June 17, 2007

We visited my mom and my aunt this weekend at their house in Port Angeles, and I believe a good time was had by all. I took about a thousand pictures, but I missed the very best Kodak moment, when Riley was running from what seemed to be a stampeding herd of dogs (it was only Cassie, my mother’s collie mix, but she was very gallopy) and his arms and legs were pinwheeling and he was yelling “NOOOO!” in slow motion, and JB and I agreed he looked exactly like Indiana Jones when he’s running from that big-ass boulder in the first movie. Ah, good times.

I have some photos to share, but I also have a quick question for any of you web-savvy types: I’m seeing lots of referrals coming through to this website from the ClubMom blog, and the link it’s directing to is long and weird and looks like it’s some kind of ad-serving code. I can’t figure this out for anything—ClubMom runs ads for Disney, not random personal blogs, and I deliberately don’t provide any links to All & Sundry from there. Anyone have any ideas?

Onto the photos! (The whole set is here.)

JB and Riley on the ferry.

We have been playing a game lately where we ask Riley what the lion says. “RAWR!” he says, making his hand into a little claw. “RARR!”

Sundance, my aunt’s bird. JB and I freaked Riley out by making a loud CA-CAW! sound every time he got near the cage. Oh stop it, it wasn’t that mean.

Charlie and his badger-rooting snout.

This is my mom’s new puppy Caesar, a Shitzu-Pomeranian mix. That’s right, he’s a Shit-Poo.

The view from their living room. Damn, right?

Nearby jetty at sunset.

Really cool looking broken-down shack and pier.

Sky and trees.

Submarine in the Hood Canal, heading back to the naval base in Bremerton.

Kingston ferry coming into dock.

Riley, pointing out yet another boat (“A BOAT! A BOOOOOOOAT!”) while on the ferry ride home.

It was a fine weekend, and I hope you had a good one too. Happy Sunday evening, the time when all snacks are considered equal (hello, ICE CREAM). Oh, and happy Father’s Day!

June 14, 2007

There are some very nice things about my office job. There are the benefits, which range from a full time onsite chef to full body massages. There are the ridiculously chillaxed hours, and the universal acceptance of an excuse such as, “I stayed up too late playing WoW, I’ll be in around noon”.

My workplace is also, for its all foibles and bumblings, totally sincere. They are an honest lot, and while everyone wants to make a buck no one wants to do it by oil-of-snake methods. We are an engineering-driven company, not a marketing-driven one. No one sits around in meetings assessing the market and brainstorming product specs based on the highest return on the investment; instead, engineers tend to individually decide something is worth building and bang out a vat of code before any requirements are decided upon.

We used to have an employee who called this organic product development. It’s taken some getting used to, but despite the lack of planning and ever-elusive ship dates, it seems to work out very well.

My job is not to work marketing from the front end of the process—I have almost nothing to do with development or product management—but to put a shiny package on the completed piece of software. I write the words that are supposed to make the software sound enticing (someone else writes the words that describe how it actually works), for the most part. I work with a talented designer to create ads, retail boxes, and other collateral stuffs. I have a PR function too, which includes updating our blog with product development news, or sending out press releases.

While I might dip into the Well O’ Hyperbole on occasion (I can’t help it! I love the word powerful), the vast majority of my job is bullshit-free. From a marketing perspective, anyway. I mean I don’t have to LIE, unlike pretty much every other job I’ve ever had.

So: I don’t have to lie, my company is legitimately concerned first and foremost with making a good product, and I don’t work with anyone whose job involves thinking of ways to slowly butt-fuck our customers without the common courtesy of a reacharound. Compared to the place where I had to write about apps that didn’t exist and was micromanaged by a psychotic, pot-smoking husband and wife team who made their money from camgirl porn and infomercials, Workplace both kicks ass and takes names.

However, I keep experiencing what I can only describe as bourgeois career angst, a feeling that I should be doing something more meaningful. As problems go, I realize this one hardly registers past the “Privileged Whining” sector—when you have a good job that pays the bills, your focus should be on thanking the gods (SO SAY WE ALL) for your luck, rather than idly wondering why you aren’t more spiritually fulfilled by your work. I’ve been unemployed, and to say it sucks would be doing a great disservice to the sheer amount of suckage that comes from months of fruitless job searching, the inevitable lowering of standards (“Port-a-Potty sanitation engineer? Maybe they offer training?”), and the resounding echo coming from an empty bank account.

Still. I feel like I should have a Plan, an answer to the question of what I want to be when I grow up. What do I want to be doing in five years, ten years? I don’t know. I have some general ideas: I want to make connections, I want to help people in some way, I want to learn new skills. I do hope to write a book someday but I don’t have dreams of being a full time author in that sense (too isolating, for one).

Then there’s the enormous issue of family life and how to balance that with whatever I’m doing, and how that could change if I were to be doing anything different from what I’m doing now, and boy, I just don’t know.

What about you? Are you where you thought—or hoped—you’d be right now, with regards to your job (“job” = whatever you’re doing for work, which definitely includes staying home with children because if that isn’t work, then brother, I don’t know what the hell is)? Do you have long term plans for what you want to do with your career? Or are you like me, playing things by ear and hoping for the best?

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