Damn, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. Maybe it’s time to start refreshing?Tweet
Year in Review
Overall, it’s been a busy year. Quite a few things in my life have changed. First and foremost, you may have noticed a long lapse in writings here. That’s indicative of just how busy things have been for me. There have been 4 major events in my life this year: new job, new wife, honeymoon, and traveling to China.
Those of you who really know me know that I was not happy in my former job. Things were not going well with the team, I felt a serious lack of respect, and after 2 years of working, there was no end in sight.
The project suffered from a severe form of feature creep. The kind that starts at the beginning and stems from one word: “rewrite.” For experienced engineers, that should send shivers down your spine.
Anyway, as a peer group with no hands-on management presence, and with no designated tech lead(s), if anyone thought their idea was good, as long as they argued for it long enough, it was acted on. Even moronic ideas. Such is the nature of Design By Committee.
Long story short, I was hating life for a while, having to implement things I knew were a bad idea, only to prove just how bad they were, and then rip them out. On top of that, my colleagues (with one exception) were hard to deal with.
So I asked my boss for a change.
It came in the form of my team being dissolved, right out form under me.
My boss said I had two weeks to find a new job at The Company, risk being assigned one, or worse, be jobless.
I interviewed with everyone I could, not because I had to, but because I wanted options. I had an upfront offer from one team, but wanted to explore my potential. I had been stuck for some time already, and wanted to feel wanted. Some teams made me feel that way, some … didn’t. Some didn’t call me back. And for some teams, I could not, with a straight face, tell them “yes, I can do that.” All in all, it was a humbling, exhausting, and exhilarating experience. I loved every second of it.
I had one firm requirement: I mentioned “leadership” to every team I talked with. If they didn’t respond that it would be an ultimate goal of theirs to get me to that position, beat around the bush, or dodged the question, I kept looking.
One team made me feel more than just wanted — desperately wanted, needed, and just what they had been looking for. They mentioned words like “leadership,” “hardware engineering,” and “travel.” These are words I like.
So, in May of 2009, I made the move and accepted the offer that I negotiated with the [REDACTED] Diagnostic Software team.
Since then, I’ve learned EFI firmware development, hardware failure analysis, project management, team management, and test engineering. Big change, great results.
In April of 2008, I proposed to my (now) wife. In January 2009, we set the date: October 24th. Everyday since that one in January had been spent planning, purchasing, arranging, arguing, prioritizing, and executing our wedding.
And it was great. We have the photos to prove it. I played “wedding coordinator” during the ceremony, a mistake that cost me the ability to slow down and enjoy my wedding. I gave that privilege to my (exhausted, yet absolutely beautiful) wife.
[EDITED TO ADD – 1/7]:
That’s not to say that she got to sit around all day, either. Oh no, she worked her tail off preparing a beautiful wedding video, showing people how to arrange the flowers, getting the band setup. She worked so hard that she didn’t eat anything between breakfast and about 9pm, when we cut the cake. She worked so hard, she didn’t have time to put her veil in the right place or button the back of her dress completely (not that I noticed a difference).
And let me say something about that dress. Holy crap – the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen on the most beautiful woman in the world. I was a happy man, needless to say.
Weddings are frickin’ hectic. I highly suggest anyone planning a wedding hires a coordinator for the day-of-the-event – we would have majorly benefitted from that, and I would have payed every penny knowing what I do today.
The ceremony itself was beautiful, performed by our good friend Bryan Follis. We wrote our own vows on the spot, in addition to some more traditional “I do’s”. Athena’s mom added her own little ceremony (as a surprise wedding gift to us). It was PERFECT. Very much like her, and very special to both of us.
After the ceremony, everything is a blur: the dancing, the people, the garter/bouquet toss, the toasts. Fireworks! Someone set off fireworks right at the end of the toasts – how perfect!
Eventually, people started trickling out, and we found time to sit and eat a “proper” meal, and visit with some friends who made the trip out to Arkansas.
The next day we were off to our Honeymoon.
This is the first vacation I have had since July 2008. I didn’t take a vacation in Summer of 2009, in order to save up time for an epic, 2 week long honeymoon in the Cook Islands.
On Monday, October 26th, we landed on Rarotonga. The plan was to spend 5 days on that island, then hop over to Aitutaki for 7 days, then return home for a couple days of unpacking and relaxation.
Our stay in Rarotonga was probably the most enjoyable part of the trip. We stayed in a Condo on the south side of the island (which takes only 30 minutes to circumnavigate by car), spending the days snorkeling, working on our tans, tasting the local fare, and enjoying nightlife at the bars. There were only 2 bars. On the entire island.
Our stay in Aitutaki was a fair bit more … remote. With no nightlife to speak of, we were relegated to the entertainment provided by our resort. Which was a little disappointing.
Don’t get me wrong the resort was amazing: beautiful, full service, right on the beach (all requirements on a decent honeymoon), but I learned a very valuable lesson. Never stay at a resort any longer than there are breakfast options. Afterall, theres only so many ways you can serve eggs.
After cabin fever set in, we realized that we had it backwards: 5 days at Aitutaki, 7 on Rarotonga would have been better. But who’s complaining? Where else in the world can you see a 4 foot wide giant clam?
Travel to China
One of the many new responsibilities of my new position includes travel. As such, I have already taken 2 trips to China. All expenses paid is not a bad way to travel… ; – )
My trips usually take me to Shenzhen, where I stay at the Intercontinental Hotel – a “six star” establishment, with the life-size pirate ship to prove it. In fact, they have two pirates ships: one houses a bar/nightclub called The Galleon, and the other enjoys a permanent residence in the hotel’s outdoor pool.
The pool has a swim-up bar, a white sand beach, and a waterfall in addition to the galleon.
There are at least 4 different restaurants right in the hotel. In my two trips, I’ve tried 3 of them: a Brazilian Steak House, a French Restaurant (specializing in 4 course meals), and an Indian Restaurant. All are highly recommended. Ironically enough, I have not tried the Chinese restaurant in the hotel.
In fact, I generally don’t get much time at the hotel when in China. Most of my time there is spent eating breakfast and dinner, drinking at the bar/lounge, or sleeping.
Basically, everything that could have changed has. I’m happily married now, happily enjoying a new job, and just living everyday as full as I possibly can.Tweet
I can’t seem to win with my guitar strings. I put .009’s on my guitar so I could bend the crap outa them. Turns out, when you do that, they like to break more often. .011’s are too stiff, and .009’s are just right, but they break too much. I’m going to try .010’s next – hopefully that’ll be a decent middle ground.
Or maybe, I could buy two sets of .009’s and just use the .011 B-string from the second set as my high E-string. Expensive option, but it might work out the best…
I had the perfect nap the other day. Seriously. I think it takes a couple of major requirements to make a nap perfect.
- You have to be tired. This one should be pretty obvious – if you’re not tired, why are you taking a nap?
- It’s gotta be brisk outside. Not cold, not hot, but brisk. Imagine San Francisco mornings in the spring (mid spring, perhaps even raining).
- Sunshine. I nap better during the day when the sun is shining in the windows.
- Open windows. I love hearing a breeze, and feeling it be slightly cold in the house.
- A big, comfy blanket. Gotta have something to curl up underneath.
- Finally, a cuddle buddy. A nap isn’t perfect unless it’s shared with someone. 🙂
Anyone on my twitter feed has seen me post numerous updates on what’s happening in Gaza today. What follows is my latest discovery: an essay by Noam Chomsky that does what I’ve been doing with my twitter updates – comparing the Gazan Operation to The Holocaust or 9/11.
Noam Chomsky lays into Israel, and the US, as terror-states, doling out terrorism far advanced from the alleged terrorism they’re fighting in Gaza. It’s looking more and more like a new Holocaust, with Israeli troops slaughtering Gazan civilians to “educate” them – a policy that is tacitly condoned by both European and our own government – similar to the “education” of Grozny (See “Second Chechen War”), or the “education” of bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks on our civilian population. How is it any different? Well, there is one main difference: technology. Instead of passenger air craft, Israel is using White Phosphorus shells, and aerial bombs to destroy civilian infrastructure in order to cause the civilians to exert pressure on their governments to rein it in.
Quote of the day:
U.S. arms and military training played a role in 20 of the world’s 27 major wars in 2007.
74% of the world’s major wars in 2007 had our stamp of approval on them. Does that worry anyone?
Read the article here. It’s long, but it’s smart, and truly worth it if you’re at all concerned about civil rights, terrorism, international law, and a new world war.Tweet