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By Kellnerin (Fri Dec 24, 2010 at 08:26:22 PM EST) (all tags)
I had a dream that I had a weird dream and wrote a diary about it, so I thought maybe I should write an actual diary.

This will not be as awesome as the dream diary would have been (the diary in the dream, not a diary about the actual dream), which featured the phrases, "In the first reality ..." and "in the second reality ..." (The main distinguishing feature of the two realities was that a spontaneous sidewalk picnic dessert changed, because of a difference in the relative accessibility of two restaurants between the two universes in, I think, the greater Las Vegas area.)

THE ONLY THING I REMEMBER CLEARLY about the dream was being in a large chain-y bookstore that was in the process of being closed down and cleared out (turn around and more of it would be gone) and feeling a great sense of sadness at all the empty shelves. For some reason that felt very real.

I DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE much of interest to write about. Work ... well. It's been like one of those old-fashioned scales that for some reason doctors still use, where you have to push the variously sized weights around to make them balance, except there are too many weights and they're not well calibrated and just when you get to fine-tuning them someone starts changing the length of the lever arm or adding more weights so that it tips again. Wow, that was almost as tedious to write (and probably read) as it has been to experience.

I'm starting to get my writing mojo back though (at least in terms of creating documentation; clearly not in terms of my diary or creative output). Given words, I can work magic. The Keepers of the Words (and here I refer not to mythical creatures but to real people from the land called Marketing) are not always generous with their gifts, however. Anyway, at the rate that things change, there's always room, if not for hope, then for a small dose of pessimistic idealism (which looks a lot like hope if you squint at it in the right light).

ONE WORK ANECDOTE I wanted to share:

One of the developers threw himself a massive 26th birthday party (rented out a function room with catering and entertainment) on the grounds that he was now "firmly in his mid-twenties and fast approaching his late-twenties." Despite my company's mania for college hiring, the team I'm on happens to be more seasoned than most, so as we were laughing about the follies of youth, our sage architect Ezra commented blithely, "Eh, one day you wake up and realize, hey, I've been decomposing my whole life, and it never gets any better."

I wish I could have captured his intonation for you. I like Ezra. I got hit with the stomach bug that's been going around this week and I was told that Ezra wrote an XSD just for me, to make me feel better. (It did.)

MEANWHILE, THE WILD ADVENTURE known as AE continues, and continues pretty awesomely if I do say so. I hope some amount of it comes through to observers of the end product, but for me personally it's firing a lot of the right neurons. My father, who is as un-scifi (not to mention un-Internet) as anyone who ever lived, even tried reading it, and sent me a very sweet note via email:

Finally I got to your magazine, and very much enjoyed your editorial. "Touching the Sky" is good, but do not understand the piece by Shaw.
(Maybe you have to know him to think that this is the most adorable thing you've ever read.)

2010 has been a year filled with myriad expectations, frustrations, and a few victories. AE has been all of the above, but right now it is firmly in the last category.

BUT FOR THE NEXT few days at least I'm trading all that craziness temporarily for family-based craziness. I think it will be good, overall, and I hope it is also good for all of you out there. Formulate your 2011 wish now and then go out and enact it.

< Merry Christmas Everybody! | Happy Christmas >
Placeholder Title | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden)
I don't know your dad by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 05:51:33 PM EST
From what you've written about him, that does sound adorable.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

He is by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 05:11:43 PM EST
the archetypal absentminded professor. Let's just say that when I'm living under the same roof as him I am aware of where his glasses are at all times. (There was one time that they ended up in the cupboard where we keep the envelopes; deposited there during some step of a bill-paying workflow.)

He is also only just starting to learn his way around a QWERTY keyboard (he once called his now-wife demanding to know where the P key was. In his defense, it is a little out of the way.) That's why the very fact that I received an email from him at all is cute out of the gate. He's written entire books longhand (multiple drafts), in fountain pen.

Sometimes I think I'm a pretty even mixture of both my parents, but their traits manifest in unusual ways.

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician

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Work mojo. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 06:37:54 PM EST
I suspect that there are two types of people, those who need mojo to work, and those who get methodically on with it rain or shine.

My work mojo is elusive. Projects are under way to ensure that there is an ongoing supply of it, though.

There are also by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 05:26:52 PM EST
jobs where mojo is required (or at least a significant plus) and those where it is not. I've had jobs where mojo was irrelevant -- where, indeed, I had plenty of spare cycles even while I was accomplishing the tasks required of me -- I think this is not terribly out of the ordinary.

I don't mean to suggest that I was moping around waiting for the muse to visit, either. (I don't think XML configuration is one of the classic forms that had a muse, anyway, so that'd be a long wait.) It's more that I had put down my writing tools and experimented with a bunch of other stuff for a while, then when I cracked the ol' toolbox open again everything inside had gotten a little rusty and stiff. But they're starting to feel well oiled again and ready to crank through some real work, and that's a good feeling. (Not least because I'd told my boss that all that other stuff had been fun, but I wanted to go back to writing more. It's good to know that writing seems to want me back. There are going to be days when I'm on and days when I'm just plodding along, but we'll keep moving forward.)

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician

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XSD and XML need a muse by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 08:06:56 PM EST
Where is Neil Gaiman when you need him? Or maybe we could shoehorn it into the portfolio of one of the four - count 'em - four types of poetic muse.

Wiki tells me Polyhymnia is the muse of geometry - surely that's an in? Polyhymnia, wherefore this compilation error? My comments turn to mud and my code turns to anti-patterns at my fingers! Forsake me not!

Iambic Web Certified

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