Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mugs of Green Tea


Today has been a good day.

I passed my first test at work. When you're a contractor you are employed on the basis that you can do the job. And hopefully you can. But every job is different, there are always twists that you can't predict, and usually there will be some part of the job you've never before encountered. You have to wing it. I see them as tests.

This time I got side-swiped with a short task that wasn't precisely what I was employed for, and involved a type of work I haven't done much of and I had to decipher other people's work as well.

I know that I'm a good programmer but I've had a couple of knocks recently - including a phone interview for a company where I could not answer a single one of the interviewer's questions. Now that was very painful, it's true their requirements were quite specialised, but I felt like a complete idiot.

Anyway I fixed the code I'd been given, in fact I fixed more than I was asked, because there was a lot more wrong with the code than was apparent - like a countdown timer that occasionally went 06 ... 05 ... o4 ... o3 ... 02 ... 01 ... 60 ... 60? That should be 00. Strangely I was reminded of Demons.

Stress can often be caused by unfinished cycles of action - every time you don't finish something (or don't do something you know you ought to do) it ties up brainpower, leaving less to deal with the rest of the world.

There were things I needed to do: Phone my parents for one (it's been a bit too long) and e-mail my sister in Australia who's discovered she has a tumour hiding behind one of her kidneys (sneaky thing - the tumour not the kidney). Since my eldest sister died of cancer this was a worry. Apparently it's benign, but I still need to communicate. I didn't have her e-mail address here, now I have, so I can.

Then there was my trip to Birmingham to see my friends. I was planning on going tomorrow evening (Thursday) but I realised how much this was stressing me out. Carrying an extra big bag through the London insanity of a rush hour? So I thought: Why not go on Friday morning? I won't lose anything and will gain much. A quick phone call and it was arranged.


Then, on the way home, I was thinking about the problem of this huge action sequence in Unit X. I realised that although I have a pretty damn good visual imagination, this was just a bit too much. I needed an imagination aid.

Ideally I would have been at home where we have all the little figures that we use for our role-playing games and floorplans and all sorts of stuff so I could build a set and have the characters move to see who goes where and does what to ensure it all ties together at the end.

So, in true Blue Peter style, I had to improvise. I was about to start cutting up flimsy paper into folded pieces I could write on to represent the characters. Then I realised I had hundreds of business cards that are out of date. They're made of nice thick card and I can make 6 people out of one card. (I could have made one character out of each business card which would have made them nice and big, but that would have been wasteful.)

If I had a camera I'd show you. But I haven't, so you'll have to make do with the words.

Excellent. Time to play.

Green tea? Oh, I've been drinking mugs of green tea this evening.

What's on the turntable? "The Diary of Horace Wimp" by ELO from some album or other.


Paul McIntyre said...

What a difference a day makes....

Adaddinsane said...

Well, nobody should feel Bleaugh for too long.

Jason Arnopp said...

Goodbye 'Bleaugh', hello 'Not too bad really, thanks'.