Monthly Archives: February 2011

The complexities of February 24th, 2011

It’s the 24th day of February in the year 2011. It’s so funny in a way because I have a very distinct recollection from my childhood. I read somewhere, that the next transit of Venus was going to be in June of 2012. At the time, it was sometime in the early nineties and I remember thinking that I had absolutely NO concept of what my life would look like *SO* far in the future. I expected to be walking down the street and seeing cars flying around me. 2012 was as good as an infinite time in the future and now it seems just around the corner. I won’t say that the future disappointed us, but the future of our childhood was far, far from reality. No flying cars. No world peace. Just the same problems we’d grown used to. At least the cold war is over. The nuclear warhead bearing the hammer and sickle has been replaced by one in a suitcase or simply passed from our concern altogether. It really is a good time to be alive.

Next on the list of things on my mind is that of work. Now is a time of transition. Some days I’m utterly convinced that the people around me really “get it” and understand what the problems are in the microscopic neighborhood that is my work life. Other days I’m equally convinced that they have absolutely no clue. At this point, I think the wise decision for me is to simply retract to that place that I know best. I’ve found my way into a multitude of tasks within my company simply because I was the only reasonable candidate to do them at the time. I’d consider myself capable but I’m far from the optimal choice. The best course of action may be to simply step back and let those who know those jobs best take over. Can I tinker with the schedule for future releases? Certainly. Can I write documentation that describes the document in elegant and aching detail? Most certainly. Am I the best person to do those jobs? Hardly. Though it may sound like boasting, I can do any one of a thousand jobs. I am the all-purpose tool. I can tear an application apart and generate a hundred defect reports or I can painstakingly document it’s nuances. Ultimately though my strength is simply in getting shit done. I’ve often considered retooling my resume and sending it out with that as the header. You need a job done? I don’t care what it is. I don’t care what it involves. I’m the only person in the universe that will sit down and assiduously and single-mindedly do that job in such a way that it might very well obsolete my actual employment. I am, above all, a force of action. My own self-interest is secondary. The greatest compliment you could give me is to fire me because I did my job so well that I was no longer necessary. In retrospect, perhaps a bit self-destructive but you get the idea. I must do.

The other thing that sits on my mind is my dear Laura. As the weather closes in on us I am irked that it might come between me and the woman I love. It’s interesting to me that I’ve been asked at work twice now about Laura in the past couple of days. I’m not one to promulgate information of this type. Primarily that’s because I assume, perhaps rightly, that nobody really gives a shit. As I sit here on a Thursday night, the most pointed thing that occurs to me is that she’s not here. The distance between us is more than a bit unpleasant. I’d love nothing more than to be able to simply pop across the hall and see her. Unfortunately, the hour to Lafayette is non-trivial. That said, it makes our time together all the more precious. Not to be inappropriate, but after so long being fundamentally alone, it’s so easy to simply lose myself in her. I feel as if I could tell her anything and she’d roll it around in her head for a bit and give me her honest and unbiased opinion. There is no prickly side to her. I need never fear. Tomorrow makes seven months since we met and they’ve been the most amazing seven months I can recall. She constantly expands my horizons and allows me to expand hers in a way I never honestly thought possible.

At this point I am reminded of Fred Savage in The Princess Bride complaining against the inclusion of “mushy stuff” in the novel his grandfather reads to him. In observance of this unvoiced objection, I shall digress. It is often underestimated just how closely linked are the mind and the body. It’s been almost two weeks since I bought a Kinect for my xBox. I’ve contemplated for a while that if the video game industry could somehow break the ‘controller barrier’ that they’d really have something. Microsoft seems to have done that fairly well. I’m not one that can play a video game sitting on my butt for too terribly long without feeling as if I’m wasting my time. As time goes on a conflict builds in my mind between entertainment and guilt. With the Kinect system, the guilt is absolved by the exhaustion. After two weeks, I not only physically feel better than I have for a long time but also feel like the change is somewhat sustainable. In some strange way the Kinect marries my obsessive nature with the very real need to get myself moving even when it’s two degrees outside. I’m simultaneously entertained and exercised. Hours race by without any apparent notice. That said, the game library available for the Kinect is found to be more than a bit wanting. To date the titles are much more oriented to children than adults. One can tolerate that but it’s annoying to sit through redundant and excessive menus. It’s my hope that the market is strong enough to bring more games to the field that take advantage of the technology without being quite so puerile.

So far we’ve covered work, heart and body. What’s left out then is the mind. As I look back on my reading list, I find that I’ve heinously neglected my own intellect. Not only over the past few months but for the past couple of years. The practical side of me wants to focus on the analytical. I’d be a better programmer, my Left Brain says, if I devoted myself more assiduously to it. My mind spins with programming projects that I could undertake in my free time. Perhaps I should ponder number theory or analyze classical texts. Analyze, Analyze, Analyze, my brain screams!!! My Right Brain, however, simply lowers its eyebrows and thinks, “you’re already too fucking analytical. Piss off and hone your other skills. Be well rounded ya great bloody arse!”. While I question why my Right Brain has picked up a distinctly English usage pattern, I tend to agree with it. I need to set a schedule and stick to it. Ultimately it’ll all be for the best if I make a point to write and read and nurture the side of my intellect that doesn’t think in terms of equations and absolute outcomes.

Sadly, I realize I’ve said this all before. It’s time to defocus a bit. Step back and see the big picture. *sigh* Perhaps this time it’ll be different…

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