Janet (j4) wrote,
Janet
j4

Sand on the run

There's feeling full of fail, and then there's feeling full of existential fail. I've spent most of today wanting to curl up under the desk in a little ball and howl like an over-tired toddler. I was working for the Department of Fail, which always saps my will to live -- they're not really inherently full of fail, but I and my colleague J. are contracted to work a few days for them and so all the problems they save up for us are the things that are either a) completely intractable and/or incomprehensible, b) sufficiently bitty and faffy that nobody has ever had a chance to sit down and really get them, or c) enormous cans of worms (these are invariably simple-looking tasks, and for all I know they may be given to us in all innocence, but they turn out to be many-headed sharp-fanged fail-hydras from the Dark Places). It doesn't help that the DoF is also located in a vast open-plan office, flickery-fluorescent-lit, and dry as a desert; being there makes me feel exhausted and drained and even more queasy than I was already starting to feel.

[Yes, I know I'm lucky to have a job at all, and I shouldn't complain. And I know I'm lucky that I'm not suffering (yet, so far) from all the horrible things that can go wrong in pregnancy, so I should be practically rejoicing at tiredness and a bit of recurring queasiness. And depression is all in the mind so it can't be that bad. And the Tories will fix everything if we just let them get on with it.]

Today was a day of cans of worms involving vast expanses of minimized javascript which somehow corresponded to the non-minimized stuff in the subversion repository that I couldn't get access to but nobody was quite sure how the one turned into the other (except that someone dug out some instructions in an email of a year ago from someone who'd since left, where he linked to a blog post which explained how he'd done something like this with CSS on a different system) and people had been editing both the original files and the minimized stuff and adding new versions of some of the files into the CMS. You can't even get files out of the CMS easily, and it doesn't do any kind of version control, so the whole thing is a morass of broken dependencies patched up by duplicating code in several places. Furthermore, some of the javascript is referenced from the 'stylesheet' (a kind of global template), and some of it is referenced from the header hooks in individual templates, and some of it is in both, and when you're testing this stuff on the preview version of the site most of the javascript doesn't work, so you have to publish it to the live version of the dev site and then if it works there you have to rebuild the whole thing from scratch on the real site because there's no way of exporting templates from one instance of the CMS to another. And when you publish anything, everything exists in a state of fail for about 5 nail-biting minutes while the files are transferred one at a time so all the dependencies are broken. And there are scheduled publishes but it's impossible to tell when they are because you can't set them to run e.g. "on the hour", you can set them to run "once an hour" but the time starts from the end of the previous publish so unless you know exactly how long it takes they get further and further out of sync. The actual javascript that I had to fix turned out to be relatively easy, but developing on this system at all is like trying to swim through treacle while you're tied up in a sack full of ferrets.

During all this fail-wrestling I was keeping a vague eye on twitter in the hope of getting some voices of sanity filtering in through all the madness, but in fact it just made things worse: it was a non-stop stream of rants and shouting, flickering away in the background like the last TV fuzzily broadcasting the apocalypse, showing the world falling apart while I was stuck inside designing better deckchairs for the Titanic. And outside it got darker and colder and I didn't want to stay in the Department of Fail but I didn't want to go out into the cold either, and every time I get home I feel like I don't ever want to go out again, but every time I look around me here I feel as though everything is a reminder of some kind of brokenness (inside or out) which I should have either fixed or got rid of, and I want to hide from it, and there's nowhere left to hide except going to bed, and even that doesn't help because I'm uncomfortable and I sleep badly, and going to sleep just means waking up into another day of fail.

And there's not enough time left before everything runs out of time. Working days, days before Christmas, days before the baby arrives ... days before the end of something, of everything. When I die they'll cut me open and find nothing inside but small charred fragments of to-do lists.
Tags: angst, emo, nablopomo, work
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