Sh*t the bed with all your might

Title is a famous phrase that Mozart and his sister and family used to use to each other signing off their many letters. It’s uncertain whether that was just a funny/gross thing at the time in their culture, or whether the Mozart family was unusually scatalogical. For centuries, Mozart’s letters were bowderized, as were his naughty canons with texts like “lick my ass”. Not any more, heh.

I relate this because I did something stupid at work that caused me to ‘shit the bed’ in a major way, resulting in a meeting where I was happily presenting X, but was met with puzzled kindness and ‘but where’s Y, which is what we really need’? Well, I hadn’t gotten around to Y yet, for a variety of reasons, and so I humina-humina’d through the meeting, which was late on a Friday afternoon, and then spent the weekend screaming in my head, “YOU’RE GOING TO BE FIRED!” and then doing some catch-up work.

Part of the problem is I’d been pulled into a higher-priority project and wasn’t sure whether I’d even be able to put in the time to catch up on the ‘shit the bed’ project when this other thing was looming. So this past week was a delicate balancing act, but I did get a lot of work done on the problem project, and when we had a ‘touch base’ meeting on Thursday (is Eric still shitting the bed?), it was fine. So, phew. I still have a lot of work to do, but everyone understands what needs to happen.

One of the issues is I’ve being thrown a lot of data analysis work. In the abstract, this is fantastic because I love that kind of stuff and I’ve never really gotten to do much of it before. In reality, because I haven’t done a lot of it before, I’m learning as I’m going, under deadlines. And sometimes finishing my analysis involves hitting a brick wall – I literally don’t know how to move forward – and then digesting it and figuring out what questions to ask my smart friends, or just the internet – and then making progress. In general, this works fine, but it’s hard to project an ETA when (at the moment) you’re dead in the water.

I still have PTSD (well, not really, but you know) from my last job, where something like this really did lead, I’m pretty sure, to me losing my job. But there are quite a few differences here. First, I am still in my first three months, and they will have all sorts of opportunities to give me feedback at my three month review to tell me what they like and what they don’t like. Second, the head of the ‘shit the bed’ project had multiple opportunities to talk/complain to my supervisor about how I handled this – and yes, when I got unscheduled calls from him twice this week, I was like “oh, here we go” – but did not do so. And third, the culture of this job is so so different.

Bottom line, I really like this job and so far they seem to like me and I am very very happy to do what I need to do to do it well, adjusting along the way.

Oh, yeah, Eric, it’s actually OK to make mistakes and then correct them. And to not have a firm handle on the job you just started a few weeks ago.


Media consumption: we watched the first season of NOS4A2, but C doesn’t want to move onto the next season (yet) because ‘he doesn’t find it scary’. OK, fair enough. It’s certainly halloweeny enough. I’m torn about the TV series – it’s actually quite well done and all the actors, unknown to me, are well cast. But it does move slowly and it’s not nearly as gripping as the book. So I’ll have to figure out a limited hour long scary drama to get us through the end of the month.

We are also, as is our wont, watching Twilight Zone episodes, which we save for October only. For him, it’s enjoying old favorites and maybe seeing some he’s never seen – for me, it’s a first time for all of them and is more about finally seeing episodes I’d been hearing about all my life, like the pig people, or Burgess Meredith and his glasses, or Agnes Moorehead and the little spaceship. This past week, finally got to see “It’s a Good Life”, with Bill Mumy as the kid with the superpowers. I’d read the original short story years ago, it’s great.

Movies: we watch the Kubrick The Shining last night. I love the book, but didn’t like the movie because it’s so different. It works very well as its own thing, though. Odd note: I spent several summers playing concerts at the Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire, and everyone joked that it was like the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining”. Which it is, in terms of form and function, but watching the movie last night, I realized that the movie Overlook actually doesn’t look anything like the Mt. Washington. Hmm.

We watched Hocus Pocus last week. I hadn’t liked it much the first time I saw it, and this time it wasn’t bad, but there’s not a lot of there there, really. We also watched The Witch, which is excellent. Didn’t realize until a little research afterward that the mother was the same actress who played crazy Lysa Arryn in “Game of Thrones”.

Books: I’d finished the “Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol 2B“, which is is a series of novellas. (I’d owned/read 2A when I was a kid, was intrigued that there was a second half to it.) I think my favorite was “In Hiding”, where a child psychologist realizes the completely normal little boy he’s working with is actually a super-genius.

I’m reading Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins now. I adored “Life after Life”: this has the same melancholy without the ‘solve the video game of dying at each level’ mechanism.

On the M/M romance front, read two books with different similarities to Red, White and Royal Blue, which had delighted me a few weeks ago.

  • Boyfriend Material‘s similarity is that it’s got the same mix of steady guffaws to actual sweetness. Our narrator is a real mess – he makes decisions at certain points that had me actually yelling at the book, “NOOOO you idiot!”. But it all works out great. It’s goofily hilarious almost at a PG Wodehouse level – one of the side characters is an upper-class twit named Alex Twaddle. Very much worth the time.
  • The Spare‘s similarity is that it is also about a gay Prince of England, although in this story, he’s the protagonist, and it’s actually not funny at all. But it’s very sweet and actually got me teary at the end. One of the delights is that you get to know the whole little Royal Family and they’re all in a fucked-up place and they all basically get unfucked-up by the end. This isn’t a fantastically-crafted book, but I very much enjoyed it.

C’s birthday this week. I need to wrap presents today.

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