Friday, April 29, 2005

Laptop Envy

I was at a meeting the other day when I realized I was the only one of the four there without a laptop. I had a steno notebook and a couple printouts of meeting materials I thought I would need. Of the other three, one didn't have her laptop open. Another kept an eye on his email. Only one of them was actively using her laptop, and she was the one conducting the meeting and projecting her desktop on the wall for all of us to see.

I realized I wanted a laptop, too.

To be honest, though, I don't know if I want one because I'd really use one, or just because. It's the only piece of technology I really covet all that much. I don't own a cellphone (the wife has one, but it's for safety purposes mainly), I don't have a PDA, don't have an iPod. My computer at home is a 600 mhz hand-me-down with a dial-up connection. We only have a DVD player because we got one free after buying $100 worth of clothes at Sears (though honestly, they're terrific machines! Love, love, love it!)

(Just as an aside, our DVD player is obviously a cheap model if they gave them away. But the other night I had it on pause during a conversation with the wife, and when I went back to viewing my show I accidentally pushed "eject" instead of "pause." I groaned, certain that I'd have to spend several minutes getting back to where I was, even with the chapter function. But when I reinserted the disk it automatically started playing right where I had left off! I was so impressed! For a cheap DVD, someone sure did a good job of anticipating my needs! Kudos, whoever you are!)

But I don't know if I'd really use a laptop if I had one. Yes, it'd be good to have regular access to my email during meetings, and yes, I've had to rely on other people's laptops for presentations. But other than that, why would I need access to a computer when I'm not at my desk? To take notes? A steno notebook is cheaper, more portable, not susceptible to power/network drop-offs, and as quickly searchable as any electronic file structure.

About the only advantage would be readability. I can type faster than I write, and when I write fast it becomes hard to read. But I've been in few meetings where valuable content flowed faster than my handwriting. And word processors are not conducive to doodling.

Okay, I've talked myself out of it. With my new position I would very easily be able to justify a laptop from the company. But I'm not going to do that. I'm going to make a conscientious effort to document how often a laptop would make a real difference in my productivity. I won't give in to laptop envy.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Where do we go from here?

Ever have a phrase touch off the memory of a song? It just happened to me. I was not thinking Alan Parsons Project when I typed the title for this post, but now I've got "Games People Play" running through my head.

And that's as good a place as any to begin my inaugural post. Very indicative, probably. But the title is also appropriate to my life outside to blog as well.

You see, I've just undergone a couple of life changing experiences in the last few weeks or so. I went from being a temporary contractor to a permanent employee to co-manager of a brand new department in only a few weeks. I'm thrilled beyond measure, and I'm scared at the same time. I've often thought over the last few years that I could handle being a manager. I knew what I'd do in many of the situations I saw around me. But I was an armchair quarterback then. It didn't matter if I was right or wrong.

Now I get to find out if I can hack it. I think I can...I think I can...I think I can. I've only been working with this comany for about six months, and I don't even have the organizational structure figured out yet, let alone all the various processes my group will be running up against. It's going to be sink or swim for awhile.

Of course I still have to finish out the assignment I was working on before this promotion came about. It's a big assignment--and it's incredibly dull work. It's the sort of assignment I changed departments in my last job in order to avoid doing again. And it's standing between me and my dream job.

But as big a change as this promotion entails, it pales in comparison to the birth of our third child. Childbirth is an amazing process, and my respect for my wife increases every time. My respect for our other two children has increased, too. When they grow up day by day right in front of you it's so easy to forget that they were once little floppy, pink, helpless, mewling bundles too. To quote the Virginia Slims ad, you've come a long way, baby!

We're in survival mode right now. Our sleep schedule has been blown to smithereens, and though we've had some encouraging nights lately, we're by no means out of the woods yet. Pretty much all our energy goes into making it through one day and into the next right now. That's okay. We've been through it twice before, and we survived each time.

I'm in the middle of a period of incredible transition, and I'm loving almost every minute. Yes, there are moments when I lose it. It comes with the territory. But I can't help but notice how incredibly wonderful my life is. Everything seems so unreal right now, like I'm in a dream. Of course that could be the sleep-deprivation talking.

Part of me says the other shoe has to drop some time. And another part of me says "Who cares! Just enjoy it right now, because for better or worse, this time will never come again." I think I'm going to listen to the latter voice, because if the last month has taught me anything at all, it's that your life can take dramatic turns in a stunningly short amount of time.

Tomorrow may be even bettern. Tomorrow may begin the most excruciating trial I'll ever face. But today...

Today is pure gold.

"Vox Potpourri" has arrived!

Hello, everyone! This is to announce the official death of Eloquent Eccentricity and the birth of Vox Potpourri. I'm going to try doing a blog again, but don't expect as much. I'm making no promises as to how often I'll post or what the topics will be. But this much is certain:

I'm back.