August 30, 2005

Mr. Downerman's Push

Hosted by Putfile.comAs people are leaving the office today, and I am still swamped with work, they’re telling me where they’re going, or what they’re doing (Out to see 40 Year Old Virgin, in the case of JS and SR) and I’m sitting here with my head in my hands, splitting headache, stretching my face out like a rubber mask.

“I wish I were doing that.”

I think I’m making a decent run at bringing everyone down as they leave the office. Go with your strengths, right?

Thing is, with things crazy around here I’ve taken on more work than I can do. I’m a pretty decent programmer, but I’m not really fast at it when I’ve got a stress headache raging. Focus is difficult. On top of that, new organizational responsibilities put the squeeze on the actual time spent developing, and I’m also under the gun to brainstorm new development.

Almost every time I have a stress headache like this, I think back to a Stephen King book, Firestarter. One of the main characters (Andy, the father of the girl with pyrokinetic powers) has the ability to place suggestions into other people’s heads. That’s what happens to you when you submit to government psychedelic drug testing, dontchaknow.

Anyhow, Andy gets a searing headache whenever he uses his power. Near the end of the book he has to use his power in one huge push, and King describes what happens to his brain by writing something like “it burst like an old tire.”

Yeah, that’s how my brain feels like right now. Tylenol, Butalbital, Caffeine, Aspirin… nothing seems to help except walking away from the code. Yet, to the code I must return.

Hey, just writing this has helped immensely. My blog, my therapist.

Posted by James at August 30, 2005 6:15 PM
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I don't know what movie that one is, either. But if it's any consolation, I have a headache too.

Posted by: Julie at August 30, 2005 8:23 PM

Oh, duh. I suppose it is Firestarter.

Posted by: Julie at August 30, 2005 8:23 PM

I guess this qualifies as this week's Name That Movie.

Congrats, Julie! No, it is no consolation when my friends have headaches.

Mine is finally gone (throw enough meds at a problem and...) but I'm still at work, passed the 12 hour mark, and I still can't get this goddamn test program to work.

Bloody device communications.

Posted by: James at August 30, 2005 8:43 PM


Oh wait, you came right out and said it. Oh. You're still working.

That sucks donkey balls.

Sorry bud!

Posted by: Chuck S. at August 30, 2005 9:58 PM

The best part aobut it: my friends went out to see a movie and I'm probably no further along than I would have been had I gone with them instead of banking my head against the code. Yeah, THAT kind of problem.

Sucks. But I have to admit, the headache going away is an unexpected bonus.

Posted by: James at August 30, 2005 10:51 PM

Stephen King always gives me a headache.

Posted by: ThirdMate at August 31, 2005 6:16 AM

Really? I couldn't get enough oof his stuff when I was in high school. Even met him once at the Swansea Mall.

While I could probably aim higher, I wouldn't mind having King's storytelling ability. Feeling rather useless at the moment. And, he's a Red Sox fan.

Posted by: James at August 31, 2005 8:20 AM

Sorry to hear about your woes. Glad the headache is gone and that you didn't burst.

Posted by: briwei at August 31, 2005 10:46 AM

Too much product placement and distracting pop-culture references. Which is interesting because his works tend to become distracting pop-culture references. Great plotter-storyteller, absolutely. Fun cap of David Keith. Is that him watching Daredevil?
Hope the mal de tete stays gone.

Posted by: ThirdMate at August 31, 2005 11:41 AM

King was one of the first authors I ever read with "product placement" or "pop culture references," not sure which is really appropriate to call it, I specifically remember mention of Coke, and I felt it made the story more realistic. I haven't read him in a very long time, but I guess that once you're past the era, it could be distracting. On the other hand, it could be nostalgic. But if you're young, it could be confusing. Depends on the reference. It's difficult to make up the name of a product that's going to sound realistic but that isn't already taken.

Posted by: Maggie at August 31, 2005 3:20 PM

My first Stephen King novel (more than 20 years ago) was The Shining. He said the Jack Nicholson character liked to dissolve Excedrin tablets in his mouth when he had a headache. Not just any aspirin, not an aspirin-based headache powder, but Excedrin.

That stuck with me longer than any ad the Excedrin people ever paid for (except for one where a tough-looking guy says, "I did my own kind of 'research'," leaving you to wonder how many people he punched in the head.

One reference that I didn't care for in a Stephen King novel (don't recall which one; possibly Pet Sematary) was when he said that someone was watching Little House on the Prairie on a Friday night (or some other night that show was never really on). THAT was distracting.

Posted by: Julie at August 31, 2005 3:39 PM

I think he actually chewed the Excedrin, too. That stuck with me. Lots of headaches in King novels, eh?

I guess the bit about the old tire and the bit about Excedrin stays with you more than saying "the guy had a headache."

But I think it was Joan K (Julie knows who I mean) at SMU who told us that it carried more weight to use specific brands than it did to use general terms. And that was in poetry class.

I don't know if Julie ever got that advice as well, as we didn't have the class together.

Posted by: James at August 31, 2005 4:08 PM

All I recall from Joanie's class was that she really hated the word "being." That's all I too from her advanced comp class.

Posted by: Julie at August 31, 2005 4:31 PM

I know exactly which Excedrin commercial you mean, Julie. But I didn't remember that it was for Excedrin. That's funny. For some reason, advertisers think that you want to be *very, very close* to the heads of headache sufferers. Maybe they should spin the camera around a bit, too, or flash some lights.

Detail in a story makes it seem more real. So "excedrin" just feels more real than "aspirin," or "generic aspirin/acetaminophin/caffeine," and we all know people who are specific about brands. I know someone whom I can't convince that "motrin sinus" is ibuprofin and pseudoephedrine. I've even shown her the ingredients on the bottle. Nope. It *has* to be "motrin sinus," nothing else works.

Someone else I know won't allow her children to drink chocolate milk that's made with generic chocolate syrup. As a chocolate addict, I've had it straight, and I can't tell the difference. Anyway, her kids are better off without it. This is a person who will watch them nibble and then throw away their sandwich, and then let them supplement with five cookies. Yuck.

Posted by: Maggie at August 31, 2005 5:12 PM

Yeah. Silly as it seems (because I would never form opinions of a real person based on what cola they drink), I would perceive Coke, Pepsi, and RC-drinking characters differently in fiction.

Posted by: Julie at August 31, 2005 8:49 PM

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