Where I don't care what others think


September 25th, 2012 Posted in Life, Problems | No Comments »

One of my recent worries is that I’ve ridden my usually road/mountain bike onto one of those stationary trainers, putting a significant damper on the ground I’ve covered in recent weeks and months.  I know that I’m still riding the bike, as I can continue to count the lines of code I write and the hours of sleep I don’t get as a result of it, but I’m worried that I’m no longer traveling in any direction, never mind new directions.. I’m just facing a direction.  It feels like I’m peddling more for the sake of peddling than to actually make progress like I’m used to.

I think the most worrying part isn’t actually the fact that I don’t feel like I’m moving anywhere, but instead that the actions I need to perform to return to making progress and moving are completely out of band.  I have to stop riding, get off the bike, and physically move it off the stationary trainer.  I know, that’s all rather simple to do, but then you have to get back on and get back in the groove of riding again.  It might be preferable to peddle through wet cement, I’d at least be moving (albeit slowly) and also have something fairly exciting to say at the end of it or a great reason if I had to give up.

Riding on a stationary trainer does give me something to say, technically speaking it tracks tons of stuff like my total mileage, the average speed I travel, the total time I’ve been riding and all this other potentially useful stuff, but I don’t think that information is nearly as useful as talking about where peddling has taken me and what it’s let me see along the way.  I can report day after day that I’ve been starring at the same wall, but no one really wants to hear that.  The statistics I’ve gathered are purely useful if I was trying to beat some record or achieve a super quantitative goal, and no one likes to measure their life by that.

Good night moon.

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August 16th, 2012 Posted in Life, Work | No Comments »

Tonight’s platform has given me some of my best work to date, for old time’s sake let us hope is still has what it takes.

This trip to the home front seems to be plagued by a different feeling than most.  In past I’ve been primarily relieved to be home and relaxed to be back in familiar territory.  Those feelings are still present, but occupying a secondary (or tertiary) seat these days.  Of many thoughts and feelings, one of my primary concerns seems to be doubt if I’ve enlisted in the right service.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt that we’re fighting the good fight and serving a good cause.  I also have full confidence in my commanding officer and those up the ranks.  I suspect what has me feeling a uneasy is the lack of camaraderie resulting from the fact that I’m the only one in my unit in my position.  I don’t mind my responsibility at all, it’s fairly rewarding on personal and professional levels, but I’m left feeling less like an appreciated specialist and more like the guy in charge of operating the radio because no one else was ambitious enough to figure out how.

I can’t help but look to my buddies from training school who got assigned to tank crews where they work together closely (perhaps too closely for their liking) with the rest of their four man team.  I certainly don’t have a desire to be packed in a turret basket with three other guys, but I suspect they enjoy the fact that if they’re having a bad day there is someone their who readily notices and can help out if necessary.  More importantly, they can call you out when you’re doing something wrong.  The specialization of my current assignment doesn’t bother me, but the feeling of often being the lone man out does.

Thinking back, I miss the days in training school where all of us in the platoon would have to (and could easily) work together to get things done.  Everyone developed a pretty good understanding of the specific tasks best suited for each other, and the hand-off from one person to another was seamless and natural.  These days any hand off attempt feels less like an assembly line and more like a mess hall cafeteria.  With a position near the end of the line, I’m serving something particularly tasty, the trays will already be filled by the time I get here and folks aren’t interested.

The logical thing to do might be to talk to my CO about this.  I’ve considered it from time to time, but we tend to get caught up debriefing firefights when we talk.  Some improvement needed here.

Being home during the summer season also means that everyone is out doing summer activities.  In past I’ve coped with the fact that everyone is out and about by submerging myself in work (a technique I use to cope with just about anything).  There is still a plentiful amount of work I could submerge myself in, it’s just logistically more challenging to do so now that I’m working a more proper job.  During my summers developing open source code I felt quite comfortable working on a variety of different open source projects during the day depending on who needed help, what was broken, and what I planned to get done.  Currently my job provides me with some flexibility to do that, but I start to feel guilty if I don’t get back to my fairly specialized role because I can’t currently rely on others to keep up while I’m off tackling an unrelated problem.

I’m hardly keeping any sort of quantitative measurements, but it feels like the less logistical it is for me to participate in something the more likely I am to get invited to it.  Actually, that’s probably not true, though it does feel that way sometimes.  The more logical explanation is that I happen to be deployed further away now and the timing just coincides with people having more active social lives now that we’re not longer in training school.

Good night moon.

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Coming Ashore: A Pirates Life (3/3)

June 21st, 2012 Posted in College | No Comments »

This post is part three of a three part series I’m titling ‘A Pirates Life.’

I wish part three of this story was going to be more dignified.  When it came time for me to finally take the wheel, the ship was full of experienced senior sailors that’d been with the crew for years.  Being Captain didn’t involve any organizing, direction, order giving, or really anything that a typical captain does.  In fact, it took most of the crew some time to get used to the idea that I’d be using the Captain’s Quarters as my own.  On more than one occasion I’d come in to find someone else “borrowing” the captain’s desk to write personal correspondence and such, usually I’d just pretend I came looking for my sextant and save my entries into the ship’s log for later.

While captain, the ship kept sailing itself most of the time without any major efforts from the crew.  We’d filled most of the large holds with treasure and our days at see were less about finding the next treasure and more about making sure the ship didn’t sink or get looted by other pirates making their way around the sea, most days onboard were fairly relaxing for the crew and I.  I suspect under my watch we could have gathered more treasure and figured out somewhere to store it, and I probably shouldn’t have let the crew pillage as many towns as they did, but I was never completely sure any of them identified with me as the captain. I was merely the guy with a funny hat who occasionally shared reports with the Pirate Lord.  In fact, for much my first year on the ship the Pirate Lord was friendlier with some of the experienced sailors on board, I was merely the figurehead of the ship at the Pirate Council.

As my first full year at the helm winded down, we made a stop at the home port of many of the senior sailors that had been with the ship for nearly as long as I.  Their contracts were up and it seemed like a good time for them to take their share of the loot ashore.  I stayed away from the tavern those nights back in town when the crew was celebrating the end and drinking to their tales of the sea, I was still the Captain of the ship with work to do and, to be frank, was never quite sure they’d welcome me either.

We set sail again, following the course we previously had been on.  The ship was lighter (both in experienced sailors and treasure) which meant the wind could blow us around a bit more.  I did my best to keep the ship on course, but it was tough with a younger crew and the much lighter vessel.  After steering us through a storm or two mostly unscathed much of the time was spent, as it had been past, with a more relaxed atmosphere on board.  I made sure that our chests still had plenty to go around in them, and that satisfaction didn’t breed the most ambitious attitude.  Nobody died on my watch, we didn’t get hit with any cannon balls, but we also didn’t collect too much new treasure either.

I wish I left the helm of the ship in the glory of battle, at the sword of another or riding the ship down to Davy Jones’ Locker.  Unfortunately neither was the case.  As we made our way back into port I knew my days as Captain were numbered.  A new Pirate Lord recently been installed and some new captains in the council hoped to breath some fresh air into things.  The Pirate Lord and I agreed we’d meet one night  to discuss a successor.  I was informed  the next day on a routine trip to order some supplies for the ship that in my absence a successor been named and would be installed at the next meeting of the Pirate Council.  I felt betrayed at the thought that my ship, the ship I’d been the captain of for the past few years, could and would be handed over to someone I’d had no say in the selection of.  They didn’t know how she fairs during storms and how to stop her from rolling, but orders were orders.  I showed up the Pirate Council and nodded in approval of the process, but only out of  allegiance to the newly office now held by the newly installed Pirate Lord.I feared speaking out then might have jeopardized the grander scheme of things, whatever that may be.

I handed over the keys, signed a hasty final entry in the ships log, and packed my things to head ashore.  There’s some irony in the fact that the new captain drowned 3 months later, but that’s not my story to tell.  By the time I arrived ashore all the senior crew members that left the year prior had scattered and left.  I found myself alone much like I had when I first arrived in town, though this time I had my share of the treasure instead of the guy I shared a ride with.  I didn’t bother setting foot back inside that tavern, there’d be no one there who knew of me or my days at the helm of the ship. I suspect I’ll be lucky to be lucky to be a footnote in the history of the Pirate Fleet, the captain known only for not sinking the ship and ruining everything.

I did what it seemed like any seaman would do with a chest full of goal and hardly any reason to stay.  I use a handful of gold coins to buy my way out of there on horseback.

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