Almost there...

Monday, June 29, 2009


It's after midnight, I've got a huge week ahead of me, and it's 83 degrees in my house. I really wish I had four grand to blow on adding an air conditioner to my existing heating system. It's too hot to sleep, and I really really need sleep.

It will get better. This only happens 5-10 days a year. I should suck it up. But oy, I hate not being able to sleep. I hate it even more when I know I won't have any time to make up the lost sleep and I need to be at the very top of my game.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Too Darned Hot

It's 88 degrees in my house. It's too hot to work. It's too hot to clean. It's to hot to be here. I'm getting out. Here's hoping it cools off by bedtime.

Friday, June 26, 2009

T Minus 5 Days

At the end of the week, I checked with my colleagues to see what I'd forgotten during the week ("Do I owe you anything?"). Turns out I stayed on top of things better than I'd thought.

So, I headed home on time, with everything ready for Monday's classes. Home to kitty snuggles, soaking my feet while enjoying Mythbusters, and New York Super Fudge Chunk to finish it all off.

I totally survived this week, and I'm ready for another one. We're totally going to get this thing done. It's really going to happen. This project may actually end. Wow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I just finished teaching the Advanced Stanford Calendar for folks who manage large events, manage resource calendars, or manage other people's calendars. It went well. There were some frowny faces as downsides were realized, but now at least those folks are armed to deal with it.

Then, no shit, there I was, sitting at my desk after class, reading my mail and my manager walks past and says hi to someone who was just in my class. He says, "So what brings you to this neck of the woods." They stop without 8 feet between them, one standing on one side of my door, the other on the other, neither aware that I can overhear them both. She says, "Oh I was just here for calendar training." He says, "How'd that go?" And she says, "It was great. I feel so prepared. You all have been so supportive during this change. These sorts of things are always a challenge, but I feel really prepared for this one."

And I just glowed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

T Minus 12 Days

My 10:30 demo organizer sent a frantic email at 10:05 - can you be here now?! Other presenter had flaked, so I grabbed everything and ran out the door.

The campus class registration system had a bug that allowed more people to sign up for a class than there were seats in the room. Morning was spent scrambling for a second room. Sent email at 10 announcing we could accommodate all registered and wait listed learners. Lunch was spent planning our approach. Classes went off well due in no small part to assistance from Nancy and her team doing massive crowd control. A patch is now in place. This won't happen again. Yay.

The printer filled it's waste cartridge. It can't be emptied. It has to be replaced. There was a spare in the cupboard, but it's for a totally different printer. 65 students enrolled tomorrow and only 40 copies to distribute. I'll deal with that in the morning.

Today was hard. And long. Tired now. Send macaroni and cheese!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Home Stretch

There is a calendar that tracks classroom availability.
There is a registration system that tracks what classes are available.
There is a list of available classes on the Tech Training web site.
There are emails coming in requesting local training sessions.
There is my calendar. There is Jo-Ann's calendar.

My greatest fear over the next two weeks is that I have somehow double-booked something or forgotten to list a class in one place, leading to a bunch of students showing up and there being no instructor, or me showing up and there being no students. I'm teaching at least twice a day every day for the next two weeks, and sometimes more and sometimes on multiple topics. Tomorrow's 2 p.m. class has 83 people signed up. I sure hope this goes well. 14 days until everyone is using the new calendar!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It All Works Out

One of the things I'm known for saying around the office is "It'll all work out." I have to say it. I have to believe it. If I didn't, I'd get stuck fighting fights that don't really need to be fought because if I just leave it alone, the odds are, it'll all work out anyway. This has served me well over the years.

Today I had to BELIEVE it. And it did. It all worked out. I overcame printer failures, running out of paper, teaching a class I wasn't planning to teach from materials that weren't finished until 8 p.m. last night by someone other than me, so I only had today to get familiar with them (and printed!) between my presentations from 8:30 - 10 and the time the class started at 1 p.m. I overcame the aside from the T.A. who usually checks folks in and distributes materials where he said he couldn't be there at 11 and didn't have a backup. Meanwhile, my 1 p.m. class was being video taped by a presentation coach because my boss doesn't like the word "crap."

The lowest point of my day was when I went to my manager, totally desperate for someone to T.A. the class since I couldn't realistically check folks in, keep the class on a strict time schedule to not run into the 2 p.m. class, and be video taped to demonstrate my performance. I led with, "I'm having a really bad day..." and he cut in with, "I'm having a really bad month!" And I just stopped. And I avoided turning on heel and just saying nevermind. And I didn't cry. I took a deep breath and started to explain what I needed, whereupon the T.A. came back by and said, "Mary can cover. She'll check folks in." And I said thank you. And my manager asked if I was just venting or if there was something I needed him to do. And I just said, "Not anymore."

But the classes went, and went relatively well.

All I want now is a fruity drink or a hot tub. Instead, I will catch up on the email that accumulated while everything else fell apart.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Balancing Act

In my job, for every project, there are always a chorus of folks who say, "But no one told me this was happening!!!" and a chorus of folks who say, "Stop spamming me! I don't care about this!!!" There is no way to balance those two and make everyone happy. But I try. I try, and I fail.

For my current #1 project, we took great pains to identify only people who were actively using the tool we're moving from, and to create a special mailing list that only includes those who are affected by this move so that when I send email it only reaches them and no one else. I have sent a total of six emails to this list. Every time I send a message, I get requests to be removed from the list, but my marching orders are that everyone who is affected has to stay on the list, so I refuse their requests to be removed. This tends to generate a lot of snotty, belligerent emails about how I have no right to spam that person. This just annoys me on so many levels, but my main question is: are six emails about a free service that you use for your work, from your employer's representative, on your company-provided email account really spam? Really? If so, your world must be so unrelentingly frustrating that I can't imagine you even have time to write me snotty messages on company time. And for the record, my sympathy for your problem is negatively correlated to your use of the word spam when these are messages that have been meticulously crafted, sent for approval, revised, and re-reviewed prior to sending. If I wanted to spam you, I'd sign your email address up for a free porn site, and then you'd learn the meaning of the word spam.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fezziwigs Celebrates 4th of July

Last year, watching the Alameda Parade, standing next to Elizabeth, I thought, "Fezziwigs should totally do this!" I turned and said so to Elizabeth. She said, "Yeah?" I said, "Yeah!"

So I had a little dream to fulfill. Imagine a couple dozen Fezzis waltzing past the judging stand. Imagine a Mr. Fezziwig waving to the crowd. Imagine us in corsets and boots and bonnets in July! Well, okay, yeah, it's crazy. Totally crazy. A group that reenacts fictitious English folks marching in an Independence Day parade. Oh yes, that's my kind of crazy!

So I figured it out. I applied. I asked the cast. Turns out, it's their kind of crazy too! Woohoo! I love these guys.

Last night, I got home, and there was a letter from the Alameda Mayor's 4th of July Parade Committee. It said, "Consider your entry into the parade approved." Apparently, we're Alameda's kind of crazy too! Yay!

So, alongside the war veterans and the girl scouts and the church groups and Trader Joe's and Forbidden Island, there will be ladies in corsets and bonnets and gents in top hats and tail coats, waltzing down Park Street. This is going to be awesome!!!


You know how they say to do something that scares you? Well, Emily talked me into taking a voice class with her, so on Tuesday evenings, starting June 30th, I'm going to take singing lessons.

I have long argued that I'm a dancer for a good reason: I can't sing. But years ago, Janelle talked me into doing Balkan singing with her for a Lenaia, and I did and it wasn't horrible. I just never learned how to do it right and always felt awkward doing it in front of others. So, face my fears, suck it up, and learn how. Here's hoping it's a good experience.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Self-Driving Cars?!

Oh how I have longed for self-driving cars. The Heinlein vision of roadways where you queue up and are merged into the pattern and the car takes over til you get off the freeway has long appealed as the most efficient merging of public and private transportation. Cars can be tighter packed on the roadway because they're all going exactly the same speed and not changing lanes willy-nilly to jockey for a better spot. Having to have each driver alert and skilled is a crazy waste of resources. My hope has long been that this could be implemented on the freeways first, and then city streets analyzed at a later time, but that all freeway driving would let you sit back and read a book, do your make-up, eat lunch, talk on the phone, text a friend and so on - you know, all those things that people do anyway but really shouldn't? Yeah, that.

So imagine my delight when I see this video of a guy with a rental car in Japan. Can I has now please? It makes me want to take a trip to Japan just to try it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Sometimes my job just hurts me. And I'm not referring to the ache in my wrists from too much time on the computer.

No, I'm referring to the emails I got today from a faculty member (a surgeon no less!) asking why his Sundial data hasn't been moved even though he's gotten a bunch of messages about it. Well, it could be that just like it says in the message I sent you yesterday, that the migration isn't happening until the July 4th weekend. We even updated the language to avoid saying "The Independence Day holiday weekend" and just get blunt and say over the "July 4th holiday weekend." Dude.

I'm not kidding. The quote from the email is "the move from Sundial to Stanford Calendar happens over the July 4th Holiday weekend." Ow. I hope I never find myself beneath this man's knife. Lord knows what else he has failed to read or absorb.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Available in stores now: a urine test to tell whether you're having a boy or a girl.

Because really, who wouldn't want to be prepared if a young lady like this was on the way?


I was driving home at 6:15 last night, drowsy on the road. I'd decided that all activities were out and dinner was negotiable and unlikely. I showered up and crawled into bed thinking that I'd read for a while. Two pages later I was asleep by 7 p.m.

I woke just before 9 and tried to figure out what to do next. The last glow of sunset still hovered out the window. I figured I'd read for a bit, wait to get sleepy again, and go back to sleep.

But then there was the uncontrollable craving for crumpets. I had frozen crumpets in the freezer and jam in the fridge. Eventually I got up, had some crumpets and jam and flopped on the sofa to watch Saturday's Pushing Daisies.

Back to bed around 11, asleep around 11:30, and then didn't see the world again til I lifted my head at 9:30 a.m. Well alrighty then! And unsurprisingly, I feel SOOOOOOO much better after twelve hours of sleep. Doing chores around the house before heading into the office was no struggle. I started making a mental list of things I was going to get done today. After a quick bite of lunch, I headed into the office, far more cheerful than I've been in weeks.

I love sleep. Few things in the world are better than deep, uninterrupted sleep when you really need it. And I REALLY needed it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Murtaugh List

Earlier this year, How I Met Your Mother did a funny episode where Ted has a list of stuff he's too old to do, named after the Danny Glover Lethal Weapon character. I now have something to add to my own personal Murtaugh List: I'm too old to stay up working til 1:30 a.m. to get up at 5:45 a.m. to drive to work. I nodded off in an afternoon meeting. No ceili for me tonight. I'm too dead to drive.

2000 Posts!

I've been babbling away here for nearly ten years now!


Having had zero success taming Outlook, I realized that Erik had installed it when he rebuilt his computer less than a month ago. A little cell phone coordination, and by evening I was hurtling to meet up with him in Davis after he returned from Valhalla.

Installed the connector and waited for synchronization to complete, which is really slow over wireless. By 11:40, I was working. It's 1 a.m. and I have a document for tomorrow's class and know how to get around in the tool and what works and what doesn't. Final confirmation notes have been sent to my roomie and to the tech lead. I'll leave here at 6:30 to get to campus around 8:30 to print and prep and go teach at 10.

The good news is that I'm ready. The bad news is that there is a mere 5 hours of sleep in my future. Tomorrow I shall say to my roomie, "So hey, how about we never let this happen again, m'kay?"

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Work Ate My Weekend

My plan for last night was to play a Bond Girl at the PEERS Secret Agent's Ball.

My actual activities for the evening included trying everything in my power to revise a document for work and prepare for a class on Monday, followed by some oh-so-glamorous vacuuming.


Friday, June 05, 2009

First Friday Cocktails

My boss accidentally instituted a building tradition - First Friday Cocktails. It started with a bottle of Absolut Pear and some cheese. Today, my roomie and I were hosting and I introduced my office to the glory of the China Clipper. We did a summer theme - strawberries, watermelon, cherries, tea sandwiches, orzo salad, chips and five-layer dip, plus Mango Lemonade for the non-alcohol drinkers and China Clippers for the alcohol consumers. It went swimmingly. Everyone had a lovely time.

But I'd had a craptastic day before it started and knew I'd be working all day Saturday as a result. The China Clipper is meant to be a sipping drink, but the first went down easy on an empty stomach. Once again, tipsy at the office. The good news is that this has given me both the time and the fuck-it-all attitude necessary to update and revise the communications plan yet again, for at least fourteenth time on record, not to mention minor edits that didn't get recorded as an official revision. I am so very annoyed at the project manager who touched my document. My manager said, "Why did he get an opportunity to edit this?" And I said, "Because he was helping so that I didn't have to. Now I'm gonna go fix his mess..."

Add to that the training class I need to do on Monday for something that is inadequately documented and which crashes every time I try to use it. All attempts at reasoning with the local IT support fell on deaf ears. Jo-Ann is working on that tonight so that I can put together the presentation tomorrow. Won't that be fun?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Future is Now!!!

Tomorrow is the first session of "Moving from Sundial to Stanford Calendar." I've waited over two years to teach this class. Sixty-five people will be there to watch it happen the very first time. I think I'm ready. Handouts are printed. Slides are ready. Roster is printed. I will not freak out. Nope nope nope.

It's less than thirty days until the Sundial to Stanford Calendar migration. I will not freak out. Nope nope nope.

If you see less of me in the near future, this is likely the culprit. There's just too much to do and not enough days left to make it go well. Well, there might be if folks didn't keep adding in last minute additions to the to-do list, but they are, and I'm trying to keep up, and we'll see how it all turns out.

I will not freak out. Nope nope nope.

Right and Wrong

I worry about righteousness. When people are so convinced they're right that they're willing to kill those who they think are wrong, it rarely goes well. The death of Dr. George Tiller is a classic example. He did the work no one else was willing to do, and did it with kindness and skill. For this, he was murdered in his Sunday morning church services where he was serving as an usher. Because someone believed they knew better than he did what was right and wrong in the eyes of God, they came into his place of worship and gunned him down. Now, wait just a minute... right and wrong? I think you've got that backwards.

Yes, he did abortions. But it wasn't willy nilly, "I don't feel like having a baby or bothering with birth control." There are very serious medical (and ethical!) reasons for discontinuing a pregnancy that have gotten lost in the screams of "Abortion is murder!" mania of the religious right. These reasons include:
- women diagnosed with cancer who needed abortions to pursue chemotherapy
- women who learned late in their pregnancies that their very-much-wanted babies had fatal illnesses
- rape victims so young (11 or 12 years old) they didn't realize they were pregnant for months. You know, little girls who never had a period before they were raped.

Pregnancy is a serious medical risk for women, carrying a historic mortality rate of about 1 in 100. It's not just something "natural" that is "normal" and risk-free. Don't believe me? Try buying health insurance after a positive pregnancy test. That's a pre-existing condition that insurance companies know will cost them a lot of money, especially if things go poorly.

But in the face of daily protests, being a punching bag for Bill O'Reilly, and being previously shot twice, he continued to get up and go to work every day. This sort of courage and determination makes the man a saint in my mind, and makes me fear for the future, because few people are willing to take that kind of risk to do the right thing. Pregnancy is a medical condition and should be about nothing more than the needs of the patient and the skill of her doctor, and at the very outside, the patient and the doctor's ethical and religious beliefs, not the religious beliefs of anyone outside the privacy of that office. The fact that others feel entitled to control those medical decisions make me all the more unwilling to become pregnant in the first place, because who knows what position I'd be in if something went horribly wrong. Since it's an avoidable issue, I'll just continue to avoid it, thankyouverymuch.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Tweedle Deedle Deet Deet!

After a thorough scouring of many ring tone offerings and coming up totally empty, Frederik wanted my old ring tone, so he recorded it from the old phone. Now my phone says, "Tweedle Deedle Deet Deet, Tweedle Deedle Doh, Tweedle Deedle Deet Deet, Tweedle Deedle Dah" once again. It seems strangely out of place on the iPhone, but also nostalgic.

Science News

If you haven't gotten rid of your Nalgene (or other #7 type plastic) bottle yet, please do it now. I have no idea why these ever became so trendy, but lordy, the research is not good.

Want to regrow your tooth enamel? You may be able to in the future.

One Gallon

I went and donated blood again today and that makes a full gallon. That sounds like a lot. Everything stung and ached worse than normal this time. Not sure what was different other than me. It won't stop me from going to ceili tonight, but it may get me to head home before the polka set.