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Guitar woes and general bitching - brad's life — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Brad Fitzpatrick

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Guitar woes and general bitching [Oct. 31st, 2001|11:17 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
Know how I was fucking with power switches the other day? After discovering my X10 stuff could only switch 300 Watts and my heater was 1500, I used my guitar effects box to test to see if I could even get the heyu package to work. I got it working.

But just now I discovered that my effects box is dead. Won't turn on with any outlet. Did the fucking X10 thing fry it? Grrrr.

So I can tune my guitar manually, slowly, but only with itself. I can't play along to anything.

I have lessons tomorrow and I haven't practiced enough, yet again.

Why do I even go? I don't have time for anything, much less something as frivolous and unimportant as guitar lessons.

I think I'm going to quit.

I should quit everything that I don't put enough effort into. That includes just about everything, even school. But I can't quit school ... I'm so close to being done.

The only thing I put a notable amount of effort into is LiveJournal, but even that's not enough. LiveJournal demands ten times the effort I have available and nobody else seems to care about it as much as I do.

So maybe I should quit that too. I could take my time and dedication to a project (or, company) that I find interesting and help somebody else out.

Lame analogy time.

Ever go white water rafting? It's awesome. But would it be so awesome if only one side of the boat was paddling? Or if only one person on one side of the boat was paddling? Hell, I don't even paddle some days. So LiveJournal is drifting towards a fucking waterfall or rock or something. We need 3-4 people on each side of the boat.

I'm just sick of half-assed everything.

Half-assed me with guitar.
Half-assed me with everything.
Half-assed LiveJournal.

I'm sick of people being unreliable.
I'm sick of me being unreliable.
I'm sick of me relying on other people.

I'm sick of complaining about things not being ideal.

Arrrgh. I can't help it. Things could be cool.

Another example:

I start to learn LaTeX everytime I do my math homework.
I give up everytime, because I actually need to do my math homework.
Because it's always due the next day.
Today I did it a day ahead of time.
But I still didn't learn LaTeX, because I had more important things to do.
So I never learn.

(I'm not turning comments off because generally the 1 intelligent comment in a batch of 20 stupid ones makes it all worthwhile, but please... spare me the damn e-hugs and such.)

From: sheehan
2001-10-31 11:21 pm (UTC)


awwwwwwwwwwwwwww, your attempts are ygolohcysp fell upon deaf ears... so i would give you an eli-hug, which of course would involve colons, but i think i changed my mind, so nevermind...


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[User Picture]From: brad
2001-10-31 11:25 pm (UTC)

Re: awwwww

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[User Picture]From: angelicdestiny
2001-10-31 11:26 pm (UTC)


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[User Picture]From: chuck
2001-10-31 11:43 pm (UTC)


ok, so *technically* that wasn't an "e-hug". But still... GAG ME. put your boobs away and go use them on someone in your own damn state.
thank you,
buh bye.

We're still on for later though right? heh.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2001-10-31 11:54 pm (UTC)
If I'm the bottleneck for anything, that needs to be fixed.

My main goal for the past many many months has been removing those bottlenecks and giving other people responsibility/knowledge, but those other people fade away and I end up with it again.

So we need everything documented.... details, procedures, etc, etc.

And we need dedicated people to keep doing shit, and training other people, etc, etc.

I dunno. We should talk sometime.
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[User Picture]From: outofmydepth
2001-10-31 11:51 pm (UTC)

i hope this comment isn't too stupid...

my first thought was, "noooo! don't give up guitar!!" but if you'd really rather put your time and effort into something else, go for it. i just personally can't imagine giving up guitar because it makes me so happy... does it make you happy? if you're just doing it because you feel like you should or some other silly reason, then by all means... quit the damn thing. i think the "going to guitar lessons" part is what's not so good here... i've always thought guitar should just be something you randomly do either to unwind, to get your adrenaline going, or to get things out. you can teach yourself everything you'd want to know, and then it doesn't seem like such a waste of time.

now i'm rambling. and you're probably thinking to yourself, "i wish this annoying chick would fucking stop posting inane comments on my journal."

but i just wanted to say... i think you should only continue doing things that make you happy.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2001-10-31 11:56 pm (UTC)

Re: i hope this comment isn't too stupid...

I'd still do it to unwind ... the $40/week lesson that I'm neglecting is what needs to go I think. That's extra stress (for practicing) that I don't want.
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[User Picture]From: toast
2001-10-31 11:53 pm (UTC)
When do you think Livejournal will be able to hire the full-time employee you were talking about before? Is it realistic that this will happen soon enough? You've done good (and I don't mean 'well', although that, too) with your work on Livejournal, and you deserve for it to be something you enjoy and not a chore, y0. I wish I had the answer for how to make that happen.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2001-10-31 11:55 pm (UTC)
Still waiting to hear back from him to see if he wants the job and at what cost.

But I think we won't be able to afford him, or quitting his job will be too much of a risk, so we won't get him.

Which leaves us with a lot of money to spend on somebody, but we don't know who.
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[User Picture]From: pjammer
2001-11-01 01:05 am (UTC)

The Most Difficult Job in the World ...

... is directing/leading a nonprofit and/or managing unpaid staff. What can you do to motivate the staff? So what if they screw up, blow off deadline ... whaddya gonna do, DOCK THEIR PAY?! HAHAHA!!!

You're not alone - it's a difficult task that requires TREMENDOUS psychological savvy to properly manage. I think the most common failure at volunteer/not-for-profit organizations is when somebody volunteers to take on responsibility X - and the management is SO relieved to unburden itself with that it offload it in its entirety to the individual. Volunteers are sent to shoulder as much of the weight as they seem to be able to bear (after all, their labor is free, right?) and consequently, morale drops when they feel they are being taken for granted. Deadlines are blown off, promises are broken, and turnover skyrockets.

In my experience, the best way to manage unpaid subordinates is to parcel out FAR LESS work than they are capable of (or even agree to do) ... but ensure they do it perfectly. Make them WANT more responsibility by sustaining the impression that only those who CUT IT with superior work, reliability and thoughfulness are ALLOWED to contribute at higher levels. May sound a bit machiavellian - but getting volunteers to vye for your attention with the thin slices of responsibility given them will ultimately cull forth for you a far better and more dedicated group of senior staffers than offering high-level responsibilities to anybody who posesses some technical skills and wants to "contribute to the community."

All boils down to priorities - personal ones for you, Brad - in terms of how you want to allocate your time between LJ and your personal, professional and academic life ... and priorities within the LJ business organization: How to build an unpaid but professional, competent staff that can handle everything from clueless non-FAQ-reading-newbies and evil spammers, to database crashes and load-balancing troubleshooting.

I can't tell you what to do with your personal life. I love this thing you created and I have met some fantastic people thanks to your creation and hope you stay with us for a long time - but you're a man with real needs - man's gotta to eat and have enough money left over for coke and hookers after all, right? ;)

From the business standpoint - should sit down and ask yourself the question: if we used $X to hire just one person full-time, paid job would be most productively completed? What would this job description look like? What's the going rate for people with this skillset? You will need somebody to be a director/manager that volunteers report to as well - somebody savvy and charismatic enough to motivate people who has no financial stake in the organization.
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[User Picture]From: moosical
2001-11-01 02:40 am (UTC)

Take a Break?

I'll probably get shot down in flames by some people for suggesting this but hey ho - Why don't you take break?

I seem to remember you taking a road trip some time ago - where you got away from Livejournal and everything for a while. I seem to remember you really get something out of that!

Obviously you have school and other commitments - but why not take a break from Livejournal for a week or so.

As you said in a reply to someone else's comment you've tried to share out responsibility of things so not everything is dependant on you and well you've got evan, dormando loads of people in lj_dev and lj_biz who contribute and can probably contribute a little extra than usual for a week or so to give you a rest?

Sometimes things you care about so much can eat you up - you just need to step back and take a breather sometimes.


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[User Picture]From: hawk
2001-11-01 10:42 am (UTC)

Re: Take a Break?

I might venture to guess that part of the problem is that Brad (I'm projecting, here) is a bit obsessive about his hobbies, and really enjoys doing LJ stuff. The difficulty is that the maintenance, repair, and driving to and from Internap are much less fun, and the two sides of the hobby are difficult to separate when he's the default head cheese in the Seattle area.
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[User Picture]From: hawk
2001-11-01 10:37 am (UTC)
I start to learn LaTeX everytime I do my math homework.
I give up everytime, because I actually need to do my math homework.
Because it's always due the next day.
Today I did it a day ahead of time.
But I still didn't learn LaTeX, because I had more important things to do.
So I never learn.

ROTFL! I so hear that.
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[User Picture]From: ladydiana
2001-11-01 02:01 pm (UTC)
I have to echo what PJammer says...I'm on the staff at two non-profits now, and have been on the board of one of them, and he's right...it's exhausting.

Particularly when, like LJ, you and the organization are growing exponentially and learning as you go, and having to make up all your own rules because nobody's ever done this before. I *know* how you feel about that...I do.

I cannot help you with programming at all. I'm lucky to do basic html. :) Java leaves me baffled, I don't even know what CGI *stands for*, and the thought of programming in perl brings me to tears.

All I can offer you is this: If you need some time off, *TAKE IT*. If you need some time away, *TAKE IT*. I left the board at one of the non-profits because I was a staff member, working the door, on the board, on the security team, running a department, and having done that for two and a half years, it was leave the board and stay as a staff member, or leave and not come back at all, because I was SO CLOSE to complete burnout. Even after leaving the board, I had to take nearly a three month break. I'm still gunshy about the amount of time I continue to put into it, but I've gotten it down to a dull roar.

Cut yourself some slack, Brad. For chrissakes, you're TWENTY ONE YEARS OLD! This website/organization/project/whatever is *huge*. You're in *college*! Most people don't do major CEO-ing of a non-salaried position of a non-profit when they are in college, AND WITH GOOD REASON.

You know, you're *supposed* to be having the time of your life right now, and you obviously aren't. That needs to change, you need to get some enjoyment out of life. No wonder you say you're having motivation problems...you have a list of obligations ten miles long, and you're not really getting anything out of it!

Stop. Breathe. Take a break. Play a computer game. Go to a rave. Spin fire for the kids at the street fair. Take a trip to Europe. *WHATEVER*.

But you really need some Brad time.
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[User Picture]From: darksoul
2001-11-01 08:22 pm (UTC)
So you probably are sick of hearing the opinions of random stalkers, shitheads, and pathetic well-wishers by now. I know I would be. I mean, yeah, it's cool to have praise from people you've never met before, never had any real interaction with, and will never have any real contact with all the time. But at what cost? At the cost of your college career? At the cost of your mental health? At the cost of your happiness? All to keep a bunch of ungrateful dicks happy? A quiet majority of us appreciate everything that you do to keep this site working. We laud you and Dorm everytime you manage to get the site running, no matter how long it takes or how scary things might look. We're happy knowing that you are willing to give so much of yourself to people whom really don't matter in the least in your world. But that's not nearly enough for one person to live happily because of. You can't be expected to be happy merely because you made a bunch of people who live on the internet jump for joy. That'd be retarded of you and earn you a swift kick in the ass. While I'll probably get flamed for it, maybe it's time to put LJ on hold for awhile? I realize it's your baby, and worse, a responsibility, but when it's at the expense of your own sanity? In the end, you need to decide what is best for you. Were I in your place, I don't think I could take the pressure. Sorry I don't have anything in the way of real help to offer you. But I don't think it's really my place to offer you any advice. I don't know you, I don't know your life, your dreams, your goals, your fears, or much of anything of substance about you aside from what little I see of you here mingled with the rest of the ones and zeros. Only you can fix what's wrong. Some say this is the time for you to relax. I'd say this is the time where you have to make some of the toughest decisions of your life. After you do that, it's fairly smooth sailing from there on out. Good luck to you Brad, you deserve it.
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[User Picture]From: dosteric
2001-11-02 02:47 am (UTC)
a-fucking-men. everything, very well said.
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[User Picture]From: kornelia
2001-11-02 03:29 am (UTC)
Like, caroline said, take a break! Even if just for a few days...it really works. Well...until you get back :P

And about school...just keep thinking, "hey, i'm nearly done....wow.". Then you can go do exactly what you want but you'll still have quialifications and shit.


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From: ex_juniper912
2001-11-02 03:35 pm (UTC)
i just think you should work on little things at a time..
but then again i dont run a hugely successful website

I'm sick of me being unreliable.
you're not unreliable at all..its not your fault if a server decided to have a major brainfart..you guys are doin awesome..

just think how successful you guys are..
and then think of the lazy people (like me) that sit on their ass all day, listening to music, and doing nothing..

i'd be happy if i was in your situation now! you're doing something thats helping people!!

okay im rambling now.
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[User Picture]From: thegreatdark
2001-11-03 10:30 pm (UTC)

high standards

chill. you expect too much from yourself.

...says the perfectionist ;)
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