I feel like I should get into having more of a schedule/plan for things, and try to a little more actively do things I want to do. Historically I've had this vague fear of scheduling myself to the point where I can't do spontaneous things, but "spontaneous things" these days seems to be "lounge around playing SimSig Cambridge", which does eventually run out of useful entertainment value. Things that come to mind:

  • I'd like to get more board gaming in. Right now a lot of my game cycles are taken up by bridge, which is okay as far as it goes, but I haven't even played anything as pedestrian as crayon rails in ages (modulo a recent evening of Dominion). But, this requires other people, and I feel like everyone else is already overscheduled.
  • For that matter, I'd like to be a little better at bridge. Playing regularly helps a little bit, but sometimes I feel like I'm missing some little detail in play that everybody else knows (more experienced people in our group talk about "leaving tricks on the table" and this usually isn't at all obvious to me).
  • I'd also kind of like to resurrect the model railroad project in some form. Maybe I don't need to finish the project in the basement per se but instead learn how to do things "correctly". Maybe what I'm after is a club, which would get me a larger layout, more expertise, and possibly people more motivated to build trees than I am. Maybe that's TMRC, except that student groups are for students (AFAICT TMRC is still run by the people who founded the AI Lab, though) and the TMRC evening seems to be Wednesdays (the night [livejournal.com profile] narya is home).
  • I should keep up the gym plot. It's good for me, even if the sequence of get home, sit around for a bit, work out, come home, shower, eat dinner tends to take up the entire evening.
Woke up. Paid a couple of critical bills. Ate breakfast. Took the commuter rail to work. Figured out multiple little bits of why the code I've written in the past week but not tested at all doesn't work. Had lunch at Goosebeary's. Actually got a test to pass successfully, for having replaced major parts of its infrastructure. Got a cookie from my manager. Walked to ET. Went to special Brookline meeting. Actually got stuff done without slacking off too much!
I keep seeming to have trouble remembering that multiple years have passed between various bits of my life. It shouldn't shock me that, for example, certain ex-housemates of mine have been able to find someone in another country, get to know them, and actually get married when it's been four years since I last lived with them. Pretty much everything that's happened since I moved out of ET seems to all get lumped together in my mind, and I keep having to say "no, wait, this thing which I think just happened recently, it was multiple years ago". So it similarly shouldn't shock me that certain other ex-housemates, who surprised me by getting unexpectedly married, are now spawning, given that said stealth wedding was five years ago.

Time passes. (Space opens at 17.)
Compare and contrast:

(1) Needed to call lawyer a couple of times last week and this week. Horrible source of stress! Don't know what to ask, don't know what answers to expect, unspecified fear of phone. All bad. Did actually succeed in doing it but with a lot of warmup.

(2) Went to IBM HR thing all day Tuesday, which involved a fair amount of talking to HR people and other employees that I've never met before. This was fine; I got a reasonable amount of advice, I got some useful consistent answers to the "what do I need to do to advance my career in the next couple of years" question, I exchanged "elevator speeches" and life stories with a couple of people in one of the afternoon sessions.

What makes these different? One factor might be that I can procrastinate at the telephone the way I can't in person. (I delay "important" email too, but I can eventually just sit down and crank it out without too much pain; it's also much less interactive.) A second is that my relationship with the lawyer, whom I'll have to deal with probably a couple more times in the next month or two, is longer than my relationships with the other IBM people, whom I'll probably never see again. And I'm much more familiar with the general mode of social interaction with meeting people in a professional environment, where I do kind of half expect the lawyer to tell me "you're on crack, this needs to completely get redone and it'll take weeks of your time and cost thousands of dollars".

How do people who live their lives on the phone deal? I'd think that, say, any kind of sales position I'd be really terrible at.
Went in to the Galleria after work yesterday to get my driver's license renewed. The woman at the RMV satellite office took my form, scribbled on it, asked me if I wanted a new picture, took my credit card, and handed me a temporary license and a receipt. The end. The whole thing took under five minutes and was remarkably efficient.

(I didn't have to actually sign the credit card receipt, which surprised me a little. But she was looking at a computer screen that presumably had my name, photo, address, and signature that would be used to generate a new official ID, and she did check that the name on the card matched the name on the renewal. So it's not *that* sketchy.)

Assemblage

Jan. 24th, 2006 08:52 am
I finally (after a number of, erm, engineering modifications) got all of the shiny new IKEA furniture assembled. So now I have a cabinet with shiny glass doors (on legs, on height-raising discs, but now it's self-supporting and the bottom of the doors is above the top of the desk) and drawers under my desk and bookshelves. Yay.

A while ago I had this craving for some sort of model kit, like a model airplane or a model rocket or something, where you'd get a bunch of parts and put them together and get a thing. I also discovered at the time that the construction toys store in Waltham wouldn't satisfy this craving, but that the commuter rail infrastructure there was kind of neat. At any rate, IKEA furniture does satisfy this, aside from being a little pricey and getting bookshelves rather than an airplane at the end.
Made a return trip to IKEA with the intent of actually acquiring some furniture that's not inherited and will last until I move. In the end, I mostly came away with what I wanted, but I'm not done yet, which is kind of sad.

If you read nothing else of this, don't try going straight where you can turn left to go into the garage (and more on traffic). )

What else? The Swedish meatballs were tasty, but they were fundamentally meatballs and not made of crack. They were out of the under-desk unit I wanted, but another shipment is showing up in 2-3 days. I do have a cabinet that I want to hang on the wall. Oh yes, and my desk is the opposite orientation now, which is a little confusing. This wasn't supposed to have taken all day to do.
Took Amtrak + RIPTA to get to the Providence airport to pick up cute women. Acela: it's a train. RIPTA: it's a bus, with the sketchy people you stereotypically think of being on urban buses. Friendly's won't serve you a burger less done than medium-well. Dropped into IKEA on the way back, escaped with 20 pants hangers, 16 conventional hangers, 6 wine glasses, no furniture, and no meatballs.

Then went to [livejournal.com profile] desireearmfeldt's party. Hung around, fed people Polish junk food. Played Age of Steam, which turned out to be remarkably close, and then was able to buy in to traditional all-Daves poker by midnight. Our official source of time was the thermostat ("Soon! Soon! Soon! Happy new year!"). Lost some money at stupid challenge game, made some money back on Texas Hold-Em (yay osmosing game knowledge).
For the first time in over five years, I've written a check with my own address on it.
One of the displays at The Flume talks about the Franconia Notch Parkway and its history. Road through Franconia Notch in original I-93 plans, protests in 1970's, construction stopped, compromise plan happened, construction on modern roadway begins in 1983. Usual story deep in ancient history about interstate construction in an area people seriously care about.

Except that I remember taking a trip to Franconia Notch when I was really little, and I-93 ended, and you got on to US-3 there instead and that was the road through the area. There shouldn't be signs in places about things that happened a long time ago that I remember.
How do you keep track of things?

Here I'm thinking of "things" like "medium-term life progress". Like, at work I'm working on a project with some other people. I have a list of things I need to do in the short term, and I can estimate how long those things take. But the project as a whole has a schedule, and other people are working on their parts. If I'm asked "how is the project going" I'd like to be able to give an answer -- but this involves keeping the schedule, other people's progress, and my own work all in my had and having those things available at the right time.

(I also had a similar problem in my now-former ET corporation position, where in principle I should have been able to keep track of People We're Talking To, but that in my mind is more of a context-switching problem: when I paged the Corporation out, I never put that data anywhere, and so when I needed it again in two weeks it was lost.)

I seem to do fine with my own things. Part of this is having written down on my whiteboard things I expect to do this week. Things that happen on a schedule, like paying bills, are also pretty routine. It's trying to keep track of the larger context that's proving a bit tricky.
Extended ramblings )

Cow orkers

Mar. 18th, 2005 07:46 am
So remember how I had said that I felt like I had just left my old job, even though it's been over a year now? Someone new started in my group this week. (As a consequence of this, I have a window cube now.) But, yeah, compared to when I just started out, I do have the prerequisite amount of junk in my cubicle (not counting the stuff I inherited when I moved in, even), and I do have a comparatively encyclopedic knowledge of our product. That's kind of a strange realization.
I ran into [livejournal.com profile] rigel on the Escalators! Of! Doom! at Porter last night. We said "hi".

One year

Feb. 23rd, 2005 08:09 am
One year ago today was my first day at my "new job". Which I guess makes it not so new any more. It still feels a little weird not being at MIT; on the flip side, it's still nice being away from my old group. It isn't all fun all the time (apparently my current project is "very important" and on a pretty tight deadline) but I am enjoying the actual work part and like the people I'm working with. Yay job!
There were three things I could have done on Sunday: go to ET and be alumly, go to work and hunt down a memory leak, or stay home, do laundry, hack on my personal compiler, and play with the train. Clearly the first two of these are "should"s, and I went with the first option. And yet I still feel like the best use of my time would have been neither of the things I "should" have done. Eit.
My dreams seem to have a very well-defined sense of place. These aren't places that necessarily correspond to anywhere in reality (unless they are; the end of the alien orange train in the subway dream was in the barren wastelands near Santa Teresa and Snell in south San Jose, never mind that reality thinks that's a fairly developed area), but my brain is starting to wonder now whether the hotel room I was in that got broken into last night was the same hotel I was at a few weeks ago, where there's a second set of elevators that start in this weird service area on the second floor, but you can get out to the lobby and out to the street on the next block. At least I know that the reason last night's dream was so fragmented -- after I left the hotel room to the bus, and all of the bullets came down through the roof of the bus, and I went back to the hotel room to find all of my stuff scattered all over, and then...something -- is because after I got back, I was kidnapped and brainwashed, and I only remember the bits after that when I wasn't being mind-controlled.
Spent the weekend of the 25th here ("didn't travel"). Went to have dinner with friends, conversation focused on gender and urinals, of all things. (Also some discussion of the relative unholiness of DaP and LiveJournal.) No games happened but we went back the next day; played Ticket to Ride, San Juan ("Puerto Rico with cards"), and a couple of rounds of Starship Catan. Much better than sitting at home.

UPS still hasn't found the box they so conveniently lost three weeks ago. Go them.

Apparently I only took one day of vacation this year. (I was sure it was two.) I turned that into a magic floating holiday, but since I get two of those, December 30th is now David Day. Mmm, holidays. This is such a dead week at work anyways.
I should figure out how to make people stop talking in meetings I'm running. (Either "what you're saying is irrelevant" or "let someone else talk".) This occasionally is a problem in the one group I'm responsible for right now; last night could have been a disaster but worked out to be mercifully okay.
The wedding yesterday was...amusing. It did not, somewhat to my surprise, involve squid or a Cthulhu summoning. (The bride and groom made sure there weren't candles or a pentagram involved, probably good.) The ceremony as a whole was a lot more believable to me than the preceding (very Catholic) wedding: several of the readings were oriented towards "marriage is hard, but rewarding", there was a cute "attendants put things with Meaning into a box and explain" mechanic, and in general the people who were supposed to Do Things, did things (the role of the outer pair of bridesmaids and groomsmen at the last wedding, from what I could tell, was "appear in pictures and sit at the head table").

But the ceremony started by asking, "why have a public wedding at all? You can express love without doing a wedding, and you can make the commitment without having the elaborate ceremony and party." It's a good question, and one I can't really verbalize an answer for. The ceremony's answer involved asking for community support and celebrating with friends, IIRC, which is an okay answer but not one that really seems to justify the hassle of organizing the whole thing. Still, getting married without a public ceremony feels pretty wrong to me; I just can't explain what's wrong with it...
Bike. At night is a nice time to ride. The bike path is not such a nice place for it. Need better lights. I'm contemplating insanity, probably on Saturday: train to Ayer, Nashua River Rail Trail and then Route 111 to Nashua, NH, then back to either Lowell (~40 miles total) or all the way back (~60 miles total). Estimates are probably low, especially the Lowell-to-Somerville difference.

SIPB. So glad I've refrained from entering any of the conversation. So sad that some people just seem to be out to prevent anything from being done. So terrible that others just seem to want to release random flames. Not My Problem.

Work. I seem to have landed myself a Project. If I can get myself into it, I should be really psyched about it. Goal for this week: get really psyched about it. I was able to combine our product and my l33t DocBook sk1llz fairly prettily, though.

On LiveJournal. Don't know how sketchy it is to LJ-friend random undergrads, both ones I've met and ones I haven't. Should come up with a good way to read journals without LJ-friending. Stupid multi-purpose ACLs. Found the empty [livejournal.com profile] leland_hs community. Amused by posts about beds in [livejournal.com profile] davis_square. People who post ads to multiple communities in the same geographic area suck. High-traffic communities and RSS feeds make your friends list difficult to read.

moving

Apr. 28th, 2004 08:00 pm
Moving is a pain. At least it's mostly done at this point. On Saturday the Ten Hills mob picked up and moved to the more civilized end of Somerville. I think I accomplished my main goal, which was to get all of the furniture moved while there were parents (extra bodies good!) and a larger vehicle around. I still need to make a trip back to pick up things I left behind, like an alarm clock and hanging clothes and whatever's still in the fridge. :-)

The new place is nice. It feels a little cramped right now, but it'll probably be better once we manage to migrate to having boxes of things scattered around the house to neat orderly shelves. The kitchen works. The laundry mostly does, with some application of duct tape to duct (*gasp*!). We're pretty utterly out of contact with the outside world, though hopefully that will change quickly. (No net == suck.)
I didn't think taking a new job would make me so much less digital. But I don't have a laptop now, and I'm trying to be dayshifted, and sometimes I do things like visit cute people and spend the evening there. So this afternoon was the first time I visited the zephyr world in two days, and poked at my email. The current volume is kind of untenable. Which means I should probably take myself off of debian-user, even though that's sort of my last redeeming feature as a Debian developer at the moment.

But now there's this long list of what used to be routine things that I haven't done in two days, and trying to catch up on it all at once is a lost cause. I haven't looked at Web comics (though I probably could from work without feeling too guilty), or read livejournal (reload reload reload). And now there's this social context where I'll be marginally doomed for lack of laptop.

All weird. I never thought having a "real" job would do this sort of thing.
E-mail is depressing. Maybe if I wasn't physically at MIT, I could care less and not worry about some of these things, which don't actually directly affect me at all.
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