“Still Hanging in There!” Yells Blog Author, Unearthing This Old Thing

Note 2: This draft was saved April 16. It’s now Jun 10 and I am still working on it. Time management, where art thou?

Note 1: Just as I was about to type in the first words I’ve written here in about four months, three different things happened at work that all had to be  dealt with immediately. Of course.

This has, alas, been the pattern ever since I came back from vacation, and even a bit before I left. It hasn’t gotten to 20 hour workdays yet, but this is of minimal comfort when I wake up four Saturdays in a row to fix a subsite-impacting problem. It’s been a curious mix of a) fervently wishing all our customers a speedy demise, and b) tracking down an issue and fixing it, mercilessly and very satisfyingly.

None of this was helped by the Very Bad Other Things that were happening (not to me, but to people I love) and so trying not to throttle senior executives who wanted everything finished yesterday! was a serious lesson in patience. Of course there was also the very real possibility of being fired by said executives if I attempted to bodily harm them. Not to worry, gentle reader: I still have my job.

The most interesting thing in these past several months has been trying to get used to the sheer scale of operations in a situation like this. Sometimes that scale translates into a frankly astonishing ballet of communication between groups and services; occasionally it resembles an 18-car pileup on a freeway. Currently it is the latter but I’m in hopes that whatever we’re doing right now will move it gradually towards the former. It’s also made me realize that if I continue on in this profession, that I’m far more interested in being a platforms engineering person than, say, a database administrator (ugh), a systems admin (meh) or a front-end programmer (god forbid; I despise working with CSS). This orchestration, the middle layer between the people who practically deal with hardware and the people who write pretty things for the Interwebz, is probably where I want to be.

Two months later, things have calmed down a bit, although my sincerest wish is to work with people who have a solid grasp of the English language. I’m not talking Shakespeare, people; sentences that are grammatically correct would make me weep tears of joy, at this point.

Vacation

About the last non-related work thing I’ve done over the past several months was go on vacation. This time I was going back home after 1.5 years (not a lot by many standards, but quite a bit by mine). As I suspected, someone had come along while I was absent and stealthily readjusted my brother’s physical proportions so that he now looks… well, basically like an adult. At the time I went back home he’d just finished exams and was taking a little break by building a website in Drupal (irony of ironies). I had about 21 days of vacation: 5 in Singapore, 1 in India, 5 in Sri Lanka, 4 in India and then 5 again in Singapore. There was a lot of flying and bumping around in cars (guess which was more arduous), which I would’ve appreciated much less if my brother hadn’t been around to have stupid and hilarious conversations with.

Doctor Who

[Time jump! Now we are talking about my Doctor Who experiences over the last couple of months.]

From the moment Matt Smith clambered out of the TARDIS in the garden of a little Scottish girl, I’ve thought he was the best Doctor. Not my favorite; that title still belongs to David Tennant, mad Scotsman that he is. But while Tennant’s doctor was a whirlwind of insane activity interspersed with deep grief, Smith is sort of the post-adolescent stage of the 2005 Doctor – charmingly professorial, still intense but less dramatically so. And we all know how much I love professorial people.

Unfortunately, I never thought the series did Smith much justice. Production value went up, of course; far less cheesy effects and more polished presentation. But at the same time, Moffat and his crew of writers haven’t produced many episodes I want to re-watch. It’s a short list: anything to do with River Song, which is a grand total of about five episodes. The commitment to sci-fi and continuity just isn’t up to par with the previous series (see: The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, Silence in the Library, Midnight…).

Also, companions – I honestly would’ve preferred Rory over Amy, who didn’t get interesting up until the question of her SPOILERS stolen child END SPOILERS came up. Thankfully, they kept River Song fairly intact. But while Clara’s introduction seemed to improve the companion roster a bit – The Snowmen, while not exactly fantastic sci-fi (not while the Weeping Angels exist) was great for witty banter – the luster of her charm somehow wore off in the next episodes. The Name of the Doctor was, frankly, a let down.

I’m hoping the next Doctor will be female (or not-Caucasian) but of course that isn’t going to happen. In fact they’re already suspending all betting in anticipation of the announcement that Rory Kinnear (yeah, who?) will be the next Doctor. Which Moffat and Co. have denied.

Right. We’ll just have to see.

 

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