Thursday, June 5, 2008

Blogging for Escape

I've been throwing down the hours at work this week, and if my assessments of how long the rest of my duties will take to complete are accurate, I can expect to have amassed 12 hours of overtime by Friday. If you add to that the fact that I have been sick the last few days and my brain has felt like mush, well, the hours just seem to drag on and on and on. I have been surprisingly productive, though, and have accomplished most of my work much faster than I initially expected. I ran into problems but resolved them very quickly. I was even able to guess the user name and password for a server when one of my customers entered it on their checklist incorrectly and indicated they were at a seminar when I tried to work with them to resolve connectivity issues. Needless to say, they were way off, but the user name and password were set to a variation of one of our default schemes. It was an incorrect scheme, but I've run into the deviation before. All in all, I've handled the workload quite well for the circumstances, but the drawback is that I do work from home. This means that while I save on gas and commute time, it is hard to find a good separation between the work and the home life.
Usually everything comes to a head on Wednesdays. This is the hellacious day of transition where the servers I began migrating on Monday are finishing up and the new servers I have been assigned must be underway. This week I had a total of 8 overlapping schedules but yesterday turned out to be much more productive; a product of the extra time I spent ensuring the previous servers were progressing per my standards, the preparation work I completed before the start date of the new servers, and of course a great amount of luck. But, where yesterday was a grand success, today has tried my patience and left me mentally sloggish once again.
I am taking a momentary reprieve to collect my thoughts and summarize how I'm feeling with this blog post. For one part, it gives you an insight into my professional life, and another, it allows me to have some controlled venting. I'm not really angry at all, but the excuse to write about it is quite welcome.
I recently partitioned my trusty laptop and tried the new release of Ubuntu as a dual boot partner with Windows XP. I tried this last year with a previous release but there wasn't a good graphics driver that worked with my ATI Mobility X1400 card. This has since been resolved and I was able to find an open gl driver that worked fairly quickly. I now have windows that shimmy and shake when you move them. The 8.04 release came with Open Office already installed and, as before, my onboard wireless was automatically detected and easily configured with my WPA passcode for access onto my home network. That in itself is a painful process when I reload Windows on the machine without the drivers on a pen drive.
Why is all of that important? Well, when you spend 10-13 hours a day at your computer desk working your guts out, you don't really feel like spending a whole lot of time writing at that same workspace. At least I don't. Moving over to the Linux build on my laptop has also taken time from my writing as I customize my desktop with widget-type Screenlets, such as Word of the Day and the system resource indicator HAL9000, modeled after our favorite computer icon from Science Fiction. But these are necessary distractions that add to the ambiance. Even my weather Screenlet in the lower right-hand corner adds to the atmosphere. (Awkward pun intended.)
The end result gives me an alternative work environment that I can use to escape the excuse that I just can't sit at the same desk for hours upon hours a day and expect to be able to transition from the Technical Project Manager to the Writer effectively. And to be perfectly honest, if it were between my love for technology, and even green technology, and my love for writing... writing would win. I just need to arrange my habits around that mindset and keep on writing.

If you need a bit of time to escape, you can always turn to your blog and blow a little steam, or take a moment to read my latest short story, "The Boy in the Window". If you're feeling really froggy, drop the excuses and write a story of your own. If you do, comment with a link, I would love to read it.

Creative Writing Exercise:
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