Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Couple steps shy of the loony bin

Bouy... have you ever had one of those days that made you question the safety and sanity of your environment? I just finished one off. It was a crazy, crazy day.

Since I just finished a full ROM cycle and got whopper of a protein drink down the hatch, I am now feeling a heck of a lot better. Still, this day tested my soul.

So what made this day crazy? I am currently working on a software project, which in itself is an unusual thing. This project has become ultra-politicized. Crazy politics are typical here. On those few occasions when you find yourself working on a software project here, you are working in a politically charged environment, but let's forget all about that.

This is what I would call a 'completition project'. This software project will complete a former project that was left unfinished for unknown reasons. Think of it as finishing an unfished symphony. The strange thing is that you would seldom try to finish Beethoven's unfinished symphony if Beethoven is around to finish it himself. If Beethoven is dead, or has left the company, maybe somebody else should finish his symphony. But then again, maybe not. If Beethoven is still around, he should certainly finish his symphony, correct? Not so?

Folks, our Beethoven is still around. For political reasons undisclosed, Beethoven is not finishing this symphony. We are. This in itself poses both technical and political problems. I honestly don't know why Beethoven is not finishing this symphony. There are three or four vague possibilities. None of them seem like satisfactory explanations to me. I would tell you about each and all them if any of the possibilities made sense.

This situation is crazy. It's just fucking crazy. I had lunch with one of the stakeholders in the project. She also thinks this is crazy. Absolutely fucking crazy. We talked about how crazy it is.

Today, our little finishing team had a run in with Beethoven. Beethoven was going to be dragged back into the project (briefly) to make some minor modification to his symphony. Then he would continue along his former path. He threw a heck of a temper tantrum. Essentially, he insisted that we throw his application software away and start over again from scratch-one. He couldn't and shouldn't be bothered to modify this application. "Start over! I don't want you using my code or database for the scheduler component!"

Gaaawd damnnnn...

I flipped out... very quitely. I struggled to remain completely rational and dispassionate.

I never heard of a programmer telling a company to throw away a working application, or working code he had written... because he could not be bothered. If you understood the magnitude of the disruption to the workflow of the company we are talking about, you would understand what an outlandish and preposterous event this was. I've seen some prima donnas and wide receiver divas in my time, but not like this. We took 90 minutes out of the day to have an ad-hoc meeting with Beethoven and argue about whether we should throw away his application and start over again... and massively disrupt the workflow of the firm. It was a very emotionally charged 90 minutes as well.

The cherry on top came when he insisted our design was bad. Real-time dynamic recalculation of the entire company workload was a necessity. Rather, it is strictly an impossibility.

Absolutely fucking crazy. 90 minutes for a temper tantrum about the categorically impossible proposition of...

Sometimes I think the whole goddamn world is coming to an end in our time. This is the time of trouble. We are at the begining of the birth pangs. The great tribulation is nigh. We got earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns, huricanes, floods, peak oil, political corruption, wars all over the place, financial chaos, investment banks looting the world, the world economy teetering at the brink...

The Mayans were probably right on the fucking money. I wonder if things won't go from bad to worse right up until 12/21/2012. This is a scarry goddamn time. The Chinese have an anchient curse that says "May you live in interesting times."

I think all of us are feeling the stress of these times very acutely. I think it is making all of us a little bit crazy with insecurity. All of us are a little bit out-of-sorts because of these stressors.

Beethoven is a pretty good guy. I've had good relations with him. He is a Pisces. I am a Virgo. He advocated me strongly when I was being selected. I know that is looking like a mixed blessing right now, but... He certainly has many valid complains about the way he's been treated around here. They've kept him on an H1 visa for 10 years, which is preposterous. They not done much to help him secure a Green Card. He has been passed over for promotion when he deserved it. He built the biggest cash cow the firm holds, but he doesn't get pay raises or a bonus out of it. He has legit complaints. I understand his position.

Nevertheless, this tantrum today was completely crazy. It did nothing rational to advance his position. It made him look crazy.

I didn't stay for the full 90 minute ad-hoc meeting. I walked out at around 12:35pm. I needed my lunch-time workout badly. I had a brief moment of silent lucidity as I drove back to work. My metabolism was revved up. My blood sugar was good. The beta endorphins were flowing. At that moment I had very pleasant and peaceful thoughts of living in San Francisco, working as a force for sanity in management, visiting with my brother and sister (face to face) just about every day, having a city full of man-shortaged young women.

Even if this is a pipe dream, it was a lovely pipe dream. It occurs to me that there is nothing wrong with my life at this point, which cannot be drastically improved by a change of venue, a fresh start, and a new lease on life. Overall, I am fairly well blessed in my current life, but loony-lunacy of the work day is for the birds.