JBQ's spot on the Wild Wild Web
The musings of a French mathematician living in the heart of the American technology industry

News from October 2002

In the last few weeks, I have started to develop a totally unexpected interest in painting. Back when I was a kid, I was constantly told (especially by my arts teachers) that nerds were never good artists, that I was incapable of producing anything, and other very encouraging things like that (yes, this last part was sarcastic). Well, now that I don't have a teacher on my back, I can create whatever I like, no matter how nerdish or geekish. Yes, my dear arts teachers, I have a very calculated style, bold, sharp, precise, methodical, inspired by computer gaming. And I like it! My only problem is that I risk spending too much time painting, which my sweet little wife doesn't quite like...

Even more interesting, I'm suddenly looking at a number of other creative techniques that I would have rejected in the past because they were "not for me". I'm being attracted to polymer clays at the moment, thinking about using them for millefiori techniques (where a multicolored pattern is stretched thin in long canes that are then sliced thin in order to reveal the colors). I've also been looking at mosaic techniques, especially if I manage to make my own tiles from polymer clay (there are at least 4 different techniques that I can use to make tiles that way). At the moment, though, I don't want to invest too much money in there, because... (see next paragraph)

My company has announced on September 30th that there would be a 25% reduction in workforce soon. Everyone is waiting for the second shoe to drop. People are stressed, tense, unmotivated, myself included. On the one hand, the sooner the better, as it'll relieve the stress. When I got laid off from Be, I was expecting some layoffs to happen, but I was expecting to stay. Now, I'm sure that some layoffs will happen, and I don't even know what to expect, and it's making me crazy. On the other hand, the later the better, as getting a continued stream of paychecks is unfortunately pretty important.

I have reserved our plane tickets for a decent vacation in Europe, a full month, the first time I'll stay there more than 2 weeks in a row since I moved to the US in 1998. Almost two weeks in Greece (including Christmas and one week where I will need to work remotely), the rest of the month in France (including one week skiing, and my birthday). I'd like to have more time off, I'd gladly exchange 12 extra vacation days a year for a 5% pay cut. This has got to be the one little difference between the US and France that really annoys me (being far from my family, of course, is on a totally different scale). I'm crossing fingers that there won't be any more iffy interactions between employment, immigration and vacation like we had last year when we got married (when terror attacks added to the mess).

Finally, in order to vent some stress and to practice my writing, I have created my very own LiveJournal, which I fill on a semi-regular basis with mostly useless rants. Enjoy and have fun!

Home page Related articles Posted on Oct 13 2002