Ta-da!

Mar. 25th, 2008 11:41 am
fr_defenestrato: (hitchhiker)
The proposal was out the door by 11:30 a.m.

This was one of the worst proposal processes I've ever presided over. In some sense I realize how much of this was beyond my control—a perpetual complaint in companies where absolutely no license (nor carrot, nor stick) is given to the proposal manager to enforce deadlines and assignments. But it is precisely my job description to GET things under my control. Part of this can be accomplished by schooling more of the techie folks around here in the basics of proposaling; I pitched a sort of "Proposals 101" workshop to my boss months ago and it fell by the wayside. Time to resurrect that one.

Time also to take some VP types to task for not ensuring that sufficient technical resources/SMEs were devoted to this project from the early stages on.

Finally, we desperately need to hone our design review process; it's absolutely astonishing that some very key design concepts (and flaws) came to light only last Thursday, after almost a month of informal and formal design reviews and tweaking.

Ugh. Tired gourd.
fr_defenestrato: (Default)
D-3:05. Printing became an issue when the office filled up and everybody was printing stuff. Like every proposal shop I've ever worked at, there's no dedicated proposal printer, which is 17 different kinds of stupid all kludged together.

I finally had all my stuff printed; the costing guys finally said they were done and could live with their bill of materials and their pricing summary; I'm walking into the conference room where all our binders are set up (also no dedicated proposal production SPACE), and my boss says "There's a problem with the pricing; don't let anything go out yet."

And somehow this is my problem too.

Splatcom's pres, Frank Gymnast, is SO not happy with this prop. He's already called a meeting for a week from today to debrief on everything that went wrong and how to avoid it in future. I'll have a few choice words on the subject.

Meanwhile my mom called this a.m. and left her second messages in 24 hours, sounding pretty dire; but I already knew the news from [livejournal.com profile] eloquentwthrage's LJ: my grandmom is hospitalized and maybe gonna die. That's nice news to color the tail end of this horrific proposal process.
fr_defenestrato: (bowie)
It is now D-6:45. I have been working since 7 p.m. after a 4.5-hour sleep. Drank a B-complex energy shot a little while ago. Almost everything of mine is done (though some printing remains)... the two guys that have been working on pricing all night are STILL working on pricing, which is about as ridiculous as it gets. As the proposal manager I should be able to send them for reeducation in Siberia for this, but I'm fairly sure my recommendations will fall on deaf ears. Or rather everyone will go, "Rahr rahr, lessons learned, do better next time!" and promptly unlearn any possible lesson.

I have been asking the entire team for a couple weeks who is actually going to deliver this thing to Man Asses by 2 p.m. today. The Division head, Bug Doldrum, emailed me last night three obnoxious things in a row: 1. I'm going to bed now. 2. It's the account manager's responsibility to get the prop delivered (the account manager works out of Splatcom's Richmond office). 3. I'm not going to be in tomorrow. Fourth obnoxious thing was when my boss Oguk discovered that Bug's Gantt chart for the project took installation into bleeding DECEMBER, when the RFP stipulated completion by end of August (it's a school system, after all; they want it all in place before the kiddies come back). So Oguk has spent the last few hours redoing Bug's work from scratch, because of course Bug never puts anything on the network drive.

Rahr rahr, lesson learned: Swat Bug.
fr_defenestrato: (falcon ridge)
I have clocked 72.0 work hours in the last 7 days.
fr_defenestrato: (peep)
... I keep catching "The Monster Mash" running around my head—for the last week at least—but it's always too late for me to figure out what's been triggering it.

Ok, I've been up for close to 24 hours and working for 20.5 (except for the Metro ride from home to office)... I think I need to take a little nap.
fr_defenestrato: (easter)
Update since Wednesday: the Cheeselord Tenebrae service went off well despite Fr. Kevin's homily. hiding in the tenebrae )

Thursday, my boss invites me to the "pipeline review" meeting where everyone involved in sales at Splatcom runs down the data on all potential opportunities. omg boring work talk )

Last night took a couple buses in a row from my office to St. John's Catholic Church in Falls Church to sing, as a ringer, for the Good Friday service there. back to church )

Metroed home, hung out awhile, and back out to the Green Lantern, which has managed to curry a respectable underwear night on Fridays as well as Saturdays. requisite smut content )
fr_defenestrato: (saturnalia)
Hooray! I got 8 hours of nearly uninterrupted sleep last night! Crashed hard shortly before 9 and woke up at 5 a.m., completely BOING-don't-even-fit-in-the-bed-anymore awake. Started work about 5:30 and got the biggest baddest job on my to-do list done by 8, so I had no qualms about not leaving for the office until 9:15. Today we convene the Red Team review of the present proposal. I'm hoping any of the four people assigned to review it will have actually read it by 3 when we meet to debrief.

Meanwhile: hommos from Perfect Pita for lunch. Nom nom nom.

Tonight: the Suspicious Cheese Lords are singing a Tenebrae service at the Franciscan Monastery in D.C. As I've mentioned to several peoples, the Monastery fired us as artists-in-residence two years ago this spring, and since then (and partly because of that) we've been evolving into more a concert band than a church-service group—obviously to my extreme glee. We scurried that first year to make up the money (~$7K per annum) the Franciscans had given us to sing 6 services during Holy Week and various other holiday services throughout the year, and now that we're actually getting 5-figure offers from cathedrals and concert series far and wide we don't have to accept any old church service job that comes our way. But I've always had a soft spot for the monastery, which has one of the most gorgeous, sonorous, peaceful chapels I've ever been in... and so when the Franciscans asked us back for this Holy Week and the lords debated about it, I was happy that we decided to accept only once service, and that that service was Tenebrae. It's a mournful service, full of lamentations and whatnot, and toward the end of the service all the church lights go out and the altar candles are extinguished one by one, except for one that the priest picks up and walks out of the chapel, leaving the place in total darkness. While the lights are out the "strepitus" (Latin for "great noise") is sounded, symbolizing the "contraction of the earth in woe" following Jesus's crucifixion, or some such crap. (They have special noisemakers for this at the monastery.) Then the priest brings the candle back in, just like Jesus brought back the light of the world blah blah blah. Yeah, it's goofy and mythtical, but I like the darkness of it, and the drama. We sing nothing remotely happy. Yay!

Ooooh, in fact, one of the things we're singing tonight is explicitly about "the dying of the light" (but rages, rages not thereagainst): Moriens lux amantissima by Jean Mouton. We recorded this last summer but it didn't make it onto our new CD, which made me sad as it's my favorite thing of Mouton's that we sing. Anyway, y'all are welcome to come listen... at least it's free and you don't have to sit through TOO much churchiness.
fr_defenestrato: (Default)
So here's what: I packed my enormous orange duffel bag with comforter (paraclete), light bankie, pillow, change of clothes, and toiletries bag, Wednesday morning, and took it to work with me, prepared to live there until Friday, napping on the floor of my office only as absolute needed, to get the current proposal done. Then late Wednesday afternoon Addendum 5 to the Request for Proposals (RFP) came out announcing a postponement of the due date till Tuesday, May 25. Wait, May? "It's a mistake," I insisted. "They mean March." Sure enough, minutes later another email from the client saying, "Ok, here's the REVISED Amendment 5," only there's no attachment. Two minutes after that, new email, with revised Amendment 5 really really attached, this time for sure. Tuesday, March 25. So whew.

I stopped at Omega on the way home and saw a bunch of nearly naked guys I know from way back, still shakin' they thangs on the bar. Gotta love underwear dancing... gotta because all the naked stuff went away. Got good and hosed, slept through my alarm (how 25 of me!), woke up at 8:13 and STILL made it to work for a 9:30 meeting. Needless to say, unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed. had a good, productive day: took the opportunity to help out two different VPs with two different responses to "requests for information" or "sources sought notices"—not proposals proper, pretty short, just some agency trying to figure out whether there's enough small business talent to release an acquisition as a small biz set-aside.

Left work at a decent hour Thursday, with my newly restored laptop (it had crapped out for the second time in 2 months... but Clem Braddington, our IT guy, helped diagnose it with his little magic bag of tricks and we got the OS restored without I had to shell out repair money; of course it restored to Vista and I had to overwrite XP a third time, and reinstall all my programs, but. It could have been worse. Anyway, I packed up my little Toshiba and the external harddrive I had brought in to do installs as I worked, and brought it all home in my enormous orange duffel bag... and realized I had left the laptop power cord at work. So I got online, reserved a Zipcar, headed back to Tysons, grabbed my cord, and came home. Ugh. Couldn't get to sleep to save my life so I just did more work on RFI responses, till 6ish, at which point I emailed various work folk and said "working from home today" and went to bed. Missed the 10 a.m. meeting by about 4 hours.

Last night was a rendezvous with [livejournal.com profile] avocado_tom and friends... including P, the brand new girlfriend (to be clear: the nomenclature's new as of two or three days ago) and somebody else that I was supposed to have remembered in detail but was still hazy on... a guy named Jerry that I knew in Delaware, and while I recognized his full name and his face when he walked in, I had the hardest time placing the context or thinking of one event or scrap of memory in which I could pinpoint him in timespace.

Tom and I still couldn't figure out whether we had ever met in person before, our common friends at UD notwithstanding. I spent some time looking at his face trying to imagine 12 or 14 years taken away... It wasn't clear. Didn't ring a bell. Yet his formulation ("Gary lusted after my roommate") pretty much says it. Actually, in retrospect, if back in Delaware he were anything near as cute as he is now, I'd remember him.

So anyway: there shows up at the Brickskeller a group of 10 (plus me); and of the 8 men present, what was extraordinary to me (though my Delaware experience with the crowd in which Tom and Jerry ran should have mitigated this) was how ... gay-like they were. "Metrosexual" doesn't even cut it. These guys aren't "queer-eyed"; they are queer, plain and simple—they just don't by nature or habit suck cock and suchlike, though I expect more than one of them wish at times they were so inclined. They are remarkably physically affectionate with each other—the moment we met Tom hugged me on the street when I held out my hand to shake; when we said goodbye he kissed me on the lips; his friend Bill introduced himself by feeling up my butt and made like he was trying to take me home at the end of the night, protesting his heterosexuality (with a plaintive "I've tried!") only when I went to French him; etc.

And of course, it was the Brickskeller, a patently fun place, the worst I can say about which is that the men's room is among the foulest in the city. I had a few terrific beers and Belgian ales and some pierogies that were deep-fried (eia! I expected pan-) but at least tasty. And I met (or maybe re-met) a batch of intelligent, articulate individuals whose conversation (and memory for scatological songs) was great fun. It was, in short, an interesting and very enjoyable time. This was some good company. (Thanks, Tom!)
fr_defenestrato: (brother voodoo)
Good lard: at the office until 11 p.m. yesterday working a proposal due two weeks from today. Caught my Fairfax Connector bus to West Falls Church, caught the last orange line train downtown, which meant I was certain to miss the last yellow/green trains north. So I exited at MacPheremone Square and walked three blocks to the Green Lantern for a nightcap. Four beers and two shots later I cab home, feed them katzen, pack my stuff for the weekend (Lord Pancakes Aren't Animals Are They is shortly coming here to the office to pick me up; hence we hie to Ohio for the wedding of Lord Dan the Obstreperously Intent on Connubial Bondage), check email and LJ, and head to bed for an extremely efficient four hours' sleep before I need to get up and out for an 8:30 mandatory meeting, which fuck you Erica.

So I go to reset my cell phone alarm to Ridiculously Early O'Clock, except my cell phone's not where it ought to be. Wait... no, it's not ANYWHERE it ought to be. Uh. Hmm. Head upstairs to Irv A and dial my number on [livejournal.com profile] misterdarkness/[livejournal.com profile] peregrin8's phone and run down the back stairs quickly to tiptoe through my apartment, ears up and microadjusting, listening for the buzz of my cell phone (because of course I never have the ringer on, ever). Nope. I try again. Nope. Ok: I left my phone in the cab. I email Lord Broccoli to advise him of my work number and address and that I've lost my phone. I email My Sunshine (My Only Sunshine), [livejournal.com profile] maestro_live, that I've lost my cell phone. He emails back almost immediately that he's contacted the cabbie and the cabbie will drop it at his place. Whew. Leave it inside your outer gate, I tell him, and I'll pick it up on the way to the Metro in the morning.

I set the loudest and most annoying alarm clock in the work, ganked decades ago from Travelodge on Main Street, Newark, Delaware, where I was desk clerking, and go to bed for what is now maybe 2 hours 15 minutes' worth of sleep. Except oops. I wake up at 10 a.m. having missed the mandatory 8:30 meeting, but more importantly OH so close to being late already for the 11:30 meeting, in which, in essence, my entire job is being picked apart by an external quality assurance auditor.

Auditui meo!

Emergency mode: deodorant, mouthwash, put on a suit, tie in pocket; email boss: "Very sorry. I will be there by audit time. Long story"; shut down, unplug, pack computer; scram to Maestro's place, grab the phone, head to Metro, green line train sits in the tunnel between Shaw and Mt. Vernon for several minutes. At this point I WILL be late for the meeting. Get out at Archives and grab a cab, who drives me to Tysons and, because he doesn't take credit cards, stops at the Exxon near my office. The ATM gives me a process error. Nothing to do with my account. I am in hell. I am in hell. I am in hell. What I tell you three times is true.

Second try on the ATM and success. Cab drops me in front of my office. I uncoat, brush teeth, slime and ponytail hair, grab coffee— and someone has made double-coffee. So much coffee in the basket that it has overflowed and grounds are everywhere, in the carafe, on the burner, all around the machine. Fucker! What the fuck, fucker? I make new coffee with 4 minutes till my audit. Grab my shit, laptop, notepad, etc. Put on my tie. Head to conference room.

AND I FUCKING KICK ASS.

Auditor asks me question after question and I have reasonable answers to everything. He even tries to get me on an exception to our process (the prop I'm currently working on) where the Capture Plan was skipped due to time constraints. Says to me: "Maybe you should write that into your SOP..." I called up the SOP that he had "perused" (def. 2) and found precisely where I had already written the exception clause in.

I rock.

Another meeting now. Road trip soon.

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