Christina gets a week off and Overtired gets commandeered by tech writers. Victor Agreda Jr, Erin Dawson, and Brett chat about writing, careers, and coding. Or not coding. That is the question. Or one of them. There are lots of questions.
It’s a US holiday, so we didn't sell spots. But we made you an episode anyway, because we're not just in it for the money. We're in it for listeners like you.
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[00:00:00] Brett: Hey everybody happy Thanksgiving. Uh, we, we don’t technically have sponsors today. Still. We could have taken a week off and wa okay. So Christina did take a week off. I decided to pull together a Motley crew of tech writers from Oracle and do a special Thanksgiving episode with no real sponsors. But yeah.
[00:00:28] Um, anyway, I’m Brett TURPs DRO. I’m here with Aaron Dawson and Victor, uh, Gretta junior. I don’t, I never remember if I sent, if I’m saying a Gretta, right?
[00:00:40] Victor: You got it perfectly. right?
[00:00:41] Brett: God damn. I’m good. How are you guys doing?
[00:00:45] Erin: Doing so good, Brett, how are you, how are you doing?
[00:00:49] Brett: Aye. Aye. Aye.
[00:00:50] Victor: that? Was that.
[00:00:51] Brett: I have a couple, we have like unlimited vacation time, so they don’t technically give us holidays at all. Um, it’s just days that everyone agrees. They’re [00:01:00] not coming to work. And I think we all agreed. We get Friday off. So I’m on day two of a four day weekend. I’m good.
[00:01:09] Erin: Oh, absolutely. Victor, how are you
[00:01:11] Victor: doing? Yeah, well, same. I mean, I’m, I’m taking this time to, uh, to have a good sit.
[00:01:19] Brett: Okay. And set. Does that mean watching TV?
[00:01:22] Victor: It means partly staring out the window, honestly, which is just as good as TV?
[00:01:26] these days.
[00:01:27] Brett: No. No, it’s not.
[00:01:28] Victor: Oh,
[00:01:29] Erin: hold up. I want to get back to the PTO thing a few episodes ago as a loyal listener. I, I do remember Christina saying, you know, unlimited PTO is a scam. I want to interrogate that for a second. I like, I like the spirit of that, but I,
[00:01:45] Victor: I have some thoughts.
[00:01:46] Brett: the only real reason that anyone has ever given me by way of explanation, uh, is that. Uh, when you have like specific amount of vacation time, like you get two weeks, your first [00:02:00] year of employment, uh, you get paid. If you don’t use them, uh, you get paid after you leave the company for unused vacation. With PTO, you don’t accrue any like money there.
[00:02:18] It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. And the fact is Oracle is super good about letting you use unlimited vacation. Like I’ve taken a couple of weeks off already and like people cover for you and it’s just accepted. And I don’t think it’s a scam. I think it’s actually a really good, a really cool thing.
[00:02:40] Erin: Agree agree. Although I’ll take it in another direction though, I think. Okay. So, so I was. About a month for a pretty big surgery and U2 or such good sports about picking up my, my slack really. Um, and the reason I could do that is because of unlimited PTO. I probably [00:03:00] could’ve gone through medical leave or some formal measure, but I didn’t have to what this does though, is that it.
[00:03:07] Just because you take PTO doesn’t mean that you’re the work that you’re responsible for. It takes PTO as well. So that can get kind of complicated politically. Right? So this week we had three working days, really. Um, which meant that for me, this is true for me. Probably true for both of you as well. I had to squeeze in five days of work into this.
[00:03:31] Kind of right. And so it, I could see that being spun as a scam in, in a sense,
[00:03:38] Brett: feel like that’s true of any job where you have a three day week.
[00:03:42] Victor: right.
[00:03:43] Brett: Um, there was a week when you were gone that I took off too, and we left Victor alone to do both of our
[00:03:50] Victor: As a new
[00:03:51] Brett: in his first month of employment.
[00:03:53] Victor: Well, the good news is. Nothing ever bad happens to my [00:04:00] workflow or tech stack. So you knew that like, everything was going to go swimmingly and according to,
[00:04:06] Brett: flawless.
[00:04:07] Victor: uh, apologies to those of you, who’ve read my Twitter feed. Cause you know, that’s a huge lie.
[00:04:14] Erin: And as a new JIRA user too, I’m sure you, you loved that and nothing went wrong there. Well,
[00:04:19] Victor: you know, right. Well, no, that’s the thing is that like I’ve used your a somewhat, but I think I Just used the board, which, you know, the, the Kanban board is very much like a, uh, a Trello board.
[00:04:31] Right. And I love Trello and I’ve used Trello a lot in various projects that I’ve been in. Um, so that aspect of it’s not so bad, but, uh, I remember right as I was starring. At Oracle will someone tweet, I can’t remember who tweeted this, but they said that it was like the JIRA interface is a nightmare for someone with ADHD, because there’s so many little buttons and things that you, I mean, it’s super flexible, right.
[00:04:54] But it’s the classic like problem where you’ve got all these buttons and dials and switches [00:05:00] and things that you could, you know, operate, but probably 90% of those you’re never going to touch.
[00:05:06] Erin: Is that a plane?
[00:05:08] Victor: Yes. Yeah.
[00:05:11] Erin: It’s like a synth to like modular sense. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Modulating a few, a few different
[00:05:17] Victor: buttons.
[00:05:18] I like that a lot. I like that a lot better. Cause I’m an old vintage synth guy as well.
[00:05:23] Brett: So
[00:05:24] Erin: Oh God. I, does sweet Atlassian dollars there. You’re never going to get them bred himself even though no
[00:05:31] Victor: sponsors, but yeah.
[00:05:33] Brett: I, uh, I realized while we were talking that I forgot to submit a time card.
[00:05:38] Victor: Oh God, me too.
[00:05:39] Brett: Here’s here’s the weird thing for people listening. All three of us are salaried employees, technically on paper, according to our contracts. However, due to something with the job posting, that’s never been explained to me. We have to submit time cards every week.
[00:05:57] We don’t have to punch in or punch out and the [00:06:00] time cards the same every week. But if we don’t submit it, we don’t get paid. And it’s, it’s frustrating and annoying and you have to be on VPN to submit a time card. And I hit that.
[00:06:12] Victor: Yeah, I’ve got to do that too, but also we got to put in the holiday stuff like for yesterday. So, uh, if we put it in today, we’ll have to change the template up so that.
[00:06:21] we add the holiday yesterday,
[00:06:24] Brett: I okay. So I just, I submit the same thing. You’ve been on holiday week. And sometimes they pay me a little extra and I figure come the last period. I will just check my like benefits record and see what my total compensation is versus what my salary is and adjust my last time card accordingly. They, I mean, they told, cause they’re the, somehow my, my pay fluctuates.
[00:06:55] I submit the same time and some, well, some weeks have like [00:07:00] 80 hours and some have 85 and I don’t know what that means,
[00:07:03] Victor: That’s what happens when you get paid in Bitcoin, man?
[00:07:05] Brett: it can mean up to a $500 difference between my paycheck. Like I have not figured out how to make it predictable yet. And so I brought it up with my manager and he said, um, if you’re short money, just add hours.
[00:07:21] So I figured I can fudge it
[00:07:23] Erin: I love that guy. I’m not going to say his name,
[00:07:26] Victor: but I really love him.
[00:07:27] Brett: at first saying nice things. I think you can say anything.
[00:07:30] Erin: Thank you. A M there you go.
[00:07:33] Victor: Redacted.
[00:07:35] Brett: yeah. So what I was going to ask you guys, um, about being a tech writer, when you aren’t a programmer for a company that’s making services for programmers, how’s that working.
[00:07:49] Victor: So, okay. Yeah. Yeah. I, I I’ve, I’ve actually been thinking about this recently where it’s like, uh, and I think this is true at a lot of places where you’re scaling up, you know? Cause I was [00:08:00] amazed that like more people keep joining our team and I’m like, okay, well we’re not done. Putting all the players on the team basically.
[00:08:06] Right. And I’m going to keep using this sports metaphors, sorry. Uh, I’m not a sports guy, but for some reason they just come to me. Uh, but I thought about the fact that like, we were still putting the team together and we, we haven’t even like practice the fundamentals, so to speak. It’s just like I joined up and like, everybody was like running drills, uh, but also playing a game at the same time.
[00:08:30] And so. I think that there’s a lot to be said for like kind of pausing what you’re doing and, and going back and saying like, okay, does everybody have grasp of the fundamentals? Because there’s some things that I’m just rusty on. Um, and then there’s some other things like we’ve, we’ve been doing these, not, this is an outside or inside baseball too much.
[00:08:50] I think to say that like when we put code blocks in, right. Like identifying what kind of code that is, um, and. For folks who know [00:09:00] probably everyone who listens to this podcast, it’s like, you know, those design patterns or whatever. It’s like, we just need a little bit of training to know what those look like.
[00:09:08] And it’s like, okay. But like, when do we get that pause? Right? When do we get that opportunity to do it? We just do it as we go. Um, which is a very interesting kind of thing. Like you would not do that. Uh, in a lot of other contexts, like EMT is don’t do that. They train a lot and then they go out in an ambulance and do stuff.
[00:09:27] Brett: Yeah. W like I I’ve been trying to put myself in the shoes of someone who’s not using terminal every day, who then has to format. Code samples that are terminal commands with output sometimes with multi-lines and like trying to look at that and figure out what’s what, and I have a lot of sympathy. I don’t know that’s going to, it took me years to be able to read that stuff.
[00:09:55] I don’t know how you’re expected to just jump in and do that, which leads me [00:10:00] to. We’re supposed to start doing the tutorials that we’re, we’re writing up. And right now I have no reason to be excited about any of our products, because I have never been presented with a use case or a tutorial that makes me think, oh, dude, I didn’t know.
[00:10:17] It could do that. I want to try this. Like, nothing has applied to me yet. And like, go ahead.
[00:10:25] Erin: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I think this is a good discussion. So there’s, there’s one part of the discussion, which is like being, being a non programmer writer or being a non like developer writer. Um, but I think for folks who work at cloud companies and who are writers, there’s another half of that conversation, which is like, Do you really know what the value proposition of the cloud is and, and further, can you be articulate about, um, the, the working parts of the cloud?
[00:10:58] Can you talk about [00:11:00] virtual machines and instances and deployment? Uh, this kind of thing. And that to me is, is much more intimidating and daunting as like a field of knowledge than like. Go Lang is to me because like, if you know what a for-loop is, you can identify that in most languages, you can, you can, you can kind of think about the concept of closure and, and see that in other languages.
[00:11:30] But the whole cloud thing is, is another field of knowledge entirely that I don’t think either of us are super confident in with. You kind of need to be, to start, you know, going through these tutorials, tutorials ourselves to test them and know what they’re trying to do. Um, is that, is that
[00:11:53] Victor: resonating at all?
[00:11:56] Yeah, I mean, no, I, I, I get that entirely, I guess. [00:12:00] In my case, I’ve had a little bit of, I have had a little bit of exposure to this, and honestly, I don’t know if y’all knew this, but I edited Corey Quinn’s podcast. So if you all look up Corey Quinn, uh, he’s a,
[00:12:11] Brett: We mentioned him just a few weeks ago.
[00:12:13] Victor: are you serious? Well, Christina has been on his show a couple of times, I think.
[00:12:17] And it was funny cause I edited her show. It’s like, oh my gosh, you know, a small world, but he’s a cloud economist, which He is very tongue in cheek kind of self appointed name, but that’s how crazy this stuff has gotten. Is that just figuring out and I will say this Amazon web service, like bills can be very complicated because of the way that they.
[00:12:37] They’re charging for services as opposed to Oracle, which does a great job, but that’s not a sponsorship. Um, but that’s, that’s the thing, like for me, it’s a little bit easier because I’ve, I’ve just been. Soaking in some of these like terms and stuff, but I will tell you that it, it was, uh, a shocking, like jarring experience to go from public [00:13:00] radio, doing like local news and stuff.
[00:13:01] And I kind of had exited technology for a bit and then come back and to think about where we are now versus where we are at like 2001. When I started learning. Server, you know, administration and that kind of thing. Uh it’s it’s crazy. So it’s also one of those things where there’s so much out there. It can be just hard to figure out what the hell is going on to begin with, you know, like where to start.
[00:13:49] Brett: Um, this episode is brought to you by pizza hut, uh, when you’ve never heard of pizza before, try pizza hut.
[00:13:57] Victor: You
[00:13:58] Erin: know what out of, out of the [00:14:00] franchise pizza, we don’t have to go down this path, but out of the franchise pizzas, I don’t think you could do worse than a pizza hut
[00:14:07] Brett: Yeah, you could do Papa John’s.
[00:14:10] Victor: shots fired.
[00:14:11] Brett: I haven’t, I haven’t eaten a franchise pizza since. Good Lord. It’s got it. Must’ve been at least 15 years since I’ve actually like ordered, uh, like delivery pizza. I like
[00:14:26] Victor: was the
[00:14:27] Erin: weirdest brag I’ve
[00:14:27] Victor: ever heard.
[00:14:28] Brett: pizza, a pizza from the co-op. I make my own pizza, but I’m like, I wouldn’t.
[00:14:34] Victor: from the trash. Thanks for
[00:14:36] Victor and Erin: asking.
[00:14:36] Brett: went gluten-free for a long time.
[00:14:38] So I could only order like Calliflower across pizzas and,
[00:14:43] Victor: All
[00:14:43] Brett: and then I fixed my stomach. I did a crazy low FODMAP diet to try to figure out exactly where my IBS was coming from.
[00:14:54] Erin: Was it the elimination diet? Did you start with like just tomatoes or whatever? I guess tomatoes [00:15:00] would be a really bad example.
[00:15:01] Brett: Yeah. That’s the idea is like you, you cut out, you go to like absolutely no sugars at all. And then like for two day period, you add in a specific type of sugar, like lactose or gluten, or, uh, I forget all the different ones, but I went through it. It took like, I think two months. And, uh, my, my girlfriend helped me cause I couldn’t.
[00:15:26] Do that kind of diet on my own. It’s too much math. Um, but in the end we figured out I was sensitive to gluten and dairy, but in the process of doing all the eliminations, I like reset my digestive system. And now I’m not really sensitive to anything.
[00:15:44] Victor: Wow.
[00:15:46] Brett: It’s a winner.
[00:15:46] Erin: So it, it works. The elimination diet seems, uh, an in and FODMAP in general, seems like so much. You have to suffer so much to get to a baseline. That is like what, what a lot of people take for granted. [00:16:00] And I, I don’t know if I could do
[00:16:01] Brett: It’s not easy. I asked my doctor if I should do it. And he said, it’s impossible. No one can do that. But thanks to Al I pulled it off.
[00:16:13] Victor: Brett do
[00:16:13] Erin: you find, and this is an incredible segue. I think everyone’s going to agree and you could take it how you want it, but do you find that your diet affects your mental health corner?
[00:16:25] Brett: Huh, you know? Okay. So here’s the thing about, uh, Things that affect my mental health. I am, I have a horrible memory and this bizarre, inability to connect cause and effect. So when things happen to my mental health, say bipolar mood swings. I can’t. I almost never can I put together what precipitated it. So asking if diet effects, [00:17:00] because like anything you eat is going to not like affect your mood and the first 15 minutes and after 15 minutes, I’ve already forgotten the connection.
[00:17:11] So I don’t know.
[00:17:12] Victor: Yeah. Yeah. I,
[00:17:14] Erin: um, I, I know that gut biome is a powerful source of, of, um, mental wellness, but I time and time again, fail to consider that every time I make a food decision, You know, for breakfast, I’ve been having a lot of blueberries and like whole foods, not processed stuff for lunch, but if this is a decision fatigue kind of thing, where at night, everything goes out the window.
[00:17:43] All of my decision points are spent for the day and I become a real idiot. Food and what I put in my body and the holidays exacerbate that for sure. Especially one like Thanksgiving, uh, which is, you know, when you’re [00:18:00] encouraged to just be as absolutely, um, gluttonous and BOQ anally, and as like Gil want, um, and that, and being around family that you might.
[00:18:12] Love who, who you might love actually, but may not like, um, that’s, that’s a recipe for, for some not-great mental health
[00:18:20] Brett: Yeah. Can’t you just keep can’t you just keep healthier snacks or.
[00:18:25] Victor: I don’t
[00:18:26] Erin: snack.
[00:18:28] Victor: I’ve got a big bag of desiccated, carrot chips in my fridge.
[00:18:32] Brett: Are you
[00:18:33] Victor: To a test.
[00:18:34] Brett: a thing?
[00:18:35] Victor: no, no, no. These are just like, uh, like where you take a carrot and you use like the crinkle cut thing?
[00:18:39] to like, just turn it into like slices. That’s a lot. Yeah.
[00:18:42] Yeah. Oh Yeah. I’ve got, I, I love the, the, uh, cartoon where it shows the one banana, it’s all like brown and gross and everything.
[00:18:50] And it’s like, nobody becomes banana bread. Cause you know, it’s, it’s like the young recruits, like I’m going to be banana bread when I go bad, you know? No, sorry. You’re going to go in the [00:19:00] trash.
[00:19:00] Brett: Yeah.
[00:19:01] Victor: Yeah, sad. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
[00:19:07] Brett: Yeah. Um, so, uh, uh, you guys have any personal questions for me that you never get to ask at work? We keep our conversation pretty inappropriate. We have a back channel on slack. Feel like you guys know me pretty well, but I will answer any questions.
[00:19:26] Victor: Yeah. When I was going to say it feels like you should have a mail bag for this, that like listeners are, are sending in questions that people ask questions.
[00:19:34] Brett: We have a discord for them.
[00:19:36] Victor: Oh,
[00:19:38] Brett: Yeah. So, uh, we we’re talking about work, which, you know, there are people at work who listened to the show. So I there’s like this. I kind of like it’s fuzzy line where I won’t. I won’t talk about too much inside baseball or say really bad things. Uh, cause I, I D I [00:20:00] don’t want to get fired.
[00:20:01] Um, and also I like my, like my job, but when I mentioned w that we were going to try to respect this very, very unknown wine, uh, Victor, you mentioned something about 2001 w what happened in 2001?
[00:20:16] Victor: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Uh, well, I, I didn’t want to. Erin was going to ask you a personal question though. I think
[00:20:22] Erin: I was going to be, I was being a little facetious. I’ve always wanted to know what your skincare routine was. Brett.
[00:20:28] Brett: Oh, that’s very funny.
[00:20:31] Victor: I’m very sorry.
[00:20:31] Brett: You do you, do you want to know what, what I think my secret to, uh, not having horrible skin in. I only shower three times a week and I don’t use soap on my face.
[00:20:48] Victor: Oh, you’re one of those.
[00:20:51] Brett: It works.
[00:20:52] Erin: Okay. Okay. Victor, I want to hear about 2001 so badly, but I very quickly, um, [00:21:00] So C above, like, I, I don’t know if I have food issues, but anytime someone tells me they had lunch, like I always want to know what it is they had. Um, and any time, um, showering and hygiene and bathing comes up, I’m really curious about everyone’s, um, soap preferences.
[00:21:19] Brett: Oh, my God. Dr. Bronner’s is what I use. Have you ever heard of it?
[00:21:25] Victor: you’re so much more
[00:21:25] Erin: crunchy than I give
[00:21:26] Brett: Oh, I am a fucking granola hippie. It’s weird. Like I was anti hippie, my whole life growing up punk rock, like hippies were the worst. And then I CA I started dating like
[00:21:41] Victor: Yeah,
[00:21:42] Brett: and I just, I just fell into it. But.
[00:21:47] Erin: Fuck that like hit hippies rock, but like why, why have we been, I mean, I know why, But.
[00:21:53] we’ve been. You know, so this message of like hippies are lazy and fuck them. [00:22:00] They care about the planet
[00:22:01] Brett: No. See, it was never that it’s just that they’re annoying. Like I can’t stand the dead. I can’t stand fish. I can’t stand the culture around them like that. I, I, I just, they annoy the hell out of me, but people who are socially conscious and environmentally conscious and, uh, concerned with their health, like that’s all good stuff.
[00:22:23] I have no problem with.
[00:22:26] Victor: I
[00:22:26] Erin: think, I think this sort of, um, outside the stereotype of being outspoken is. Is one of the worst stereotypes. So vegans get this a lot. Um, and, and, and, uh, you see this on the other side too, right? We’re like, if you’re a proud boy, like you’re going to tell people that you’re a proud white, right. So, um, It’s
[00:22:48] Brett: the new.
[00:22:50] Erin: Exactly and, and pride is a sin. So I, maybe they should, should read their book a little more, but, but any, I it’s not being annoying is [00:23:00] agnostic. Like if you’re really a few sieve about the thing that you believe in that is kind of annoying, just let people like what they like, even if it’s not what you like anyway.
[00:23:10] 2001. I can’t wait to hear about it.
[00:23:14] Victor: Um, yeah. Well, that’s a, that was a good segue, um, to lead us back into that. Well, the best in the biz, I I’ve, I’ve told this story so many times it actually gets summed up pretty quickly, which is that I was working for a.com startup at the time classic story. Um, not living in Silicon valley though, living here in Knoxville, Tennessee, and.
[00:23:37] Newlywed and had started this job. Honestly, the idea of the company was mine, but the powers that be had brought in this guy who was like a Harvard MBA and JD, which he got at the same time. Um, and yet it was one of the dumbest people I’ve ever worked for, uh, uh, jurors jurors. He’s a law degree
[00:23:59] Brett: Okay.[00:24:00]
[00:24:00] Victor: jurisdiction.
[00:24:01] I don’t know. Uh, and, uh, who’s the dumb one now, Vic, you know? Um,
[00:24:08] and so we’re working, we’re doing this thing. It’s like a spinoff of a video production company. That’s been around a long time that has its roots in the show. Hey dude, if anybody remembers that on Nickelodeon back in the day, and there’s a whole group of people who just got super excited about.
[00:24:26] But these are TV production people. We had this internet streaming thing or whatever, and we hired some guy as some kid at the university. You remember when flash intros were cool, this is back in that era. And we had this kid make this flash website for us all flash of course. And. It was terrible. Like the, the, if you stayed on the intro page, it would start doubling up on the playback, but it was offset.
[00:24:55] So it was like this horrible echo type effect. And then the navigation that works. So [00:25:00] I found a website that showed how to do the gel. Look, you remember iOS 10 was also fairly new and the gel look and Photoshop was, you know, a cool effect. And so I was learning how.
[00:25:12] Brett: for it everywhere.
[00:25:14] Victor: Yes exactly. So I found some random tutorial that I think involved the word monkey and the name, it wasn’t web monkey, but it was just like a couple of designers that, you know, had an HTML page and so. I emailed them like, Hey guys, thanks for your tutorial. This is really cool. Um, by the way, don’t go to my company’s website. It’s terrible. I mean, that was pretty much it. Now I named the company in the email. They published my email, unbeknownst to me on their website.
[00:25:43] And here’s the great part is that the CEO of like the parent company or whatever, uh, did a Yahoo search. And the Yahoo search because our name was so unique. Uh, it popped up my fucking letter as one of the [00:26:00] top, like solutions or answers, whatever the hell they, you know, who called things. And, uh, yeah. And so next thing, you know, I’m being brought into my immediate bosses, uh, the, the JD MBA genius, uh, and being fired.
[00:26:14] And my wife at the time was, uh, like seven. Or no, no, like six months pregnant, I think with our first kid. So, and we got, uh, I got fired in November right around this time. Yeah. memories.
[00:26:30] Brett: Do you remember the we’ve talked about it on this show before and I have, but, um, I, I had a client when I was doing freelance web design. That didn’t pay me and their site was getting like one hit a week. So I, uh, I just redesigned the whole site and changed all the texts to be about how they don’t pay their bills.
[00:26:55] Uh, like nothing slender, it’s just facts. And, uh, [00:27:00] someone saw it. Uh, I can’t, I think it was actually Christina who blogged it at Mashable, like with a post titled, this is why you pay your web design. And all of the sudden, uh, it was getting like 500 hits a second. It was just like crashing. And I’m getting frantic phone calls from the, the business owners.
[00:27:22] And I’m going to Sue you and I’m going to, this is, and I was like, I’ll take it down, but you haven’t paid me. And I still own the domain. So you got nothing. There’s no, there’s no slanderous. It’s, it’s not, it’s not slander if it’s true, at least in my understanding of the law.
[00:27:41] Victor: Yeah.
[00:27:42] Brett: Um, but yeah. Anyway, so this episode is brought to you by gold bond.
[00:27:49] Are you into aggressive masturbation? Try gold bond, gold bond for all your aggressive masturbation needs. Um, Aaron, you just added [00:28:00] a really great question to the Quip document. Uh, do you wanna, do you wanna approach that.
[00:28:07] Victor: I will
[00:28:07] Erin: broach. I will broach. I was thinking about the, let’s ask each other personal questions that we’d be too, uh, scared to, and, and in slack or whatever. Here’s one thing that got me thinking like Brett, it is apparent that you, you really care, you really care about small tech things. Um, and, and by small tech things, I mean like minor details that a lot of.
[00:28:41] Um, would not give a shit about, but get under your skin so profoundly when done wrong. And I really respect this and I, I think as writers, we all, um, are pretty detail oriented. I’m not talking about writing really. Um, I think I could be wrong here if I [00:29:00] had to guess I would maybe. Say that you see a lot of you dedicate a lot of, um, psychic energy to thinking about maybe your, your setup in your office.
[00:29:13] Um, what you’re running at any time. Um, am I in my warm?
[00:29:19] Victor: I’ll keep going.
[00:29:20] Brett: Well, I mean, that’s all true, but I’m not sure
[00:29:23] Victor: Yeah. Yes. I think with me,
[00:29:25] Brett: what. Okay, go ahead.
[00:29:26] Victor: so
[00:29:28] Erin: I love that. I love that you. I have found a career. Um, Making making a living caring about these things that you would otherwise care very deeply about and you’re getting paid for it. I know it’s much more complex than this and you do things you don’t want to all of the time. I know a lot of us too.
[00:29:50] Um, but this, this is about a larger discussion about not, not just you specifically, but why all of us do what we [00:30:00] do, yada yada, like professionally. In our professional lives. like, we didn’t just do StrengthsFinder 2.0 and be calm writers. Right. Like I was thinking about this the other day in my life. I am a writer.
[00:30:13] Why am I a writer? Um, am I a writer? Because there is an unconscious part of me that is insecure about being articulate. And if I am hyper articulate, not that I am. Um, but if I am in a career in which I am paid to. Really read subtext and to, and to communicate humor when it’s, when it’s appropriate and to be serious error messages, whatever.
[00:30:44] Um, when what I need to be serious and be dynamic is what I’m saying. Um, and through that, be ultimately articulate. I can overcome. That’s sort of insecurity or anxiety that I see in [00:31:00] myself and my identity. Um, and I’m wondering if that is true for both of you. How have you found your way here? Maybe because this career offers you a way to think about yourself, a
[00:31:19] Victor: new.com.
[00:31:21] Brett: I like, I I’ve always been a writer like, uh, growing up, my mom was an English teacher. I loved language. I just like writing was super natural for me, but also like I loved rural. Uh, I like things that have rules. I don’t like, um, I’m a rebel and all of that, but I like to know the rules before I break them.
[00:31:48] And, uh, language has a lot of rules, especially the English language. And I really, I glommed onto that and I loved writing, but I went to school to go [00:32:00] into web design. And, uh, I, and I started programming and learned all of that. And then I just started, all of my writing, went into blogging about this stuff.
[00:32:10] I was programming and I wasn’t professionally writing anything. And then Victor hired me to write for the unofficial apple web blog based on, you know, my own little blog at the time. And, uh, and I realized that I really kinda liked professional writing. But I didn’t go into it. At that point I kept, most of my writing was just.
[00:32:34] Blogging. And then I got, uh, fed up with day jobs and basically became a professional blogger slash app developer and thought I was going to do that forever until this job at Oracle came up. And the reason I got it is because Victor passed on it originally, it was basically, they were looking for what I was doing [00:33:00] anyway.
[00:33:01] And it was just kind of a perfect fit. Did that answer the question?
[00:33:08] Erin: Yeah. Yeah, I think so. So I’m thinking about mostly that. That, that dark spot of your identity that we all have where we’re really insecure about, um, like a perceived in efficiency that we have. And if we can, um, play to our weakness, if we can prop up that inefficient inefficiency or insecurity and like really hone that and make that part of our identity, it goes away and.
[00:33:40] And interior life, your identity becomes more tolerable to you or something. Right. And what I hear from you is like, it’s not really about that. It’s about adherence to systems and
[00:33:55] Brett: of the
[00:33:56] Erin: being creative. Yeah.
[00:33:57] Brett: The part of the, part of the beauty of knowing the rules [00:34:00] is you feel protected, like as long as you follow the rules and the rules in my book have been accumulated over a lifetime of mistakes. Uh, people pointing out errors, people saying you’re doing this wrong. And then I internalize the rules.
[00:34:16] And at this point in my life, I feel like I have a big enough rule book that I can always find a way to. Do you feel protected? Like I understand the rules and I can, I can justify any decisions I make. And, um, I have confidence that I never used to have. Like, it was, it was trial and error.
[00:34:39] Victor: Let me, let
[00:34:39] Erin: me follow up and play armchair therapist here for a second. Then I want to hear from vector. If you have something to say, Victor, um, do you feel breath that like if given enough time and given enough experience that you could add enough roles to the roll book and achieve a kind of.
[00:34:58] Perfection. Do you think [00:35:00] that’s not, not consciously, but do you think that’s the idea kind of,
[00:35:04] Brett: Yeah.
[00:35:04] Erin: cause I’m attracted to that. Like who wouldn’t want that? I mean, this is learning from experience and you’re
[00:35:11] Brett: Yeah, give me, let me do this for 50 years. And by the time I’m done, I I’ll, I’ll be flawless.
[00:35:19] Victor: Do you,
[00:35:20] Erin: do you really think you can achieve like a kind of perfection there and would that be helpful?
[00:35:24] Brett: Um, like rationally. No.
[00:35:28] Victor: Hi, Ray.
[00:35:29] Erin: Sorry, I’ve been, I’ve been really into therapy recently,
[00:35:33] Brett: Yeah.
[00:35:33] Erin: but I like thinking about those kinds of things, Victor. I’m sorry if I’ve been talking for ages.
[00:35:38] Victor: No, no, that’s, that’s fair. This is fascinating conversation because that’s, uh, I’ve, I’ve always wondered, you know, you, you read about stuff like, uh, ADHD and neurodivergence any of that stuff. Right. And, and you’re always going to come across where one of the symptoms aspects, whatever might be perfectionism, uh, and that can tie into, [00:36:00] you know, failure to launch and, and doing all these other things, uh, that are connected, you know, like all of our neurons and. I don’t think that that is a particular driver for me. Um, I think that all of this stuff stems from the fact that I grew up around technology. Uh, I got, we got our first computer when I was six years old. Uh, it was an apple two and this was like 1978 or 1979. And, uh, every, but I also have photographs of me as a little kid behind a typewriter.
[00:36:33] And so like my two passions are, you know, like education and communication, um, teaching people how to do stuff with technology is kind of like my sweet spot. Um, and all of this just seems like a natural progression towards that kind of goal. Um, yeah. So it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s oddly not driven by any sort of [00:37:00] like personal desire to.
[00:37:01] Make stuff like perfectly understandable. Um, but I admire that quality in both of you, frankly.
[00:37:09] Erin: I think the larger field of writing is, I mean, writers. Nominally to be known. And if you can choose one field of writing to absolutely erase your identity, it is technical. Yeah.
[00:37:24] Victor: That’s true. That’s very true.
[00:37:26] Well, that’s why I do Like comedy and stuff on the side is I can scratch that narcissistic itch. Uh,
[00:37:35] Erin: that’s what that is. Super narcissistic. I
[00:37:36] Victor: love that. Right.
[00:37:39] Brett: Like my blog has always been super technical. Um, I write or write about programming, but somehow I’ve managed to develop like, and when I, when GE hired me, that was one of the things he said is he read my whole blog and he said, you bring this sense of humor to tech writing. And that’s why I [00:38:00] thought I could do it now.
[00:38:01] Now being told, I need to be funny when writing about this stuff is I can’t, I can’t, I don’t know what to do with it, but it is possible.
[00:38:11] Victor: Well, I would say also by the way, that that’s part of my, like, conversation about the fundamentals is like we’re still out there practicing on the field. There’s but at the same time, there’s a game tomorrow. Like there’s always that sort of, and that I’ll just tell you from an organizational standpoint, this is something I’m going to bring up anyway.
[00:38:29] But like from an organizational standpoint, that’s, that’s a recipe for disaster because. You’re going in too many directions at once and we need to focus up on this thing and then, okay. Anyway, that’s my Ted lasso stuff again. Sorry.
[00:38:42] Brett: Th this is where that Quintin guy came up in our previous conversation is, uh, he found, he found ways to be irreverent and humorous, uh, within the realm of
[00:38:54] Victor: Yeah, but he’s, he’s been doing this a long ass time. Like I found out the reason why I ended [00:39:00] up editing his podcast was because a friend of mine who’s here knew him back when, uh, Corey used to live in Oak Ridge. He used to work at Oakridge national lab and which is just right up the street from me. And so. He was here, but he’s been doing that since the early two thousands. So he’s remembers on-prem and you know, now it’s in cloud and all in a hybrid and all this crap, but that’s the thing is that once you have established a certain, uh, comfortableness with your subject material, then you can play with it.
[00:39:27] I mean, that’s the classic thing. It’s, it’s the same in magic. It’s the same in comedy. It’s the same in writing.
[00:39:32] Once you get to know that. Yeah. And music. Exactly. It’s like, once you’re familiar with these things, then you can play with that. And so, Brett, you’re very familiar with a lot of the things that we’re dealing with, at least in an abstract, you may not know like growl VM, you know, but you know yeah.
[00:39:47] But you know what it does and you can conceptualize how it could be used with other technologies. Whereas Erin and I are like, okay, what the hell is girl VM? And what the hell do you do with this shit? You know,
[00:39:58] Brett: If it makes you feel any better? [00:40:00] I could not answer that question. I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, what I would use it for, how it applies to anything I’m doing that. Like, there are definitely areas that baffled me. Like I, I have a coding background. And like given the, I have the tools to, to build an understanding very quickly, but we deal with stuff every day that I just, I, I don’t have the motivation to learn every.
[00:40:29] Term that comes across my plate. Uh, and like I was saying before there, if a use case is presented to me, like you could do this cool thing if you had this tool, it’s just that I, I rarely get. Like I learned a lot about AWS because there were things I could do that applied to like my little freelance projects, things that I could incorporate.
[00:40:59] [00:41:00] And, and improve what I was doing using new tools. And so I learned them, uh, I just, I need, I need the use cases, a tutorial that just tells us, uh, here’s how you can set up this type of database on this type of service, uh, is not of interest to me. If you told me, if you set up this kind of database on this type of service, you can do.
[00:41:25] This cool thing. Here’s an example. That’s a tutorial I might be interested in and that’s where I think we need to go.
[00:41:32] Erin: This is, yeah. And this parallels that. We were kind of having earlier, which is like part of you needs to be activated enough to care about, um, doing this as a living. And part of you needs to be activated to appeal to you. Um, in terms of like adding a new microservice to your like CICT flow or something like it has to appeal.
[00:41:59] [00:42:00] Otherwise it’s just soup. It’s knowledge. It’s not going to go in that like dictionary, you know?
[00:42:06] Brett: Dude, if I can find, if I can find something to glom onto as like a real, I could be Chris Benson who makes these crazy pie clusters like the world’s largest PI cluster and, and PI power, uh, Lego cars. And just does these. Insane mad science stuff. Using Oracle cloud is a backend. If I could find the stuff that interests me, the way that pie raspberries interests
[00:42:37] Victor: Right.
[00:42:38] Brett: I could totally start writing like killer content and, uh, like be a total evangelist.
[00:42:45] I’m just waiting for that light bulb.
[00:42:50] Victor: I kind of am
[00:42:50] Erin: too. Um, Brett, I think your first, what, what our manager, um, insert name here, uh, asked you to do as like a first, [00:43:00] uh, assignment is to write all those like descriptions of the,
[00:43:03] Brett: descriptions.
[00:43:04] Erin: Yeah, microservices. I wonder if there’s something in there for all of us, you know, it might not be as sexy as like raspberry PI.
[00:43:14] Um, but I wonder if there’s like, that’s a, that’s a stepping stone to something,
[00:43:19] Brett: I.
[00:43:20] Erin: but then it’s like, what’s going to motivate us to even do that. That that’s step zero. There’s no motivation there
[00:43:27] Brett: So like for me, if like, when I hear about a new service, say I hear about an API that can, uh, do like sentiment analysis and nothing I’m working on right now requires sentiment analysis, but the API sounds accessible and easy to use. So I start thinking of like, what could I apply this to? What could I run through this?
[00:43:50] Gained some unexpected insight from, so I start a project and I start pulling together. Here’s how I’m gonna use the Twitter API [00:44:00] to download all tweets from, you know, this section of users and run it through this API and see what I get like, that’s the kind of thing I do for fun in my free time. Uh, I, instead of descriptions of 90 services, I need to know like, I need that use case that, that makes me want to just learn about it so I can see what it does.
[00:44:25] Erin: But wait, maybe there’s something there though. So I want to know back to like the personal thing. Like, I want to know why. You do that shit in your spare time? Not, not that it isn’t fun or isn’t desirable. I would like to do that shit in my spare time too. I, I find myself like making music and, and opening logic and just fucking around your version of that is like, what can I do with this new shell script or this API?
[00:44:51] Brett: A hundred percent.
[00:44:53] Erin: right. And like, where, where does that come from? Because I want
[00:44:56] Victor: it.
[00:44:57] Brett: So for me as an ADHD [00:45:00] kid, um, solving problems, getting something to work, causes a dopamine increase for me. So there’s this instant reward and, uh, and then I can immediately say, okay, what else can I do? What else can I do? Yeah. It’s very much, uh, uh, uh, neuro transmitter reinforced, uh, behavior for me. And it’s that something that just gives me that dopamine fix and, and it’s what I, it makes it what I do for fun.
[00:45:31] Erin: There must be another. Layer of that too. Um, which is not everyone can do this and this is actually notoriously pretty difficult. And I imagine that it might like make you feel good. Um, on an ego level, it would make me feel good. I mean, anytime I do anything with code I’m like that, like Goldeneye moment, the Boris moment, the like, I am a God, like worship me shit starts happening in my [00:46:00] broken, broken
[00:46:01] Victor: braid.
[00:46:02] Brett: Yeah. All right. I started coding when I was six and I can remember having the exact same. Uh, reaction to. Uh, getting, get a turtle. You remember logo and turtle, like getting the turtle to make, uh, a fractal. And, uh, my friend who was taking, I was at a school for the gifted, my friend in, uh, like second grade.
[00:46:34] Was already taking calculus. And we used to, he used to show me how to do crazy things with logo. And like, from that point on, I just, I just naturally gravitated to doing it. And there was nothing. Once you have the foundation, like it’s.
[00:46:53] Victor: Yeah,
[00:46:54] Brett: It’s easy, but I always, like, I was always very, [00:47:00] um, scared to show anybody because I got the, the, I got the, the rush from succeeding at something.
[00:47:09] But always was concerned. It wasn’t the right way to do it, or good enough. And like blogging. I did a blog called the circle six blog, uh, Dante Inferno reference, but, um, I writing the stuff I was learning, uh, was very nerve wracking for me. And then writing on to a about, it was also very nerve wracking and it took a lot of those.
[00:47:39] Uh, being called out for doing things wrong and, you know, adding a new rule to my, my rule book took a lot of that to get to anywhere where I was comfortable.
[00:47:51] Erin: Yeah. I there’s a like feeling in your body when you get called out for being wrong and that kind of way. [00:48:00] Oh, yeah. It feels awful. It feels like you’re on fire, but,
[00:48:04] Brett: especially if they’re running.
[00:48:06] Erin: oh Yeah. that hurts. That’s things way more, but, but that’s. Can be a really powerful framing device for writing, which is like, look, I’m new to this.
[00:48:16] I don’t know shit about this. I’m approaching insert subject matter here as a complete noob. Um, and here’s, here’s what I found. And this is for other people who, who might also be new, that is like a really powerful. Tool because it, it lowers the bar in terms of like formality, you can be very real about problem areas and how you feel about those problem areas, areas.
[00:48:40] And you get to do a thing that you never get to do in, in technical writing usually, which is like express frustration. You, this is one of those genres or whatever, where you can actually express yourself. I dunno. I like that a lot.
[00:48:55] Brett: This episode is brought to you by, um, [00:49:00] confusing erections. I don’t have a tagline for that.
[00:49:06] Victor: Thanks Thanksgiving when trouble pops up. I don’t know.
[00:49:12] Brett: Um, yeah. You know, it would be amazing, uh, alive something like I could probably pull it off with, uh, like max speech to text, but something that, uh, tra uh, transcribed what people were saying live while we’re podcasting. So that Eve I space out for a second. I can just scroll back real. And, and catch the, the very important key phrase that would have made everything.
[00:49:40] I just heard make sense, but I missed it. I need that. That’s my next project, I guess.
[00:49:47] Victor: I mean that does exist. Right. Cause there’s the, uh, there’s an API that obviously like we’ll take, um, and transcribe and then you just need to, yeah. You just need to take that and put it up on a, on a web anyway. Sorry. Look at me.
[00:49:59] Brett: What [00:50:00] will it do it live though?
[00:50:01] Victor: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:50:03] Brett: Okay. I need to figure that out.
[00:50:05] Victor: Pretty sure
[00:50:05] Erin: the best that we don’t do it for this episode.
[00:50:07] Cause like it would, it would. It would read, uh, as it were confusing erections and like just crash and admit program suicide. I thought
[00:50:19] Victor: there was a band named that. Oh, well,
[00:50:21] Brett: Oh, there’s so many things then confusing. It’s my favorite it’s when, whenever, whenever it comes up on a TV show, it’s, it’s just comedy gold to me. Like we all, all males have this memory of like, uh, those teenager erections that you can’t explain or are related to something you feel like shouldn’t be.
[00:50:47] It’s it’s just a deep seated, uh, something all males can relate to. I don’t know if there’s a female equivalent.
[00:50:55] Erin: Well, I happen to know that confusing erections is my favorite [00:51:00] episode of the overtired podcast.
[00:51:03] Brett: Did we have an episode called confusing
[00:51:06] Victor: No,
[00:51:06] Erin: I’m trying to get you to call it.
[00:51:07] confusing options, but don’t, don’t do that. Your sponsors in the future will flee. I don’t know,
[00:51:13] Victor: follow your heart.
[00:51:14] Brett: Uh, I mean, we’re sponsored by the Koch brothers this week, so it fuck them. I say
[00:51:22] Victor: The one brother.
[00:51:23] Brett: the one brother.
[00:51:25] Victor: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:51:26] Brett: Yeah. So we’ve actually, we were going to do a short episode because we didn’t have any real sponsors and we’ve already gone for a full hour. Um, I have nowhere to be. I know Aaron does, but, uh, anything else you guys want to talk about?
[00:51:45] Victor: I think we Covered
[00:51:46] Erin: it That’s a good, it’s a good app. If you only got about
[00:51:49] Victor: it.
[00:51:51] Brett: It was weird for sure. You know, what was missing,
[00:51:55] Victor: Heart
[00:51:56] Brett: Christine?
[00:51:57] Erin: the heart. Well,
[00:51:58] Victor: yeah, that’s, that’s the [00:52:00] heart.
[00:52:00] Brett: All right. Oh, I’ve uh, my rabbi sent me a link to a tweetstorm from another rabbi, uh, around a spiritual exploration of Taylor. Swift’s 10 minute Virgin of all too well, and I feel like that’s definitely going to be a topic. Uh, next time Christine is around.
[00:52:25] Victor: Oh for sure. Good
[00:52:26] Erin: luck to
[00:52:27] Brett: Alright,
[00:52:28] Victor: it for you.
[00:52:29] Brett: well, thanks for, for joining me on a day off. Uh, it it’s, it’s nice to talk to you both outside of work and, uh, yeah. Get some sleep. You guys
[00:52:45] Erin: get some sleep and don’t get confusing erections.
[00:52:49] Brett: in your sleep.
[00:52:51] Victor: Yes. I can’t help that. Sorry.
[00:52:53] Brett: All right.
[00:52:55] Victor: by.[00:53:00]