Sunday, March 28, 2010

Still whining

Many of the bloggers I follow tend to post during the week, then disappear over the weekends.  I work on a computer all day, thus am reluctant to do more of the same in the evenings Monday through Friday.  But weekends?  I'm there, right online, where I feel like I belong.

And soon I may be online at home even more, as I am contemplating upgrading from DSL to FIOS.  The two-year-guaranteed price for the DSL is drawing to a close, and I figure if I am going to pay more anyway, I might as well get more.  I kept putting it off, though, and now I am reaping the benefits of my procrastination.  Yesterday I received in the mail an offer that will basically give me FIOS for the same price as I have been paying for DSL, with a two-year-guarantee on the rate.  Whoo-hoo!  Sign me up!

In work related news, I still hate my new responsibilities, but I am catching on and hence don't feel so overwhelmed.  Also, I have become a bit of a folk hero.  We are moving to a new building this summer, and the new podlike furniture is being test-driven right next to my cubicle.  Last week, the first test team was replaced by a second test team, which included an individual who bathes in perfume each day.  I tend to be sensitive to scents to begin, and this particular one not only gave me a headache, but made me feel physically ill.  I posted a message on our company's version of FB/MyS about how, given that we will be working in closer quarters and without intervening cubicle walls, we all need to be cognizant of the scents we wear, be they perfume, cologne, or scented lotions.  Not only did I receive positive responses online (one of which was from the boss of said offender - yay!), I have been verbally thanked in the halls by people who I don't even know.  All of this goes against my philosophy of keeping a low profile, but the Perfume Queen has not been in the pod since and I feel so much better, it is worth it.

Books:  I finished Horse Boy.  A film crew accompanied the family to Mongolia (that was one way they were able to finance the trip), so I am interested in seeing the DVD.  Most of us know at least on person who falls in the autistic/Asperger spectrum (whether we know it or not), but rarely do we get an inside glimpse of what parenting such a child is like.

(As an aside, I recently commented to some friends that I thought, were I to pursue it, I might be diagnosed as falling somewhere on the Asperger spectrum, citing my social difficulties.  None present said, "Oh, no!  Not you!"  Which is telling, I think.)

Other books:  Finished listening to U Is for Undertow.  Excellent, which is par for the course for Sue Grafton.  Also read Shadow Tag, by Louise Erdrich, which was totally engrossing, but the ending felt abrupt and inconsistent with what went before.  It was almost like Erdrich was facing a deadline and needed to wrap things up, and did so, jarringly and without grace.  This is a problem I have encountered frequently in recently read novels, and a trend that I don't like.

I just started After the Ice, by Alun Anderson, which promises to be excellent if depressing.

Movies:  Watched "The Door in the Floor".  Engrossing but a bit uneven, starting in sadness, veering into comedy, then concluding with one of those odd endings where things just kind of work out all right, even for those who do not deserve to have things go well.  A good film for budding writers, as Jeff Bridges plays an author/illustrator of children's fiction and provides the personal assistant he hires for the summer with a few nuggets of writing wisdom.

Also watched "Canvas" which is about a family in crisis because the mom is schizophrenic and forcibly hospitalized.  It's told from the ten-year-old son's perspective and is the perfect film to watch if you need a good cry.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Can't lose for winning

Not a day goes by where I don't wish they (my bosses) would sever me.  If such a thing happened, I would burst into tears of gratitude, grab my severance, and sprint for the door.  But corporate politics being what they are, my head is not on the chopping block, despite my subtle attempts to put it there.

No one has officially announced anything anywhere, but I am now a release manager (or something like that).  I spend most of my days directing email traffic (when I'm not ignoring it or watching Lotus Notes freeze up).  Last week I was near meltdown, so stressed my face went numb.  This past week was not so bad.  I had to lead the weekly status meeting, though, and when I saw who was attending, I thought, At last, someone upstairs will see how incompetent I am and start that severance ball rolling.

But no.  Instead, Mr. Big told my mentor that he liked the way I led the meeting.  What leading?  I didn't do anything! All I can figure out is my mentor is ambitious and a bit confrontational in an attempt to impress, and I'm neither.  Maybe Mr. Big finds that refreshing.

Anyway, after this little episode, it occurred to me that too many people have a vested interest in believing I am doing a good job, whether I am or not.  Whatever.  It also occurred to me that I don't have to be like my mentor.  The project is high profile (and being on such a project is against my slacker religion), but I am happy to share the limelight (and the work) with the whole team.  Meanwhile, I wonder how long I can use the excuse that I am new to explain away my screw-ups.

Besides routing email, I also spend a lot of time in meetings.  We have Web-Based Conferencing, so all we far flung team members can participate through the magic of technology, video on our PCs and audio on our phones.  I long ago switched to using a hands-free headset so I can knit type notes.  The downside is, just as popular songs can become ear worms, the sing-song sound of accented English can haunt my brain cells long after I've said good-bye.  It's like I am in a crowded room with the sound of conversation going on in the background.  Even when I wake up in the middle of the night - especially when I wake up in the middle of the night - the voices are there.  I'm never alone.

Fortunately for me, everyone I work with speaks English very well, better even than some of my American co-workers.  The only ones I have trouble understanding are the Indians, because they tend to speak rapidly but softly.  I do get a kick out of the little mistakes the different nationalities make:  pronouncing "synonyms" as syNONyns, making "closed" a two-syllable word (the Latvians do that), writing "rump down" instead of "ramp down", etc.    There is one phrase I'm not sure of the origin, though:  they talk about "clubbing" defects or reports, as in grouping them.  Sounds violent.

I guess that is enough for now.  Happy trails to you!

Saturday, March 06, 2010


One reason I don't post  very often is, all I want to do is complain about my job. Friday I nearly had a meltdown. FYI - if you dab at your eyes with cheap ass toilet paper, it shreds and sticks to your eyelids. Fortunately, I noticed this before I left the restroom.

Onto other topics: I read an article in Tricycle about "green meditation". Essentially, when it gets dark, you don't turn on the lights. Instead, you go to bed, and if you can't sleep, you meditate. Like vegetarianism, the general idea sounds inviting, but the logistics are difficult to imagine, especially if you have a job, a family, friends, or a life of any sort outside the home. At this latitude, in winter one would be in the dark 16 hours a day, and in the summer barely 8. However, I do enjoy rising before the sun and sitting in the dark with my coffee.  Does that count?

Still working on Horse Boy. They are in the middle of nowhere, on horseback, traveling to the reindeer people.

Also listening to U Is for Undertow. Not all fiction works in audio form, but the Sue Grafton series does.