26 February 2008

This Week's Sign Of The Apocalypse

Anyone read Sports Illustrated? If so you'll recognize the title.

Anyway, background knowledge: I am managing a project in which we provide a data feed of fund prices to a newspaper. And this is mostly an email conversation.

E: So, A., the following 10 funds are missing 2/18 prices. Did the fund companies report?

Me: Yep, the 2/18 prices are in our database.

E: Oh, that's weird. They're not in the feed. Why don't you ask J. what's going on?

Me: J., how come the 2/18 prices are in the database and not in the feed.

J: O, how come the 2/18 prices are in the database and not in the feed?

X: O.'s out of the office so I'll have to ask A2. A2, how come the 2/18 prices are in the database and not in the feed?

(16 hour pause)

A2: Oh, because 2/18 was a U.S. holiday and they're U.S. funds.

Me: They're not U.S. funds

X: They're not U.S. funds.

Me: Wait, so you're saying the feed never happened because it was President's Day?

A2: Yes

Me: The database took the day off?

X: Essentially yes.

A2: I'll manually overwrite it because these are offshore funds. But for U.S. funds, the database can't work on U.S. holidays.

See, this is what happens when you give computers too much information.

19 February 2008


I have these two...well, friends would be a strong word, but definitely acquaintances I'm friendly with who are married to each other. It somehow came about once a few months ago that he and I watched a football game together. Originally, I thought she was coming, but it turned out she was out of town visiting a relative. Seemed maybe a little strange to me, but hey, despite some evidence to the contrary (#1 aaaaand #2), I've always thought that there's no reason guys and girls can't be friends, particularly if the boundaries are obvious.

And we had a pretty good time. There were a few awkward moments, including the fact that he really didn't seem to get the cue to leave once the game had been over for several hours and I was literally standing up for the last 40 minutes, but in general, we made pretty good football buddies.

A few weeks later, he called and kind of implied that we do it again. I told him I would be watching a certain college football game and that he could join me if he liked. He did. Again, we had this loooong period after the game was over where we were chatting and I was wondering when he might think it necessary to leave.

Then, he moved closer on the couch and kind of put his arm around me. I was almost totally frozen for I think about a full minute. The first 30 seconds in shock and the next figuring out what the hell I was going to do to get out of this one.

So I got up and walked over the counter and puttered around with something or other to buy some time. At which point, he apologized for making me uncomfortable and said he didn't know how he could have misread the situation. How the last time he left, he felt like I "expected something", that maybe he was letting me down. I was still pretty stunned, but I managed to get out something about didn't I see him as taken by someone else? And what had I done except agree to hang out a couple of times at *his* suggestion.

Then he said he hoped things wouldn't be awkward (we will certainly see each other again). I said I was of the opinion that things were always about as awkward as you allowed them to be and that I could act normal if he could. Then, after about five minutes of complete silence, I suggested that if he wasn't going to talk to me, he might want to leave. Which he did.

I saw him (and her, actually) for the first time since recently and though I behaved appropriately, I discovered I'm pretty darn angry.

I'm annoyed by his incredible arrogance and his assumptions about my behavior. Maybe they have some sort of weird arrangment or whatever, but I certainly don't know anything about it, and I really don't like the implication that I would be a willing participant anyway. It makes me feel like I need a shower.

Less importantly, he thinks that sitting six feet apart on the couch drinking a beer and yelling at football while petting the cat is the way I interact with guys I like?!? Listen buddy, if I wanted to sleep with you, you'd know it. I'm no delicate flower, so don't mistake my moderate friendliness for something that it isn't. Especially when you are 100% taken and you KNOW that not only do I know that, but I like your wife.

It's very sketchy ethically, both during, and now after when I have to wonder if I should say something to her. I won't, both because nothing actually happened, and because we're not really good friends and I would hope that she'd choose his word over mine, and because we all have to see each other.

13 February 2008


I don't anticipate too many more posts about politics. For someone who can get really into things (and jumps to conclusions a little...), I'm not all that political.

Throughout the democratic race, I've found myself very solidly behind Hillary Clinton. This sets me apart from many of my friends, in part because we're young, and likely in huge part because many of us are from Illinois. For the record, I think Obama is very likely a honest man, a smart man, and a good choice. Should he win the Democratic nomination, I'll back him 100% against the goof on the other side (McCain seems like a nice guy, but come on...). But as I said, he's just not my first choice.

For the last few weeks, I've been really trying to examine whether or not my position is because Hillary is a woman. After all, she and Obama have very similar ideas (well, we think. it's a little difficult to tell what Obama might do if elected) and platform is really not an easy way to separate them. I'll admit that Hillary's gender doesn't hurt, but I've also had this heretofore inexplicable...something...tugging at my sleeve. Something bothered me about Obama's campaign and I couldn't figure it out. Until now.

Remembering again the similar platforms of the two Democratic candidates, I though about what Obama was selling (I don't mean that in a bad way - they're all trying to sell themselves). He's big on the non-Washington insider thing and it's been pointed out many times by better theorists than I that his affability might even rival JFK's.

The 'new guy' thing has never really held much sway for me. After all, isn't the president's job essentially to work with people in Washington to effect change? Our political system is set up to change slowly (if at all!). Large-scale, rapid sweeping reforms are not in our history and they won't be in our future either.

The 'good guy' thing is generally well, good, but in combination with the above, it raises a serious red flag for me. I can think of someone else, someone pretty darn recent, who ran on the basic platform of down-home-nice-guy and inexperience in national politics. I'll give you three guesses.

I'm not saying they're the same by any means, but the similarity makes me nervous and I do wish people wouldn't be so darn quick to leap. These are important times.

07 February 2008


Does anyone know why some people lose their voices all the time and others don't? Weak vocal cords? This is something I would like to know.

Yesterday, I took my first sick day in 3.5 years of work. People really aren't kidding when they tell you there's nothing on TV during the day. And I really should have taken Tuesday instead, but I didn't realize that until lunchtime and by then, well, you're already there, so... Wednesday was a chance for more sleep and the possibility of saving my voice (it kind of worked, as I have a voice. not my voice exactly, but it could be someone's so that's better than nothing). So I was up around 11 or so, and did some laundry, which really took a lot of energy, but not a lot of time. In all honesty, I was kind of bored. It does shorten your week though, I'll give it that.

Point is, though, I actually missed something at work. Without boring everyone, I'm the contact for a a few hundred fund managers and one of 'em is upset because their fund is showing up on a site it shouldn't be showing up on. And everything kind of came to a head yesterday, which I knew because I checked my email (told you I was bored). So I kind of felt like I was missing something. Which was awesome! What a pleasure it is to have a job where it would matter, at least a little, if you fell off the planet.

Guess all you have to do is threaten to move...
And to all the people who have asked recently, no I'm not moving. Not now, anyway. Good to know you're reading though!