Almost there...

Friday, May 31, 2002

So it's official. I came in early for a meeting this morning and heard the rumors. I quickly checked my email and found that "...we have decided to postpone the Release 4 implementation date for the Delphi project." The new dates will be decided over the course of the next month, but we're definitely not going live on September 1st.

For some, this has been disappointing, but for me, I'm terribly relieved. I've been saying for quite a while now that we were solidly 3 months behind schedule. I was in a meeting Tuesday where I found out that they were only planning to run one test payroll through the system before we took the system live to the campus. If that one test run didn't go well, there was no time to do another. Knowing how long it took us to get everything right for PeopleSoft, and how many more interfaces there were coming in for Oracle, and how many payroll runs we did just to be sure on the PeopleSoft project, I was seriously thinking of starting to look for a new job again. I did not want to be responsible for this pending disaster in any way.

Now that things have been adjusted, and we're taking an extra 2-3 months to get it right, the only thing I hope is that this doesn't leave people feeling like they have more breathing room. We need to keep working at the pace we were going, get everything ready for September, and spend that extra time working on the kinks in the system. I just hope that's how everyone else views it, but that's not the feeling I get from everyone here today. There's more of a feeling that the pressure is off. Really, it's increased. Given the extra time, we're expected to deliver something better than marginally functional.

Here's hoping for the best.

Wow. The Shrub never ceases to amaze me. I thought I'd had a stunning morning before reading this.

Addendum: Please make the President stop travelling!

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Okay, so weird thing of the day:

I came in this morning to find a black blob on a piece of paper that looked something like a rodent poop. All around it were brown greasy marks, like the poop had been rolled around. Ew.

So I brought this to the attention of the admin, who immediately freaked out, but brought the evidence to the building manager.The building manager called pest control, and the most cheerful pest control guy ever showed up here a few minutes ago. After a thorough inspection of the evidence, he determined that this was not rodent turd. Instead, it was dead earthworm, and the brown greasy marks were from the earthworm flopping around before it died. This did not in any way assuage the Ew factor of the thing.

This leaves a bounty of questions. How did an earthworm crawl up to my desk and die leads the list. What I do notice though is that the worm seems to have crawled through my little zen rock garden on his journey, kicking out a little sand where he exited.

So, yeah, a life and death struggle occurred on my desk last night. Death won. Ew.

Take five!

Okay, really quick, work is insanely busy. I walked back in on Tuesday to find I was suddenly having to work at project pace. Bleh. I sat at my desk for less than an hour yesterday. The rest was consumed by a series of meetings and time spent in the lab working on testing scripts.

But that's not what I planned to write about!

Yosemite was really cool. On Friday we wandered out there, stopping along the way whenever the mood struck us. We bought cherries along the side of the road. We browsed through a housing development in Los Banos. We stopped by Dairy Queen for a chocolate dipped cone (my favorite!) for me and a Blizzard for Rick. We stopped by a flea market/crafts fair thingy in Coarse Gold, where Rick bought a set a bagpipes (!) and where Sam (the proprietor of the music store) threw in a tabor pipe for free. When we finally made it to the inn, we found our room small, but quite nice. We made reservations for the hot tub at 9:30 and headed the rest of the way to the park gate. We bought a National Park Pass and headed in. We stopped for dinner at the Wawona hotel. It was the perfect Victorian elegance I wanted just then. We both had some of the best tomato soup I've ever eaten and shared a pork loin entree. One flaming candle atop my slice of chocolate mousse cake for dessert and I was pretty happy with my birthday.

The next day we took a tour of Pioneer Village and had a Stage Coach ride (sadly without a goose for Aunt Matilda) at the Wawona. Then we ventured out to the Mariposa Grove to see the really big trees. Rick swears I tried to kill him hiking up to the museum. But the big trees were really cool, and the most interesting of them was on the second portion up the hill. We concluded our day with a moonlit train ride and songs around the campfire. At the barbecue before the train ride, we had the good fortune to sit down with a couple from L.A. She's a teacher, and he's in computers. Rick chose wisely in picking a table.

On Sunday we went down to the valley floor and rode our bikes around. Unfortunately, the bike paths are also pedestrian paths, and the pedestrians didn't seem to be aware that they needed to share. I started by saying, "Passing on your left." and not getting any response. We stopped off at the Yosemite Lodge to see if they sold bike bells. They didn't, but the clerk suggested just screaming, "Roadkill!", stating that that seems to be the only thing that worked for him. That did, in fact, work for me as well, but when we made our way around to Curry Village, I checked in at the bike shop there and got a bell nonetheless. After that, I only had to resort to screaming "Roadkill!" once. The worst was the guy talking on the cell phone who meandered right in front of me. Scary. At about 5:30, we started contemplating what to do with our evening. At stop at the Ahwahnee earlier in the day had brought to our attention that we didn't bring clothes enough to dine there. Rick's black jeans and button down shirt definitely didn't meet the sport jacket requirement. This left me wondering, "Who the heck brings a sports jacket to the woods?" But apparently, those in their 50s do think of such things. Go figure. So dinner at the Ahwahnee was out, and traffic out of the valley was at a standstill, backed up for miles. So we rode around for a while longer, and ended up at the Yosemite Lodge for a lovely dinner looking out on the Yosemite Fall. On our way back to the inn, we made a detour up to Glacier Point. This is the place to go to understand the true majesty of Yosemite. Walking up in the moonlight, we saw the silhouette of deer munching on the foliage. Venturing out to the point, I looked down into the Valley and across to the falls and Half Dome and realized exactly why this place inspires so much awe. Rick was not quite so impressed. He was suffering the effects of 8000 feet of altitude, a day of biking, and a fear of heights. We headed back down and to bed.

Monday morning we decided to head straight home rather than risk running late by going to the Ahwahnee for lunch. We stopped at the best little coffee shop in Oakhurst. They roast their own beans, and we had stopped in there for coffee and chai a few days earlier. At breakfast we ran into Joseph and Elaine from the Moonlight Train Ride and ended up spending another hour over breakfast chatting with them. Little did I know that the Great Breakfast Quest would stretch to Yosemite, but I gotta admit, this was the best breakfast I’ve had in ages. And the coffee was fantastic!.

We made it home by 3:00 with minimal interference from other travelers. Before heading up to Berkeley for dinner with Kevin and to the Plough for dancing, we managed to do laundry, and I dyed my hair. I woke up Tuesday morning ready to face work. The four day weekend was the perfect mini-vacation I’ve been needing.

Friday, May 24, 2002

Today is my 28th birthday. It started this morning with something of a rather rude wake up call at 6am by a fax machine thinking our home number was someone it wanted to talk to. Rather than trying to get back to sleep, we took it as our opportunity to get an early start on the journey to Yosemite.

Weeeeeee!

Thursday, May 23, 2002

One of my users (I say my as if they were something I had any control over. I guess it's my, as in they come to me and I try to look after them, or did until I left the Persona team) actually sent me a gift for helping her out. Becky often calls, feeling completely befuddled because she's trying to do something in the system that she hasn't done recently. I always talk her through it. She's such a sweet woman. And yesterday she sent me a Starbuck's gift card and a note saying "Thanks so much for all your PeopleSoft help and great support always!"

Moments like that make all the 12 hour days in January and February seem worthwhile. I really miss helping her and the other PeopleSoft users. They're such great folks trying to do good work and I loved being their safety net.

I'm having a weird experience at work. For the past two weeks or so, everyone is complimenting me on work well done. Now maybe it's just that I haven't gotten much of anything resembling recognition for the last year or so, but it feels weird. Almost artificial somehow. Like a secret memo was passed around campus saying, "Hey, make sure you compliment Ammy on her work."

I'm not complaining. It just feels weird. And good.

Friday, May 17, 2002

Went to see Episode 2 last night. It was, well, it was, hmm, well, okay, so Yoda kicks ass. Beyond that, it had a lot of the feel of "and here's a good part for a video game spin-off" and "oh, I know an easy pun I can put in here" and "oh look, this part could make a good video game too!" It was fun being there with a good audience. Lots of cheers, laughter, and even hissing (when Jar-Jar first appeared). It's amazing how much that adds to the experience of a film.

Afterwards, we headed over to Becketts to join the Thursday night dance crowd. It was a good time. I'd never managed to make it before since it does seem a bit crazy to drive to Berkeley two nights a week and stay up too late. But since we were in the neighborhood, it was a great time to see what it's like. The band was great. The dance space was small, but adequate. And seeing more friends (Josh, Will, Magenta, etc.) was lots of fun. We headed home about 11:30, happily danced out, and ready for bed.

I hate to say it, but I'll be happy when Episode 3 comes out just so it will all be over. Sigh. And then I'll get the original trilogy on DVD and that will be that.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Okay, so the pieces are falling into place. We've got tickets for Star Wars on Thursday at the Grand Lake at 7pm. They're STILL not even sold out. I know it's not a digital projection system, but I still think the Grand Lake is the right place to see this (or any great) movie. It was absolutely perfect for Moulin Rouge.

Today we also finally settled on a plan for my birthday. We're headed to Yosemite to the Narrow Gauge Inn. Should be a lovely and relaxing weekend.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Wow. I was browsing the Yosemite.com website this morning because we're thinking of going there for my birthday. When I came back after my haircut at lunch, suddenly the page I was looking at wouldn't refresh. I went back to the home page, it was all different. Apparently, today was the day they launched their new website. And I'm probably one of the first to notice the difference. Very odd.

Friday, May 10, 2002

On Wednesday night, I went to see Aspects of Love with Fred at the Lucie Stern Theater. It's an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Watching it on Friday, I kept thinking that there was going to be some great catharsis, some great thing tying it all together. But then the play ended, and there never was. To summarize the plot myself would take too much time, so I'll just point you to someone else's adequate summary. It was just such a weird show. I guess it's bugging me just because there was no catharsis, but I just find myself wishing I could ask Mr. Webber, "Why did you tell me this story?" There was a bunch of other unanswered questions. Topping the list is "Is Jenny Alex's daughter?" And if so, ewwww!

So, perhaps the best part of the show, was meeting Fred's friend Sara Betts, who played Giulietta. She sang us her parody of the show's major love song (which normally says "Love, love changes everything...") Her parody was, "I, I kiss everyone, men and women, children too..." Still, even as someone who counts myself poly, I found myself utterly confounded by the relationships in this show. Heck, others have offered a relationship flowchart to try to explain it all. But perhaps played a little differently, or with a little more explanation, maybe it was just a tale about polyamory in the end. Except for that whole potential incest thing. Hmm. Weird show.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Found out today that I qualify for Mensa based on SAT scores that I was disappointed with in high school. It's an odd sort of feeling. I always thought of people in Mensa as super braniacs, but my vision of them has been slowly but steadily crumbling of late. The starting blow was when Mensa decided not to endorse Chrononauts because they said it was "too complicated". They're allowed not to like the game, but to think it's too complicated goes against everything that Mensa is supposed to be about.

Okay, so this story sounds like something out of Fahrenheit 451, with a dash of Keystone Cops for flavor. This kid, unfortunately named Lucas, decided it would be a good idea to drive across the country, planing mailbox pipe bombs that explode to make smiley face patterns. That just blows me away, but then the article gets me even more.

They felt compelled to mention both that he was a "clean-cut, 21-year-old college student and one-time rock band member", because clearly both of those things have so much to do with his being a bomber.

And that he was pulled over 3 times in the last few days, and:

"Two were speeding stops -- near St. Edward, Nebraska, just after midnight Saturday and in Fowler, Colorado, before 3 p.m. Sunday.

"The third was a stop for failure to wear a seat belt about 2 p.m. Saturday near Watonga, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma trooper also cited Helder for an expired driver's license."

So, the first two times they stopped him, they didn't even notice his license was expired, let alone suspect that he might be the bomber, even though in the next paragraph it says that the officer who stopped him reported he told him he ""didn't mean to hurt anybody" as he approached. The Colorado trooper said Helder "appeared to be very nervous and had very watery eyes like he was going to cry."" . Wow. Well, I guess he was just so "clean-cut" that he couldn't possibly be a suspect. I have a growing lack of respect for law enforcement officers in America.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Oh weblog, how I've neglected you!

So the Great Breakfast Mission continued on Sunday, this time with Cyrus and Athena as cohorts. We headed to a place I'd been once before for dinner in Los Gatos about 2 and a half years ago when we first moved down. Sweet Pea's is a little tiny cafe with room for about 10 people inside and another 8 outside. They do both sweet and savory crepes, quiches, sandwiches, salads, and some other assorted breakfast items. Rick and I both had the Ham, Egg, and Cheese crepe, and I savored every mouthful. Next time I want to try their Veggie Scramble - one egg, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and cheddar topped with sour cream and salsa. Mmmm... We even treated ourselves to dessert after breakfast. Rick and I split a strawberries and cream crepe, and Athena and Cyrus split a Creme Brulee. This one was definitely a winner. The prices were great, the coffee was decent, the crepes were fabulous (and available in either original or buckwheat varieties), and there's a bunch of other things I want to try there. The only downside to it was that there wasn't enough seating space. There's only one table for four in the entire place, and a couple was sitting at it when we arrived. We ended up taking two tables for two outside.

After breakfast, we headed over to the Century 21 for a matinee of Spiderman. The Century 21 is huge. The line wrapped around the building when we arrived, but we still got decent seats. The theater seemed wholly unprepared for the start of the summer movie season though. Once they finally started letting us in, the concession lines stretched back to the doors of the theater. The movie ended up starting about 10 minutes late. They were just really understaffed for a sell-out crowd. And it's only another week or so til Star Wars. It's going to be a fun movie summer. Spidey was great. I've still got high hopes for Star Wars. And there's more coming that could be good as well - Scooby Doo, MIB 2, etc. Okay, sure, there's no Moulin Rouge or Amelie in there, but there's some good clean summer blockbuster kind of fun.

Friday, May 03, 2002

Ugh. Well, I lose. After having spent (wasted!) 2 hours on the phone and IM yesterday coordinating the purchase of tickets for Star Wars Episode 2, I was screwed out of getting tickets because the theater had someone answering the phone who didn't know jack. He told me that they went on sale at 9:30 am and that they couldn't be purchased over the phone or online. Also, there may or may not be a per person ticket limit of 4. So I mobilized Ray and Shawna to go buy tickets. They got there around 9:15 to find them already sold out. How? Well, they went on sale over the phone at 8am apparently, and were selling them at the box office then too.

Is it too much to ask that when people have been waiting to see a movie for several years that the person answering the phone has a basic fact sheet about ticket sales?

So half of my friends get to go because Forest bought tickets over the phone for them. Me, I guess I'll be sleeping.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Yesterday was a lovely Beltane, the only downside of which was that by the end of the day, I far too tired to actually write about it. I started the morning with a 4am wake-up call. Dragging myself from bed at such an unnatural hour was mitigated by promising myself I would find coffee before heading out to the Palo Alto Baylands. I stopped in at Krispy Kreme and grabbed 2 dozen donuts and one large cup o' java, then headed for the flats. Out on the bayflats, the only light was from car headlights and the ambiant light of the entire city. There were no street lamps and everything had just a dim glow of pre-dawn. I parked and walked over. Shortly after walking up, the Abbot's Bromley moved forward. Shadows of men with deer horns made their way around the space. This was followed by lots of exuberant Morris dancing from several local teams, including Deer Creek, Mad Molly, Mayfield, and the newest addition (and the one that got me up at 4am when saner souls were sleeping) Faultline. Faultline is Bill Batty and Emily Gladstone's newly formed team. They looked great, and I definitely felt a pull to try out dancing with them next year. Dancing concluded around 7am, and we headed out for the post-dance feast. Ric Goldman kindly hosted the dancers from all the various teams. Cynthia, Bill, Emily and I surrounded Alexander, now 3 months old, and cooed over him and talked about life. Cynthia, like most new mothers, decided to cut her hair, and her new bob looks charming. Sitting around thawing out after the morning's revels, I mused, "You know what sounds really good right now - tubbing." Cynthia heartily agreed. We'd both been on the sidelines instead of dancing and I think we were well more frozen as a result. So we called Watercourse, and believe it or not, they actually open at 8:30am! By 9:20, now pleasantly full of waffles and other breakfast treats, we found ourselves soaking in the newly renovated Room 8. By 10:30, I was ready to face the office feeling every bit the very northern California girl that I am.