August 28th, 2003


Building and Rebuilding

A recent Rand Corporation book argues that dedication, effort, and follow through are the critical values in determining the success of a postwar reconstruction. Five years is the minimum time requirement. Yesterday Bremer told us that we must spend tens of billions more. Thomas Friedman has referred to it as a "building" effort, not a "rebuilding." In many ways we are starting from scratch. Today's New York Times (registration required) tells not only of multi-hundred-billion dollar deficits ($475 billion and possibly rising over time), but states the following shocker: "...the administration, for its part, has yet to budget anything for war-related costs in 2004 and thereafter..."

From yesterday's Volokh Conspiracy (one of the better political/legal weblogs)

The futility of overtime

There comes a point with almost anything i'm working on where it's just pointless carrying on with it. Where it all blurs together and becomes meaningless and I can't actually hold the whole picture together in my head any more. I hit that point at 4:45 yesterday afternoon, where the test plan I was writing ground to a halt because I couldn't grasp the flowchart any more (despite the fact that I'd written it).

I don't tend to work overtime if I can possibly avoid it because 95% of the time there's no point. If overtime meant I could work until 4pm, wander off and do something else for an hour and then come back to work 5-8 then it might be productive, but me sitting at my desk from 1pm to 7pm means I get exactly the same amount of work done (roughly 1-4, depending on how my concentration is) and then sitting at my desk for the next few hours getting more and more frustrated and failing to get anything done.

I'm actually fairly sure that most of my work happens subconsciously, when i'm doing other things. I'll grind to a halt on a project, go and do something else for 15 minutes, come back and the answer to my problem will be sitting waiting for me. Sadly, there's no way to explain to management that not only ca I not really explain how I come up with answers, I don't really know most of the time myself (sure, I can explain the logical reason why my answers are right, but that doesn't mean I came up with them using a conscious, logical process in the first place). If you're not sitting staring at a monitor, pressing the occasional key, then apparently you're not being productive, an ideology which (for me) doesn't fit the facts even slightly.

It's exasperating and infuriating to have to deal with people for whom it is true, but there's not a lot I can do about that, short of continue to work my way up until can find a niche where I'm judged on my productivity and not on how hard I can look like I'm working. Fortunately I rarely have to deal with that kind of thing in my current job, the attitudes there being generally quite enlightened.


Ahem. Other than vague ranting, work is actually going pretty well (and any bad sides are entirely balanced out by the fact that work is generally very good).

I didn't get much done on Monday, as I was still sliding back into things, but each day I've got more done until I actually got a signed off plan and test plan today. I've now started on the actual coding, and as the plan is fairly detailed I should be able to knock the code out easily tomorrow. Setting up test data will likely take a bit longer, but such is life...

The work's pretty engaging, the people are pretty engaging and the more I do the more I understand. Generally, I feel quite positive about it all.

It's all about Arnold

Excerpts from an interview with a much younger Schwarzenegger.

On the practice of abstaining from sex prior to a competition, Schwarzenegger rejected that approach: "I get laid on purpose. I can't sleep before a competition and I'm up all night, anyway, so instead of staring at the ceiling I figure I might as well find somebody and fuck." In fact, at the 1972 Mr. Olympia contest, "we had girls backstage giving head, then all of us went out and I won. It didn't bother me at all; in fact, I went out there feeling like King Kong," added Schwarzenegger.

When Manso asked whether he used "dope," Schwarzenegger replied, "Yes, grass and hash--no hard drugs. But the point is that I do what I feel like doing. I'm not on a health kick."

Asked whether he was "freaked out" by being in such close contact with guys at the gym, Schwarzenegger said, "Men shouldn't feel like fags just because they want to have nice-looking bodies...Gay people are fighting the same kind of stereotyping that bodybuilders are: People have certain misconceptions about them just as they do about us. Well, I have absolutely no hang-ups about the fag business..."

Things that piss me off #442

If I read one more comment that journals/blogs are pointless and full of people whining on about their insignificant lives, I'm going to go mad with an axe.

Anything that leads people to write for their own personal pleasure is a good thing. Anything that gets people to communicate with each other is a good thing. Even if they're logging on to tell people how much they think gay people suck, they're putting themselves out there and engaging in a kind of dialogue. They've opened themselves up and spoken. And doing so means they're more likely to end up in dialogue with others, learn to understand others and join in the human race. People's lives may well be dull and boring. Their writing style may be excrable. But their writing can only get better with practice, and anything that makes them put themselves out there in the public domain and gives them the impetus to want to be heard has to be a good thing.

On a similar note, I feel the same way about people whinging about kids reading Harry Potter. Sure, they're hardly the best written books in the world, but anything that encourages anyone to read is a good thing. Reading leads to reading more and sometimes even to thinking. Putting people down for it strikes me as pointless elitism and cynicism.

Phew, that feels better.

New LJ friend, old actual friend

Way back in the mists of 1992-1994 (ish) I went out with Marianne. She's now married, living down south, working with mad people and has a journal here.

I can't think of anything more to say about her that won't get me in trouble when I see her in 10 days...

Fucking spammers!

I just got spam. This is not unusual. What's annoying is that the "to" was ",,,"

That's 4 of the people on my domain, all in the same email. I'm somewhat amazed that more of us aren't spammers lists, admittedly. It does go to show which of us hang out in the message boards more.
  • Current Music
    Covenant - Rising Sun

New Look Andy

My journal has a new look.

I have to say that it looks like the new S2 customisation system allows some pretty nifty stuff. The fact that I was able to make so many tweaks without having to do any actual coding was a godsend.