Saturday, March 19, 2016

5 Random Things

Stealing the format from another blog I read.  Here are 5 random things I did this week:

1) Signed my will.  As in my last will and testament.  We're old enough that we should have one, and it's been on my New Years' to-do list each year for the past 2-3 years (and if I say 3, it's probably been more like 5 years).  Last year I actually logged into LegalZoom but didn't actually purchase the form.  This year we found a local attorney to hammer out the details.  It was painless and far less expensive than I expected.

2) Was a featured speaker at a Lunch n' Learn event at work.  My part was less than 10 minutes, though I also coordinated the other 4 speaker's content and assembled the consolidated package.  I am not a great public speaker but it went well enough.  There were about 50 people in the auditorium and another 30 people online via webex.  Not my largest audience ever, but probably the most free-form speech I've ever given (since I wasn't giving a "briefing" against a standardized agenda).  My boss' boss was in the 4th row and has this eagle-eye stare that unnerved me.  I had to find someone else to look at during my hand waiving.  After starting at the new office in October, it was nice to be asked to speak and be a visible person in my new org.

3)  Rode 20 miles on the bike.  Early season rides are always a crapshoot around here, and normally this time of year I'd be happy getting a "real" ride of maybe 10 miles.  Last Sunday it was sunny and warm with only medium wind so I suited up and went out.  The route I picked started on some of my favorite roads and I ran into a TON of other bikers - the biking community here has really exploded in the past 5 years.  As I considered my return route, I opted to add another 5 miles and went out scouting a new return route on the way home.

4)  Patched up EVE.  I haven't undocked in awhile, but did manage to get my Desktop client patched up and checked training queues.  Everything is where I left it, although I'm noticing that some of my older burner setups are now broken (the Gila fit for the Sansha BC Burner in particular).

5)  This morning, we ran a local 5k.  Every triathlete has a least favorite event; running is mine.  I am neither a great runner nor a horrible runner, but I don't enjoy it and therefore don't train for it.

However, while I am focusing on Bike this season, Mrs. Durden is opting to chase down some running goals.  She signed up for this event long ago and I jumped on board last month (mostly because of the finisher medal, I must admit).

I went into this unprepared ... I have run exactly twice this year - the only other jogging session was a 5k event in February - and the time I got today was pretty good for not actually preparing for the race.  The weather was pretty cold (38 deg F at the start) and after I overheated in February, I undercompensated and was dressed for a day 15 degrees warmer.  Luckily, we were able to hide in a local pub before the start and once on the course I felt really good.  Mrs. Durden did also well and the finisher medal is cool and we're better off for having done it than sleeping in on a Saturday.

6) Bonus:  Tonight we're going to the Opera. We're season ticket holders, believe it or not.  I can take or leave the singing, but I really enjoy watching the pit orchestra. With dinner and the show it will make for a nice evening out.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Early Sunday

It's early for a Sunday.  It's not quite 8am and I've already been out of bed close to 2 hours.

At around 4:30 this morning, I awoke with a start.  I was having one of those pulse pounding dreams, and I wasn't able to really get back to sleep after.  The dream itself was new and interesting - Mrs. Durden and I were making our way somewhere late at night.  It was dark, horrendously rainy, and the headlights weren't cutting through the haze.  The road we were on was in the middle of nowhere, and very hilly, and we had someone tailgating us.  We knew there was a rail line ahead and could see the train in the distance; I began watching for the cross guards.  We descend into a valley, crest a small hill, and suddenly there's a bridge that's washed out by the rainstorm.  Mrs. Durden (who was driving) slams on the brakes.  We skid to a halt (Hollywood style) with our front tires teetering over the abyss of rushing water.  I'm urging her to back up before the bank collapses, and she's saying something about the car behind us maybe can't stop in time.  She begins to back up just as the bank starts to crumble....

...And that's when I woke up.  I'm sure it's going to be an interesting day today.  We have few plans, so I'm hopeful for a long nap this afternoon.

Anyway, the reason I'm here is that although EVE is somewhat on the back burner, I'll try to keep a feed here going, even if it's not game related.

March is already here.  I've done reasonably well with my Winter to-do list around the 10 acres we own, and if the weather cooperates will have knocked out the last of the pre-Spring prep perhaps next weekend.

I'm also looking forward to more miles outdoors on the bicycle.  I have a big event in early June for which I need to train.  Winter training (indoors) has been going well, and I feel stronger now than I did perhaps a year ago.  But the real test will be getting some 25-50 mile rides in to test my endurance in the saddle.

/Time to Ride...
Spring is both a horrible and a great time to ride here.  When the weather turns warm, there's always a strong south wind that brings it.  Wind is a part of biking, but after your 3rd or 5th ride in a grinding 25mph gusty wind, you've really had enough.  (Of course, in July and August when it's 105 degrees F and 95% humidity you're praying for a little wind).

But only so much can be done indoors; eventually you need the real miles on a real bike on a real road.

I have done what I can, I think, to make the season successful, but Spring is always a challenge.  The weather the next few weeks will be very important - if it's too wet, I won't be able to ride, and won't be able to knock off chores around the house.  This is important because the same days that are ideal for biking are also ideal for working outdoors.  I'll have to make hard decisions whether I work or play, and those decisions get harder if the weather windows are few.

If things cooperate, I'll be able to tetris my tasks/training together very nicely and accomplish much.  If things don't cooperate, it'll mean an unruly mess and a lot of compromises.

Last year was an unruly mess with a lot of compromises.  So far, this year is better.  But the next few weeks will set the tone for the entire season.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Work is Winning

I logged in to EVE last night for the first time in awhile and got asked, "where ya' been?"

Fair question.

Snarky Answer:  Not in EVE.

Better Answer: Work is winning. I've not been burning extra hours, but have been arriving home exhausted each night.  I've been struggling to make a coherent dinner, and after that I'm without sufficient energy to boot the EVE client.  So I squander the evening on something else, mindless, and then generally fall asleep on the couch before retiring early.  Weekends have been recovery and some quality time on the bicycle when I can sneak in the miles.

The interesting part is that work has been good.  Excellent, even.  Longtime readers will maybe recall that I switched offices in October.  The first few weeks were tough. My coworkers viewed me skeptically and I was drastically undertasked.  The holiday season was interesting as things began to click, and by late January I was firing on all cylinders and picking up task after task after task.

I find it stressful, but stressful in that hectic way.  Every day is like trying to wrestle 27 squirrels into a minivan with all the windows open.  There's a hundred things to do and I need to be in many places at once.

The old job was stressful in a highly negative way.  The relationship with our east coast teammates had eroded to the point of being openly hostile.  I came to work every day and argued against the idiotic (and in my business, downright dangerous/hazardous) decisions that were being made.  And my counterparts were making them intentionally just to go against the advice my team provided.  Every phone call was a fight; every email an argument.  I came home mad every single night.

The old job was list trying to wrestle a grizzly bear into a minivan with someone holding a trash bag over your head tightly, suffocating you while you're trying not to get bit.

I heard from some of my old coworkers today. Their situation is miserable.  Most are biding their time until options are presented and the office is closed down mid-next year.  With pensions, buyouts, accrued vacation, and so on, they're in a position where it's better for them and their families that they "shut up and color" than resign outright like I did (although I got a pretty sweet deal and lost nothing in my transaction).

Contact from the old team made me pause and take stock of where I was.  I'm busy. I'm tired. But I'm happy, and I haven't been able to say that in a few years.

Anyway, I'm still here. Work is winning.  It's winning because I'm letting it.  My change has been a net positive and the opportunities in the new organization are almost endless.  I'm learning a ton. I'm making a difference.

But I'm also very, very tired.

Alpha State

"Everything that has a beginning has an end."  That's one of my favorite quotes from the Matrix 2.  It has to do with the ...