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I'm Laura. I am female, 31, a gamer, a bookworm, a knitter, a spinner, a tatter, pierced, tattooed, musical, vehemently geeky and occasionally ineptly artistic.

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Virginia, summer 2006


Posted at 11 Dec 2008 10:50:44 AM

Wow, an update!

I've been down in Virginia since Monday, as we've some new people on the team and it's always nice to actually see the people one is working with. My hotel is (was) gorgeous; a lot more expensive than I'm sure the expense people will be happy with, but when you give me only half a week to make reservations in a highly commercial area, you take what you can get. And I certainly default to better places rather than worser when given a short list of options.

Monday --
I got to the office around noon. I found my cubicle, said hi to everyone, and then went to set up for the afternoon. I discovered that no longer did my laptop recognize its power cord...and the battery was dead. It had been slowly getting worse, requring me to jiggle and cajole the power cable until the laptop recognized it, and maybe something on the car ride just finally knocked the solder points between the connector and the motherboard loose. So, I had no laptop.

We just hired 2 new people, and someone cracked an LCD the day before. So, TRX had no spare laptops either.

On tuesday someone could bring in an extra that they'd been using for a demo model, but not by that afternoon.

So I went to find my hotel and took the afternoon off :-)

I decided around 7 that I ought to go find a grocery store so that I didn't have to starve or live off of the popcorn in the room. You know me - this is always a bad idea. I looked at a map, and it said to go out of my road, take a left and then another left, and then go straight until I practically ran into the supermarket.

I missed the second left. *headdesk*

Now, in Northern Virginia, roads are not NORMAL. They don't go one way, then you can turn around and go the opposite way to get back where you were. No, they jut off at odd angles, have 5-road intersections, lots of overpasses and off- and on-ramps are not always right across the highway for each other. Roads spontaneously change their names for a few miles, and go from highway 6-lanes to residential 2-lanes in the blink of an eye.

All of this adds up to Laura having a very bad time...

I wandered around completely blindly for about an hour, watching the gas tank I hadn't had a chance to refill after my drive down go from a quarter of a tank to dangerously close to empty. By dumb luck I ran smack into a Giant (not literally!), and it had a gas station a few doors down... so I bought some food, got some gas, then picked a direction and drove in it.

Another hour and a half saw me *finally* come to a road that I recognized, and my luck saw to it that it remained recognizable (I'd come across familiar highways before, but they turned spontaneously into South Broad Street and remained stubbornly residential for miles until I decided that right road or no, I was going the wrong way). Yogurt melted and frozen dinners dangerously close to the same, I piled back into my room and resolved never to drive anywhere in NoVa again.

Tuesday --
Normal day at work, nothing special. Got a new (to me) laptop, which we just transferred my hard drive into so that I don't even notice a difference.* I'm assigned to a lot of trouble support tickets and such now, rather than real development. This is nothing short of frustrating, but at least I got to talk to my leads now (we've temporary co-leads until a new manager is hired. The old one has left, and I can't say that I'm sorry) and we're more or less on the same page. I actually solved one of the tickets by the end of the day, though, and that feels pretty good.

I went up to Rockville in the evening to watch my cousins' dance recital rehersal, which was actually surprisingly fun :D It reminded me scarily of all the high school musical rehersals, with the same joking, running around and chatting onstage while waiting for the director to give notes. I really do miss that...
We all went out to get ice cream afterwards, and strawberry sundaes assuage even the most homesick hearts ;)

*no differences except for some reason, my windows don't shade anymore. I am completely mystified but haven't gotten around to reinstalling Litestep and/or Windowblinds yet to see whether that fixes it.

Wednesday --
Again, normal day at work. The whole team went out for lunch at a really good italian restaurant near the office. The best part of it, IMHO, was their soft rolls and dipping oil - I don't know how they made that oil, and of course I couldn't exactly ask, but I'd love to experiment with things like that. It was slightly spicy, slightly herby, with some leaves in it that I couldn't immediatley identify...not just generic red pepper flakes + basil + garlic. Really yummy...I only ate half my lunch because of it!

A couple of friends from work, Matt and Renford, came over in the evening to hang out in my hotel and watch the AQ raid. Unfortunately, although I was first in the queue (!) I didn't actually get to go, so we mostly just goofed around and showed off whatever random things we had on our computers. I certainly had fun, and that was a better way to kill an evening than most.

Thursday --
Completely uneventful...and kind of restful. I got a couple more things done at work, and spent an excellent evening with a bowl of cold velveeta shells & cheese and a couple of Cat Who.. books. :-D

Friday --
Got into work a bit late, owing to the hotel bed being unbelievably comfortable. Packed up all my stuff, shoehorned it into the car, and checked out. Hotels have this thing now where they shove your receipt under your door at 7am and then let you leave your room key by the phone. Handy, but disconcerting somehow.

I'm heading up to Catskill this weekend, and am planning on driving more or less straight there once I leave the office. I'll stop in Binghamton to see Chris, grab dinner and refuel at a Starbucks, but with any luck I'll be in Catskill before 11. Going to be a long day of driving... so far the car hasn't complained any, and I'm thankful for it.

One thing I noticed about Virginia - every single car is less than 2 years old, costs more than I've owned in my life, and is shiny. I mean just-washed-it-yesterday shiny. It's absolutely unbelievable - I think I maybe saw a dozen cars that actually looked as though they'd been used, and certainly none as old as mine (well, not many are... ;) ).

And you'd think that with every second person in an Audi, BMW or Mercedes and the rest in new Hyundais and Toyotas, people wouldn't be chronic tailgaiters. Nope. The roads are *packed*, and people dart in and out of traffic all the time to get to/from the silly roads that jut out everywhere, so you're constantly stopping short - I don't understand it. People drive like they're in bumper cars rather than $200,000 worth of immaculately-painted finely-tuned machine. I will never understand.

It's 2:00 now and just about time for me to get out of here, and this is already more than long enough. I'll be in Catskill until Tuesday morning, as Dan, some friends and I are going to the Goo Goo Dolls concert at SPAC on Monday evening. Next weekend Chris and I are heading up to Lake George (YAY!), so it'll be a busy week :)