Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maddening Year-End Stuff . . . in April

For what I am sure is some logical and well-thought-out reason, my company's fiscal year begins on the first of May. It's odd to be doing end-of-year-type stuff only four months into the year. At least it coincides pretty closely with the school year. Still, fiscal year 2010 begins in two days.

Anyway, the end of the fiscal year means our annual fingernails-on-the-chalkboard marathon of employee evaluations for the previous year and personal objectives for the next year. Regardless of how well or badly the previous 12 months went, this is always the time of year that I consider quitting my job. Filling out my annual evaluation form is the single worst part of the job, and that's no exaggeration. Someone once said that "opera is where people get stabbed and, instead of dying, sing about it." What opera is to death, yearly evaluations are to work, only I always seem to have misplaced my libretto.

Maybe I just don't have the right organizational mechanism to keep track of what I've done over the last year, or I'm just so damned disorganized and apathetic most of the year that the sins of my past return each April to fiddle with my brain, but this process always gets me feeling the way I felt so often in high school: That everyone else is privy to some basic information that I have somehow overlooked or not been told.

In high school, I remember feeling like everyone but me had been given a copy of Life: A Handbook. Everyone else seemed so much less lost and confused. And now, here again, I feel like this evaluation stuff shouldn't be as difficult, time-consuming, confusing, and frustrating as I'm making it. As if there's some handbook that everyone else uses (and it isn't the employee handbook — I've looked) to guide them safely and sanely through this messy mass of paperwork and data.

Man, do I hate it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Endorphin Shortage?

Isn't exercising supposed to release some endorphins or something in my brain and make me feel better or happier? I went to the Y after work and did some straining and sweating, but I left more lonely and depressed then when I arrived.

There must be something wrong with my brain. Or maybe I just really hate exercise.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Weekend to Learn Photography

Okay, so maybe not all if photography. It was such a beautiful day, I figured it was a good time to go out and learn how to use my digital camera. I went to Holliday Park and then to the IMCPL Central Library, which gave me the opportunity to wander around downtown Indy a bit. I ended up with 90 photos, and here are some of my favorites (with a small amount of digital manipulation.
I should find out the story behind these ruins, because they're just sort of there, in the middle of this park, surrounded by a fence to keep people from, er, ruining them.

I was experimenting with depth of field here. I didn't get the effect I was looking for (I had my f-stop settings flipped around), but I still like this picture.

Here I actually learned a little something about using a flash to fill in shadows. If I hadn't used the flash, you wouldn't be able to see any of the statue's features. Again, this is from Holliday Park.

Ten Commandments?
This is from the War Memorial downtown, right out in front of the central library. I've lived in the Indianapolis area nearly all my life, but I'm just now really looking at this monument? In this picture, I was playing with the shutter speed settings, trying to get movement in the fountain water against the immoveable stone face of the engraving.

This might just be my favorite picture that I've ever taken. I love the combination of the solid geometrical shapes of the modern building reflecting the distorted image of an older building.

A different side of the same building.

Again, the new reflecting the old. You can see inside the building where the reflection falls into shadow.

Three views
So maybe this one is my favorite? It has the great reflection, the light vs. the dark, and the circles of lights can leave you wondering exactly what you're seeing. (They're the lights on the ceiling inside the library.)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Nighttime Visit from an Old Friend

I dreamt about Popcorn Friday night. Not the buttery movie munchies popcorn; my old dog Popcorn. We got him when I was maybe two years old, and sometime in my mid-teens, after arthritis made his back legs wobbly and permanently stained hair made him more of a light brown than white, he went off by himself somewhere to die. Hopefully I'll find a picture of him I can post here.

At any rate, he showed up in a dream on Friday night. I got to run with him, in that dream-like, untiring way. I got to roll around on the floor with him and rub his belly.

He's been gone for around 20 years, and I don't know what made me think of him this weekend, but it sure was nice to get to see him again, to rub his belly as his tongue lolled out. Even though it was just a dream, it has stuck with me. Even thinking about it now makes me smile.

Funny what dreams can do.