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Breakout

Am I Dead Yet? by Cayetana. One of the first “small” bands I ever got to watch and follow, they’re finally calling it quits this year. What a bummer, because they wrote some stunningly great tracks.


And I’m not dead yet, but this doesn’t feel so great

And I’m not dead yet, but I’d like to take a break

Is there a way out of this?

Is there a way out?

Sometimes it’s crazy how lyrics work on so many levels at one time instance. I’ve been spending literally every free second I’ve had working on finishing up this design at work. It’s ended up being a massive monster that was far, far more than anyone had ever expected. It’s been a ridiculous amount of PCB layout work, especially with FPGAs1. It’s like solving the world’s craziest puzzle in 3D. Up and down, left and right, buried and through, you name it. It’s a sick addiction for my brain and one that I have a lot of trouble dealing with.

I spent every single goddamn brain cycle I have on figuring how to to solve this seemingly impossible problem. In what is sure to be a familiar trope on this website, I have ignored, ghosted, let slip, dropped nearly everyone else in real life. It’s a poor excuse to blame this on my {job, boss, CEO}, since I could’ve just said “no” at any point. I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff, and have been doing it since… maybe freshmen year of college? Anything I work on is considered a “design” to me. A design is a piece of of work and a piece of art. It demands blood, sweat, and tears. Each design must be better than the last, and you have to underpromise and overdeliver, no matter what the cost.

I’m not joking. Doing this kind of work hurts. In grad school I would come home with hands so cramped that I could barely move a stress ball. Nowadays ergonomic equipment helps, but I always keep one on me as a canary for my dirty, coal-covered digits. I stagger home, wondering what I could do in order to finish it faster, make it more efficient, ditch one vestigial component. Wake up, do it again, wonder how it possibly could not be done yet. This was ever so true in the FPGA designs: my dreams were hazy Tetris Effect induced swirls of color.

It’s not as unpleasant as it sounds but it doesn’t feel so great. The longer it goes on, the more used to it I become. I’m (well really, my email) is open to suggestions on how to fix this one. Normally when we check one of these massive milestones off, I would celebrate dramatically. Upon some reflection, that’s a positive reinforcement trend that I’ll try to stop. Today we hit a pretty big one. In lieu of yelling, cheering, high-fiving, etc, I just calmly packed my stuff at 2PM. I grabbed a beer, cheers’d my boss, and got on a bus. I rode it to the beach. Ran and jumped2 and danced around in water because no.

I’m not dead yet.

I just needed closure.


  1. No, this isn’t ITAR prohibited bullshit, it literally says we use FPGAs on the website. ↩︎

  2. run is to ran as jump is to jamp ↩︎