November 2015


I’m driven by two basic needs:

  1. I need to be needed. I find my self-worth in what I’ve done for people lately. I have an ability to figure out how things work, and I have reams of tedious technical trivia stored in my head; so when I can put them together to help someone solve a problem and save them some frustration, that’s what makes me feel fulfilled.
  2. I hate to be needed. I don’t want to be the person who’s only called on when there’s a problem. I want to surround myself with peers and friends, not clients. I want to be respected for more than what I can do for people.

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This is a eulogy for Larry, eight years too late.

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I was an innocent young Ivy League graduate with an engineering degree and no idea what to do with it. I took the first job offer I got: with Oracle, the database company in California. They had no idea what to do with me. They threw me into a three-week crash course in databases, then let me pick what group I wanted to join. I chose Tech Support.

Tech Support had no idea what to do with me either. I was assigned to the desktop team. They gave me a PC running Windows 3.1 (a very long time ago, remember!), and told me I had to resolve a certain number of customer tickets each week.

The transition from college life to the Real World had been a difficult one. No longer were there letter grades to tell me well I was (or wasn’t) doing! I had no objective way to compare myself with other people and objectively see if I was screwing up! But suddenly this closed ticket count took that place in my life and became the measure thereof, and I worked hard to get that number high and keep it at the top of the weekly department report. There were no company incentives for this, of course; as long as the quotas were met, upper management didn’t care about individual performance. I cared, but nobody else did.

Especially Larry. Larry didn’t care at all.

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I feel like I’m always doing something, always trying to keep up with my schedule. I read a book once that described a character running around “like someone always late to a meeting,” and that sums it up. Jill says that it’s because we tend to have a lot going on as the holiday season gets closer.

So I decided to keep a log of what we did in our free time on each day of October.

  1. Tidy up from a busy September.
  2. Visit Mom & Dad in their condo, upgrade their MacBook / iPhone / iPad.
  3. Play Guild Wars 2 and Minecraft with Eve.
  4. Theater for a special screening of Iron Giant. That evening, play Lego Dimensions (PS3).
  5. Tired. Go to bed early.
  6. Minecraft with Eve.
  7. Epcot Food & Wine with Katie.
  8. Columbia restaurant with Katie and her friend.
  9. Food Truck Friday with Mom & Dad.
  10. Upgrade my Hackintosh, while Jill is at a sewing machine class then goes to the Studios to see the last Mulch, Sweat, & Shears performance.
  11. Jill has a sick tummy. She braves it and we go to the Pixar concert.
  12. I play the Star Wars Battlefront demo while Jill goes to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
  13. TV: Agents of Shield, Muppets. Then we play Disney Infinity Speedway.
  14. I’m on a live site call for work all day and late into the evening.
  15. I run the Celebration Computer Users Group meeting.
  16. Amita’s 50th birthday party.
  17. Working on the weekend. Dinner with Mom and Dad.
  18. Working on the weekend, all day.
  19. Minecraft with Jill and Eve in the evening,
  20. Some more Lego Dimensions, and watch Agents of Shield.
  21. Back to the Future day! Watch BttF 2, order out for calzones, then play the BttF levels in Lego Dimensions.
  22. Go see Patrick in the theater group’s performance of The Taming of the Shrew.
  23. 6AM launch call for work. Take it easy that evening.
  24. Get up at 4:45am to bring Jill to the airport for a trip to DC (to support friends in the Marine marathon). Play GW2 (the long-awaited Heart of Thorns expansion) with Eve. Dinner at Noodles & Company with Mom & Dad.
  25. More GW2 with Eve. Phonecall with Tracey to catch up with her.
  26. Work from home. Mom makes ham and mac&cheese for dinner. Pick up Jill from the airport.
  27. Jill edits photos from her trip. We play some GW2 with Eve.
  28. Catch up on TV: Muppets, Agents of Shield, Supergirl (bleah), Star Wars Rebels.
  29. More GW2 with Eve. It’s a new release with all kinds of new stuff, okay?
  30. The office is holding an offsite party to celebrate all our hard work, but we’re working too hard to go.
  31. Jill had a 10K scheduled but skips it because she’s got a bad cough. We celebrate Halloween with eleven people and two dogs on the porch, and 525 trick-or-treaters.


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