succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, June 05, 2009

I was pretty bummed that the Bonnaroo train came to an end, but then I found out that this is in my backyard! Whee! (if anyone wants to come visit, you know, end of August might be a good time!)

Also in my backyard? The California Academy of Sciences, where I am likely going tomorrow.

Working from home is totally awesome!
and kind of not awesome

I was stumbling over what about today had made me go a little crazy by the time 4:30 rolled around and then PC verbalized it perfectly - I overcompensated for working from home by working much more intensely and diligently than I ever would from my cube. But I think once I learn to cut myself a little slack, and get a little better at structuring my day so that it's a bit more broken up, I should be fine.

I just went sort of blithely in to this whole working from home thing because, hell, it's what I've been doing for the past x years as a student. But the trick about working as a student is that I was task focused not hourly focused. And when I was working on something for which I was getting paid by the hour, I was tracking my hours and no one particularly cared how many of them it took me to accomplish said task. So I worked as long as I wanted, for as long as I was being productive, and I stopped when I wanted and did whatever else I wanted instead, and didn't feel guilty about any of it.

In truth, my job is task oriented, but I'm new, especially to this whole salary thing, and every time I strayed from work today I kept feeling guilty about wasting company time. But in the office, obviously, I'm going to spend a few minutes talking to coworkers when I bump in to them in the kitchen or on the way to the bathroom, and I'm going to take a break when I finally get my code to compile and go decompress for five minutes chatting about non-work stuff. And that's normal and expected and not wasting company time because everyone does it because how else can you not lose your mind sitting in a cubicle for 8+ hours?

So I just need to overlay my in-the-office mindset while working from home. I'll get there.

And the good news is I was totally, awesomely productive today, in ways I think I may not have been from my cube. In particular, I tackled a coding problem I had been putting off, because I knew it was really going to occupy a lot of brain space. Which, for me, means talking out loud and sometimes pacing. Perhaps with time I'll get comfortable enough to do those things in the office, but for now, I was pretty happy to be the only one around while babbling about file structures.

Plus, I got to brew a giant pot of coffee just for me, sit around in my pajamas, and get a load of laundry done!

And when I did finally call it a day, I went for a jog up to Inspiration Point in the Presidio (picture below stolen from that website) and thought to myself, holy shit! This is where I live!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


As my boss said on our way out the door today, "Day 2: Check!" Work so far has been great, especially as I've actually been doing work. Orientation is scheduled for Thursday morning, so I'm sure then I'll get my fill of paperwork and bureaucracy, but in the meantime I showed up Monday morning, got a quick tour around the office and a few introductions, then sat down at my desk, plugged in my laptop, and got to work! So refreshingly awesome! And so fun! I spend my hours flipping through Agresti's categorical data analysis book (who knew that was going to turn out to be a useful reference?) trying to figure out if we should be modeling our count data as a poisson process or negative binomial and wandering down to my boss's office to argue about how many systems and interaction terms we need to include and what impact our inflated zero count is going to have.

I also spend a lot of time with the boss as we carpool to work together (along with a rotating cast of the three other coworkers who live within two miles of my apartment). Yesterday conversation centered around some complications with our ongoing project in Liberia, but today I was treated to a history of Liberation Theology (my boss, Doctors for Global Health, which I was referencing, and liberation theology all got their starts in Central America).

The only hiccup so far has been the rather casual mention over lunch yesterday that they want me to go to the DRC! Eep! A coworker (not my boss) brought up a potential long-term project that they're considering starting there and the need for someone to take the lead on it. I'm just sort of hanging out in denial about that until my boss brings it up.

Potentially scary travel assignments aside, one of the things I do really like about my company is they're (so far) not even remotely macho. People seem fairly transparent about the sucky aspects of a lot of the traveling we do (including the fact that some of my coworkers dislike flying just like I do), exercising caution in a lot of the countries we visit, and even personal security issues within SF.

Not that any of that is particularly noteworthy, I just felt like at public health school I was surrounded by a lot of macho peace corps types who sort of liked to brag about the remoteness/unstable-ness/etc. of whatever country they had been to and that there wasn't a lot of room for expressing fear. Just being able to have conversations about the things that scare me and make me nervous is really helpful.

Ok, enough work talk. It's been forever since I updated my reading list, and all the time on Muni and Bart is really going to put a dent in my book pile.

Last mention was from DC, when I was reading A Cook's Tour, which I managed to finish in time to hand off to Kate, which was great (tee hee!). I honestly cannot remember what I read next, so it can't have been all that noteworthy. But I do remember that on the way to SF I started Deja Dead on my kindle. It's a good thing the whole reading-on-kindle was exciting, becase Reichs's debut novel is mediocre at best. Almost enough of a mystery to keep me turning the page, but fairly terrible writing and cliche character and plot development are likely to keep me from picking up any of the others in the series (good thing the tv show is so good!).

Next up was Silent Gondoliers: A Fable by S. Morgenstern, a library book on loan from a friend. It too wasn't all that great, but how can one resist another story from S. Morgenstern? Lots of parenthetical asides from the author, as is his style, pretty illustrations, and trivially readable in an afternoon.

On the way back out to SF I read The Best Nonrequired Reading 2004, a series from Dave Eggers with which I used to be enamoured but which has since lost it's shine. As with previous year's collections, this one is quite uneven, though Transmissions from Camp Trans is a rather noteworthy exception.

I've spent the bulk of my public transportation time plowing through The Eyre Affair, which is so enjoyable I will definitely be tracking down the rest of the Thursday Next novels (and thanks to Reyn for the recommendation!).

When I've needed a bit of a break from literary mystery, I've dipped in to Cook's Illustrated, which I found for the kindle for free thanks to Suds! That, plus my gorgeous new kitchen, plus the amazing produce in CA, and I'm actually sort of excited about experimenting with cooking a bit!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tiller update

Bitch has a nice round-up of news and views, and Feministe has links should you feel inclined to make charitable donations.

Week One

My first day of work is tomorrow! Eep!

But really, bizarro bus ride and first-day-jitters* aside, life continues to be good. My bed arrived on Wednesday (and I LOVE it), spent Thursday afternoon shopping (for clothes) with Cor, all day Friday shopping (for random household items) with PC, then Saturday afternoon at the wine festival with the Canadians (which turned in to a rather impromptu Saturday night on the Canadian's couch and Sunday morning brunch and more shopping trip).

I do miss my ATL folks (hello ATL folks!) but I have to say, it's a real luxury to have such ready access to PC and the Canadians. These are friends I haven't lived near in years, and now I can just hop on a bus and a bart and there they are! That simple fact has made this transition so much easier and less scary.

*Seriously? I'm all anxious and nervous, and I already know that I love this job and fit in and like my coworkers! What's up with that? For pete's sake, I've already been to work in the office! How could there possibly be a less stressful first day of work? And yet here I am, bouncing all over the place.

A friend of mine's facebook away message is 'They killed him in his church. That's what on my mind.' I didn't know what she was referencing until I saw this news. Scott has a better reaction in the form of this video than anything I can come up with.