Thursday, September 30, 2010
It pissed down rain today. Black skies, no daylight til at least 8:00am. Took three cups of coffee just to get out of the house.
No accidents on the way to New Jersey. The first time in a month without a jam up. I'll take it where I can get it.
Key card. Parkade. Elevator. Home Sweet Cubicle.
Boot pc. Hit the ladies.
Aaaaargh....the bathroom smells like crotch rot.
Not that I have any experience with that – it's what I expect it to smell like: BO and barnyard - with a hint of rotting flesh. Usually it's just pooey, but this was definitely not last night's chicken vindaloo.
Spent an HOUR on the phone with our business people, deciding how to make a screen more user friendly. Bear in mind that our users are also our employees, so they're supposed to be trained, reasonable people with more than just space between their ears.
The offending item causing all the fuss? The “save” button. It was confusing people.
My suggestion was that, at some point, you have to let people make mistakes and they should be held accountable for them. Why are we treating them like idiots?
Or we can make the system completely self sufficient. We wont need humans then.
Maybe we'll just hire lemurs. Evil lemurs.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
So yeah. Just a bit of blog neglect there.
I guess I slid into a funk. For a while there, I didn't even log in to my home laptop when I came home from work. Too tired, too bored, too depressed. Just didn't feel like it.
One problem though - I need the diversion. Poking around on the internet is better than flopping on the sofa for an evening of House re-runs.
So let's see.....what's been going on?
We had one of the hottest summers on record. More days over 90 than since... FOREVER. Well, maybe. I don't know - but it was a total stinkfest.
Don’t get me wrong, heat is lovely. In Hawaii.
Here in Pennsylvania, the air becomes a sponge. A thick, sweaty, smelly, damp sponge. And it never ends. Just this past week, we had two more days in the nineties. Last Thursday it hit 93 degrees. I'm sorry, but that's just stupid hot for late September.
Anyway, school started. Yay!
To recap, we decided the local, public school was woefully unqualified to impart a reasonable education. The teaching staff was filled with an inordinate number of inexperienced teachers (owing to the population growth in the area), and way too many liberal educators. No dissenting opinions – even politely presented - would be heard. And yes, they had no qualms penalizing any student who didn't think the same.
The school refuses to separate children that want to learn, from the ones that don't give a shit. So they have classrooms they can't control, and end up teaching to the lowest common denominator.
Instead of book reports, they had collages of crayons and glue, representing the theme of a story. Almost all the required reading for the “advanced” Lit class involved only stories of victims – they're the real heroes! No classic literature whatsoever.
What's worse is, every other day I'd see something in the news about gang violence, or kids getting knifed because someone didn't like the way they looked.
So The Teen is going to a different school. This was preceded by several months of hemming and hawing about what a mistake this was, that the uniforms suck, and what if her old friends forget her, and she doesn’t make new ones? What if there's no cute, swooshie-haired boys? What if the girls are bitchy?
So far, the hope of a more serious education looks promising: they had a required summer reading list. Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, To Kill A MockingBird and Pride and Prejudice to start. All must be read by the time school began, and there will be tests. Hooo-boy!
Sure, I would've hated that when I was her age - but hey, as an adult I can see the benefits of having been forced to read the classics. Some kids grow up and “get it”. Others blow it off and never pick up anything other than teen angst novels.
And they're reading Orwell. ORWELL. How awesome is that?
Thankfully, now that we're a month into the new school, my daughter's adjusting, friends have been made, and things are finally settling in nicely. Unfortunately, I am told there are no swooshie-haired, Justin Bieber wanna-bees. Sadness.
In other news, work continues to suck loudly and powerfully. I was moved to a failed project that somebody, somewhere up the food chain is attempting to resurrect. It's horrible, and nothing works right. The IT department decided this doesn’t matter, they intend to cram it in anyway.
It's my job to help fix it, with no documentation or resources. Departmental politics prevent me from actually interacting with the other members of my team, because they're technically still tied to other projects. It's a bit of a spy game communicating with one another on bug fixes.
Which leads me to another thing about fixing other people's crap. I'm burnt out on it. I'm not talking about fixing little oddball scenarios where the user right-clicked a field, on a Wednesday, during a full moon, and the web page failed. I'm speaking of the large, gaping holes where someone overlooked an entire business process. I'm tired of trolling through thousands and thousands of lines of code, Scotch-taped together by at least 200 other people, trying to find the mystery exception. Or, in this case, finding whole sections that were apparently not finished – made obvious by all the “add such-n-such here” notations.
I used to think I wanted to just do development work, creating applications from the ground up. Too boring, and a huge personal sacrifice. Our developers put in an average of 60-80 hours a week. Maybe ten years ago I would've had the patience, interest, and extra time, but now I just want to do the best job I can, go home, and take care of my family.