Politics, Programming, and Pursing Dreams

It was pizza and beer tonight.  I had a lot more pizza than beer (4 slices, but only one bottle), but I’m still feeling tipsy.  What can I say?  I think it’s good that I’m a cheap date.

I have a number of random thoughts I want to roll with tonight.  There’s lots on my mind.  Some of it, I’m willing to share.  Some of it I’m not.  But let’s see what an inebriated Brian has to say…

State of the Union Address

I watched the President’s address, and there were only a few times where I frowned.  I’m neither democrat nor republican.  I identify more with Libertarians, though all of the Libertarian candidates I’ve ever seen have been a little crazy.  Be that as it may, I didn’t find too much at fault with President Obama’s speech.

There were a lot of standing ovations.  They seemed like political gestures, and they seemed cheap.  Watching the speech, watching both the President and the audience through the lens of political gesturing made the speech more interesting to me.

I’ll have to check the fact checkers tomorrow to see how much of what the President said was true, and how much was exaggeration.  He usually does pretty well at keeping to the truth, but he’s a politician like the rest.  He’s going to spin things.

Overall, though, I believe that he’s sincere in his attempts to help the country.  I just don’t agree with everything he has to say.


My Day Job

The President talked about solar energy, so we’ll use that as a segue to talk about my day job.  I’m a programmer, and since the year started, I’ve been working on software to help control equipment at a solar plant.  I won’t go into the details too much, but the site produces around 20MW, and the software I helped create is responsible for helping to control that site.  I’m very proud of what I do.

Proud as I might be, this month has been absolutely harrowing.  Tonight is the first night I’ve been home around 6PM.  I could have been home by 5PM, but I wanted to stay and watch the inverters at the site shut down with the sun.  I wanted to make sure the application did what it was supposed to do.  It did, and I was relieved.  Hopefully the customer will appreciate the application.

The main reason that this month has been so harrowing is that we’ve been understaffed.  The person that was primarily responsible for the web application went to India to get married.  She was to be gone for 6 weeks, and I thought she had the application mostly finished .  She didn’t.  What she had done wasn’t to the level of my standards, and I had to work a lot of late nights to get the project to a place where it could be deployed.

This put me in an ugly position, and I’m still uncomfortable with where things are.  I had to work very long hours to try and make something decent, and even still, had to make a lot of very uncomfortable compromises.  When my coworker returns, we’ll need to talk about the work that she’s been doing.  That also makes me uncomfortable.

There’s more I could say about that work, but I may have said too much.  I don’t want my coworker to get in any trouble.  I just want her to do a better job next time, and follow some better patterns and better coding practices.  I’m sure I can help her get there.

Chasing my Dreams

With all of the work I’ve been doing for money, I haven’t had much time to follow my dreams.  I’ve done my best.  I’ve been meeting up with Michael on Wednesdays to write.  But I really haven’t had time to write beyond that.  I’ve done a little bit of editing, and I’ve started a couple of interesting story threads, but that’s about it.

I’m forced to reevaluate how I’m spending my time and energy.  I’ve been programming my little heart out, but that’s not where I see myself in 5 or 10 years.  I’d rather be writing fiction than writing software.

It has me a little bit torn, because I have talent as a programmer.  I’m in a good position where I’m doing good work.  I’m proud of my accomplishments, and I’m with a company that loves me.  It’s a place I’ve been excelling.

All of these late nights feels like a distraction from my calling, though.  Or maybe it’s one of my callings monopolizing the time from another.

I need balance.  I need to keep chasing my dream, and keeping pulling the words from my head and imagination.  I have talent, drive, and a dedication to improve my craft.  I’m getting better.  I just need to give myself more time to write, and not squander that time when it is available.


Dusting off the Cob Webs

Well, I’ve been busy.

I brought in the New Year with a virus and some inherited problems at work.  The amount of work was honestly insurmountable, and I’ve been working very long nights and most weekends in order to try and get it all done.  It still isn’t quite finished, but I’ve been making it a point to not stay as late on Wednesdays, so that I can write at least one evening of the week.

I haven’t done a lot of new writing, but I’ve been editing my “Unclaimed Goods” story.  I think it’s almost ready to send out.  I sent it to the people that worked on it with me during the Writer’s Workshop at Convolution, and the feedback I’ve received so far has been very positive.

After polishing the short story a little bit (goodness that sounds like a euphemism), I turned my attention to the fantasy story that I worked on most of last year.

It’s… uh… pretty bad.

It’s actually so bad that I probably won’t fix it.  I’ll just treat what I’ve done so far as an outline and start over.

As bad as that story is, seeing it for what it is was a good experience for me.  I can see how much I’ve grown as a writer, just in the last few months.  I don’t make the same sloppy mistakes anymore.  I write more quickly than I did last year, and the quality of the work that I produce now is much improved.  It’s good to know.

I may want to change my writing plan, actually.  My plan was to finish the first draft of that story while I let the Mel Walker story cool off.  I’m not sure I can keep going, tacking on new stuff to the end of the old.  If I’m already planning on starting over with it, this could be a circumstance where there’s no time like the present.

While thinking about it, I decided I should dust the cob webs off my blog, too.  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything.  I’ve missed it.