The last few days have been pretty good, though. The week stunk, but Saturday was especially good, and I'll get into that later.
Work has its moments. The bad moments are when I have to wade through people who want me to do something, but don't tell me what. Like, "I want a machine that tests these phone numbers." I go, "Okay, what numbers, for what reason, what data are you looking for, and what format do you want it in?" There's usually a puase, and a "Oh... I don't know..." I most cases, these are early signs of projects that go nowhere. Like I do them, and then the people I do them for are, "Yeah, uh-huh, fine, great." Over the years, I have seen this trend where a lot of project managers are really bad with following through. I am guessing that they have this really great idea at some meeting, or maybe just suggest something to make THEM look good, and then by the time I have what they wanted, they have already lost interest. I am not talking about months here. I am talking about days, or in some cases, an hour later. "I NEED TO KNOW ALL PHONE NUMBERS IN TENNESSEE THAT ARE OWNED BY MCI!!!" I send them mail an hour or so later, and I get, "Why did you send me all this data?" I tell them it's all the MCI Tennessee numbers they asked for. "Oh yeah..." they say, as if I reminded them of some grammar school chum he hasn't thought about since 1978. "Uh... thanks." I stopped asking why they needed the data years ago.
I wish Mickey Hart, the drummer from The Grateful Dead, would shut up. I watched Kodo Live at the Acropolis for the music, not to hear Mickey explore his drumming roots with Takeshi.
Not all projects end in a fizzle, though. I'd say about 1 in 3 end up being useful. Some of them require a lot of work, and those are always a gamble on my ego, because I could have spent a month working really hard only to find out the guy I did it for is no longer interested, no longer on the project, or no longer a project manager. But Friday was not one of those days. I did a rather complicated project and totally over-delivered in a form that would be incredibly useful to a lot of people. I built a bug webserver that sorted error logs by type and linked them with a daily report that dozens of people use daily. I have done a lot of incredibly useful things for my company, and I am pretty proud of many of them. My work has gotten so useful, that if it's down for even a day, I hear about it. Luckily, I use Linux, so I don't have to worry about system crashes, only hardware failures, which are fairly rare.
Saturday was a busy day. I got up, paid some bills, and then headed off to Frederick, Maryland. Why? To learn from some of the best group of convention merchants I know. Mystic Station Designs. I have always wanted to be a part of their group for multiple reasons. I was inspired by their work ethic, confidence, and character. But I didn't even know what they sold (well, in detail). I am going to be working for them at Gencon this year, so I had to go through some of their training in Kory's basement. I learned about their business model, which is fairly dynamic and well-planned. I was also relieved that they don't use high-pressure, they pace their employees, and let their authors retain copyright. I also found some inlets into their self-published works, and might be doing some writing for them.
The Metro ride there and back was pretty hellish, though. Going there took 2 hours from Vienna to Shady Grove (where Allison picked me up). They were doing track work on the Yellow and Blue Lines, and the Orange Line shares tracks in DC with the Blue. It took about 70 minutes to get from Vienna to the transfer spot, Metro Center (it normally takes about 25-40 minutes). On the way back, it was even worse. They had started to do work on the Red Line, and so the trip from Shady Grove to Metro Center took over two hours (again, normally 25-40 minutes). We were stuck in a tunnel at Cleveland Park for half an hour of that, just sitting and waiting. Apparently, on top of all this, there was "an incident" at Farragut North, and when we slowly crawled past that station, there were a lot of police in reflective vests shouting stuff. When I finally got to Metro Center, the Orange Line trains had been delayed so long, the trains we packed. I had to jam myself in, and stand most of the ride back home. After all this, I was exhausted.
But I had a party to go to. Missie was already riding home with us (she was also on a delayed Metro pickup), and after a short stay at my house, we went to Sean and Lou's 8th (2nd) Wedding Anniversary. See, they got married on February 29th, so they only really get to celebrate every 4 years. I was kind of a wash at the party because I was starting to feel sick as well as tired, but I had fun anyway. I ended up staying un til 2am or something, and left when pretty much everyone else did. I can't party like I used to when I was 20, man. By the time I got home, I felt pretty sick. All night I kept tossing and turning because of my sinus headache, and currently, the headache is so intense, I have trouble spellchecking this because of the spots in my eyes from the sinus pressure pressing on my optic nerves. I don't have a fever, just a sore throat, wet cough, and horrible sinus headache. Bleah.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000402.html