Tag Archives: work

Slow Week

So it’s been a wacky few days.  My laptop’s death kind of threw me for a loop and I was shopping around for a good deal on a new one over the last weekend.  Work has been nuts.  Got some excitement on all fronts, though.

I did find an OK replacement laptop at a decent price with my discount from work.  I’ve liked the ThinkPads that I had, and I stuck with Lenovo when buying a new one.  I’m sure I’ll be happy enough with it.  One thing I DEFINITELY wanted to do this time is get a brand new machine, instead of muddling around with a used one.  I STILL have a bad taste in my mouth from a really poor ebay experience like 4 years ago…

Lorch also came into town last weekend and crashed at Casa del Bocko for a couple nights.  He had to fly out of Mitchell at the crack of dawn on Saturday because he was shooting for a documentary on the Honor Flight.  It’s a really cool program, and all three of us (me, Lorch, Michelle) all agreed we wished we could’ve gotten our grandfathers signed up when they were around.  So hey– if you know or are related to a WWII or Korean War vet, check it out.  Seriously.

Anyway, it was nice to hang out with Lorchie and watch the Brewers together.  We had some beers at The Harp, and we grabbed a pizza at BBC.  We talked about getting ready for attending Wordy’s wedding this summer.  I am looking forward to the vacation, for sure.

So, later in the week here, I got a call back from my old boss up in Oshkosh.  She had a good reason to call, as I had been in there on 4/23 for an interview.  I got offered a job as the Assistant Director for Operations back at the old UWO FAO.  It’s a really good professional opportunity, so I took it.  I didn’t say much about it to many people as I decided to apply and go through this process, for a variety of reasons:

  1. It was the least qualified I felt going in to an interview in quite a while,
  2. I knew I’d have to field a lot of questions about my plans for the future, as I just moved down to Milwaukee about two years ago, and I didn’t feel like addressing those until a new job was a sure thing,
  3. I thought I might jinx it.

So, it turned out well.  Here are the answers to some of those commonly asked questions that immediately come to everyone’s mind:

  1. Yes, Michelle and I are doing just fine.  I think we’re really good, in fact.
  2. Having stated #1, no I’m not in a big hurry to move back to Oshkosh.
  3. Having stated #2, yes that means I’ll be commuting for a while.
  4. Having stated #3, yes I’m OK with that.
  5. Having stated #4, yes I’ve thought about what it will cost.
  6. See #4.
  7. This doesn’t mean that I’m “giving up” on any creative aspirations that I’ve had related to my English degree.  It just means that I’ve recognized that I have a strong base of knowledge and experience in this area, and I might as well use it to my advantage.  It’s a stable, well-paying vocation for the time being.  I can work on other things in my free time.
  8. I’ll be starting there June 1.

Anyway, I appreciate your interest, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.  I’m going to do the books for the month and finish watching this ball game…

A Small Rant That Won't Fit In a Tweet

Most universities these days OFFICIALLY communicate with students via email– that is to say, electronic communication is every bit as important as the very few items you might get by post.  Oshkosh went as far as to collect signatures from students on a form that said, “yes, I understand how to check my email and that I have to read it.”  Milwaukee does not do that, but it doesn’t change the fact that most departments do not send out mail.

The most common grumpy comment from a student on that front?  “Oh, I don’t check that address; I just have [insert popular webmail app here].”  That is all well and good, because forwarding your campus mail to another address is dead frakking simple, takes 2 minutes, and you NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT AGAIN.  I cannot understand why this is such a huge hurdle for people.  What is it that makes them not do it?  Laziness?  Ignorance?  What?

Sometimes I want to slap people.

What the Hell Is Mind-Mapping?

I mean “what the hell is mind-mapping?” in a”what-the-hell-is-it-good-for” sort of way.  Lifehacker had a write up about mind-mapping software the other day, and the only other reason I thought of it is that they are really hot and bothered about the whole concept at work– to the extent that some outrageously expensive software licenses were purchased and they want us to plot all of our procedures and processes out this way.

I really don’t see the point.  Seems like a lot more work that it’s worth.  Since it’s a “free-form” medium, the first thing you have to do when you look at something like this is figure out what the system (if any) was for the person who made the “map.”  If you are making one yourself, you have to dream up a system.  It seems a lot more straight-forward and easy for collaboration if you work with a commonly-used, easy-to-understand model that people are trained on early in life.  Y’know, like an outline.

If anyone wants to describe to me how or why this is useful, I’m all ears.  But I don’t get it.  I guess I don’t quite get the extent to which we’re moving away from being a society that writes things down into one that draws pictures and puts stuff on TV.  In my mind, this mind-mapping phenomenon is an extension of that.


Oh, the Frakkin Humanity.

Our office is in the midst of our annual “department training,” where we get together for 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for about a month to receive a daily lecture on ALLL the procedures for every job in the entire office.  Yes, even the ones that you’ll never have to do!  Sometimes, there is really good information shared about a change to a process, or a new program, but a lot of it is the regurgitation of things that we’ve all heard before.  It can get extremely boring.

We have reached that stage for this year.  Today’s training was the dullest yet, and I took the opportunity to compose a List of Countries That I Would Like to Visit, in no particular order (that is, the list is in no particular order; but actually, the sequence in which I visit these countries doesn’t make much different to me, either):

  1. Canada
  2. England
  3. Ireland
  4. Japan
  5. China
  6. Vietnam
  7. Australia
  8. India
  9. Brazil
  10. Cuba
  11. Czech Republic
  12. Poland
  13. Italy
  14. Spain
  15. France
  16. Germany
  17. Belgium
  18. Switzerland
  19. Morocco
  20. Algeria
  21. Greece
  22. Egypt
  23. Tunisia
  24. South Africa
  25. Russia
  26. United Arab Emirates

It Was a Nice Weekend

Had a time overall this past weekend– on Friday, I went out for a couple drinks with some people from work at Bar Louie, in the Bayshore mall.  Kyle met me there just before 7 and picked me up to drive back toward my place and hang out.  Good to see the K-Man; Michelle and I agreed that it will be nice when Robin comes out of hiding in the future, too…  😛

We decided to have a couple beers at the American Legion post 331, just across Wilson Ave from my house.  Ever since I moved to Shorewood, Michelle and I have been talking (partly tongue-in-cheek) about dropping in there for the fish fry on a Friday night.  When Kyle and I got there, there was still quite a bit of fish being slung, and the atmosphere did not disappoint.  We had pint-tappers of High Life for 2.50.  Not bad at all.  Michelle joined us a bit later, but by then, it was about time for everyone to head out and get some sleep before our respective Saturdays.

Michelle had to get up even earlier than me (!!) in order to make it to Watertown for judging a cheer competition.  I just needed to be ready for Sarah & Brian to pick me up at around 12:30 for our trip to Fort Atkinson.  We were en route to Brad & Mindy’s place for a day out to bid farewell to Todd & Marcia; they are heading to Laos, where Marcia will be working on a project for her PhD.  They’re going to be gone for several months, so it was nice for everyone to get together for an evening out.  Photos from this event are in the Day to Day gallery ((Speaking of photos, I’ve uploaded some from our Twin Cities weekend, too; I only had a few, but they are in the TwinCities gallery)).

On Sunday, we made a quick shopping detour in Johnson Creek before making it back to Milwaukee.  We caught most of the Super Bowl (well, at least half of it) over at Chris/Bob/Justin’s place.  The second half of the game was pretty exciting!  I felt bad for Jason Hill, who was the only Steelers fan in the place.  Personally, I didn’t have a horse in that race, so I was rooting for some of friends who were watching (whoooo!!  Eat that lii’ smoky weiner!!!).

One thing I did discover over the balance of the weekend is that I will need more discipline in order to stick to a schedule on those off-days.  It’s hard to carve up your time the right way when you might go out and not know exactly when you’re getting in (or how late you’ll sleep).  I might just have to “power through” and do my best on those days…

Well, plenty to get done around here before the end of my short day; I have to leave work around 3:30 to head to Madison for a “Recruitment & Outreach” presentation.  Gonna be a late night, but I’m taking some This American Life with me, so I should be golden…

Busted Stuff

Kinda funny that it was just last week when I wrote about how satisfied I’ve been with WordPress this year, then over the last couple days, I’ve been frustrated with upgrading to version 2.7.

I should clarify: the software itself works great.  The issues that I’m having are strictly related to plugins that I’m using.  I suppose certain compatibility and seamless upgrading are the trade-offs you have to make when you start using a lot of 3rd-party extensions.  I was willing to roll with the upgrade and let one of my less oft-used plugins remain broken until it’s updated, but I’ve discovered I actually have 2 ((twitter tools and the DB backup plugin)) that aren’t working quite right, so I rolled back to WordPress 2.6.5 for now ((This new footnote plugin I installed seems to work fine, though.)).  Not that it matters much to you, Dear Reader, as everything appears exactly the same on your end.  (But the blog is sort of for my notes, too.)

At work, I was supposed to have a “day off” from seeing students today, but one of my colleagues called in, so I’m filling the gap.  Might prevent me from getting the newest podcast (which we recorded over the weekend) up this afternoon, as I’d intended.  I definitely need to do that today, though, since the rest of my evenings are booked up this week.  Dave invited me to an event at EAA on Wednesday night, and Thursday is our office holiday party.

Time to get some working done…

Another Unintended Milestone

I have to be on campus tomorrow (Saturday) morning for a presentation; won’t take very long, but it’s an obligation, y’know?  So I’m getting ready for that, making sure I have the handouts I’ll need for the students, a copy of the presentation that I’m giving, the computer hardware and all that…

I set a list out on my desk and grab a handful of business cards to toss in the box, too.  I’m getting low on the ones in my tray on the desk, so I open the credenza behind me to pull some more out of the stash.


I am very low on business cards.

I didn’t intend to stay here long enough to NEED a second box of business cards.

Time really flies.  And the more time that passes, the faster it goes.  Better go put in an order.

Welcome To the Saddle. Please Climb In.

After what feels like at least a 2-week period of not-being-at-work-too-often, time to settle in for the month of December and the home stretch of the fall semester.  This time of year is usually peppered with students who forgot they had a bill to pay to go to school, but even more of them are too busy catching up on all the work they haven’t done all semester long.  So it should be slow, but steady.

At home, I’m going to be focusing on decorating my house for the holidays this week, and getting a jump on shopping.  I have a number of gifts already planned and noted, so it’s just a matter of getting out on the ‘tubes to do the buying.  I’ll also be finishing up a bit of writing, and getting together a plan for New Year’s Eve / my birthday.  FYI, the party is set for Wauwatosa and the Mundschau house, more details to come…

I don’t know how you feel about it, but it seems like the signs of winter are in full force: snow on the ground, Christmas season is here, Red Arrow park is open for skating…  Enjoy your holiday season!  Hopefully I’ll be able to focus enough to work, too.

On a Visit to DC

… which is the way I like to refer to “Door County.”

I’m at a resort near Egg Harbor for a conference for work this week.  It’s a very nice location; close to the lake, out in the woods, really nice accomidations (which you can take a peer at in the day-to-day gallery).

The only think that’s disappointed me so far is that they gave us a coffee maker, coffee, and no filters.  How is that even a little bit helpful?  But, it’s after 8 now, so I could take a walk to the building next door for breakfast…

I took a ride last night from here up to the end of highway 42 (where you would drive into the water if you went any further).  It was a nice little drive, but since it was dark, I couldn’t see much, and since it’s early November, there is NO ONE around DC, ANYWHERE.  At least that’s how it seemed.  Lots and lots of darkness and closedness, even as I was driving in the 6 o’clock hour.

If I get a chance to read the news or see anything else interesting during the day, you’ll be the first to know.

Probably Just Delusional

I’ve worked on moving my home server operations to a new machine this week.  As of last night at around 7 o’clock, the web server has moved (mail and file server ops, for those using them, are still on the old machine for the time being).  It’s a completely subjective assessment, but the site seems a little faster to me today– possible, I suppose, that the server is processing SQL queries more quickly, but I may just be deluding myself.  Overall, I feel pretty good about not having to enlist as much help from Joe as usual.  At this point, I’m confident that if I felt the need to change, add, or otherwise modify the way that I’m hosting my websites, I’d be able to do it.

Work has slowed down for the semester.  I had a chance to catch up on most everything over the last couple days, and that’s a good feeling.  It does, however, leave one with a little extra time to assess where one is at professionally, and depending on how that goes, it can make one more or less apt to do something productive during the work day.  I could at some want ads over lunch, maybe…

I still need a Halloween costume for the weekend.  Michelle and I are going to a party where the costumes are “mandatory.”  It’s a good idea, because in the end, it’s probably more fun, but for the neurotic, the compulsion can be a bit stressful.  I’ve a few good ideas over the last couple days that would’ve worked GREAT if I’d started seriously thinking about a costume back in September.  Any ideas?

Finally, today is my dad’s birthday– he is turning 55…  Happy b-day, Dad.