Quote of the Day

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:55 pm
brickhousewench: (Hawkeye-Hugs)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
“My life may be a shit show right now, but I have friends that love me enough to help shovel me out.

I’m glad M has got friends to support him through this.

More Trippy Progress

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:20 am
ktlovely: (Default)
[personal profile] ktlovely
My weird but efficient and effective hip exercise is working, I think. I think I didn't mention it in my last post, but I've had fairly persistent SI joint pain* for years, on my left side. I have had less pain, or at least less awareness of pain vs. awareness of the pain site, in the past few days, than in a long time. It's not like it was super crippling or anything, but I guess I got used to a certain level of discomfort and now that it's different/less I'm aware of the spot that WAS painful but ISN'T now. It's weird!

I did my exercise before and after running last night as directed and noticed also that I was SUPER wiped afterwards. To be fair, it was also quite warm and humid yesterday--the dogs were very worn out as well. But I wonder if part of my fatigue is that my body is getting used to a slightly different conformation than normal. Anything's possible I suppose.

Welcome to my World

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:47 am
brickhousewench: (Dreamwidth)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
This is my journal. It's where I dump my brain. I tell myself that even if I do love comments and comment conversations, I'm not writing for an audience, I'm mostly writing for myself. But I am aware that people read what I put out there, so I also try to provide backstory and context so that other people can follow along and this isn't just some random brain dribblings, well, at least not all the time... I write about my life and adventures, but I also just quote random things that I want to remember, or articles that gave me Thinky Thoughts™.

Very well then I contradict myself; I am large, I contain multitudes.

So when people that I don't "know" subscribe to me, I always wonder, have you actually read my journal? Or did you just click on one of the interests listed in my profile and decide to add me? Do you have any idea what you’re getting into?

You have? Well, OK then. Welcome to my world.

How to be a better friend

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:12 am
brickhousewench: (Hawkeye-Hugs)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
Most of my main circle of friends are people that I’ve met in the fifteen years since I left The Wasband. My closest circle is, not surprisingly, my Guild mates. But I also have a lot of friends that I’ve met through renn faire and reenactments.

But what makes me think that I’m not too horrible a friend is that I’m fairly lucky in that I am still in touch (at least Facebook friends) with:
• My oldest friend in the world (who I met when I was five)
• One of the girls that I went to Montessori school with and have known since first grade
• Another friend from Montessori that I’ve known since second grade (who hunted me down on Facebook)
• The girl who became my second best friend when her family moved to our neighborhood when we were in fifth grade (I think?)
• The girl from France who lived in Lexington for two years when we were in fourth and fifth grade (who also hunted me down on Facebook)

I’ve also got a handful of friends from High School (which was a LONG time ago) on my Facebook friends list. And a couple of good friends from college. And I’ve got two ex-boyfriends on my FB list (I’m not great at being able to maintain a relationship with my exes, it’s often too painful).

But, you can never have too many friends, and keeping friends requires some effort. (Note to Self - put in some effort this weekend.) So I wanted to hold onto this advice on How to be better at staying in touch with friends and being a good friend: a step-by-step guide.

A post in several Tweets )

Captain Awkward

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:31 am
brickhousewench: (blanket fort)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
Every now and then I run across something on the internet that just strikes a nerve. Sometimes it’s someone saying something that I’ve been trying to articulate. Sometimes it’s something that clarifies something I’ve been trying to figure out for myself. Sometimes it’s something that give me Thinky Thoughts™.

And sometimes it’s just someone validating my experience.

Back in 2007, when I was hanging around with Dawn, she took a nutty on me when I didn’t attend a party that had gone from “come over and hang out and watch movies” but swiftly escalated to “Dawn is going to set Julie up with her ex-roommate and they will live happily ever after” after she’d found out we’d stumbled across each other in an online dating site.

At the time I was suffering from a bout of major Depression. I was in therapy and taking meds, but hadn’t quite figured out all my own symptoms and reactions yet, and didn’t yet know how to articulate my own needs. I’d had a rough week at work (more conflict with Bossy Lady and computer problems), it was February (always a rough month for me due to cold and dark), and that weekend what I really needed was to hide out at home in the blanket fort by myself and do some self-care. I definitely did not have the spoons to perform "perfectly normal human" in public, let alone the level of vivaciousness required try to impress a potential suitor, especially not in front of an audience. But Dawn was so invested in playing matchmaker that she was hugely offended when I didn’t show up and refused to answer the phone when she called to yell at me about it.

So you can probably imagine how I felt when I read a recent Captain Awkward post where the Captain stated

The matchmaker’s ego and investment in the outcome < the interest and wishes of the matchmakees.

Oh. Hells. Yes.
brickhousewench: (Tina Tech Writer)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
Random stuff I find on the Internet. Today while I was working on Content Models, I was reading a page on our intranet and came across a name I didn’t recognize. So I checked the employee directory, and they were listed as an ex-employee. Since I didn’t know if they were actually a technical writer (and it was hard to tell from the page I was reading, they could have been quality assurance or some other department), I checked LinkedIn. Yep, they were a TW, and then a manager. But I had to snort when I saw this in her profile:

Some of the work I did in this position that I am most proud of involves the Release Note process. I created a proactive process for writing Release Notes during software development, rather than just before a software release. In this way, the information presented in them was more accurate and timely, and the time of the engineers and writers was used much more productively. This process is still in place today.

Um, you haven’t worked here in six years, and there have been major changes in the past two years from what everyone has told me. I’m pretty sure your process is NOT still in place six years later. *eyeroll*

More Vocabulary Lessons

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:06 pm
brickhousewench: (Discuss)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
I am learning new words right and left this week.

Today it was a discussion of coffee on the department IRC chat (the folks at HQ often take “coffee walks” downtown to stretch their legs and caffeinate off-campus). Someone mentioned that they had “coffee” set as an alert word on IRC. Then my manager suggested they join the #fika channel.

“There’s a fika channel?” They asked incredulously.

“Oh yes, and you probably want to join it.” My manager replied.

At which point I headed off to the Googles to see what sort of coffee/snacky/break thing a fika was.
brickhousewench: (pants)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
Today was a Hump Day worthy of the name.

I had trouble dragging myself out of bed. And when I got up, I had zero desire to go to work. Or do anything else for that matter. I was seriously considering taking a mental health day, but managed to log in to see if I had any meetings or not and there were a couple of things in my inbox that needed my attention that I’d rather deal with at the office. One of these days I’ll get a proper home office, but for now, the convenience of working on my big monitor is enough to get my arse into the office on days like today.

I dragged myself into the office, then fought with myself to try to stay focused all day. I replied to a couple of e-mails from both my product development team and the technical writing team, so that was good. My brain didn’t really want to play along and be productive today, so I’m glad that if I only managed to accomplish a few things, they were publicly visible things. I ended up skipping out just a little bit early (like a half an hour early) because I knew that I wasn’t going to get anything else done that was useful. And I didn’t feel like seat warming when I could be home on the couch.

Ugh, I hope I wake up on the right side of the bed tomorrow.

Quote of the Day – Fear

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:50 pm
brickhousewench: (Beeker)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
Fear is what happens when you’re doing something important.

If you are doing work that isn’t scary, it isn’t improving you or the world.


Moody Me

Jul. 19th, 2017 09:00 am
brickhousewench: (Dont want to get up)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
My mood this morning can pretty much be summed up by "I don't wanna. But I gotta. Dammit."
brickhousewench: (Tina Tech Writer)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
That time when your German speaking software architect teaches you a new Latin phrase while you're performing a group edit to help your Brazilian developer revise the abstract he's writing to submit a paper to a conference.

pluralis majestatis

(And that's not me being snarky, that's the link Heiko put into chat when we complained that we didn't know what he was talking about.)

News from the Old Company

Jul. 18th, 2017 11:06 pm
brickhousewench: (roadtrip)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
I was in LinkedIn for some other reason,and I thought to check in on my favorite HR Lady Tammi. She fled The Place back in February. Good. I knew she wanted to get out way back last year when they gave me the boot.

I am a sad Druid today

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:01 pm
brickhousewench: (Crying pop art)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
I’ve lived at Frogholm for fourteen and a half years now.

For the past fifteen springs, for a glorious two weeks or so, I’ve enjoyed watching the cherry tree down the street burst into a huge puff of delicate pink. And then, two weeks later the petals fall into a pink carpeting around its roots. It’s on the corner of one of the condo complexes, surrounded by flowering plants. Because it’s been growing all by itself, with no other trees or bushes around to crowd or shade it, it has managed to develop into a lovely round crown of leaves.

I keep telling myself that I need to pull over and take a couple of photos some Spring, because it’s just so damned glorious when it is in full bloom.

But now it’s too late.

I literally yelped on the drive home Friday when I saw that my favorite tree was missing. I have no idea why they cut it down, it was by all appearances a healthy tree. As far as I know there’s no construction planned, because that corner looks like it’s part of the condo complex.

So I have a sad, my favorite tree is no more.

training our new hires

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:56 am
brickhousewench: (Tina frowning)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
So I had a long conference call with Betty last week about our content model initiative. We’ve been talking a lot over the past couple of meetings about how to we need to train some of our new hires and provide them guidelines because they’ve never been technical writers before.

So I’m secretly just a bit cranky about the fact that so many of our current department initiatives are essentially building training to teach new hires how to do their jobs. Because they don’t have any idea how to do the job we’ve hired them for, which is technical writing. I think that of the two parts of my job, the technical and the writing, that the writing just may be the harder thing to teach. I’ve met a whole lot of technical people who are just not very good at stringing words together. But I don’t want to discount how technical the work is here, because wow, this is the most geeky, technical place I’ve ever worked. But we should be hiring people with at least a little bit more writing experience than they wrote papers in college.

There was a recent e-mail string talking about concept, task, reference and teaching people about modular writing. Which is pretty much a standard, well accepted paradigm in the technical writing world. But no, we need to re-invent the wheel, because that’s what people do in the open source world, everyone has to tweak things and put their own stamp in it.


I'd like to continue this discussion further, though, but not necessarily with the goal to invent new terminology. When I was explaining modular docs to new hires (just as a reminder - most of them are not familiar with topic-based authoring, so they don't know the standard concept/task/reference triad), I felt the words "concept", "task", and "reference" have not been particularly helpful -- because they are rather vague.

* "Concept" -- I spent far more time than I would have liked at philosophy classes at the university, so I know how broad this term can be.
* "Task" -- It takes some explaining to make it clear that a task module is still just a basic building block based around a procedure, not something that covers a meaningful goal (that's what a user-story assembly does).
* "Reference" -- This one is the trickiest, because new hires don't see the need for this (and frankly, I almost don't write reference modules at all, which is another reason why I'm not great at explaining them).

I’m reading through the “Modular Documentation” team’s documents and we’re actually telling people how to write procedures (numbered steps, start with a verb, one action per step.)

How are we hiring technical writers who don’t even know how to write procedures? *sobs*

Weekend Update

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:45 pm
brickhousewench: (kitten)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
I was an utter slacker this weekend. And it was glorious.

Fat Squad

Jul. 15th, 2017 10:23 pm
brickhousewench: (FatBottomGirls)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
A friend on Facebook posted this one today. It made me think, so I wanted to save it here where I can tag it and find it again.

6 Reasons Every Plus-Size Woman Needs A “Fat Squad”

Full text under the cut )
brickhousewench: (Old)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
I read a fascinating article this week about medieval Beguines, which was a term that I hadn’t come across before, despite my life-long love of medieval history.

The Beguine communities were cities within cities, populated only by women. As women migrated from villages and the countryside into the cities to find work, mostly at the textile mills, they needed a safe place to stay outside of family networks. The Church sheltered them in these neighborhoods and provided them with nice little outfits. Poor women could live in convent-like shared houses for a tiny fee, but if you had money you could get your own private house within the community. There were a few rules. Married women couldn’t live there, and you weren’t supposed to have heterosexual contact. (Women who got pregnant were exiled for a year, which is just long enough to have a baby and leave it in the woods or in a drawer at the fire station.) Still, no one had to renounce property or take lifelong vows.

This goes on for a bit )

Don't park in my space

Jul. 15th, 2017 05:12 pm
brickhousewench: (LeMiserable)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
I got home last night from work and there was a car parked in my parking space.

God, that pisses me off. We have assigned parking here at Frogholm, and when I bought my condo, it came with a parking space. The “assigned parking” sign is RIGHT IN FRONT OF my parking space. There’s no way you could miss it if you park in my space.

I pulled up behind them and parked them in, just in case it was the pizza guy (which happens a lot). I took my stuff into the house, and when I came back out, one of my neighbors walked by and told me that the same car was parked in Sheri’s space the other day.

I walked down the hill to see if the tow company’s name was on the signs that warn that we tow, but it wasn’t listed. By the time I got back up to my car, Pru, one of our trustees, had just gotten home. She asked if I wanted the car towed, and I said yeah, since they hadn’t come out yet (so it wasn’t a delivery guy). She took her groceries in, then came back out and called the condo management company to get approval to have the car towed. Usually I wouldn’t have someone towed, but hearing that this person was a repeat offender just pissed me off for some reason.

I hung out for an hour, sitting on the stone wall surfing the internet on my phone while I waited for the tow truck to arrive. Which pissed me off a bit more, since I’d bought a burrito on the way home and it was getting cold while I waited for my parking space to get cleared. Finally the tow truck showed up, and I moved my car from where it was blocking the offender in. The tow guy set off the car alarm when he was getting the car set up for the tow, and it continued blaring as he pulled away. The owner did not come out.

I settled down to eat my cold burrito and watch some TV. After about an hour, there was a lot of door slamming, but no screaming (which I sort of expected), just some kinda loud talking. Curiosity finally got the better of me, so I headed out into the hallway. Where I ran into my neighbor who parks next to me. She warned me that the illegal parker was outside, and pretty upset.

On the one hand, I feel bad about having someone’s car towed. It’s expensive. It’s inconvenient. It’s a HUGE pain in the ass. But on the other hand? If they live here, or even if they’re just a friend or frequent visitor, they need to know the parking rules. And they need to have a parking pass hanging in their car (overnight visitors have to have a pass too). Just parking wherever they want, especially in a space right next to the “assigned parking” sign? Is not a smart move. They were going to get towed eventually. I just happened to be the one whose space they were in when it happened.

Still feel a tad guilty thought. Man, I’m just too nice a person sometimes. I have no reason to feel guilty. I'm not the one who did anything wrong.
brickhousewench: (GoodNewsFriday)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
Despite feeling like a long week (probably because the week before was only a three day work week) last week was actually fairly productive. It also might have felt like a long week because I was trying to get up earlier every day (my friend’s 30 day early rising challenge) so I was dragging a couple of days this week when I didn’t get to bed as early as I should have.

Wednesday I had an in-person training class with the same instructor I took a virtual workshop with back in February. He was an excellent instructor, so I was delighted when I saw that he was going to be in Westford. The eight hour class covered pretty much the same territory as the two hour workshop, but it was good to go over everything again, because the workshop had felt like we were moving at light speed. Also, he’s been updating the class, so it wasn’t a complete repeat of the same things. Very glad I signed up for it.

Friday I also saw my product manager in person for the first time since his shoulder surgery a couple of weeks ago (he’d been having pain, he was icing his shoulder when we were in Brno). Well, I’d seen him walking into the building on Wednesday, but hadn’t had a chance to chat. He usually is only in the office one day a week, but was in three times this week, so I really had to rib him about that and ask if hell had frozen over? He’s doing really well after his surgery, they found less damage than they thought, and his PT is going well. He’s got his range of motion back, just working on conditioning now.

I also had a great meeting with Betty, one of our content strategists on Friday. We’re working together on a content model project. Talking to Betty is great for my ego. “I trust you to do this.” She knows very little about me, and yet she has such confidence in my abilities (if she knew me better I’d be fine with that, but she barely knows me!) Our meetings always run long, because it’s just so much fun talking to her. Also, she’s hilariously frank. She keeps saying that she will make sure that I get visibility in the department with this project. “Let’s work on getting you a big bonus next quarter, because it’s all about the money.”

This week’s collection of random linkies:

Small footed woman wanted to break in the Queen’s shoes

Debunking the myth that wool is an allergen.

Science Has Consistently Underestimated Women Because Scientists Are Sexist. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, science journalist Angela Saini read their research and was filled with a pure and clarifying rage.

Quote of the Day - Libraries

Jul. 14th, 2017 07:54 pm
brickhousewench: (Quotes)
[personal profile] brickhousewench
Public Libraries: Pretty much the last place one can rendezvous with information that isn't accompanied by an advertising chaperone…

Professionally researched, written, and edited information, no less…

- Riley VanDyke
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