Monday, December 17, 2012


It has been a helluva week-and-some. And, having written about a fifty page rant about the what-all and where-fors and what-the-#&^!s…it remains a better idea not to go into a whole lot of detail.

I honestly don’t know whether or not the whole situation is going to end in lawsuits being filed, or if I’ll be dragged into them if it does, or…what.

So I’ll have to content myself with the following observations in re: The Recent Drama (now with More Drama). It has been…

  • A massive upheaval
  • With rather reprehensible-no-matter-how-you-slice-it causes
  • Also, stupid causes
  • Affecting not just me but up to thirty people directly
  • …which doesn’t even begin to count the innocent bystanders who are also taking shrapnel of various sorts…
    • In the collective experience of said parties, we have never actually been party to something like this
      • Heard stories, but never seen first-hand
  • Also, it is stupid
  • AND upsetting
  • AND has added untold stress to the holidays
    • which may be a hanging offense
    • because they’re hardly stress-free as it is, am I right?!
  • We’ll all be OK in the end
  • But it ain’t gonna be fun, for anybody – even the perps
  • Not that anybody is all that concerned for them, really
  • By the way, did I mention the stupid part?
    • …because seriously, The Stupid, it deserves capital letters, that is how Stupid it is…
  • In related news, I’m very annoyed with myself for being unable to achieve pure wrath about the whole mess
    • Seriously, that damned ability of mine to simultaneously not forgive it one bit…
    • …buuuuuuut still “get” how it wasn’t necessarily done with malice aforethought by a mustache-twirling villain…
    • …is really annoying when you know you have every right to be “I am going to introduce your face to my knuckles” pissed off
      • Just. Sayin’.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, we are two and a half days away from putting this last sprint to bed – and then we have a week and a half of outright shut down. The building is literally closed. Like, locked. Like, I don’t care WHAT your badge says / how “urgent” and/or “vital” it is, you can’t come in until January 3 closed.

I am living for next week right now. I plan to spend most of that time off doing what I consider to be the best thing for surviving everything from work upheavals to Zombpocalypse: I shall knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.

(I just cast on a…well, I think it will be a vest. It’s one of those projects, so, I have a rough idea where it’s going but at the same time, it is doing stuff like being fine with being ‘a plain red vest’ but then abruptly deciding on the BART ride home that it must have some black accent around the bottom, like, right now, and that it probably wants some kind of motif above the black accent that may or may not involve birds.)

(I know which pattern it means by that, but I’m not convinced it would actually fit well given the number of stitches and the yarn type we’re working with here.)

(Projects are funny that way. They can be extremely artistic and have excellent ideas about what they could or should become, but their math and ability to balance concept with realistically possible stinks on ice.)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

It was a dirty, low-down trick to pull…

…but I just couldn’t resist…

So, it was Boo Bug’s fifth eleventh birthday today. She had been asking for an iPod for her birthday. Repeatedly. It was, in fact, the only thing she had asked for – even though every time she brought it up, I snarled, “NO! TOO EXPENSIVE! TOO DELICATE! PICK SOMETHING ELSE!”

I continued doing this even after I had the Nano safely hidden under the bills in my desk drawer.

Because I am evil.

Oh, you don’t believe me. Read on.

This morning, I had to run to the drug store for the usual two things that had completely slipped my mind until, like, an hour before Everybody was supposed to arrive. (If I ever didn’t do this, I’m pretty sure the world would end.)

As I walked through the door, my eye fell on a floor-to-ceiling display of toys. You know, the kind that are a) for babies and b) really, really cheap.

Not only were they on sale, they had enormous, red-and-yellow, 400-point font stickers on front of them declaring that they were half-price and also buy two get one free.

I began to giggle to myself. OH yeah, it MUST be done...

I combed that toy section looking for the most perfectly awful thing I could think of for my Boo. Something that would horrify her, but be juuuuuuust close enough to reasonable to have her thinking that dear Gah, her mother REALLY DID buy THAT for her birthday present.

Finally, I found it: A set of My Little Pony knockoffs, with horrifically cheap little brushes and other accoutrements and grins on their horse-faces that were all like, “HI! WE ARE SO HAPPY IT IS RIDICULOUS HOW HAPPY WE ARE! WE ARE GOING TO BE CHEERFUL LIKE THIS, LIKE, FOREVER! BECAUSE HAPPINESS IS OUR THING! GROUP HUG!!!!!” – because, of course, your average fifth grader is all about the fake My Little Pony with enormous plastic grins.

And I left that damned ‘half off / buy three get one free’ sticker on the front of the box.

Also, I got the kind of poofy-princess gift bag your average five year girly-girl type old would die for, and the fairy-castle tissue paper.

And a super-sized Kit-Kat bar. And a super-frilly blue ribbon. Which I stuck more-than-a-bit off-center onto the candy bar before dropping it into the wadded up tissue on top of the ponies in the bag.

And then…I waited. Like a malevolent spider tending the web. I watched her open her friend’s present. I watched her pull out the new pajamas from Grandma (who also had gotten her an iTunes card, which I’d hidden in the office with the Nano).

And then…then…she picked up the bag. An eyebrow raised over the Princessy Princess of All-Star Pinkity-Pink Princess (now with more princess!) bag, but she made no comment.

She pulled out the candy bar, and looked at me suspiciously.

I attempted to look innocent while inwardly choking half to death on laughter.

She pulled out the Plastic Ponies.

There was a long pause.

“Oh. These are…really cute…” she said politely, surreptitiously peering into the bag. Empty. She made a couple more passes at acting like she liked the stupid things, before zinging me with a typical example of Boo Bug humor.

“Oh. And they were on sale,” she observed, drily, tapping the ENORMOUS sticker.

“Ooooooooooh, no! Did I forget to take the stupid sticker off?!” I shrieked.

“Ya, I think you did,” she smiled serenely. Zzzzzzzzzzzing!!

Now, the really awesome thing is: She actually bought it. For the, like, thirty seconds that I let her suffer before bringing out her real present, she actually thought that her poor, obviously-not-altogether-with-it mother had really bought her a $6.99 $3.50 set of cheap plastic not-my-little-ponies, complete with unusable brush and three-pronged comb.


Oh, yeah. Giving the Denizens things to tell their therapists about in years to come…it is my mission in life…

I’m rather proud of her, though. I suspect in that moment when she was looking at this thing and thinking that this had to be in the top ten worst birthdays of all time, she was half-ready to ask for a divorce from this whole family. And when I was eleven, I’m not sure I would have handled that sort of disappointment so handily; at best, I would have pulled an immediate and thorough disappearing act.

But she handled it so beautifully, with grace and good-nature and by the way a side-helping of teasing me right back.


Yeah. I like the woman she is growing to be. Sweet and spicy. Kind and (a little) sarcastic.

Loving but don’t mistake her for an emotional boot-scraper.

That’s my girl.

Happy birthday, kiddo. Hope you enjoy being able to listen to your music, without arguing with your sisters (or your parents, for that matter) about whether it is cool or lame or too loud or too soft or theirs or yours or anybody else’s.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Random Observations and Ramblings

I just realized today that the difference between ‘sleeping’ and ‘speeding’ really isn’t as LARGE as previously thought. IN POINT OF FACT, it is only two (2) letters!

I realized this shortly after I had fired off a “dude, you are, like, ON FIRE today!” comment to one of my team members who has been generating not only emails with questions that kept making me furrow my brow and go, “Hmm, that’s a damn good question, right there…” but also emails that said things like “OK, the stored procedure usp_something_something_something is on DEV. Your review would be appreciated.”

He immediately returned fire with “if I am fast, YOU are a speeding bullet!”

And I began to ponder my day overall, most particularly the actual, MEASUREABLE output of it, and found myself grousing that I was more of a sleeping bullet.

And then I went, ‘Oh. Hey. Never noticed that before.’

Which actually pretty much sums up the whole day, because it was that kind of day. A day full of useless bits of valuable information, spinning my wheels, answering the same question over and over again, asking the same question over and over again, and otherwise just kind of sitting around watching paint dry.

With occasional bursts of incoming hurricane.

It began with the annual IEP meeting for Captain Adventure (who is mainstreaming for a large part of his day [with an aid to protect/guide him] into a “regular” third grade classroom, and overall doing very well indeed).

This was followed by the usual fumbling around with forms and things that urgently needed to be done, like, right-now afterward.

During this fumbling around, I had a random blast of actually remembering something and realized that a) I hadn’t remembered to pay the property taxes due in three days (!!) nor the registration for the van due in four days (!!!) plus there was this stupid $25 bill from the doctor that has been sitting on my inbox for, like, two months (!! overdue embarrassment !!) AND THEN there was the registration for the Civic and I had this moment where I thought to myself if this, too, is due in, like, eight minutes, I WILL scream…but then I remembered that Al’s Rendering Unto Caesar isn’t due until February and was all …whew…but then I actually LOOKED at it and the words “SMOG certificate” jumped out at me and then I may have snarled something unladylike, hurled it back into the inbox and turned instead to my work laptop, which seemed like a much safer proposition at that point.

And then I fired off about half a dozen emails in rapid succession.

Then I watched a data load not go very fast.

And then watched a calculation process also not go very fast.

Interspersed with episodes of trying to work on the same paragraph of the design document even though it was becoming QUITE clear that merely THINKING about this document causes EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD to think of something they need to URGENTLY message me about.

And then I became somewhat frozen with indecision over some really minute details.

Then I spent way more time than I probably should have trying to come up with a gentle way to break it to somebody that I couldn’t “just” take “only” a couple hours away from sprint-tasks to join meetings about something completely unrelated to it. It’s like a RULE or something.

And no, next week won’t work either.

And…no, actually…there isn’t a gap, of any sort, between sprints…it’s just “finish on Friday / right back in on Monday.”

And then I spent a few minutes cruising the job boards on my phone, because this is a seriously not-sustainable deal right here.

And then I got to the end of the day with that peculiar blend of feeling exhausted because I hit the ground running and never stopped…but at the same time, when I look back and try to point out what I actually DID, I’m all, like, “…uh…well, there was…I did the…{whining tone} do all the emails about things like field types count?!?!”

NOT IN SCRUM, THEY DON’T. If it ain’t an official product backlog item task, it doesn’t count.

So, officially? I didn’t accomplish a damn thing, all day.

And my SCRUM master is going to be giving me Scowl Face tomorrow.

And I’m going to be all, like, “Wah-huh, not mah fauuuuult! I did stuff! And also other stuff! Plus, it’s like, you know, meh-meh-meh-wah-wah-wah!”


Another completely unrelated thing I realized today is that I currently have a perhaps unhealthy love for bento boxes. They’re just so…efficient. Particularly the “grown up” ones that are basically designed by people who are thinking to themselves, Hmm. What would be able to hold a lunch capable of sustaining a human being for an eight hour work day, but yet fit neatly into a backpack or briefcase…

It’s cunning in the same way that vertical gardening is cunning: You have relatively narrow boxes, that stack. Each little box would be way too little, but put two or three of them on top of each other? Awesome.

All held together with simple little bands or ties, or fancy wraps that require way too much intelligence for someone like me to deal with, so, rubber band, please.

AND THEY CAN BE INSANELY NOT-EXPENSIVE. Like, less than five dollars not-expensive. {swoon!}

They can, of course, also be insanely not not-expensive. Like, $200+ not-not-expensive. And I will look at those hand-carved, hand-painted works of art and think, Wow. That’s just…SO amazing…and then I ponder eating off it and promptly turn back to the versions with sloppily-by-comparison cranes or cats or Pokemon stenciled onto them.

Or nothing at all. Just a set of black or brown boxes with a plain black elastic band to hold them together. Simple, unassuming, and opening up to reveal a startling amount of food.

People with more time and/or talent can get all artsy-fartsy with them and carve little animals out of carrots and some junk. I just pack them with rice and hard-boiled eggs and random bits of leftover meat and stuff like that, then add slices of red bell pepper or parsley fronds or encircle the lunchmeat with Cheez-Its (yes, I really did that once…bento boxes have a way of encouraging such behavior somehow…) and pretend it’s fancy.

WHICH IT IS! Because, true story, ‘bento’ is a Japanese word! Which automatically translates to “exotic and fancy.”

You know, when you’re an American.

We…tend to view all sorts of things other cultures think of as “um, what? You, uh, know that it’s just a {shoelace, boat, head-covering, comfort food, lunchbox}, right?” as being boundlessly fascinating, and/or cunning, and/or fancy, and/or exotic, and/or I have to put my pinkie into the air and assume a REALLY bad imitation of a British accent whenever I refer to this.

Sigh. Over 200 years old, and yet we’re still like a bunch of obnoxious children who have never been let out into public before, suddenly turned loose in the world’s biggest combination candy-and-toy store, running all over the place screaming, “OHMYGAH, CAN I HAVE ONE? PLEEEEEEEEASE?!?!” about darn near everything we see. (But at least we’re enthusiastic?)

Ahem. Anyway. I now have four of them.

One is a chunky, round ‘Thermos’ like one that I love to death even though it is as graceful and elegant as a rather large cylindrical brick because a) it stacks, four things on top of each other, and b) it keeps things hot for a ridiculously long time, so I don’t have to get in line for the microwave at lunch time.

And also I have three ‘little box suitable for carrying in a briefcase’ styles. Which is up from one because I just got two of them I about forgot I’d ordered (one downside of the inexpensive straight-from-Japan sources, sometimes the delivery time should be measured in geologic time or something)  in the mail today.

And I showed them off to my anime-loving daughters and then cackled wildly because ha ha, I leave before you, *I* get first pick of the new beeeeennntoooos, neener-neener…! (<= I know. ‘Mature’ is totally my new middle name)

Yesterday, somebody at work told me that this funky Japanese version of a dollar store not too far from the office carries a bunch of the “super cute” ones with, like, anime characters on them and stuff.

And I was all, oh, REALLY?! (while staring at my Soul Eater mouse pad, eat your heart out, y’all…)

I sense another example of my ‘maturity’ coming on…ha-ha, that’s right, it IS a Ouran High School Host Club bento box, and it’s MINE, all MINE, BWAAAAAAAA-HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

(They can have the Hello Kitty ones. Pffft. Everybody has, like, five of those.)

(Now, if I could get a Black Butler one? I might actually die from The Happy.)

(AL-THOUGH, a Vic Mignogna one would have such major “only somebody who is REALLY several blocks away from normal would even GET that reference” as to be a super-extra-major Crowning Achievement in Nerdiness.)

(Crap. Now I have yet another life’s mission…to the Internet, AWAY…!!!!)


(From Dei-chan-luv at Deviant Art. Source of all kinds of cool, weird, freaky, childish, good, bad and indifferent fun stuff. Deviant Art, I mean. Not Dei-chan-luv. Any fifteen year old who has a Vic Mignogna collage available on demand for weird people she’s probably glad aren’t her mother EVEN THOUGH HE IS NO LONGER HER FAVORITE VOICE ACTOR, is two hundred kinds of pure awesome.)

(I think he’s still mine, though, at least when it comes to English-dubbed animes. Which I’m sure would open up a major flame war if this were an anime site, but, ha ha, it’s not. Plus, I’m way too old to be all, like, “Squeeeeeee! Full Metal Alchemist + Ouran High School Club + Scythe!!!” in the first place. So. There you are. I’m old. I think Vic kicks arse. Your argument [whatever it may be] is invalid.)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Boring Geek Stuff

So, our warehouse server is sick. VERY complicated story short…the warehouse database got pooched. Like, went red and was inaccessible for TWO WEEKS pooched.

Hilarity ensues.

That was over a month ago. And we’re still not back. We’re limping along on partial processors, blah blah blah. Everything is taking, like, four-five times longer to run than it used to…which when you’re talking about things that “normally” take anywhere from five to fifteen hours to run…is a big deal.

WHICH LEADS ME TO MY ACTUAL STORY. (Which is rather boring, actually, if you’re not…um…me…)

I’m doing some load jobs this weekend, getting some of the stuff that has been ‘on hold’ since this all erupted into a fiery ball of death last month finally moving again.

One of those things is an allocation process I wrote that takes a certain dollar figure that in all reality has no direct relationship to sales, and “allocates” those dollars out to appropriate customer sales according to the weight of said sales – in other words, if Record 1 has $90 and Record 2 has $10, and the amount is $200, Record 1 gets 90% of the $200 or $180, and Record 2 gets the remaining $20.

Only, it’s picking apart over 1.7 billion sales records, couple hundred thousand customers, thousands of suppliers, etc. etc. etc.

It took a lot of fine-tuning to get it working fast enough to be actually usable. And I was rather pleased with it, really, because yeah, I’m THAT level of bad-ass, thank you for noticing.

And then, the box broke. “Tables” became “unioned views across multiple tables on different boxes(!!!),” the bandwidth has the server equivalent of strep-frickin-throat, we have a fraction of the tempdb space, blah blah blah a bunch of stuff that only fellow developers/DBAs are going, “Ohmygah, you poor THINGS!” over right now.

I was sitting there last night glumly watching records that used to process in, eh, six to twelve seconds max…now taking…wow, really, 380 seconds…? And I’ve got 11,000 of these things to go?

…that’s 48 days before this will be done…and that’s tooooooo loooooong…

So I did one of those “stare at the ceiling thinking” things for a while. Debating with myself about pros and cons. Risks and rewards.

Then I changed the part that grabs the sales data so that the destination table is uncompressed before loading, then recompressed to page level afterward. Data and indexes both. And then the allocation process runs against it.

I wasn’t sure it would help, but, I thought it just might. And it did. I’m clicking at 4-10 seconds per item again. Whew.

The reason I wasn’t sure it would work is because this is actually a trade-off proposition. (And this is where it gets really boring and confusing, so, feel free to drop off…but I just hafta share for the, like, two people in the whole world who might find it interesting.) (Plus, I’m just jazzed. Because. IT WORKED. Woot!!!)

So, keeping it way simplistic and not at all tech-textbook (read: for more technically-accurate and complete information on This Kind Of Stuff, I’d recommend hitting up the MSDN books online) …the way a database stores things is kind of like this: Imagine the biggest, ugliest textbook you ever had to haul around with you in school. The words are like the fields in your table. The sentences are the rows in the database. The pages are, well, the pages. The chapters are ‘extents’ – a collection of pages.

Now. Each page can only hold so many words. And in the database world, each chapter also has a limit – at some point, things will spill over into new chapters for lack of room. And there’s only so many chapters that can fit in an extent.

Whenever you’re running a query, the server will find the information you want by drilling through all this information. It will look at what you’re asking for, look at the server-equivalent of the table of contents for the extent and the back-of-book index for the page, and then it will begin to scan through the page looking for the specific information you’re after. (Table-level indexes would therefore be…um…hmm…like the bold words on the page? I guess?)

Just like a textbook, if you’ve got good indexes that pinpoint information as precisely as possible, you can find things faster

So. When you compress a table or partition to page level, you’re actually doing two things: First, the rows get compressed (more words per page).

Then, the page gets compressed (more pages per extent).

NOW. Here’s where the tradeoff is: When you run a query against a compressed table, you will frequently find that it burns more CPU and/or has more input-output (I/O) hit. The data has to be uncompressed to be displayed, and that takes a bit of server-effort.

HOWEVER. The finding of the data itself requires less effort and happens faster. Instead of having to scan thirty pages to get everything it needs to return, maybe it only has to scan five.

This time, it looks like the tradeoff is in my favor.

I think this kind of thing is what makes me love what I do so much; what makes me sometimes sit back and chuckle about being paid to romp around figuring out how to shave a few seconds here or there off a process, or get data that is stubbornly refusing to budge to zip across to its new home.

There’s always more to learn.

There’s always more that I don’t know yet.

There’s always a better, faster, more efficient, less painful way to do whatever-it-is.

There’s science. There’s art. It’s frustrating, infuriating, confusing, complex, simple. Things that take only five minutes to fix take five days to find.

The answer to the question “will this help this process go faster” is just about always “it depends…hmmmm…probably…let’s try it and see!

And for me, all the frustration, irritation, and hours-spent-scouring-through-white-papers-trying-to-connect-the-dots is well worth it for the moment when I can sit back, smirk smugly to myself and mutter, “That’s right, baby. Whose kung fu is best? Mine is.

Keeps me coming back for more, even when everything else in the average working day is enough to make me scream…

Friday, November 30, 2012

Turns out sprinting makes you tired

We just finished our very first SCRUM sprint at work.  Or, as I like to call it, the first of the Psycho Cycles. The last week has left me pretty frazzled, to be honest; and the worst part is, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.

Well. There is, it’s just not what I’d prefer to do. The thing that would probably be best for me would be to hand in notice on Monday, finish out this second sprint if they want, and look for something else to do with my time.

I can think of a few things.

But I don’t like being a quitter, and I don’t like leaving people high and dry. And since I’m one of the most senior developers there, and one of very few who are ‘wired’ for this kind of super-fast pace, if I were to leave…it might not be all that great for the people left behind, you know?

Which opens up a huge can of worms with names like “why I think that is my problem is beyond me” and “it isn’t nice to do things you know will hurt other people” and “argh, look, you’re not the Savior of the World™ you totally can look out for Number 1 sometimes” and “what’s so bad about eating a couple Twix bars for dinner once in a while, it’s not like it would kill you or anything…”

None of which is going to get my anywhere. I always find that trying to make Real Decisions when I’m kind of ruffled up like this just doesn’t end well, so! Guess I’ll leave all that for another day. See where All This actually goes and like that.

And instead, look! I found knitting!

Talk about a blast from the past, huh? This project has been marinating for, like, two YEARS. And then I found it in bag on the bottom of my ‘things that need buttons sewn back on or something’ bin and remembered that I had set it aside because I was on this tricky bit on the main sweater, and didn’t want to deal with it on BART.

So I finished the main body of the sweater and moved on to the sleeves. This is the second sleeve, so, progress.

That’s the kind of thing you can do when you have, you know, a clear picture where you’re going and also clear instructions. (HINT: I’M TAKING A DIG AT MY WORKPLACE RIGHT NOW. SUBTLY. PRONOUNCED “SUB-BUH-TAH-LEE” FOR FULL SARDONIC EFFECT.)

PSA: Extra $10 at Coinstar until 12/9

If you’re one of those people who likes to hoard up coins in a jar or something, and you’ve got a Coinstar machine in your supermarket, AND you have plans to be shopping at iTunes, Dell, or Old Navy / Gap / Banana Republic – Coinstar has a deal for you: Cash in at least $40 in coins, and they’ll add an extra $10 to your eGift Card.

And, no fees apply for the cash-in. (<= always my main frowny-face thing when it comes to ‘cash in your coins’ machines!)

Here’s the details.

Love me the “free money.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Logic, Part II

This morning while getting the wonton soup I suddenly became convinced I would DIE without, I saw a woman tottering up Montgomery Street toward the BART station wearing a pair of boots that looked like something the Inquisition would have come up with to encourage particularly resilient suspects to confess to particularly odiferous charges.

She was dragging a suitcase that looked like it would be costing her an extra $300 in over-weight fees, an only-by-comparison smaller duffel bag over one shoulder, a probably-going-to-be-told-she-has-to-check-that carry-on bag on the other, and a purse that put my biggest knitting bag to shame.

I was not the only person watching her with an expression of great bemusement.

Because she was really hard to to miss. Seeing as how she was not exactly floating like a serene butterfly who wears that kind of footwear all the time.

No, it was more like…a drunken Teletubby heading homeward after an all-night howl.


In the rain.

So, you know, muddy hill.

Plus there may have been a strong headwind.

At first, I was thinking to myself that these were a damned odd choice for someone who was obviously traveling.

But then, as I winkled the bottom edge of my sweater from its favorite spot – you know, between my pants and my skin – I had to admit that a woman who wore wool next to the skin two days in a row probably had no right to scoff at somebody else choosing to wear shoes that were possibly designed by the Marquis de Sade himself.

Logic, after all, comes in all shapes and sizes…some of it will inevitably be shoe-shaped…

(But then again, this sweater isn’t itchy. No guard-hairs in this bad boy. This is, like, twelve micron wool, right here…)

(OK, maybe fourteen…or so…but well below twenty, anyway…)

(whaaaaaat? everybody talks about wool fiber in microns, pfffft, I thought you’d know that…!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Logic: A Case Study

Normal Human Logic: This dress is kind of itchy. Especially on the insides of my elbows and the backs of my legs. Yeah. Definitely itchy. How irritating. When I get home, I’m going to donate it to the People Against Nekkid Rhinoceroses – I don’t think it would bother THEIR skin much.

Knitter of the ‘Wool’ Faction Logic: {scratch-scratch-scratch} it’s not THAT itchy {scratch-scratch-scratch} it’s just 100% {scratch-scratch-scratch} good {scratch-scratch-scratch} REAL {scratch-scratch-scratch} honest! {scratch-scratch-scratch}  wool {scratch-scratch-scratch}

(And that logical thought process is why I hung it back up when I got home tonight instead of chucking it in the general direction of the donation box. AGAIN.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nothing much, just the usual

Man, I am skidding into winter sideways this year. I feel like a cat trapped in a room with a dozen snickering teenagers who all just got laser toys. Got it! Don’t got it! Got it! Don’t got it! HEY! WHERE DID THAT ONE COME FROM?! Wait, what the…but…I HAD that one! How did it get away AGAIN?!?!

I keep telling myself that things are going to settle down “soon” and will find their new center “soon” and etcetera “soon.”

And then Life snickers, “Well, ACTUALLY…!” and tosses me yet another ball to juggle.

Like last week, when right when I was congratulating myself on having sidestepped ending up in a sort of ‘first among equals’ role on my new SCRUM team – which was a bit of a dirty pool move on my part anyway, seeing as how I’m one of only two ‘level five’ developers in the whole department – I was unceremoniously shoved into the role.

I can’t argue with the call. It needed to be made – we were going to be in a world of hurt unless somebody was put into that role, and frankly there wasn’t anybody else who had the combination of skills and attitude (just call me Bossy McAttitude Pushy-Pants) to take it on.

Still. It’s also like…great. So now, I have all of “my” work, plus I have to do at least a quarter of everybody else’s in the form of “spelling it out for them, step by bloomin’ step, so that they feel comfortable enough to keep moving instead of freezing up like baby rabbits confronted by wolves…”

On the bright side, though, it also puts me in a great position to work myself out of a job – there’s no shortage of smarts on my team, it’s just lack of experience and overall exposure slowing them down. I suspect they’ll come up to speed really fast, and I’ll be able to start showing them stuff that will look damned good on a resume, next time they’re looking for something new.

They’re good people. It’s not their fault they’re being shoved into a role they just aren’t ready for…methinks Management™ has mistaken “been here a long time” for “actually has development experience.” Because overall, the department has extremely remedial development skills – but a lot of people who know every last wart on the existing system.

They ain’t the same thing, folks.

Just sayin’.

It’s going to be an interesting couple of months. Again.

…is it totally wrong that I kind of wish things could be boring for a change…?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

We’re entering into the “slower” time of year, food-production-wise. While we are in a zone that can grow something year-round, the list shortens dramatically in this November – April time.

The transition period is frequently a bit startling to the eye, though; so many things hit the end of their season at once, and when combined with the fact that the days become shorter (thus reducing the already slim chance that I’m going to get out there after work to do anything to zero), well.

It goes from looking all green and lush to something more like this.


Yeah. The pumpkins are dead. And without producing even one viable pumpkins, too. A combination of watering issues (yeah, um, bad valves + bad communication about what was on and what was off + heat wave = lots of dead plants), powdery mildew I wasn’t aggressive enough about treating, some weirdly boomerang-y weather and a rather intense infestation of whiteflies rather doomed them.

Now, these on the other hand…

…it’s not actually at all bad that they look like that. I was harvesting a ridiculous number of butternut squash from this patch a month or so back, and noticed that the @^*&@ing squash beetles had moved in. Those little suckers are a real pain – they breed like crazy and don’t have a lot of “good” organic control methods. Your best bet is hand-picking and squashing (or dropping into a bucket of soapy water). Which doesn’t go particularly well with the kind of insane work schedules I’ve been keeping for the last way-too-long.

Since I’d already harvested waaaaaaay more than ‘enough’ butternut squash, I started to just yank out the vines to deny them their habitat…and then I glanced over at the (not so desperately sad looking back then) pumpkins right behind them and thought, …um…wait…if I pull this out, they’re totally just going to migrate over THERE, aren’t they…

So I left the vines and a couple of the sorrier-looking squash in place, and the stupid beetles have been cheerfully making themselves at home there. It didn’t actually save my pumpkins in the end, but at least squash beetles aren’t on the list of Stuff That Killed Them.

I’m taking that as a ‘win.’ Don’t argue with me. I may become emotional.

Another thing that looks bad but isn’t? These guys.

Which have been turning into rather nice quantities of these.

Steuben Yellow-Eye beans make some of the best sweet baked beans, like Boston or Swedish. Plus they’re pretty. Never hurts when food looks pretty, IMHO.

The peanuts will be coming out soon, It’s getting colder and colder, so pretty soon I’m sure the foliage will start yellowing – the “OK, I give up” signal for a lot of underground growers.

Another Coming Soon: Yams. There’s a lot of yellow on those vines, although they are still putting out a few flowers here and there.

Oh noooooo, don’t talk about me, I’m SHY!!!!!

And as always, as everything else is slowing down and complaining about the cold, the peas are all…what? what are you talking about, ‘it’s cold’?

This is FLOWER-WEARING weather, y’all!

They’re like that annoying cousin from Alaska, who walks around in shorts in November while we California hothouse lilies are grabbing sweaters and hats and gasping in shock and disbelief at thin veneers of almost-FROST on the rooftops.

There are a lot of weeds stubbornly refusing to give in to the growing cold. The beds are starting to empty out, waiting to have a liberal spread of compost turned into them, for their bit of rest before time moves inexorably on into the next growing-time.

…and onward we shall go…

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Meaningful Something Here

The last couple weeks have been downright surreal, in so many ways. Some of them actually surreal, and some of them more because I’ve suddenly looked at them differently.

Like, an actually surreal moment would be when I went into the ladies room and noticed as I was washing my hands that my face and neck looked as though I had gotten several-many too many hours of sun.

Extra. Crispy.

To which I went, ? huh-face ? because, um…yeah. No such luck.

And my face stayed that way for the entire day. As far as I know, it’s still that color. It kind of feels like it is – kind of hot and ‘crinkly.’ But the lighting in the Den is so yucky-yellow that I always look vaguely jaundiced after dark.

The database I’m supposed to be loading has been out of commission since Saturday.



Again… O_o

The shift to the SCRUM development thing is supposed to start next week, nobody has any idea what’s going on, there are meetings and then there are tasks that are not tasks, they are storyboards, you know, to tell the customer story?

…but there are no customers…and no stories…preeeeeetty much, the average work day goes like this: Somebody skids into the room with their hair on fire and yells, “AAAAAAAAAAAH, {something you never heard of} is {taking too long to run! can’t be found! failed! inserted too many records! not enough records! added up to too many dollars! not enough dollars! why are there no records for Costco, shouldn’t there be Costco records in here somewhere?!}!”

And then we run around like crazy people stomping on things until something shakes loose and everybody goes home.

That’s how we roll.

But now, SCRUM.

Which we will use to…storyboard…the…well, the next time…see…we’ll say, “No, we can’t jury-rig that mission-critical whatnot back into service! WE ARE SCRUM NOW! You will have to write your storyboard, and put it in the backlog, and then in three weeks or so we will have three days of planning and we will commit to…something, probably not that…and then four weeks after that you might have it. Except probably not. Because we have a lot of storyboarding to size and tear up into four hour blocks. And if it can’t be done in four hours, then, we can’t do it we have to send it back and say ‘make it smaller'.”

Which, by the way, I proposed meant that we could now never do another day’s work again, because thus far absolutely nothing has been a four-hour-or-less proposition. EXCEPT. I’m pretty sure I could network Diablo in the server room in under four hours. Just sayin’. Word.”

Our SCRUM master (hereinafter referred to as Mah Mahster, because it amuses me) did not seem to think this was a valid theory.

We shall see who is right.

(It’s probably her. She has an annoying tendency to be right most of the time.) (Also, when she dyes her hair? It stays REALLY red, like, FOREVER. Whereas mine is like, really crazy red for about two-three days, and then? Mouse. Brown. Ish. …sigh…I guess that’s why she’s Mah Mahster…)

And another thing that feels rather surreal…I need to go to bed now. Even though I feel as though I just got home.

And didn’t get to do much of anything.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oooooooooh, mah back!!

My back feels as though an elephant stomped on it. My shoulders are aching, My hands are chapped, tingling, hot and throbbing.

It was Pick Up The Meat Day. We just finished packing the chest and upright freezer, as well as the two freezers on the two fridges we own.

It’s always an adventure, and I’m beginning to doubt that it will ever become so old hat that we simply burn through it like it’s nothing and then sit around asking each other, do you remember when this was, you know, HARD?

But, two hogs and a steer are now safely put up for the coming year. Everything from ground beef to bacon, prime rib to the Christmas ham – pretty much all the meat we’re going to eat for the next twelve months, crammed into every available niche.

The husband and I do the same thing every year. He takes one look at the overflowing boxes piled up in the back of the van and says, “That will never fit.”

“It will fit,” I reply, confidently – even though inside I’m thinking, crap, he’s probably right…

“Honey,” he says, using the tone that clearly informs me that by ‘honey’ he means ‘stupid,’ “You have x-many cubic feet in those freezers, and they are already y-full. And this is clearly z-many more and y + z = x to the power of a zillion. It will never fit.”

“Pfffft,” I shrug at him. “It’ll fit. You’ll see.”

And now it is a matter of pride, people. it WILL fit.

And somehow, thus far, I have managed to pull it off. I have found ways to turn z-many cubic feet of meat into x-minus-y-many.

And then he tells me he is amazed and that I am amazing.

And all I can think is, I can’t believe I pulled that off AGAIN.

I’ll try to take some pictures tomorrow, when it isn’t DARK out there. Assuming I can stand up tomorrow. Because the way my back feels right now, I’m thinking I may need to stay in bed for a few days. Or weeks. Possibly the rest of my life.

…this may be a hint that I should rethink that idea I had about retraining to be a cowboy…

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In which an old dog finds new tricks dull

I had all-day training today for the impending SCRUM-stuff. Which we’re all pretty sure is going to be an epic disaster of all kinds of proportion. The only people more furrowed of brow than the folks assigned to the SCRUM teams are the people who are not assigned to the SCRUM teams, who are looking at the diagrams showing themselves ‘demoted’ into a generic “operations / support” box and thinking, oh, HELL to the NO! to themselves before stomping off to set up a new job-search agent on

(And I am totally not making that up – I won’t be surprised if we end up losing about 50% of the overall team during this. And you know which 50% it will be, right? Yeah, the competent ones who get five job offers the instant they say, “Ya, I was thinking about maybe pondering the possibility of looking for-” “YOU’RE HIRED! CAN YOU START TOMORROW?!”)

So, yeah. I had all day training today. Seven hours. Seven solid hours of source control training.

Here. Let me sum up the seven hours of training for you: In Visual Studios? There are folders. And sub-folders branches <=fancy development-source-control-word-for-sub-folder.

AND if you change something, it gets tracked. And you can navigate? The folders? but it’s not at all like navigating a regular old Windows file folder system. Well. Actually. It’s exactly like doing that. But with versioning.

{rubs temples}

NOW MIND YOU, I’ve sort of…played in this sandbox before. I’ve been a contractor for an embarrassingly long time, and have worked in a lot of different places using a lot of different tools and methods. I’ve done SCRUM before (loved the team, hated the work, which was mostly busy-work and done at too-rapid a pace, so that by the time you thought of a “better” way to do something it was already too late and the half-arsed jury-rigged version had gone to prod and nobody was ever interested in fixing something that wasn’t actively broken, soooooooo, crap-code it was, which left me somewhat embittered but let’s not DWELL). I’ve done what our SCRUM master referred to as “Agile but” – where technically we were ‘AGILE’ but then there were all these exactly-not-AGILE things that would happen because they “had” to because somebody-more-senior-than-you said so.

I’ve been in cowboy groups (“wallllllp, I tell you what we’re gonna do, Pilgrim: We’re gonna hot-fix it right in prod, that’s what we’re gonna do…”), and fundamentalist groups (“Thou Shalt Not break any of the elebenty-bazillion Rulz we haz, lest the $DEITY of Systems [a thousand bits be showered upon its binaries] become enraged and did you just run a query without the REQUIRED where clause?! NONONONONONO, you canNOT use a MERE inner join to limit results, you MUST ALWAYS use SOME form of WHERE!!!”) (<= I kid you not – true story - it was REQUIRED that you have the word ‘WHERE’ followed by ‘some condition’ – and because I am a real shite that way, I wrote “WHERE 1 = 1” more than a few times as my ‘theologically dictated must-always-have-a WHERE clause.’) (That always evaluates to ‘true,’ so, no harm no foul. Now, WHERE 1 = 0? That’s kind of a fun one: If you put, for example, “SELECT * INTO new_table FROM old_table WHERE 1 = 0”? Know what you get? A nearly identical, empty new table! It won’t have indexes, foreign key constraints, blah blah blah, but it will have the same structure – kind of a fast-n-dirty way to quick-build a new version of a table to play with. You know, in case that ever comes up for you. Ahem, yeah, let’s…move on…) (…wait…where the heck was I going with All That before I got sidetracked down the rabbit hole of places I’ve worked that were more nuts than seems possible and only the fact that I still maintain some contact with former coworkers who say, “No, yeah, dude, that REALLY happened…” comforts me that I didn’t just DREAM it a-la Alice In Wonderland or something…oh! right!)

So, this ain’t my first rodeo. That’s where I was going with All That. I’ve used a fairly robust variety of tools, fancy and plain; source control, versioning, carefully-controlled-ways-of-getting-new-code-into-production, and so forth.

They tend to be very similar. If you’ve used one, and you have a reasonably flexible mind (and honey, you’d better if you’re going to be working “in tech,” because it moves fast and has very little respect for brittle, slow-moving, reluctant-to-embrace-new-things brains), you’re probably going to run your eyeballs over the new screens and go, “Oh, I see. Got it. OK.”

Which is why I got about 25% worth of nothing out of that seven hours. I kept waiting for it to get…interesting. Relevant. Useful! Unusual enough to mean I wouldn’t have figured it out on my own in about thirty seconds upon sitting down with the application open.

Something that made spending seven hours in a stuffy classroom suffocating on somebody’s perfume worthwhile.

This kept not happening.

My attention began to wander, just a bit.

By which I mean I returned shamelessly to working on my ridiculous two-mules worth of task-list with increasingly limited attempts to pretend I wasn’t doing so.

And then, well after the point where I was trying to come up with a way to gently suggest we take a small break so that those of us with pinched nerves and other vicissitudes could work out a few kinks or maybe throw ourselves in front of fast-moving taxis so as to have an excuse not to return, my phone went off.

LOUDLY. Even though I would have sworn I had turned the ringer all the way down.

I nearly dropped it trying to dismiss the call. Instead, I answered it and then promptly hung up. But that was OK, because a few minutes later? They called back.

And “they” were a jail. Or so the recorded message asking me to accept the collect call informed me. “This is a call from an inmate of Cook County.” {incomprehensible mutter I presume was the placer of the call saying his name} “To accept the charges” (the recording went on, hopefully) “press or say 1. You can also” (the recording continued, bleakly) “say ‘not now,’ or” (and here the tone became downright somber) “press ‘9’ to block all future calls from this facility.” (and, hanging there unspoken, the words if you really are the kind of person who kicks puppies, dashes the hopes of Youth and hates America…plus SOMEDAY maybe it WILL be somebody you know, DESPERATELY trying to reach out to YOU, yes, YOU, the ONLY PERSON who could POSSIBLY save them, BUT. NO., YOU!!!!! pressed NINE…!)

NOW I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. What kind of INHUMAN person would press nine? because of COURSE you wouldn’t do that, you would do the right thing and accept this $$$$$$ call from…somebody…and, uh, chat about the WEATHER or something…

…yeah…I totally hung up…

BUT, not before I had rocketed out of the training room in order to answer the call, because I had been aching to get the @^*&@ out of there for, like, over an hour am far too polite a person to yak into my cell phone in the middle of class, for heaven’s sake, how rude would THAT be?

And then I hung around waiting for this guy I knew would be circling around looking for me because that’s kind of a thing he does right now accidentally ohmygosh didn’t see THAT coming! got caught by a coworker and got embroiled in a completely meaningless extremely urgent discussion/planning session.

So that killed ate up another half hour of class time. (Oh darn, I missed the part about how to expand a folder. However will I MANAGE?!)

And when, shortly after I had dragged my aching (but dutiful!) backside back to class (well…I kind of had to…I’d left my laptop there…), a particularly difficult-to-nail-down person offered up a time tomorrow when I could have his (semi)complete and (nearly) undivided attention during the ‘basic’ training (oh yes, there’s more!), I ever so reluctantly took him up on it.

Where ‘ever so reluctantly’ is pronounced ‘all but stood up right there in class and screamed “@*^&@ YEAH, I AM SKIPPING ABOUT HALF OF THIS TOMORROW, SO LONG, LOOOO-SAHS!”’

But of course I didn’t actually do that.

Because that would have been rude.

Plus somebody might have tattled, and then somebody else would have said, “No no no, I know we said t was ‘mission critical’ for you to get knowledge transfer on That Thing Only This Guy Can Explain, but learning how to rename a file is just ever-so-much MORE vital! You must attend all 3,271 hours of training tomorrow!” and I would have been all like, “…I hate you so much right now…” which is not a good way to build Team Spirit and such.

I have this on very good authority.

Ah, life in Corporate America…never a dull moment, huh?!

Friday, October 19, 2012

I cannot think of a title for something this random

I totally owe you guys a post. But then I sit here going, “Hmm, something amusing…something amusing…” aaaaaaaaand…I got nothin’.

It’s not that nothing is going on – kind of the opposite, I suspect. There’s so much going on, on every front, that by the time I’ve hung up the phone, logged off, gotten home, settled down and so forth…I end up going, “Duuuuuuh…no can think-think, need drink-drink and dumb-dumb entertainment for staring at with eyeballs of redness…”

The project I’ve been working on all this time is starting to think about winding down a bit; there’s still a lot of data to move around, but at this point it’s a matter of setting off very-long-running jobs I’ve already written, keeping half an eye on them while they chug along, and then doing some annoyingly manual work after the job finishes to fix all the stuff that has gone off the rails between April 1904 and now.

This is kind of a funny outfit; it’s kind of…how to put this gently…well, it’s like…people who have no idea how to build and manage a data center, somehow found themselves being…a data center.

So they’ve done the best they can.

Eeeeeyeah. It’s a bit of a mess. I’ve got a list of things that need doing as long as my arm, and then, I was voluntold that I would be taking over “a few things” from my manager, seeing as how I’m one of the most-senior-ish developers on the team and have A Certain History with this client (I did some significant work for them a few years ago, which does rather put me a few feet ahead in the foot race) (although, I suspect they may mean “senior as in old”. But I try not to dwell on that too much.)

And then they loaded up a baseball pitching matching with marbles, set it on “SUPER FAST,” handed me a plastic teaspoon and told me to hit as many as I could. Holy crap!

But never mind all that, check out THIS.

Now, you may think this is just a random picture from a random Renaissance fair, but it isn’t. THIS is a picture of a group called Country Matters. And that tall dorky looking guy third from the left in the back there would be my husband.

They haven’t sung together in (get this) seventeen (17) years. I don’t anyone would have guessed that, listening to them. OK, OK, the first couple rounds were a little disjointed here and there. But by Sunday, they were tight.

It was weird, walking around that fair between shows; there were so many old friends, and so many new faces, the layout was all wrong but strangely familiar, and – most bizarre of all to me – so many people who remembered me.

And they will never forgive me for leaving the harp at home.

It is things like that which make it very hard for me to settle on what I want to be when (if) I grow up; it throws the oddness of my life into sharp relief, you know? That this can be as normal to me as a day in the office; that a day spent dueling about whether it would be better to use page compression, or row compression, is as second-nature to me as flopping down on a hay bale with a set of wooden knitting needles and some dust-not-showing yarn to pass the rest of an afternoon.

And it doesn’t phase me at all when some guy I sort of remember as being attached to some girl I know suddenly throws himself across my lap and says, “Pet me, I’m sad!”

YA KNOW, if that happened at BART? I would not have laughed and patted him on the head.

Just sayin’.

My people are such a strange bunch, really; sometimes I think if you gathered all the ones dearest to me together…we’d probably have a big old brawl on our hands, PDQ.

They are dorks and intellectuals, glamorous and plain, goofballs and studious-types, religious and not-so-much, vegan and carnivore, rich and poor.

And…me. Not exactly any of those, not exactly not any of those (Well, except glamorous…I’ll never be glamorous, even if I wanted to I couldn’t pull it off) (well, not for long, anyway…maybe for an afternoon…OK, well, maybe, like, for a couple hours…). Like I’ve got a finger or toe in all of them, but never quite seem to saunter over the line to settle in anywhere.

We got home tired and then Monday came in its usual unrelenting way. And we went back to what we suppose is “real” life, but sometimes I’m not so sure which one is real, and which one is just a dream.

And also, the Mingulay Boat Song has been in my head all week. ALL. WEEK. Dammit, Steve!!!!!!!!

(Steve is the captain of the Sea Dogs, and one of those people who just sort of makes me smile a lot. He’s so darned sweet. Even if he does look exactly, I MEAN EXACTLY, the same as he did fifteen years ago which for those of us with crows feet and other assorted obvious signs of Father Time’s Touch is a tad irritating. And also is a terrible purveyor of brain worms like this one.)

(OH yeah. I TOTALLY owe him some payback for sending us off Sunday night to Ming-guh-frickin-lay. And also because it inexplicably made me teary. GAH. I am so going to march up and sing something awful to him the next time I see him. Because, dammit, Steve!!!)

(They’ll be out at Dickens, weekends starting November 23. As will an awful lot of my kith, actually. If you’re in the San Francisco, you should totally go check it out.)

(…maybe…all 347 verses of Greensleeves…?)


Friday, October 12, 2012


I have worked almost every weekend since August.

Except that most of the “working” part – at least for the last several weeks – has not been particularly “nose to the grindstone” in nature.

It’s more of the “OK, so, now that everybody else has gotten off the box, now I think I have a shot at getting the next set of 148,672,017 records manipulated for the stupid warehouse.”

Which is long on server talking to itself time, but, once you’ve gotten the necessary code written to start the conversation, is rather short on human has to directly DO something time.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, well, there are periods throughout the day when the human in charge of the project (hai, yeah, that’s me again) has to do something.

The faster the human realizes that buttons need to be pushed or whatever, and does whatever-it-is, the sooner the whole thing will be done.

(Not that I’m counting, but I thought I’d be “all done” with this @^*&@ing thing over a month ago. ALL done. Go ahead. Ask me how many months of the 18 initial months of “my” stuff are actually loaded right now. NEVER MIND, I WILL TELL YOU ANYWAY: NONE. NONE. NONE. NONE. NOT ONE, NOT ANY, NOT A SINGLE @*^&@ING ONE.)

(…but I’m not bitter…)

(…or frustrated…)

(…or halfway ready to scream “@^*@& it!!” and wash my hands of the whole thing…)

(eh, it’s a big, complicated, screwed up ball of data-barf) (which is possibly the only thing in my world worse than yarn barf) (which can cause me to become so irrationally frustrated that I have been known to sit snarling and cursing for hours attempting to untangle a $3 skein’s worth of said barf instead of doing the logical thing, which would be to toss the whole mess into the trash and say, “Good. Riddance.”) (But I digress.)

ANYWAY. Having worked a full twelve hour day yesterday (ahem) after three “normal” nine hour days, I have already pretty much wrapped up my working week at this point.

Except, of course, that I have a rather enormous set of things queued up to run.

And since they’re new, they kind of need to run under more or less close-ish supervision.

Which means that when I say I’m “done” for the day, I’m totally not done for the day, I’m totally still working.

But, not really-really.

I’ve got two (2) monitors on this desk

On my left, row-counts, progress bars, server-generated emails containing durations, table-sizes, CPU stress, etc. Every so often, something…flashes…at me. And I turn my attention to that monitor, and fiddle with things, and hit buttons like an astronaut trying to get home from Mars.

On my right…World of Warcraft. And the minute the server is back to talking to itself again, my attention snaps back to upholding to honor of the Horde like a rubber band.

Quests are not going to complete themselves, people. (Also, and sadly this is 100% true, if I have something like this on the monitor, the husband won’t start with the “WHY are you still working FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE you need to quit this job blah blah blah nag nag nag etc etc etc” thing…while I agree that the new gig is rather higher pressure and stress than the last one, I’m finding it oddly exhilarating and also I have been forced to learn a lot more about how to manipulate Really Big Data even when it is Really Badly Stored…which is actually kind of fun, in its own way…but I digress…)

ASIDE: When exactly did it become possible for a troll to be…kind of svelte and sexy? Because, seriously? If blue skin and protruding canines are your thing?

My troll avatar is rather hot.

Plus she has kind of punk-ish hair. Awesome.

But I digress. (Again.)

Now, I told you all that so I could tell you this: I have decided that this form of not-exactly-working-not-exactly-not-working should be called plarking.

Playing + Working = Plarking.

(Because plorking? Yeah. That’s something else, entirely…)

(Have a great weekend, y’all…I’m actually not working this weekend because I have been coerced into going to a Renaissance fair instead. However WILL I survive an ENTIRE WEEKEND without my work laptop?!?!?!)

(…but my personal laptop, that’s coming with…because it totally can handle World of Warcraft research, posting blog entries…writing peace treaties for warring nations…you know, important, adult-type stuff…)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Have you ever...

...found yourself going through something that, if you were an emoticon, would look like this?

Help Desk Guy Approaches?!

(?_?) <= huh, da heck HE want?

"Which phone wasn't working?"

(@_@) <= ...erm...?

"I'll just take a look at all these wires under here..."

(-_-') <= please don't yank the wrong one, please don't yank the wrong one please don't...

(<_<) <= wat r u pulling on...waitwaitwaitnottheBLUEone!!!!!!

(entire SSIS package becomes awash in bright red Fail Boxes)

(O_o)  <= ...that...did NOT just happen...the @&$%@ing thing I started at five-@&$&@ing-forty this morning did NOT just get terminated that close to final commit by a @&$&@ing disconnected CAT cable...

"Oh, were you downloading something?"

(T_T) <= hahahaha, no, was just ~ 34MM records into a ~ 36MM record pull, that's all...

(-_-)  <= ...and then you inexplicably decided to yank on the CAT cable...which looks nothing like a phone line and goes into a completely different jack...

(>¥<) <= and yet, if I were to rip your head off, suddenly I'D be the bad guy...

(--') <= just HOW afraid of jail am I, really...

(-_-) <= ...sigh...

b(^_^)d <= Nah, it's good, it'll pick up from where it left off!

(;_;) <= suuuuure, after it does two full table scans against a two BILLION row table with no partitions and limited indexing because it will see that it exited abnormally last time...then it will checksum against the destination table...then it will recompile the query plan...which I usually WANT it to do, buuuuuut, geeeeeeeeez...


...and THAT is why my process log shows no load history before about 10:30 this morning.

(attempts to look cool and badass while sipping herbal tea...fails...)

Sigh. Yeah. Some days, I just really wish I'd stayed in bed...

(The eclair was good, though...)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Thanksgiving on Monday

I got a turkey at the auction Saturday.

A big turkey.

In point of fact, a large part of the reason I even bid on the enormous thing was because of its ludicrous size…or more specifically, the proportion of the bird-size to the kid-size.

This young turkey-wrangler looked to be about dead even, weight-wise, with his fowl. But I tell you what, he handled that big old bird like a champ. And I was so charmed by his moxie that I was all, OK, I will DIE if I don’t bid on that stupid turkey.

I know. Just call me Poker Face McEmotionless. Ahem.

The next day, said bird (all twenty-plus pounds of it) was delivered to the Den by the boy and his father – the freshest turkey I have ever had my greedy faux-chef hands on. My plan had been to wrap it well and put it in the freezer for Thanksgiving…buuuuuuuuut…well, upon reflection I found myself asking, you know, how often does one have the CHANCE to cook and devour a turkey THIS fresh?

PLUS, Vanessa the Great’s mother had sent some beautiful pie-pumpkins over from her garden (my own pumpkins…are not looking too good again this year…there are a couple there, but they’re still green and I think the vines themselves are losing the Powdery Mildew wars again), and they had been mocking me on the counter.

You know how they do.

Oh hai! Going to work are you? Ya, well, we’ll just sit here…GETTING READY TO ROT BEFORE YOUR VERY EYESnever mind us, we’ll just chat with the FRUIT FLIES while you’re gone…ignoring us…alllllllll day…”

I despise mouthy food. You guys are SO gonna be PIE! I growled back at them. And then they shrugged at me like, eh, what-EVER! and I VOWED that OH YES, THEY WOULD BE PIE…!

AND THEN, Sunday afternoon I went out into the garden and found that the green beans had gotten busy while I wasn’t looking and I had this impressively large basket of stunningly gorgeous green beans.

So that was how I came to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner a month and a half early, on a work-a-day Monday.

I roasted the pumpkins in the morning, turned them into pulp and put the turkey into the oven on my lunch hour, and put the pies (I ended up with four of the things!) in the oven right after I logged off for the day. Every twenty minutes, I’d ladle the increasingly luxurious pan drippings over the bird; what started out as “just” coarsely chopped onions and green apples and a butter rub on the bird began to take on a torturously rich scent. Every time I’d open the oven, at least one Denizen would appear as if by magic to check on progress.

And then, just like at “real” Thanksgiving, everything was happening at once. The turkey was resting on the counter driving everybody nuts with the aroma, I was slapping people’s hands away while whipping the potatoes into glue, burning the gravy and charring the green beans.

And then I threw a bunch of dishes on the counter and bellowed, “FINE! JUST COME EAT OR SOMETHING, GEEEEEEEZ!!”

Because nothing says Warm Fuzzy Family Moments like the mother of the house having a psychotic meltdown over something like splotches of gravy on the range fan or there being too many dirty dishes on the counter so there’s nowhere to put a buffet-style meal service.

How would we know it was Christmas, if Mommy wasn’t standing at the bottom of the stairs screaming at the top of her lungs about how she has HAD it with BLAH BLAH BLAH and would it KILL YOU PEOPLE to yadda yadda yadda and OHMYGAH, THEY WILL BE HERE IN {X-MANY} MINUTES, WILL YOU !!!!!!PLEASE!!!!!! STOP HAVING HAPPY LIVES AND HELP! ME! WITH! THIS!

(Bonus points for turning right around and going, “Nonononono, not like THAT, do it like THIS OH FER @^*&@’S SAKE, HERE, LET ME DO IT YOU ARE USELESS GO FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO!!!!”)

Anyway. The Denizens didn’t have to be told twice. Meanwhile, we had coerced invited Vanessa the Great and Significant Other to stay and help us eat it, and we grown-ups older kids retired to the relative peace and quiet of the dining room to, um, dine (if consuming turkey at a table where to actually sit and eat we had to shove a six pack of Mason jars, some folded towels and other oddments out of the way first can be considered ‘dining’…sigh…Once Upon A Time, I swear, my house had at least a semblance of organization…).

And then we ate until we were halfway to sick.

And then we had pie.

With orange-chocolate ice cream I made a few days ago.

Because there was a bag of ice in the freezer, and I needed the room but didn’t want to just waste the ice and oh look, I HAPPEN to have some heavy cream here in the fridge…!

This morning, I packed up one of the untouched pies, made some whipped cream while my coffee was brewing, and took it to the office for the team.

This team doesn’t do a whole lot of that kind of stuff (yet) and a few of them were slightly taken aback by it (“This is for…why? Oh. Um. Is it…OK…for me to…?”), but I think they’re willing to be brought around.

It was awfully nice, having a little “preview” of the impending holidays; while I wouldn’t want to make a habit of attempting that kind of dinner on a work day, it was a really nice change from what has become our “usual” on working days – which is more like foraging than dinner.

And I won’t be sad about all the leftover turkey, either.

No, not sad at all about that


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Investments of the indirect kind

I paid too much for the steer at the auction this year, going about $650 over what I’d wanted to pay.

But I’m not the least bit remorseful about it. There was simply no way in HELL that I was going to let the lovely gentleman to my left who was so enthusiastically supporting the Lodi-area kids have this particular steer.

Just…not happening, dude.

This steer was going to be Ashley’s last FFH project. This would be the third and final year that I could have the honor of making her project pay off for her; the last time my grocery money would be going directly into her future college tuition.

Selfishly, I wanted rather badly to share this transition with her. I wanted to take that tenuous, few-moments-once-a-year connection we had all the way to its natural, inevitable end.

It’s such a tiny, tiny part I play here, once a year for just a few moments, when I show up at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday with my buyer’s card and my checkbook. I sit there with my coffee and circle the kids from my hometown in the auction book, and do my humble best to make sure that none of them end up getting less than market rate for their animals.

Which is why I also paid a little more than I technically had to for a pair of hogs.

Whiiiiich is not exactly the best frugal method, and there’s a part of me that rolls her eyes and sighs heavily every time I do it. (And you should hear the ranting whenever I make that little hand signal to the auctioneer: Bump that bid up a quarter, make it three even…maaaaaan, my inner Frugal Zealot goes bananas whenever I do that…but gee whiz, I can’t stand the thought of one of these kids not making at least the break-even on their market animals…!)

But this is an investment in more than meat. It’s not just about feeding my family, or even just about that local, organic-method gourmet-stuff.

To me, it’s a direct investment in the future. It’s a way for me to tell these kids that what they’ve done matters, that somebody other than their parents (who are, let’s face it, contractually obligated to believe that everything their kids do is “awesome” and “meaningful” and “good job, buddy!”) believes in them, and values what they’ve done, and thinks they did a damn fine job, kiddo, a DAMN fine job.

I don’t think it will come down to being the difference between a “successful” life versus one lived on skid row…but hopefully, it can be another chip tossed into the bucket that says “yes, you do matter, and you can succeed, you don’t suck, you are a winner.”

When the hard times hit, and they will, because, welcome to being human which kinda sucks sometimes, maybe that little extra reinforcement will help them keep their chins up, will help them keep slogging forward.

These kids are the ones who will be making the world whatever it will be for my kids – and my grandchildren, and all the other generations after them.

They’re worth supporting. And while I can’t necessarily claim a direct return on the investment, I still feel so very strongly that it is a good one, and that I do get more out of it than I give.

After the auction, Ashley brought over the paperwork and gave me a hug. I shook hands with her parents, and told them how proud I was to have had this small role in her life, what a fine young lady I thought she was.

She’s already started her college courses. Already left the nest for the dorms.

Already has both feet firmly on the path of Young Adulthood.

Considering that I still have not quite gotten my arms around the concept of Eldest being in kindergarten elementary middle high school, I can imagine that this must be a tremendously unnerving time for her parents.

I paid for my animals at the fair office; it’s always a bit of a shock, handing over a hefty sum all in one go like that. I’m still not used to it, and it still gives me a moment of vertigo.

I tend to become rather compulsive about checking the savings account balance in the days leading up to the auction. Am I QUITE sure I ACTUALLY saved enough? Yeah-yeah, I’ve been putting, like, $600 a month into that savings goal, but still…is it REALLY all there?!

I had A Moment as I was writing the check; a moment when yet again the thought occurred to me that this is so not the “cheapest” way to buy meat.

And then I thought about Ashley…off at college now, with checks of her own that need writing, undoubtedly more of them than she had anticipated because anybody ELSE remember how college was?

The money is going to be whipping out of my checking account regardless – that’s just what money seems to do, really.

And if it’s going to be generating that breeze anyway, well, by Gah…I rather like the idea of it becoming part of the wind beneath somebody else’s wings, instead of vanishing into a nameless, faceless void.

It just feels right, like it’s making the world I dream of for my own kids someday.

Which is worth a whole lot more than the price I’m paying for all this.

Fly strong, kiddos. I believe, from the center of my being out, that you guys will make this world glad you were around to guide it, someday.

Fly strong.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Fodder

This weekend is the annual 4H / FFA auction at the county fair, which has me in a bit of a state. How it can possibly be that not only an entire year, but a year-plus-a-couple-months, has gone by since last I was clutching a ludicrously bright buyer card in my hot little hands…is beyond me.

I went out to the garage last weekend to get a feel for what-all kind of mayhem this was going to wreak on me, expecting that I would find a “nearly full” freezer and be all, “AH! AH! OH NO! I’M A BAD INVENTORY MANAGER AND ALSO I DON’T WANT TO DISAPPOINT THE KIDS BUT SERIOUSLY, I’M NOT GONNA BUY ANOTHER WHOLE STEER JUST BECAUSE S/HE LOOKS AT ME WITH THOSE BIG, HOPEFUL EYES…” (<= the kid, not the steer…the steer mostly looks at me like, eh, whatever because, well, he’s a STEER, not a sales-cow)

But it was remarkably empty. So later-but-not-too-much-later this afternoon, I’m going to empty out the chest freezer, move everything that’s left into the upright, and turn it off to defrost so I can clean it.

Which is something I actually meant to do from the beginning. Well. Not from the beginning beginning, when I had 42,067,092 pounds of meat and all, but rather that I had meant to practice much more…attentive…inventory management, such that when the overall amount of stuff left was little enough to fit in “just” the one (1) freezer, I’d move everything to just one (1) freezer, turn off, clean, and leave off because they cost money to run and all the other freezer. But I didn’t. Because Life happened. And Work happened. And Too Tired To Deal With That Right Now happened. Which has become something of a trend with me of late, and not a particularly good trend, either. Although I suppose I could pretend that any trend makes me “trendy” and that’s supposed to be a good thing, right? Right. So, there’s that.

{pauses to contemplate how complicated that paragraph got…is it just me, or does it read kind of like “blah blah crazy-crazy blah blah something about peanut butter which reminds me that I like pickles and I wonder if kangaroos have these problems probably not, huh…”?!}

MEANWHILE IN OTHER NEWS…luffa plants. (Yes. I know. This transition does not bode well for this post suddenly getting any less incoherent. Just be glad you weren’t around this morning, when I was literally on two phone calls at the same time and then forgot to go on mute for the one when I switched over to arguing about whether we wanted row level compression, or page level compression on a given table on the other line. Not only was I talking right over the top of the other group, but it was such a completely different topic that it must have been really confusing for them. Nice.)

So, I decided to grow some luffa (loofah, lufah, take your pick) this year, because so obviously need another hobby thought it would be cool.

When I bought the seeds, I was given a ton of advice around how to tenderly, lovingly, with great care and other words meaning “these babies are going to be very finicky and hard to grow, so you’ll have to practically sing them lullabies and tuck them in at night.”

Which I promptly ignored for the most part, because I sort of planted them and then went to work for the next three months straight.

Every so often, I’d think to go back there and squint at them, and they seemed to be doing OK without constant petting / singing to them / ensuring they had such-and-so balance of pH blah blah blah.

Yup, doing just fine. No {luffa, loofah, lufah} yet, but pretty soon, they started putting out Big! Showy! Yellow! Blooms, which the enormously fat wanna-bees love to climb into so they can jump out and scare me out of my socks.

Aww! So pretty! So delicate!

Fast forward about two weeks aaaaaaaaaaaand…


But, still no {luffa, loofah, lufah}. Oh. Wait. Yes there are some, they’re just…wow. Really? Cause, that’s pretty…tiny and while there are probably somewhere like sixteen THOUSAND of them, it’s starting to get kinda cold at night, so y’all really don’t have, you know, a thousand days and nights to finish growing…

(IMMATURE COMMENTARY ALERT: Yes, it DOES look like a Certain Part Of The Male Anatomy. And yes, that realization made me snicker way harder than it had any right to.)

THEN, as I was turning around shaking my head and wondering if perhaps I should have sung to it more, or if my lack of pH-strip-wielding had brought it to this lowly state


Thank $DEITY it wasn’t a rattlesnake, right?!

There’s still a lot of action out there in the garden, really; green beans, onions, carrots, newly-planted peas coming up, okra and peanuts and the last of the watermelons.


I can’t wait to see how many actual tubers there are underneath the mat of yam vines in the back bed; it always seems to be something of a crap-shoot, really, with those root-crops. Sometimes you have robust plants but no potatoes, sometimes you have scrawny plants and lots of potatoes…but then, just when you think you’ve got it figured out and are rolling your eyes because the plants are so vigorous that it must mean there’s no potatoes under them…


And, oooookay. I think I have avoided the freezer task long enough. I’m off to get frostbite and a sore back – have a great weekend, everybody, and may only the cows you want around come home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Knitting on


Second. Sleeve. SECOND!

I am stunned by how fast this project is going. I guess I've been on finger-gauge, smaller-needle projects for so long, I'd forgotten that when you use worsted weight on 8-10s, well, you can make yourself some headway!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Money Monday: September 24, 2012

We’ve had some significant overtime for a lot of folks on our team these last couple weeks, which got me thinking about things like overtime, and second jobs, and all like that.

A lot of folks will respond to any financial crisis with the suggestion that the sufferer “get a second job” or “try for more hours at work.”

I’ve long thought that this is pretty rotten advice, on the whole. It feels a lot like telling someone who constantly has dirt in their eye to “go rinse it out,” without ever addressing the fact that they installed a Dust-Devil-O-Matic in their living room and that maybe, JUST MAYBE, turning that sucker off might help keep the dust out of their eyes going forward.

Overtime and/or a second job can be great short-term responses to an immediate need. It can provide a badly-needed jump start for a debt reduction plan, especially if you’re caught in that endless treadmill of “my minimum payments are just about 9/10ths of my average take-home pay.”

Adding even a rather small “extra” paycheck at that point can make a world of difference.

But over time, it just never seems to work out as planned. We get tired. Then we get exhausted. We start back-sliding on all sorts of things. Those of us who are married might start to bicker with our spouses; the spouse who isn’t putting in the Murderous Hours has trouble understanding why the spouse who is doing so is so danged grouchy about everything all the time.

Meanwhile, the spouse putting in the hours is thinking, …seriously, why can’t you people just SHUT UP for a damned minute so I can hear myself think, geeeeez, would it KILL you people to just…HANDLE IT, handle ANYTHING, your damned SELVES instead of dragging me into every.single.thing. that needs doing around here?!?! (<= not that this has ever been my internal dialog, mind you, but I have this friend who has felt this way from time to time…)

We start to make ‘tired’ decisions. We start to buy our way out of dealing with the things that make us feel tired.

And then, we start to become increasingly dependent on that ‘extra’ income.

And since we’re using so much of our time working in “the now,” so to speak, we aren’t working on things that would constitute working “smarter.”

We just keep working harder. And harder. And harder still.

If we’d just stop for a second, if we’d look up and around and realize that hey…I’m getting $10 per ditch I dig…but if instead of digging two extra ditches a day, I put my energy into, say, engineering school…in a few years, I’d be the guy telling guys like me where to dig the ditches, and I’d be making $300 more a day to do it…

That’s moving into working smarter, not harder. Like most things, it’s simply about being aware of how the bigger picture is playing out around you – and reacting to that rather than the far smaller world of “my immediate environment.”

It’s been my experience so far that Life tends to reward attempts to work smarter at a better ratio in the long run than it does “just” working harder.

(And that it’s a lot easier to preach about doing it, than to actually do it. Kind of unfair, really, how ‘obvious’ things will be to everybody EXCEPT us when it comes to Such Matters, ain’t it?!)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Meanwhile, on BART...

Agent, hailing a woman casually sauntering onto a rather full train: Ma'am! Ma'am! I'm sorry, but there is no eating or drinking on the trains, you will have to dispose of that before boarding!

("That" being a VERY lidless, VERY full, steaming-rising-due-to-hotness paper cup of something.)

Herself, in tone of Absolute Superiority: Oh, it's not. It's herbal.

Everybody In Ten Foot Radius: urrrrrrrrgh?!?!

...I will wonder until I die what she THOUGHT he said...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Made my list and checked it twice

SO we’re in this “final” push to production for this warehouse. I can’t honestly say it’s the biggest such migration of information I’ve ever worked on, but I can definitely vouch for it having been (and continuing to be) one of the most complicated, twisty-logic, no-two-pieces-alike ones.

It’s also something like two years past the original due-date, and an awful lot of money has been spent on it, for which the buyers have seen exactly…well…they’ve seen…


Lots and lots of bills.

But not a whole lot of, you know, data.

Which, when one is shelling out lots and lots of bills for a data warehouse…can cause one to become…slightly testy.

And/or anxious.

And/or demanding.

I have frequently have trouble remembering that Certain History when someone charged up to me and asks for something pointless and/or inane and/or somewhat insulting and/or irritating.

Liiiiiiiiiiike, say, when the command was issued forth that yea, verily, we should tabulate our estimated hours-remaining on this project, to be submitted post-haste.

{cold stare}

Now mind you, I understand. I understand that they want to know what they’re in for on this deal. They don’t want to hear “blah blah whine whine problems problems not my fault and she took my favorite bear” and so forth and so on.

I actually have a lot of sympathy for these folks. This project has been…ahem…slightly less than ideal from the get-go over two years ago.

AND, honestly, if I were in charge of All This? You’d better believe I’d be snapping my fingers rather imperiously and pointing at my desk. Remaining hours. Project plan. Task list. Daily. IMMEDIATELY.

But still in spite of All That…

{cold stare}

FIRST OF ALL (I wanted to inform Various Parties), believe you me, there is nobody on this team who wants to see this thing in the rearview mirror more than yours truly.

I ain’t dawdling, kids. Fact is, I’m that voice yelling, “PUSH HARDER, C’MON, GANG, WE CAN DO THIS, LET’S HAVE THIS BAD BOY PUT TO BED BEFORE THANKSGIVING!!!” in a semi-hysterical, shrill and slightly breathless voice…because I’m pushin’ the broken-down bus as hard as I can.

MOREOVER (I wanted to continue), I think if there is one thing we should all know by now, it would be that this whole ordeal is more prone to Imponderables than I would have previously considered even remotely possible.

Seriously? I’m beginning to wonder if the project is cursed. Like, literally…cursed. By an angry god. Or demigod. Or something.

Like, take the last week. (Please. I don’t want it.) The server I’m using for the vast majority of my work suddenly got…unreliable.

Today, “something” kept restarting it. Randomly (from where I was sitting, anyway). Without warning.

Just when I was thinking that maybe I should rethink my decision not to start migrating over to the new server (which I don’t want to do because it’s an awful lot of code and data, and the new server doesn’t even have DB Mail set up yet let alone linked servers, so I’d have to do a lot of fiddling to make everything work again over there), well, guess what?

The new server is sick. Or out of space. Or something.

Anyway, they can’t get a clean backup on it.

Hmm. So, the idea of moving the data it took me about five weeks to fully compile to a server that isn’t being backed up makes me a little queasy…oooooookay, so, can’t reliably use the one I have, can’t move to the new one…um…question…?

THEN, there’s the business team itself. They keep changing the requirements on one of the big pieces. Do it this way. No, that way.

“Hey, guys!” I snap. “Remember, these things take a good 16-20 hours to generate each individual month, and we’ve got 16 months to load. Make up your damned minds, QUICKLY, or accept that you will not have them in anything like a Timely Manner.”

{more arguing and ‘fine-tuning’ happens}

THEN it turns out that they sort of forgot to mention a couple of the rebate systems.

Oh. And also? Those aren’t the prior-period adjustments. Who told you they were? Oh? Really. Huh. Don’t know why she would have said that, those aren’t the XX937GD0075s…those are the XX937GD0065s, the ones you want for that bit are on {another server I never heard of, and don’t have access to}…

Server up. Server down. MONTH CLOSE, EVERYBODY OUT OF THE POOL SO WE CAN RUN THE MONTHLY JOBS! (By the way, everything is still due in three days…)

And in this environment, you want me to try to guesstimate, in ANY way that will end up being even in the same GEOLOGIC ERA as accurate, how many more hours I’ve got to go on this deal?!

…why…do you want to make me cry…?

But, well, to be honest…I’d been sorta putting together a spreadsheet of sorts on that myself. More because I like to gather those kinds of statistics for my own purposes – which rhyme with “knowing whether or not I have enough time to walk up to Union Square for lunch after I start this.”

These are important things to know.

So I pivoted things around, and adjusted a little here for ‘this will get faster as I figure out better automation tools’ and tweaked a bit there for ‘buuut as we go further back in time, reconciliation is going to become a manual nightmare’ and then I looked at what I had and whimpered, “That can’t be right, that just can’t be right…!” and I tugged at it and fiddled with it and checked everything on it twice and argued with myself but eventually…I had to own that it was probably true.

I’ve got another 500 hours to go on just the initial load.

And after that 500 hours? I’m looking at an ADDITIONAL…oh gah, there goes my stomach again…an additional…two…THOUSAND…urk…two-thousand-three-hundred-hours-there-I-said-it.

I sincerely hope I’m wrong. I hope things get faster, and better. That things won’t be as bad in the Ancient History as I suspect they are, and that things will balance sufficiently right off the bat.

That magic will happen, and all of the crazy stuff that keeps breaking my automation will simply go away and it will Just Work and I will be done in, like three days and we can all have a good laugh about my CRAZY time estimates.

Preferably over some adult beverages.

But…I made the list. And I checked it twice. And then twice more. And made it thrice for good measure.

Unless we find somebody else I can hand this thing off to, I’m going to be sitting in this chair for a looooooong while yet…

{envisions self with long white beard}

{falls out of chair laughing…hey look, I’m not sitting in that chair anymore!!! Woo hoo, I apparently finished ahead of schedule!!!}