Episode 78: Power Outage in IT

We moved into a “new” building several months ago. It’s new to our company, but the building is not new. When you walk around the halls, it sounds like you’re walking in a mobile home. The floors are not quiet. We struggled for months with being too cold in our offices. We worked with our coats on, I plugged in my heating pad and put it in my lap, and Gordon plugged in the extra PCs to emit some more heat. The roof would leak and part of the ceiling fell in, but don’t worry it wasn’t my office. It was one of the VPs.

Sometimes, we have problems with the electrical as well. All of the offices (unless you’re an executive) are shared by multiple employees so that’s a lot of computers plugged in per room. We found out the hard way that several rooms are on the same breaker.

I came into the office at 9am and found Debbie and Gordon sitting and chatting with their monitors turned off. Odd. They usually chat here and there, but I don’t know two people who are more devoted to coding almost every second of the day. And they’d been chatting long enough that even their screensavers went dark?

I said hi and then plugged in my laptop only to realize, my monitors wouldn’t turn on.

“Oh,” I turned back around to them, “we have no power.”

So we sat there.

And stared at each other.

We didn’t know what to do.

How do you have a conversation with the people in the same room when you don’t have email or IM? We’re supposed to actually talk? We tried. Every so often, we’d turn around in our chairs to check for lights on the computers to indicate a return of power.

Then the boss came in. He helped us make it through the wait by sharing some stories of being the only man in a family with his wife and four daughters. No wonder he’s such a good boss.

After a couple of hours (don’t worry, the boss wasn’t telling stories the entire time), he went to track down facilities and get them to fix it already.

They finally came down, unlocked the room, threw the breaker, and we started sending emails again.

It’s a good thing facilities keeps us locked out of that room so we can’t throw the breaker ourselves. That could be disastrous.

What would you do at work if your power went out?

Episode 77: Mmmm, Bug Fest

What would YOU think if somebody gave you a full, brown paper bag that was labeled “bug fest”?

Seriously. What would be your initial reaction?

Mmmm, bug fest.

What’s in this bag?

Debbie brought us all bug-fest labeled bags the other day. We were going to celebrate our bug festival and we needed some treats to help us. When was the last time you had a bug festival?

My mind went off on a tangent (imagine that) and I remembered the fabulous, old song by Summer Magic called “The Ugly Bug Ball.” Maren put it on a mixed CD she made back in the days of Napster and Morpheus. Well done, Maren.

Enjoy it in all its ugly bugness right here, thanks to a little You Tube action.

Back to the Bug Fest at work, we didn’t have any creepy crawly insects running around. And the treats were just yummy, normal, people treats: apple juice, orange juice, an apple, an orange, microwave popcorn, and a Reeses’ PB egg. Bug fest treats are the best! Thanks Debbie.

We ate them while we tested the software our team is developing. And we pretended to celebrate when we found bugs in the software. In the end, our bosses were proud of our team effort to create the “Mary Poppins” software release: practically perfect in every way.

Wish you could have been a part of our bug fest?

Episode 75: The Love Marathon—It was Tainted

We don’t always know why we do things in IT.

We just do them.

And think about them later.

And later is when we realize that we are a special breed, all grouped together in one, big, geeky department, feeding each other’s social awkwardness.

We think we’re funny.

Yesterday, Gordon told me that I was grumpy. It was true. I was ready for the weekend. And I wasn’t appreciating back to back to back meetings spanning over any normal lunch hours. For those that know me best, I am not a fan of missing lunch.


I finally got a late lunch and my mood started to improve. But Gordon still felt it necessary, along with Debbie’s help, to really kick things up into party mode in our shared office.

We shut the door, inserted the CD, and started two hours of “Tainted Love.”

Are you surprised that one of the developers I work with has an entire CD of remakes* of that beloved 80s song? (By the way, turns out it was actually recorded originally in 1965, but didn’t achieve its blessed fame until Soft Cell’s remake in 1982. You’re probably most familiar with that later version.)

We listened to Marilyn Manson’s “Tainted Love.”

We listened to techno “Tainted Love.”

We listened to Spanish “Tainted Love.”

It was a beautiful afternoon.

We broke out into song with the different versions several times. Talk about team bonding.**

Tainted love, ooo, ooo, ooo, bom bom!

Don’t you wish you could have been there with us? For all two hours?

*According to all-knowing Wikipedia, can you guess how many recordings of the song there are? Come on, take a guess. 10? 26? 3? And the correct answer is… touch me baby, tainted love… 32.

**I’m certain it is experiences like these that actually do work… “Tainted Love” marathons, mandarin oranges thrown across boardroom tables, team weigh ins. If you can’t be quirky with your team, then you just haven’t bonded. Ah.