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Back In Boston

As I readjust to life in the big city.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Happiness is a new email from Sandra, my Yellowstone love from France.

I know you don't know all about work yet, but today I'm just telling you only about today. It was a long day and I'm waiting for a glass and some mixer to chill because I want a margarita but don't have any ice.

A "build" was scheduled for today. A build is basically just deploying the latest solid batch of code to the QA environment and then when it all checks out a build is done to Production: the live environment. Today's build was to include a number of features that had been placed on my plate. Some I'd been working on all week, some I just started this morning. All were done and done well, meeting great praise from those who were anticipating them.

Doing so, though, meant coding intensely straight from 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM or so, which is when we switched to doing the build and moving it to the server, at which point we, of course, ran into a conflict that had to be resolved. So aside from the half-hour I took to head down to the food court in the mall and eat a hurried lunch, I was coding for 9 straight hours. I used to maybe be at work for 9 hours and would be lucky to spend 5 or 6 of that coding.

And today wasn't an exception. I've been there from 9:00 til 6:30 or so, typically working without much pause, every day so far.

So it's a bit fast-paced. And intense.

And I think my margarita's ready.


I have these. I unpacked them from a random kitchen box. They're over 1 year old.
posted by MJR  # 8:35 PM

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

The run-down on my new digs will have to wait; there are more pressing matters at hand.

I need your help.

It becomes more obvious to me with each day I spend at my new job that I need music to maintain my sanity. The remedy is not easily sought, however, because, while I feel that it is acceptable to don a pair of headphones in the course of a day spent staring at the screen, I don't know how permissible it is to interact with one's computer in such a manner. I.e., I'm not copying vast quantities of song files to my computer to listen to nor am I inclined to bring in a stack of CDs to swap throughout the day. I need something small and discreet I can jack into for long periods of time. I need it so bad, in fact, that often when I finish a quick conversation with a teammate at my desk, I find myself turning back and reaching for a phantom pair of headphones.

At home I've totally succumbed to the might of iTunes. I've moved all my MP3s in, purchased [too many] songs from the Music Store and expanded my collection even further with the Pepsi caps promotion.

You can see where this is going, friends: I need an iPod.

Alas, I've survived the past 7 months or so with the aid of credit cards and I'm much too far in the hole now to be able to remotely justify a $300 purchase, no matter how beneficial it will be to my ability to accept my new lot in life. So, with no other recourse and out of sheer desparation I present:

The iPod Fund.



Please help in any way you can. Your generosity will make a difference.

Today at work I found out how the whole weekend is going to play out after nervously overhearing people discuss having to come in this weekend. Thursday, a working day, I actually GET TO WEAR JEANS because we're likely going to be involved in further packing up office materials. Friday is a full day off while the moving people move all our stuff from the current office to the new office, the new office where I'll actually have my own desk, in a cube though it might be, rather than hanging off the end of my boss's. Saturday they set up everyone's computers and Sunday I'm expected, along with the rest of the software dev department, to make a showing, which doesn't have to be til the afternoon, for unpacking time. The goal, of course, is to have everyone able to "hit the ground running Monday morning." All things considered, it's not a bad deal. I basically get a 2 ½ day weekend AND, finally, my own desk.

An iPod would still sure help, though.
posted by MJR  # 9:38 PM

Monday, March 29, 2004

Ah, city life and the daily drudgery of it all. I'd forgotten so many of those little subtleties of day-to-day life going to and from work and trying to get shit done.

Mornings have been pretty good to me so far. After rolling out of bed at 7:05 I leave the apartment at 8:15, catch the T @ Coolidge Corner pretty quickly and am off at Copley, through the mall and into my office in the Prudential end by 9:00. I could probably get up even later if not for the fact that for my new oh-so-professional job I actually shave every morning.

Getting home at night has been a different story, though. It's gone beyond the a-watched-pot-never-boils / a-waited-for-T-never-comes axiom. The C never comes at night. The B comes 3 or 4 times. The D comes 2 or 3 times. Even the E comes 3 times. THEN the C meanders in, packed to the gills. Technically, yes, I'm as close to Brookline Village as I am to Coolidge Corner and I could easily hop on the D, but then it gets all crowded at Longwood and I much more appreciate walking home via CC at night. Especially considering all the new pretty faces I've been encountering.

Two things have spoiled me in recent months when it comes to grocery shopping. One was the convenience and SHEER PLEASURE of shopping at Wegmans again while staying with a friend in Syracuse. The other was becoming reacquainted with the Brookline Stop and Shop during daylight hours back when I was here but yet unemployed. I had forgotten the trials and tribulations of Stopping to Shop in the evening: the people who just stop amidst the narrow aisles and stare or, worse, carry on conversations with each other completely oblivious to anyone in their presence attempting to accomplish anything; the staff who barely acknowledge your presence unless it's to scowl and glare at you if you stepped in the middle of one of their shouted conversations with one of their cohorts, swearing and gesturing and behaving completely unprofessional.

And then there's the self-checkout line.

To me the self-checkout line is the epitome of efficiency. I hop in that fucker with my Stop and Shop card drawn. I scan it and before the voice has finished thanking me items are flying down the belt. I swipe my debit card through the reader while it's still figuring out what the last item I scanned was and then it's back to the touchscreen to Finish & Pay.

Tonight I went ahead and pulled into the non-Express self-checkout even with the cartload of groceries I had. There was only one guy in it and no lines forming. After 5 seconds of watching him I nearly lost it. He had already received intervention from one of the clerks and it was now time to Finish & Pay. Oh boy. He started moving in 3 directions at once really fast, which was shocking considering his girth. He might have swiped his credit card, but then blew a fuse or something. I really couldn't decide whether he was hopelessly ignorant or trying to pull a fast one. He grabbed a $25 gift card off a rack and tried to run it through the credit card reader. When that failed and the machine began barking corrective orders at him, he tried to scan it. He had a few more of the cards in his hands to make numerous attempts. Finally a clerk noticed he was having trouble (but not that he was attempting to pay with gift cards he hadn't bought) and yelled at him that he had to choose his card type at which point he actually chose Credit Card, reswiped his, and then signed the thingie.

All for $12 worth of groceries.

*Some* hesitation or apprehension is understandable if you're unfamiliar with the self-checkout. This incident, however, follows one from a week ago in which the elderly woman in front of me yelled to the clerk who assisted the shopper in front of her that she "better stick around because I'm not good with these things!" WHY WOULD YOU GET IN THE LINE!? When her turn came up, I swear to you, she made not a single attempt to use the scanner or any other point of interaction until she found the big shiney HELP button on the touchscreen and pressed that to summon a clerk.

More MBTA... Why were there no signs advising me that I indeed COULD purchase a Subway pass for April at Back Bay Station? Every single sign that did exist only said "Commuter Rail Tickets" or "Amtrak Tickets." I'll be damned if I was going to step in line and wait 20 minutes to be told that I was an idiot for assuming Subway passes were sold when the signs didn't say so, contradictory to what I just read on the MBTA site.

Enough for now, and please, don't think life is one big bitchfest. When I take the time to talk up my new apartment, its review will be fairly glowing, although decidedly interesting. And the job: it's fine.
posted by MJR  # 8:38 PM

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