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Monday, April 25, 2016

And so, it begins

Well, Friday last week was the last straw.  All I could do is stare at the code, and sit while the cramping between my shoulder blades slowly made its way up into my skull.  Zero productivity.  Less than zero enthusiasm.  No way to produce a professional-level result.

So, I emailed my agency, told them I was going to close things out and leave, and managed to give my boss a 2 minute heads-up between his meetings.  And then I went the Hell home and had a few beers!

I haven't emailed out a single resume', but those automated resume' search bots have found me and I've already been in contact with a couple of headhunters.  All of the jobs are real development projects, by the way.  Design, write, test, deliver.. that's my kind of job!

With any luck 4/29 will be my last day here.  I need about a week off, then go full-press on the job search.  I'd prefer to stay in Austin, but I'll go where the work is, as long as they have bus service!

Today - no real muscle tension, haven't ground my teeth all morning, feel enthused to create a documentation roadmap and prepare thing for a professional exit.  Downloading some large files so I can write code at home, to keep sharp and continue to grow my education.

Oh, and learning Nuke video editing software and Houdini visual effects software.  I don't want to be an engineer for the rest of my life!

More as it happens...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Losing my remaining marbles!

This job will be the death of me.

Imagine being a writer, and you've ben hird to write, so you're told.  To start and do a nice piece that goes into the commercial product, great!

But then, your boss comes over and hands you an immensely thick book - 98,000 lines - and tell you that your new assignment is to read through it, write a synopsis of the important major and minor points, and create some diagrams to make it easy to follow.  And you have about 3 months to do it, and it's on a topic you're not real familiar with, there's alien jargon throughout it and it's some of the most boring reading you've encountered in your life.

Welcome to my job, only it's programming and not writing.

The stress is incredible.  My mind is not set up to tediously plow through tens of thousands of lines of other peoples code, from the instant I get into the office until I go home I have a near-continual stress tension headache, and all I can think about is going home and having several beers.

So, resume' updates and possible two-week notice coming soon.  I'm going to try to last another month but no promises, I need out of here!

In the meantime, working on my 5-year plan to change careers and get the Hell out of software engineering.  Between music, writing, and video editing/visual effects I should be able to support myself decently, don't need to be rich, just pay bills and afford beer.

Damn, I hate his job.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Stress is not good for a body..

This job is going downhill fast.

I was originally told I would be doing programming and bug fixing when I signed on.  And for my first month here, I wrote code - a nice Windows CE firmware updating program. 

Everything was going well until I finished the little app and they gave me my next assignment - which has NOTHING to do with writing software!

Instead, I'm going through all their existing code, trying to extract the critical algorithms and produce diagrams/spreadsheets/text documents that would allow a third party to re-implement their application on a different operating system.

Yep, a reverse-engineering job, the kind of job I actively AVOID.

For this kind of job, you need to enjoy - or at least have the patience to - sit down day after day and read over thousands of lines of Other People's Code, threshing it to determine which code is the "meat" - the core algorithms that make it work - and which is either user-interface-specific or operating-system specific and thus not critical to the basic functionality of the application.

You need someone with a lot of doggedness, a fast learner, and who isn't going to be upset because they AREN'T CREATING ANYTHING NEW OR FIXING ISSUES OR DOING ANYTHING CREATIVE AT BLOODY ALL.

I was born to write code, damn it, not produce pretty pictures.  I *can* do it but not as my primary job function!!!!

So far, every day of the past 10 days has resulted in a nice stress headache and muscle cramps in my shoulders and the back of my neck - which Tylenol barely touches - and takes all weekend to fade.  This never happened when I was actually writing code.

My gut feeling is that I'm likely to hand in my notice within 2 weeks of this posting,  My living expenses are low and, while I will lose my insurance, if the foot is healed up enough I can get along fine.

We'll see how long my patience lasts.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Feh, just... feh!

Today is one of those days where I really feel like I absolutely hate software engineering with an undying passion,

My mind fights against digging into the code I see.. I'll zip off and spend all lunch hour studying music theory or the craft of writing, but seeing code makes me faintly ill.

This isn't the first time, but it's the first time I haven't rally felt like fighting it.

It's time to seriously look into a career change.

A day In The Life

Occasionally, I've had people ask what it's like being me right now, with all my stupid health issues and the bloody cast on my (what's left) left foot.

Here's my day:

- Wake up in the morning, which usually involves me thinking "Wow, made it to another day". Waking up takes about 5-10 minutes before I reach an operational level of consciousness.

- Foot check!  Make sure left leg isn't turning bad colors, make sure nothing is seeping out of the cast, make sure the cast doesn't smell like rotting meat.  Check to make sure right foot hasn't decided to turn traitor, rub on diabetic foot lotion to keep skin happy.  Dry, cracked skin gets infected easily.

- Bathroom!  Thankfully the knee scooter fits into the bathroom with me or life would be FAR more painful.  On/of the toile is time-consuming and tricky with one foot and few things to brace on.  Shave while standing on one foot and braced against the sink, great morning exercise.  Wipe down with these "dry shower" things, think baby wipes for adults.  I'm not allowed to get the cast wet at all.  Every other day or so, use spray-on dry shampoo to keep my hair from going bad.

- Now come the wall of meds.  First, check my blood glucose as this will change how much insulin I shoot up.  Always, 12 units of long-acting insulin, then from 3-8 units of Humalog regular insulin depending on my blood glucose level.  Top this off with Lisinopril for my blood pressure and metformin to add yet more control to my blood sugar, and I'm done for the morning.

- Breakfast!  Atkins meal bar and sometimes a beef stick.  Plenty of water as well.

- Get dressed.  This is the easy part, shirt and pants go on easily even with one missing foot.  I had to cut open and re-pin thel eft pants leg as the hospital dressing, and now the cast, don't fit down a normal pants leg.  Crappy pants design, and these are NOT skinny legged pants!

- Call a taxi.  There's no way I can reach the bus on the knee scooter, and even if I could there's no sidewalk for the 1/3 mile walk from the bus stop to the office, so it's paying for a ride.  This is setting me back close to $300 a week!! This is where all my money is going, it should be going into a savings account.  Sometimes get the cab to drive through McDonalds for additional food.

- Arrive at work, scoot to my desk and drop off my micro-pack "Happy Bag".  This pack contains my glucose test kit, my Humalog insulin pen, needles for the pen, dextrose tablets in case the blood glucose goes too low (yes, it happens, rarely) and alcohol wipes for sterilizing where I take blood from for blood glucose tests or injection sites for insulin injctions.  Work is pretty asy - halls are wide, los of room in the bathroom, most people understand about the foot and my work space is accessable.  If only there were a bed and shower here, I'd just move in.

- Lunch!  Send out or have soup.  Sometimes check blood glucose and inject insulin to compensate, if it's been a tiny breakfast, just eat the soup.  The Campbell's soup-in-a-microwave-cup is relatively healthy, low sugar and acceptable carbs.  Chinese food will kick the blood glucose up pretty high if I get anything with a sweet sauce or high carbs.  Dry rub chicken wings are great, but French fries will do some damage. 

- Work, work, work.  Lots of coffee and even more water, dehydration is a constant issue for me and many diabetics.

- Call a taxi to go home.  Sometimes, I get dropped off at the grocery store and then get a cab once I have supplies, or if I feel death-defying then it's a run through Taco Bell or similar.  Eventually, I get home.

- Home!  Put up anything I bought, then into my room and on to the bed.  Check my blood glucose, shoot up insulin to compensate for left-over glucose from lunch, and take another metformin.  Dinner will be what I bought out, or an Atkins bar plus beef/cheese snack and/or nuts.  Usually a beer or two, that's not enough to trash my blood glucose.

- Work on the computer - write, compose music, play games, chat.  Sinc I currently can't really walk, going out isn't an option - Austin is one of he least handicapped-friendly places, bar and restaurant wise, of any city I've lived in - hell, Tulsa was better about handicapped access!  Shame on you Austin!

- Stick in my high-density earplugs to drown out the screaming noisy imports living in the rooms next to mine and sleep.  I'll be moving to my own place as soon as I recover and get some money into savings, before I kill screaming parents + screaming kid and get free room and board for life.  Honesly, they don't speak but maybe 5 words of English.. how'd they get into this country?  Thankfully I speah enough Spanish to say basic phrases like "good day", "how are you", and "it's midnight shut up and go to sleep".

Welcome to my world, at least for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Deliver me!

As much as I would love to sit on every spare penny I have to help me move into my own place faster, there's a pile of stuff I need to keep me going on a daily basis that I don't want to apnd the energy/pain/effort to get in person.

So far, I've managed to get all my diabetes supplies (lancets, lancing supplies, glucose test strips), nutrition supplies (probiotics, meal bars, vitamin/.healing booster drinks), and infrastructure supplies (storage carries, sundries, ear plugs) all via Walmart.  This includes beef sticks/beef and cheese sticks as snacks, and microwave soup or the office!

The amount of wear and tear on me that this saves is amazing.  I've been able to keep weight off my healing leg far more this round than when I had the two toes amputated, which should make my foot doctor super-happy as the less weight on the healing foot the better a shape it ends up in.

Of course, this leaves me without any fresh foods.  Currently I just send out for a food delivery if I want fresh, it's a painful expense but it beats fighting the crowds at the grocery store for things like hot dog buns, cheese, and bread.. which, I guess, I will have to risk and get anyway.

Friday is a holiday, so it's a three-day weekend and I'd just as soon not send out all 3 days.  Once, sure, but not 3 days worth!!

If only som grocery store in Austin delivered.. hmm.. come here, Google!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Gross hospital pictures!!!

Well, not really.

I added a page containing several pictures I took while in Seton hospital.  None of them are hideous, thee are IV pics and my 1/5 foot with stitches, but I skipped the bloated hand pics from the botched IV because it was just nasty.

I'll add to it once the cast comes off and we move ahead on getting me out and about!