things i wrote in 2004


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

 
Derrick is always a good source for observational humor. Like when he sent me an IM saying, "I just decided to cry because my boss' watch has to be insured at a higher value than my car." Yea, those were sad days, when we realized that.

posted by twisesq  # 1:11 PM


# posted @ 6:04 PM
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Move
After nearly four years working for huge companies in the finance industry, I've decided to leave. I submitted my resignation last week, and my last day is next Friday. I will be working for a start-up consulting firm, doing "a little bit of everything." My salary and benefits stay essentially the same. What I'm really hoping for is to find a better work environment, and from what I've seen so far, I will. I'm tired of the beurocracy (or however you spell that) of huge companies. And the blah attitudes of the drones who work there. I've started working for the new company already on the side, and I'm enjoying the projects. I've also gotten my new computer already, and started setting up my new desk. I'm a little bit nervous, but mostly just excited.

# posted @ 3:27 PM
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Overheard on IM...
[03:25] Work schmork. They just gave me another $1000.
[03:25] And I haven't done anything in days.


Thursday, May 27, 2004
Various quotes
Various quotes I've been meaning to put up here:

"We cherish those who hurt us and neglect those who love us." -- Unknown

"A probable impossibility is preferred to an improbable possibility." -- Aristotle

"I guarantee there will be tough times. I guarantee at some point one or both of us would want to get out of this. I guarantee if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life. Cause I know in my heart, you're the only one for me." -- Runaway Bride

"Let's rejigger the books." -- Manager at work


# posted @ 10:06 AM

Friday, May 07, 2004
Intelligence
The United States of America conducts covert and occasionally overt intelligence gathering activities through the U.S. military and CIA. Throughout U.S. history, techniques employed for gathering intelligence have included exerting physical and mental distress on people to extract information. During every war we have been involved in, these techniques have been used. The only reason we are "shocked" to learn about this during the current military activity in the Middle East is that our media is able to broadcast it to us so quickly and so vividly. The use of mental, physical, and sexual abuse should not be surprising. Whether it is illegal or not, these techniques (and many more ... remember "truth serum"?) are not uncommon for gathering intelligence from unwilling individuals. Placing the blame for these activities on the lower level military people is a mistake. We need to look higher up in the chain.

# posted @ 3:15 PM

Thursday, May 06, 2004
Light at the end of the tunnel
I've been wondering for a long time where my career would lead. I have a five year plan, but no clear way to get from the step I'm on now to the step I want to be. Today I saw what I think may be the ladder to get from here to there. I'm not overly optimistic... trying to be realistic, but at the same time relieved to have found what I think will be the way up (and out). I have never been particularly adept at networking, but now I see that is a strong part of the way from point A to point B. I will start a more aggressive networking strategy immediately.

# posted @ 1:55 PM

Monday, May 03, 2004
Education
Great OpEd piece by the CEO of Intel on the importance of reforming our education system to be more competitive.

# posted @ 2:38 PM

Sunday, May 02, 2004
Back in the Saddle
10k race this morning. My time was better than I thought it would be: 56:31, or 9:05 minute-miles. I was happy with that. Next one is this Sat. This race benefited an Indian Literacy program, so they served indian food afterwords. The last thing I wanted after a 10k race was chicken curry, as much as I like Indian food. 

# posted @ 12:38 PM

Saturday, May 01, 2004
Noisy Neighbors
I was cleaning this morning when I heard my next door neighbors having sex. They were in the final stages of sex, and from the sounds of it, the guy was having a lot of fun. The woman seemed to be enjoying herself too, but less vocally. Fortunately the noise only lasted about ten seconds, and then they were done.
  
# posted @ 3:57 PM

Thursday, April 29, 2004
The Empire
Big changes at the Empire. One of my managers is leaving involuntarily, and a coworker is quitting voluntarily. All of this on the heals of performance reviews early next week. I’m told the process is brutal – the managers are extremely critical, so all the negative stuff comes out. I’m disillusioned by that. That isn’t what work should be like. They have it bass-ackwards. Not surprising.

# posted @ 1:38 PM



Hotness
It's hot. Like 90 degrees hot. The attic fan seems to be doing a good job of pushing out the hot air at night though.

# posted @ 1:25 PM
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Giants, and Decisions

Confirmation of downsizing at work, but mostly at upper levels. I expect little to no inpact at my level. Nonetheless, it's a good reminder that I need to keep my head up about other possibilities, and advancing my long-term career plan.

# posted @ 5:08 PM

Monday, April 19, 2004
A Case Of The Mondays
The key to lurking around the office is to always carry a pen and papers. You look busy just by doing that. It's a great trick.

The last week has been fairly busy. Last week I took the whole week off from doing weights. It felt good... my body needed the break. I need to do that quarterly. I took work off on Wednesday and did some chores at home - rewired some lighting, redid the patio fountain, and some other stuff. Thursday, Friday and Saturday I went on my annual retreat to San Luis Obispo. Had a great time there. Dinner with Adam and his finance was a bit surprising though, because Adam had been in a very serious DUI accident (he was a pedestrian, hit by a drunk). Despite overwhelming injuries, he will be fine. Came back Saturday evening, did chores Sunday morning, and then the BBQ Sunday evening. Carlos and Byron were visiting from Vancouver, so I got to see them for the first time since last summer. They're so cool, it was nice to get reacquainted with them.

A trip to the vet last week proved a bit disturbing - my birdie is not doing quite as well as we thought. So we implemented diet changes, more showers, and more UV light. Hopefully that will help her.

Work should be a bit calmer this week.

# posted @ 1:11 PM

Thursday, April 15, 2004
Vacation
I took yesterday off work, just to get stuff done at home and relax. I finished my list of things to do, and gleefully sent off an e-mail telling my managers that no, I would not be able to finish a task by Friday,as I am on vacation. Suckas. Today I'm off to the annual San Luis Obispo trip. I'm actually looking forward to this one more than the others. It should be good. :)

I noticed a cute little family of birds in a birdhouse on my patio yesterday. Mommy and daddy, and their little peeping babies in the nest. I don't know what kind of bird they are - they are tiny - but they're very cute. Mommy and daddy were very protective of the nest.

Most of my planting is done for the spring. I did some repairs around the house yesterday - a lighting system needed rewiring, and I double checked that the sprinkler system was working properly. I need to take more days off - I get so much done at home when I'm not at work.

# posted @ 7:13 AM

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
News from Iraq
"Bodies of four missing U.S. military contract workers found in Iraq, a State Department official confirms to CNN."

We're getting closer and closer to Vietnam. But this time, the country won't stand for it.

# posted @ 2:34 PM

New wave of internet coming...
The cell phone and WiFi industry are abuzz over the latest devices set to hit the market this summer: triband radio phone/PDA's. Motorola and HP are both introducing PDA/cell phone combos. The cell phones are quad band, and the PDA has bluetooth and WiFi built in... that makes it a triband radio. They both run on Microsoft's Pocket PC platform. These devices will allow people to surf the web and do e-mail from home using WiFi, and from the road, using their cell phone GPRS connection. Once the cell phone companies introduce these units starting this summer, I expect calling plans to start integrating data access even more than they already are. Some companies like T-Mobile already offer unmetered (flat) data access for $20 a month. AT&T still meters its data access. It will be an interesting summer for those of us who desperately want mobile data access.

# posted @ 2:31 PM

Monday, April 12, 2004
Swimming
Day one of my week without weights. I did 45 minutes of cardio at noon, and then swam for 30 minutes tonight. I had a lot of energy swimming, and my muscles felt really good. One more day of work, then my vacation starts - I can't wait.

# posted @ 10:05 PM

Heather Fong Rocks. So Does Gavin.
Gavin Newsome continues to impress me. Today he named Heather Fong as the SF Police Chief. Way to go Gavin. Way to go Heather.

# posted @ 10:05 PM

Thursday, April 08, 2004
Almost Friday
Work has calmed down a bit this week. Several of my projects wrapped up earlier in the week, which I am very happy about. My utilization is through the roof, so I can cut back a bit, and still be doing very well. Next week I’m taking a few days off for vacation. I haven’t taken time off for a vacation in a long time.
  
Recruiting lunch on Monday – I had a delicious burger (fries were soggy though) at a local upscale restaurant. Yesterday was our team lunch, and an even more upscale place – I had a not-so-good turkey sandwich. The restaurant was a very hidden place, and our department head told us that it’s where all the big deals in the city are made … sure enough, it was a who’s-who of local industry leaders. Quite an experience. Tomorrow I go up to the city for another recruiting lunch. I’m not as keen on tomorrow’s restaurant, although I do like the desserts, but I don’t get to pick these things. 


# posted @ 10:07 AM

Client news
My little Daksh got aquired. You go, guys. :)

# posted @ 3:58 AM

Monday, April 05, 2004
Monday
The highlight of my day was uncovering a docking station for my laptop in an unused cube. That lets me cut down on the number of things I have to plug into my computer each morning. I was so excited.

Took an interview candidate out to lunch today. He was so dull, I ate quickly, so we could go back to the office. Ate at a nice restaurant though. No dessert - drat.

Spent Saturday in the city - went to lunch and then Shaolin Soccer with Frank, Patrick and Steve. Last time I'll see Patrick until he's back from China. Dinner in the city on Saturday with Steve's friends - birthday dinner. It was nice to meet them all ... they're really nice folks, especially Matt who I talked to a lot. Seems like I know him from somewhere... but I'm not sure.

Hiked Sunday, then the usual BBQ afterwords. 

Work has still been hectic, but definitely on the decline. I'm very happy about that.

Vacation at the end of next week (already!) .. looking forward to it. I think I'm going to miss the gym all next week to allow my body a week of repair.

# posted @ 10:41 PM

Sunday, April 04, 2004
New toys
My next PDA and cell phone.

# posted @ 7:40 AM

Friday, April 02, 2004
Week rap up
This week was horrible at work. It started out in a crisis mode ... too many projects, with too many similar deadlines. I finally bit the bullet and set out an ultimatum - I just couldn't handle it any more. One of my projects got reassigned to someone else. I may get dinged on my reviews for that, but there was no other choice - I couldn't handle what they were telling me to do. Maybe I need to look elsewhere... I don't know.

My favorable impression of Pocket PC continues to grow. But I'm holding off on purchases because I think there is going to be major developments later this year in the cell phone/PDA/data space, that will bring new equipment and new service that is much faster than GPRS.

Hike this Sunday with a dozen people. It should be a lot of fun, although the people are a mix of my friends from various places, so it'll be interesting to see how they all get along.

I'm so glad it's Friday. Another week in the bag.

# posted @ 7:20 AM

Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Radio Silence
Radio silence for a while while work is keeping me amazingly busy.

K got his new PocketPC Ipaq today. I played with a bit, and it is very cool - I gotta get one soon.

# posted @ 10:37 PM

Monday, March 29, 2004
Weekend
On Friday, I had dinner with my friend Justin. He wasn't able to come to my birthday party last month, and had been wanting to have dinner for a while, so that was a good evening to do it. He made crab legs, which were pretty good, but a lot of work to get open. We ended up watching Chasing Amy ... it was a slow movie that wasn't very good.

Saturday I didn't do very much. Read more of Amy Tam's book, got mom a birthday present at Target, went to lunch with mom and K at Cheesecake Factory, went to the gym, and then rented a movie (Under the Tuscon Sun) with P and watched that night. I really enjoyed that movie - it was great.

Sunday I woke up at 6:30am, drove to SF with Kangaroo, and had a delicious breakfast cooked by Patrick. Patrick and Frank live in the Sunset, and I really like their apartment. Then we went to the Legion of Honor Museum, where The Thinker statue is. We went through the Art Deco exhibit, which was very interesting. Then we went to Castro Street for some ice cream, and then I came home around 5pm. I drove to Bryan's at 6pm for the weekly Sunday BBQ, but discovered it was cancelled because they were all out of town at a volleyball tourneyment, so then I drove home. I went over to the gym at 9pm and did 45m of cardio. The gym was pretty empty, so that was nice. 

# posted @ 10:17 AM

Friday, March 26, 2004
Lean On Me
I went to the doctors office today to have my shoulder looked at. The doctor prescribed an ibuprofen (Advil) regimin for reducing inflamation in my butis (joint area). Hopefully that will work. I took the whole box of ibuprofen out of the first aid kit at work, so that is my supply for the next two weeks.

At the Dr's office there was an elderly couple in front of me who were experiencing some trouble because of a scheduling mix up. They were moving slowly, and thinking slowly. They relied on each other so much, just to get to the doctors office and to deal with the scheduling mix up. I pittied them, and admired them, all at the same time. I know my grandparents are like that too. Going to the doctor's office is a "big event" requiring a tremendous about of planning, effort, and brain power. When I'm that old, I want someone with me to help me the way they helped each other, and I want to help my partner in a similar way. This morning on my drive to work one of the radio stations was playing Lean On Me. It was one of the songs I was humming while I was skiing two weeks ago. Not to be overly sappy, but it's the song I thought about when I saw that older couple.

Lunch with Kangaroo at a marginal Thai place. With my newly restricted IM, I haven't been able to talk much, so we got caught up. 

I've nearly fully converted by web browsing to Opera. It's lighter, and uses tabs. I'm a convert. The only things I can't do on Opera that I need IE for is my company's intranet, and MSN Music.

Morale in my little group at work continues to hit new lows. The partners are oblivious, and the managers don't care. I find it humerous, because I've been through this before, and I feel I'm somewhat immune to it this time around. I'm trying to be a spectator as much as possible. I just wonder when it will hit bottom, and what will happen when it does.


# posted @ 2:15 PM

Thursday, March 25, 2004
And Away They Go
I feel badly for the Cuevas family. After 19 years, they are being deported back to the Philippines in April. The parents and kids came here illegally 19 years ago, lived, worked, and got educated here, while filing for political asylum. Asylum was denied, but rather than leave, they stayed. The parents never told the kids they were here illegally. The kids don't speak any language other than English.

I feel badly for them because they have become very much like the rest of us, and the kids have no connection with the Philippines, where they will be deported to shortly. As sympathetic as I am, I do support their deportation. Here's why:

1. They did not follow the laws to come here. Just like every other country, we have set up a system of laws to allow foreigners to immigrate to this country. They jumped the line. I don't like line jumpers. They make it harder for those who do follow the laws (who stand in line) to come here. The argument that some white people (the first Europeans to arrive in America) didn't stand in that line and therefore no one else should have to stand in that line is rubbish. If we didn't have a line, we'd have, literally, a billion people wanting to come to America. There wasn't that potential for overwhelming immigration two-hundred years ago. There has to be a process, and people have to follow it. People who don't will get turned away. Even if they're cute, successful, and politically savvy.

2. The parents should have told the kids about their status. By lying to the kids about their residency status, they were being cruel to the kids, and prevented the kids from helping to become legal residents.

3. Once they were here illegally, they continued to break the laws. Dale was caught with counterfeit American money. Granted, Dale didn't know he was here illegally at the time, but that is his parents fault, not the government's fault.

I'm sorry the Cuevas family is being deported. I'm sorry they weren't able to get the system to work to give them residency, despite their best efforts.

# posted @ 7:15 AM

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Another Fine California Sunny Day
Work has been hectic this week, with a number of projects happening. Fortunately, most of the projects are in the final stages, or are easy complete, so I'm feeling very productive checking them off my list.

At Patrick's urging I started taking creatine again, before and after my workout. We'll see what effect that has. I seem to now be permanently hovering in the 132 pounds range, which I'm fairly happy with, although I seem to have accumulated a bit too much fat around my mid-section. I ramped up my cardio a bit this week.

My shoulder continues to hurt me - I got the names and numbers for physical therapists in my insurance plan, I think I'll make some phone calls today.

My next vacation is in mid-April, and I am counting the days. Just two days off work, three days out of town. I hope the weather is nice for that trip down south.

Work continues to block my primary AIM account, and fiddling with it yesterday didn't do any good. They aren't blocking YIM though, so I may convert to using YIM during the day, and AIM at night. I really need to find a way not to use the Telnet port though - no one else uses Telnet protocol, and I'm sure my activity on that port raised eyebrows. Suspicious that they only blocked one of my three usernames though (albeit the one with the most activity).

# posted @ 7:11 AM

Monday, March 22, 2004

Work was crazy today - just hectic. And a coworker announced he's moving cubes because he's getting too distracted. That's actually good news, because he distracts me with his high tension personality. My AIM stopped working today though - I'm a bit concerned work is monitoring and shut it off ... we'll see if it works tomorrow or not.

# posted @ 9:20 PM
Cooking
Hard boiled eggs seem to peel better if you only cook them for 5 minutes, versus 12 minutes.

# posted @ 3:03 PM
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Spring Weekend
This is the first weekend I've had in a while when I could truly relax, and not be pressured by my schedule. I only had a few things I needed to do this weekend: Wash car, gardening, groceries, read a book, and a few other chores. I've gotten most of it all done. It's been so relaxing. I'm convinced I need to take a few days off from work soon -- not even check e-mail or voice mail -- and go hiking, go to the beach, ride my bike, and read some books to reenergize myself.

# posted @ 11:34 AM
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Celebration dinner for a friend. 

# posted @ 10:01 PM


"Totally unselfish, he is a true friend that I can trust." -- Friendster Testimonial

"In the years I've known him, I think what makes him stands out from the crowd is that he is a true friend solid, there for you when you really need help or someone to talk to." -- Friendster Testimonial

"He is an awesome guy who is always there for his friends." -- Friendster Testimonial

# posted @ 10:00 PM


Light At The End Of The Tunnel
I'm working from home this morning (all day?) while Jim the SunTunnel Man installs a SunTunnel Skylight upstairs. It's already making a big improvement in the lighting upstairs, and it's not even sunny on that side of the house yet.

# posted @ 10:31 AM
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Some bigwig came in at work today and talked to us for an hour. Everyone was whispering "reorganization", but it doesn't sound like my department is being affected. They said no layoffs, at least not wide spread, just "performance based" layoffs (aren't most of them anyhow?). My stats are high enough that I'm in the safe area. The guy who was speaking was totally sappy and greasy though... I didn't care for him at all. I'm just not getting the same vibes of genuine caring and interest in the employees that I felt at my old company. Actually, some of the things he said indicated to me that they really do just view us as COGS that can be shifted around willy nilly, and replaced as desired. It's okay ... this is not my career. This is my job. My career will come later. I'm in training.

# posted @ 10:51 PM

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Big Purchases
Big purchases are difficult for me. I take so long doing my homework. Months sometimes. Even when I can afford it, I procrastinate. Part of it is my dislike of decision making. So I put things off forever. I've set some goals though, and I'm determined to stick with it. New web-enabled phone by the end of the year. BMW by the time I turn 30. And I'm having a skylight installed in my house on Friday. Those are good goals.

# posted @ 3:38 PM


Skiing in the Spring
Went skiing to Tahoe this weekend. Got to use my season pass for the second time this winter. The weather was so nice and warm that the snow conditions were somewhat icy, which made skiing difficult, but I was still able to work on my technique and improve my performance. I did Ridge Run without much of an effort - I was proud. My ski companion helped a lot, and was a great ski partner. It got so warm that we shed our jackets, and I neglected to put sunscreen on the back of my neck, and it is now red and sore. I'll moisurize my whole body properly tonight. I'm pooped.

BMW sent me a nice brochure on the 3 series, and I'm narrowing down my color choices. No assurance what the next model will look like, or what colors it will come in, but I'm doing as much homework as possible, and preparing to purchase a used stick shift to learn on. I'm hoping for a Del Sol or similar car, in the $3k range. The thought of owning two cars is a bit strange to me.

# posted @ 6:41 PM

Friday, March 12, 2004
Types of relationships

I'm going skiing this weekend. I'm packed, I'm ready to go, and get as far away from my office as I can.

Comcast is upgrading my cable. I hope this means we can get cable modem soon.

My ideal electronic device: GSM Cell Phone (web enabled), Palm OS PDA, WiFi access enabled (for web/e-mail at home). It needs to have a large enough screen, protected by either a flip handset or some sort of cover, and a QWERTY keyboard. The Treo 600 comes close to this, but it is not WiFi enabled, and the screen doesn't have any protection from impact. I know sooner or later my ideal device will be developed.

# posted @ 1:25 PM

Thursday, March 11, 2004
TV
No new West Wing last night, so they ran Law & Order instead. That was a let down! 

I am all prepared for my ski trip this weekend. I feel kind of funny going skiing, because it's 80 degrees outside right now, so I can't imagine what the snow conditions are like even at the highest levels. At least I'm getting to use my season pass again... let's see, $300, two trips, that's $150 a pop. Lesson learned... no more season passes.

"The way to love something is to realize it might be lost" -- Fortune Cookie from Mam Bo Duck.

# posted @ 7:28 AM

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Sticks
I had delicious Vietnamese food for lunch today - beef, over vermicelli salad. Deeeelicious. No forks though. I managed with my chopsticks.

Speaking of sticks, I talked with some folks today who talked me into selling my current car sooner rather than later, buying a older stick shift car to learn on, driving that for a few months, and then selling that when I get my Bimmer. That sounds like a great idea, provided I can find a nifty little stick shift to have for a few months (I'm thinking about a Del Sol, Miata, or something similar).

# posted @ 3:59 PM
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
My Religion
Things happen for a reason. I don't believe in a higher being, but I do believe that nature works in an orderly fashion, and that there are reasons for things. Those reasons aren't always apparent at first glance, but they usually become clear eventually. We all have a purpose in life, a function, and a role. We all have to find ours.

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." -- Walter Winchell

# posted @ 10:50 PM
"Homos"
I participated in my local government today. Gay marriage recognition. I heard the insults, and just laughed. The more and more I hear their arguments, the more sure I am that in the near future, we will win this battle. 

To the union welder who stood up and announced to the world that he is gay and has a partner: Thank you. It took a lot of guts for you to stand up in front of your union coworkers and say that. I'm sure you get a lot of flack on the jobsite. I really admire what you did. You are a role model for those of us who lack that courage.

Unplanned ski trip this weekend wiped out my calendar in a hurry. The weather is warm though, so I'm not sure how good the conditions will be.

Everyone asked me to arrange another of my (in)famous hikes for March, so I did, but then most said they couldn't come due to volleyball. Well, I tried guys. Maybe in April we'll get a better turn out.

# posted @ 5:05 PM
Monday, March 08, 2004
Cold Showers at the Gym
I didn't appreciate the full impact of the e-mail Facilities sent out this morning announcing that there was no cold water on the first and fourth floors. I didn't appreciate the impact until I was in the corporate gym, standing naked, in the shower, waiting for the hot water to arrive, to no avail. That was the fastest yet thorough shower I've taken in a very long time.

# posted @ 12:57 PM

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven ... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance ..." -- Ecclesiastes

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
One Person Short
Work has been crazy lately. We used to have five people in our dept, and now we only have four. So all of our work has increased by 25% to make up for the lost guy. We started interviewing for a replacement, but that seems to have stalled. Now I fear the management thinks they can do without a fifth body, save the money, and just make us all work harder. That's just not a good solution at all. Morale is low among the troops. I used to think management just was oblivious to that, and the effects, but now I think they consciously perpetuate the situation.


# posted @ 4:55 PM
Employee Productivity
Now I know what the company is doing. At this morning's staff meeting, they said that headcount is significantly below where we were a year ago. At the same time, productivity per employee is significantly up, and that is one of the key measures of statistics around the company. Keep headcount down, amount of overall work remains the same, and per employee productivity has to go up. So does employee burnout.

Dean Drops



News reports say Dean is in the process of slowly dropping out of the Presidential race. I'm a bit bummed, because I pinned a lot of my presidential hopes on him. Apart from The Yell, I really liked his charisma, and I thought he was one of the new contenders who had a chance of beating Bush. Now it looks like the ticket might be Kerry and Edwards. I'm not so sure they have the combined ability to beat Bush. I voted for Dean on my absentee ballot and I don't regret it, but I'm sure sorry that he peaked too early.
posted by Travis on 2/18/2004.

Holidays


Today is a federal holiday. I took a poll of eleven of my friends last night, and I'm the only one who has to work. I really don't mind that, because I have a lot to get done, and if I had the day off, it would only pile up. Plus there will be lighter traffic today, and that makes my day. My thirty minute commute will be more like fifteen minutes.
posted by Travis on 2/16/2004.

# posted @ 7:14 AM
Friday, February 13, 2004
Improving Morale
Our work mailboxes were stuffed with a bag with the following inside: Silly putty, bottle of water, can of Red Bull, Powerbar, candy bar, Frito's corn chips, Microwave popcorn (the whole building smells like popcorn right now), gum, and a lollypop. I'm on the Happiness Committee that came up with the idea of doing this to improve employee morale, but I still felt pimped out when I got it. Like they are trying to buy my happiness with silly putty and corn chips. No, employee happiness is more fundamental than corn chips. It starts at the top, and trickles down. It's a start in the right direction, with a fair amount of ground to cover.
 


Away From The Home Office


I've been out at client sites for three days this week. Normally I start to get antsy when I haven't been at my desk in a few days, but I don't mind any more. I learned to stuff my briefcase with everything I need to be away from the office for a few days: Pens, white-out, a stapler, chap stick, my cell phone charger, and my PDA, which I learned how to sync via infrared just for when I'm out traveling. It's tax season, which means I'm not more busy at work because of the filing deadlines (my group isn't affected too much by that), but I am busier helping friends with their taxes. This year may be a new record. So far everyone is getting refunds, except my mom. Someone didn't withhold enough this year. TurboTax is great.
posted by Travis on 2/11/2004.

Overheard At The Gym...


"You know what anti-semitism is? That's when someone worships the devil."
posted by Travis on 2/9/2004.

# posted @ 9:30 PM
Dilbert, Part II
We had a 2.5 hour training at work today on how to use proper grammar in our written communications. After the training, a homework assignment was distributed in which the word "excerpt" was misspelled "exerpt". I think what we really need is a training on how to use the spellchecker.
 
# posted @ 5:52 PM
Dilbert
I placed an order for a USB hub through my company's IT department. You can buy them for $6 at the local electronics store. The response I got was that I had to get approval from the head of my department to order the hub. I told them to cancel the order - I would go to the electronics store myself and buy one.

# posted @ 3:44 PM
Monday, February 09, 2004
Perspectives on Impacting the Bottom Line
I told one of the three head bosses this morning that I am near a crisis point in dealing with project allocation at work. I suggested that we need project meetings between managers and staff to coordinate project allocations and deadlines. I was told the push-back from the head bosses is that the meetings take too much time and cost too much in terms of lost productivity. What a joke. What costs them the most productivity is when we lose time trying to coodinate projects ourselves, rather than having the managers do it. Another example of how out of touch this business is with reality.
 
"Finance companies don't appreciate their employees. They depreciate them." -- Coworker

# posted @ 9:34 AM
Sunday, February 08, 2004
Hard Line
I'm taking a hard line. My work situation must improve. I am going to insist that the managers and partners schedule me as a resource, and stop just dumping work on me with no coordination. The "no coordination" business model no longer works for me.
 
"I'm burning out like a Supernova here." -- JH


# posted @ 7:35 PM 2/6/2004
Schedules and projects
My work schedule exploded into nastiness this week. We don't have a centralized resource management system, so each manager can assign tasks to any employee in the department. That often results with an employee having multiple projects for each manager. When they all have deadlines on the same week, it's a mess trying to get them all accomplished. I got fed up this week, and sent out an e-mail listing all my open projects, and when over the next two weeks I estimated I could work on them. If the managers don't like it, then they need to prioritize among themselves. That's the best I can do. I've decided I need to be more proactive about managing the expectations of my supervisors.


Elections


I voted today in the California primaries. I always vote by absentee ballot, because it's easier. We used new ballots this time - connecting the lines with a pen instead of punching out chads. I like the new system better, because I always had trouble locating a chad puncher, and figuring out which chad to punch. I am a registered Independent (I switched from registered libertarian a few years ago so I could vote for a viable candidate in the primaries), and voted for Dean. I'm so disappointed in Howie ... he was going so strong, but peaked to early. I still wish he could win the nomination, but unless something drastic happens to Kerry, it looks like that won't happen. My fear, though, is that Kerry can't beat Bush. I haven't seen the charisma in Kerry yet to be able to overcome Bush pulling Saddam out of a hole, and what I suspect will be Bush pulling Osama out of a hole closer to November.



I stuck with my fiscal conservativism roots and voted "no" on the two state bond measures. I know we need them to pass to remedy the deficit situation in California, but I am opposed to solving today's problems by passing the buck to tomorrow. We need to take a hard stance on overspending today, and stop spending future money to pay for things we want to buy today. If we don't have the money today to spend on the things we want to buy, then we simply can't buy them. Otherwise, it's a downward spiral. My solution: Grit our collective state teeth and cut spending. Make policy changes so we don't have to spend so much on prisons (release the non-violent offenders; decriminalize most drugs); raise fines for various infractions and unlawful behavior; and encourage business to stay in California by completely rewriting the worker's compensation system. And that's just in the first month. I voted for Arnold because he promised to radically change the way state government was run. I'm still hoping he'll deliver.
posted by Travis on 2/5/2004.

Social Security


When Social Security was introduced, there were 49 workers paying for every retiree. When the baby-boom generation retires, there will be 2 workers for every retiree.
posted by Travis on 2/4/2004.

Technologies That Refuse to Die


Interesting article on technologies that refuse to die, despite being replaced. Analog watches. Fax machines. Pagers. Why do we still use them?
posted by Travis on 2/4/2004.

Janet


The office is abuz about Justin peeling off Janet's bra during the Super Bowl. I watched it in slow motion on TIVO, and sure enough, you can see all the details! Anyone who thinks that wasn't planned doesn't understand show business, where everything is scripted. The FCC is under a lot of pressure to crack down on bad language on TV, so this will only add fuel to that fire. And Europe will continue to wonder why it's such a big deal.
posted by Travis on 2/2/2004.

Evan for City Council


I know I'm getting older when people younger than me are running for city council. But Evan Low is doing just that. He's running for Campbell City Council, and if you live in Campbell and can vote, I hope you'll vote for Evan. He has a lot to offer to our little village.
posted by Travis on 1/27/2004.

Sliding downhill fast


I went skiing this weekend at Heavenly. My first attempt to make use of my season pass. I need to go five more days this winter.



Speaking of sliding downhill, I'm still hanging in there and supporting Dean, but this guy needs to start acting more presidential, fast. First of all, start answering questions with substantive answers. Second, stop acting like a fool on stage. I hope he wins New Hampshire, because as much as I would still vote for Kerry over Bush, I don't think Kerry has the charisma to attract the number of votes he would need to defeat Bush. He's also not as socially progressive as Dean.
posted by Travis on 1/26/2004.

New Syndication Address


Blogger now supports syndication feeds, so my syndication feed address has changed. The new URL is: http://www.twise.com/weblog.xml. Please update your readers.
posted by Travis on 1/23/2004.

Scott Peterson Trial


The judge in the Scott Peterson trial moved the trial to San Mateo. The news reports immediately focused on the economic boom to San Mateo that would result from having the trial moved there. Restaurants will be packed, local businesses will benefit. Everyone in San Mateo seemed very happy. I'm so glad the news channels were able to find the positive angle on Lacie and Conor's murder. Sheesh.
posted by Travis on 1/21/2004.

MLK Day


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 75 years old this year. That seems so old for someone who was so young when his image was last caputured by cameras. On MLK day, it seems fitting to talk about alternatives. This weekend, I test-rode in an alternative car - the Toyota Prius, a hybrid vehicle. It seems that eventually we will all be driving (or have to drive) some sort of hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicle. I went to a housewarming party where half the guests were African American doctors and professionals. That's not my normal crowd, and it was a very nice change. And today I am hoping that Howard Dean wins the Iowa primary, and becomes this country's alternative to Bush.
posted by Travis on 1/19/2004.

Jackson's Clothing


MSNBC had an interesting discussion yesterday about what clothing Michael Jackson's lawyer should advise Michael to wear to his court arraignment today. Some lawyers said Michael should wear a suit and tie, to show respect for the system, and distance himself from the weird clothing he normally wears. Other lawyers said he should continue to wear his weird clothing, because that is his persona. Of course, today is only an arraignment - a two minute courtroom appearance. One of the lawyers made what I thought was a good argument for Michael to continue wearing his weird clothing once the trial starts. She said that the jury needs to see that Michael marches to his own drummer, and isn't like the rest of us. That is the only way to comprehend how he could sleep in a bed with children and not be a child molester. On the other hand, if I was on the jury, I think I would like to see that Michael has distanced himself from the weirdness. My prediction - plea agreement: No jail time (he wouldn't survive in jail for a day), probation for a very long time, no contact with children for a very long time.
posted by Travis on 1/16/2004.

January at the gym


January at the gym is always very interesting. Especially Mondays in January. It's the perfect storm: Monday's are the busiest day at the gym because everyone has lofty goals for physical fitness at the beginning of the week. And January is the busiest month, because everyone has their New Year's resolutions. This Monday was the most packed I've ever seen it. And the gym has been doing everything they can to impress potential customers: Fixing broken equipment, keeping the place cleaner than normal, rolling out new programs, hiring extra staff to counsel and train new customers. It's pretty funny to watch. Things I've learned over the past few years about 24 Hour Fitness: Skip the personal training. Buy a fitness book instead - you'll learn more. Wear slippers around the pool. And avoid Monday's in January.
posted by Travis on 1/15/2004.

Five Technology Predictions of 2004


Here's my five technology predictions for 2004: Evidence of water will be discovered on Mars. This will prompt a new space race to put man on Mars. RSS aggregators will become the biggest change to hit the internet since the development of the web browser. They will revolutionize how we view web content. Legislative attempts to curb spam will fail. The volume of spam will cause the internet to experience technical disruptions, prompting technological solutions to the problem. The gap between cell phones, PDA's and laptops will continue to narrow, prompted by an increase in WiFi coverage and a roll-out of nationwide high speed wireless internet access (Verizon). This infrastructure development will fuel the telecom companies' rebound. The next president of the United States will be elected, in part, because of the grass-roots movement created by weblogs, thus marking the movement of grass-roots political campaigns from the sidewalk voter registration drives to the internet.
posted by Travis on 1/12/2004.

In Defense of Marriage


The religious right has proposed a Constitutional Amendment to protect the institution of marriage from gay people who want to get married. Meanwhile, Brittney Spears is able to get married to a childhood friend, and then get that marriage annulled, all in a 24 hour period, because the "joke went too far." Marriage is a joke? And that joke needs to be defended in the Constitution? I'm glad to see the religious right defending Brittney's joke. It makes me proud to be an American.
posted by Travis on 1/6/2004.

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