Tag Archives: deep thoughts

Six (?) questions (?)

As requested by Geof, here are my responses to a set of questions/challenges that mostly resemble the ones he got from his friend. I say mostly, because I decided to mess with a couple of them and downright refused to answer one or two. *shrug* It’s my site. 🙂 I’ll tentatively tag Amy, with the understanding that her brain is totally involved in organizing PHE right now.


0) What’s your name and website URL? (optional, of course)

My name is Jeffrey Heath McClure. Welcome to Sliding Constant.


1) What’s the most fun work you’ve ever done, and why? (two sentences max)

Easy: volunteering with the technical operations staff at DragonCon. I now spend every Labor Day weekend helping organize technical assistance for convention programming in one of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta‘s large ballrooms, and it’s the hardest work I’ve ever loved. 🙂


2) A. Name one thing you did in the past, no longer do, and wish to do again. (one sentence max)

I still keep hoping I’ll once again blunder into a group of people with whom I “click” who make music I deeply enjoy and have a Jeff-shaped hole in their vocal harmony.


B. Name one thing you’ve always wanted to do but keep putting off. (one sentence max)

Always? I don’t think I have anything that applies. The biggest thing I keep putting off is getting in shape.


3) A. What two things would you most like to learn or be better at, and why? (two sentences max)

I’d love to learn to play piano, and I would like to be better at dividing my concentration across time and subject. The first would allow me to be my own accompaniment, and the second would probably help ease the frustration of many friends.


B. If you could take a class/workshop/apprentice from anyone in the world living or dead, who would it be and what would you hope to learn? (two more sentences, max)

This one sounds an awful lot like “Who is the one person you most look up to?”, and I truly believe I have no answer to that question. I’ve come to realize that when it’s working right, most of what I manage to learn tends to come as absorbing different bits of knowledge and wisdom from different people. I find myself quite amused to realize that my philosophy, ethic, etc., is probably a composite of the little parts that I have most admired in many many others. I kind of like it that way.


4) A. What three words might your best friends or family use to describe you?

I, like Geof, hesitate to answer this one, but I have some guesses. I’ll let my massive readership judge their accuracy… perhaps: “distant”, hopefully: “consistent”, vainly: “perceptive”


B. Now list two more words you wish described you:

I think “athletic” is stretching it even as a wish. Let’s go for “fit.” For the second: “creative.”


5) What are your top three passions? (can be current or past, work, hobbies, or causes; three sentences max)

There’s no way the answer to this one has any kind of shelf life if I answer it with work, hobbies, or causes. Let’s go with three principles, the pursuit of at least one of which tends to drive any particular of my various passions/obsessions: mastery, consistency, novelty.


6) (sue me) Write–and answer–one more question that YOU would ask someone (with answer in three sentences max)

I’m skipping this one. You gotta tell me who “someone” is. Sue me. 🙂


[Bonus: What is one question you wish people would ask themselves?]

If the visible effects of me acting on my (faith/belief/conviction) are to engender hatred, exclude people, and dictate the behavior of others, is it possible I missed the point somewhere?

Jobs & Weblogs

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. The story behind it is a bit old now, but I’m just now feeling motivated enough to actually write it up.

Here’s the fundamental question behind this post: why are people surprised when they are fired for bad-mouthing their employer and co-workers on their web sites?

“Dooced” is a pretty common term in the blogosphere these days. For anyone who doesn’t know its meaning and/or etymology, the Wikipedia entry gives a pretty good high-level summary. Last month, the media latched onto another case of a woman getting fired for roughly the same reason.

So, here’s how I view this. My employer as an entity has absolutely no good reason to concern itself with my life outside of work, and that includes this web log. However, part of the reason for that is that this web log has absolutely no reason to concern itself with the details of my experiences as an employee. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I’ve considered that it might be okay to share specifics of my work in this weblog, regardless of whether or not I name my employer or the people in those accounts.

To me, what it boils down to is this: whatever my “typical” readership is, this web log amounts to public media. Google indexes this site quite thoroughly. Anyone who publishes a web site and doesn’t know about the Wayback Machine at archive.org REALLY needs to go there and search for their own URL. Look up URLs for sites that are years-dead. Go try it. Look up “http://www.eng.ua.edu/~jmcclure/”. Scary.

My point… I don’t care how crafty I think I am, the web is a public medium, and there’s enough information out there to connect the dots between me, my job, and any comments I make about my job on my site. Given that, how can I expect my employer not to protect itself in that situation, and unless there was clear discrimination (based on the legal definition, which doesn’t include the right to bad-mouth my employer) how can I expect to have any recourse or right to complain?

Engineering Rock Stars

Amy is gradually getting better. With that, life begins to get back to the normal routine. We watched a bit of TV Saturday night, and the anniversary of the Challenger disaster meant that the History Channel was running a lot of space-related programming. We watched part of a program we had both seen before about the Russian space program. I set up TiVo to record the next program, which was repeat of one I had somehow managed to miss. It was a 2-hour special based on Gene Kranz’s book Failure Is Not An Option. The special is all about Mission Control at NASA from the beginning of the space program all the way through the Apollo missions. I was riveted.

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Feasts and Famines

The last several months have been a really introspective time for me. I’ve had cause to think about a lot of things in my life and ponder what I should do about them. Some of the stuff is personal enough that it doesn’t belong here, but I have a feeling it might be good for me to talk about some of ones that I can. If I’ve learned anything from Amy, it’s that writing can be a really therapeutic thing. Honestly, I don’t do enough of it.

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In Memoriam

Her name is Duffie Miller. I knew her first as Duffie Downing. She was named for her grandmother, who was an elementary teacher at our school. Amy, in her post termed Duffie’s siblings as “ragtag.” Duffie would probably smile at that description. She was the older of two biological children born to a couple that adopted (I think) 10 more children, spread in age from several years older to several years younger than Duffie and me. I don’t remember when I first met her. It was certainly some time in elementary school (after I transferred to Central in fourth grade). It was probably when we started beginner band together in fifth grade.

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