There are many reasons why being Editor of "skew" is amusing. I love what I do, and take it quite seriuosly, but there are times... There's the weird things I have to think about that are well beyond the content of the story or the way a page looks, like what would make a cool link, and whether HTML can handle a particular effect (or even better, how can we trick it into thinking it can). but those are all amusing to me because, well, my picture files used to be 100Mb plus in another lifetime. Then there's the things that are amusing because we set them up to be that way, like the answers in the feedback forms. But most amusing of all is being privy to the minds of the software and hardware engineers at Oasis.
I think of myself as very computer savvy, and I mean more than those who consider themselves "power users". I have, throughout my lifetime, wavered many times about what it is that I really wanted to do when I grew up, so I've managed a whole network of Macintosh computers, and even more importantly, tried to make sense out of the people that stood at my door and went "uhhh, my Mac is acting weird...". I can put a network together, but crawling on the ceiling isn't my favorite thing to do. I can make sense of the weirdness of PCs if a have to, and I even learned how to make a Sparc station do what I wanted it to do (except spit out the optical disk; that took three of us...), so it would probably be OK to say that I can go up against a full time sysop anytime. And then there's the guys in the back, the ones that talk, not just program in Unix.
You see, as Editor of "skew" I get to sit in on Oasis staff meetings, and boy, do funny things happen. You must understand that I have pretty much committed to being a designer (that doesn't mean I *have* grown up, though) and my love for the written word allows me to do what I do here, so I have started listening to these conversations with the ear of a "normal" person, instead of actually trying to learn what I don't know so things don't break. It is because of this that sometimes I come across as having rudely interrupted an engineer's pasionate speech about the progress of some project or another. Come on, how am I supposed to keep a straight face when someone says "we have to call people with arguments"? Why would a normal human being just call up someone out of the blues with an argument?!!!
Sitting in those meetings sometimes makes me feel as I used to when I was learning Italian. I, of course, couldn't go to Italy and learn Italian there, or take a class. I had to go have a friendship with a whole Italian family, and therefore ended up eating there often. Dinner is always a long an involved process, so there was plenty of time for stories, and when the grandmother got into it, she'd forget I was just learning; first Nonna would start speaking faster, and then she'd totally forget about me an switch to their native dialect instead of speaking Italian in its purest form. She lost me often, as do these guys.
The other day one of them called me to tell that my e-mail to one of my clients was stuck on the server and they were trying to figure out why; then he started talking to me about killing zombies... That sounded to me like a game of Pathways into Darkness. And then there was an e-mail that among other things read "It takes no arguments, but instead, reads its victims' names from a file." Does that mean that the CIA will be poking through the garbage can soon?
OK, I actually do understand what all these things mean because the whole thing still fascinates me. Every once in a while I have to remind myself that I have to go draw instead of trying to figure out what is making a Mac crash, but I have now successfully reached the point where I don't want to stay up for hours teaching myself Perl. I did learn some HTML coding so I could easily do the things I do, but listening to them speak is just so much more fun when I detach myself from the "geek" category that some of my colleagues in the art community have pegged me into. Now, if I could just stop laughing and leave the whole "fingering so and so" thing alone...
- Anabella Wewer