Sunday, February 26, 2017


It's been an interesting few weeks here.

First, I've been having PC problems the past several weeks.  I have new laptop inbound from Dell that will become my main box, though the shipping from Dell's webstore seems to take an incredibly long time (yes, welcome to a society where instant gratification runs rampant).  In the meantime, neither my 2009-era desktop nor this slowly-dying laptop are up to the task of anything besides web browsing and random commenting.  I've known this laptop has been having hardware issues (in particular the charge jack is completely borked) but held off in buying the replacement laptop until after we got back from a midwinter vacation.

I'll admit that I had all but forgotten about EVE until my main accounts subscription kicked over for another 6 months of time.  To be honest, if I'd known it was about to expire, I'd have maybe not let it bill.

This may or may not be my last post here.  I'm pushing a year since I would consider EVE to be my 'main' time diversion, and in the past 6 months it's slid off my top 3 or maybe my top 5 list of ways to unwind each night.

There are several ways to wrap up a blog.  The easiest is to just post as if you're coming back tomorrow and then never do.  This results in a blog that's like that scene from Aliens where the space marines wander through the colonist's office space to find everything as if it had been left 5 minutes ago, including half eaten donuts, only the wind is howling and the roof is leaking and you KNOW that it's been far longer since anyone has touched that cup of coffee.  I'd really rather not do that, but as I said it's the easiest.

The second way is to ragequit and erupt in a manifesto of ranty nonesense.  This serves as an emotional unload, as someone tries to validate their conflicted feelings about the game.  Some might even be seeking to take players with them to help them feel vindicated in their rage.  But usually nobody says "You're right, this game sucks and CCP are dolts and I'm coming with you."  Instead, the response is an obligatory "can I have your stuff?"

And I'm really not angry with CCP, although I am disappointed that resources were diverted away from having a compelling PVE experience.  CCP has done what they think is best for their survival.  Meanwhile my life and my interests have diverged from their vision. I'm no longer their target audience, and truthfully, haven't been for awhile.  And I'm ok with that.

The third major way to end a blog is a goodbye post, which in a way is what I'm writing now.  There's neither heat nor rant included, it's just an acknowledgement that the venue has run its course and it's time to pack it in.  I've avoided this kind of post for awhile, because I really don't know when the EVE bug will bite me again and my time in New Eden will spiral back up to peak levels.  And really, as I work around the house the idea for a stray post does strike me.  I work out the theme in my head, and then when I sit down to write the result is maybe half a dozen sentences and I save it as a draft.  I'd like to think that I'll resurrect these ideas for a series of non-EVE content.

And so instead of saying "goodbye" I'll wrap this post with two such drafts.

Kingdom Death
Let's talk about Kingdom Death next.  The Kickstarter ended back in January, and in the final hours it went a little crazy, finally knocking Exploding Kittens off to become the #1 funded boardgame on kickstarter.  It continued to climb; when the dust settled it was just short of $12.4M in pledges.

Over the course of the campaign, I began following things very closely; it became part of my evening ritual to lurk on the KS comments, re-post useful links/summaries, and try to help people find information.  A little community sprang up based in the KS comments, and I felt very much included.

When the campaign ended, most of the community burst like a balloon and vanished, and I think I went though a little period of mourning.  This past week the pledge manager went active, and It's been a reunion of sorts as people reappear to process their individual pledges.  The initial flurry of activity is now over and things are returning to minimal activity.  Delivery on the campaign runs through 2020 or 2021, so maybe I should get used to this feast and famine cycle.

Real Life Stuff
I'm coming up on 20 years in "Industry."  I've seen and done more than a few things.  I've watched other people repeat the same mistakes, and I've repeated a few of my own.  While everything has been going wonderfully at the 'new' office ('new' is in quotes because it's already coming up on 18mo since my arrival), the amount of crazy has been slowly ramping up.  I was brought in, in part, to help put some sanity into the weekly work flow, and I'm beginning to realize that I maybe can't be successful. This office is always going to be crazy; it's just the nature of the beast.

I've started having conversations about my next assignment and career advancement.  I'm doing well. Some may want to fast track me to areas of more responsibility.  But while I like the idea of better pay, more stability (my current assignment is sort of at the whims of my boss' boss - if she moves on, I'm perhaps at risk), and more overall influence in the organization, there's a seed of doubt.

About 10 years ago, in another company, I got fast tracked.  I was the best candidate for the job at the time, but it was still premature for me.  The organization I was in had a few Sr. Leaders swap out and the replacements were just simply a bag of assholes.  So here I am, new in the job, dealing with vast amounts of pressure from topside.  Within 6 months, it started affecting me physically. My weight ballooned, my blood pressure was up, I was irritable and short tempered at home, and had a couple of meltdowns in the office.  I eventually quit and went to another company, and it took me about 2 years to detox from that experience.

I would hope to never repeat that cycle.  I'm older and wiser and would never do that again, right?

In late January, we took our midwinter vacation to the Caribbean.  It was one of those trips where we unplugged and turned the volume knob of the outside world way, way down.  No internets, no phones.  We were away from major news sources, and for one blissful week didn't hear anything about the politics back home.  We didn't have any social media screaming for attention.  WhatsApp was silent.  I was completely disconnected from the office.  The only days that mattered were Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow.  Everything else became a blur.

In all the trips we've taken over the years, the times that we have disconnected from everything to this extent can be counted on one hand.

It was very, very nice.

I returned to the office and things didn't feel quite the same. The crisis du jour didn't matter as much.  Others had filled the gaps that I left while I was out.  There was less load on me.  I savored that feeling, and took it with me as I met with people for my mid-year career planning sessions.

What I realized is that I've got about 15 years before my earliest retirement date.  Its in my nature to want to help, and I think I've got a reasonable talent for organizing teams and programs.  But I need to be careful that I don't become unbalanced; that I give up workload when I take on new, that I stay selective in my future assignments, and I don't get trapped in a position where I can't be successful.

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 ...