Tuesday, September 2, 2014

new job! again.

I finally got a new job, working for a company in Seattle. I work out of my house, which turns out to be delightful, thanks to Anna and J's hard work setting up my workspace. I have a table, where our large Totoro sits, grinning. Work mailed me a laptop, keyboard, trackpad, backup drive, and giant monitor. I typed "best office chair" into The Wirecutter, and they said the Steelcase Leap; because companies are constantly popping in and out of existence in the Bay Area, we are blessed with many high-end office liquidators, all happy to sell me a used chair at half the price of a new one. (It's a really, really great chair, and in the future I would consider buying one new and leaving it to my grandchildren.)

My friend Jess works there, as well as a couple other friends, and she wasn't kidding when she said the learning curve was more of a cliff. The codebase I'm touching is terrifying: 47,000 lines of Ruby code, which would conservatively be at least 150,000 lines of Java. There's a reason apps in Ruby-like languages don't usually get this big. It's not incomprehensible, but it is very dense.

My old job was not surprised I was leaving, and after some initial bumps we had a lot of really good communication--including several "why didn't you tell me this 6 months ago?" moments--and I left on good terms.

I love working from home. It has brought into relief something I've always known but ignored out of practicality, which is that I despise offices. I really enjoy face-to-face contact! But the noise, the drab atmosphere, the interruption, the hideous, life-sucking fluorescent lights. It's even worse now that the open floor plan has taken over, the cheapest possible office layout, loudly justified with trivially disproved claims about how it increases collaboration.

Home, by contrast, is generally pretty quiet, and there's a couch and a bed I can work from when my body needs a break from the home office. Or coffee shops. Or the back patio, though I haven't tried that. It's too early in the job to know if I'm more productive, but I'm definitely happier.

I also get to go to Seattle periodically! They flew me up there on July 3rd for an on-site interview, which sounds extravagant until you look at how much it costs to hire somebody. Last year a different company flew me out to Boston, which cost them about $1400 total. But, in general, by the time you total up the time taken from recruiters, managers, and engineers, a company will easily spend $20,000-40,000 hiring a candidate. There's a reason companies offer $15,000 referral bonuses, and that's because $15,000 is a bargain.

I flew up there again last week just to meet folks, and besides the work conversations I did some solid walking around town. I like Seattle better than here, which is unfortunate since I can't move. (Anna and I could consider giving up the roots we have here, but there's absolutely no option of taking the autistic boy away from everything he knows.) The world is a strange place, though, and nothing is permanent.

Anna and J really enjoy having me around, too. As J said:
And now that your new job will be working from home, I'll be able to come home from school and come in to your office, I mean I can't come in because you'll be working, but I'll at least be able to look in and see a Chris!
Anna says pretty much the same thing.


I decided I wanted to lose weight, and what I have energy for now is simple calorie counting, using the MyFitnessPal app, which makes it pretty easy. I tell it I want to lose 1 pound per week, it says I need to eat 1700 calories per day, and off we go. This ignores everything I learned while eating Ayurvedically: that there's more to it than calories, some foods are more easily processed than others by your particular constitution. Even by Ayurvedic standards, though, I'm not doing too bad.
I bought a modern scale, which gives the exact same reading every time, and does so no matter where on the floor you put it. Not bad for thirty bucks.

I'm definitely not losing 1 pound per week. The general trend is downward, but more like a pound every 2-4 weeks, which is not so bad. I'm not in a hurry. Some of it may also be muscle mass, because...

...for exercise I've been going on bike rides. Anna dragged me to the bike shop a few months ago to get a Trek 7.2, and starting with a rack and pannier, I've slowly been adding what motorcyclists call "farkles." Turns out I did really want the water bottle, and of course I need lights, and a bar-end mirror would be really helpful, and a riding jersey really is much more comfortable...

I don't ride the dozens or hundreds of miles like my friends. The longest I've ridden was 19 miles, which was sort of accidental and ended up misaligning my body a bunch. (Also, that is well into the distance where you should be wearing padded shorts, and I wasn't.) Usually it's more like 6 miles, or 10. I had started biking to work in Palo Alto and back (7 miles one way), and now that I'm working from home I just make sure to kick myself out the door every other day or two and go for 45-60 minutes. I even ride uphill, though not for long.

I liked running and aikido better, but the best exercise is the one you actually do, so here we are.

I still don't quite sleep like a normal person, the way I used to. I often surface near consciousness throughout the night, or (whether or not that happened) randomly wake up completely unrested. If I go to bed before 10 PM, my body thinks I'm napping and I'm wide awake at 1:30 AM, so I have to go to bed after 11 PM. To answer your next question, I can't sleep late, so there's a pretty hard limit on how much sleep I can get, and when I can get it. I can bounce back from 1 or maybe 2 nights of dodgy sleep, but 3 just knocks me down and takes days to recover from.

I miss sleep, but this will do for a while.