I think if work ever slows down, and I find myself wondering where my next contract will come from, I’ll plan a vacation.
See, what seems to happen (with frightening regularity) is that Laralee and I plan a trip somewhere. We plan it a month or two ahead– giving us plenty of time to make arrangements for everything. And just before we’re slated to leave, all sorts of stuff begins to happen with work.
This week is no exception. We’re leaving Friday for a trip to Idaho (a five-day weekend in all), and all of a sudden I’ve got clients calling from all over. New contracts… proposals… old work resurrected. Couple that with a few “fires” I’ve had to fight this week, and I find myself putting in long days trying just to keep up.
Don’t get me wrong– this is a good thing overall. Every client is an opportunity to make money and market myself, so I welcome the challenge. Plus, I always thrive on the chance to jump between projects and keep myself from getting bored doing the same thing day after day.
So in the end, I’m a happy guy. It’s just this week I happen to be a busy guy as well…
What? Another new business?
For some reason– I’d like to think it’s my natural sense of ambition– it looks like I’m going to be involved in yet another new business venture. This time it’s in the arena of network security, something which I’ve been meaning to learn more about anyway. All the other technology (read “geek”) work I do can benefit from a greater understanding of security and its implications; why not start a company and do it on a paying basis?
So I had some initial discussions, and developed a sketchy plan to start figuring out how to make it work. Initially it will be a “side” job for me– a way to broaden my skills and find new clients– but hopefully over time it will become more mainstream.
So here I go…
Why is it that my little projects wind up taking ten times as long as I think they will? Tonight I sat down to put together a little book of pictures and artwork for our friends up the street. It was a simple concept: twenty pages, each with a picture (from our album) or a drawing by Alex or Kyra. A little blurb about each page, and that was it.
Elapsed time: 4 hours.
So I had to pick out the pictures. Then I had to crop them, resize them, edit them. Then I had to come up with an order. Then write the blurbs. Then lay it out on the pages. Heck, even getting WordPerfect to print properly (the pages were 6.75 x 5 inches– hardly a standard size) took a half an hour.
In the end, the finished product was pretty cool. Most of my projects turn out that way; I just don’t understand why every single one has to take so darn long…
It sucks being sick.
I don’t get sick very often (maybe every few months), but when I do I always wallow in self-pity. So here I sit, with a stuffy nose and a bit of a sore throat, feeling like I’m going to expire any minute. There are so many people in this world with far worse problems than a stuffy nose, yet I feel like I’m in the worst shape of anyone. Go figure.
I suppose it’s some form of selfishness– concentrating so much on one’s own mundane problems that all other issues fade into the background of unimportance.
So I tell myself, every time I’m sick, that I’ll buck up and not be so morbid about it. I’m trying. Really.
It’s official. I’m not a home improvement guy.
Over the past few days I “worked on the house” to run wiring between the stereo and my office, and between the loft and my office. For the former, I wanted big speakers downstairs and MP3’s upstairs; for the latter I wanted ethernet access that didn’t involve a wire draped out the second-floor window.
How hard could it possibly be to drill a few holes, install a few face plates on the wall, and plug in the wires? Well, apparently it’s much worse than I imagined. I ended up drilling into studs, measuring wrong, punching holes through the drywall, and generally getting frustrated with my complete lack of ability.
It’s not rocket science.
Anyway, all the holes are patched, all the face plates are screwed in, and all the wires seem to work. But if I can’t do something this simple, I sure as heck shouldn’t try something more complex…
Late again. After a long day of work, I find myself– as usual– sitting in bed finishing up some stuff.
I learned a lot today; I had to configure a handful of security things in Linux and needed to figure it out as I went. Not too bad. Something that always amazes me about Linux is the incredible degree of control you have over the configuration of it. I can do as little or as much as I want (or understand). Since I’m trying to really get into the network security world, I sometimes go a bit overboard in locking things down… but heck, that’s what the customers pay me for, right?
Today’s been a busy day. Four different projects to work on– which is good, in a way, because it means I’m gainfully employed. I can only hope that things continue in this vein. It’s nice to get paid occasionally.
Zack really enjoys sitting next to me as I work on my laptop. I think the blinking lights on the ethernet cable are interesting; he’s always trying to grab the wire and yank it out. A little while ago he managed to pop the right-arrow key off the keyboard (these laptop keyboards aren’t the most sturdy things). Hopefully I won’t have to scroll right any time soon…
It’s funny how productive I can be late at night. The house is quiet; everyone else is asleep. I can sit in bed, my laptop humming quietly, and work on whatever whim-of-a-project comes to mind. Sometimes it’s work-related; more often it’s just goofing off. I used to write fiction with this time, and I’d like to get back into that. For some reason I’m in a dry spell.
Maybe this journal will help inspire me. Heck, maybe I’ll start writing snippets here and see what happens.
A long time ago, I was talking with my friend Jason Peters about building a web application that would allow you to keep a journal. When you think about it, a journal is a pretty simple thing. It’s a bunch of text, and maybe a few pictures or mementos pasted in here and there. How hard can it be to build a web site that saves a bunch of text?
I thought about the idea but never really did anything with it. It became– like so many other things– a da Vinci project for me.
Well, today was a slow day (which is often a good thing) and I decided to actually sit down and make this thing happen. After a couple hours of programming work, I’ve built the framework for my online journal. Oh, sure, it doesn’t do much except save text now, but it’ll grow. All my da Vinci projects end up growing over time. Soon I’ll have pictures, and cross-referencing, and blah blah blah.
But for now, I can finally sit down and start keeping a journal. We’ll see where it goes from here.