jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
It will have been raining in Harvard Square for only half an hour when you give up hope.

On Monday I got laid off. I spent the next couple of days lazily rounding up personal documents and potential writing samples from the work laptop.

Today I transferred those to my home machine, cleared all personal touches from the work laptop, and shut it down for the last time. Then I went out and stood on the porch for a little while.

The Fraser River was mostly empty. In the distance, a barge full of dirt passed out of view behind Annacis Island.

You cannot know what will happen next.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Things what I need to do before Monday:
1) REST API documentation for work
2) Finish packing / deconstructing the office
3) Finish 'Blood on her hands' for writing group

#1 is stupid and I hate it. Okay, so actually it's just boring where it's not incomprehensible, but still. Bleh.

#2 is at the part where the last ten percent of the project takes the other ninety percent of the time.

#3 is ... um. I know how it starts and I know how I expect it to end but there's that whole middle part where it goes from A to C both plot-wise and emotional-arc-wise that I don't know how I'm gonna hack. Story of my life.
jazzfish: an evil-looking man in a purple hood (Lord Fomax)
As I said on twitter, holy crap, dayjob, you can die in a fire any time now.

It's been a stupid week. Some amount of that stupid is my own fault, lack of focus earlier resulting in rushing now. More of it is due to the horrible dev team I'm working with.

Anyway, that's why I haven't been replying to comments.

Also did my annual self-evaluation, which makes me feel simultaneously 1) like a huge slacker (no surprise, I *have* been a huge slacker; see above re lack of focus) and 2) absolutely drowning in work to the extent that it's amazing I've gotten anything out at all: maintained three large and difficult books (~2000 pp) plus attendant Help through two releases, and created from almost-scratch documentation for three medium-sized additional products in the space of about two months each. Those latter three were all projects that $boss handed me with "X started working on this and got a skeletal structure in place but now he's totally slammed with other stuff can you take over?" To which I say "sure!" because she asks when everything else is at a temporary lull, and also lack of focus (see above) makes me feel like I'm not doing anything so clearly I have time to work on something else.

I still feel like my job performance is awful, but I feel a little less bad about how awful it is.

Did I mention that the permanent resident paperwork arrived? The permanent resident paperwork arrived a week or two back. We were going to jaunt down to the border but then we realised that there will be several weeks when we're without either work permits or permanent resident cards (they take the work permit, and eventually they mail you a Maple Leaf card [that's Canadian for 'green card']), which will make leaving and re-entering the country more difficult than it needs to be. And since spring is travelin' season, and the landing stuff is good until mid-November, we decided to just wait until we get back from WisCon (late May) and deal with it then.

jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Sitting in Boston Logan airport, listening to Mingus Ah Um on headphones because the alternative is listening to Newt Gingrich on CNN talk about the Zimmerman trial.

I'm rather annoyed that I got here three hours before my flight, but at least it's air-conditioned and has free wi-fi and a power outlet, which puts it two up on Readercon.

So, Readercon.

First things first: I doubt I'll be going back next year. I said that last year, and I'm saying it again this year. Burlington MA sucks if you don't have a car and doesn't seem to be much better if you do. I am three hours early for my flight because it's an hour and a half transit (350 bus - Red Line - Silver Line) ride from hotel to airport and the 350 bus could pick me up at 10:30 or 12:30, and 12:30 put me at the airport at 2 PM for a 3 PM international flight, and I did not feel that lucky. The Burlington Marriott is the worst overpriced hotel I've ever stayed in: overpriced restaurant (only one this year, usually there are two but the hotel's being renovated), expensive flaky internet, no hotwaterpot for tea in the room, uncomfortable bed, clogged shower, etc etc. And Wiscon successfully scratches my 'literary con' itch. It doesn't scratch my 'seeing people who don't go to Wiscon' itch but one can hope that will solve itself.

HAVING SAID THAT. The con itself was fun. I went to some fascinating panels (including one on Avram Davidson who I shall have to look more into), revelled in the dealers' room full of books, heard [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving read from Ben Jonson, P.I (aka 'Cry Havoc In A Small Voice') which was entirely delightful, and generally enjoyed myself. Saw a bunch of people I don't see nearly often enough; waved at a couple of others but was feeling insufficiently sociable to either talk to or interrupt them at the time. Got hit with a pulp-fantasy story idea that may be worth writing anyway. It's been a long time since an idea smacked me this hard in the back of the head.

Edit: and how on earth could I forget: while registering I ran into Saira Ali and picked up my lovely handprinted business cards, which was part of the impetus for going to Readercon in the first place.

Not taking a Thursday night redeye was a mistake; I feel like I missed half the con by getting there Friday night.

Now to Toronto, and then homeward, to fight with stupid workstuff. Bleh. The trouble with cons is, they feel so much more right and real than work that it's difficult to readjust. Doubly so when I've been having trouble motivating myself anyway.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Crap crap crap. Had a post about two-thirds written about the tail end of the Los Cabos trip and the computer crashed on me, and now it's gone and I can't find it in me to rewrite it.

It was a good trip. Restful. Maybe the first trip I've taken where I wasn't ready to just be home at the end of it. I can't claim my brain has fully regrown but it may be getting there.

Bullet points! )
And then work got very very stupid last week. On occasion they need to light a fire under the developers, so they pretend they're going to be shipping software to customers in a week. This is obviously false but it's from higher-ups so it has just enough plausibility that we have to get everything ready to go out. Then it doesn't ship for two more weeks anyway. Oh well.

This week hasn't been so bad; mostly it's been reorienting to being home and to a normal schedule. Yay.
jazzfish: Stormtrooper making an L on his forehead (Soy un perridor)
Work is being workish and just dropped a ton more work on my head, on top of all the work I've been putting off because hey look over there, a procrastinabob! So the next couple days will be awful. Starting tonight.

And likely because of that I'm still in hiding-from-everything mode and don't want to do anything, and haven't revised a bit of my stupid deeply frustrating story. Which I wanted to have out the door by the time summer con season got started. GUESS WE BLEW THAT ONE.

And I go to the beach next week. Which would be awesome and relaxing but there will be work, and why will there be work? Because I felt stressed out and slacked off and didn't get it all done by now, that's why. Not to mention the packing and planning and non-work everything that needs to happen before we leave. Including figuring out how we're getting to SeaTac (current best answer: by Amtrak bus, getting us there IF EVERYTHING GOES RIGHT at 8:30 PM, half an hour away by transit for a 10:15 flight).

After that we'll be in Richmond (Va) for a couple of days and then in the DC area for a couple of days, and then we fly to Madison for Wiscon. Which will hopefully not suck, and will in any event be populated by a large number of awesome people I have not seen since October (or, in two fortunate cases, since March).

But the DC part is going to be rough because there is simply not enough time to see all the awesome people I want to see.

There's a Hokusai exhibit at the Sackler gallery, and since I just finished rereading Zelazny's only-female-main-character mood piece "24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai" we are likely going to that on Monday. And dinner with my folks on Tuesday and working from work Tues and Weds and flying out of National on Wednesday night. Gah time.

And then after Wiscon I come home and go back to work, nominally relaxed and recharged and in reality just jetlagged and lonely.

Today I am grateful for the perfect weather, for being a beta-tester for Spectromancer for iPhone, for a handful of pretty kick-ass friends. For having a job that pays me to be where I want to be.


Jul. 5th, 2011 07:34 am
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
In addition to accomplishing a handful of things off my List, yesterday was a day for two major achievements.

First, I updated my computer-building credentials by successfully replacing the memory and hard drive in the work laptop. This involved popping the keyboard out and replacing it without breaking any of its flimsy plastic clips or losing any of the keys (except Home, but who uses that anyway?). My small hammer with several different screwdrivers built into the handle is now officially my go-to computer disassembly tool.

... excuse me, a little brown sparrow just landed on my open window, cheeped at me a few times, and flew away.

Where was I? Right. Secondly, and more importantly, I convinced/shanghaied/bullied [personal profile] uilos into going to the doctor for the persistent crud she's had since before Origins. Likely this only worked because she'd given it to me as of Satyrday morning, and by yesterday I was in pretty miserable shape. But we now have a regimen each of amoxycillin and an irritation at the need to submit claims to the insurance company. Just like home. (BC has a waiting period so we're safe from the dangers of socialized medicine for another couple of months.) The amoxy seems to be doing its job; I'm much more functional today.

Yesterday I also reread the first two ABC books[1] in reverse order, since B is technically a prequel to A, while C is a direct sequel to A that builds on backstory from B. I'm not sure whether I recommend this reading order or not. Probably not; it feels better to let the backstory fill in the gaps in the 'main' story. (In other non-news, if you believe in reading Magician's Nephew before LWW I have nothing to say to you.) Also, reading in pub order means you don't get "how Muire met Kasimir" twice in a row (it's the start of A, and also the last thing that happens in B).

Onward, with reinstalling a bunch of software for work. Yay fun.

[1] Also known as Elizabeth Bear's Edda of Burdens series: All The Windwracked Stars, By The Mountain Bound, The Seas Thy Mistress. A, B, Sea. What? Stop looking at me like that.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Now that I'm in control of my own work environment, I've started using a standing desk, because that seemed easier than trying to find a desk chair that I liked. I found a Frederik desk from Ikea that seemed like it would do well as a standing desk, and after some frustration got it into a reasonable configuration.

The first day of standing around, last Monday, was pretty bad. I broke out my emergency barstool around one in the afternoon. Tuesday was even worse. My legs ached, my knees ached, my lower back ached... I took a long bath and got [personal profile] uilos to rub at my legs before bed and that helped some.

And then Wednesday... wasn't so bad. It helped that I started standing on a rubber mat instead of a couple of flattened cardboard boxes; the hardwood floor was killing me. More, though, I just started getting used to it. Now it's not so bad at all. I may even be enjoying it.

I'm certainly enjoying how much more I get up and walk around. I'm more likely to take a quick walk through the apartment, over to the window or just around to stretch my legs a bit. I don't feel like I'm constantly fiddling with my chair or keyboard tray trying to find a setup that doesn't strain my shoulder. Plus, the angle is just right that I can look out my window and see the ravens drinking from the fountain ten stories below.

I still have the emergency barstool; it's been useful for conference calls and waiting for things to install and just generally taking a break. I bought a nicer floor mat from Amazon to replace the useful-but-hard-on-my-soles industrial one that [personal profile] uilos brought me from the hardware store. And I'm considering getting some sort of foot rest to put under the desk so I can shift my weight a little more easily.

I'll give it a full month before making a final decision but so far I think I like it.


Aug. 31st, 2010 01:19 pm
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
So I went to Key West with [livejournal.com profile] uilos last weekend, and had a really good time. I also got a reasonably bad sunburn on my nose and scalp despite slathering the former in sunblock and buying a hat for the latter. Too little too late, but at least I have a hat. I did not see any tiny purple octopi (octopodes, whatever), sadly.

I am also drowning in work and will provide an actual trip report later. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow. Worst case, sometime the week after Labor Day. (Well, worst case is I never get around to it, but then you'd never get to hear about the stingrays who wanted to come to dinner.)

Mostly this is in the nature of I ATEN'T DEAD. So, yeah.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
One of my favorite paintings, explicated: from [livejournal.com profile] rbandrews, who notes, "It just makes more sense as a triptych."

Interview with Danny Trejo: You know Danny Trejo, he plays the mean-looking Mexican in like a zillion movies. Here he talks about a bunch of them.

Shambling Mound: "To the tune of 'Ramblin' Man' by the Allman Brothers." The archives are pretty good too.

I dunno, everything's been rather slow and dull lately. Biding time until I run off to the beach for a week of gaming. Work has been crazy with trying to ship an iPhone version of the software, and a server infrastructure that can deliver reports to same, in an exceedingly compressed timeframe. Writing, eh, somewhat, I've started a couple of things that may or not ever come to actual endings.

Running is easier when it's less humid. The temperature was fine this morning, it's just that inhaling nontrivial quantities of water along with oxygen causes my lungs to get cranky and stop wanting to work. Plus not being able to sweat efficiently leads to overheating, which as we all know leads to slower movement (not to mention erratic targeting and potential internal damage). So, ick. And it only gets worse from here.

Perhaps a week at the beach will revitalize me. I can hope.
jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
There is a large (three or four feet tall) domo-kun with an eyepatch sitting on top of a short filing cabinet at the end of the hall.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Now that all the flu symptoms are gone and the stiff/sore neck has almost unloosened, I'm not really "sick" per se. Just easily tired pretty much all the time, and with the attention span of a . . . um . . . one of those things over there. You know, running up the walls and eating the neighbor's birdseed. Makes me want to shout "You damn kids, get off my lawn!" Anyway, Lyme disease reminds me a lot of mono. Only without the fun parts, where you get the disease in the first place. Of course my bout with mono didn't have any of the fun parts either. I came down with it several weeks after a four-hour trip to get dumped.

Right, focus. $manager is awesome and allows me to work from home. Of course, today that meant I had to come in for half a day to put out the fires that sprang up in my absence (which consisted of reading the email thread that was rather amusing in its increasing franticity, writing to a half-dozen people to say, 'It doesn't really matter to me, so go with that one,' and convincing all my co-workers that I haven't died yet) and set up the work computer for VPN/VNC access. This did convince me that I probably oughtn't be trying to do eight hours' worth of work in an eight-hour period, since four in four nearly wiped me out. Thankfully working from home means I can do eight in more like twelve, allowing for breaks for things like letting my eyes glaze over for ten minutes or so, or forgetting where in the red-pen-covered document I am in converting changes.

If I'm not back to at least functional by Monday I will be displeased. I suspect $boss will be as well but I might be making that up. I don't really know.

On Monday Patient First in Laurel gave me a prescription for ten days' of doxycyclene (antibiotic) which they filled there (the max that they'll fill), and another for eleven days to complete the three-week regimen. I tried to fill the eleven-day prescription today. Turns out United Health Care, my insurer, won't cover the second prescription until next Monday. It's "too soon." Stupid bloody insurance system.

Origins post next. Probably tonight or tomorrow.


Jun. 21st, 2007 10:11 am
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
"But it doesn't address the fundamental problem, which is the user . . ." --$manager, yesterday

The Dixie Bonus: "[W]hile people in Rhode Island or Oregon don't look on presidential candidates who come from regions other than their own with suspicion, lots of southerners seem to be reluctant to vote for people who don't share their drawl. Of course, this is never characterized as pathological regional xenophobia -- it's just how regular folks think, and there's not supposed to be anything wrong with it." Via Kevin Drum, who adds, "Five of our last seven presidents have been from the South and the other two have been from the Southwest -- and the reason, as near as I can tell, is that most Southerners just flatly refuse to vote for anyone who comes from north of the Mason-Dixon Line. And yet, somehow, it's the rest of us who are supposedly intolerant of Southern culture. Feh." (Kevin makes the common mistake of locating the Bushes in Texas instead of the Northeast where they belong, but since it is such a common mistake it feeds into the narrative rather than disproving it.)

Note to self: avoid the seat next to [livejournal.com profile] elf in situations where there is even the slightest chance of someone needing to be put on check-snatching duty. I've mostly got feeling back in my arm by now. Also, Yama is some pretty tasty sushi, eel is good stuff, and ex-Jeffersonites tend to attract pretty awesome people. A good evening despite the hurting.

The past couple weeks have gone by surprisingly fast, and as [livejournal.com profile] jonny_law notes it's nearly time for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at the Silver. Since I'll be in the wilderness again this weekend it's either Monday or Wednesday night. However, it's not getting started 'til 9:20 either night, which may be a bit lateish. Let me know which day y'all prefer.

Also, I'm looking tentatively at late July or early August for another reading. Any takers? Preference for dates? (And I am bloody well going to see Lawrence of Arabia some Sunday in July or August this year, since I missed it last year.)


jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Tucker McKinnon


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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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