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March 11, 1999
a year ago


Went to Tony Roma's for dinner, ordered take-out and as I was sitting there waiting for the food, I nearly fainted. Just too tired and too hungry and way, way, way too out of it. I had been thinking about doing shopping and a few other things before getting home to eat dinner, but decided that it would be the better part of valor to just get home. So I did.

Got Fezzk out of his pen, got him inside and fed him and stuff before re-nuking the hot food and then sitting down to eat. For some reason Fezzik was antsy and whimpery. I think it was 'cause John was gone, but I'm not sure. I finally got him to just lie down and he finally got quieter, and so I ate with full enjoyment. Roma's does ribs pretty well, tender and tasty and crisp on the edges, good grilled taste. The side dishes were enough to feed two, so I actually stuck half of all of them and half the slab back into the fridge, then took Fezzik for his walk.

We got accosted by two other dogs, both ones that I didn't recognize. One was a golden that usually is shut up in a garage, so I was kinda glad to see him out and about, in one way, but with the traffic just screeching through Montage, I was kinda unhappy about it in another way. It's an odd tradeoff, but I guess one that goes with life, that of security versus freedom. I kinda liked it when Fezzik got to roam around and see people, he had the freedom to go out and do what he liked. The problem was that I worried about him getting hit by a car or getting lured by someone that liked him too much into going off with them.

The golden followed me a while, trying to beg a biscuit off me as I'd a handful of them for Fezzik. Eventually I just shoo'ed the dog off and Fezzik was really good and went with me instead of after the dog. That's something that I would have thought impossible at one point. But he went ahead of me and kept going. The rest of the walk was fairly uneventful and so we got home again. For some reason Fezzik was really restless again when we got home, but after I ignored it for long enough he settled down with his head on my foot.

I was at the dining room table using an X-acto knife, my little Swiss Army pen knife and a sharp pair of scissors to start figuring out how to cut the feathers that I had into quills. The main problem was evident the moment I pulled out the quills I'd bought from Pendemonium. The feathers were way lighter than the quills that I'd bought, and the shafts were softer and a bit more slender. That was a real problem for longevity of the nib when I finally did get one cut. Two problems with it, one was that the shaft material on the feather was too thin to do really well at maintaining the split point so that it would actually stay together and the second was that once I actually did get a point cut, it wouldn't hold up against rubbing against the surface of the paper for very long.

It's funny. Nearly all the web sites I've run across have said to 'just cut a point and then split it with an X-acto knife', which is entirely laughable when you're faced with a real feather. The split in the nib isn't just a cut, it's an actual split as the fibers of the quill run parallel to the length of the shaft. If you get a tough enough quill to actually write with, the shaft is equally tough and nearly impossible to just 'cut'. The actual process involves a few extra cuts and a splitting and then the carving of the tip to a proper shape to support keeping the tines together yet also thinning it enough to write.

I have yet to see a web site with that cutting information. I have a book by Geoff Roe called Writing Instruments A Technical History of How They Work that has how to cut a real nib in pictures right in it. It's very nice, but not real useful for these really tender quills.

I have a feeling that the split-point quill nib won't work on these feathers. And I got frustrated enough that I just stopped trying it and went to the metal dip pens for a while. It's so much less frustrating. Amusingly enough, I was reading a few web pages about quills and dip pens and some stupid page said that the dip pen nibs had to be redipped every few words when, from experience, that's clearly not the case. Most of the dip pen nibs I've had write at least a sentence before they have to be dipped again, and a few of the finer, stiffer accountant points which don't waste ink on expressive qualities can go half a page at a time before they have to be redipped.

So I just wrote gibberish. I had no brain left after work, after being so tired, after all the stuff that went on. So there wasn't really much in there other than thoughts spawned off from watching a James Bond movie.

I finally gave up and took a bath. A warm bath that eventually cooled to my body temperature and then I just closed my eyes and I was just floating. Not pulled in any way by any desires or any actions. Just floating, and I found that it was not just the sensation of floating, but an inner mirroring of that feeling within. Emotionally, I was finally just floating, not driven, not particularly worried any more, just letting go of it all. What happens happens, and it's all committed to already. No decisions for the next few weeks, just simple actions.

It felt good.

Sleep was deep and filled with coherent dreams of getting things done.

It's a really bright day again. I don't know what happened to the weather, it's like the sun finally decided to play or something. It would have been great to have the roofers out now, while it's possible and dry to actually change it all out. But I don't think that really can happen until a few weeks out. We'll see.

Work's work. All afternoon meeting coming up and I'm not sure how to approach it and I have some prep work that has to be done...

Both harder and easier than I thought. There's a lot of momentum when it comes to a big company. Not a bad thing or a good thing, simply a personality detail, that's sometimes really hard to appreciate. I'm so used to moving so fast, and when things move really slow it seems frustrating, but it really does mean that later folks are going to be happier, so I guess I can work with it. I guess I'd better...

Though, admittedly, the people are really cool.

I think John's coming back in tonight, but I hvae no idea when and I don't really know what's up, so I might just pick up some green onions and eat ramen at home and maybe get something for dessert. That should help. I think I just hit my first wall of what working for a company of more than a thousand folks is like, again.

Some part of me wonders if, when I was only 20 some odd if I really might have known what I was doing when I swore I'd never work for a company with more than 200 people again. Then again, the Boulder site has fewer than that so it *might* work for a while. Politics suck but I'll also admit that nothing really big gets done without it, in some form or another.

Okay, so some part of me really is terrified. Terrified of getting lost in a big organization, and, perhaps all the worse, losing myself in such an organization. I've been complacent in Big Company jobs before, the ones where it's a real hassle to get fired, and there really isn't anything interesting to do. It's when and where I wrote the bulk of my cyberpunk stories and all that kind of stuff. Not a bad tradeoff, but it's something that I wonder about.

I mean... for some reason it's really hard for Raven or Mark or a few other folks to understand that I have, as a really intimate part of me, what makes me up, a technical soul. Something that loves diving into the code, into the bits, into the wires, even into stuff that is as nit-picky as sizing transistors. That revels in all that hard data, no-nonsense, clean lines of what works and what doesn't work, what's an elegant solution and loves it. I don't think I'll ever lose that part of me so long as I don't abuse it and don't go overboard on the overnight binges of work kind of thing. And I don't want to lose it.

It might get tired and sore some times just before release when I've been flogging my brain to get the next piece of coding done, and then test it as well and then do the tech docs on it as well. But I don't think I've burnt it completely out the way some folks have, like one guy I know at Microsoft who is already dreaming, two years out, about all the non-technical things he's going to do ones he retires. Sure it'd be nice to retire at 35, but I'm not at all sure that it'd be worth giving up an essential piece of what made me me.

Maybe it's just that I'm a girl and it's just so much harder for me to be technical and taken technically that I've fought so hard for it I have no desire to give it up and just sit at home and write.

Anyway, it's just a thought. I don't really think I can lose something that I've fought so hard to gain. And I'm pretty sure that John may well help me out with all that when we get there. I know that Mark will ask the right questions.

Anyway... got home and fed myself and Fezzik and took him out for his walk. John appeared right after I got home again. Ross called before I'd left and there had been two cards on the counter. Turns out that one of the folks that was with one of those agents was really interested in the house, wanted to make an offer, but it turns out that the Relocation office won't allow contingency offers. They don't want to be stuck with a house for a while, which makes some sense. There is some possibility that the guy can get a bridge loan from whoever is moving them here, but no chickens yet.

But this is after only three days of really having it on the market. Someone is coming to see the house tomorrow. We should have a number of folks coming in over the weekend. It could be very interesting on the whole.

And, yes, it was nice to have John home again.

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