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January 5, 2000
two years ago

The Next Level

Jennifer actually gave me chile yesterday. Jim had made a batch of steak chili, and since she liked my green chile stew from the chili cook off she brought me a bowl of Jim's chili to try yesterday. I had lunch with Howard, so I saved the chili for today.

I spent the entire day working through everything that needed to be worked through for a single feature, a simple enough renaming of a design element. There were, however, about five complications depending on other elements. It was satisfying to just work them all through, one at a time in a logical order. It was even nicer to have the chili lunch and not have to go outside and spend the time in finding a lunch.

I do have instant potatoes and instant soup in my drawers, but they are lunches of last resort. I also thought about riding the exercise bicycle for lunch, but was so caught up in my coding, that I just gave up on it. I think having the bike at home has made me more amenable to riding in the privacy of my own home rather than on the common equipment. I do, however, miss using the weight machines. I think I was actually getting better when I was actually using them; but I have far less incentive now and far too much to do during the day to make it easy to give up working on that for something as mindless as riding a bike.

There was some morning time spent in an engineering meeting, where we went over all our priorities, what we were involved with, and what needed doing. I think one of the best things about working in this group is the communication between the engineers and our manager, so he knows where we are, and we know where he needs us to be. It's an interesting trade-off, where the exchange works better for both of us.

We didn't get home until late, and all I had the energy to make was refried beans from the Hopping John. We made burritos from the beans, had salads alongside, and then relaxed with Crash Team Racing. We've both found that if we don't do the videogame our brains get too caught up with work to allow us to get to sleep. I guess it says something that the racing game actually allows our minds to slow down enough to go to sleep from work.

There are times when I wonder if times like these are really worth it. I do know, however, that it takes a certain amount of stress to make me work at a level that is a step function above my normal capacity. When I get stressed enough, and I have to, I start to go high-energy on everything from work to relationships, communication to creation, and my thoughts grab at everything and pull it all together far more quickly than when I'm in a relaxed state. I wouldn't call it a particularly happy state, as the stress does get to me in the long-term; however, I would call it an extremely productive state, where ideas seem to come from nowhere quickly, on demand.

Xilinx had a quote up that basically said it was remarkable what a man does when he has to and equally remarkable how little a man does when there is no need. It seems two sides of the same coin. There is a certain satisfaction to being able to do a lot, there is also an equal amount of anxiety about whether or not what I am doing really is worth it. I guess it boils down to what 'it' is. What is it worth? What do I compare against? And what else would I actually rather be doing? I'll admit that the one thing that has suffered the most has been this journal in this past week. Without the time or brain with which to write, or the hands to write it with this really is being set aside for the few times I can relax and just think through the days.

As I leave it, I also realize how important it is to think these things through, rather than just live each day without wondering.

For those who actually are following the stock market...

Yes, the stocks we invested in have dipped significantly. Yet it is equally worthy of note that the levels they have dipped to are about where they were just before the Christmas vacation, just as the NASDAQ index lost the most points it ever lost in a single day and it is at the level it was at a little more than a week ago. I guess the applicable quote is, "Easy come easy go." It is also amusing to note that as significant as the movement was, it is actually something that has amused me. I didn't think that anything involving that large an amount of money wouldn't get a reaction out of me, but after having watched everything for so long it's starting to take on the aspects of a force of nature rather than something that can be deduced or taken on any system of logic. Quite a lot of it simply may be that it's all funny money to start with anyway...

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

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