Today has been a treasure. Yesterday I got to work, had one project that consumed most of my day, and got it done. This morning I got to work and had nine things on my desk, all of which had to be done rightthisminute.
Now, I had slated two of them to be done when I got to work, and one of them to start the following day when the data arrived, but the data arrived a day early, I had a project from the previous week ask for more information, a project from the last month ask for additional data, a "quick side task that should only take ten minutes" show up on my plate, a request for QC checks and documentation for a make-or-break task due Friday, and then my ongoing Death-March project of file-loading into Moloch Mk III hovering over my head.

I got a bit snippy with my project manager when she called me to ask me if I had room on my plate to handle something. I wonder why.

Later I did apologize to her for it, but she said she totally understood when she went back and looked at my workload. One problem this company has—and which we are desperately trying to fix"is a severe project tracking deficiency. We're improving steadily, but it's still very easy to overwhelm one person and leave others bored. We've also got enough work outstanding to keep a good half-dozen folks busy, but the tools we're using aren't up to the needs of a "generic user" yet, and it's not cost-effective to employ six trained professionals to do the work that any generic user should be able to handle.

We've got a new project lead for Moloch Mk III, apparently, as well as a UI designer, so hopefully that will improve.

I have actually decided as of this moment to christen our big in-house software tool "Moloch Mk III", for the following reasons:

  1. In the movie Metropolis, when Freder hallucinates in the Worker's City and visualizes one of the Great Machines as a demon eating rows upon rows of chained workers, he cries out the name "Moloch".
  2. Some people may remember the name Moloch from the old D&D books as one of the Lords of Hell. I think he ruled over the sixth Hell, but don't hold me accountable to that.</geek> 
  3. We're currently coding v3.0 of the software, hence the Mk designation.

Can you tell how much I love this piece of software? In order to use it properly as it stands, one must not only know perl (to write "expressions", which is a euphemism for arbitrary subroutines), but one must understand something of the underlying mechanisms by which the tool operates and have a good idea of how the programmers think about the tool, because nothing in the interface is intuitive from a process-flow perspective.

To give you an idea of how bad this thing is, the UI designer we hired to fix its "idiosyncracies" stopped taking notes and just started laughing about fifteen mintues into the hour-long demonstration I gave on how to load files. She put down her pen, shook her head, and laughed. Loudly. Repeatedly. It went from being a lecture to being a game of "how much worse could it get."

The only reason I know as much about it as I do is because I use it every day, and I'm good at rote memorization. I can only hope in the long run she can tame this beast, 'cause nobody else has managed.

All of this, and it's only Tuesday.

I've been dallying in the stock market for a while now—a little over three years—and I've tried some various strategies in the past for "making money" that, for the most part, didn't work. The Motley Fool was an invaluable research source when I first started, but I haven't looked at their site in over a year. It's not that I'm any sort of expert. Far from it. If I were an expert, I wouldn't be as far in debt as I am and as stressed over money as I get. I'm just someone trying to start saving for retirement with an idea towards what it would take.

My father always used to hound me on the power of saving money, and I never really listened to him, but now I'm starting to see it. I just wish I had more money to save. I spent another two-hundred dollars today putting fuel oil in our sparkly-new oil tank for the first time, so the workmen at the house could get some heat back into the house and see how badly damaged the plumbing system is. We know at least one toilet needs to be repaired. Hopefully that's the extent of the problem, but I doubt it.

Little by little I'm coming into the idea of putting together something in the project area of the site dedicated to my endeavors in the stock market. I could probably put together something similar to my weight chart, only it would need to read a configuration file to determine what stock I own, how much I paid, and what my return so far is.

I should get a rather nice chunk of change from the insurance company for last month's electricity bill and next month's rent. After that the real fun begins, 'cause Wissahickon doesn't do month-to-month, only short-term leases, and I'm not locking myself into another three months in this place, even if it is on somebody else's dime. It's just not worth it. The repair company said it should be "four to six weeks from the start of repairs" to be ready to move into the house, so I'm hoping it's closer to the four end of that so we can have two weeks to get into the house.

Wouldn't you know that'd put us almost square on top of moving offices at work, too?

As soon as we're moved into the house, I'll be ready to start the process of getting a debt consolidation loan to put all the past debt into a single source and make a plan for getting rid of it once and for all. It may be five years of pain, but that'll be better than paying the insurance companies through the ears in finance charges. Once that's secure, I can maybe get rid of one of my cards, now that Jessie has a copy of the debit card, and start getting back into an even financial keel.

It feels weird, worrying about stock dalliances while so far up to my ears in debt, but if there's one thing I know about the market that I've heard every professional say without hesitation, it's that time in the game matters more
than the rules by which you play, simply by the nature of the beast, so I'm trying to get my paws wet now so that when I can afford more I know more or less what I'm doing.

My goal is to be making as much on my stocks as I could at my day job by the time I'm sixty. I don't think that's an unreasonable goal.

Only time will tell.

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