This will be my last communication...
(Last, that is, until the new year. ;) Two more days until I pack up two dogs, a cat, and a guinea pig and drive 18 hours to Louisville. (I swear, every time I say that I think I must be in some Muppet movie--I'm half tempted to try to rent an old Studebaker for the trip...) I'm excited, though; I haven't seen Jen in weeks and weeks, and Christmas is always an exciting time in the old haunts.
Work has been very crazy lately. The client on one of our houses decided it would be a fabulous idea to have his house done in time for him to have a New Year's party in the place. Now, I can totally understand where they're coming from--a New Year's party is a great chance to show off what I understand (not having seen the house yet) are some pretty sweet digs. But you have to wonder, when he decided that, did he even consider what that would mean for the people actually making that happen? Did he think about people working 12 hour days a week before Christmas? If he did, would he have cared?
Anyway, I spent all last week in Phoenix. All in all, it was far from the worst trip out there; we were working in our PHX office, not in the client's house (working on site is stressful and not much fun...), and probably 75% of the central equipment was already set up and ready to test, which was pretty novel. The worst part is that I have to go back out the week of the 3rd... and Jen and I are driving back from Louisville on the 2nd. Now that's ... lovely. Really.
I went to a Christmas party last night, the Austin Museum of Digital Art (in the person of my coworker Rob) was throwing it. It was a pretty decent party (though I could have passed on the grab-bag gift I got...), with some interesting people. AMODA seems to attract a lot of different people; architects, musicians, visual artists, financial people, etc. I think I ran into about 4 or 5 people who are computer programmers "just to pay the bills", which is new for me (at least socially; I've worked with a fair number of those, and cleaned up after many more...). Normally my crowd--at least post-undergraduate--is people who do what they're doing because they really, really like it. I guess sometimes it's good to be reminded that there are a lot of people out there who don't or can't do what they really want to for a living. We did have some interesting conversations about the nature of hobbies, though, which followed on the heels of my finally getting around to reading Hugh McLeod's How to Be Creative essay. That was a particularly interesting read for me, because--as much as I stoutly maintain that real software engineering is a truly creative thing--I still often find myself with the desire to build a bookcase, or write something, or go sit in a store and paint really crappy chinese ships on overpriced pottery. :) I like what Hugh says about sovereignty, and the need to not make it about getting rich or indeed even showing anyone else what it is you do. Most of the stuff I do end up writing is for Jen, and thus at least one other person knows about it, but sometimes I do get the urge to write (it's almost always write) something totally for myself. Creativity is a strange beast.
Getting back to the sovereignty thing; someone last night made the point to me that he likes the "pressure" of some sort of deadline, even in his hobbies. I can see where that would be useful, but to me it really is all about the sovereignty of the hobby. The stories I like the most are the ones I write on my own schedule, or at least the ones I'd had kicking around in my head for a long time before I committed them to paper. When I took Intro to Creative Writing, that was certainly true; the stories I just tried to sit down and write to the assignment were just not, to put it one way, as authentic and--again, perhaps just to me--as interesting as the ones where the writing of the story happened to coincide with an assignment.
Anyway, I'm sure next year will be a good one; not without its stresses and tribulations, but with many good memories to be made. Catch you on the flip side...
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