Category Archives: Work

Out of Town

Today at 4pm, I’m meeting an account manager from work and another coworker to travel to a customer’s site. I will be gone until late Monday afternoon.

Because of the large number of spam comments I’ve been getting, I’ve decided to disable all comments while I’m gone so that I won’t have a huge mess to clean up.

As an aside, I’m seriously thinking about accepting only authorized comments to prevent the spam. In order to leave an authorized comment, you would need to get a typekey account. (Those readers who blog from Typepad already have one.) Typekey accounts are free and don’t require much user information, so my few dedicated commentors might want to check out getting one.

Have a good start to your weekend!

A Pleasant Saturday

Saturday morning, I got up around eight in the morning and spent some time watching cartoons and relaxing until Belinda called at around 8:30. She and I were scheduled to work at Psychic’s Thyme together that day, so she suggested we meet for breakfast before the shop opened. So I got my shower and did everything else I needed to before heading to Perkins, where we agreed to meet. Belinda got there about ten to fifteen minutes after me. We were quickly seated and our omelettes over light conversation.

Once breakfast was done, we ran over to Staples to get some audiocassettes, then headed on up to the shop. Our timing was perfect, because Char was just getting stuff out of the trunk of her car when we pulled in the parking lot.

Saturday was the first time that I worked at the shop as a reader — or at least when I actually got readings. (Earlier this month, I worked a Saturday with Michele and was marked as available for readings, but I didn’t get any.) I ended up doing three readings all day. They went pretty well, and I certainly feel better about the idea now that I’ve done it once.

I’ve been doing readings off and on for a few years, but this was the first time I’ve ever done them professionally. I’ve mostly done them for friends or random people with no money involved. It’s a lot less stressful that way. Especially considering my general lack of confidence (which yesterday helped alleviate immensely). You see, I normally worry that I won’t be able to read someone, that nothing will come. Now, if I’m doing the reading for free, the way I see it, that’s fine. I’ll just shrug and point out to the person that you get what you pay for. But when they’re handing over money, there’s an expectation, so the idea of not picking up anything becomes much more frightening.

I talked about it with Belinda at breakfast, and she pointed out that she’s always nervous about that, too. But she pointed out it’s okay. And she pointed out that in those instances (though she assures me they’re fairly rare) that you can’t read someone, you simply tell them as much and don’t charge them. (Also, if there’s someone else around that might be able to read them, you pass them off.) Fortunately, it didn’t prove to be a problem Saturday, anyway. And as I said, it built confidence. And Belinda and I are hoping to work together like that again, soon. It was a fun day all around.

After the shop closed, Belinda and I headed to Red Robin for dinner. I haven’t been there in a couple of months, and the hostess who seated us harassed me about that a bit. Belinda thought it was funny that she recognized me so quickly, actually.

I’m amazed by how much I remember

This afternoon, I attended the first session of the five session “Signal Processing Fundamentals” class that my company is offering to all interested employees. I figured that since a few customers have inquired as to my knowledge of DSP’s (which is nonexistant at the moment), I figured I best sign up. Granted, this class covers the theory of signal processing rather than implementation, but I figure I can learn the latter on my own as I come to understand the former.

Today’s session consisted of a math review, going over the basic mathematical concepts (integration, differentiation, linear algebra, complex numbers, etc.) that are used in signal processing. Fortunately, it’s all stuff I learned in school. I was even surprised how quickly most of it came back to me. Matrix multiplication took a few seconds, but it eventually clicked.

Of course, there are things that I only vaguely remember. For example, I don’t remember all the methods for integrating and deriving more complex formulas. Fortunately, I was able to find a great website that helped with that.

I’m thinking that this weekend, however, I would be wise to try digging up a few of my old math books just for reference. Fortunately, I had the foresight to keep them. At least I hope I did. It’s possible I tossed them during the move. But I’m hoping I had more sense than that.

It’s been a rough week.

This has been a pretty rough week at work for me. I’ve spent most of it trying to reproduce a bug so that I can analyze and fix it. Unfortunately, due to technical issues, I haven’t been able to reproduce it. And of course, because this bug has been outstanding for quite a few weeks (I just recently inherited responsibility for it from another coworker, and have only been working on it for a week, personally), everyone’s chomping at the bit to get it fixed already. And I’ve made absolutely no progress on it — not for a lack of trying mind you.

And then, I’ve had other technical problems with my other tasks too. For those familiar with Murphy’s Law, I’ve officially joined the ranks of those who insist Murphy was an optimist. Let’s just say that enough things went wrong and my frustration levels got high enough that I very seriously considered leaving work this afternoon and calling in sick tomorrow. When I told Michele that, she blinked and said that was totally unlike me. Well, that’s how stressful things got.

Fortunately, after talking to my boss and then spending an hour or so with Michele and Belinda after work, my stress levels came right down. So with any luck, I’ll have a much better day tomorrow. Or at least I should be able to manage it better. Or so I’m hoping.

A sure sign I’ve grown old.

I’m sure I commented earlier on the youth of some of the people working for my current customer. I think I’ve even mentioned that I think they have a lot of co-ops from RIT working for them. Well, today, I think I met the youngest one of them all. Well, it’d be more accurate to say I saw him, as he was sitting in a meeting and I was passing by the conference room. I’m pretty sure he’s a co-op. But now, I find myself wondering if they take co-ops that are still in high school. He looked that young.

He had to be a college kid, and at least a junior at that. But man, he didn’t look it. That or everyone’s starting to look that young to me because I’m getting so old. I really may need that cane after all.

There are days I’d like to quit my job

I just finished and posted the latest chapter of Harald’s Story. Once again, it took me almost a month since I submitted the previous chapter. I’m not entirely thrilled about this, as I originally had hoped to post a minimum of one chapter per week. After all, I want to keep the momentum going with the story. Most importantly, I don’t want it to get away from me like Keylar’s story did. (I’m still rather upset with myself that I allowed myself to stop writing long enough that I can no longer pick up the trail of that one.)

Of course, in my defense, it’s not exactly like my pen (or keyboard, as may be more accurate) has been idle during all this time. I’ve been spending a good portion of my time this week working on my “coming out” story. In fact, I’ve posted at least one new section every day since 11 March (though I doubt I’ll keep that rate up indefinitely). In many ways, it’s just that this project is a bit more pressing in my mind than the adventures of Harald, no matter how worthy his story is to be told. So my sense of priorities have dictated that my time go to one while letting the other rest for a little bit. Add to that the fact that I’ve been sorting out some personal things as well, and you have even less time for Harald, though I’m hoping that will change soon.

Of course, working on multiple writing projects makes me realize one thing. I wish I didn’t have to keep my job to pay my bills. I’d much rather take that time and devote it all to my writing proects. But short of winning the lottery or marrying a billionaire, that doesn’t look likely.

I suppose I could try to find a way to make a living off of the writing projects. In some ways, that’s very tempting. But then, I look at the writing I do and I ask myself whether I really want to do it for money. After all, doing that sort of thing for money can complicate things in ways I’m not sure I’d like. (After all, working as a software enginee has certainly affected my passion for computers.)

And even if I did decide to go that route someday, it would have to be something I’d build up to. I couldn’t just hand in a resignation now and have the money I need tomorrow. I’d have to start building up a reputation to generate the funds from my work. So it’d still be some time before I could give up my current source of income.

So for now at least (and possibly forever), I’ll just have to accept that my writing projects will have to be done with the free time my day job allows me to have, just like every other aspect of my life.

Just a ramble about the day

I had a rather long day at work. I ended up working a ten hour shift, which is an hour longer than the shift I worked on Tuesday. But I needed to work that many hours to get my time in on a particular project. I believe I mentioned earlier that I was working on-site for Customer A and at my own company’s office for Customer B. Well, in theory, I’m now assigned to Customer A full time.

However, Customer B still needs some of my time. That project took longer than expected, and we’re still doing testing. As the only software engineer on the project, they need my support. So in addition to working a full week at Customer A’s site, I’m trying to come in to our office for a few hours a week to support the work on Customer B’s stuff. I put in two and a half hours total over Tuesday and Wednesday morning. As I had things to do that evening, I didn’t put in a full eight hours at Customer A’s site those days. So today was the day to make up the difference.

As a reward to myself for working so hard this week, I decided to come directly over here to Equal Grounds again after work. I decided to give their black bean wrap a try for dinner. It’s actually pretty good. So here I sit, munching on a wrap and nachos and washing it all down with an iced tea. It’s practically a perfect evening, especially when you consider that an episode of Law & Order is on the television, which is about fifteen feet or so directly ahead of me. So while I’m doing my writing, I also get treated to a great show. Of course, I’ve already seen this episode, but there aren’t many I haven’t seen already. I used to be a Law & Order fanatic.

Oh, back on the work topic (sort of), let me just say that I’m amazed by the incredible number of good looking guys that work for Customer A. Of course, most of them also seem to be incredibly young. I’m beginning to wonder if they hire 85% or better of their employees directly out of RIT. And actually, I know that at least two of the guys working on my team are co-ops from there. It’s just crazy.

Not that I’d chase any of them. That would be a nightmare waiting to happen. Besides, I’ve decided I’d rather be the one being chased. 😉

Changing my schedule is exhausting for some reason

The past week or so, I’ve been focused on work too much to put much thought into blogging. I’m still trying to work out a satisfactory schedule that works with my current work situation.

You see, I’m currently working on two different projects (I’ll call them Project A and Project B) at the moment, focusing on each one for twenty hours of my work week. This is not unusual when you work in the contracting/design services industry. This is especially true when your involvement in Project A is winding down and the customer for Project B wants you get as early a start as possible.

Of course, this particular situation is further complicated by the fact that for the time being, Project B requires me to work on the customer’s site. So that means that when I’m working on Project B, I’m driving to the customer’s office, and when I’m working on Project A, I’m coming to my own company’s office. For four days of the week, that’s no big deal. During those days, I’m only working on one project, and simply show up at the correct location for the day and stay there until it’s time to come home.

However, the fifth day of the week (and which day that actually falls on varies from week to week), I work for hours on one project and four hours on the other. This means that for that day, I go to one site in the morning, drive to the other site halfway through the day, and then return home from the second site when its quitting time. Thank goodness both sites are relatively close to each other! Add to this the fact that I have two weeknights (and some weekends) that I spend doing business for Paths of the Old Ways, and I have a pretty busy schedule.

Oh, did I also mention that while my hours are extremely flexible at my company’s office, work on Project B is requiring me to standardize my workday a bit more? Also, getting up earlier than I like has become a necessity. So I’ve been spending most of my free time trying to get rested up and recovering from the schedule change.

Hopefully, I’ll have more time to seek out inspiration. I had a pretty good blogging pace going at the end of January, and I’d like to recover it in the near future.

A comedy of side orders

Today, I started working on a new project. As part of this new project, I will spend a considerable amount of time working at the customer’s site. This means that I spent most of today getting set up onsite and going through some training about their processes.

As a part of project kickoff, the customer took the three of us who are coming on board from our company out to lunch. This is a rather common practice in my line of work. But this was a remarkable unusual lunch. (And let’s just say that singling out any particular lunch that is attended by a bunch of engineers as unusual is saying a lot!)

Our waiter, for reasons that totally escaped us, decided not to write our orders down. Instead, he decided to keep all eight lunch orders in his head. We found it a strange thing to do and even joked that maybe he had a lapel microphone and was recording our orders as we said them. Naturally, this proved to not be the case, though our waiter thought it was a great idea.

Well, after he left our table, he came back and asked Brian which side he had asked for. Someone else jokingly commented that he hoped this meant that the young man had remembered all of the rest of our sides (and main orders, for that matter) correctly. Those hopes were proven unfounded when he came back again, and asked the four of us on my end of the tabe to repeat what sides we wanted. (Oddly, he didn’t write them down this time either.)

Well, when the food came, all four of us on my end of the table indeed got the wrong side. We ended up having to swap sides. By this time, the whole thing had reached the point of farce, and we just got a couple plates, dumped the sides (two orders of steak fries and two orders of sweet potato frieds) into a couple of bowls and just shared them communal-style. Strangely, they got Brian’s sandwich order wrong too, so the poor guy had to wait for them to make the right sandwich.

I’ve never laughed so much at a luncheon (except maybe for the WOTL luncheon). The food was great, but I hope the service doesn’t always get confused so easily. And hopefully, someone learns to use that pad he was carrying around.

Bits and Bobs

The last couple of weeks have been more or less uneventful. Well, as long as you disregard the funeral I attended for a cousin. His battle with Parkinson’s finally took a turn for the worse. It was a pretty good service and well attended. I particularly appreciated the number of firemen who came to the event. Not that this is entirely surprising. The fire department was a big part of Tim’s life. Even after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he spent as much time as he could at the fire house, doing whatever jobs he could manage. The head of the department commented at the funeral that he was going to have to find four new volunteers to replace Tim.

My sister and her kids are in the area. She decided to make the drive up from Mississippi for the funeral. Her husband told her she had to stay for at least a week, though. So she’s here until Monday. I plan on running down to my parents’ house tomorrow and spending the day with her and the kids. It should be fun.

I think the lack of employment is starting to get to me on some level. So next week, I’ll have to start getting more serious about the search for a job. I had really hoped one of the opportunities Rick and Kevin had found would pan out, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. So it’s time for me to get off my duff and take matters into my own hands again. The only down side to that is that I probably won’t find something temporary. I really wanted that because I wanted to eventually go back to the company that moved me into this area.

I’ve started walking again. I haven’t decided if I’m doing it to “lose weight’ (probably not), exercise (again, not necessarily), or just for the fun of it (I’m leaning towards this answer). It’s gotten me out of the house a bit more and that’s been well worth it. I’m rediscovering that I really do like doing things like that.

I’ve also gone on a couple outtings with Becky, which is always nice. A couple Thursdays ago, we went to a local coffee shop. I had a delicious drink consisting of hot apple cider, caramel, and whipped cream. Then we just sat and talked. It was pleasant. And I got to check out a couple cute guys, which is always a plus.