austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Sounds of the city pounding in my brain

News from a sibling! Not my sister, of course. The sibling in question is the one who's living in California, who moved there after several heartbreaking incidents in a row, and who's been going through a series of jobs which start out well but rapidly disintegrate when he's expected to do specific tasks by certain deadlines as ordered by these imperious people who call them his boss or his manager or something like that. But he's recently secured a new job, different from last month's, as a very minor minion somewhere in the University of California universe, meaning that someday he stands a real chance of making whole dollars in pension off of this job.

His particular job is reading over the preprints of books containing enormous quantities of legal type and verifying that they are all in the correct typefaces, sizes, and weightings. I could manage this job for hours, I think, before going mad, but it's working out great for him. He says he loves it, but then he always loves the job the first couple weeks of it. He's rolling in cash, too, at least compared to his old position where if I heard it right he was making about $605 a month, which would be a fine salary if he were living in 1947. In his new job -- I swear -- he says he's making so much money that he can actually buy food from the grocery store.

And he's got great news about his master's degree, which had been derailed by pretty much every catastrophe which can happen to a thesis, including the all-time classic ``thesis advisor goes on a sabbatical year without telling anyone including the department head'' and, if I'm not mistaken, the less-common but still formidable ``laptop with all the drafts on it confiscated by SWAT team''. (Messy situation, long since resolved as much in his favor as possible.) But my brother kept plugging away as every attempt to gather data failed and every project he tried exploded in one way or another, and he finally sent to his replacement-replacement-replacement advisor a draft which the advisor thought just needed minor grammatical modifications. ``So how close am I to being done?'' he asked, and the advisor was surprised: he'd meant to say that my brother was done, and just had to turn in the appropriate paperwork; somehow that wasn't communicated before. But now at long, long last my brother will have his masters degree unless of course his luck holds up.

Trivia: In 1670 Amsterdam became the second European capital city to introduce public street lighting. Source: The Essence of Style, Joan DeJean.

Currently Reading: The Sixth Great Power: A History of One of the Greatest of all Banking Families, the House of Barings, 1762 - 1929, Philip Ziegler.

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