Friday, August 29, 2008

...and just when things were getting better...

The past three weeks have been rough. I've been behind schedule at work and things were just starting to look good. All of the sudden, I was almost caught up. It looked like I was going to be able to get back on track and maybe even ahead.

This morning, we had a great announcement: My company won a major section of the upcoming California High Speed Rail line. (California is "on track" (sorry) to get the first Bullet Train in North America. San Francisco to San Diego in about 2 hours!) HNTB is the lead in the section that goes from San Jose to San Francisco and a sub on the Altamont section.

To celebrate, the office bought pizza for everyone and had a little celebration during lunch.

I couldn't help but think, "This is a great Friday: An upcoming three-day weekend, payday, pizza and beer for lunch, and I had some OT banked so I get to take off a little early. Things are looking up."

Not much later though, all that pretty much got flushed down the toilet. I got pulled aside and told that due to budget cutbacks, I was being laid off.

So much for the start of a good weekend. Now it's back to resumes, applications and not knowing if we're going to make rent.

This sucks.

Keep us in your prayers. I know that God has something great in store for us. I just hope that we're patient enough to wait on His timing without getting frustrated.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm not quite dead yet.

It's been more than a week since I've posted last and I'm sure that you're all worrying by now.

I just wanted to write and assure you that I'm not dead. ...though I could use that kind of rest right now. I've spent all day at my desk for the past two weeks, only leaving at the end of the day and for lunch, though I've taken most of my lunches as working lunches. I've not really been out and doing anything and therefore don't have much to write about.

Nick's growing up fast. When I put him to bed the other night, seeing him laying there, he looked like he'd gained at least six inches in the past week. It's awesome watching him develop and learn. He's just starting to understand consequences. I'll ask him "if x happens and y happens, then what?" and he's able to think it through and give me an answer. Truely amazing.

Oh, take a listen to Gaelic Storm. Their last two albums "Bring Yer Wellies" and "What's the Rumpus?" are pretty much all I'm listening to lately. They're a really fun and upbeat band. You've heard them and enjoyed their music whether you realize it or not. They played a small but memorable part in a small-time film from about 10 years ago called "Titanic." They were the band that was playing during the "Steerage Part" scene where Jack and Rose go slumming with the "common folk." They're coming to the Filmore later this year and I'm hoping to catch them there.

Anyhow, I'm behind schedule at work so it's back to the grind stone.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

robrdavis - Networking Guru

First off, my title is "Desktop Support Services." I'm the guy that comes to your desk because your mouse or keyboard stop working. I can install software as needed, but beyond that, I have almost no IT power within my company. I'm not the low man on the totem pole, I'm more like the low man next to the totem pole.

With that said, our office network is down this morning. Something happened with our ISP and due to the way things are set up, if we have no external (internet) connection, we can't access any of our servers, even those that are physically here in the office. I'm using a cellular card in my computer to access the internet so I can keep in touch with our help desk in Kansas City. While waiting for something to happen so we can work again, I'm also surfing the web and posting this to my blog...

One of our managers came to my cube (fortunately, I was checking work email at the time) and asked "So, what are you doing to remedy this network outage?" It took me a while to explain that since it's external, there's nothing that anyone in the entire company can do to bring it back up, let alone little ol' me.

It's amazing what people think you can do if your job is computer related. It's also amazing that people sometimes don't understand that there's a lot more than just flipping a little switch or plugging/unplugging a wire.

I find it ironic that I look at most of these people and think "There's no way I can do what these people do. They're engineers. They build bridges that span huge chasms and can hold up trains. They design airports and freeways and it's their designs that determine how well traffic flows." I just can't get my head around some of the stuff that they do. At the same time though, many of these same people come to me with questions that seem so basic; questions that I could have answered when I was in High School.

I forget sometimes that just because people are smarter than I am in some subjects, that doesn't mean that they're smarter than I am overall. We all have strong areas and weak areas, things we know and things we don't have any clue about.

It makes me feel good to know that generally people are just as dumb as me. It's just one big world of goobers.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Too funny... Too true

Football is a major part of my life. I live it, I breathe it, I eat it for breakfast...

No. I don't. I really could care less. ...or I couldn't care less... Whichever has me caring less, that's what I'm generally doing with football.

Anyhow, tonight is the big Raiders/Niners game. My only concern was that it was going to be taking place at the Oakland Coliseum and I was going to get stuck in the traffic coming back from San Jose. Fortunately, I didn't.

As I was getting off of the train tonight on my way home, I was met by an unusual crowd heading in the direction of the train. I was surprised until I noticed that everyone was wearing black and silver. Raiders fans.

I have to point out that these were indeed your "typical" Raiders fans. Large tattooed bikers with their pony tails, beards and bandannas; wanna-be gang bangers with their baggy pants, oversized jerseys, sideways hats and bandannas; scruffy "I don't fit into any category other than 'typical Raiders fan' guys... you know the type. There were tons of them, all heading into the BART station.

In the middle of this ragamuffin crowd was one clean cut couple, looking very out of place and holding hands as they walked toward the train. She was obviously more than a little nervous. He was trying to look relaxed and be brave for his woman. It wasn't working. He had the look of a man about to face death, knowing that there was no way out.

I thought to myself "Where are they going?" They could have been your typical nine to five commuters dressed for a casual Friday. The only thing is that this is the end of the line for the train and they were heading in the wrong direction.

"Odd," I thought.

That's when I noticed it. He was wearing a red polo shirt. I had to laugh.

"Niners fans... Yep. They're going to die."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Getting older... and noticing it.

I was talking to a friend here at work today and he'd mentioned that he can't play Guitar Hero. "There's too many buttons," he said. We all agreed: all was good in the day of "up, up, down, down, up, up, down, down, A, B, A, B. Start." Guitar Hero gives you different buttons for each of your four different fingers... The X-Box gives you like a hundred buttons plus three joystick-style controllers... When is it going to stop?

My buddy said "I guess I'm getting to that age where video games are getting to be too difficult..."

That got me thinking: "What are the things that make us stop and think, 'Man, I'm getting to be one of those old people who I used to make fun of?'"

I've always been crotchety before my time when it comes to "those darn kids with that infernal racket that they call music." It annoys me to no end when I can't hear my television or the music I'm playing on my house stereo over someone's car when they drive by.

Same goes for Harley Davidson (or similar) motorcycles. "Put a muffler on it for Pete's sake!"

Sagging pants? "When are the kids these days going to learn to dress themselves?"

The list keeps getting longer as time goes on. Soon enough I'm going to be yelling things like "Get off my lawn!" or "Get a hair cut you hippie!" After that comes shorts with black socks and sandals. I'm sure of it.

What do you find yourself doing that makes you stop and wonder "When did I become a cranky old man/woman?"