Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I learned from Bread.

Greetings Bloggies.

So when last I wrote I was stuck on the loose of the past narrative in my life.  Well life does not stop.  I find there are difficulties with my new job that keep me thinking.  Some work nights I don't sleep as well as I should.  I know for sure that I am not doing my work as fast or as well as I could.  Which is why I am going to write about bread.

In the spring of 2009 I was in the depths of my being laid off state.  I had not made serious progress in getting a job and was only starting the process that would take me to BCIT.  During that time in a move based on the desire of safety I was staying in the old log cabin at my folks place.  Due to the limitations of that dwelling, its lacking both internet, TV and running water, I spent time in the folks dwelling, where I would make some use of the kitchen.

At this time many days were unproductive and I strongly lacked motivation.  So I sought a way to create a feeling of having done something.  There was also a element of recovery to this, I could not cook in the camp I had spent the previous years working at so I getting back into that game was part of my return to the world.  So bread became a challenge for my self.

My early loafs were inconsistent, hard, dense and took me hours to make.  Now bread still takes hours to make there is no way around that.  In the early days I would read the recipes to the letter and measure with care.  Due care and attention and guild lines still resulted in breads that lost all their charm the moment they cooled to room temperature.  I was missing something.

A no knead bread, during the Soviet Potluck at BCIT.
In Nisgia'a D, The potluck Organizes you. 
Fast forward to easter weekend.  A point in time somewhere near the two year mark in my bread journey.  Over those two years I have made bread off and on depending on weather, employment and the state of my mind.  Progress was made, first I mastered a batter bread that needed know kneading, then i moved on to french bread.  So back to the weekend.

Sunday evening I figure I want to make bread.  I start a dough.  Realizing it was late and I did not want to stay up late enough to let it rise properly I retool it to become a yeast based pancake.  In the morning I make and eat said pancakes.  They were all right, and I was faced with a large bowl full of yeasty batter.  I had made enough for a loaf so It was a lot of batter.  I do the only thing that made sense, feed it more flour and worry about what to do with it later.

Later becomes late.  I had a short notice dinner with a friend and college.  Strange to see a friendship/business contact grow and know this is how grownup things happen.  Three beers and at even more hours later I come home to find a monster in the bowl.  Through luck a cool house and lots of flour the dough did not over ferment and develop a yeasty flavor.  Without a recipe without a plan I turned that sticky mass into bread.

The bread from Easter weekend, Made with no plan.
This worked and worked out well for one reason, practice.  After two years my fingers know what a good dough feels like, I know how to micro adjust the moisture by just wetting my hands under the tap.  Those and many more little methods turned a creation that did not know what it wanted to be into a good loaf.  It is in light of this accumulated know how that lets me know my current imperfect performance at work will end and in the future I will be good at it.  Like with bread things that were hard ant took a lot of thought will become easy and I will be able to through ingredients together in a rush and make them work.

A flat bread. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

The end of a narrative.


As I finished writing the last post I realized something.  I have reached the end of a narrative.  This blog started as a way of killing time and creating some level of connection with the outside world.  Discovery NWT, Rabbit lake Sask and Minto YT are all places remote enough to give the phrase "outside world" meaning.  I was not in the field long before I realized it was not for me.  I held on because I needed money and at discovery, the operation was more relaxed then at some the other sites.

Depending on when and how you divide up the time I was in a state of unhappy employment or unemployment for at least 3 years.  This blog has helped me vent.  For now my work is interesting but not mind breaking.  This begs the question, what is this blog for now.  I have no short term plans to go any place remote, my life does not suck.  Do you 5 readers really want to be blasted with stories of how good life is in Vancouver, because without the north controlling my life thats what this might come to.

Just to show my life is not all rainbow scented unicorn farts, I went to my favorite chocolate shop only to discover I had no means of giving them money on my person.  So I had to ride my bike back along False creek without gourmet chocolate.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I have to work and I don't mind

Greetings Bloggies.

So have made it through two weeks of work, technically 9 business days as I started two weeks ago tomorrow.  So how is this two week mark different and how am I taking to office life.  Compared to the last time I was two weeks in to a job things are way better.  I lack a roommate, there is no mouth breather smecking chocolate on the other side of the room.  Its not -35 outside.  My work day is short enough to leave me with energy to spare.  Gone are the 10 to 12 hour days I now work 8 hours.

So how is the work. Get to office around 8.  Sit in front of my duel screens of my computer work station, when I want a distraction I look down over Granville Street.  If the deadlines permit, as so far they have, I leave work around 4pm.   One of the things I am still getting used to is not having home work.  It works out that historically the only times I have had a lifestyle with semi-regular hours and or the choice to go home at the end of the day was during my schooling days.  Until now the only time I had dealings with a desk on a full time basis was school, so even with the year between BCIT and now and 5 years since my undergrad wrapped up, I secretly expected home work.  So colour me a little surprised when I am simply free at the end of the day.

Having signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of my terms of employment I am legally bound to not speak any details.  It is safe to say I make maps related to the companies operations.  My current products are simple but growing in complexity.  I am working with a software that was not covered at BCIT, however its core functions are largely the same.  I am impressed that I really did learn things at BCIT.

The people in the office so far are nice, we get along in as much as we interact.  I have the choice of shutting my door and being alone. One thing learned through BCIT, during the practicum was the discovery that damn it the way I like to work best is to be left alone with a guild line on the out put.  I have that here.  No one watches over me.  We talk over how things should be done, I make my interpretation and then I make some changes, repeat.  Its my first grown up job.  Or it feels that way.

It has its new hazards, I managed to leave my keys and wallet in my office last wednesday . I had made to Commercial Broadway Skytrain station, before I realized my error.  I was in safeway on the way to grab some eggs before I found my wallet was not on me.  Had I had my keys on me I would have headed home, I was tired enough.  As it was I did not want to beg the landlords to let me in.  I was lucky that there were still a few people about when I came back there.

That trip down town was extra interesting, it was game night the first of the play offs and the train was packed.  To make mine and a whole lot of other peoples lives interesting, the escalator going up at Granville station was not working.  Now thats a hike.

So there you have it a word salad about work in the city.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Accidentally Good Week Part 2

Greetings Bloggies.

When last I wrote, I had just spoken with some geologist and an HR person from an exploration company, with a couple other options on the table.  Last friday saw me take an interview with a larger company, one I had been in touch with for some time.

I did my best at that interview, I dressed well, I spoke well, I listened to how they described the job.  As I learned more about that job, I became reenforced in my conviction that the sleeper hit from earlier in the week was the better option.  The larger company was offering a job of narrower scope.  In an environment of few choices I could have taken it.  After all there is no doubt in my mind that I need the cash flow either way and the experience would have been good.  In the end I was honest.  I said, I had an other thing on the table and it was a better fit for me.

After a lunch I called the office of the company that was offering a job which included an office with a door and expressed my interest in taking the position. Then I waited.  After waiting some more and heading home I wrote an email reenforcing Yes Please I really would Like to Work Here.  And then I waited, some nerves throughout the weekend. The worst of them this morning, from 8am on ward, as I know the office day their starts at 8.
Thankfully I did not have to wait all day and the call came at quarter to ten and it was a firm YES.  So tomorrow I show up for work.  A grown up job at a desk.

In between these interviews, I did some research into the third player.  This was an engineering company looking for Geologists, work related to resource modeling, writing 43101 reports and all the trappings of a classic professional geologist career.  Not a bad thing, but divergent from my current interest/direction.  I wrote back and told the contact as much.

So now, I have to show up for work tomorrow.  Now I can see if this will work for me.  Now I can take the train to work and if the weather really sucks not step outside between my office and the train station.  I have wanted a job that allows for what passes as a normal life for some time.  I knew for a long time field work was not in my bones.  Now I will beable to think about having a cat.

Its a grown up job at an office.