Venting III

by zenquaker

Going back to work today was kind of stressful, although it started to lean toward the screwy. It took me three tries and over forty minutes to get my computer started today. Of course, when I finally got it started it told me I was ten minutes late for a meeting. It was one of those meetings that just sort of drones on. Then I went back on the panic treadmill. Tuesdays I have to run the Batch, which we weren’t sure was going to work because we weren’t sure we had any data (thankfully we did and it did). Then I had to modify another program to handle the fact that we were off Monday. Everyone was freaking that it was only returning two reports, even though it’s really an obsolete system (we’re just running it because we don’t trust the new system). I fixed it and got it to return 749 incidents, which pleased everyone except the guy whose turn it was to review them. Then I had to get the data from the old system combined and ready for upload into the new system. Of course, it was complicated by someone (again) checking out a document and then leaving. Our organization has been using SharePoint for over a year now, people, time to get the hang of it. All of the panic got interrupted by the mandatory ethics training. Normally they entice you to participate by handing out candy, but this year they seemed to be handing out candy to random people after someone participated. I got stiffed, but several others had their candy handed out to other people. It seems to me that there’s an ethics violation in there somewhere. 😉

It wasn’t all bad. I met my new supervisor today. He seems like a nice guy. I was going to say I had forgotten his name already but I remembered it before I finished typing the sentence. I pity him. He has to get up to speed on all our data systems, the different tasks of a dozen people, and do it all in the middle of switching over to a new system that is full of bugs. Maybe I’ll get donuts as a welcoming gift tomorrow. Or rather, maybe I’ll remember to do that.

Today was the first significant test of Log Life. I tracked my commute with it with only a few minor bobbles. Note to self: don’t walk across the street while logging your life into your phone, or you may end up logging your death. I was able to log every step of the commute easily:

  • 8:13 left the house.
  • 8:17 got to the bus stop
  • 8:22 got on bus #05 5943
  • 8:33 got to Shady Grove metro station
  • 8:36 Train car #2027 left the station
  • 8:54 got to Bethesda metro station
  • 9:00 got to the Safeway
  • 9:06 left the Safeway
  • 9:15 arrived at work

And similarly on the way home. As noted above it even let me easily note the numbers of the buses and train cars I ride, something I’ve always been curious about. There are a few details to work out. What do I want to count as arriving at work? Today it was getting in the building, but going forward I think it should be when I turn on my computer. I also need to figure out when exactly the time stamp occurs on a log entry. It can still take a little while to code things in, so there’s a lag between when I start and when I finish. If I want to time something accurately I need to know if the time stamp is made when I start entering or when I finish entering.

Today I finally got around to cleaning out my task tracking data at work for the start of the new fiscal year. The software I use (Task Coach) hasn’t had any problems with the data, but I don’t want to push it by filling it up with three years worth of Batch runs. I took the opportunity to a new category for “wasting time” and set up some “projects” under it to track things like chit chatting with co-workers and cleaning up my desk at the end of the day. That should allow me to track every minute of my work day, and then I can combine that data with the rest of the data I track on my phone.

Fair warning to everyone: I have lots of projects that show a lot of enthusiasm at the start like this one, and then crash and burn. I don’t know if that’s what will happen here, and I’m not going to worry about it. Right now I’m in test mode: try it out, see what the issues and consequences are, that sort of thing. But my priority right now is the habit forming course I’m taking, and if there is any conflict whatsoever, the personal informatics is going by the wayside.

Oh, and one last odd thing from the commute home. I’m in mindfulness mode as I try to be when walking places, and I’m coming down the six story escalator into Bethesda metro station. What do I see but a huge crowd at the bottom of the escalators. I was a bit nervous because that’s the sort of thing you see when they’re shutting down the station and your commute is about to take two hours. Both of the other escalators were fenced off and shut down, but people seemed to be expecting to be able to go up one of them soon. I’m not sure why they would need to shut them both off at the same time, but the metro station escalators are an enigma. My commute was fine, but not so for the orange line. Someone got hit by a train and they shut down a whole station, with bus service for a connector. Prayers out to the poor soul hit by the train, and here’s hoping my grand-supervisor didn’t get stuck in it.

While I’m at it, prayers out to a family member as well. You know who you are.

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