My writing in the past few hours has reflected my scattered mental state. Let me see if I can think more clearly by paying attention to writing this post more clearly.

Right now, my scatteredness comes from a sense of low-level anxiety. I'm on top of things enough that I won't drop the ball on any blockers, but not on top of things enough to be confident I won't be batting away last-minute things over the next few days. It's not that I can't handle whatever comes up at the last minute; I can. However, that involves context-switching, and not knowing when I'll have to context-switch makes me nervous, since I need to move towards being able to have a solid week of uninterrupted study time (RHCE training next week). My first priority tomorrow morning, therefore, is to move everything into various ticket queues, and ensure I have a list of all the queues I need to monitor. A dashboard for my to-do list, if you will.

Some scattered things that have not yet made it to various queues:

New-job-logistic-stuffs: mostly squared away by now. All the requisite papers have been signed and turned in. I've still got to find a doctor and do the 401(k) thing, both new experiences for me. I will probably do those early next week; I'm going to set early Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning as Life Time next week. One day for the doctor, one day for the 401(k) thing, one day to make sure I haven't missed any important New Hire stuff, although I'm pretty sure I'm set.

New-computer-logistics-stuff: getting there. The x200 (vorpal) has F11 on it (and a scratch from my first stumble-while-holding-new-laptop - that was fast. Laptop is otherwise fine, though). It doesn't yet have everything I'm used to, and I'm installing/configuring those as I hit them - vim, keyboard shortcuts, Flash, and so on; they're easy. Switching to irssi was actually a wonderfully timely decision, because I can just ssh over and attach to screen from wherever. I'm trying to switch to offlineimap and mutt, but the setup cost is ridiculously high so far (2 hours messing with config files and getting mysterious failures, even with ianweller's help) so I'm going to invest another 30 minutes on this before I give up and say "look, Thunderbird... it works for now" and carry on until I'm physically next to someone who can switch me over. Once email is set up, I am golden. This means that priority #2 tomorrow is taking no more than one hour to Make Email Work.

Actual job responsibilities: I'm feeling pretty good about this (yesterday in particular was this massive marathon of Doing Stuffness) and will feel even better when I get all my things into various ticket queues tomorrow , so I can be completely sure I won't miss anything next week while I'm out at my RHCE class. (Nothing like a week of forced-absence-through-hosedness to make you articulate what's on your plate and figure out what's actually necessary - it's in large part why I made this scheduling decision.) Fedora Marketing is going to be in good hands with Robyn next week; the FI work has been articulated and I'll try to find a driver in my place this weekend (though hopefully all the blockers will be clear enough that Mike can just run forth and put things up on staging and they will Just Work). My education stuff is going to get all ticket-queued, but I think I'm in a state to actually lay out the needed work now instead of going "uhhhh, we'll see as we go along." (There's still a lot of that improvisation, but a vague structure has started to form in my dense skull.) Again, ticket queues are the first thing I should do tomorrow morning.

I'm beginning to learn that my ability to simultaneously hold large amounts of fuzziness in my mental buffer while remaining extremely uncomfortable with fuzziness and driven to change it into non-fuzziness is (1) valuable and (2) needs to improve. To be able to mentally build something and keep it there long enough and clearly enough to do what's needed to make it happen in the real world... that's how you make things happen. To be able to express the vision in your mind to others in a way that builds it up in theirs as well is how you get other people to make things happen. And it's why I'm disappointed in the quality of my writing these days. I need a brutal editor who'll give me feedback on my writing. Maybe I ought to swap a feedback session with an English major.

Travel: I've got a lot of it coming up. Let's see...

  • September: orientation in Raleigh (here right now), education trip in the Midwest.
  • October: finish education trip in the Midwest, CommArch retreat in Raleigh, FSOSS in Toronto.
  • November: POSSE in Singapore, hopefully a trip to Allegheny, a trip to CMU, going home for Thanksgiving.
  • December: FUDCon in Toronto, spending Christmas with family At Some Location That My Parents Would Prefer To Be Not Boston, As Boston Is Cold.

The scary part is that I'm pretty sure I am forgetting trips here. I'm absolutely psyched about this - I love travel. ("Finally," thinks The Mel, "a way to tap all my extra energy and see the world at the same time!") I also know it's going to require me to be at the top of my game to keep up. So #3 tomorrow for me is going to be - after ticketing everything and setting up email - going through upcoming travel and making sure that (1) travel logistics for each trip are 100% worked out, and (2) ticket queue priorities appropriately reflect the fact that I am going to be going on these trips.

And then I can actually get down to the business of cranking through tickets. Sometimes I think I spend far too much time setting up my physical/digital/mental infrastructure, but it does enable me to hyperfocus without fear and get a terrifying amount done when I've lined things up right. Sharpen your axe before you cut.

Some things I know I'm going to need to do this weekend:

  • the first Teaching Open Source weekly news (which should include a POSSE status report)
  • the POSSE APAC meeting
  • getting the Fedora Marketing agenda and ticket list wrapped up and handed to Robyn for the week; this includes tasking various Other People to do the hollering on FI status.
  • get my thoughts on Sugar Labs in order, and post them. I've decided that I'm going to run for SLOBs this year, but I am as of yet unsatisfactorily able to articulate why - so I need to sit down, mark out half an hour, and then go "release early release often!" and throw it open for comments, then come back in a week to pick it up from there.
  • see Matt and Bonnie get married!

Regarding that last bit... it's really going to be the highlight of the weekend, and something I (and many other Olin buddies) have been eagerly anticipating for a long, long time. Every time I see the two of them together, it makes me smile - there's something magically wonderful about watching your friends find The Right Person. I'm going to be playing the piano at their wedding, though I'll let them keep the songs a surprise (I will say that it's not exactly traditional wedding music). Totally looking forward to this.

Bonnie and Matt, if you're reading this, I even bought a dress and shoes for the occasion. No, I still don't know how to shop, nor have I magically gained fashion sense; I went to the local Marshalls equivalent in Raleigh and entreated other female shoppers with "I need an outfit for a wedding..." advice queries until a collection of very nice motherly types walked me through the selection of an affordable and reusable-for-other-social-situations outfit along with instructions for usage. I am now set for all social occasions that require non-jeans-and-tshirts outfits. (No, I don't care that I'll be wearing the same single outfit to all social occasions that fit that criteria. It's not like I will have that many to go to. At least not if I can help it.)


And now I am done writing.

That feels better. I know what I have to do tomorrow. First the ticket queue, then making email work, then settling travel (first trip details: my return to DC tomorrow afternoon. I need to make sure I have directions from the airport to the wedding rehearsal before I leave the office) and then workworkwork until noon and more BBQ for lunch over more open source and education stuff. Yep, life is good. Eating North Carolina BBQ while getting paid to talk with cool people about open source and education? Life is very, very good.

This post is not as clearly and concisely written (and therefore thought-out) as I would like, but it worked; I know what I have to do tomorrow to make sure I'm set for the next week. Excellent. It shall satisfice. (Yes, that's a word; it's a cool one, too. Look it up.)

I leave these thought-trails for my future self to follow. Maybe someday other people will find them useful too - but as always, I only write for future-Mel.