No Time to Blog

Adjusting to a busy work life has been difficult. I'm not surprised by that, but I'm perhaps a bit surprised how difficult it has been. While I've been working on Rails since May 2006, I was probably only working 20-25 hours a week on average. Contrast that with working about 50 hours a week minimum now, plus commuting time, and you might have an idea why the adjustment has been hard.

I find myself having difficulty getting errands done that I need to get done. I've made it to the grocery store twice since I started with Aha. It isn't that I don't have enough time to do these errands, it is just that I seem unwilling to do with less down time, so the errands are what gets cut. I need to figure out how to manage my time a bit better.

So here I am writing on my blog, when I could be going to the grocery store, or hanging out with friends. I wanted to write something on Wednesday, which would have been Mom's 64th birthday. Dad was down visiting. We listened for the announcements on WAMU (they didn't play the last one, so sorry to all of you who listened for it and didn't hear it). We went to Zengo for dinner (which was extremely good, and the service was outstanding). In some ways it was a very good day. I got to spend some quality time with Dad and Reed. For the most part we had a good time. In other ways it was upsetting. We kept telling people it was Dad's birthday, and I kept wanting to say, "No, Dad's birthday was on Monday, today is Mom's birthday"; but I didn't, because I didn't want to spoil the evening and bring everybody down. I kept drifting out of the conversation, and I'd stare at the empty chair, and wish I believed that the ghost of Mom was sitting in the chair celebrating with us. Anyway, that is what I wanted to write on Wednesday...

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Back to Work, Aha, Aha, I Like It

So, after 7 years, 7 months, and 21 days, I'm back to work (would be much cooler if it were 7 years, 7 months, and 7 days). Well, I've been working the past 18 months actually; but this is to say that I'm working for someone else again, as in employed. I'm working for Aha Media, Inc.

I'm happy to be working with two former co-workers, on a project that is new and exciting. I've avoided working for someone else, but the opportunity to get in on a new company so early, while it is still fun and free of corporate bureaucracy was too much to pass up. Of course it comes at the expense of putting my grand plans for Sand Ridge Labs on the back burner. Nothing comes for free. Then again, all my work over the past 18 months learning Rails is largely responsible for this opportunity presenting itself to me. This puts me in the rare position of being paid to do Rails development (although, I suspect it isn't quite that rare anymore).

Now if someone would hurry up and invent the Heisenberg compensator so that I didn't have to commute to the burbs...

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Calla at the Black Cat

I saw Calla tonight. It was sort of a surreal experience, in that I've been a fan for years (although only tonight did I finally find out how to correctly pronounce their name), and I just assumed that they had "made it" more than they have. They played the Black Cat, and the show didn't sell out. In fact, the price of the show at the door was only $8, despite me paying $10 two months ago to reserve my ticket.

I felt so fortunate to see them in such a small venue with an unobstructed view just about 10 feet from the stage. After their excellent performance (my only complaint was sometimes it was hard to hear the guitar over the bass and drums), the three members of the band came out to sell t-shirts. It seems so hard to believe that they don't even have an entourage to handle such things. Of course it could be they like it that way.

I got to meet the band after the show. In fact Aurelio took an unexpected interest in making sure I had a good fit for the shirt. Very nice that they are so down to earth. I hope I didn't insult him by expressing my shock that its possible to see them perform in such a small venue... ah, this ties in to my May post.

Update: Check out this video of theirs if you've never heard of them. Oh, and in all fairness, it was a Tuesday night show, so hopefully they sell out shows better than that on better nights of the week.

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Dakota's After-Dinner Romp

I watched Elizabeth's dog Dakota last week while she was on vacation. I had a lot of fun, and yet it helped me decide that having a dog of my own is just too time consuming. But having her for 5 days was great, and she provided lots of laughs. Below you can watch a video of her post-dinner activities (she did does this after every meal).

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Not Caring About Unintentional Insults

Back on February 5th, Kojo Nnamdi had a show discussing how some compliments are actually interpreted as insults. Examples given on that show included saying an African American is "articulate", saying a woman is "strong", or that a Jew is "generous". All in all it was an interesting discussion, but I think my overall view is that we as a people might be taking our sensitivities just a bit too far these days.

In fact Conor and I joked about calling Irish "sober", Americans "geographically aware", etc. Obviously most of us can figure out why people find these things insulting, but when do we let go of these historical sensitivities? Certainly there is nothing wrong with complementing someone for being articulate, so why should one race take that as an insult? Not everyone who compliments a black person for being articulate is making a racist statement. The assumption that the person was making racist statement could itself be interpreted as an insult. Where does the cold war of sensitivities end?

Chill out is what I say. Last night I was at a beer party thrown at RailsConf by Pivotal Labs. I ended up chatting with a recruiter for a large internet company that everybody has heard of and probably uses on a daily basis (not too hard to guess). Anyway, she made the comment that we Rails developers had more social skills than most programmers. She further stated that we had more fashion sense than most programmers, as evidenced by the number of people wearing designer jeans.

Did any of this offend me at all? No way. Why would I care? Is it true that all programmers (or even most) lack social skills and fashion sense? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. It is a stereotype, which do come from somewhere. Sometimes stereotypes are out of date, sometimes they aren't, but I think intelligent people can recognize that they aren't always true regardless if they are out of date or not.

Am I being insensitive by equating my little experience with those experienced by minorities who have a history of discrimination based on hate and race? Well, firstly I wouldn't say I'm exactly equating them, but I am recognizing some similarities. I know there are still racists out there, and when they call an African American "articulate", I'm sure it is a racist comment, but lets give people the benefit of the doubt... chill out a little, and assume we are just being given a compliment. I think the world would be a better place if we assume people are being nice to us rather than insulting where there is a possible ambiguity--after all, what does getting mad, hurt, or insulted by them really accomplish?

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