previous next index

December 1, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Doing Something for Myself

After the long, deep sleep, I was actually organized in the morning. I managed to pack a lunch, get everything together, pack grocery bags for grocery shopping, remembered my ticket from Mike's for my digital camera as they had said that it was ready to be picked up, and even loaded all the empty milk bottles into the car before we left for work. The one mistake I made was leaving my lunch on the kitchen counter, because I got distracted by the milk bottles. Not too bad.

I was pretty busy chasing the smoking section from yesterday, trying to determine the causes well some of the effects. There were a lot of variables, and part of the problem was that too many of them were determined by my own development environment. So I tried to narrow everything down to the minimum set of causes. This involved quite a lot of experimentation, pulling out in putting in entire system pieces that took quite a while. It took so long, in one instance, that I decided that I would go and ride the exercise bicycle in the exercise room as I waited for it to be put in place.

So I took the first bicycle ride I've managed to actually take in quite awhile, and I felt it. I drink a lot of water all-day, in part to flush out all the muscle fatigue acids that CeLena had stirred up the night before,and mostly because I realized I haven't been drinking enough liquid for awhile. The problem is once I start to concentrate on something, I forget to do anything else. Anyway, after riding the bike, I took an extra 10 to 15 minutes experimenting with the weight lifting machines in the exercise room. I used no to little weight on anything, just trying to get technique down. I suddenly realized that the reason my wrists were hurting as much as they were was because I spent a lot of Sunday afternoon playing with John's racing game. Not a very wise decision, but it was fun. The exercise, however, helped everything feel better, and a concentrated on lightweight work on my upper body and arms. Stronger muscles would help support my wrists better.

The exercise felt very good, and it really helped me feel as if I were taking care of myself. There are emotional phases I have where I feel really bad, but when I take action, simply doing something seems to help. It can be anything, and it feels even better if I follow-up later with more actions. That lesson I seem to keep learning over and over again.

Finally, by the end of the afternoon, I was able to isolate the problem to the point where I simply had to hand it off to the engineer, and they would take care of the rest of it. The problem case was very specific and could be recreated easily.

After work, John and I went into Boulder. We had three things we had to do, find diesel for the Passat, get my camera from Mike's Camera, and go shopping at Whole Foods. The plan was actually go to Mike's first, but when traffic and road lines prevented me from turning in the way that I originally had thought I could, I ended up in a gas station that sold diesel. So John cheerfully hopped out and filled the tank and we were on our way. Mike's was right around the corner, and we went upstairs to the digital imaging and repair center. Mike's Camera is a really good photography store that carries all the equipment and does all the processing. They have six different areas of expertise around the store where one can get questions answered and look at a wide variety of equipment. Repairs, however, is upstairs, and it was a very simple process to walk up, hand over my ticket, and get my camera.

Written on the slip was a description of what they did. The only repair information was that they took out and cleaned the reset circuitry and then did a factory cleaning of the entire camera. I immediately thought about all the dust we stirred up in Breckenridge, and fact that the camera had been sitting in the interior of the Land Rover without any dust protection whatsoever. I was also very impressed that after all the banging around in our various vehicles, that something physical hadn't broken at all within the Olympus D-500L. Still, it never serves to tempt fate. So the first thing I did, after paying for the repair and getting my camera was go and buy a camera bag for it. They had an entire wall filled with camera bags of various sizes, shapes, and materials. John found one with a gorilla on the zipper pull, that was about the right size. I found another, plainer one hanging a little further away and was amused to find that the price was lower but the materials were better and it was more sturdily built. I guess you really pay for the gorilla.

With all that done, we went on to Whole Foods. We had three milk bottles, and John returned those while I looked for carrots. The only three things I wanted to get today were whole oats, carrots, and milk. I made the list up while we were still in the car, so I wouldn't go wandering around the store feeling lost and grumpy because of low blood sugar. So, the two of us zoomed through the store, found everything, and checked out through the Express Lane. The three dollars we got back for the deposit on the bottles actually paid for our milk and the oats.

Dinner was quick. John needed to work, so I just microwaved some of the cha shu bow and, on the stove top, doctored up Mom's turkey soup with some of the turkey, some sweet corn, a rubbing of sage, pepper, and just a touch of salt. I think Chinese soups are really good, but they are commonly very subtle. With the cold weather we were both in the mood for something a little more hearty, and the adjustments worked very well. It also took about 10 minutes.

I really don't get the people who say cooking for themselves takes too much time. Often, in the time it would take for delivery pizza boy to arrive at my door I'm able to get a dinner together that is far more to my taste and probably a whole lot healthier for me. I probably should put time estimates on how long things take and people could see for themselves that it doesn't take that much time.

After dinner, John went to work, and I went upstairs to take care of my journal. Since my hands are such a mess, I really should dictate everything, rather than typing, so some of these entries may take a little more time for me to get out. They'll be coming out in batches, when I do get the time to sit down with the dictation software, so the frequency shouldn't go down. I and still fairly amazed at the speed with which I can 'type', though there are long periods of correcting the thing between long periods of making words as quickly as I can speak them. The real delay becomes the shaping of sentences within my own brain.

I do notice that my paragraphs get longer when I dictate. There are other structural changes that differ from when I type, but it is interesting to realize that this is one of those interfaces that enables a more direct transference of what is in my brain to what is on your screen. No fingers required.

I did read, last week, about a disabled man who had a chip implanted in his head with that new medium on it that encourages neuron growth onto the chip. He was then able to concentrate on trying to move his fingers, which an accident had cut off neurologically, and having the chip pickup this neural activity and transmit it to a receiver on his head that would then relay that activity information to a computer that would translate that into motion of the cursor on the computer screen. When the doctor was interviewed, he was horrified at even the suggestion of using such technology and someone who wasn't severely disabled, because it was such an invasive procedure just to do something everyone else can take for granted, i.e. move ones fingers. That was a very interesting way to look at all.

Two meta-comments: it's interesting to realize that I have fallen into something of a rut, or maybe it is a framing process, and that I seem to begin and end most of my daily entries now by being in bed. Not bad way, I guess, to delineate the days. Which leads, in part, to the other comment because I have been reading entries from two years ago and one year ago.

From two years ago, it seems so amazing to remember the emotional uncertainty of that time and compare it to my present situation. There's such a chasm, not only of time, but of my own personal changes. It seems so self-absorbed to look back and comment, but it really does play with my own need to be conscious of where I am and what level I want to play at in the future. I really have learned, in the past two years, that I am a good engineer on my own. Since John took the job that has nothing to do with development, I have essentially been leading the development group. Not in the same ways he did, but quite a few people now look to me for answers. That was something I never had while I was in Synario and still in the shadow of John's abilities and history there. Being able to leave that history behind was probably one of the best things I could've done for myself.

Knowing that has really helped with my own confusion of the past few months. Having it reinforced frequently at work and by John has also helped. I still get bouts of self-hate, but with ammunition like that it should be something easier to fight in the long run.

Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.

[ Previous | Next | Index | Mail ]