Monday, October 7, 2013


I don't know who besides Superman is aware of my love for T-Rex Trying. It's the same joke, day after day after day, just presented in a different way every time. And every single time it makes me laugh, usually out loud.

I'm paying attention to my smiles and my laughter lately. Noticing it's there, which is a good thing. I'm no longer overly stressed at work, and have come to terms with the stress of living with my youngest child. Yes, even though I love him, and even though he's a reasonably mature house-mate, I feel stress with him in the house. I'd gotten used to having my house to myself. I'm not sure what that says about moving in with Superman, but we're moving toward that goal so I guess I'm going to find out.

Over all, things are going well. I met with my manager today, and we agreed (though it terrifies me a bit) I should start picking up more challenging work. I'm now supposed to pick up small and extra small cards. I felt a bit adrift last week, so it's a good thing we agreed I should focus more on working and less on training. I only have a couple more classes, one more assessment, and one more item on my new hire check list. I'll definitely have my engineer's cap (yes, they give out a real striped engineer's cap when complete training) by end of month.

More good news came from management, in the form of an unexpected consultant's budget they received from Finance. It means Bacon Patrol is getting an overhaul. This will include SQL stored procedure refinement, and either integration with the main company product or conversion to a .NET environment. Or both. Or at least the determination of whether either of these things are feasible. The biggest news is it will happen this calendar year, as opposed to "some time in the next 5 years or so." The best news is, no matter what they do it will look good on my resume.  
OK, so maybe it's not ALWAYS the same joke...
Random change of subject:

I'm supposed to give a 10 minute Lightening Talk as part of my year end goals. A Lightening Talk can be on any subject. It's about getting people accustomed to public speaking, but also about sharing information, which falls under the Best Practices category. The Lightening Talk doesn't have to be about computers or code. It should be about something I know enough about to share.

This has me thinking. What exactly do I know? Which led me to "What do I spend all my time on?" Which led me to "What can I talk about on my blog, other than work and food and running?" I spend a lot of time thinking about work and food and running.

It's hard to come up with a computer related topic when I know my audience includes the senior developers. What can I teach them, in their own area of expertise? I decided to spend some more time on the keyboard sharing I learned about when I was attempting to multi-box World of Warcraft. This led me to a program I didn't try back then, which has me itching to try it now. I haven't played WoW for several months, but I might log on again for a minute, just to try this out. Maybe. When I'm not swamped with other projects. As Superman says, "Winter is coming..."

I spend a lot of time talking about, researching and thinking about my diet. I don't know that I'd be comfortable doing a Lightening Talk on all my food issues, on Paleo or gluten free or sugar addiction. I carry a lot of information in my head on those topics, and about supplements that address my personal, specific issues. I'm already considered something of a food weirdo because I drink homemade pumpkin spice lattes out of a quart mason jar, and I bring my own ceramic bowl to the cafeteria. I don't like hot food in styrofoam. I'd rather wash a bowl than throw out plastic. I'm odd that way.

I could talk about running, about how someone would start running. I spend a lot of time both running and thinking about running. I actually just worked it out with my manager that I can leave early 2x a week over the winter, so I can get my weekday runs in during daylight. I'd recommend a couch to 5k type of program for beginners, though I didn't start out that way. I could talk about fast twitch and slow twitch muscles, since that's my current research focus. Turns out if I have fast twitch muscles, they aren't firing. This doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

I'm not sure what else I have to talk about. Lately, I've spent a lot of time on a Bejeweled type phone app. I spend a lot of time reading running blogs, quotes and comics. I spend a lot of time organizing the things I want to do on my Trello boards, but the things I want to do are not anything I can talk about for 10 minutes. So far this week's Trello accomplishments include: organizing my photos and removing duplicates, researching another supplement that's supposed to help lower blood pressure, looking into wireless internet providers in my area, housework items, organizing my file cabinet, researching how to create a Windows 7 USB recovery disc, and finding a piercing place to put in permanent earrings. I'm getting a lot done, but none of it is exciting or even noteworthy.
I also love the antithesis of the TRex joke...
The fact of the matter is, I have a lot of random, non-technical shit in my head. My interests range from writing to sculpting to glass blowing. I've researched things like how to get grease spots and the smell of cat urine out of laundry. I don't know who was in the latest movie, but I know how to feed a cat real food (Thanks to Superman). I've no idea what happened on Breaking Bad's finale, but I can tell you about Titanoboa, real stories from The Moth, highlights from the latest TED Talks and the 2013 National Poetry Slam.

Because I'm an over-achiever, even without a firm topic idea I've expanded the "give a Lightening Talk" goal to "Give a Lightening Talk every quarter." This means I need to continuously look for things to research and become a 10 minute expert on. This works for me, because I like to research and find out about things. I just need to find the right things to find out about. I did realize I know a few things about Microsoft Office my team mates do not, such as format painter. I also copy out column headings of particularly hairy SQL tables, paste and transpose them in Excle, then convert them to a table so I can see column names in alphabetical order. There may be a better way to do that in Management Studio, but I use the tools I know.

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