Thursday, April 29, 2004

"Nous sommes desoles..."

Always remember to read the label. [See for yourself]

Want some wine?

Wah. My shoulder hurts.

We've just entered week four of the AC Joint saga. And while it feels better than, say, day 3, it still feels like it hurts way more than it should be after sitting on my ass for 3 weeks. And of course, the back is kicking in again. Running was the magic pill keeping that injury under control. I tried the recumbent bike yesterday. Sucked; a half-hour of monotony. I got the heartrate up for the first time in a while, which was good. But I don't think it's doing much for the back; it seems much worse, actually.

Anyway, the web was pretty helpful when it came to self-diagnosing the injury... Ok, I hit this when I did such-and-such, but it doesn't hurt there, it hurts here. That doesn't seem right; hmm, maybe this is more serious than I thought... A few google hops later -- viola! Shoulder separation. Probably grade 1 (no bones sticking out or anything). 6-8 weeks ...or 2-3 months?! Ugh. Well, this is the internet we're talking about.

I see the doctor, then the orthopedist. Yep, 6-8 weeks. Rest. Pain is your guide. Blah blah blah. Yeah, I've already talked about that.

So now we're at week four and frankly it's hard to tell how well I'm doing on the scale from broken to fixed. Particularly against my 6-8 week window. Am I really half-way there? Am I falling behind schedule? And if so, what can I do to correct it?

Shit, I'm sounding like a F'ing project manager. Maybe I should work up a Powerpoint presentation while I'm at it.

But seriously, it'd be good to have some, well, milestones or something. And so... back to the web.

6 weeks to 3 months. Right. Still the AC joint. Check. If not surgery, rest. Yeah, yeah. Same story. Nothing new. Not what I'm looking for. What I really want is some kind of guide that can give me a better sense of my progress. Something like: "week 2. pain should subside to a dull roar, less if properly medicating; tenderness will persist with sudden or jarring movements but should not be noticeable with most normal activity. Avoid rolling shoulder forward to prevent tightening of ..."

...well, you get the idea. Regardless, it isn't there. I guess I'll just let pain lead the way.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

A man of character

You can sometimes get a sense of a man based on his accomplishments.

But you can never really know exactly how a person thinks, so sometimes you're left to judge him by what he says and does, when the cameras aren't (supposed to be) running. [thx: Funny HH|P & Cynical-C]

[UPDATE: Fri Apr 30, 2004, 06:17:34 PM EST]
Just one additional thought: I can't imagine sharing a drink with this man, even if he did drink.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Old news

G'night folks. Pleasant dreams.

Belated Bettie B-day

I forgot to mention that it was Bettie Page's birthday yesterday. Well, Thursday. She's found Jesus since then, but hey, nobody's perfect. (and as far as Evangelicals go, she and the author of the linked site -- aside from the issues I have with his grammar and spelling -- seem like rational human beings... although I must admit that I still get the willies when people talk about the Bible as the word of God.)

Thursday, April 22, 2004

L.A., Q.T. and connection

This all started because it felt like L.A. was somehow trying to get my attention.

Even though I grew up there, I didn't really know the city. And perhaps because of that, I wasn't particularly fond of it. But like Manhattan, all it takes is someone who knows the city to show you its secrets, the hidden gems, the magic. And so over the years, as I've gone back for holidays, vacations and the occasional wedding, I've gotten to see the good points of the city. When I'm in town, I'll get together with my old high school gang and we'll go out to swank eateries in Venice, on the west side and elsewhere about town. Hedge, in particular, has been introducing me to Silverlake and Echo Park. I don't really hate L.A. anymore. I still don't think I want to move back, but if that becomes an eventuality someday, I could think of worse places to end up.

So I've recently wandered into the Blogosphere; for real this time, not just a peek here and there during idle moments. And there(here), I met Wil Wheaton (an L.A. native) who introduced me to And then recently, a random link sent me over to Blogdex which subsequently brought me to And I found myself back in L.A. with this story about meeting Quentin Tarantino.

“That’s a dynamite purse. Where’d you get it?” As I turned to respond to the question and the little bells in my head went off alerting me to the fact that the voice I heard sounded just like Quentin…oh my God I would recognize that big bell pepper of a head anywhere…Tarantino!
Now how cool would that be? Randomly meeting, and then hanging out with, the creator of Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill? Well, I dunno. It's only once in a rare moment that I can make engaging conversation with people I don't already know. Hell, it's a rare moment that I can make engaging conversation with people I do know. It does seem fabulously cool for something like that to happen, but when I actually stop and think about it, it does start to feel a bit like the trappings of Fanboy. And that's not really me.

I've never been much of a fan. Not "I've never liked that-famous-person very much" just not "omigod omigod it's that-other-famous-person!" I mean, in general, I've never been one to play favorites. Friends. Music. Movies. "Movie stars." It makes those profiles kind of hard to fill out sometimes. But from what little I read about Q, it seems like it'd be really cool to have him as a friend. He seems really engaging and fun to hang out with. I'd love to see his kung-fu collection. He's so cool, yet in a frenetic, spazzy (human) kind of way.

But what makes it more interesting to have *him* as a friend over all of my *actual* friends who are really cool and engaging and fun to hang out with? [ok, so maybe none of them drive the Pussy Wagon] I've thought about this with my whole Wil Wheaton obsession (I swear I'm gonna write about that eventually) and the best I can come up with is that it's an attraction to celebrity. But what is that, really?

It's not like I'm trying to grab my own 15 minutes of fame or anything. (At least, I don't think it is.) It's not hero-worship. I don't want to be them.

But perhaps there is a desire to get a piece of the good life. To be a part of it, to be connected, to be in, however vicarious it might be. And maybe that's just my conceit: connection. And it doesn't have to be a part of the good life even. It just has to be a part. I'm not really a joiner, but I still want to be a part of things.

Perhaps it's because growning up, I was pretty introverted. And despite having incongruous memories of having friends and going out and doing things in groups, I can still remember an overwhelming feeling of quiet, alone, by myself, because of shy, embarrassed, don't know how to talk to people.

And I don't think it even needs to be rooted in childhood influences. There is a quote that I can't quite remember that talks about how even when we are together with other people, fundamentally we are always still alone inside our heads. With some very close friends, I might have an inking of what they might be thinking, but I never really know for sure. Educated guesses at best. Wild speculation more likely. Perhaps I dwell on that unduly. I'm neurotic; I can't help it. (It goes both ways too, but that's a whole other discussion.)

So perhaps life (at least for me) is about building and reinforcing these connections, striving for understanding, for company. And maybe with the public figure, so much of their life is visible, it becomes easy to think you know them well, even when you know it's only an illusion. And perhaps it's just an illusion that I'm not as connected to my friends as I really am. One can only hope.

But it'd still be cool to be friends with Quentin Tarantino.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Monday, April 19, 2004


At odd moments, it feels like my heart is racing for no reason.

It's like I'm feeling anxious. Like it's trying too hard to run in idle. Like it's pushing back against unseen forces that are trying to envelop it.

bum - bum - bum - bum

I sit down at the computer. I lie down in bed.

bum - bum - bum - bum

There it goes again.

bum - bum - bum - bum

Maybe it's just something I ate. Or my current lack of exercise because of the injury.

Maybe it's because I find current events so troubling. frustrating. terrifying.

It's hard to say.

bum - bum - bum - bum

It's probably just a little bit of everything.

Ah, what to do?


Check out this poll at the the Daily Kos. It unfortunately doesn't provide the full complement of permutations, as one of the comments points out:

a little stupid, and way, way, way over his head

as a result, he gets talked into fairly evil things by his certifiably crazy and frequently fundamentalist staff.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

It's official

front tulips, morning

Spring is here.

The windows have been open all weekend...

The first flowers have appeared at the homestead... (see above and below)

I've pulled up errant raspberry primocanes that overnight seem to magically reappear...

The quince at the front of the driveway, which we had pretty much given up for dead after all the abuse it had taken over the winter, looks to be finally budding out...

For the first time this year, we put the top down on the car today.

I just wish I could run around. It doesn't even have to be disc; I'd settle for a nice run through the woods. Through suburbia even. I keep thinking that it'll be less than the six to eight week judgement handed down by the doctor. The twinge I get in my shoulder from even the seemingly most innocent movements tell me it's probably not going to happen. It's only week two, and if things don't improve, it's going to be a long and unhappy Spring no matter how the weather turns out.

It hasn't helped matters that I had to work over the weekend.

front tulips, late afternoon

Friday, April 16, 2004


I've managed to suck the SOOTTAD into the blogosphere. And so I bring you:


Bake back America

It's after midnight and the SOOTTAD just put another baking pan in the oven. Beer bread this time. She got the email from about the Bake Sale for Democracy late and is making up for lost time.

"President Bush presents himself as a man of the people, but a look at his fundraising shows otherwise. Over $95 million of his money has come in the form of bundles of $2000 checks from high-rolling CEOs and lobbyists.

So this week, we're holding a fundraiser that will highlight the contrast between Bush's big-money supporters and the hundreds of thousands of small donors on our side. On April 17th, MoveOn PAC will hold the world's largest bake sale -- an event which will show the voters and the media that while Bush has the millionaire vote locked up, we've got the grassroots on our side."
There are already brownies (fat-free for the fat-bigotshealth-conscious), chocolate afghans and bananapumpkin cranberry nut bread. She'll be at Porter Square Saturday morning; if you're in the area, stop by and buy some baked goods. (and if not, you can always look for one that's near you.)

It's for a good cause.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

reader's digest and cliff notes

There's been a lot of discussion going around about W's press conference from this past Tuesday. For those with a short attention span, check out the Reader's Digest version or the video Cliff notes version at the Gadflyer. [via Interesting Times]

Of course, if you're the detail-oriented type, you can also check out the official transcript. [via thefoo @]

Oh, and I have to add this article from Reuters.

conspiracy or just business as usual?

I've been reading to get back in touch with my inner Angelian, and I stumbled on a post about Air America getting pulled off the air. Rumors broke on the Drudge Report:

"The CHICAGO TRIBUNE is developing a story, insiders tell DRUDGE, on how the network was pulled off the air this morning in Chicago and Los Angeles, the network's second- and third-largest markets, because, the owner of both stations said, the network bounced a check and owes him more than $1 million!"
To which Air America responded with a both a formal and a more "colorful" response:
Insiders tell SLUDGE, that the reason the network was pulled off the air this morning in Chicago and Los Angeles, the network's second- and third-largest markets, was because, the owner of both stations, Arthur Liu of Multicultural Broadcasting, said, the network bounced a check and owes him more than $1 million! The run-on sentence, tortured grammar and the exclamation point clearly means it's true!!

Only it isn't.

Normally we'd let this go because "habitual liars" like Drudge are laughable, and ridicule is our business.

But Arthur Liu --- not funny. He lied to us, he ripped us off and now we're chasing him down with a pipe wrench. It's a metaphor.

. . .
Check the links. Interesting Times has also been doing a good job of keeping on top of things.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

file sharing

Here's an interesting article about a research paper on file sharing that is currently under attack by the music industry. [via BoingBoing]

I definitely checked out the file sharing thing late. Napster had already gone down so my first experience was with Gnucleus. Before it was emasculated, I was able to download a bunch of tracks by St. Germain to see whether I wanted to buy it. [I did] That was pretty cool. But then I had also hoped to track down a bunch of songs that I could never find on CD. And mostly that search was unsuccessful. (Although I did manage to track down the Cowboy Bebop theme song.) A few examples:

  • "Ain't this the Life" from Oingo Boingo's original EP (only on vinyl back in L.A.)
  • "How's the Air up There" from the Bangles' EP (on the same shelf as the Oingo Boingo EP)
  • "Belly of the Whale" by Burning Sensations (on vinyl, sitting next to me from a failed analog to digital transfer)
  • "Deeper Shade of Soul" by Urban Dance Squad (Why oh why didn't I buy that 12-inch when I had the chance?!)
Anyone got any leads?

Amusing side-note: the Blogger spellcheck wants to turn "Oingo Boingo" into "Ionic Bongo." Which seems like a pretty good name for a band, too. Maybe an Oingo Boingo cover band, even.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


At some point, it just becomes too much.

I was reading about "Free-Speech Zones," which I thought was a joke but clearly just wasn't paying attention... and I was just done. I had ended up there after reading a rant by my favorite ex-trekker, Wil Wheaton, at Cult of the One Eyed Cat. (Have I mentioned that I'm obsessed with Wil Wheaton? I'll get to that post one of these days.)

Some days aren't as busy as others and on those days I'll sometimes just float from one article to another. And on days like today, the more I get sucked in, the more agitated, frustrated, upset, angry... I become, until I just have to stop. I'm aware that I'm definitely erring on the liberal side of the "media" bias when I read online, but there's enough information backed up by references to more traditional sources, that you can't dismiss it to people just being pissy. Not to mention that when I read the occasional "conservative" article, I'll have those same feelings for completely different reasons. Today is was:

I think Halley has the right idea, although the furniture won't be as nice, and we probably cater to a different palate here (you'll see what I mean if you follow her links). I'd prefer this blog to be a happier place, showing off cool things that I've noticed and I want to share with people.

Besides, other people can do a much better job writing about the more serious topics than I ever could. Of course, all this bottled up frustration is what really got me writing in the first place. So I could quote and link like crazy (like I just did) ...but it doesn't make it all better.

Just promise me you'll check out all the links above and the "think" sites over on the side there and I'll try to dwell on happier things.

It'll probably do us all some good.

Monday, April 12, 2004

the radiologist; shoulder update

I had to wait over an hour to get the X-ray this morning despite assurances when scheduling my appointment that I'd only need to get there about 15 minutes before I was supposed to see the orthopedist.

"Do you need an X-ray?" she asked.

Well yeah, I think so. The radiologist's report I had gotten from my doctor said: "Stress views of both AC joints would be helpful." I took that to mean that I needed another one. And if I hadn't mentioned to the radiologist that I had had an X-ray taken last week, I might have gotten an X-ray of the wrong thing today.

"Why are you having another X-ray?" Well, I left the report at the office and, er, the doctor downstairs doesn't have a copy of the X-ray and I figured I was supposed to get another one anyway because the original one was inconclusive...

"Well, the request here says 'right shoulder,' which sounds like the same thing you had before. Who ordered the X-ray?" Uh, I told them I needed it? I guess the woman I spoke to asked me if I needed one...

And then the radiologist started in on the Prosports people. (Fair enough, I think she technically works for New England Baptist Hospital and they probably don't coordinate the requests.) Always an hour behind schedule. Requests don't always make sense. Requests not made by the doctors. She definitely had a thing. But she knew her shit, and I appreciated that. And in the end, I got the shot of both AC joints like I was supposed to. Thank you, cool radiologist person!

So I saw the orthopedist and she basically corroborated the previous diagnosis of a grade 1-2 AC joint separation. 6-8 weeks to heal. End of story. No PT gonna make it heal faster or make it any less susceptible to reinjury. It's just gotta heal and there ain't nothing I can do about it. How will I know when I can start playing again?


And I'm not supposed to run for a while since the impact could irritate it. When will I know that I can run again?


Right, let the pain guide you. It was like a catch-all. A mantra. And how do you know if running is gonna make it hurt without running? She said I could ride a recumbent bike since a regular bike would also put bad stress on the shoulder.

"Join a gym for a month if you have to," she adds, helpfully.

Man, the next two months are gonna suuuuuuck.

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Then check out (Find out more in their FAQ)

Sunday, April 11, 2004

So close

budding lilacs -11apr2004

It may be overcast today but it's comfortably in the 50's, as it has been for the last several days. The lilacs grow ever closer to looking like actual shrubs again. The playing fields have changed from pale yellow to green as the grass slowly comes back to life.

Too bad I can't go out to play. Last week the field was flooded. Today I need to get work done, and even if that weren't the case, my shoulder isn't feeling any better. Gonna get new X-rays and see the new doc in the morning; hopefully I won't need a new shoulder.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

"Wisdom is what you learn too late"

I didn't have a bad day today. But sometimes when people ask you how you're doing, it feels like it's just going to take way too much energy to really explain the nuances of how things are really going. Well, I was gonna do this thing, but then this other thing happened, and it went like so-and-so, and then this, and that, and yadda-yadda-yadda... Way too much work. And at the time, I hadn't really had a good day. So you simplify.

"Bad day."

But after I said it, it didn't feel right. I mean, nothing really bad happened.

  • I didn't get into a horrible accident on 128
  • ...or get a speeding ticket
  • I haven't been laid off
  • ...nor been told that I had to drop all my plans and that I had to stay late tonight and over the weekend
I was tired. If I had given it more thought, I would have said I'd had a stressful day.

The doctor has been absolved; he didn't call yesterday because he hadn't received the report from the radiologist. He faxed me a copy of the report; there's possibly a partial separation at the AC joint. So I've made an appointment with an physician at ProSports, the same place that I had my knee checked out two years ago and also where I did my first couple of rounds of PT for my back before going to the Spine Center (run by New England Baptist Hospital).

At work, things continue to be in hyper-crunch mode. The senior VP of engineering did walk by my cube just as I was calling the SOOTTAD to tell her that I was running late but would be on my way. He didn't say anything, but I'm sure he took a mental note that I was cutting out before dark. I feel bad for another guy who cancelled a trip down to NYC with some friends from out of town because of this project. I tried to leave things in a manageable state before leaving in a rush. I get to deal with them again later this weekend.

Down to Waltham in record time, picked up the SOOTTAD and into blew into town, settling for parking halfway to Inman and barely made it to the show on time.

But we didn't miss the show. In fact, we got to see an awesome Leo Kottke show at Sanders Theater tonight. And he played some new songs as well as some old favorites. And he told some great stories. And we saw friends there, and went to Pho afterwards. And had ice cream after that.

Pretty good really, but I think just saying "good day" doesn't work either. It ended well, and I'm certainly not going to complain about that. Just pointing out that it would be missing a great deal in saying only that. This economy of words, dividing all these things into Black and White, is certainly convenient at times, but it seldom seems to do the thing justice. The extrapolation of that can be left as an exercise to the reader.

Friday, April 09, 2004

good read; follow-up

TheChak has joined the list of regular reads. (added, stage left) He provides evidence of what's so great about the web: that other people can make your point much more eloquently, so you don't have to.

* * *

In other news, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get an appointment with my doctor that afternoon. Had an X-ray and everything. No fractures, but he couldn't tell if there was a separation (presumably, whether it was just a strain or a tear) and was going to ask the radiologist about it today and give me a call.

It's tomorrow now; no call.

I realize now that I was probably being unduly harsh about not being able to get a check-up appointment within 6 months of trying to schedule it. I understand that regular preventative care is, by definition, predictable and can be scheduled far in advance. And I should have known better. That point was made clear when I called in the afternoon and got an appointment that same day.

I like my doctor; he's got good bedside. I was originally told to follow-up with him after a visit to the Newton-Wellesley emergency room for what turned out to be cat-scratch fever (no, not this). I've stayed with him despite the inconvenience of his office being in Norwood, which seems to get farther and farther away as I move northward to live and work. Sometimes I wonder whether I should ask him for a referral for another doctor that's closer.

Anyway, it just would have been nice if he had followed up today like he said he would. I'm sure he was just really busy today. It happens. I'll give him a call tomorrow morning and it'll be no problem. I just have a thing about people doing what they say they're gonna do.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

shoulder research

Hmm, this feels about right. Maybe I should go see my doctor after all... (I wonder if I can get an appointment with him before I have my checkup)

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Today's bullets

  • Work is still sucky.
    • Plan: get into work early in order to leave early for practice guilt-free.
    • Reality: get into work late (9:10am), feel guilty about leaving work early anyway. (5:40pm)
    • Rationalization: "hey, I worked through lunch."
    • Overlooked: spent (time > 0) surfing through a few blogs (some old, and some new). Whoops.
  • First day of disc practice. Whoo-hoo! We had enough to run sixes and it wasn't even that cold (although I did wear gloves). Probably mid-40's with 10-15mph gusts.
    • Bonus points: despite concerns that the ankle was still tender even after more than a week of inactivity, the ankle felt pretty good, even running at full tilt.
    • Yellow Card: I took a (cold, and thus HARD) disc to the nose. Ouch, that's gonna leave a mark.
    • Red Card: After taking a tumble in order to avoid cleating a teammate who had just made a spectacular layout catch, my shoulder is hurting again in that weird, not so good, tender and sore kind of way (as opposed to the normal tender and sore kind of way). I'm hoping it's just a bone bruise. I'd rather not see my doctor and have him tell me that I can't play, again. I had enough of the sidelines 2 years ago.
  • Post-practice, I think I watched more television tonight than I have in the last 3 weeks. (not counting videos) I thought we were going to see a TiVo'd Daily Show, but halfway through they switched over to American Idol. How can people watch this crap?! Thankfully, I was able to clear my mental palate with the first half of the Women's NCAA Basketball Final before heading home.
  • Remaining to do: Call the folks, study Chinese, go to bed.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

compromising principles

The DNC has my number.


This afternoon, I was resting on the couch trying to get some proto-heartburn to settle down, when the phone rang. I was expecting it to be a callback from a friend, but was instead greeted by a fundraiser for the DNC. He began with an explanation of who he was, so-and-so from some-TLA calling for the DNC. "We gotta get Bush outta the Whitehouse," he began. He must have been new, or maybe not very good at his job, or perhaps, giving him the benefit of the doubt, just really tired after calling a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of people, who'd rather not be bothered. (I'm pretty sure he wasn't a volunteer -- at some point he explained that blah-blah-blah-TLA was an independent fundraising organization that was contracted by the DNC.) I think he was going for "impassioned" but fell a little short. It went on, a series of sound-bites, all strung together. He had definitely spent some time thinking about what he was going to say, but I don't think it came out quite the way he had planned it. For one, people don't usually hear the "Uh"s when they're saying it in their head. I expect that they're supposed to start off with something in their own words to "make it more personal." He eventually got to the scripted part. It also came out a little stiff. "The Democratic party is rallying around John Kerry... blah. blah. blah."

I wasn't all that impressed by Kerry. Back when there were seven candidates, back before Clarke had even entered the race, I think gave all the candidates an opportunity to make their case. (Maybe it was MTV's Rock the Vote) Anyway, I wasn't all that impressed with Kerry. He didn't have much of a position on anything. He just came off as a guy who wanted to be President because that's what politicians were supposed to do. My opinion hasn't changed much. And I'm not sure Protectionism is the solution for the country's job problem. And I'm extremely unhappy with his public position on gay marriage. But I suppose he's finally started putting together a decent plan now that the campaign is really rolling. I can respect his Vietnam record. I appreciate that he's not rolling over to all the Whitehouse attacks. I believe he'll fight for better environmental policy. He's not a religious ideologue. And they got it right: "Anyone but Bush." Sometimes you make compromises.

So I pledged another donation. And after I hung up the phone, I realized that I compromised another one of my basic principles: "Never give money to any organization that contacts you with an unsolicited phone call." (I do make one exception to this: calls from the Cornell fencing team. I can still remember early morning trash clean-up after the football tailgate parties in order to make money for the team. I remember the trauma of making calls for the phone-a-thon to beg the alumni for money. I will never give a student a hard time -- and unfortunately, the school fundraisers know this and will thus continue to exploit them) I was supposed to ask the guy to put my number on the DNC do-not-call list. Write me a letter, don't call me. Especially when I'm not feeling well and trying to rest. But for the cause at hand, I forgot myself and gave in.

Life is all about compromises; you just have to make sure you know why you're making them, and realize that you're making them in the first place.

Opening day for the Sox

I think this picture does a pretty good job of capturing one of the things I love about Boston. I took it last fall while walking around downtown for a friend's birthday celebration, which happened to fall on Game 3 of the Boston-Oakland AL Division series. We hit a few different bars that night, and at each one we joined a huge crowd that was watching the game. I suppose that's not so unusual. At some level, you know that there will always be large numbers of people from a city who are going to follow the big game. But it was really cool to actually see the crowds as we went from bar to bar. Each one filled to capacity. Each one full of fans.

I admit, I don't really follow baseball. I had to catch a stray headline to remember that today was the first game of the Red Sox season. Really, I don't follow any professional sports. I've always much preferred playing over watching. And of course, to make matters worse, I'm originally from L.A. We used to make fun of the Boston fair-weather fan. But after living here for more than a decade, I think I get it. You can't help but get swept up in the excitement. There's something about the way the whole city pulls together for something like this. (And I try not to dwell on the negatives.) The city is alive and you can't help but want to be a part of it. And for a little while, I can be a part of Red Sox Nation, too.

Go Sox!

Friday, April 02, 2004

talking about work

In general, I don't like talking about work, regardless if things are going well or particularly crappy. There are probably a couple of reasons for this. For one, I don't think it's all that interesting to talk about. Then there's that public/private thing that suggests that it might be unwise to reveal too much detail. (Customer scenario: "Dude, what do you mean the P-32 Space modulator that you're trying to sell us doesn't work during months beginning with the letter 'J'?") I also don't like to talk about work because frankly, the more I talk about it, the greater the chance that the listener (or reader) will realize that I have no idea what I'm doing and I'll be exposed for the sham that I really am.

But there have been at least parts of this week that haven't been too bad. For starters, I've actually gotten into work at a reasonable hour over the last few days. Like, before 9 even. (Yeah, I know, no big deal. Sad but true that it is for me.) However, what's genuinely good is that I actually felt engaged again. I feel like I know what I'm doing.

It's been a while.

For probably the last month or so, I've felt like I've been a walking zombie. I'll spare (myself) the details, and just say that I've been reviewing someone else's design and it's been slow-going. Unpleasant. Painful. I'd read a section of code and it felt like I was trying to drive it into my head with a two-by-four and it was just bouncing off and dropping uselessly to the ground. Real headache, though. And late nights. It's been a while since I've put in regular late nights. But after spending the whole day unproductively staring at line after line of code, what better way to turn the problem on its head and... stare at it for another couple of hours?

Thankfully, it finally started clicking sometime Monday or Tuesday. And it felt good. Like many things, I tend to forget how it feels to be in a certain frame of mind. It's like you know it feels different, but you just don't remember exactly what it was all about. I think it's buried deep in your lizard brain somewhere and occasionally you'll catch glimpses of it through core functions -- like the smell of a certain type of tree will remind you of a particular hot summer day when you were 7 and playing T-ball. Anyway, I had forgotten; now I remember. Codemonkey. I found my geek nature.

I'm still staying late, the process itself still sucks, but at least things are making sense in my head again and I feel like I'm actually contributing.

The downside (and there always seems to be one) is that work has still pretty effectively clobbered real life this week. I'm not done now, it's not easy. I'm just not beating my head against a wall anymore. So by the time I get home, I'm still cooked. It feels like I get up, (early) [drive to work] work, [drive home] eat, shower and go to bed. Rinse and repeat. It's not that bad, but most of non-work, non-sleep time seems just seems like transition as opposed to true independent states. I haven't been running during lunch (which is at least giving my ankle some time to heal -- did I mention I rolled it playing hoops on Saturday?). I haven't been studying Chinese nearly as much I as ought to.

It's interesting to note that it seems like there's an inverse relationship between studying Chinese and figuring out this design at work. It's like I filled up all my brain's new-information queues when I was studying Chinese first thing in the morning so that by the time I got into work, there was no room left to feed the design into my head. And, now that I'm got the design code in my head, I'm having trouble staying focused when I try to sit down and study Chinese after work. So really, all I'm getting is superficial studying right now.