Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Feeling Like A Winner

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I won today. Or I passed. Or something.

At least that is what I feel like.

I have no good reason for feeling like this. I have a list of problems a mile long and no sign that the list is going to get shorter. There is plenty of disasters just waiting for me. And there are lots of political problems to deal with as well.

But today somebody who ought to know looked over my work and pronounced it good. I think he is full of crap for a variety of reasons. For one thing, I don’t think he is as smart as me.

Still, he manged to prove to me that I did not have at least one problem that I was afraid I did. And despite my disbelief, his seal of approval did give me an emotional boost over all.

The project is still is not done. In fact, the parts that are not done might take longer than the parts that have been done. Yet emotionally, I feel like most of the work is done and I have passed most of the major hurdles.

You could make a good argument on empirical grounds to support this emotional view point, but that would be ignoring the fact that the last 10% takes 90% of the time.

But the bottom line is that I felt better today than I have in a long time. And try as I might, I can’t argue myself out of that feeling.

I guess that is what naturally occurring events are for.

Not Bored

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

“So how come you are still bored with all your projects?”

That is what one person wanted to know after yesterday’s post.

So for everyone who is wondering, I am not bored. I am so busy I hardly have time to eat lunch. And this is a good thing. Being busy helps keep my discontent in check.

And I don’t regret getting the projects going. Things would probably be even worse for me if I did not have them going right now.

At the same time, the projects are highlighting things that make me unhappy. I guess that just proves that I am in the mood to be unhappy right about now.

But all this is irrelevant anyway. What I do does not change much whether I am happy or unhappy. And I can’t think of something really stupid that I did just because I was unhappy. In fact, I think a good argument could be made that I am more likely to do stupid things when I am happy.

The main detriment of my current emotional state is that I am finding it awfully hard to write. Right now all I really want when I get done being busy is oblivion. And writing provides the exact opposite of that.


Monday, March 8th, 2010

Lately I have been having it pounded into me that I am not a very good tradesman. I wish I did not have to be reminded of this so often, but it is unavoidable when my job title calls for me to actually be a tradesman. All things considered, I should be grateful this does not happen more often.

Only I am not. Sometimes I think it would be better if it was widely known how much I suck so that I wouldn’t have to feel like I was living some kind of lie. But really I know I would hate it if everyone found out before I got a different job title that didn’t say that I was a tradesman. Nobody wants to be known as the guy who cannot do his job.

I have complained about this often enough that you’re all probably sick of it. But right now it is feeding into the winter doldrums and other things that are making me unhappy to raise the “I got to get out of this title” feeling to a fevered pitch.

And this is bad, because plausible opportunities for getting out of Dodge have been coming thick and fast. Or at least it seems that way.

Actually, there have only been two opportunities. One was a no-job-security job supervising a bad crew in a place that I don’t ever want to be regardless of the circumstances. Another is the equivalent of going back to kindergarten just so I will feel competent.

And I guess that is what’s scaring me. I want out so bad right about now that really bad ideas almost seem like good ones. I am afraid that if given a bad choice that is not so obviously bad, I would take it even though I know better.

‘The grass is greener someplace else’ is one of those stupid lies that we tell ourselves all the time. For all my griping, I don’t have it bad at all. I need to keep that in mind and ride through this. I don’t want to make any decisions with my emotions.

But it does not help that I feel like that shortly all doors are going to slam shut and I will be trapped in this situation.

A hard lesson

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I want to have this thing done by the time I said it would be done. I said it would be done by 3/11.

In theory, I have plenty of time. But I want to have plenty of time. I know things always go wrong, so I want all the bugs out by 3/11. I know this is not going to happen. But I intend to at least have all the bugs identified if it kills me and everyone around me.

My original plan was to have a lot of things done by today that were not done. In theory, this is no big deal. I have still plenty of time. But complacency in the face of delays results in late projects.

Today was the day I was going to smash barriers and move this thing forward. I hoped to do so in ways that would make me happy. But I was prepared to do it in ways that did not make me happy if that is what I had to do.

Needless to say, none of the ways that I overcame barriers today made me happy.

I had a brilliant plan for overcoming one particular barrier. Its only flaw was that it did not work. And I wasted more time than I should have proving that to myself.

I had to settle on a choice that is going to cost more money than I would like to spend. Even worse, it is going to look really stupid. And my boss won’t hesitate to point that out. But whatever. At least I made the necessary decisions to move this thing forward.

I really wanted some parts that I felt necessary to do a really top-notch job. But nobody could find a place that would sell me those parts. Failing to get those parts meant that I had to buy the stuff that would enable me to do a second rate job.

So I did a ton of research and finally found a part number for the things that I needed to do the job right. I took that number down to a salesman who should have been able to find what I wanted without me having to do all the leg work, and showed it to him. Since I had done all the hard work, he was able to get me a price. Happy days were here at last.

Unfortunately, the price was outrageous. The salesman was embarrassed to give me the price. Even so, I would have bought it. But he told me that they would not be in until Tuesday unless I wanted pay even more money to speed up the shipping.

I have limited funds available. I had already made one decision that is going to cost more money than I would ideally have liked to spend.

I decided to do things the crappy way. I made the necessary arrangements to get the crappy parts. My partner in crime volunteered to get them for me. I like getting out of work.

This freed me up to communicate with various contractors involved with the project to try to make sure that everyone was on the same page. For some unknown reason, I also used the free time to press my boss to make a decision on a problem unrelated to the project I was working on today. The end result was a decision that I did not like.

So I was writing out a work order that was going to make me even more unpopular than I already am when my partner in crime walked through the door. I could tell just by looking at his face that he had not bought the parts that I wanted.

Turns out he had been told by a different salesman that they might be able to get us the parts to do it the right way. However, the salesman was unable to give him a price and availability right then. He stated that he would like to send my partner in crime an e-mail later with that info. So my partner in crime decided to wait.

This is not the choice I would have made and he knew it. The parts to do it the wrong way only cost $35. What’s more, we could easily change things over to the right way should the parts become available (and my partner in crime had been the one to make this point previously).

This project has already been delayed too much by pie in the sky salesmen who think they can find what I want. To my mind, $35 is a small price to pay to move things forward. In the unlikely event that the right stuff should become available, we would not be out much.

I expressed as much to my partner in crime in what I thought was a diplomatic manner. But when I get in a “make things happen mode” I can be very abrasive without even realizing it. So maybe I was not as diplomatic as I thought I was.

To be sure, I wanted to move things forward and this was another delay. But it was not that big of a delay and so it was no big deal. Worst come to worst, I would have had to go out and get it myself the next day. And I try not to second-guess people who are doing my work for me.

So I pushed everything out of my mind and I took care of other project related business. At the close of the day I went around to talk to people who were going to do work for me tomorrow to make sure everyone was on the same page.

While doing this, I came across my partner in crime and he asked me if I had seen the package that he got for me. I did not know what he was talking about.

So he went on to tell me about how he had been upset to see how angry I was that he had not got the parts. In order to patch things up, he had gone right back out and got the parts for me.

I was horrified that he thought I was angry and I was mortified that he had gone right back out to get the parts. I tried to explain that the day’s events might have made me act a little surly but I was not at all mad at him.

It got worse.

I had taken our group’s charge card back from my partner in crime when he came back the first time. So he went out and spent his own money on the parts. “It was only $35” he told me.

I was horrified and mortified. I could not come up with any words to say. I did not know whether to kill myself for being such a jerk or throttle him for trying so hard to make me happy when I was being a jerk.

In retrospect, I should have throttled him. He was just jerking my chain.

What really happened is that he found the parts I needed by scrounging around, thus saving the project fund $35. He also decided to take the opportunity to tell me a tall tale that I swallowed hook, line, and sinker.

I can’t remember the last time someone managed to fool me that thoroughly.

A silly story

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Today a co-worker was telling me about a buddy of his who was telling him that we lost a whole hour of daylight because of the earthquake in Chile. We both laughed that a person could be that credulous. At the same time, I wonder what he could have heard that he would have misinterpreted in that way.

Now I know.

I think the above news story just goes to prove that an ignorant hillbilly is no dumber than your average college-educated journalist. Computer models have failed us time and time again. They can’t predict the weather and they have helped cause the current financial crisis. Yet some journalist thinks that it is news that a computer model predicted that the earth’s rotation got 1.26 microseconds shorter as a result of an earthquake.

It would be one thing if this could be verified by observation. But the article comes right out and admits that it cannot be verified. So why pay any more attention to the computer model than some random guy spouting off on the street?

But much to my disgust, a lot of people think this is somehow newsworthy. Computer models are one the of the idols of our age. No matter how many times they demonstrate their uselessness, people still think that computer models can tell us things that we simply can’t know.

Maybe the earthquake did make the day shorter. Maybe it did not. All we can do with with the tools that we currently have is speculate. And the fact that one guy speculated in the form of a computer model does not make that speculation carry any more weight than if he had written it out on paper.

Thoughts on Friday’s work

Monday, March 1st, 2010

A one eyed guy with more injuries than I could count if I used both hands, once told me “you have got to love it.” The it being whatever you hate most about what you are doing.

I have always remembered that. It was something I had figured out on my own long before I worked with him. But for some reason, I can not longer think about this truth with out thinking of him.

The phrase does not mean anything to most people. I don’t see how it can until you have figured it out for yourself. And sometimes, I think that some people are just lacking in whatever it is that enables someone to understand this concept.

But those that do understand this concept understand that only the things that you love don’t last. Everything else takes forever. So if you want the things you hate to go away, you have to love them.

The one eyed guy was the best roofer I have ever worked alongside. He could do everything roofing related faster than I thought possible. He hated tearing off old roofs, but he tackled the job with an enthusiasm that suggested he liked it.

A lot of people made the same mistake about brother R and myself when we were doing odd jobs. They thought that we loved work or were desperate for money. In truth, we hated the work and money meant little to us. We just wanted to get it all over with as fast as possible.

This false love is a kind of insanity. In essences, it is what being macho is all about. And wrongly applied it can lead to many stupid things being done.

But sometimes insanity is the only proper response to what life throws at you.

It was cool at first

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The flesh of my thumb decided that it did not want to be associated with my thumb nail today. At least, not all along one side of the nail. The other side still seems happy to associated with it very own nail.

I am not sure what I did today to bring this state of affairs about. It does not strike me that I did anything today that would have caused this sad state of affairs to come about.

But now that it has, I am wondering about the best way to bring about a reconciliation. It does not appear that my past practice of prying at it and noting how cool it is that the separation goes all the way down to the base did anything to help matters.

So granting that it is a good idea to stop making it worse (now that it is starting to throb, this is not hard to do), I wonder what I should do to try to make it better.

My gut instinct is to lean towards neglect. That generally seems to work best for most injuries. But I have been told by people who ought to know that if I follow that course of action it is likely to get infected. Instead, I have been told that I ought to slather it up with antibiotics and put a band-aid around it.

Now I have read that antibiotics do more to retard healing then they do to promote it. So normally I am not inclined to this course of action. However, in this case I might try it out. The break between the two former partners just seems to be trying to get infected.

We will see how it goes.

Preparing for the worst

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Day flew right by today. I did not do much. But I spent a lot of it worrying about one thing or another. I only have two states, worried and bored. And of the two, I would rather be worried than bored.

No disasters happened today. That is a good thing. But not much really got done today either. Mostly it was just planing and figuring things out. The disasters are going to happen tomorrow. I just hope they are survivable.

Nothing we do should be irreversible. So I guess if it does not work, we should be able to undo what we have done. But I really hope it does not come to that. To many people seem to be hoping that it does not work for me to be happy with that outcome.

But I guess that is the wrong way of looking at it. I should not care one way or another what other people think. Caring about how other people are going to view things this is a weakness of mine that is common to humankind.

One has to admire those few people who seem truly unaffected by what other people think. But then, those other people rarely get anything done that they can’t do all by themselves. Most projects in this life require other people to bring to fruition. And when is in that situation, a little bit of regard for what other people think is necessary.

I Hate Not Having Answers

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

I was looking over blueprints and getting depressed today. I guess that just goes to show that nothing can make me happy right now.

I should have been happy. I was looking over the prints in preparation for the guys that are going to come up tomorrow and help me do what I want to do. And this is help that I did not expect to get.

I was so worried when I was nailing down the particulars of this project that they would not give me what they were promising me on the phone. So I contrived to get what I wanted out of them in writing to protect myself.

But apparently they are going to do way more then I expected. Even the problems thrown up by the failings on my side of things don’t seem to be deterring them. If this all pans out (and I am still not sure that I believe it) this whole thing will be easier then I expected. They will be doing a huge portion of the work for me.

Still, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed while I was looking at those prints. I kept finding problem after problem.

These problems don’t directly impact the current project. But they will nullify a lot of the gains that would otherwise come about.

Quick example: You have an area that contains a reception area with an office on either side. There are three zones involved in this area. One office is part of block of offices that belong to one zone and the other office is part of a different block of offices that has its own zone. The dividing line between these two blocks is the reception area which has its own zone.

No particular problem with all of that except that the space has been remodeled. Now all of the space is one big conference room and my preliminary survey leads me to believe that the room is still supplied by three different zones. And only one of the t-stats that control the space in located in the conference room. The other two t-stats are located at opposite sides of the building.

This creates problems. And what is worse, I don’t have any good answers.

Complaining about gift horses

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Normally it is not a good thing to look a gift horse in the mouth. But when you get enough of them handed to you, they start eating you out of house and home. That is the situation I found myself in when I stated playing Medieval Total War II.

The people responsible for these white elephants is a shadowy organization known as the council of nobles. These unnamed dudes tell me what they want me to do and reward me for doing it. The problem is, they have a nasty habit of telling me to do what I want to do anyway and they reward me quite generously.

For example, they gave me three units of heavy cavalry for taking Wales. Similar largess followed just about every city that I took. They even rewarded me for re-taking cities that the French took from me. These rewards were not always heavy cavalry. Sometimes they were crap infantry units or cash. Still, they gave me enough heavy cavalry to bankrupt my fledgling economy and they did not give me enough infantry build a balanced army.

Now if I had understood how the game worked right from the get go, I would have had half the world conquered by now. But since I did not realize that there was no real penalty for sacking cities, I found myself in a fiscal hole that prevented me from becoming as powerful as I should have been given all this largess. The bad effects of my lack of understanding lingered on after I had finally figured things out.

Mostly because all my governors got corrupted in the process.