July 25th, 2002


Janet Evanovich, High Five

Cheesy detective novel time! High Five by Janet Evanovich is this week's entry. Not too much to say about it. I enjoy all the wacky characters in her novels. Two things I don't enjoy though. First, her main character, Stephanie Plum, always always always chooses the wrong thing when given a choice. Second, Evanovich has a love affair with the "bad guy reveals all to the hero cause he's going to kill the hero so he might as well tell the hero everything" plot device. Of course, the hero survives and now we know everything that happened. It just makes for a lame ending. Can't ask for too much from a mystery novel written by a former romance novel author though. She does get the fun characters. She is also a master of breaking apart her mystery plots into disparate enough pieces that when reading the first few chapters, there seems to be no connection between the fragments. However, by the time it's done, they are tied together. And not in a completely hokey way either. You know it's gonna happen in her books, so you spend time thinking about it. "How in the hell is she gonna connect them this time? It's not possible!" Then she does.


Performance Review

I just got out of my 6 month performance review. This was the first review I had with my new manager. My last manager was horrible as far as doing reviews. He was a great mentor. He was great as far as setting priorities. But he liked setting fuzzy goals, and that made it a crap-shoot as far as what would happen in the review. I knew how my rating would go, but I didn't really know how what specific criticisms he would have of my performance and what I needed to improve until I got to the review.

My new manager believes strongly in what he calls TRAMPS: goals that are Time-bound, Relevant, Achievable, Measurable, Prioritized and Specific. This should make things much easier. We had some basic goals like that for the last couple of months, so I knew what he would be saying for those areas already.

For the last month or so I have had to take on TravelShops work, when I originally planned on working on Cruise design and delegating the Travelshops work. But since we couldn't get staffed up quickly enough, I had to take on the work I had planned on delegating. What I've found is that I am re-energized with this work. I think I would rather work on Cruises, but that portion isn't in quite as ready of shape for my contribution yet. So I kind of had to sit around some. And other teams weren't staffed up yet as well, so I couldn't just do some work and plug it in against theirs. Travelshops is an existing product we have that got moved into my group. Much easier to get a grasp on it. My goals are much more defined, and I can sink my teeth into the product because we have a better idea of what we want. I knew that focus showed through, and that was the one thing my manager actually commented on to me.

Oh, and the money. 3.5 rating for those familiar with the MS ratings. Slightly larger than average raise. Strong bonus, again slightly larger than average. Decent stock option grant. I legally can talk about the numbers given to me, as this issue has gone to court a number of times and courts have affirmed the right of employees to talk about their own compensation. But Expedia still regards it as confidential, and I don't want to fight that battle. So I am not gonna say how much it is in raw numbers. But it's nice enough.

Might have to do something for some folks . . . Or maybe now is the time to dump my car and get something snazzy? What should I do with this bonus?



A story on the Seattle P-I website from the Associated Press says that USA Today Baseball Weekly will be branching out to cover football this fall in an effort to broaden it's base.

Why do I care? Why do I not like this? Cause I don't give a whit about football. I like baseball. I want to get in depth information about baseball. And Baseball Weekly was a good source for it. Too many things these days are trying to be all things to all people. Bigger is better. Bull-puckey!

Not everything needs to be specialized, but when everything tries to play the generalization card nothing ever goes in depth on anything anymore. And then we miss out. Sure, most of us do not want or need a newspaper devoted to baseball. Few people care to have a store that sells only olive oil. But we are at a loss as a society without it. It's the McDonaldization of the world. Everything at the lowest common denominator. Bleah.

And now I need to find another baseball newspaper.