Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I feel I should write something profound

It's bizarre, but I have basically nothing. Not even a "Something not to Do". This is perhaps because I've been buried in my work to the point of ignoring all my email and phone messages for the last few working days, and perhaps because I haven't really been feeling all that well. Hard to explain, but just really worn out and achey for no apparent reason. Flu-like without the shivers and creepiness.

Today was Panic Day. Those of you who have worked with me in the past know that I have two great skills at work. The first is finding stuff that f-d up and will never work. The second is to spend roughly one day (Panic Day) in a crazed mental state after the discovery trying to figure out whether the thing is really f-d up and will never work, and if so how I could have been such an idiot not to notice until now, and if not, why am I so worried about it. Panic Day also involves trying to search out multiple people who might have some insight into the problem, not because they've really ever thought about it before, but just because they are fairly bright people.

I had my "go to" list back in SC, groomed after years in the inferno of the debug lab. Out here, I'm still trying to flesh that out. I tried for three specific people. The first one just kept walking - he's busy and is in something we actually, honestly, truly call "The Dungeon", which means he's not supposed to talk to anyone about anything other than one specific part of the project from 10am-5pm Mon-Thurs. This was about 11am on Tuesday, so he wasn't allowed to talk to me.

I'll get him back for that. Don't you worry. It just a matter of time.

The second guy I never was able to locate. He sits just a couple cubes from me, but I couldn't find him, and he didn't reply to email. It's "Make A Difference Day" week here, which means every day one group or another is off building a playground or remodeling a crack house or something. I can never find anybody.

The third guy was also in The Dungeon, so I sent him an email. He used to have the cube next to me when he was working on the very stuff on which I am now working, but he got moved to join The Dungeon team, and he never updated his office location in the database. The crack admin team also never updated the name lists on the cube aisles, so I simply couldn't find him despite wandering around a whole bunch.

That exhausted my list of people who had actually worked on this topic before and thus might have particular insight. Having spoken to none of them, my panic was not appreciably lessened.

As I was surveying the land from the end of my aisle, along came a fellow who had a passing knowledge of a similar technology on a previous design that failed miserably and who instant messages me every now and then to ask if I've killed the idea on this project yet.

He refers to me as "The Angel of Death" as I had a hand in killing this idea on the only two previous projects that it showed up on.

So I lured him in to my lair with a simple, "Hey, I think I know why I have to kill [this]."

Talked about it for maybe a half hour. At the end, I was more convinced it was a problem than before, and I was perhaps even convinced that it was an even bigger problem than I had thought.

As it turns out, when you are in a crazed panic, talking to someone who only reinforces your worries doesn't have the calming effect you might expect. But there is something oddly comforting about having someone of some import say, "Oh yeah. You should definitely kill it."

"It" not being a bottle of Scotch, mind you.

He then took me along to lunch with another fellow who is working on yet another definition (4th time's a charm?) of the same feature for the next project so that we could discuss it. This new definition had looked better from a number of respects, but it still suffers from exactly this same problem. Perhaps because no one had identified this as a problem before, perhaps because someone had and no one wanted to listen. Dunno. That pre-dates my work on it.

After lunch, I go find the guy (the guy other than me, that is) who was in the middle of all this on the previous project to bounce this off of. Yup. Definitely f-d up. As an added bonus, he knows where the guy who used to sit next to me is now located, and he walks me over there.

I look over the wall to see if he wants to break The Dungeon cone of silence. He does. My email has piqued his interest. I sits and explains. By now, it's the 4th time through the explanation, so it is both very detailed and yet simplified in its delivery. I have three possible fixes - all of which seem potentially more broken than just dropping the whole feature. He says, "Yeah, what you say makes sense. [This other guy that quit that you replaced] worked on all that, and I was always worried about this part of it, that he might have missed something."

Well, this isn't helping at all. So I go to one of my old go to guys from the past, StinkyJ. StinkyJ has done a great job of ignoring me since I left, but I can't imagine that his project doesn't suffer from the same flaw that mine does, so I figure I can maybe stimulate some interest there. None of the guys left on his project who do what I do use IM. They are a bunch of Luddites. I'm not sure I'd let Luddites define cutting-edge technology for me, but what can you do?

StinkyJ did a classic StinkyJ move - "send me an email detailing your concerns." He is of little or no use to me anymore. I figured he may have recovered, now that he has moved back in to his remodeled house and thus can dedicate more than 10% of his day to work as opposed to talking to contractors. But no. Mrs. StinkyJ, however, is a regular reader, so she can smack him for me.

So I attempted not to get all brooding about this. I read some articles from Modern Drunkard, I had a nice Sebastini Cab with a steak dinner, I read books to The Childrens and played games with HannieC after MaxieC went to bed. But now I still find myself brooding. Even the gin doesn't seem to help.

In summary, this is why I have nothing profound to discuss today.

1 comment:

Charlie Brown said...

Good Grief!