As I mentioned in my last post, yes, I did get laid off today on October 25th. It’s been a long haul at AMD, but it’s time to move on to somewhere more profitable. They gave me an agreeable severance package that means I’ll be paid through to February and medically covered through to the end of April. I’m not as freaked out as I would expect; then again, this is the first I’ve ever received a severance package, an obvious benefit of working in the corporate realm.

I’ve already heard about some leads elsewhere that I’ll likely follow up on. I need a few days to rest and think while I rework my resume. Put out some feelers, yadda-yadda. I’ve been employed consistently for the past 11 years – last unemployment was in the recovery after the dotcom crash of 2001 – and I’ve never taken an actual vacation in that time, so I’m feeling like I need to just take some time off, go find myself, rest from the burden. I’ve never been to New Mexico, or San Francisco, or Marfa, or the coast, or plenty of other places. Needing to plan ahead by requesting vacation days off in advance had its dampening effect on exploring during time off. As it stands, I can just drop everything and go whenever I feel. That sounds like a good idea.

Rocks and Hard Times

I feel it necessary to mention it here, for the sake of those of you who don’t regularly see me in my everyday life, that my job is at risk of not existing by the end of this week. For those who may not know, I work at AMD, have been there over 5 1/2 years, doing power and performance measurement and optimization on server-class processors. It’s a decent job that occasionally taxes my skills and nudges me further along into a hands-on engineering direction in my life.

The problem is that, as not the dominant processor manufacturer (and quite possibly not even the 2nd in the market), we don’t have the resources to engineer superior products for all our lines. Why, you ask? Pride. Top-tier semiconductor designers have their pet projects, their favored architectures, and they won’t let them go even if they’re proven, through models and sample processors, to be inferior to other designs. So we push those to market. And you know what? The market isn’t buying. And because they’re not buying, we don’t have the resources to engineer superior products.

The executive level of the company has chosen the path of hacking and slashing their way to profitability. I liken it to this example: our company reached a river, and to get to the other side, we took chances and walked through it, current, flotsam and all. We stumbled after a misstep and gashed our foot on a river rock. So, in order to stop the bleeding, our executives are cutting off the leg. That leg consists of a set of canceled products and markets; one of those is server processors (we don’t have any future server products in the development pipeline). Since my job entails profiling the performance and power characteristics of server processors, my guess is that my time has come.

The suspicion is that part, if not all, of the announced 15% reduction in force (layoff) will happen this Thursday, Oct 25. Time will tell. As soon as I know more, I’ll update, or you can be sure to keep up to date by following my Facebook feed.

Until then, it’s time to reconsider living a small, frugal lifestyle. Instead of $25 for decent whiskey, I’ll have to settle on $8 for decent wine. Hard times indeed.


People without opinions and agendas are boring. You cannot summon any sort of affiliation or hatred of them. No force, no electricity.

I say this not as a drop of wisdom in a sea of bullshit. I say this as a reflection. Some day, I’ll commit to feeling something about anything.

Magnetic polarities are essential for both motors and generators. As people move through the magnetic field of the opinionated, they generate ideas about that person. If the magnet is actually just an inert iron bar, then people pass by with no impression at all. They could revolve and pass by all day long, no induction. If a person, as wire, has a magnetic opinion field, then it causes them to move through another person’s magnetic opinion field toward an area of equal but opposite field strength. They then become a motor, moving, moving. If moving near someone with no opinion at all, there is no motive force, no ferocity, no passion. Just a dead motor.

I hate opinions, because I change them all the time. Want to be agreeable to all people at all times. Therefore, no polarity. No force. No coherence of my dogmatic magnetic domains. Friends pass through and nothing registers on their voltmeters.

Is this a problem?

Long Play

Relationship movies as romantic placebo? Yeah, I do that.

Last night? “Chasing Amy”. After knowing the community more during the 14 years since seeing it, it finally made some sense. Tonight? “Before Sunset” (as referenced earlier); second viewing, first since reviewing “Before Sunrise”. It’s better the second time. Also, “Lost In Translation”, because it’s difficult.

Actually, all three movies are difficult, presenting the difficulty in relationships, showing the different colors. Lacking any actual relationships, I get what I can wherever it is. Relationships are difficult, notoriously. Movies less so; more easily consumed. Both leave a complex taste, but a movie must be replayed. Each day in a real relationship leaves different notes, and is fresh or sour depending on how it’s drunk. I have no drinking buddies, so, movies as placebo.

Unlimited Vistas for a Limited Horizon

Since I’ve moved from my hometown, I’ve gone on sneering rants about how much the people in my home town are in a bubble, how if it’s not within the Texarkana city limits or anywhere within the two neighboring counties, they just don’t care to know about it. Selective myopia, small lives, out-of-sight out-of-mind, and so on.

And then it occurs to me: when was the last time I, or anybody I know in Austin, bothered to pay attention to and keep up with what’s happening outside our own city limits? Sure, our attention is split between local concerns, state, national, and international concerns, but who’s watching what’s going on in the neighboring cities like Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, Lubbock, El Paso, San Antonio? Those are major cities. Problem is, most of us just don’t care. They’re not far enough away to be considered exotic or interesting destinations. They’re neighboring towns, and we treat them with disdain like siblings at the table. We Austin drivers hoist up our suspenders about how much better we are then those Houston drivers, or how we’re not as geographically consumptive as the DFW Metroplex, or how we’re not as backwards and boring as Lubbock. (The horror!)

So it’s clear. We have selective myopia of our own. No better than the rest.