I've been a telecommuter now for just under two years and for the most part that's worked great. Very little of what I did required me to speak with anyone in person anyway, and setting my own hours fits the creative impulses of programming very well and means I'm not sleep-deprived. (I'm pretty sure this is why I'm remembering so many more dreams now than I ever used to.)
But I do get the feeling that things are going on that I really should hear office gossip about, and I'm rather out of that loop. In particular the boss has started sending around letters making very clear that all expenses must be accompanied by a receipt or they will not be reimbursed. I'm not surprised per se by the boss sending out a note about that, because the company has been run in a way that would have to be much more organized to be called ``loosely run'', but the thing is, he didn't just send out the mail, but also the vice-president of the tech department sent out such anote, and the boss replied to everyone saying he endorsed the sentiments expressed therein. And there've been reminders coming out, from the tech vice-president, every two weeks as the expenses deadline for the upcoming paychecks approaches. These notes have also not been coming from the boss's secretary, the one who's the de facto office manager and who'd always sent them out before the receipts kick started.
Maybe it's relatively meaningless that the boss is on a keep-your-receipts kick; I wouldn't be surprised if the company had gotten so lax about expense-tracking that only a viciously hard line has a hope of getting things into line. But that doesn't explain why the tech vice-president has taken over from the de facto office manager in nagging people about what, really, is an office manager sort of responsibility. My suspicion is that I won't get this explained until the next time I'm summoned out east and can hang out with the secretary and hear what's been going weird since January.
Trivia: Viking 1's insertion into Mars orbit required an engine burn of 38 minutes (expending 1,063 kilograms of propellant), more than twice the time required for Mariner 9 to begin orbiting Mars. Source: On Mars: Exploration of the Red Planet, Edward Clinton Ezell, Linda Neuman Ezell. NASA SP-4212.
Currently Reading: Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, Gary Wolf. Hey, I found the line that actually appeared in the movie!
PS: Reading the Comics, March 26, 2014: Kitchen Science Department, a roundup of mathematics-themed comic strips from recent days.