Tag Archives: work

Weekend Frisson

The old grindstone!

The old grindstone!

It has been creating delightful occasions of frisson. After putting in a full work week, one enjoys the weekend, a bit of time off before returning to work.  Except that this weekend lasts forever.  This is not time off before returning to the grindstone, because that grindstone no longer hangs around my neck!

I promise to stop going on (and on and on) about this Real Soon Now.  Quite a number of friends have expressed their jealousy (in mild jest, I hope).  Just keep in mind that I jumped ship pretty early pension-wise, so how well this works out for me remains to be seen.

And you’ll have to bear with me if I blather on about work (or retirement) a bit longer.  It’s a pretty major life change!

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4,.. 3,.. 2,.. 1!

lift off!A few hours ago I walked out of work for the last time. (Actually, it’s likely I’ll visit again, which of course involves both walking in and out, but that will be as retiree come back to visit. (Or possibly a consultant come back to save their ass, but that seems somewhat unlikely on several counts.))  Yet in the poetic sense, it was the last time.

It wasn’t quite as weird as one might think. I’ve been leaving in my head and heart for a while. Today was more like a wheel that’s been slowing down finally coming to a stop.  A final turn. Answering one last email, and then out the door.

Today marked the end of an era.

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8,.. 7,.. 6,.. 5,..

retirement clockOnly four more days remain of my career at The Company! It’s hard to believe (and not a little weird).  The only thing in my life that’s lasted longer than this career is my life itself.  I’ve never lived in one place anywhere near that long (and my romantic relationships have all been famously short).

This week we sort of edged part of the data chain into production this past week.  Supposedly the rest is being pushed there this weekend.  I’ve got four days to test in production, wrap up a career, and then I walk out the door!

As you might imagine, my mind is really not in the blogsphere right now!

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10… 9…

countdownThursday and Friday of this past week were days 10 and 9 in [big booming voice] The Countdown to Retirement.  I’m taking Mondays off in June (no more Monday mornings!), so I have two four-day weeks remaining in my 33-year career at The Company.

And it’s a good thing I decided to stay through June. The project I’ve been working on since last September still hasn’t hit production (through, I stress, absolutely no fault of mine).

This week we finally got to the point of end-to-end testing in the QA environment, and I’m anticipating we’ll start testing in production next week.  Talk about taking it down to the wire!

As you might imagine, rather than lazily basking in the last remaining weeks of my career, I’m instead working my ass off!

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T-8 And Counting

off rampA bit over a month ago I wrote that, after six months of effort and three weeks of idly waiting for others to complete work, maybe things would finally start moving on my data integration project.

And I haven’t posted since (other than the Rick O’Shay post later that same day). As it turned out, things did finally take off, and the month got very busy. Things got even busier when they dumped an urgent “can you help with this” project in my lap.

I’ve also spent the month struggling with whether I wanted to continue blogging, and if so, whether to change my approach.

Today I thought I’d post an article about all that (and the Minnesota Twins).

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Maybe this week?

Go pound sand, TC!

This is just a running at the fingers marker post, a diary page for the weblog. I have a special Sunday post almost written, but it involves some (great Americana) artwork by a living artist, and I’d like to use more than small “fair use” thumbnails.

I would probably be within fair use using the low-res versions I want to use, but these pieces are so meaningful to me that I want to be as respectful to the artist as possible.

So—hopefully—you’ll be seeing that article down the road one of these Sundays. I’ll just give you a one-word clue for now. It’ll be a giveaway for anyone familiar with the works in question and likely utterly useless for everyone else (at least those not motivated to Go Ogle for it). The word is: Hipshot.

Instead, I thought I’d ramble on a bit about work and what I do for a living.

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100 Days

upcomingI’ve been encountering a bit of blog blah recently, and it’s tempting to go on another hiatus until I retire and don’t feel the work pressure and negative energy. But I have a growing backlog—new ideas keep popping up—and I really do enjoy the writing.

Things are returning to normal around here; page hits are finally back to their low numbers. The party has died down considerably, and that lets the host leave the remaining guests so he can whip up some new treats (and maybe open that bottle of wine I’ve been saving).

Speaking of which, I meant to open two bottles this weekend, but life did one of those unexpected detour things. I’ll pour both those articles very soon, but today’s snack catches up on some things.

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Bab’s Drive-In Dairy

(c) Google EarthToday, of course, is the last day of September. For a variety of reasons, it’s always been one of my favorite months, and it’s always bugged me slightly that September — having only 30 days — is one of the short-changed months. August around here is usually hot, muggy and buggy, so I’d be fine with Congress passing a law to give one of August’s days to September.

And pity poor February! Not only stuck with being the shortest month (a month frequently dark and very cold), but saddled with the responsibility of having to keep an eye on the calendar to even know how many days it has!

Perhaps Congress could also declare February to be National February Month!

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The Crazy Problem

I had my first real interview yesterday, and I thought it went very well. Since The Company Gobsmacked me in early August, I’ve applied for 29 different positions. I’ve been casting a wide net, and I know I’m not a good fit for a lot of them, but you never know. The position I found in 2004 under similar circumstances came from just such a wide cast, and it was one of the best I’ve had at TC.

So far, I’m 13-16 on those applications (it was 16-13, but this morning’s email reversed the score). Sixteen have come back with, “Gee, thanks, but you’re not the one.” Yesterday’s interview was for one of the 16 13 that are still pending. As I said, it’s the first actual interview, although I had two “Information Interviews” a couple of weeks ago. (An information interview is when you sit down with the person who would offer the job and find out a bit about the job—and they about you—but it’s not a real interview.  Call it a preview interview.)

Considering that there are only eight days left on my clock, the Ground Rush is getting pronounced. I’m starting to clean out email and file archives and starting to cart home some of my belongings.  If I had to guess, I would say that today’s interview is my last best hope. It’s also the position I’m most suited for, so I’m feeling hopeful.

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Strange Dreams

Had a pair of interesting dreams I want to record. They were odd enough to stay with me once I awoke, and interesting enough (to me) that I want to record them. They seem possibly related to my current job situation.

(NOTE: This post is intended more for myself—a true web log—than for any putative readership, so you may not find it very interesting. This is your one and only warning! Continued reading may lead to a why am I reading this syndrome!)

Get on the bus?

The main substance of one vanished quickly, as the vapor of dreams do, but one thing stands out. It involved a bus that was leaving (for Florida) on some expedition or mission. The bus was one of those ultra-luxury tour buses, rather than, say, a city transportation or school bus. There was a sense of a corporate, or at least organizational, operation, more than of a vacation or fun trip. People I knew were on the bus, and they were leaving with a purpose.

I had declined to join the mission, and as the doors, front and back (midway back, actually, on the side of the bus), were closing, I walked forwards to the front door thinking I had one last chance to knock on the door, get the driver’s attention and join the mission. I was uncertain whether I really wanted to do that. There was both an element of “should I” but also an element of “could I.” That is, I was uncertain if I wanted to join them, but also uncertain if they would allow me to join them at this point.

As I approached the front door of the bus, it pulled out and left. Watching it leave, I wasn’t disappointed or upset. That dream ends there.

One interesting side detail: there was a second bus with a smaller group. This bus was one of those VW Transporter “micro-buses,” and the people on this bus were all hippies. The usual sort, dressed the usual hippie way, and the bus was decorated how you might expect. I seemed to know these people at some level, but had no mind to join them.

There was another aspect which is either a separate dream or related to this one. It involved being outside what might have been some sort of downtown office building. There was a carnival atmosphere and street artists of the sort you might find in Mallory Square, in Key West, at sunset. There was no actual carnival; no rides or attractions. Just a sense of expectation and festivity.

I’m wondering if the reference to Mallory Square signifies sunset imagery. In the dream there was no such reference; no water, no sunset (it was day). It only occurs now as I write this about an hour after waking. Given that I’ve experienced many other contexts with a similar carnival atmosphere and street artists, perhaps there is a sub-conscious connection. Also: bus was leaving for Florida, which is where Mallory Square is.

In any event, the only bit I remember with any clarity at all is being one of the few willing to walk past this one act—one of those that force audience participation to any who come close. This act somehow involved huge masses of Silly String. I walked away fully coated, a bit like Cousin Itt from The Addams Family.

Call me weird, if you will, but as a child I had quite the crush on Morticia Addams). Still do.

What is that thing?

The second, unrelated (?), dream involves a critter in my house. At first it looked like a combination of a very large slug (about potato-sized) and a tuber or large root. It had a dozen or so long eye-stalks on one end. It had no legs, yet I was chasing it around the house. At some point I was pounding on it with, I believe, a book. It wouldn’t die! One of the little eye-stalks was looking up at me as I pounded on it. It made me wonder if it was intelligent and trying to communicate.

I have no idea why I was so determined to kill it. I wasn’t afraid or angry. It just had no place in my place, and it needed to be killed. It was as simple as that. I share my abode with spiders; I respect their tiny predatory natures (and they kill other bugs). We have a deal, my spider friends and I. So long as they don’t attract attention to themselves, they may live their lives in peace. It’s when I see one crawling across my wall, or the middle of my floor, that they earn the tissue treatment. (No, I don’t carefully take them outside. I am, in fact, applying evolutionary pressure to teach them to avoid large open spaces. Just doing my part for Mother Nature!)

Anyway, my tuber critter had the odd characteristic of seeming very attached to the floor. No legs, so how was it able to cling so well? When it finally died, I used a stick to lift and examine it (actually more of a very long, narrow, shallow box with no lid, almost a skinny tray, like a huge, flat incense holder/ash catcher). Here’s where it gets weird (as if it wasn’t already).

Suddenly it was like I was looking at an octopus from the bottom. Either the eye-stalks had morphed into large tentacles (complete with suckers), or somehow large tentacles had been concealed beneath it. I was examining it in curiosity when this segment ended.

Some Analysis

Two images may link to things I’ve looked at recently, and it may be that my mind was just using the imagery. The critter in my house seems aligned with this blog post about an iguana in the house. The blog author and I exchanged some interesting comments yesterday (I’m interested in seeing where he takes his blog). In any event, it was fresh in my mind last night.

I suspect the “strange critter” in my house (mind?) represents something else though. The casual requirement of killing it is interesting, and why the octopus tentacles? It was, the only word that springs to mind is, grotesque. Does it represent something grotesque within myself that I’m trying (or should be trying) to kill? In the dream, I did kill it. Is that a plan, or a memory?

The leaving bus theme is a lot more clear! It obviously represents my work situation. I have been faced with the option of choosing to retire or trying to find another position in the company. I just now realized: bus was going to Florida, which among other things symbolizes retirement. I had thought the bus represented work (the sense of mission), and that I was choosing to not join work. But did it really mean I was choosing to not join retirement?

Great, now I’m still as conflicted as I was to begin with!

The hippie VW bus is an element that may come from having browsed through pictures of former girl friends for my Venus & Mars post yesterday. One of those former loves owned a certain VW bus of fond memory. In fact, one of the pictures I used was taken from the passenger seat of that bus.

But I wonder if the bus symbolizes my growing disconnection from elements of my own “hippie” past. That’s a topic for the future, but it was interesting that it worked its way into a dream that seems clearly job-related. I can think of a possible connection, but I’m not going to share all my secrets with you. (In point of fact, I’m not sharing many of my secrets with you! Nor will I ever.)

Waking up this morning also featured one of the most abrupt transitions from sleep to awake I’ve experienced in a long time (in fact, I think not since the other two dreams I recorded here, although the transition that time was really funny). This time I went from black night to bright day in an instant. And I was fully aware of the transition. An instant of black, and then bright day.

It was very striking!