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Three Things

May 15, 2006

I wish I could say that I haven’t written here in ten days because I was on vacation, as is often the case when there are long gaps in the archives, but I haven’t been away from home or office. I’ve been here, thinking about writing every now and then but being too busy or distracted to actually do an entry. Now I’m just going to take the time–the other stuff will still be there for me to deal with when I’m done. I don’t want to rehash all the stuff that’s gone on in the last week and a half, but here are three of the things I’ve been occupied with:

Birds A few weeks ago, we put up the birdfeeder Mr. Karen got me for my birthday. The birds were not immediately impressed. I’d read on a bag of seed that it might take a several weeks for birds to find a new feeder but still thought that a least some of the birds that regularly stopped by our patio would get the idea sooner. Surely they weren’t all just purely ground feeders. Well, the bag knew of what it spoke. The feeder mostly just hung there looking pretty. Even the squirrels left it alone, with the exception of one we saw one morning crawling around the base and trying and failing to either tip the whole thing over enough to spill seed out or get an arm inside–that was amusing. But then–boom!–this past weekend, birds were all over it. Two and three at time, coming back again and again throughout the day. It was like some announcement had been made–party at Karen’s. Even birds who are too big to fit gave it a look–a couple of grackles and this mourning dove. Besides the feeder action, it was so wet this weekend that a pair of ducks stopped by to wallow in the temporary swamp in our backyard. Another visitor of note was the robin who’s decided to try seed; I didn’t think robins ate birdseed, but this one does. I’ve had a hard time taking my eyes off the window lately.

Food Poisoning Okay, I’m not 100% sure about the diagnosis, but I sure was sick. I was fine Friday morning when I got to work. By ten a.m. or so I was feeling a little nauseated and could only manage to eat one stick of string cheese for lunch. That right there should have told me something serious was happening–I had three more pieces of cheese at hand and did not even want to look at them, much less eat them. By 2 o’clock I changed my RSVP for the Harry Potter meetup that night from “yes” to “maybe” but was still hoping to rally. I did not rally. Instead, I threw up a couple times and spent a fair bit of time with my office door closed and my head on my desk (when I wasn’t experimenting with lying down on the floor instead). Around 4, I changed my RSVP to “no”. Around 4:45, I decided to head home, gallon Ziploc bag at the ready. Of course, this being construction season, my drive was complicated; I found a key ramp that had been open Thursday was now closed, which meant taking an alternate route and then having to abandon that because it was backed up due to a different construction project. But it could have been much worse–I think I’d been home less than 10 minutes when the next symptom showed up. It’s a good thing we had a lot of toilet paper on hand. That whole evening I spent all the time I wasn’t in the bathroom collapsed on the couch; anything more strenuous–even knitting–was right out. Yet by Saturday morning, I felt much better. Not exactly well, but able to do more than feel sorry for myself. The banana I had for breakfast stayed down and in, so I didn’t call and cancel either of my appointments for later that day. By Saturday night, I was feeling pretty much back to normal. That had to be food poisoning, right? The flu doesn’t clear up that quickly, does it? Yet if it was food poisoning, the most likely candidate for the cause was the leftover pizza I had for dinner Thursday night–except Mr. Karen had some of the same pizza earlier in the day and didn’t get sick. I suppose the toxins could grow that quickly. It wasn’t until I was feeling better that Mr. reminded me that I’d initially resisted getting the meatballs on the pizza because I thought they might be yucky. I may have had a point.

Frustration Specifically, job frustration. Purple Systems has grown enough in the time I’ve been here that I’m starting to see the same kind of stupid crap that drove me crazy when I worked for big companies. The only all-nighter I worked when I was a corporate accountant had nothing to do with accounting–I was putting together binders full of color copies for a presentation. Heck, most of the slides I was printing didn’t even have numbers on them. Now the same sort of thing is starting to go on here. We’ve now got a marketing department. Which is fine; I get why we need to get our name out there. What I don’t get is why I, as an application developer, have to get jerked around by the marketing department. I was told I had to lead a breakout session during the user conference. That’s fine. What was not fine was finishing the PowerPoint presentation the day before the deadline only to find out that I had to redo it with a new template that marketing imposed in order to match some new ads they’re putting out. Evidently they didn’t feel it necessary to tell us ahead of time that this template was coming. Well, color me pissed off. It helped not one bit that the template included a “visual element” lurking in the background of each slide. According to marketing, this was designed to show how Purple Systems brings order out of chaos. To me, it looks like one of those nebula that are always giving the folks on Star Trek trouble–a cloud of doom. When most of it is covered by screencap images (as in most of my presentation), the doom is lessened–then it just looks like dirty smudges around the edges of the slide. Not exactly a good look. Add that to the fact that I was first told that marketing could help with handouts and then, not an hour later, that handouts are not allowed, and I am about ready to strangle someone.

The user conference starts tomorrow. The shirts we have to wear were delivered to our offices Friday night (after I left at 4:45), with an e-mail followup sent out suggesting we might want to come pick them up over the weekend so we could wash and press them before the last minute. Sure. Like I’m going to waste two hours of my weekend driving because marketing once again couldn’t plan ahead.


So that’s what I’ve been up to. There was some knitting and quilting and reading and stuff, too, which I’ll almost certainly write about at a later date. Also, I celebrated the four-year anniversary of this journal (last Wednesday) by ignoring it–maybe next year I’ll have a big blowout of some sort.

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