Visiting Kris' work


Went to work with Kris yesterday. He was called into work to interview a candidate for a position they really, really, really want to fill. I suggested they contract out some of the work, since finding the perfect person was turning out to be difficult. They are looking for a designer who can program, and we all know those people are worth their weight not only in gold, but also platinum. What I thought was entertaining about visiting Kris' office was realizing his desk contains all the important items in his life: the coffee cup for his coffee addiction, the water bottle for ultimate, hand sanitizer, a large monitor and, the most important, dental floss. The man cannot live without his dental floss.


Turns out, I'm very close to the candidate they're looking for. My skill sets are missing the design skills, but that's the part I was arguing they should contract out. It's a once-every-two-years expense, less expensive to do that and have another developer on staff, than to have a designer sitting idle for 11 months of the year, or, worse, bored out of her mind.

My opinion, doesn't count for much in that argument.

I was asked, however, to interview the candidate, to assess his skill sets. I found the request wonderfully entertaining, and declined, not completely understanding at the time the position they were filling. Would have been entertaining, to be sure.

On the way out of the office, we walked through the parking garage, when I stopped, and started laughing. Kris, in confusion, waited until I was done laughing before asking what was so funny. I answered by pointing down.

Wacth for cars

All consuming


Ever have a project that was so incredibly all-consuming in your life that everything else was just pushed aside, nothing else was done, the laundry piles up, the dishes would pile up except that you don't cook because it takes too long so you eat out all the time instead, phone calls aren't returned, previous meetings are cancelled, your ass grows wide and hurts from sitting on it all the time, and you're just focused on that one task at hand?

Yeah, I've had those more than a few times in my life.

I think for most people, that all-consuming project is a new child. From the horror stories I've heard, you have no choice in that matter with an infant.

For me, however, those projects are nearly all work related.

For the last two and a half weeks, it's been this website:

World of Warcraft the Magazine

Yes, I know. The irony.

Not lost on me either.

I was asked about three weeks ago if I wanted to do the project. I was in the middle of my "don't take any jobs, just work on my own stuff," and being not very productive on my own stuff, so I said yes.

Looking at the project, I was wondering, good lord, how hard can this project be? The site is four pages. A remote service handles all of the big scary payment security issues. Totally, how hard could it be?

Do you know just how dangerous the phrase "How hard could it be?" is?

Do you?

Do you really?


I did okay, until I realized just how much I didn't know, and how poorly the payment handling service provider documented its process. Even after I realized this, I still thought the project could be completed on time, with me as the sole developer. Wow, was I way clueless.

I was, however, working with some people who understood me better than I expected, knew when to ask me if I needed help, and trusted me to say yes, which I did. I'd like to say I've managed to lose my ego these last few years, when it comes to programming. Yes, I want to go a good job, but you know what, I want the project to succeed more than I want to do the whole thing myself.

The group of people I've been working with at Doyle's company are an incredible group. Yes, even with the frustration of one on the group, a frustration that another group saw from a mile away last week, it's still a great group of people. I'm really glad I have the chance to work with them.

I hope that, well, this project does somewhat well. It was a really short, intense project, which I'll need to do a brain dump on shortly so that it's properly documented.

Unlike what I had.

One year with Doyle


It's been one year since I started working at Doyle's company with him. One year, and five projects later, I'm still working with him. Not all of the projects have been smooth projects, and not all of the projects have been with Doyle. I've had two projects I've done completely independently of him, initially feeling guilty that I was assigned the COOL! NEW! project while Doyle was assigned the fix this site or upgrade that project or work on this long slow project that needs to get done but no one really wants to do projects.



I find it odd the number of people who express condolences to me for another coworker being laid off. Sure, I figured out the company was going to have layoffs a few hours before the company did have layoffs last week, which resulted in a slightly awkward situation for me. Sure, I worked closely with one of the people laid off, but giving me condolences on HIS losing HIS job?

Makes no sense to me.



Working alone is going to take some adjusting. Some readjusting is more like it. I haven't worked by myself, telecommuting, on a regular basis for over five years now, no, six years. Telecommuting, sure, here and there, consulting, yes. But I've had Mike and Doyle to work with for the last three years, and VA before that. It's been many years, and many friends ago, since then. I feel older, wiser, and, oddly enough, less interested in embracing the singular lifestyle than I used to be.

Never one to consider myself a social person, I've tended away from the big groups and large parties. Yet, if these past few years have shown me anything, it's the amazing group of people who are in my life, the friends I've made and, holy crap, the friends I've managed to keep. Guy once told me how he selected his friends: they're the people who make him a better person, make him happy. If I look around at all the people in my life, the friends I have around me now, I have to say, I'm doing pretty well, because these are incredible around me, every one of them making me a better person.

Not really where I intended to go with this. I was going to spend 20 minutes complaining about how, now that I don't work with Doyle, I have no exposure to any good music stations and have no idea where to start looking. I just listened to Doyle's music at work, bought the 5% I liked and brought it home to Kris, who then thought I was a music maven with all my song goodies. Now, I'm music-less and have no idea where to start to look for the good stuff...

Instead, I'll just wallow in the goodness of the amazing people around me, and fall asleep smiling.

Finally fired 'im


Gah. It's the ninth of November and I've barely posted anything this month. What a disaster, as I try to catch up on all the posts that I've written but not published, or outlined but not written, or what have you. I hate posts that say, "Uh, duh, sorry I haven't written, so I'll just write about not having written." Stupid crap. No one likes to read that.

The good news for today, aside from the fact I'm actually writing, which is always a good thing, I think, is that we finally fired an impossible client today.

The client is one who has been with us for a while now. Despite our best efforts, and that's my effort, Doyle's effort and Mike's effort, we weren't able to keep the client's projects from heading into scope expansion and feature creep. We thought we'd learned our lesson with the first part of the project, and explicitly spelled out what we were going to do in the second part of the project, and hopefully make back some of that loss. I'm not sure why we thought we would able to correct the failing relationship and management this way, we weren't.

Finally, I just started saying no. Any idea how hard saying no is for me? It's hard.

So, we told the client we were done. We wouldn't be continuing working on his projects. I can't believe how much relief I felt at this. However, I'll believe it when the project is actually transferred away.

A just reward


Morning time. What better time to go see another Harry Potter film than morning? I mean, just because you walk out of the theatre expecting cool and dark, and get hot and bright, doesn't mean you shouldn't go see Harry Potter at 11:30 in the morning on the company's dime.

Call it a reward for hard work.

I picked up Guy from his home (he deserved a huge bonus for all the hard work he's been doing around the house), picked up Doyle from the office, and off we went to the theatre, me in a huge panic because it's the day after opening day, and everyone knows that means full theatres.

Guy didn't think so. Doyle didn't think so. I had visions of young kids, out of school, swarming the theatre, making lots of noise.

I was so wrong.

When we arrived, there were four people in the theatre already. By the time the movie started, there were only about fifty. Certainly not enough to fill the theatre or cause the undue level of stress I felt.

The actual movie? Just like the book: lots of words and teenage angst.

Still can't win


A client contested an invoice with us today.

0.2% over the quote. $31 over the quote.

Do I really suck this much at running a business, or is this par for the course?

Clients galore!


Mike came into the office today, warning Doyle and I we may have lost a client. All three of us were working full tilt on the emergency, get this six week project done in two weeks project, and none of us had worked on the small tweaks the first client needed done.

Just after saying this, Mike turned away, and started working on yet another third project for a different client than the first two just mentioned.

Doyle and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, thought, "eh," and went back to finishing up that two week project.

I'm not sure what else we were supposed to do.

Update: Apparently, Mike is hurt and angry at this post, feeling I left out critical facts about this event. Fortunately, this is my blog and I can write whatever the hell I want. Hell, I can even mother fucking thrice damned curse on this blog if I fucking want to.

That's the beauty of having my own site.

So, he fucking wanted me to say that he fucking received an EMERGENCY super dooper REALLY IMPORTANT email from the client whose project he went to work on.

So, there. The rest of the fucking facts.

Projects I want to do vs projects I have to do


I'm sitting here at work, struggling with a piece of code. I've been struggling with it for about thirty minutes, not because the problem is so hard, it's not, but because I feel guilty about taking time out in the middle of the day to work on a project that isn't from a revenue stream.

Not yet, anyway.

Instead, it's a very small part of a larger project I've been playing with for a while, here and there, in my free time. It's a project I want to do. I've been mostly just obsessing about the project, taking the pieces, breaking them down into smaller pieces, figuring out what the smallest pieces are, so that I can run with them. I want the big project done, but I want to do the pieces, too. They're interesting.

Mike's going to look at this, see that I'm not working on "real" work and be pissed at me. I'm not sure he understands the idea that taking breaks is good, and that this project is just a break for me. He's going to be annoyed that I'm not working on the projects I should be working on. I'm frustrated with always having to push off the projects I want to do for the projects I have to do. At some point, they should be the same, right?

Well, We'll see if he'll be mad when I'm actually done with the whole project and he sees how cool it is. Think of it: Me. Doing cool shit.

Until then, I'm struggling with a piece of code.