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Whammo (2555)

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Journal of Whammo (2555)

Wednesday June 29, 2005
01:00 AM


[ #25420 ]

"And everyone here
Knows everyone here is thinking about somebody else
Well, it's best if we all keep this under our heads
I couldn't tell if anyone here was feeling the way I do
But I'm lonely now, and I don't know how
To get it back to good"
-- Matchbox 20

Four and a half months since my last entry. Not a record for me by any stretch of the imagination, but needless none the less. And, to be honest, the only reason I'm probably blogging tonight is because I've already slept, but it's 00:53 EDT and it'll be a while before I can either go back to sleep or go into work.

There've been some changes over the past four months. The biggest one, by far, is that I quit my job. ("Quit my job." It sounds so... sudden, like I was engaged in a classic shouting match with a mindless managerial troglodyte, and just up and quit. The truth is, it was a 14 month process.)

I liked RABA. It was an incredible company to work for (when it wasn't Capita). The pay was better than I deserved, the benefits package was nothing to complain about, and there's no better desire for a geek than to work at a company where 90%+ of the people are smarter than you.

So why did I leave? My boss asked me that question - hell, everyone's been asking me that question, and few people understand the answer. It wasn't for the money; I took a significant pay cut. It wasn't for better benefits; I took a hit there, too. It wasn't for a specific job; I didn't know exactly what I'd be doing next. Instead, it was for - oh, I don't know - peace of mind.

RABA is a consulting company. Consultants, while they get their paychecks from one place, actually work for everyone else. In theory. Obviously, you're still expected to watch the bottom line, chase down future business, and be a good employee of the company. While at the same time trying to do the same for the people you are consulting. It's serving two masters. (Well, three, really, because I've always considered that I work for myself first, even though I'm not an independent consultant.) And while the conflicts were few and far between, they were there. And because of what I did and where I worked, it mattered. Really mattered. (I apologize if that's rather nebulous. Either you know, and you get it, or you don't, and you won't.)

Since I had no family, known financial obligations, and too many angst-filled nights, I did what I felt was the only logical choice. In a time when everyone is leaving for companies like RABA, I traded it all in for a chance to work directly for my long-time customers.

It took a while to negotiate past all the red tape. But I did it, and even though the hour-by-hour work experience is currently much worse than where I was as a contractor, I am much happier.

Of course, now I have no vacation, so it looks like I'm going to miss yet another Perl Conference. (Not to be confused with Yet Another Perl Conference, which I'm also going to miss.) And I sincerely doubt that this change is going to free up enough time to resume any work on Parrot or Perl 6. (And, believe me, I've no delusions that the impact one way or the other would be anything but negligible to the Perl community at large.)

I'm still playing volleyball. I got picked up on a great (reverse) coed 4s team this summer. Not great, as in our level of play - we're currently 5 of 6 in A league - but great in the sense that they are the first team in a while where I like (and like playing with) everyone on the team. Too bad S. has a boyfriend. :-)

But then again.... During the lengthy interviewing process this spring, I met L. during one of the evaluation periods. We only talked briefly, but she made enough of an impression that I filed her away for future reference. As it turns out, she started the same day I did. Neither of us knew anyone else in our orientation class, so we kind of gravitated to each other. (Well, to be honest, since I'm shy and she's outgoing, I probably gravitated more to her than the other way around. But she at least remembered who I was.)

It was refreshing to see everything through a fresh set of eyes, all full of wonder and excitement. I had long grown too cynical to realize just how incredible the job could be - (another reason to question why I wanted to work there directly!) - and, like watching kids at Christmas, watching her made me excited all over again. We've been casually emailing each other since. It's been enjoyable.

I dug out an old, horribly-produced tape I made back before I left for Saudi. Half the songs I can't remember how to play, and I obliterated the first half of the first song. Luckily, my music is incredibly repetitious, so it's not like anything was truly lost. But I figured out how to hook everything up to my computer and record it, so I now at least have a digitized version. (And, somehow, even with an analog recording of a bad tape, the recording sounds better than the tape did - less hiss and noise.)

It was quite the adventure trying to change all my mailing lists and contact info off of and I was going to build a server to hang off a friend's T1, but I couldn't get the hardware to work right, and I discovered that it was cheaper to just use a hosting service. So I'm now at - coeptus: a beginning, an undertaking. There's a blog there that I'm also not posting to. :-)

Went out and spent the sixty dollars necessary to build my own Alton Brown ceramic smoker, and I smoked my first pork butt, as done on the Good Eats episode "Q". Best pulled pork I've ever had. And it makes an even better BBQ pork.

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  • I keep meaning to try more of Alton's recipes -- especially the pork and fish, as my diet is primarily protein and vegetables these days, and I enjoy protein more than vegetables -- and I never get around to it.

    What I'd really like to do is build the improv box smoker he used to cold-smoke trout and find out what that's like. I've never had smoked trout before.


    You are what you think.
    • I've done the smoked salmon as seen in Where There's Smoke, There's Fish [], sans the cardboard box. It turned out well, too. (Although the entire time, I was so worried that I had ruined it, since I had never done it before, and the texture of it after the cure was a bit weird.)

      I've also simply grilled fresh(er) salmon with the same rub, and had it turn out quite tasty.)