Train Kept A Rollin’

I have been procrastinating all morning about going to our storage space. I’m looking for one book needed for the thesis, and while I am there I’m trying to combine boxes, pitch things that can go and generally make it easier to move this load of shit from here to Evanston. I ran across the box of cards from Terminator 2 yesterday. That’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about. It has a non-zero value that has kept me from throwing it away thus far, yet a small enough value that there is no easy way to dispose of it. I’m going to make an effort to toughen up and to throw crap away. I am weak and this is hard, but I shall make a run at it in good faith. Wish me luck and less stuff!

Music calms the Savage Breast

As an experiment, I took every song that I had ripped from my CDs at work via RealJukebox, threw them all in a Winamp playlist, randomized it and listened to every one of them. It took five weeks. I left it pretty much as it was shuffled up by Winamp, but I would run 100 songs or so ahead and try to make it such that the same artist didn’t have consecutive plays. It was fun, it was good, and very democratic and all. However, not all songs are created equal so I went back and have treated myself with a cherry-picked list of just the stuff I most want to hear at this very moment. That’s songs like Zevon’s “Hula Hula Boys” and “Lawyers, Guns, and Money”, Johnny Cash’s covers of “Personal Jesus” and “Hurt” and so on. I liked the effect of having a 30 minute electric early 70’s Miles Davis song between the Beatles and Rob Zombie. Today, however, is rock out day!

Fun in the ATL

My mom is in town, for an event that may or may not be related to nativity dates (he said, as cryptically as possible.) Yesterday we ran all around town. She had to return a malfunctioning ionic air filter to the Sharper Image. We went to Northpoint Mall, were disappointed to find that the SI there was merely a kiosk, and then pleasantly surprised to find that this kiosk would actually do the exchange for something she bought online. While we were there, I also went to Game Keeper. I saw that they had packs of 7th Seas, the pirate CCG from a few years back on the clearance table with sign that said “up to 50% off”. When I asked the dude how much they were, he said “All cards on that table are 50 cents.” Wowza, says I, and then I buy like 7 boxes of starters and a few boosters. Only after I got home did I realize that there were multiple factions and I bought 6 boxes of Corsair cards and only one Brotherhood of the Coast. I know nothing about this game, other than several years ago I thought the concept of a pirate CCG sounds fun. I might run back to Northpoint at lunch one day to buy some more different cheapo starter boxes. Ultimately, this probably will become yet another CCG that I buy cheaply on clearance and then never play.

On the way back home, we went to one of these Bargain Book Show places that has opened on Chattahoochee Avenue, in the warehouse and outlet mall district near my house. I excercised restraint in not buying lots of books that will just have to be packed and moved in weeks. I got Zeitgeist, the only 90’s Bruce Sterling novel I didn’t already have. I also got a (seriously) abridged audiobook of Nicholas Negroponte’s Being Digital as read by Penn Jillette(?!) for $2. How can one pass that up? All in all, it was a good day. Soon we are going up to Oglethorpe for the Shakespeare festival to see, not Shakespeare, but Moliere’s School for Wives. Lots of activity this weekend, not a lot of naps (which I seem to need.)

Home sales

Right now, we are working on selling our house before we move to Chicago. We’re not using a standard realtor, instead using a “virtual realtor”. This gets us listed in the MLS and some of the stuff, but we have to do all showings and open houses ourselves. I just did one, and had exactly one person through. I’m not too bothered by that. When we were selling our house in Oregon, the realtors did open houses that had zero attendees. If anyone reading this is looking for a house in Atlanta, in-town with easy access to downtown, Buckhead, Midtown, Vinings and Cumberland Mall areas, this is the one. Here’s our info page. One of the ironies of living here is that we can get to the Philips Arena/ World Congress Center/ Georgia Dome/ CNN part of downtown in like 6 minutes with no traffic by going down Marietta Street. However, neither of us has ever really had to do much down there and the proximity hasn’t done us as much good as it could have. It is nice to be able to go to the Braves games in 10 minutes, though.

Now It Can Be Told

I’ve been quiet about this, pending notification of the proper peoples (much like notifying next of kin). They are all told, can’t hear it second hand, and now it becomes public knowledge. We are moving to Chicagoland in a month or so. I’ll be telecommuting to this job for a while, maybe for a long time. Who knows? It’s all bonus, since I had expected to be quit for 2 weeks by now anyway. I’ll be looking for local Chicago part-time contracting gigs, as well as other telecommute work. Anyone looking for a Java/Perl/SQL/XML/Web services type programmer? I’m also budgeting in here some time for myself to work on my own projects, something that has been sadly neglected of late.

Riverboat Gamblers

Back from a weekend in Biloxi. My brother and I spread my father’s ashes in the gulf and gambled in his honor for a weekend. Dad loved the place, and wanted to retire there. I really wish that he had lived long enough for that to happen. I had never been in a casino until this weekend. Not being a gambler type, I played less like a dashing rogue and more like an actuary. It seemed to work, because I finished $60+ ahead for the stint. In fact, I did this without ever throwing my own cash in. When we first sat down at the roulette wheel, my brother threw a chip on my brithday and said “This one is for you.” As it happened, it hit and he gave me the $35 that paid off. I played on that all the way through. My high water mark was $75 or so ahead, and twice I was on my last spin where if I didn’t hit I’d be wiped out and both times I hit. That was plenty of excitement for me. I worked out a system that is less about making things hit (which I can’t do) and more about knowing when to stop when you get ahead. I’m enough of a dork to now set me up a program that runs a simulation of using my system over a long period of time, to see what percentage of the time you would finish ahead and by how much.

You can take me home

I’m listening to a mishmash of all the songs I have ever ripped onto my work computer via RealJukebox. What just came up was Liz Phair’s “Headache.” I’ve been talking about how I want to cease to be an employee and return to being a hired gun contractor, like, permanently and forever. She has this line in the song that always makes me think of that (and vice versa). When she sings “You can take me home, but I will never be your girl” I think, yep. You can pay me money to have me do things for you, but I’ll never be your guy. I’m just a guy who can do tasks for money without buying into the bullshit.

One of the reasons I didn’t want to work for Home Depot as a software developer (I had the offer a few years ago) was because the guys were telling me about the number of people who “bleed black and orange, they love HD so much.” All I could think was “I’m not fucking bleeding black and orange for you, no matter how much you pay me.” I don’t want to date these companies, fall in love or marry them. I’m a whore. Let’s do what we’re going to do, pay me and then on to the next trick. Don’t kiss me on the mouth and leave the invoice on the nightstand. I believe that is my true path to career happiness.

Chi-town

Just back from a few days in the north shores of Chicago, thus no blogging. I had an absolute blast, spending time mostly in Evanston but also a trip into the Wrigleyville/Lake View area and some forays into Wilmette and Rogers Park. Much fun stuff happened, beach was froliced upon, food consumed, and such. More details later. I’m fried and my ears still haven’t popped.

Shockwaves and Ripples

I’m going tread carefully here, becuase I’m unsure of how much of this to discuss publicly. It appears my resignation may not stick. As it turns out, several of the individuals who most made me miserable have parted ways with the company and I have been asked not to part ways with the company. I’ve spent the long weekend thinking about it in that zen way, considering without explicitly considering. I am going to go in tomorrow with my negotiating hat on, willing to stay on longer if certain conditions are met. I do believe there is a clear and true win-win path here (as opposed to the corruption of the term most people use, where “win-win” means “I win”) where everyone gets more than they would have on our current path. We’ll see how amenable everyone is to my demands (which are not really hard to meet or expensive, they just require flexibility) and how amenable I am to theirs (which are basically “don’t quit, work longer.”) Interesting times, but ones with more hope than a few days ago.

You dropped a Bomb on Me

News of my bombshell drop is causing basically the reactions I would have expected. Fellow developers are happy for me, the receptionist is sad to see me go. My boss surprised me a little by announcing my departure in the daily meeting. As often as not, bosses seem to be very secretive and want to keep these things quiet. Since I’ve known that yesterday was the day for a while, it was kind of a relief to be able to get it over and now talk about it. I am good at keeping secrets, though, so this was not a thing people knew. Now, on to the next thing.

The First Day of the Rest of my Life

This is the first morning where I’m going to go into my job as a lame duck. Really, I have been for a while but it hasn’t been official. It’s funny that I have a dentist appointment so I’ll be in a little late on this first day. Maybe everyone will assume I’m really at a job interview. The reactions of the people that found out yesterday were exactly in keeping with characters, as to who wanted to know why and who didn’t care and who seemed relieved to see me go. I guess I’m a polarizing kind of guy. Some people really love me and some really hate me. Interestingly enough, during our daily status meeting yesterday when my boss was giving me shit about something, several of the other developers leaped to my defense and then came later saying that they didn’t really know the issues involved but they assumed I knew what was up and supported me. Isn’t that how the boss is supposed to feel? This is pure nonsense out of Peopleware and further supports my feeling that I must be going. I will step on the gas and wipe that tear away, because one sweet dream came true yesterday.

Oh that Magic Feeling, Nowhere to Go

The Beatles summed up my current feelings best in “You Never Give Me Your Money”:

Out of college money spent
See no future pay no rent
All the money’s gone, nowhere to go

Any jobber got the sack
Monday morning, turning back
Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go

But oh that magic feeling
Nowhere to go
Oh that magic feeling
Nowhere to go, nowhere to go

One sweet dream
Pick up the bags and get in the limousine
Soon we’ll be away from here
Step on the gas and wipe that tear away

One sweet dream came true today

I quit my job an hour ago. More details later.

Home again

This weekend involved a power drive to and from Goldsboro NC. I’m back home, tired but exhausted. Tomorrow is a big day, more on that front later. I didn’t finish Peopleware, but I might tomorrow.

Set Me Free

Today is far too pretty to be at work. I feel dumb for sitting in my cubicle when there is a shining sun to be soaked up, trees to be sat under, birds to listen to. What am I thinking?

Lonely Boy

I put my wife on a plane back to the Research Triangle area. I’m already sad and lonely and I miss her. I can tell that the one way I will not be consoling myself is by throwing myself into my work. I suspect I’ll watch a lot of the gangster and martial arts movies. I
might go see the Rob Zombie film House of 1000 Corpses. I’ve been listening to Hellbilly Deluxe which is a lot like watching a horror movie.

Returns

We’re back home. The drive from Goldsboro NC to Atlanta GA from 5:30 PM to 1 AM last night wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but it’s over for now. I’m back at work which also isn’t the most fun.

Bad Work Day #172

I remain surprised by how wrong I am when I think things at work have gotten as bad as they can get. Everytime I think that, a new low is set. I should stop thinking about that, it gets too depressing too fast. As Ben Grimm the Thing says when he’s tired of the rest of the Fantastic Four, “It’s Badge Slamming time.”

Bad Day All Around

I am at the bottom of my barrel. I am drained and depressed and I just want to nap for a month. I feel like getting a baseball bat and smacking everyone who is on my nerves. I’m sick and I’m tired and I’m sick & tired. I’ve been hoping so hard for better days and I’m still waiting.

Depression

Yahoo news has a story about studies that show that Men Need Push to Admit Depression. Well, I don’t need the push. I’ve been depressed (not at the stage of “clinically diagnosed” but at the stage of knowing I am depressed) for some time now. Life things, family things, world events, job situation – large portions of it suck and my reaction has been to get very down and at times to just feel like giving up. I certainly would be amenable to sitting around all day in a bathrobe growing a ZZ Top beard and watching daytime TV. Many days I don’t feel like getting out of bed, I just do anyway.

Life in Atlanta

Getting ready for anniversary dinner at Bridgetown Grill which is ironically across the street from the office we just moved away from. This has been a Caribbean food day for me, since I got lunch at Kool Korner grocery, right by Georgia Tech. I was in that part of town dropping off the yard sale stuff at the Salvation Army and felt like a Cuban sandwich for lunch. Tonight will probably be Caribbean nachos with jerk chicken for me, dunno what D will want.

I spent an atypically long time in the car today, what with driving downtown over lunch and failing to make it over to the I-85 exit in the morning and having to cut through town. I listened to all but the last 20 minutes of the Gonzo Marketing book. I should give him a break from my earlier post. It is pretty good and makes a lot of sense. More about it later, off to anniversary fun!