If there is one thing I fear in regards to my professional life it is stagnation. The field of computer programming is far from a closed field; it is an exciting industry to be a part of, one with low barriers to entry, huge rewards, big payoffs, job satisfaction, and dynamic, vibrant, change. It is because the field is still open and being explored that stagnation in this field is especially dangerous, and yet I've met far too many people who have grown stagnant, and I have yet to meet an employer who actually combats it.
I'm restless. At this time of night I should be calming down, relaxing, and preparing to go to sleep. I should be putting the day in a box and that box on a shelf, ready to archive it in some great warehouse of dusty, forgotten, boxes with faded labels. I'm not. I'm agitated; I'm frustrated; I'm wound up so tight I want to scream, yell, and engage in some full-contact physical activities (preferably ones where I'm the only one doing the full-contact, or I won't last a minute).
I may have stumbled upon something today, something I'm not sure I want to deal with. Some time when I was a kid my folks cautioned me against being lazy. My memory is hazy on the occasion, but knowing me I was probably being admonished for staying indoors reading books rather than going outside and playing, a condition I still suffer to this very day. Since that day (and probably even on that day) I've taken offense to being construed as lazy, but I've also been quite afraid of becoming lazy; somewhere, somehow our society has determined that laziness is a horrid trait placing a social stigma upon it. Quite often we blame things on the lazy, and quite often we label people as lazy when they don't do what we think they ought. So when I force myself to be lazy and then feel physically better for it I find myself in a weird state of inner turmoil.
I find myself in a situation I honestly thought I would never be in; and yet I am not altogether surprised at the turn of events bringing me here, just greatly disappointed. An event that should have been heralded with cheers, celebrations, and loud buffetings of congratulations has instead been met with shock, stunned silence, and a general miasma of upset feelings. I have been made an uncle, by my very own brother-in-law, to a bastard.
Life has been a whirlwind these past months. Some say time flies like an arrow, but I rather think time plays tricks on us advancing forward when no one is looking, and before you know it half your life has passed you by and all you did was blink. I should be back from whatever blogging limbo I was caught in. I have a few things on my mind that I will make time to write about, and as we decide to sell our house and buy a new one I'm sure that will present all manner of blogging fodder (read: I'll have one thing to write about which I will put off due to packing and un-packing, and will then forget about and thus make up some drivel about the stress of moving).
Two things came to my attention this week that coincide with each other and serve to demonstrate a frustration I have. My wife has been going to physical therapy to correct some injury(ies?) done to her back and shoulders. She's been nineteen times since the start of the new year, and was just told that her insurance will only cover thirty per year. Some good friends of mine had a child with severe heart defects and requires quite a lot of medical attention (though I hear she is doing well) and had to fight with their insurance to get their daughter the medicine she needs to stay healthy, and I assume, alive. I think you can see where this is going.
I'm no fan of change; it tends to throw things in chaos and turmoil. The bigger the change the longer it takes for the proverbial dust to settle. The only thing worse than change, are changes. Back around Thanksgiving I was offered and took a new job, and nothing has been the same since. Things are finally beginning to settle down, and I finally have some form of control, albeit slight, on my life once again. Not since marriage has my life been so thoroughly altered, and if this is but a prelude to having children I better understand vice.
There is a sentiment, a goal, an ideal floating about mostly in “Higher Education” circles (as far as I have observed) where the goal or aim of a college is to create life-long learners. It's not a bad goal at all actually, in fact it makes good societal and financial sense: one four-year education to result in the ability to learn whatever you want the rest of your life, without the need for more college. In one sense I think that goal has been achieved, but in another I think there is still some room to improve. The skills to learn are being taught and reinforced, but what of the environment?
I have created an RSS feed for the comments on this site. http://blog.0kelvin.net/comments.xml
I love that title; it says so much. I've been in a personal writing slump for quite some time, and by writing I mean stories; I almost always mean stories when I say writing. I have not written a thing in many months and it bothers me, or rather it used to really bother me. These days I find I'm not all that worked up about it, though I have by no means given up. Instead, I think I have found a rationalization for my lack of writing, and if I am right about it (which I am by no means certain) then it's not a bad thing at all.
I am happy and somewhat excited to announce a new blog, The Lighter Side of Absolute Zero. Its a lighter version of this blog, being more informal, shorter, more succinct, and I will often post incomplete thoughts and ideas there. Rather than working out an essay of some sort I'll just dump an idea as it hits me. There is already quite a bit of content on the blog, as I have had other places to jot down these ideas, and now some of them will be shared with the world at large.
Before I got married I considered myself a hopeless romantic. Since I've been married I haven't quite lived up to the “romantic” part as much as I thought I might, and so I've stopped thinking of myself in these terms. And yet I still have a fondness for black and white movies, and not just he gangster and detective ones either. As I've been reading and listening to books since my wedding I've also come to notice a sensitivity I don't remember; I have a hard time reading or listening to stories where the sanctity of a marriage is at stake.
Blogs and blogging has been a wonderful thing to hit the Internet. It seems the advent of the blog has helped to bring about the utopian view of the Internet where anyone, anywhere can have a voice about any topic. Whether or not that is a good thing is a discussion for some other time and place, but blogs have come, they have impacted our lives, and they are likely to stick around for quite some time. Blog engines progress adding new features, blog designs continue to morph and evolve, and through it all the focus seems largely on the ability for the author to express himself through his words, his categories, and the way his blog looks. There is a group of people who have yet been addressed in all these changes: blog readers haven't gained much since the adoption of RSS. There are some small, minor things we could do to our blog designs to give back to our readers, especially the new ones.
For the past couple of months I've been coming home too tired to embroil myself in any of my non-sedentary hobbies. It's been most aggravating to me, and quite frightening. I didn't want to think I was perhaps coming down with something, or perhaps dealing with a bout of depression again. I think I might have found the cause of it last night; I had an epiphany while talking with my wife last night: my lethargy is due to my inactivity at work.
I placed an online order on Sunday with a company whose physical address I could not ascertain. My package was shipped on Monday and I was given a FedEx tracking number. Lo and behold the FedEx pickup was a few miles north of Seattle, and the ETA was Tuesday. This made sense; my house is only about a 6 hour drive from Seattle. Tuesday arrived and FedEx reported my package was in Portland at 7:22 AM. Since Portland is only 45 minutes from my house (I know, I drive it every day) I figured their ETA was a slam dunk, and I was excited. I paid for the standard slow-as-snails ground shipping and was going to get my package next day.
I got home with no package at my door. It's 6:40 PM so I checked with FedEx and they had nothing new to report. I waited. Sometime around 7PM I check with FedEx again, and there is a new posting (an hour delayed?) saying the package left their Portland location at 6:29 PM. Huh? Is my package being deliberately delayed because I didn't pay for expedited shipping? Is there any reason it needed to rest for 11 hours only 43 miles from my front door?
It's no big deal; I'll get my package today and it will still be earlier than I originally anticipated, however, FedEx gave me an expectation they couldn't deliver on, and from what little information I have it seems their current delivery date is a little unreasonable. There's a lesson here: don't set an expectation you aren't willing (or able) to meet. If FedEx had given me an ETA of Wednesday I would still be excited and happy. If I had not been given any tracking data I wouldn't have cared when it shoed up, and I would have been happy when arrived at my door. Because it was guessed that I would have it on Tuesday and they missed, I'm miffed.