Thursday, October 29, 2015

After the Summit, there is the descent

After a bit of wrangling, my boss managed to get both of us out to Seattle for the week-long Data Nerd Disneyland SQL PASS Summit. He arrived late Tuesday afternoon for the ‘regular’ sessions Wednesday – Friday, and I got here Sunday so that I could also attend the full-day pre-conference sessions in Extreme Nerdiness on Monday and Tuesday.

Which were FANTASTIC. The speakers were excellent, and the information presented…well, usable. Immediately, directly usable on things that have been bugging me for a while now; and a lot of new information for me, which was tremendously exciting.

I’ll be honest, such things are becoming increasingly rare for me personally; when it comes to the basics of my job, anything that falls in the ‘expected knowledge’ for the DEVI – IV range, I not only already know it, I already know it rather thoroughly.

Put it this way: I actually ditched out of a ‘300-level’ seminar earlier today because honestly I was a bit bored (yeah-yeah-yeah, row vs. page compression, c’mon, I know all this…oh, but, clearly I am just about alone in that, because everybody else sure seems to have a lot of questions about it, ugh…maybe I’ll just check the Warcraft auction house app while they all talk amongst themselves for a bit here…) and getting very sleepy / restless, and also between you and me I fall more than a bit onto the “introvert” side of the personality scale so all this networking has been steadily draining me all week.

I mean, I’m a bit a-typical of the breed in that I actually like other people, and enjoy chatting with new people and getting to hear their stories and such – but I do still have that “one way valve” when it comes to interpersonal energy: Always flows out, never back in.

In fact, I often think that it is actually the fact that I do value and care about other people, and am interested in getting to know more of them, that causes the problem for me: I find it impossible to not be keenly aware of allllllll the people who are around me. I’m reading their expressions, tones of voice, body posture and so forth, and can’t seem to help but notice – and then feel obligated to do something about – even the slightest signs of stress or emotional turmoil.

It’s ridiculous and impossible and not technically “my” problem, but, no matter how carefully I try or how logically I explain to myself that I cannot possibly fix every stranger’s problems or help every mildly ticked off person have a better day, I just can’t seem to actually turn off that valve; the best I can manage is to force myself not to actually take action on the impulse, beyond the very small things like letting someone who seems to need a “win” right now go ahead of me in line.

But, you know – it’s OK. I’d rather care too much than not at all, and frankly I have managed to avoid or defuse situations that could have become very-very bad in a hurry precisely because that hyper-sensitivity to another person’s existence tipped me off that they were a walking time bomb of pent-up frustrations and/or sadness and/or rage, sooooooooooo, I wouldn’t really trade it for the sweet peace of typical obliviousness.

But I digress.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference, so I’ve already started the process of packing things up to head back home.

It feels good. It’s been a great conference and I’ve had a fantastic time, but I’m definitely reaching the end of my leash in terms of being away from home.

I can handle 2-3 days just fine; 4 days I’m starting to miss the family pretty badly; 5 days and I find myself getting more and more irritable about minor inconveniences and such.

Much beyond that, and I’m probably going to be spending every waking minute grousing to myself about increasingly idiotic non-issues. Probably aloud to myself while scuttling around on city streets trying to find a fast meal that doesn’t give me indigestion or cost me $75.

For example, my internal diatribe this morning in re: the alarm clock in my hotel room, which went something like this:

Gah, I HATE this alarm clock! This snooze button is STUPID-SMALL, and who the hell designed this on/off switch? Damn thing must either need fingers like SAUSAGES or maybe a pair of TWEEZERS to use…also who makes an ALARM clock that goes ‘meep-meep-meep’ like a newborn chick with a sore throat? I’m a developer, dammit, I need something that sounds like a LIGHTHOUSE HORN before it’ll penetrate the ‘I was up until 2:30 in the morning trying to figure something out’ fog!

Yeahhhhh, that’s a pretty strong hint that I am getting a bit past my max-tolerance for not being home.

Still…Seattle is a cool city, even for a California delta-rat like Your Faithful Correspondent; it feels a lot like home for this San Francisco native, but also has its own unique vibe that prevents me from thinking for even a moment that I’m actually stomping around “my” city, or that the water I can see from my hotel window is “my” Bay.

The cities are more like siblings than twins, you know? Similar, but also very unique. Very walk-able, lots of interesting shops and unexpected splashes of color, and Puget Sound is a wonderful place to rest your eyes after a day of staring at computer screens and such. Watching the sun set over the water as ferries scurry to and fro carrying their precious cargo home is somehow a very satisfying way to spend an idle hour. Much more entertaining than whatever the television might have to offer, for sure.

I don’t think I could live here, given that I am solar-powered and prone to “inexplicable” bouts of vague “I dunno why, I’m just kinda blue” sensations when I’m not getting a fair amount of sunlight every day; but it’s definitely a place I could visit again and again without complaints.

And with that, I’m going to get back to packing up all my cords and cables, books and handouts, and other scattered possessions. See y’all back in California tomorrow…

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Keeping my eyes peeled

Soooooooo, it’s apple season and I’m cruising the recipe sites for ways to combine carbs and fats and sugars with apple chunks healthy nutritious snacks for the family, and I run across Chewy Caramel Apple Cookies and I’m reading through the recipe and I see in the ingredients the following:

  • 20 caramels, unwrapped

And I went, “…wait…”

And I read it again. Yeah. It actually specifies, unwrapped.

For a blissful moment, I snickered as I imagined someone taking twenty plastic-wrapped caramel candies, dropping them into a saucepan and stirring madly to melt them into a glaze.

“Nice cookies, but the glaze has a weird, I dunno, burnt-plastic-y finish…”

Then I suddenly realized: I would totally be that person. I mean, I would love to poke fun at my imaginary noob pastry chef and pretend that I was just far too clever a cook myself to ever do such a thing, but…


Not terribly long ago, I made this shrimp-rice thing for dinner. You know, one of those “fancy” recipes with the (relatively) expensive sweet sticky rice and Jasmine-hinted blah blah blah almost-a-risotto deals. I was all like, “Yeahhhhhh, that’s right, I could totally win one of those cooking-as-a-full-body-contact-sport deals, ka-POW!” and totally impressed with my own prowess and all…


…I realized I had made a teeny-tiny oversight in the preparation, which was because I thought the shrimp I bought were already peeled.

They were not.

For bonus points, I did not notice this until I was trying to plate up dinner. So there I was, trying to pick the shrimps out of the very hot and sticky I might add rice so I could attempt to peel them after cooking them.

Have you ever tried to do this? I thought not. It takes a special level of inattention to detail to end up in this kind of situation. And also a high pain tolerance, because hot-hot-hot-OW-dammit-hot-hot-HOT!

I have to wonder: If the recipe I was(n’t really) following had said, “1/2 pound whole shrimp, peeled” – would it have helped? Would it have triggered me to, you know, check, before tossing them into the pan?

I’m honestly not sure.

I just…really believed that the package I bought had said “peeled” on it, somewhere. With the kind of absolute faith usually reserved for the kind of people who would stand there with an actual-literal alien sludge-beast gnawing on their face going, “There is no such thing as alien sludge-beasts! Because they aren’t in the Bible! Ha! CHECKMATE!”

I checked. It totally did not say that. Not even under the big red “50% OFF” sticker.

And yes, I was that desperate for vindication around my unshakeable conviction that those were “supposed” to be pre-peeled shrimp.

I honestly have no idea what exactly goes on inside my own mind sometimes. “Gosh, maybe I had x-ray vision at the time and the ‘pre-peeled’ label was under this one!”? Really, Me?

The tiny sliver of consolation I have is that it did say “E-Z Peel” on the package, which is practically the same as pre-peeled except for the shrimp being TOTALLY NOT peeled at all, and I’m sure it would have been quite an E-Z job if they hadn’t been like red-hot little bundles of super-heated steel nestled in vast quantities of boiling-oil hot sticky sweet rice and finely diced vegetables at the time.

Sigh…well, at least they were deveined.

So, I had that going for me.

In related news, this morning I caught a bug in a system I have absolutely zero direct connection with because I happened to see an error go by in the log files I was checking for another reason altogether.

Over 200,000 records I was scanning with my eyeballs looking for one specific set of keywords => that error jumped out at me and I was all “whoa-whoa-whoa, what?” {scroll-scroll-scroll back up through the text file} “…huh…that’s…a weird one…” {typity-typity-typity} “…ooooooooh, uh-huh, I see what happened there…” {opens new email} “hey guys, you’ve got the framework set up to think Field57 is an INT, it’s actually a GUID, you should probably update that because yeahhhhh, you kinda got blown out of the water last night and got zero updates in your delta, only the inserts and deletes that don’t use that field in their comparison script, you’re welcome.”

This has got to be some kind of super-power. The “ability to simultaneously be a person who will see ‘operand clash’ go by in a blur of fast-scrolling through a log file while looking for ‘XML’ and/or ‘illegal’, and yet, turn right around and be a person who spends a good twenty-thirty minutes enthusiastically stirring a pot of shrimp and rice without noticing the shrimp still have shells and legs on them” power.

Probably one with a big fancy Latin-sounding name I won’t be able to spell.


Saturday, October 03, 2015

Could Only Happen To Me, #1744…

Soooooo…I have a confession to make: I haven’t really played my harp in literally years. I dust it whenever I notice it needs it, and usually tune it to itself at the same time (translation: it has been nowhere NEAR a ‘concert A’, tuning-wise, for a very long time); very occasionally, I’ll sit down and fumble through a mockery of something I used to be able to play with my eyes closed and my mind elsewhere, and that’s about it.

It’s a combination of time, and pain. I don’t have a whole lot of the former, especially not in the “have both time and energy” bucket; and unfortunately, things like playing the harp / piano / guitar fall into the grim category of Stuff That Tends To Set Off Flare-Ups on both my hip/back and my shoulder-nerve-damage.

Undaunted by the fact that this means that a) I cannot play actual music on it anymore due to lack of practice and b) told him in as many words “OH HELL NO!” when he first brought it up, the husband went and volunteered me to play at a wedding in a couple weeks.

In a couple weeks.

You can imagine how rattled I am.

Since I’m apparently not going to be allowed out of it, I moved the harp into my office and started using my lunch hour as practice sessions instead of what I usually use them for if/when I actually get a lunch break, which is doing little chores around the Den. (No. You can’t use our bathroom. Seriously, you will prefer to use the nearest truck stop, it will definitely be cleaner. And more likely to have toilet paper.)

The very first morning after my very first damage assessment practice session, I came downstairs to find that a string had snapped. A nice BIG bass string.

Oh, fantastic, just faaaaaaaantastic. {grumble-grumble-grumble}

So I replaced the broken string and began the tedious process of getting it through its initial stretching period; it takes a couple days of frequent tuning before a new string will have worked out all its “extra” stretch and starts holding its tune well again, and often the 2-3 strings on either side of it experience a milder but still annoying adjustment period as well.

Now, I told you all that so that I could tell you this story: SO THERE I WAS, sitting in a late afternoon meeting. I had been in back to back meetings for a good four hours already, and my primary headset – the one with the noise-filtering microphone – fits rather snugly on my ears. It’s great for an hour or two at a time, but when you wear it continually, especially when you also wear glasses, it becomes painful.

My ears were killing me.

So, I’d stopped using the headset and had switched to using my conference-call mode…something I can really only get away with when all the Denizens are out of the house and the cats are napping, because the microphone on that deal is the opposite of my headset for the ‘filtering’ thing and will pick up the sound of a cat sneezing from clear across the house. And somehow amplify it so that the sound of my voice two inches from it will be completely overwhelmed by the dumb cat’s allergy attack.

We were in the middle of some intense negotiations, wrangling about current release items and going over the stories for the next release. I’m right in the middle of explaining in my best Trust Me I Am A Professional voice that such-and-so can’t be done like this because of reasons and blah blah blah performance and etc. etc. etc. when suddenly…the C string right next to the B that broke earlier…snapped.

If you’ve never heard a thick bass string snap on a harp – it is not a particularly gentle event. And my office was set up to be well-insulated from exterior noise, which perversely makes it a rather live room, sound-wise.

The initial snapping of the string sounded like a gunshot. POW!

And this was immediately followed by a ghastly series of hisses, hums, and almost sizzling noises as the broken string flailed around on its way to eternal rest, striking other strings and the soundboard as it went. The entire harp was vibrating from the shock.

It’s the least harp-like sound a harp will ever make outside of something like being dropped from a moving vehicle, an unmistakable yowl of protest. A sweet, classy lady shrieking obscenities. Just. Plain. WRONG.

I jumped about five feet into the air and came down biting off curse words. I was startled on the way up, and already knew what it had to have been before my backside returned to my chair.

Sure enough, I look over and the C string right next to the new B had given way. Damn, should have known THAT was gonna happen…

My teammates, however, had no idea what that noise could possibly have been. It was just as loud and startling for them as it had been for me, and they were all talking at once, asking what had just exploded and was that a gun and was I alright and OMG WTH?!

So I explained what it was. But this is ME we’re talking about. So what I said was, “Oh. Yeah. Sorry about that, guys. Looks like my 29/C just went, nothing to worry about.”

Gosh, thanks, Tama, that makes everything clear, because obviously everybody there totally already knows that a) I play the harp, b) I currently have the harp in my office with me, c) by “29/C” I mean “string 29 of 36, the lowest-octave C”… {face-palm}

So there was a weird little silence while everybody tried to make what I had said make sense, during which I realized that I had just made no sense, sooooo, I tried to clarify.

While still being, you know, me. So instead as coming out in a sane and sensible way, it came out as a too-quickly-spoken babble similar to what I’d hear from a Denizen who was trying to explain why they got a lousy grade in something I know full well they are intelligent and skilled enough to ace.

With bonus All Statements Will Be Phrased As Questions phrasing.

“Oh, yeah, so, I play the harp? And I’m supposed to be playing for a wedding in a couple weeks? So I have it in the office, and, well, the 30/B? one of those big thick nylon-wrapped-nylon bass strings? broke the other day? So I replaced it? But sometimes? when one string breaks? and another one? is sort of thinking about breaking too? it will go ahead and break? because the tension gets all weird? So, yeah, that was the string next to the one that broke yesterday? Breaking?”

{more silence while everybody processes this, which causes me to get anxious so now I want to somehow make this completely OK…}

“But hey! At least it was still just a nylon string! When one of those metal core ones goes, man, now that is really an ugly noise! hahahahaha…hahaha…haha…ha…ahem…


I bring these things on myself.

If I could just be a normal person, if I could just have a normal person’s view of the world, or maintain a normal person’s sang froid about things, or even if I could just remember that so many of the things I do are not ‘Average American’ things and not toss them out in casual conversation when amongst Average Americans, these horribly awkward moments would not happen.

But I can’t, so they do, and I always seem to be having conversations with people that involve phrases like “I didn’t know that was even a thing” or “you…wait, you literally have a {harp, greywater hose, ‘curtain’ made of scarlet runner beans, etc.}, in your house?”

But at the same time, you know…I have to say…the people I work with right now are a true gift to me. They don’t just tolerate my Crazy, they embrace it. They almost celebrate it. They laugh with me, they accept my insane exuberance about everything from being able to make something run better in our application to having gotten a really awesome deal on eight bushels of apples from a neighboring gentleman farmer that made kick-ass applesauce.

They accept me, even when I’m charging around putting a weird, quirky spin on things that require them to readjust their thinking.

Without them, I would “merely” enjoy what I do all day long; they are what make it something I love, they are the reason I have so few days at work that are just kind of meh…they make the hard work we all do feel more like one extremely long play date with my besties.

Case In Point: Instead of just going, “Oh. Alllllllll righty then. Moving on…” – this group goes, “Oh. OK. Well. I think that what we’re going to need here is some validation…” – and that was how our meeting ended up going ten minutes over, so that I could replace that broken string and play them something.

You know, so that QA could sign off on my fix.


I love those crazy-accepting guys, and I hope our play date never ends.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday, Monday

Monday always seems determined to shock my system.

The alarm goes off in the morning and I’m all like, Nooooooo, how did THAT get turned back on? It’s only SUNDAY!!…oh…wait…

Every other morning of the week, I spend the first 30-60 minutes on sifting through overnight emails, reviewing job dashboards and running diagnostic queries to make sure all is groovy with our applications, and researching anything weird that pops up from All That.

Mondays, though…geez. Sometimes it’s almost 10:00 (<= 4 to 4-1/2 hours after I’ve logged in) before I finally put All That to bed and get back to my current work tasks.

There’s always a Certain Pile of emails from people who insist on working over the weekend (95% of these will be “weird things” they saw because they were “validating” something while its process was still running, of course it looked “weird,” it was only half-baked when you were lookin’ at it) (but, you can never assume that, because there’s that other 5% of the time when it was actually something going horribly awry on us…ugh…!).

Plus, the applications had two whole days without my hairy eyeball resting sternly upon them, sooooo, they do have a tendency to get up to all kinds of mischief while I wasn’t looking.

And then, there’s the early release thing for the Denizens. Every Monday. Almost two hours earlier than every other day.

For me, it translates to a half-hour earlier log-out time from work…but somehow, it always feels like it is, like, four hours earlier. It always arrives the same way the morning alarm does, setting off a loud wail of, “Whaaaaaaat? But, it’s way too earllllllyyyyyyyy…!

Ironically, my coworkers do not share this sensation. There are about four of them who will faithfully ping me every Monday at 4:32 p.m. team-time to say, “Oy. aren’t you supposed to be picking somebody up at school right about now?”…usually quickly following up with “…like maybe your son?”

Smart alecks, the lot of them.

But then, they also got the picture I sent them once of Captain Adventure giving me an incredibly disgusted look as he climbed into the van because I was late, mom, LATE.

But even weirder is the way that somehow, bedtime also always seems to arrive well before I’m, you know, ready on Mondays. I still have things I meant to do. Posts to read. Things to order or research. And I always think it’s only, you know, maybe 8:00-ish, but actually, it’s 10:30 and I really need to be off to bed.

And then my phone goes off, shrilly informing me that it is time to wrap it up, woman, you don’t want to end up a zombie AGAIN tomorrow, right?

Whaaaaaaaat? no, it’s too early, it’s only…oh…crap, is that really the time…?!

Mondays, man.

They’re brutal.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The illusion of control

So I was looking at what to make for dinner (I’m thinking a honey-mustard-l’il-hint-of-curry chicken with garlic-roasted cauliflower at this point) (although I have to admit that the ‘cauliflower rice’ thing is really intriguing me) and was having a terrible time with it because omg EVERYTHING looks AWESOME! and then I realized I hadn’t really eaten much today and was arguably too hungry to be trying to pick a recipe because I was so distracted by the thought of, you know, food in general, and THEN I thought to myself, waitasecond – there’s still PIE in the fridge!

If there had been water under my sneakers, I would have been walking on it, I moved so fast. Pie-pie-pie-pie-mwahahaha, pi…you are @^*&@ing KIDDING me…

I mean, really now. Who does this? Who DOES this? That’s like drinking all the but last half tablespoon of soda and putting the 2-liter bottle back in the fridge. Or using all but about eight of the bow-tie pastas but putting the open bag back in the cupboard, loosely rolled up so that it looks like there is at least one more full serving available in it. Only even more evil, because, this is PIE we’re talking about here.

Right up there with putting a carton of ice cream that has, like, two scant teaspooons of frozen confection left in it. <= should come with a minimum eight year sentence somewhere very, very cold. And also ice-cream-less.


(Darn tootin’ I ate it. It was my civic duty at that point, and I am nothing if not keenly aware of my civic duties.)

(Danger Mouse made this one, and it was good. The future of pie is successfully being passed on to future generations, you’re welcome, y’all.)

Meanwhile in other news, not long ago Fleur Fatale decided that the place to be throughout the day was on a folded towel on my desk, immediately to the left of my keyboard. Curled up nice and snug in a little ball, sleeping away…occasionally rousing just enough to yawn, stretch, and nudge at me for exactly five pets.

No more, no less.

And pets, dammit, not tickles or skritches or thumps. Firm pets. But not too firm. What constitutes ‘too firm’ is subject to the discretion of the cat and may change from day to day / hour to hour, but usually means nice smooth, consistent strokes from whichever part of the cat is being thrust insistently under the human’s hand to the shoulder while looking directly at the cat and cooing appreciatively at her. No multitasking. No hindquarters. No belly. No legs.

Adhere to these rules, or I bite the crap out of you, human. Your overlord has spoken. See that you obey.

Also, let’s be clear: The towel must be on the left side, conveniently close to the keyboard but not too close because humans type too loud.

Not on the white craft table behind the human, which is too far away to allow for being a nuisance at will. And also not on the right side of the keyboard, because, reasons. CAT reasons, you’re not intelligent enough to understand, so let’s keep it simple. The. LEFT. Side.

Also, not a pillow, or a blanket, or any other form of cushion: A folded towel. Preferably a lighter colored one. Folded such that there are at least four layers, but no more than six. It should be just wide enough to accommodate a curled-up Fleur, but not wide enough to accommodate that tubby-arsed sister of hers, may she dwell forever in darkness and also some OTHER room because GAH, is she ever ANNOYING.

For example, this is mostly acceptable. (Note the empty phone case, conveniently located in case the urge to knock something off the table should strike. Good human slave. Gold star.) (Note also that you’d better not have a phone in there, because eventually, yeah, that thing is goin’ to the FLOOR, yo.)

(I am pushing my luck here: I’ve secretly got one edge of the towel tucked under a heavy book on the little ‘micro shelf’ you can’t see immediately under this part of the desk, so that it doesn’t slide wildly around when she first jumps up onto it. It is very undignified when one’s towel dumps one unceremoniously onto the floor whilst one is attempting to leap from a surface that is arguably just a wee bit too far away to make the bound gracefully, but when one refuses to accept a nice cat bed with a skid-resistant coating on its bottom, one may find that this happens from time to time.)

REMEMBER: Four to six layers of towel between Her Regal Self and the desk.

Any less and she will parade back and forth in front of the monitors knocking every loose thing she can lay a paw on off the desk until order is restored. “Fluff my towel, Minion! snap-snap!

Any more and she will paw and fluff at the towel until it commits suicide by throwing itself off the desk. “Too thick, Minion! Make with the happy, chop-chop!

On a related note, the little stick-on cable / pen holders* I applied to the top of my desk need to go. Not only do they prevent my pen from flying off the desk when she swipes at it irritably, but they themselves likewise do not budge when nudged.

Profoundly annoying, that.

Had to be hissed at last night, when the human slave inexplicably removed the towel for something called ‘washing.’ For, like, three whole hours. No towel. Three hours.


YA KNOW…sometimes, I suffer from the delusion that, you know, I am the mistress of this household. Hahahahahahaha, I know, right?!

Next I’m going to think I can pick out my own clothes in the morning, or take a shower when I want instead of having to wedge it in between Denizen demands, or…you know, never mind.

We all know how that is going to end…

(*They’re like this thingee. I’ve got one on each of the monitor stands, and one right next to my keyboard, where I am always setting the pen I’m using after scribbling a chicken-scratch onto my notepad. And then it promptly goes rolling under my keyboard, or off to one side or the other, and then when I try to grab it again I’m all where did it go?! Only, NOT. ANYMORE.

I love these stupid things. It was super easy for me to get into the habit of sliding it into that slot instead of just dropping it onto the desk, and after the first few times it loosened up to where it isn’t an effort to get it into these anymore. Small enough not to be annoying, straight-up impossible for the cats to knock over / bunt around, also work a treat for getting all those dangly-cords up so that I can’t get them wrapped around my feet and then spike my speakers or phone or whatever-all-else was attached to said cable to the floor when I get up…it’s like the ‘win’ never stops!

Except that I do suspect I’m going to end up having to replace the adhesive backing on the one I’m using for the pen all the time. Have a feeling I’m eventually going to jam my pen into it too hard one time too many and it’ll peel itself offa there. Because I am horribly forgetful about Such Things and will insist on jabbing it into place instead of gently placing it.

But I digress.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The week where nothing happened

I am having a terribly unproductive week at work.

Monday was unproductive because I – along with at least 75% of the team – was exhausted. We had a deploy over the weekend which started at 6:00 p.m. => continual deploy-stuff going on => finished at about 4:00 p.m. Sunday.

And then I got paged at 8:30 Sunday night because of a job failure and ended up tilting at windmills for another two hours.

You know how sometimes, after pulling two back-to-back all-nighters followed by a few hours of thinking you’re done and then a couple hours of unexpected ahh!ahh!ahh!, you’re so tired that even while sitting down, you’re kind of weaving? And then you go to bed at a mostly reasonable hour, and you’re all, yessssssssss, finally, I’m going to get, like, SEVEN WHOLE HOURS, AT LEAST, OF SLEEP!! – but then instead, you go to bed and find yourself so tired you literally cannot open your eyes, BUT, you can’t seem to actually SLEEP?!

Me. Sunday night. ARGH!

So, duh, Monday was mostly spent yawning, drinking coffee, yawning some more, and answering questions from people about the new World Order all. day. long.

While yawning.

Yesterday could have been more or less productive, but then it turned out that it was apparently curveball day and nobody thought to include me on the memos.

By the end of the day, I not only hadn’t made any progress, I ended up five steps further back.


Today started off almost OK, but, I’d forgotten that we had the quarterly all-hands meeting (<= almost two hours of meeting), and the post-deploy user dog-n-pony show for one of our partners, and suddenly people were pinging me with questions about all kinds of things, and it was one of those days where I was really-really busy, and doing useful things…but all of them for other people about other things and by the end of the day, I hadn’t gotten a lick of my code rewritten.

{very long and emphatic bout of cussing goes here}

Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

Hopefully one in which I can actually get some of, you know, my own work knocked out…

Monday, August 17, 2015

The culling of the flies

(This is a post about killing flies. If vindictively killing flies invading a domicile makes you squeamish, this would be a good post to skip.)

(Don’t look at me like that, not everybody thinks that all flies deserve to die, die RIGHT NOW, immediately, because, EW, FLIES!…and they are usually very good people and deserve to be warned that the rest of us are going to be high-fiving each other about their demise as if our favorite team had just won the Superbowl or something.)

So, we are once again in a Month of Pestilence™ – between living directly behind the folks with the dog rescue (the poop…good gahd, the POOP!) (seriously, do not go into our backyard when they are doing the scoop-duty [doody?] back there…you will be rendered completely unconscious by the stench…and then you will suffocate, possibly to DEATH, because seriously, that smell is just…wow…) and being adjacent to horse-worthy ranchettes, you can probably imagine the kinds of fly problems we have several times a year.

Yessir, luxury livin’ out here. If it isn’t Fly Season, it’s probably either Fertilizer Season or Plowing Season. Take your pick: Flying vermin, fascinating Eu du Cow Poop aromas, or dust, dust, dust, dust, DUST!

ANYWAY – yeah. The bugs, they are a-breedin’ and a-swarmin’ and every single day I must swat two dozen or more flies, and yet they are still everywhere.

I killed every single fly I could find on my lunch break today, which was – totally not lying – over twenty of them. Went back in the kitchen three hours later? => dozens. DOZENS! of them, swarming up and down the windows, waggling their tongues at me, doing intricate line-dances up and down the countertops, rubbing their filthy little hands together like debt collectors eyeballing a particularly ripe mark…argh!!

Just, ew.

I have a real problem with flies. They gross me out way out of proportion to their actual nastiness, you know? I have less of a problem with, say, horse excrement than I do with the flies that like to congregate on it.

Like, I wouldn’t mind picking up the nice clean horse poop with my bare hands, but omg, no, ew-ew-ew-ew, yuck, grossssssssss, there were FLIES on it!!

I do not claim this is particularly rational of me, or even remotely sane of me for that matter, but, that’s just how I am about flies.

Because, ew.

I’ve tried deputizing Denizens to hunt them after school (they get bored and wander off fast).

I’ve tried training the cats (yeah, worked about as well as you’d expect) (Schilling will literally lie there and pat in the general direction of bugs that are all but dancing on her paws – but will seldom actually get up and go after them.) (And Fleur appears to have zero depth perception or something. Seriously. She will line herself up and wriggle her butt and make all forms of Readiness, and then pounce…three inches off from her target. {face-palm})

We just replaced all the windows – ALL THE WINDOWS – and their screens (still getting in, somehow).

I even tried the poisonous window-stickers, even though it made me kind of anxious to have, you know, insecticide ON my windows. Meh, did almost nothing.

I’ve tried spraying the screens with repellent, which added a fantastic scent to the house and made opening the windows pretty much a nonstarter for a while, but which seemed to do exactly nothing to reduce the infestation.

But then a couple nights ago, I was sitting here trying to work on my computer and being swarmed by everything from silverfish to @^&@ing flies (attracted by the glow from my monitor, naturally – and I just happened to be between them and the light source, awesome…I swear, at one point I was starting to wonder if I shouldn’t be a courteous host and set up little frickin’ picnic tables on my shoulders or something for them), and I said to myself, said I, “Self! That’s it. I am going to find something that will work on these @^*@&ing bugs!”

And that’s how I came to order this little baby: INDOOR bug zapper.

…say hallo to mah leetle friend…!

It’s got a UV light in it that attracts them, and then they hit the wires and zot! – or so they claimed. And I was starting to feel as though they were biting me (they weren’t, it was just that ‘I’m so creeped out that my brain is helpfully supplying me with the sensation that I appear to be so determined to feel’ thing kicking in), so, bam, into the cart, ship it, get it here YESTERDAY, please-n-thank-you.

This afternoon, Captain Adventure skidded sideways into my office to announce that the delivery person had left something on the porch, and there it was. We took it into the kitchen (which is currently pretty dark, because meanwhile in other news it is [checks thermostat] 106 degrees outside [!!!!], so I’ve got all the curtains drawn to keep us from dying of either heat stroke or the electricity bill), set it up, plugged it in…and turned it on.

Less than fifteen seconds later…crack!

We both jumped, shrieked, and giggled.

I felt guilty for giggling, because it seems to me that even if we’re talking about my dreaded enemy, the common housefly, there should be some solemnity involved in their passing.

But in my defense, y’all would have to hear this crack! It’s like a mini lightning bolt from $DEITY, reaching out and smiting the wee sinners as they nefariously buzz to pollute some innocent fruit or other with their nastiness. Even when you know it is going to happen, when you’ve been warned that it will be a loud, sharp cracking noise, it’s still…incredibly startling.

And then…I walked across the room.

The air around me moved, and the flies took to their wings and began that cloud-like swarming they do whenever the air moves, and the next thing we knew it was like $DEITY was makin’ popcorn in there.

It had eliminated eighteen of them in the first ten minutes.


I think this may be the start of a beautiful friendship; I can’t wait to set it up in my office tonight and see if it can’t do something about all the little buggers (ha!) that have been crawling and flying out of the woodwork as soon as the sun sets lately…