your exam has been voided," he said threateningly. "No point now, you have failed." The student writes for a few more minutes. Finally, the student gets up, leisurely walking up to the front of the room. The professor's eyes follow him. "Sir, you have failed the exam. You went well over the allowed time," repeated the professor. The student leans in close to the professor over the desk. His smile vanishes, and with a steely glare he whispers, "do you know who I am?" The professor, now reeling with anger, exclaims "NO - I do not know who you are." The student smiles, quickly slipping his exam into the middle of the towering stack of papers on his desk. "Good," he replied. "Have a nice summer, professor."