Saturday, December 10, 2005

Ummm .... hello?

Amazing how fast a month can pass! Amazing how hard it is to get back into the groove when you lose a habit! I apologize for the hiatus. I also apologize for using the word "hiatus".

Actually, it seems like it's been much longer than a month since I've written anything in my blog. It's astonishing to me that anyone is still out there checking my blog (if only occasionally), but I keep getting a few futile hits every day (besides the bots and crawlers, google search accidents, and Mom), so someone is persistent. ;-)

I kept thinking that things would improve and I would have time to sit down and write a "real" blog entry. They haven't improved, and the more time that passes, the harder it gets to write: whenever I think about writing a post I keep thinking I need to catch up on all of the time that has slipped by. At this point, however, if I try to do that, I'll have to write a book; as such, this "update" will by no means be comprehensive. Besides which, it's already after midnight and I need to get to bed!

I'm not sure if this attempt heralds a return to "regular" blogging (at least once or twice a week!), but I feel like I need to try and get back online before I lose it completely. The next month will likely continue to be just as difficult as the last month has been, but perhaps if I lower my standards I will manage to get the hang of it again.

I have also avoided reading other people's blogs during this period, since it just tends to increase my frustration. I'm anxious to catch up on the regular blogs I tend to read... but not tonight!


There were a couple of weeks there that it seemed like I just couldn't shift out of first gear. I'm sure the neighbors could hear the whine of my brain revving up as I tried to get some work done while fighting a persistent and recurring viral attack on my immune system. My sinusitus got better, then promptly transformed into what was apparently a cold. My doctor thinks its an allergy, and has put me on allergy medicine, which was completely sapping my energy, leaving me sleepy and somewhat dizzy. The cold (allergy???) did seem to get better though; it went away for another week or so, then came back in a slightly more moderate version. I seem to have recovered now ... although over the last few days I have felt the presage of a relapse threatening....

It was during this sick spell that my energy to write was completely exhausted, and I lost what little momentum I had.


I'm writing tonight from a hotel room in Salvador, Bahia (the north of Brazil). Salvador has many of the positive aspects of Rio (a rich and interesting cultural mix, beaches and natural beauty), without a lot of the problems that Rio has. It's a large city, but seems to be far less stressful and violent than Rio currently is. Not that it has no problems, but Salvador (and "Baianas" in general, as the locals are called) have a reputation for being laid back.

There may be a good reason for them being so relaxed: the beaches, warm water, and overall climate seem to have a soothing effect. Just as an example, here's the view from my hotel room window:

How about that swimming pool!

Unfortunately, I'm not here on vacation! :-(

I've been here since Wednesday, and I haven't so much as dangled my feet in the pool. Tomorrow is Saturday, and I've got to be in to work at 9:00 am. Since it is now after midnight, there's not much chance of me waking up early enough to swim a few laps before going in! Tomorrow night I'll be back in Rio, although I will probably still have a couple more chances, since I'm scheduled to be back here a couple more times over the next few weeks.

This of course, along with the construction at home, as well as the general demands of parenthood and husbandhood, is the principal motive for my lack of blogging over the last few weeks: as dictated by Murphy's First Law, after a long period of relative paucity in terms of my professional life, several different projects have come up simultaneously. They all demand my presence on-site, so my brain hasn't had much time or enough CPU cycles available to any reasonable writing.

Since early November, I've been working on the design and implementation of a disaster recovery plan (based on database replication) for the Brazilian factories of a major multinational cosmetics corporation. I'm now also working as a consultant on a database and application performance tuning project for a celular telephone billing system here in Salvador, and as of Monday I'll being doing the same thing for another cellphone billing site in Rio. Somehow I'll have to juggle the three projects throughout Christmas and New Years: the disaster recovery plan has to be thoroughly tested and in production by January 15. The performace tuning project has to demonstrate positive results by Christmas ... in particular, the goal is to keep the systems running smoothly throughout the holiday peak that has already begun, and solve specific performance and stability problems.

These projects should run through mid-to-late January, which is exactly the period in which the kids will be on summer vacation. Which is typical. My plan now is to bring the family up to Salvador for at least a few days while I am working here, if the schedule works out.

So that's that. I'm absurdly tired, yet satisfied that I managed to hack out a brief albeit feeble blog update. A part of my brain keeps saying "Save as Draft and go to bed ... tomorrow you can write some more and improve this entry!". Which is also why I have about a dozen half written and unpublished blog entries in my blogger database, waiting for completion to see the light of day!

I will resist my lazy impulse ... I vowed I would publish a blog entry tonight, even if it kills me!

Thanks for your patience. I'll be back.