Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Week of Chaos

The last week or so has sucked.

Really, the last two weeks have sucked, but this week a dollop of feces icing on little slab of hatecake. As the two or so regular readers of this blog already know: Anu lost her job. It was known that there were financial difficulties at the organization, but Anu had been working extremely hard to help make the place viable (see the HCA 08 Auction post below for one example), and was very excited to work with the incoming roster of artists that she and her colleague Holly Blake had organized for the following year. Since it seems non-profit arts organizations are unable to thrive in the current economic and political climate (Anu got laid off previously a couple years ago as the once venerable Richmond Art Center withered into poverty and irrelevance), perhaps the best thing for those interested in the arts to do is vote for Barack Obama. He is the only candidate with a sensible arts platform that explicitly addresses contemporary art, and his desire to curtail war spending and put that money back into the domestic economy is another potential boon for both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

As also mentioned below, one of our cats (Sim) nearly died. He developed a condition called Pyothorax which led to a long and expensive vet visit. It also led to us getting very little sleep, as we nursed him back to health. Today is the last day of his medication routine, thankfully. He is doing better now, but he's still too skinny and a bit lethargic (and he has ridiculous looking shaved spots on him, from IVs and the suction tube for removing the fluids from around his lungs -- which leaves him more vulnerable to the other cats, and thus quite irritable with them). It didn't help in dealing with the shock and disappointment of Anu losing her job to pile-on lack of sleep and worry about Sim (yes, he's "just a cat" -- but he's our cat and we love him).

Narasimha, aka "Sim"

It's also been a bit stressful at work. I'm finally learning something about our effects pipeline (which I've wanted to for a while), and have been doing modeling and set dressing as well. Shading has taken a back seat for a few weeks. I thoroughly enjoy learning new things and having new challenges, but doing it on the timeline and budget of a short film rather than a feature makes it a bit tense. My lead and manager are great guys, it's me who is putting the pressure on myself since I like to get things right, not merely completed, and I also like to feel like I'm working at an equal or greater pace as my peers -- which I'm not when I'm reading manuals and exploring new systems, but that time spent learning gets lost in the noise on a feature project.

Finally, I was supposed to be in Poland right now. However, due to a mistake I made, that is now unable to happen until July. I was very excited for the trip, and anxious to see friends, give a few presentations about my work (including a preview of the SIGGRAPH talk I'm giving this year with my fabulously named friend Max Planck), and have meetings with some folks. It was going to be a great trip, and I have been beating myself up about the dumb mistake that prevented it from happening (and at the last possible minute). I can't undo the mistake, but I hope my friend Marcin who organized the trip will forgive me for screwing it up, and I also hope that the folks I'm supposed to visit still find it worthwhile when I come in July.

There was some other nonsense as well, best forgotten about. All in all, I'd just as soon this last week hadn't happened. It's a bummer that life doesn't come with "save", "redo" and "undo" options (and a "healing brush" would also be quite keen). Many years of computing has warped my expectations of the ease with which stupidity can be ameliorated, causing a lot of cognitive dissonance not just in my own life, but in dealing in the corporate and political arena as well.