Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I had a hankerin' to blog up a storm last night, but unfortunately Blogger was down all evening due to server upgrades. And thus the world loses another literary masterpiece to the vagaries of technology.

Not as much time tonight, but I'll give you the highlights (and some random late-night rambling) :

I've decided to withdraw from one of the graduate classes I'm taking right now -- for a number of complicated reasons, beginning with the fact that the professor seems to have communications issues, and getting an ulcer just doesn't seem like much fun right now. The bad news about this is that it could end up costing me a big pile of moolah -- as much as 50% of my cost for the class. (At the suggestion of a registration advisor, I am petitioning to get a larger refund due to the problems with the class, but I'm not holding my breath.)

I have other reasons for this seemingly rash decision. One of my friends from college has decided to take a month off to bum around Europe after he takes his med school boards. And, having heard my musings about how I'm squandering my waning youth in middle America instead of seeing the world, he invited me to join in. (You can see my dilemma: stultifying information security class on one hand, European vacation on the other!)

So assuming I can work out the travel arrangements in the next few days, it looks like I'm headed for the south of France sometime in mid-April. I'm still going to be in the middle of my Knowledge Management class then, but I figure it's my duty to test the flexibility of online classes at least once in my graduate career.

We have a huge project at work that's supposed to launch in April, but in my opinion the schedule is already hopelessly optimistic -- so I don't think my absence for a week or two is really going to make all that much difference. Today I bounced the idea off of my boss's boss, and he told me to go for it. He also mentioned the possibility of hiring more help again. This is a very good thing, since unrealistic workload is probably one of my biggest complaints. He's been very concerned about my general mental health and well being lately -- I suspect that he was tipped off (or just guessed) that I've been dipping my toe in the job market a bit.

Recently I've become even busier after being handed the responsibility for the company archives. This department has been neglected for years, and has been cut to the bone in terms of staffing and resources. (The higher ups bought into the notion that a few computers would magically reduce the work involved in maintaining 50+ years of various archival materials.) I'm kind of enjoying the challenge of whipping things into shape, but it's a departure from my normal technology duties. Which just makes the three big programming projects we've got going on right now seem even more daunting.

Today I went out to the big boss's house to work on his company computer. This has become a ritual once or twice a year. Sometimes I do highly work-related things on these visits (updating virus software, installing VPN clients, etc.) Other times, not so much. (Installing a wireless network to his son's room isn't exactly on my copy of the company's strategic plan.)

I don't mind this as much as you might think, though. The big man is a wine afficionado, and in return for the housecalls he keeps me in decent vino. Plus I figure it's not a terrible idea career-wise to stay on good terms with a guy who has a corner office and the letters V and P in his title.

It's hard for me to believe that I've been with the company almost five years. I'm starting to feel like an old timer -- I've been here longer than many of people I deal with regularly. This is the job that I was supposed to leave in a year or two, and here I am about to vest in the pension plan. Last night I actually had to stop and think about my age for a minute -- I somehow didn't remember turning 27. I feel like I'm in some sort of strange dimension where I'm losing track of real time. My life is measured from deadline to deadline, and I can't think in terms of anything bigger. It's bizarre -- and a cry for help from my subconcious, I think.

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