The Oracle Says “No…”

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about frustrating work issues while stalling in the office because some guy needs to get into our server room every 45 seconds.

I’d much rather be outside going to get a YooHoo or even a chocolate coke at Sonic, but instead I have to sit here in the office and hold the door open (not literally) for this guy who is doing some installs in our server room.

In the mean time, I’ve been trying to install this stupid room scheduling software on a new Staff computer and it turns out that our decision to switch from XP to Vista may have been a less than stellar choice. The lab had to switch to Vista because the newest version of AutoCAD only runs on Vista. There was no real compelling need for the faculty & staff to switch, but we strive for consistency whenever we can, so the new faculty & staff computers have been getting Vista as well. However, this being the first computer running Vista to need this scheduling software, it has now been brought to my attention that it may not run right, if at all.

The problem goes deeper than simply the scheduling software (Resource25 or R25 for short). R25 uses Oracle for its data management, so before even installing R25, I need to install Oracle. Now, for those of you who don’t know but still care for some reason, Oracle 9 (the ipso facto standard on campus for the most part) does not run on Vista. Oracle 10 runs fine on Vista and the other applications that we’ve needed oracle for in the past all work fine with Oracle 10. Not so with R25. R25 requires Oracle 9 and will not work with Oracle 10.

A dealbreaker you say? So did I, but apparently not so. It turns out that you can actually take an install of Oracle 9 from a windows XP machine, copy it to your Vista machine, copy all the registry keys and all associated parts and pieces, and then direct things like R25 to that instead of Oracle 10 and everything is supposed to run fine. I can’t say if it does or not because I’ve not gotten that far, yet. Like I said, I’m stuck in my office for the time being. I’m not saying that I want, or even expect it to work, but I have to try it before I can call it a write-off.

In other news, music has been mysteriously disappearing from my iTunes library. Its not bad sectors on the hard drive, because the library would still think it was there, even if it can’t find the track, and its not disappearing just from iTunes because its not on the hard drive either. Its completely missing. I’m not sure how or why, but its really upsetting me. For example, I used to have (legally) almost every Nine Inch Nails album (up to a point, at least). When I checked for my Nine Inch Nails music the other day, it turned out that I now only have five songs. So I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to figure out what is actually missing and how to get it all back.

Lastly, I got my new tires yesterday. They are definitely different that what I’m used to, but I should be come accustomed to them before too long… though I may need a new seat.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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What day is it…

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about how crazy busy I’ve been and how that stress is not healthy.

Holy shit, where did the last two weeks go? Its been a mad house up in here and I’ve not only lost complete track of time, but pretty much any semblance of order and reason as well. I can’t even effectively recall everything thats been going on the last two weeks, but I guess I’ll try.

On Ansel

If child development was an Xbox game, Ansel would have opened up a ton of new achievements in the last couple of weeks. He’s a crawler (50 points). He’s cruising one handed (10 points). He’s feeding himself chunks of food (15 points). He’s identifying common objects (25 points). He’s figured out push-toys (10 points). He’s sleeping nights in his crib (100 points). That is a gain of 210 points over last time! He made some progress on Mobility acquiring 2 achievements, Self Sufficiency acquiring 2 achievements, 1 more achievement each in Playing and Communication and oh… man was it ever sweet!

On Home Life

I think Heather is getting used to being at home. Its a little tough to tell at the moment because we just finished our monstrous garage sale and things still haven’t quite settled back to “normal” yet. We spend the majority of last week setting up the garage sale, then all of the weekend running it, and this week is still recovering. I feel like I missed my weekend completely, because of it. We made some good money, as did those who participated in it with us. Heather also said that we could use the money from the garage sale to buy me Rock Band 2 when it comes out next month. She’s so awesome.

Aside from the sale, though, there hasn’t been that much going on. I’m so exhausted from work every day that I pretty much go home, play some xbox, watch some tv, and go to bed. Its so sad that I see Heather and Ansel so little every day, and yet I can’t hardy gather the energy to really enjoy my time with them. I’m totally turning in to the husband that works all day, comes home, sits on the couch, passes out and then slides off to bed. All I need is some slippers and a pipe.

On Cycling

So, after a week long drama of trying to get my bike tuned and subsequently repaired, I finally got it back just in time for a week long downpour. When I finally was able to ride it again yesterday, the shifter started locking up and gears started slipping. I took it in to have them look at it and apparently my shifter is broken. I should write an entire post just on my experiences with The Bicycle Path because its a rant and a half, and as soon as I get my bike back, I’ll probably never go there again. At the very least, they are willing to replace the shifter for free because they don’t know if it was broken before, during or after the tune-up. Either way, I was unable to ride my bike for a week due to repairs, another week for rain, and now half a week for more repairs. Is it so wrong that I want very badly to ride my bike daily, not on the rare occasion that its not at the shop?

On Work

We have a huge server migration coming up, and we’re way behind. I don’t know nearly enough to handle my end of things, some of the things I need to handle can’t be handled until the servers are all configured correctly. We’re all trying to get things together as quickly as possible which is stressful enough by itself, but then on top of that, the semester has started and that’s always its own little adventure. Add to that the fact that we’re doing a new website, and everyone has grand designs for its potential and I’ve got upwards of 20 new computers coming in any day now… is it any surprise I drink a beer or two as soon as I get home? Then again, maybe that’s why I fall asleep on the couch every day. Its an endless, vicious, cycle.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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Automated for the People…

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about my recent experiments with Applescript and Automator, and probably bore you to tears.

So, in case you’ve never met me, I am the kind of person who likes to have things my way and will go to great lengths to customize things to be as close to my idea of perfect as possible. I would say I border on obsessive sometimes when it comes to attempting to achieve that perfection, but that would be a lie. There is no bordering, I’m all the way in. I’ve taken up residence in my obsessive compulsive need for things to function in the best possible manner.

To this effect, I’ve learned a lot about how Automator and Applescript work in the Mac OS X environment. I have to admit, I think Automator is one of the reasons I am starting to prefer Mac over PC. The fact that I can create miniature applications (applets) to do the things that, in my opinion, I need to do is invaluable to my pathological nature. Automator allows me to call forth commands and scripts from almost anywhere within the Mac environment and combine them into free running programs. It really is a great system.

Until recently, I had a free-standing application that would synchronize several different items with my Motorola Q through the Mac. It would automatically upload contacts, calendar items, photos, and music. Several factors have resulted in my abandoning that software. First off, with the University’s adoption of the Microsoft Exchange mail system, contacts and calendars are synchronized wirelessly on demand. Additionally, I found that I never really viewed photos on the phone. And finally, with my upgrade to OS X 10.5, I would have had to pay an additional $25 to upgrade to a Leopard compatible version of the software. I just didn’t see that it was worth the price, and system resources, just to move some music occasionally. Having previously purchased a pair of bluetooth stereo headphones, however, I really want to take advantage of the fact that my phone can play music. That, combined with the fact that I have over 20,000 songs in my iTunes library made me really lament the loss of that software. I decided there must be a way I can facilitate this process at no cost. First, I started surfing the web looking for a free alternative. Finding nothing, I turned to automator, which I’ve used in the past for smaller tasks, but never something of the complexity that this has turned out to be (links to the actions and downloads I used are after the break).

I found, in Automator, that there is a command that can read a list of tracks in a specified iTunes playlist. How handy is that? So I chose the smart playlist I had created previously for my Q and called in that data. I then passed that data on to a file copy command which would copy (not move) all the files discovered in the playlist to a location of my choosing. I had discovered my solution with only two Automator actions. As of 5:00 yesterday, I was happy with that. This morning, however, after having played a custom HeroScape map and then tweaked it after everyone left, I decided I could tweak my script to be better and more efficient.

Having failed to find a way to mount my Q as a drive on the computer, I am relegated to pulling out the memory card and use the card reader built in to my monitor (I honestly never thought I’d use that) to mount the music folder. Since I was already physically taking the card out and inserting it into the computer, I figured there had to be a way to save myself from having to click to start the applet. After some searching online, which actually resulted in several methods of triggering an action on mount. I decided upon installing a Preference Pane (another nice customization option for Mac OS X, modular system preferences), that simply watches for events, and performs other events in response. So I told the Do Something When (the preference pane) to watch for my SD Card to be inserted, and respond by running the applet. It worked flawlessly. I found that I could also tell DSW to watch for an application to quit. So I told it to watch for my applet to finish and then unmount the drive as a response. I no longer had to touch the computer at all to copy files to the card. Each step was getting more efficient, but thin I hit a snag.

My card is a 1gb card, and I was telling it to copy 128mb of music to it every time I tested the system. Turns out, there was no mechanism in my applet to remove the old files, so the SD card was getting more and more full, and finally failed to run the applet because there was no more room. I had to modify the system. I found that there was an Automator action to move files to the trash, so now, before copying files to the card, it first moved all the files in the music folder on the card to the trash, theoretically making space. Unfortunately, it was moving the tracks to the Trash folder on the card and leaving them there, so I wasn’t actually gaining any free space, only moving stuff around.

I spent a good little while trying to find a way to empty the Trash on the SD card alone (since sometimes I actually do go back and check the trash on my computer). Short of some pretty specific Unix commands, there was no way to do it, and since I was trying to make this applet adjustable (in case any of my variable change later on) I needed to figure out something different. I finally stumbled up on an Automator action that simple deletes files rather than moving them to the trash, and I’m okay with that. I was trying to avoid downloading any third party actions, so that my applet would be as self contained as possible, but I just can’t find a way around this, at present. At any rate, I now had the files deleting correctly, the new files copying, and then the SD card dismounting. I finally decided that a nice alert as to its completion would be nice, so I added a Growl action at the end that pops up and informs me that its completed and dismounted.

All in all, its a really nice process that I may not use nearly as often as would be merited by the amount of effort that went into creating the system, but what I think is more important, is what I learned from it. I know more about Automator and Applescript than I did before. This is how I learn, its how I’ve always learned. I find some lame project that doesn’t amount to anything of real value, but the processes can be applied to more important things down the line.

To that same effect, I’ve once again, surprised myself with my ability to decipher web code and rebuild it to work the way I need it to.

Yesterday I found that I needed to build a specialized page for the new CVAD web site but once it was built, it just wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. After some fine manipulating of the core programming, I was able to get my page to work just fine. It was a foray into completely foreign territory for me, but everything seems to have worked out perfectly, so I’m proud of my progress. I know that I often don’t credit myself with my adaptability or ability to learn, but in moments like that, I’m always surprised at how adept I really am at absorbing and reworking things that I have so little experience with. That’s definitely a skill that could get me work in other, more lucrative positions (damn you shirt.woot, why are you in St. Louis?).

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Originally posted at K. Close III
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Where did the Weekend go…

Monday, August 4th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about the loss of time

So this weekend, like most, flew by almost imperceptibly. I know I did something this weekend, but nothing that would be considered a responsible thing. I had wanted to do things like change out heather’s license plates, put up a clothesline, fix the toilet. You know, grown up, homeowner, husband, father type things.

Instead, I pretty much watched movies, played games, and wasted time with my Xbox. I know the responsible part of me is locked inside somewhere, I’ve seen it before. It usually surfaces with a flurry of activity, then drinks a beer and hibernates for several months, but lately, its been wracking at the bars and trying to get out, but I somehow keep distracting it and just waste time. Sunday, it almost won, but fortunately, Jason and Stephanie came over and showed it some little plastic figures and it ran in the corner and played army men.

We did, however, spend nearly two hours at Lowes on Sunday not only buying a deep freeze so that Heather can really devote some effort to the Grocery Game , but also meandering back and forth and back again between the fencing, plumbing, and hardware departments trying to figure out how to make a removable post for the retractable clothesline I’m going to put up for Heather. After much deliberating, I think I finally found the right combination of items to create a ground socket within which to install a fence post that can then be removed in the event that we want to have people over on the patio. I’m going to begin construction on it tonight if I can keep the Xbox from grabbing my attention.

Speaking of the Xbox, my addiction to it must be worse than I thought. Not only does the enticement of downloading and watching old TV shows almost completely disable my fatherly productivity (I’ve watched three seasons of Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place almost completely back to back), but games that just make me mad for two hours at a time will keep me hooked even in misery. I played Culdcept Saga for several hours this weekend, and hated almost all of it. Why can I not stop playing when I’m enjoying it so little? I think it is, in part, due to the fact that Culdcept is a combination of a board game and a collectible card game, both of which are weaknesses of mine, but at the same time, the rules eluded me and I didn’t understand why certain things were happening from time to time, so it just made me mad when I thought I understood and found out that I was wrong. This happened quite a bit. I finally determined that the root of the problem, was that in a live game where you are playing with other people, if something happens and its not what you expected, you can go back and figure out what’s actually going on. In a video game, events happen, and then the cards are wiped off the table and you’re on to another round before you even know what you miscalculated. You can’t go back and see what you mixed up.

Also, the game loved to surprise you with abilities that you’d never seen and didn’t know what they did, so you wouldn’t know how to prepare for them.

And finally, I’m now on my second day at work without Heather around and its still awkward. I got to ride my bike in to work today (it took a leisurely 16 minutes and I was actually not completely exhausted or sweat soaked), which is something I’ve been really looking forward to doing again. Today’s ride makes me confident that I can do that almost every day, depending on the weather. Its still unusually, however, to be going off to fix a computer problem (and usually the most asinine problem) and not be able to stop by Heather’s office and rant about it first. Heather and Angela were my biggest confessionals and while Angela is still here, she’s not on the way to most of the computers I deal with. Every time I go out to work on a computer, if I pass by Heather’s office, I look in expectantly, knowing that she’s not there. I know she’s home and happy with Ansel, but its going to take some adjusting for me. Heather and I have worked in the same building for 10 years, and its just not the same to not have her here anymore.

At least now I’m getting tons of comp time again, now that I’m not longer taking lunches. Eating at my desk, FTW!

Originally posted at K. Close III
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Aggressively Passive…

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about subversive office politics

I want to preface this by admitting whole heartedly that I am a very passive aggressive person because I hate to confront people with the probable intent of making them feel bad. I know, from experience and observation, that in fact being told something directly actually hurts less than to find out about something second or third hand, or anonymously. I know all of these things to be true, and yet, I’m probably going to rant off about things that have been bothering me lately that I’ve not confronted people about, and that’s that.

I am also aware that venting about my professional life in a public forum can, sometimes, come around and bite me in the ass. Again, I know this from both personal experience and observation, but I am willing to take the risk and be an open individual (if only in text, since only moments ago, I admitted that I fail at direct confrontation).

The office dynamic at work, lately, has become intolerable. The people in my office used to be very chummy and we not only worked together, we shared leisure activities as well. We used to chat about games and movies and go to lunch. We used to be friends and actually get work done, but also screw off on occasion. Lately, however, it seems like we all have different directions and distractions, and those variations are like fractures in a window, and they are making the office very tense. Today, due to a climactic blatant disregard for work ethic of any kind on the part of one of my co-workers, I literally stormed out of the office, kicking things as I went. Not to say that I didn’t actually get up a little gumption and attempt an amicable confrontation prior to my “tantrum,” but still. I marched out of the office with a temperature rising, vision dimming, reason clouding, torrent raging on my shoulders.

I used to be really bad. I used to come to work everyday and do as little as possible. I was as American as media makes out the middle class to seem. I could blame it on laziness, indifference, or the media; but the blame game is pointless and worthless. In the past couple of years, however, I’ve attempted to turn my work ethic around. I try to focus at work and get as much done as I can. I’m conscious of my reputation at work amongst the faculty and administration. I want them to know they can count on me to solve their problems. I know that, in the past, problems have gone unreported simply because our patrons knew it wouldn’t really make a difference. I’m working as hard as I can to change that. I try to keep track of everything I’m working on. I try to jump up and take care of things as quickly as possible. I am trying to be a pleaser. The problem is, stagnation is a very powerful force and our office is filled with it. There is so much history of it residing within these walls, and pockets of it still extant in the occupants, that I often feel like a fly trying to pull away from earth’s gravity to keep my work ethic and energy up. Most of the time I can ignore the lackluster efforts made by my peers, but today was not the day.

After blowing up, tromping out, venting to my wonderful wife, driving around, venting more to a dear friend, and then going to the autobody shop and reading a book, I’m better. I’m still not happy with our situation in here, but I can ignore it for a while before it really starts breaking me down again.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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The Man behind The Man behind The Man…

Friday, June 27th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about the nature of being support staff.

I’m sure the same is true in the public sector as it is in government and public education, but tasks have a way of rolling downhill. The problem is, if tasks, recognition, and money were on one of those rock-sorting conveyer belts, money would be a tiny rock and would fall through to someone far up the line, recognition would be a medium sized rock and would probably trickle out a few bins up from where I am… and from where the big ass tasks and workload rocks fall.

Here’s the thing, with a few details as possible: from up on high, several millions of dollars have been allocated for a grant. Someone in our College is working on that grant and was in need of some research in an area that, while I am not specialized, I am at least familiar and savvy. So now I am tasked with providing research and data for a project that I will in no way be related to as it come to fruition. The millions of dollars and the praises and accolades will fall far from me, while I sit in my office and continue to be over worked and under appreciated.

This is the plight of “staff.” We are the gears that grind in the background. We are the Morlocks to the Eloi utopia that is the upper echelons of a research University. Pardon my hunched back and penchant for human flesh.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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You Might Find, You Get What You Need…

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

in which I talk about small victories.

Yesterday I got to sit in my hanging chair again, read a little bit, and take a nap.

Earlier this week we finished watching House M.D. on DVD and are now only slightly behind the currently airing episodes, which is actually a bit frustrating because that means now, not only can we not watch them at our leisure, but we have to wait until the latest season either reruns or comes out on DVD to continue.

Today, and actually this week for the most part, has been a series of small successes at work. I’ve knocked out a ton of small tasks, both from my “to do” list and more that have just cropped up. I feel pretty good about the progress my work is making. My work log for the past two days has been packed with things I’ve completed, so on paper I look really busy. I love knocking out tons of tasks and keeping active and helping people. Its why, despite my outward appearance some days, I really do appreciate and enjoy my job. I feel terrible when I don’t have the solution for someone, but I feel like I should have some kind of heroic fanfare when I actually save someone’s work by fixing their computer or even just helping them to get on the internet.

On top of all that, the questionnaire we had to fill out for this compensation study on campus, was not only approved by my supervisor, but improved. I had shorted myself on some of my tasks and responsibilities and he made me look better than I made myself look. So, long story short, work’s been good. Really, the only thing that could make it better, would be to work in an environment where everyone else had a bit of excitement for their jobs as well. The oppressing drudgery that other people wade in around me at their jobs makes it hard to keep an optimistic and positive attitude about my position here. I understand why they’re so negative about working here, and I know that it can get weighty at times, but overall, its still a good job and rewarding in the end. If nothing else, we have our perpetually chipper student assistant, Robin, who keeps the office bright and happy in lieu of the depression seething from the darker corners. Yay!

Originally posted at K. Close III
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The Karate Kid had some Kick-Ass Music…

Thursday, April 17th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about kicking some ass at work and failing at life.

So the last couple of days I’ve pulled off some really good moves at work. I finished an experimental projects with the Design Department today and its a roaring success. Yesterday, I was able to recode some web stuff flawlessly and simultaneously purge a particularly nasty virus from a laptop. I’m still not on top of everything here, but I’m knocking some big stuff down. The next big project is an overwhelming one. Next week I get to inventory every computer we have in the school. I usually do that during Spring Break, but with us getting ready for the server migration that didn’t happen, I didn’t have the chance to do it. Now we’re down to the wire, which hasn’t happened in a few years with the inventory and I’m sweating it a little bit. I’m sure it will all come off without a hitch, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking about it.

On the home front, however, guilt has been building a bit since I got the Xbox. Not guilt over buying the Xbox, not at all. I’m totally cool with that. However, my obsessive personality does kind of kick in once in a while and I’ve been playing the Xbox quite a bit lately. I try to be the good husband/father and make sure that everything that needs taking care of around the house has been taken care of, but also, my idea of necessary tasks has always been more relaxed than Heather’s. I actually surprised her on Tuesday by actually doing some laundry and dishes while she was out and I was taking care of Ansel, alone. I think she was mostly surprised because when she came home, I was just sitting in front of the TV, playing Crackdown, drinking a beer. I looked like I must have been there the whole night, but Ansel was fed and asleep and the dishes and diapers were all clean. I have mixed feelings about that, though. I love to surprise her and make her feel loved by doing things around the house for her, but at the same time, she apparently has such low expectations, it doesn’t take much to meet her approval.

As far as photography is concerned, however, I’ve still not gotten any further in doing any actual photo projects. I had some ideas the other day, but I haven’t played with them at all. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to implement my ideas, even though I should just be doing it. My mind is having a hard time wrapping around some of the things I want to photograph, plus I have a permanent paranoia that I’m just going to start doing something that other people have already done and will never find a way to make it “mine.” I know I shouldn’t concern myself with it and should just produce something, but I’ve been so self-loathing yesterday (in every aspect except work, apparently). I’m more concerned about what’s going to happen when I’m expected to actually participate in class again and I have to make up the two incompletes I’ve received as grades during my “relaxed” period. Ugh. I feel like I’m in an educational hole that I no longer even care about.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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A Short Nap in the Texas Springtime…

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about my day off and what’s still plaguing my mind.

I took a “sick” day yesterday. To be honest, I’d call it a sanity day. I tried to make a four day weekend out of it, but Friday I came in in the morning to meet with a faculty who requested we talk about some problems she’s been having with her computer. As it turned out, she left her laptop at home anyway and I could have just taken the day off after all. No great loss, though, I like the faculty member, and I think just showing up to help her out made her feel good and we talked about what the problems could be anyway. I did take the rest of Friday off, however, and while I don’t remember exactly what I did, I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it. I’ve just been really stressed lately and I needed a break.

The weekend was good, but as always, far too short. Which leads me to my taking Monday off as well. It was a beautiful day and I just lazed around the house for the most part. I did a couple loads of laundry to make Heather happy, I read my book in my hanging chair out back, I bought a new game for my xbox and played the crap out of it. When Heather and Ansel came home, we went out and had Panera for dinner and then I got to eat some of Angela’s cake for desert. In brief, it was a day I really needed. I also did some thinking about how stressed I’ve been lately, and how much pressure life is putting on me and how good that one day felt.

Aside from the obvious statement of “I need more days like that” I thought that I need to find a way to remove some stressors in my life. And while I hate thinking about it, I always come back to school. I’ve got so much going on, that I just can’t seem to concentrate on school. For nearly two semesters now (from the week Ansel was born) I haven’t done anything at all in the way of schoolwork aside from my one trip down to Houston for FotoFest and that was something I should have done whether I was in school or not. The only time school factors into my current state of life is when I all of a sudden realize that I haven’t been doing any photo projects or research or anything, and that I really should be or I’m going to get further and further behind.

Am I really unhappy with my life as it is? Do I really need my MFA to change my current state? I realize I’m underpaid and that I could be making more money either at another job like this one, or in a teaching position that could be garnered with my MFA, but do I want or need that much change? I realize I ask this question a lot and its going to come up frequently in my blogging. Get used to it. When I was sitting in my chair, hanging from the tree in my back yard yesterday, a book in my lap and the wind gently twisting me around, I had to wonder why I was going to school?

I need to work. Its an unfortunate requirement of this modern life. Unless you are remarkably blessed, or were extremely pro-active at some point in your life (or are willing to live a very substandard existence), you must submit yourself to work. I know there are people out there who have jobs that aren’t “work,” and that they do what they love and get paid for it, but I’m pretty sure there aren’t that many jobs out there to sit under a tree and read a book.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about how friggin tired I’ve been lately.

I feel like for the past two months, my life’s been going a million miles an hour. When the new semester started, I was ready to get back to it and start working on that MFA again after taking a “new baby hiatus.” Unfortunately, the universe has conspired against me and while I was having a hard time finding the opportunity to photograph, things have gotten considerably more difficult to the point that I don’t even have the energy to think about anything other than what I’m doing at that very moment. Pre-planning is a thing of the past and almost everything is suffering from last minute realizations that I’ve forgotten something.

So the first month of the semester went alright. I was attending class, I was thinking about photographing (even if I wasn’t actually doing so). Mid-February, my co-worker had his baby (okay, really his wife had the baby, but he was there) and he went on paternity leave for the next month. This meant that I now had to cover a lot of his duties in addition to mine. This was a level of additional work dedication I had not been thinking about, even though I knew his wife was pregnant. It just didn’t really occur to me until I was doing it. On top of this, we were preparing for a large server migration to occur the week after spring break, in mid-March. As the date for the migration got closer – and I was still doing my job, plus my co-worker’s job, plus the extra work required for the migration – my boss developed a bad case of pneumonia. This left our entire office staffed by myself and our student worker for the better part of three weeks, and we were still trying to get ready for this migration, in which my boss played the most major of roles. To add to this, I had three road trips lined up for late February and March (my trip to Arkansas, then my trip to Houston, and finally my trip to North Carolina).

And while some people will claim that its the oak pollen that’s making everyone so tired, I tend to think I’ve got some extenuating circumstances that are the cause of my overwhelming exhaustion. Did I mention that this year was the first year that the University actually took away our spring break, on top of everything else? So while the students and faculty got the week off in the middle of March, the staff (which include my wife and I) were all still working. So we didn’t even get the vacation in the middle of the semester that we’re used to. I’ve decided I really need a vacation, even if its just a week off at home – or heck, maybe even a four day weekend. I’m going to have to talk to my boss about that, because I’m dying here and I just need a couple days to regain my sanity.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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