Hard Deadlines, Soft Couch

In my career I spent a good deal of time working overnight, pulling 12, 24, and even 36 hour coding sprints. You can cram a couple of weeks of work into 36 hours. This is not unusual or heroic at all – most programmers I know routinely work crazy hours.

Because of this it is very important to have a couch for naps in the office. At my current job there are no cornerner offices. Every corner of our parallelogram-shaped building is either inside a conference room or set aside for a small meeting space. One of them is where “my” couch is. Whenever I’m working off-hours and stuck, I go there to take a nap. Just like Don Draper in “Mad Men”, I almost always wake up from the nap with an idea of how to solve the problem.

Recently there was a some kind of commercial shoot at the office, and I’ve been sent this photo. There he is, Doctor House, MD, on my couch!

Actually, I only recently started watching House, having being unable to turn off disbelief of so many doctors spending so much time on patients. I did not realize that it was a neat little pun on Sherlock Holmes, complete with drugs, loyal sidekick, and even very sexy Mrs. Hudson. Now I have 4 seasons to watch.

Badges And Stuff

I picked up for a few bucks this Univac security guard’s shield. Like many security badges it’s based on a New York State Great Seal. The proportions are changed and the figures of Liberty – woman holding a Phrygian cap on a stick (well, actually Liberty pole if you want to get technical) and Justice – woman with a sword and scale. There’s sunrise over Hudson inside the shield, but without the two boats. New York State’s motto Excelsior (which is Latin for “Up Your’s”).

The plastic laminated id is kind of cool, because it’s a miniature punchcard.

I guess the manufacturers of rent-a-cop badges are trying to make them subtly similar to NYPD logo, yet different enough not to get in trouble. NYPD badge is based on a similar, yet very distinct New York City Seal. Instead of Liberty and Justice it features American Indian with a bow. The other figure is enigmatic – for the longest time I thought that it was another American Indian holding a dead animal or a tomahawk. In fact, it turns out to be a Dutch sailor holding a “sounding line” – a nautical depth measuring rope. Another useless bit of trivia: Mark Twain chose his pen name from the expression “mark twain”, meaning only two fathoms reading on the sounding line.

The five stars on the chevron are for the five boroughs, the windmill is for the Dutch origins of New York City. The most unsettling part, is of course the Justice scales that rest on top of fasces, a bundle of sticks with an axe inside – the ancient symbol of authority. Along with the swastika, fasces has been marred as a symbol of Fascism, to which it gave its name.