Saturday, June 30, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
I’ve spent the last ten days on vacation. It was an extended trip back to South Dakota to visit family. Like many other things this year, it was a hugely ambivalent vacation. There is too much chaos here at work, so I was not able to leave cleanly. Though I managed to work only a few hours while on vacation, I deeply resented that I had to work at all. Those few hours did not reflect the time my job conspired to ruin my vacation by being on my mind, at greater and lesser levels, through each day. Though I’ve had working vacations before, I can’t think of a prior one that was as pointless at this one. So, I am back in California, I am back at work, and I still remain hugely ambivalent.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
I saw Prometheus today, which, for me, was one of my most highly anticipated movies of 2012. It did not disappoint. As I've mentioned before I am a huge fan of Ridley Scott, so I fully admit to being biased, but I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Noomi Rapace turns in another stellar performance as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, playing off of Michael Fassbender as "David" the artificial person. Don, Tony and I saw it in IMAX 3D at AMC Saratoga 14. It was definitely worth the extra ticket price to see it in that format since it is a hugely visual movie. I promised several people that I would not spoil it for them, so I may wait a while to write a bit more about why I liked it, but for now, let me simply say it was an excellent film.
The day has been good - I deliberately set out to take it easy through the day and I have been successful at that - tomorrow is going to be a work at home today, but after 55 hours last week, I felt the need to have at least one day where I wasn't working - in any shape or form, and that is my plan into the evening. Right now, I am watching "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" on IFC, another enjoyable film. Finally, I have "Coriolanus" with Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler in the wings for later tonight or tomorrow. T.R. is out this weekend, on an impromptu trip to Wilmington, NC with family and friends, planning on returning on Monday, and is having a good time.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
That say, the day passed quickly enough, in unproductive. Ten hours later I headed out the door for home, stopped at Patxi's for a pizza, and landed here, now, watching SYTYCD and looking forward to reading the newspaper.
Tomorrow is another day, but tonight, tonight is going to be a quiet night of relaxation.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Outside of work, it was a fairly pleasant weekend.
It was my three day weekend, so Friday was a day of laundry and errands.
Saturday I went and saw “Snow White and the Huntsmen” which I enjoyed. It was a visually beautiful movie and could easily be “seen” for that reason alone. A lunch with friends after the movie, an afternoon nap, then dinner at Bob’s.
Sunday was breakfast, a trip through Fry’s Electronics, a run to Barnes & Noble and Starbucks, pool with Don at Edgies, then a late lunch at the Outback, followed by a late nap. The evening was a pair of family calls, which were exasperating to say the least, but that might just be the definition of family! I followed that with the season finale of “Game of Thrones”, then crawled into bed.
Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep well, mostly due to allergies. I tossed and turned through the night, finally waking at about 3:30 AM to take a Benadryl and then fall back asleep. I am still dealing with the aftermath of that, moving through the day in a half-haze.
Fortunately, there is a light rain outside, which should clear some of the pollen out. Right now, post lunch, I really feel a compelling desire to go out to the car and take a short post-lunch nap.
After a particularly stressful Thursday in the office, I spent the weekend in a meditate and observe mode, examining what was going on in my mind. On Saturday night I had a dream, which seems to have been my subconscious trying to send me an answer. I dreamd my friend Bob had bought a 60 foot long, 4 foot in diameter portion of a redwood tree. This was delivered to his house and placed in his side yard, completely filling it and running the entire length of the house. Bob’s intention was to cut the tree into discs and then sell the disks as redwood block table tops. This is a fairly daunting task. However, Bob’s intention was to simply take it one slice at a time.
Upon awakening I immediately noticed the correlation between the dream subject (approaching a daunting task) and the dream solution (take it one slice at a time). This isn’t a new answer to me. I think of it as a reinforcement of which answer to apply to the problem. Since I keep getting overwhelmed by the scope and complexity* of the tasks ahead of me, I need to stay focused and take it one slice at a time, to be present in the moment with the slice that I am working.
As I typed scope and complexity I realized that is not an entirely true statement. This project is large and complex, but no larger and no more complex than many other projects I’ve worked. What has really ratcheted my stress level up has been the very poor process application and very poor communication that surrounds the project. Information keeps coming out of the customer and senior management in drips and drops – almost always fragmentary and incomplete. This makes it a very challenging task because you get A, B, and C and start to design and plan accordingly, and suddenly they drop D on you. Then, as you attempt to fold that in, the drop E on you, and decide to take C out. This is frustrating because they should get to the point where they lock the requirements down, but the very people who should be locking the requirements down and the ones who are struggling with poor communication skills.
Obviously, part of the lesson I have to learn as I go through this particular project is the simple truth that I cannot be responsible for the quality of communications coming out of other people – I need to let that go, and to let it go without letting it wrap my frustrations levels so high.