Idol thoughts…

Mandrina has decided at the last minute to compete in another karaoke competition — she really needs for these things to be scheduled better. But she made it through the first round with ease — admittedly, so did everyone else there because there weren’t enough people for a competition that night. However, tomorrow night is the final-ish round (I lost track of whether or not it is the final), and she’s… doing something.

It involves mirrors, a hair-curler-microphone, costuming, and mouthing singing…

Is this normal???

(I love you, Mandrina…)

Today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic…

I didn’t get to go to that one, though.

Mandrina’s employer’s local managers picnic was yesterday (I’m sure it had a more clever title). I was invited (at the last minute) to go, so I took a half day and went to Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Pretty-ish park, too large to have to walk around… Oh. Wait, we did walk around… ’cause we didn’t know what picnic ground they were at.

Turns out, they were at the first picnic stand we went to — we just didn’t see anyone Mandrina recognized, so we proceeded to walk ALL AROUND the park. Beautiful day out, fortunately, but still.

I, of course, was not allowed to bring my camera, so there are no embarassing photos. Mandrina didn’t process that “picnic” meant “potentially dirty” — so her outfit was not entirely suited (flip-flops were cute, but in dirt-covered paths white flip-flops are a bad idea). I got a black balloon sword — which is now in my office at work. I played half an inning of softball — at short stop. Guess how underrepresented that team was at that moment…

I also go to drive around for a half hour racing to find a softball bat because no one had brought one, and then hurry to work to find out I had to make a presentation in an hour…

I should have gone to the Teddy Bear picnic.

Never open your mouth at work, Part II

So following on yesterday’s “What am I getting myself into?”, I had a meeting yesterday evening, during which results of some performance investigation I did last week were discussed. Everyone was very surprised by the results — despite my having posted all the results last week for everyone to see — including a summary.

So during the meeting, it was decided more investigation was needed. My managed sitting across from me told me I was doing it.

What, pray tell, about the Priority 1 Work I was informed about yesterday?

“Oh, you can start that next week.”

We’re obviously using different dictionaries…

Never open your mouth at work…

So about a month ago I told my managers I was considering leaving the group — not because I didn’t like the people or the type of work, only because I didn’t feel I was getting to program (true) and there was very little in the way of advancement possibilities (also true). Apparently that stirred things up. Both managers individually took responsibility for the former, and both agreed wholeheartedly with the latter — and not just for me. So since that time, the projects I’ve been assigned to have changed a wee bit.

I was assigned to do a bit of work on a feature that was in line with what I’ve previously done (which I can’t tell you about, because I don’t believe the features have been announced yet), while finishing up some work for Office’s new file format (which has been announced). (The latter I did bunches of design work on… and wrote about ten lines of code.) Well, program management hasn’t decided quite what they want to do yet — there’s finally a meeting today. But someone else — and I like the guy, don’t get me wrong — already wrote a bloody prototype of the feature!! I get to write code where?

So yesterday I received a visit (after starting the day off talking to the same guy about what my work priorities are at the moment), and he told me they were considering lending me out to another team. I would get two weeks to get up to speed on the codebase, and then the same amount of time their top person would have, were he doing the work.

The words used were “high profile,” and “high risk.” And, the most important to me, “code.” I said sure.

I then came home and warned Mandrina that if I did get assigned to it, I would probably end up stressed. She promised to carry a water gun and throw the kitten at me as necessary. Isn’t she sweet?

My father is occasionally terribly useful

My dad mentioned this random puzzle game he’s been doing in lieu of the NY Times Crossword (my mother’s the one with the language skills). It’s a Japanese game that’s taken off — it’s not a math puzzle, despite it’s appearance.

It’s called Sudoku, and I have no idea how it’s pronounced. Obligatory wikipedia link

Basically, it’s a process of elimination. Every board gives you certain information as to what the final state should be, and you need to gather all the other information. My father’s been doing them with pencil and paper — I’ve been doing them in my head. He might finish slightly faster than me…

Web Sudoku is now linked over in the right hand column — I’ve been doing puzzles regularly since yesterday while waiting for things to finish at work. I’m averaging about 12 minutes per easy puzzle — in my defense for everyone who responds with thoughts of “My, that’s slow!”, I’m doing it while working — multitasking puzzle solving into emails, programming, research… okay, so I’m not always the biggest on “time management.”

Manda refuses to even look at it because it contains numbers, but I know she’d be good at it — I’ll try to find a puzzle with letters or symbols instead, just to get her hooked.

First real meeting with Charles

Charles, of course, would by my apparent real estate agent — okay, “our” real estate agent. I wasn’t terribly favorably impressed with him initially, but since then I’ve had occasion to send a few dozen emails back and forth — this guy isn’t even sure he’s going to be our agent (his company doesn’t do contracts), and yet he’s answered me a few dozen questions, and provided me with consistently good and valid advice.

Of course, most important of all, Glitch liked him.

So Charles and I spent over an hour talking about money — mainly how to get my credit up high enough so that I can qualify for a lower interest rate on a mortgage, which would mean a higher amount approved for a mortgage, which in my more cynical moments means a higher commission for Charles…

But after a good hour and a half of evaluating credit improvement options, I think I have a rough idea of what to do — I’ll have him do a final run through once I have all my money setup (why, oh why, did Microsoft stock decrease now that I need it??) so that I can bump up my credit score. Manda was present but largely quiet for the money talk — a combination of math and discussing finances wasn’t her dream conversation, to say the least, but she agreed with my theories on why and how. Instead she took the time to draw adorable diagrams of what type of house she wants. Unfortunately, that was for Charles… I could have really used a copy, ’cause I have no idea what a “Bungalow” or “Craftsman” is. I thought the latter was a brand of tools, and the former something on a beach (I was wrong). Despite the fact that I haven’t been preapproved for financing, Charles is going to start keeping his eyes open for houses.

Unfortunately, Amanda wants a rather different house than I do — or more specifically, she has slightly different concerns. I’m worried about the size of the house, parking, commute, community, price, etc. She worries about what the outside of the house looks like. Not to say that the other things don’t matter to her, but they don’t matter as much — particularly commute time, Little Miss I Don’t Have To GO To Work Most Days. But I’m still optimistic that we’ll find something.

So I’m juggling money (electronically) for the next week, and then should meet with Charles end of next week beginning of the following. We’ll see what happens.

What’s this site running?

So I think it’s interesting what pieces I cobbled together to get this site running…

  • WordPress is the primary software
  • Multiply, a multi-user plugin that kinda works for WordPress
  • a bit of hand editing .htaccess — mostly RewriteRules.
  • a bit of hand editing of the siteurl option setting for WordPress
  • Time
  • Patience
  • Luck

And special thanks to my lady, Mandrina feeling jealous of her best friend back home.